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It’s far from the first time that Iran’s leadership has planted its flag in cyberspace. Websites have operated for years for Ayatollah Khamenei and others, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — in Farsi, English and Arabic.

More than a dozen state-run and semiofficial news services also flood the Web around the clock.

“The leadership, particularly within the hard-line elements of the Intelligence Ministry, has an obsession with the notion that Washington is coordinating a soft revolution to unseat the Islamic republic,” said Suzanne Maloney, an Iranian affairs expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Part of Iran’s counterstrategy appears to be a kind of information overload in response to U.S. initiatives, such as the State Department’s launch last year of a “virtual embassy” in English and Farsi that seeks to reach out to ordinary Iranians. The site was quickly blocked by Iranian authorities, but firewall bypasses are widely used by Iran’s young and tech-skilled population.