Iranian news site spreads article throughout Latin America claiming Israel performs medical tests on prisoners

JTA Staff


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Iranian news portal in Latin America has published an article claiming that Israel uses Palestinian prisoners for “new medical trials.”

Despite citing no evidence for the claim, the HispanTV report Wednesday has spread to outlets across Latin America, including the El Ciudadano monthly in Chile and the website of an association of Cuban jurists. It was published on Uruguay’s La Republica website but taken down Friday after a reader complained.

“This fake news crosses all limits of journalistic ethics,” said Ariel Gelblum, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s regional representative in Buenos Aires.

The Argentine site Infobae first reported the Wiesenthal Center’s complaint.

“HispanTV is for the Iranian regime to influence Latin America, through the presence of Hezbollah, its terrorist arm,” Shimon Samuels, the director of international relations for the Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. “The charge of blood libel was used against Jews since the Middle Ages. Its use by Tehran is the crudest form of anti-Semitism.”

HispanTV, which is operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, launched in 2011. In 2014, Iran announced plans to expand its media influence in Latin America.

“Iran’s strong and rapidly growing ties with Latin America have raised eyebrows in the U.S. and its Western allies since Tehran and Latin nations have forged an alliance against the imperialist and colonialist powers and are striving hard to reinvigorate their relations with the other independent countries which pursue a line of policy independent from the U.S.,” the Iranian Fars News agency said.