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Iranian state television criticized for falsely attributing anti-Israeli comments to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo

“Israeli football fans are the most hated for me. I can’t stand them. I won’t trade shirts with assassins.

This was reported by Iranian state television. quoted This was stated by Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo during a report that aired on June 15.

But Ronaldo did not make such comments.

State television used footage from a 2016 video that Ronaldo recorded for the London-based humanitarian organization Save The Children. But Ronaldo’s lines were fabricated in a dubbed version broadcast by an Iranian TV channel.

In the original English-language video, Ronaldo draws attention to the plight of Syrian children during that country’s brutal civil war.

“This is for the children of Syria,” Ronaldo says in the video. “We know that you have suffered a lot. I am a very famous player. But you are the real heroes. Don’t lose hope. Peace be with you. We care about you. I’m with you.”

The Iranian state television report also falsely quoted Ronaldo as using the official terminology that Tehran uses to refer to Israel.

“If I say even once that I like the occupation regime of Quds, FIFA (the governing body of world football) will choose me as the player of the year,” Ronaldo said in the report. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Palestine.

The state television report also included footage of Ronaldo refusing to swap jerseys with an Israeli footballer after the June 9 match. But the footage used is from 2016. Also, that player was Aron Gunnarsson, captain of the Icelandic national team.

The report also included an image of Ronaldo holding a photoshopped sign reading “All with Palestine”. In the original image, Ronaldo holds up a sign that reads “All with Lorca,” alluding to the 2011 earthquake near the Spanish city of Lorca that killed nine people.

The state TV report drew ridicule and criticism as Iranians accuse the authorities of insulting their intelligence.

“They are practically lying to us with our own money,” said cartoonist Payam Pourfallah on Instagram, where he posted a state television report along with a 2016 video of Ronaldo in support of Syrian children.

“We are going to fight Israel with this stupidity,” journalist Behruz Azizi. said on Twitterreferring to Iran’s hostility towards Tel Aviv.

The state television broadcast was also criticized by some Iranian media, with the reformist newspaper Shargh daily accusing it of broadcasting a “ridiculous” report “full of lies”.

Iranian state television has a reputation for heavy-handed censorship and airs biased and slanderous reporting and disinformation. State television also regularly airs confessions from dissidents and others that are believed to have been obtained under duress.

The report was shown against the backdrop of rising tensions between Iran and Israel, its regional adversary. Tehran accused Tel Aviv of killing Hassan Sayad Khodai, a colonel in Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite branch of the armed forces, near his home in Tehran on May 22.

Hodai’s death is part of a series of recent incidents inside Iran, including assassinations, sabotage and cyberattacks, some of which Tehran has blamed on Israel. Tel Aviv is believed to be behind the killings of at least five Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade.

Tehran has refused to formally recognize a Jewish state, while at the same time actively supporting the Palestinian cause and ostensibly supporting armed groups fighting Israel, including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This policy has been criticized within Iran, including by anti-establishment protesters.

“Leave Palestine. Think of us instead” and “No to Gaza. Not in Lebanon. Let my life be sacrificed to Iran” were among the chants heard at anti-government rallies in recent years.

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