Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO) is the umbrella organization that runs the daily newspaper Tehran Times and the news agencies Mehr News Agency (MNA) and Tasnim News Agency. Tehran Times was established in 1979 as Iran’s first English daily newspaper. In 2002, Tehran Times established MNA. The three outlets are now operated by the same management. IIDO also runs a publishing house and religious and cultural organizations.
Publishing: Tehran Times
State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)
Ownership and governance
IIDO is an organization controlled by the Iranian government. Its leader, who holds the entire power in the company, is appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran. The current head of IIDO is Hujjat al-Islam Mohammad Qomi, appointed by Khamenei in 2018. Qomi is an influential Shia cleric known for his close ties with the top political leadership in Iran.
Although IIDO is tightly controlled by the Supreme Leader, the media outlets that it runs have links of their own with different state bodies. For example, Tasnim News Agency is known to have close ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the domestic branch of the Iranian army, known for its oppressive methods used in protecting the political apparatus in Iran.
Source of funding and budget
IIDO doesn’t publish information about its economic performance. According to local experts, the organization funds itself through a combination of state subsidies and advertising revenues. According to experts’ estimates based on internal IIDO information, the state budget accounts for almost 75% of the total expenditure of the IIDO’s media outlets (including revenues from ad sales covering state-run companies).
Tehran Times and MNA are known as official voices of the Iranian government. The declared mission of Tehran Times is to “air the voice of the Islamic Revolution.” The newspaper claims not to be a government outlet, but “a loud voice of the Islamic Revolution and the loudspeaker of the oppressed people of the world.” In practice, the two media outlets are tightly controlled by the Iranian authorities and operate as government propaganda outlets. MNA also openly declares its connection with the government, which gives the agency access to government information. Tasnim News Agency states that its mission is to “defend the Islamic Revolution against negative media propaganda.”
No domestic statute or independent assessment/oversight mechanism to validate the editorial independence of IIDO’s media outlets have been identified.