Many media outlets have covered the funeral of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani as if the millions in attendance were the result of the population’s grief, but the problem is that these videos and other figures in the reports came straight from the Iranian state-run media and are the result of a major act of propaganda by the mullahs.
Just one day after Soleimani’s death, Iran’s State Security Council held a special session, attended by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, where they discussed their next steps, specifically the need to hold a “huge” funeral ceremony as a show of strength. The next day, the regime began its massive mission.
Every single member of Iran’s armed forces, security apparatus, government institutes, and government-owned entities were forced, not only to participate in the ceremony crowds but also to bring their whole families.
In Gohardasht prison in Karaj, the regime forcibly sent all administrative personnel, 90% of the medical staff, 70% of the protection and security personnel, 60% of prison guards, 90% of the technical staff, all magazine personnel, 80% of services’ personnel, and 40% of the kitchen personnel to the obituary ceremonies.
Many local education centres were closed, including primary schools, and students were compelled to take part, with the promise of good grades. Young students, too young to comprehend what they were writing, copied a speech in praise of Soleimani that will be kept in their record.
Stores were also forced to close and stick up pictures of Soleimani in their windows, while taxis were also forced to put his photos on their windshields.
Many people were bribed into taking part with the promise of money or food, something that is a real incentive when 80% of the country is under the poverty line.
In Varamin, people were offered dinner to attend the Tehran ceremony. In Shiraz, people were offered free breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as transport, to attend the ceremony in Kerman, where Soleimani would be buried. Many others had to take selfies in order to et their compensation.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote: “These are only a few of the thousands of measures taken in support of the propaganda goals outlined by the mullahs’ State Security Council… Precise information from inside the country shows that less than 5% of the population in big cities actually took part, with the total percentage in the country reaching not more than 10%… Such efforts are nothing more than measures meant to give the IRGC’s forces a minimum boost in morale in the wake of a decisive blow.”