Fact Check: A Black Flag Was NOT Raised Over Iran's Imam Reza Shrine As A Call For War Or Vengeance


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: A Black Flag Was NOT Raised Over Iran's Imam Reza Shrine As A Call For War Or Vengeance Misrepresented

Was a black flag raised over a prominent religious site, the Imam Reza Shrine, located in the Iranian city of Mashhad, as a call for war or vengeance? No, that's not true: According to an official statement from the Imam Reza Holy Shrine's authority, the black flag was raised to publicly mourn the Gaza victims.

The claim appeared in a video on the TikTok account @alexandr_turner (archived here) on October 19, 2023, and was also shared by the accounts @caucasus_news_network_ (archived here) and @johnnytop (archived here).

The Russian text shown in the video (translated to English by Lead Stories staff) states:

Iran raised the black flag of 'vengeance,' which signifies a call to war or vengeance. This occurred after an airstrike on a hospital in Gaza. The situation is escalating.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-23 at 10.39.06.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 23 10:40:11 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories found that no credible sources reported that the black flag was raised in Iran as a call for war or vengeance. A search for the phrase "Black flag has been raised in Iran as a call for war or vengeance" (archived here) conducted on October 24, 2023, using Google News' index of thousands of reputable news sites, did not reveal any factual reports on this claim. Furthermore, no such information was found on the Imam Reza Shrine's official website or social media accounts.

On October 18, 2023, the Astan Quds Razavi, the Imam Reza Shrine's administrative organization, released the following statement:

Changing the flag of the Menour Razavi dome on the occasion of public mourning in the country. Simultaneously with the crimes of the Zionist regime and the killing of Muslims in Gaza, the mourning flag of the dome of the shrine of Imam Reza, peace be upon him, was raised on the evening of Wednesday, Mehr 26, 1402, in the presence of the Hezbollah Ummah of the holy Mashhad.

The Imam Reza Shrine has in the past raised the black flag as a sign of mourning on other occasions. It does it annually to mark a mourning period for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad.

Palestinian health officials say that more than 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of the October Hamas-Israel conflict and that more than 470 civilians were killed and several hundred injured by an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City on October 17, 2023. Israel has disputed the death toll and both sides have blamed each other for the blast.

On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli territory, prompting retaliatory Israeli airstrikes and a declaration of war. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the attack has left over 1,400 Israelis dead and over 220 people taken hostage.

Hamas is sworn to Israel's destruction and has fought several wars with Israel since it took power in Gaza in 2007. After the attack on October 7, Israel has stated its goal is to destroy Hamas and rescue the hostages. Israel security officials have signaled their readiness to embark on a ground offensive into Gaza.

On October 22, 2023, The New York Times reported that, to date, Hamas has failed to make the case that Israel struck the Gaza hospital as it cannot find the munition that hit the site and has declined to provide details to support its count of casualties.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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