Al-monitor – The passing of Israel’s former prime minister and president on Sept. 28 sparked strong reactions all over the world, and Iran was no exception. At the age of 93, Shimon Peres died at a hospital in Tel Aviv after having suffered a stroke weeks earlier.
As of this writing, no reactions from any Iranian officials have been reported. However, the news ofPeres’ death was widely covered in the official news outlets and the rhetoric across the articles and obituaries varied substantially.
An obituary published by Fars News on Sept. 28, “The death of the ‘Qana executioner’ after a two-week coma,” stressed Peres’ support of Israelisettlers in the occupied Palestinian areas along with his military actions including the shelling of a Lebanese village near Qana. It did not mention the Oslo peace process. Fars News is a media outlet with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Kayhan, a conspicuously hard-line newspaper in Iran that stands in outright opposition to Iran’s current government, published its own obituary Sept. 29, “The Qana executioner and the architect behind the green sedition went to hell.” “Green Sedition” — or simply, “the sedition” — is commonly used among political hard-line factions to describe the protests in the aftermath of the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, demonstrations that were harshly suppressed and resulted in many arrests and deaths of protesters.
In the obituary, Kayhan called the Unites States, Great Britain and Israel the “ominous triangle” that shaped the “green sedition” in the Reformist era, an indirect reference to President Mohammad Khatami’s term (1997-2005). In the obituary, Kayhan accused Peres of initiating and supporting the 2009 protests in Iran.
“The Zionist oppressor” is a common expression used in Iran’s official media outlets indicating Iran’s refusal to recognize Israel and consideration of it as an occupying power. However, on Sept. 29, the pro-reform Shargh Daily’s obituary, “Death with two faces,” called Peres “the founder of Israel’s violations.” Its writer listed the “controversial Israeli military actions in Gaza and Lebanon” but notably called Israel by its name and not “the Zionist oppressor.”
In what might be regarded as the most flattering example of an obituary published in Iran about Peres, Shargh’s piece read, “In the 1980s he came to the conclusion that peace with the Arabs will not be achieved through military means. … He withdrew the Israeli troops from large parts of Lebanon and created the public sense that the war had reached its end.”
There was also a wide range of reactions to Peres’ death among Iranians on social media. On Sept. 28, a Twitter user surprised by the reactions of Arab officials called it “the end of the world” when the foreign minister of Bahrain tweeted “Rest in peace, President Shimon Peres.” Meanwhile, on Sept. 27, another criticized IRGC-linked Tasnim News for its coverage, tweeting, “Peres’ record should and must be criticized. But captions like ‘he died’ are against basic journalistic principles.”