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  • Masoud Dalvand 8:56 pm on 27 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    With the Mullahs at the Helm, There Can Be No Solution to Widespread Poverty in Iran 

    By Heshmat Alavi

    Iranian authorities periodically launch campaigns to round up child workers and beggars roaming the streets. But can such campaigns be successful in a nosediving economy?

    Officials sidestep this issue, as is clear in remarks made by the Iranian Deputy for Social Affairs, who claimed that the reason the issue is not being resolved is that there are too many organizations trying to tackle it, and not enough coordination among them. Similar assertions were made in a state TV program on the topic earlier this month.

    Anyone versed in the topic, however, knows that the real culprit is the nationwide poverty caused by the atrocious economic policies imposed by the mullah-led regime. People who are not hungry do not send their children into the streets to beg or look for work, when they should be in school and enjoying the precious years of their youth.

    Even the state-run Salamat News website admitted that the regime’s repressive plans aimed at containing social crises have completely backfired.

    “Rounding up drug addicts, homeless people living in the streets, runaway girls, beggars and many others that have ended up in such situations as a result of poverty and the class gap in our society have ended in failure as a result of hasty measures carried out by authorities,” its report reads.

    Other reports indicate the middle class in Iran has nearly vanished altogether.

    “One of the simplest methods thought about by each official after they come to office is to round up such individuals. There was hope to resolve this issue from our society, yet due to known reasons these individuals have only been seen fleeing and returning to the streets. In the past 12 months, there have been many different plans and efforts launched by the municipality and the police, most leading to nothing but failures,” the website added.

    Many Iranian officials, too, have admitted that the practice of rounding up people and holding them in special centers is not a strategic solution to the problem. They now acknowledge that the real solution would be to improve the public’s living conditions through major economic reforms.

    Of course, the mullahs — whose plundering has left nothing for the people and who hae wasted billions in the nuclear program and global terrorism — will have nothing to do with such suggestions, and therefore any expectation from Tehran in this regard is an illusion.

    Indeed, as long as they remain at the helm, no end to these woes will be in sight.

    via  With the Mullahs at the Helm, There Can Be No Solution to Widespread Poverty in Iran — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 9:47 pm on 26 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Missile Launches And Storm Damages Show Failure Of Obama’s Iran Deal 


    Despite access to new cash in the wake of President Obama’s Iran Deal, the mullahs aren’t using it to aid Iran’s storm-ravaged provinces. They’re busy shelling out for missiles.

    In recent weeks, disastrous flash floods, avalanches, and dust storms have gripped the country’s south, including the provinces of Fars, Bushehr and 11 others.

    The catastrophes coincided with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) launching sophisticated missiles during a three-day military exercise which began on Monday, Feb. 21, in Iran’s central desert. This missile launch was the fifth of its kind, and conducted in defiance of the United Nations resolution. The launches also came a day after it was revealed that U.S. senators were planning to introduce legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Iran, proving that the mullahs could care less about the effects of their behavior. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke of these plans during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference, according to Reuters. “I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,”.Graham said.

    The events reveal that the Iranian regime, despite having access to a vast new cash stream as a result of President Obama’s Iran Deal, nevertheless continues to prioritize illegal military activity over serving the needs of its people.  Its refusal to render aid to its stricken provinces after devastating storms shows in stark terms how the Deal has been an unmitigated failure.

    The natural disasters in the south are no ordinary storm aftermath. Heavy flooding has cut electricity supplies and water to thousands of people, destroying streets and houses. It has also ravaged roads, opened sinkholes, and collapsed bridges. Some 10,000 people have been left homeless.

    “The torrential rain caused flooding across the south, from Khuzestan province on the Iraqi border, to Sistan-Baluchistan province on the border with Pakistan.  Thousands fled villages downstream from dams, fearing collapses like (that) in Jiroft in the north, where at least five people (were) killed in avalanches over the past two weeks as up to two meters (more than six feet) of snow fell in the Zagros and Alborz mountains,” one news agency reported.

    The flood has damaged more than 1,000 residential units, with 250 structures sustaining major damage. Residents have been severely exposed to contaminated water.  The earthen dam of Bardsir collapsed and water ran into villages downstream.  Despite a decade-long oil earnings bonanza, these disasters show that the government has neither constructed nor maintained necessary building infrastructure, which are in poor condition.  Nor has civil defense been up to snuff: Flood advisories, watches, and patrol groups have not been present at the scene, either.  The River Engineering and Flood Control Bureau held glossy meetings for public relations purposes, but did nothing of practical value to either prevent the disaster or render assistance afterward.

    What’s more, they have done all they can to keep citizens in the dark about it.  The government has broadcast plenty of news about the regime’s defiant missile launch, but either reduced or blacked out local news describing the extent of the storm damage, and in some cases censored news.  A favored technique the regime has been to reduce Internet speeds to ensure that public exposure to the news is limited, and cannot spread. Iranian residents in the heavily damaged areas have since told the opposition press that they feel ignored by the authorities, with a dreadful sense that theirs is a government that does not care what happens to them or their flooded province.

    And make no mistake, this is is an area that has suffered horrifically from natural disasters since the advent of the mullahs.  These floods came just a year after a similar torrent in the same area left 280 people dead and caused millions of dollars in damage, with no precautionary plan in place.  To view this from the eyes of the survivors still awaiting help, a look at the recent history they are aware of is important:

    From January 5, 1987 through July 22, 2001, floods in different parts of Iran killed 1120 people, destroyed 10,000 homes, 10,000 miles of roads, 1,300 bridges and ruined 2,470 acres of agricultural land, at a cost of $1.7 billion in damage.

    The UN Development Program (UNDP) office in Tehran has warned officials, repeatedly, that floods will continue to wreak havoc in the country, unless effective preparedness and preventive measures are undertaken soon.  But no such measures have been taken by the government.  The fate of the provinces will be little different from that of Tehran’s iconic 17-story Plasco tower, which collapsed into rubble last Jan. 19 as a deadly fire consumed it.

    According to an Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK) report, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, have neglected the poor economic conditions and quality of life of the people, yet they have poured billions of dollars into three wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and now are steering billions more from in newly-released assets from President Obama’s Iran Deal into new military spending for missiles, rockets, ammunition and bombs. They also are using it in a massive exercise and drill now by the IRGC which pursues state-sponsored terrorism.

    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) offered enormous benefits for Iran’s economy and, as a result, provided substantial additional resources to the government of Iran.  Now the question is, what did Tehran do with the money?  Did they use it for protection from floods?  They didn’t.

    It demonstrates conclusively that the plunder of Iran’s wealth by the mullahs, who claim to be Muslim leaders, and who have hijacked the Iranian Revolution three decades ago have left almost nothing for the Iranian people.  The tiny rich section of Tehran, which consists of mullahs and their families, have usurped the entire wealth of Iran.  Many of them, such as the IRGC, have illegally expropriated the nation’s collective wealth for their personal benefit. For example, IRGC commanders have built dams on Iran’s rivers to direct water to their private plantations. Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, used to be the largest lake in the Middle East, and the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth before they appropriated it.  It was once a major tourist attraction and a home to migratory birds but has since shrunk substantially and has fallen into a dramatic decline for some years after the IRGC got hold of it. The dried lakes and rivers that remain have caused substantial destructive changes to the environment since.  Poor air, land, and water quality all have serious health effects including respiratory and eye diseases in the country.

    Meanwhile, MEK reported that, residents of Ahvaz, in the capital of the oil-rich fields of Khuzestan province, have been protesting for six consecutive days in increasingly larger gatherings. These Iranian citizen protests are over dust storms, power failures and government mismanagement despite security forces declaring all demonstrations illegal.

    President Rohani’s one-day visit to Ahvaz on Feb. 23 followed days of protests by residents blaming power cuts, dust pollution, and water-supply problems on government mismanagement. Rohani’s visit did not satisfy the protestors, they said  Rohani’s promises, like the others, were hollow promises aiming to cool citizen anger. Considering the powder-keg nature of Iran’s society, his only concern was for his regime, worrying that the people’s exasperation and scattered protests may merge into a mass uprising similar to that of 2009. That’s little comfort to those afflicted by the natural disasters and the indifferent response.

    For average Iranians, what, again, was good about this much-touted Iran Deal?

    hassan-mahmoudi  Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and social media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.

    Originally posted in American ThinkerAmerican Thinker

    via    Missile Launches And Storm Damages Show Failure Of Obama’s Iran Deal — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 9:25 pm on 26 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran’s Supreme Leader Sees the Beginning of a New Era 


    By Shahriar Kia

    Following a rocky first month in Trump-Iran relations, it’s significant that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has chosen to maintain a substantially low profile. Comprehending the threat of vast changes in Washington, Khamenei also knows he cannot show weakness to his dwindling social base already terrified of major changes in the new U.S. administration’s policies vis-à-vis Iran following Obama’s eight years of appeasement.

    In recent remarks, Khamenei even said there is no difference between the Obama and Trump administrations (!) and “the real war is the economic war, the sanctions war.”

    These are interesting observations from Khamenei, and they should be considered deceptive, because he understands fully well that with Obama gone, so are the concessions the previous White House provided to his regime. Khamenei’s own change in reactions is further proof, as he is seen choosing his words quite carefully.

    “To pass this stage, Iran has two options ahead. First, to strongly counter-react in areas in which the United States has vital interests, and the second is for Iran to act within the frameworks laid out by the United States in order to continue to have a role in the region and get out of the harnessed state. No doubt, the second option would ensure more strategic advantages for Iran.” (Jahan-e-Sanat, February 20)

    During the Obama years, Khamenei himself used strong terms in threatening American interests across the globe. He went as far as saying that his regime would “raze” Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground, wasting no time in lashing out at any threats. This also showed how Obama’s appeasement policy failed miserably.

    Now that Khamenei is receiving “on notice” level warnings from Washington, he is in fact completely terrified to use any strong terms. However, he is resorting to a new tactic of claiming there being “no difference” between the Obama and Trump administrations. From January 20th onward, Khamenei has repeatedly made such remarks about the two administrations.

    This comes at a time when the supreme leader and his inner circle used believed sanctions could have no impact. Such a shift in tone seen in Khamenei is the index that a policy of firm language against Iran, parallel to economic pressures through sanctions, can bring this regime to its knees.

    On the other hand, we are witnessing that Tehran’s lobbies, and those who capitalized on massive economic gains rendered through the appeasement policy, are desperately speaking out against any sanctions, and especially the possible designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.

    The IRGC controls much of Iran’s economy, and yet Tehran’s lobbies have gone the distance in claiming its blacklisting will threaten America’s interests in Iraq and other countries hosting U.S. bases, and also endangering so-called “moderates” in the face of “hardliners.”

    This is nothing but fake news, signaling that not only officials in Tehran, but their decreasing number of international correspondents, are concerned about Obama’s appeasement policy coming to an end.

    A firm policy against Iran goes far further than only containing this regime’s nuclear ambitions and foreign meddling. Such a shift can also fuel the Iranian people’s increasing protests against this regime. The exact opposite of Obama turning his back to the 2009 uprising in Iran.

    Recent protests in Ahvaz and other cities resembles the Iranian people’s hatred of this regime and their thirst for change.

    Ended Sunday, February 20, the Munich Security Conference condemned the Iranian regime for disrupting security and stability in the region. The delegations in the conference had one sentence in common when speaking against the Iranian regime: the Iranian regime is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, said by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as well as Saudi FM Adel al-Jubeir. Also, Turkish finance minister Mevlut Chavushoghlu put this same issue another way while pointing to the regime’s interventions in Syria and Iraq. “Iranian regime is seeking sectarianism in the region”, he said.

    The new alliance of Arab nations, and especially the participation of Turkey, has raised major concerns among senior officials in Tehran as a strong front against its terrorism and meddling in other countries is formed.

    The formation of such a front is a sign of significant policy changes in Washington. This appears to be a step in the direction of regaining the trust lost amongst U.S. allies during the Obama tenure to confront Iran’s terrorism and meddling in the Middle East.

    Etemad, for instance, writes on February 21: “the leaders and elite in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey had this vision in recent years that with Barack Obama as President, the US administration wouldn’t take any specific measure against Iran in order to put Tehran under pressure.”

    Military drills and hollow saber rattling by IRGC commanders during the past few days shed light on Iran’s fear and severe weakness of developments in the makings with the incoming policy alterations in Washington.

    What needs to be understood is  that we are already at the beginning of a new era where the regime in Iran will no longer benefit from an appeasement policy that allows it to both increase its domestic crackdown and foreign warmongering, such as Iran’s involvement in Syria, and continuously threaten to abandon ship on the accord aimed at curbing the Iran nuclear program.

    This provides a golden opportunity for the international community to begin standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people and its organized resistance under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who represents a tolerant and democratic Islam against a fundamentalist version of Islam advocated by the mullahs’ regime. Bringing an end to the appeasement policy and, as being recently weighed by the Trump administration, designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist designation are necessary steps in a long overdue roadmap.

    shahriar_kia2.jpg  Shahriar Kia is a political analyst writing on Iran and the Middle East. He is the member of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.

    Originally posted in American Thinker

    via  Iran’s Supreme Leader Sees the Beginning of a New Era — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 8:49 pm on 24 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Trump Starts to Put the Squeeze on Iran’s International Terror Operations 

    Irans terror network operates both in the Middle East and way beyond


    Iran has been politically or militarily active across the globe—including each of the six other states covered by the disputed U.S. travel ban.


    The Daily Beast, Feb. 23, 2017 – … While terrorist-sponsoring states and organizations wishing to harm Americans may disproportionately come from the Middle East, they often rely on corrupt states and officials outside the region to finance their actions through a range of illicit activities. Lost in the highly politicized immigration debate is the nexus between America’s adversaries, such as Iran and Hezbollah, and their shady terrorist-financing networks that span the globe. Those financial tentacles reach into South America and even the United States, pointing to the need for us to guard against would-be terrorists reaching the homeland, and the necessity to further rein in our adversaries by punishing their pocketbooks.
    To that end, several recent underreported stories may shed some needed light on the new administration’s efforts in counterterrorism. Although many news reports focused on the botched rollout of the initial plan, the substance of the new policy did not come about in a vacuum. Rather, it appears to represent an element of President Trump’s effort to push back on Iran, and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, as well as ISIS and other Sunni terror groups.
    In addition to the executive order, the Treasury Department slapped fresh sanctions on 13 individuals and 12 entities involved in procurement activities for Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force. White House officials described the measure as an “initial” step, indicating a more robust plan is being considered to confront the Islamic Republic’s troubling activities left unaddressed in the nuclear deal.
    The seven countries singled out in Trump’s executive order represent an updated appraisal of the threat matrix currently facing the U.S. from abroad. They are states where ISIS is predominantly active and failed states that serve as incubators for international terrorism.
    It should not be lost that Iran has been politically or militarily active in each of the six other states—from the civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, to Somalia, Sudan, and even Libya, where the involvement of the IRGC-Qods Force in the 2012 Benghazi attack was discovered by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who at the time was serving as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
    Also underreported was that the initial immigration order helped put a temporary damper on Iranian and Hezbollah financing. Indeed, its effects were felt in Southern California, home to between 300,000 and 500,000 Iranian-Americans, according to a recent report.
    Farhad Besharati, who runs a travel agency in Westwood—an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood dubbed “Tehrangeles”—said that despite the outrage over Trump’s actions, the travel restrictions could serve to disrupt Hezbollah’s financial networks. Quoted in Lebanon’s Naharnet, Besharati said, “There are rich people coming from Iran with millions or billions of dollars and they spend $500,000 and get a Green Card. These are not regular people who come for education or work. These are the people protecting Syria and Hezbollah.”
    While paying for a green card inside the U.S. can come at a steep price, there are less expensive paths to procure documents that will allow entry at the borders.
    Take, for instance, the case of Venezuela and its new vice president, Tareck El Aissami, the subject of new Trump administration sanctions as an alleged drug trafficker. A yearlong investigation by CNN uncovered links between Tareck and 173 Venezuelan passports and IDs that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to Hezbollah. According to a 2013 intelligence report obtained by CNN, El Aissami was in charge of “granting visas and nationalizing citizens from different countries, especially Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Iranians and Iraqis.” These activities took place from 2008 until 2012, when he was a minister in charge of immigration and a governor.
    The systemic corruption regarding forged or fraudulent documents isn’t confined to Venezuela’s borders. The investigation discovered that passports, visas, birth certificates, and other Venezuelan documents were sold for thousands of dollars out of their embassy in Baghdad, at least through 2014. Meanwhile, Ghazi Nasr Al-Din, a former Venezuelan diplomat who worked in the country’s embassy in Syria is still wanted for questioning by the FBI for “his fundraising efforts” with Hezbollah contributors and for facilitating the travel of Hezbollah members to and from Venezuela.
    While a visa is required to enter the United States from Venezuela, their passport allows entry into over 130 countries without one, including 26 countries in the European Union .
    On Feb. 13, the U.S. Treasury officials added Tareck El Aissami to its sanctions list after a lengthy investigation of his alleged links to drug traffickers and Muslim extremists. The measure blocks access to his estimated $3 billion fortune. According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), “This case highlights our continued focus on narcotics traffickers and those who help launder their illicit proceeds through the United States,” OFAC acting Director John E. Smith added in a statement.
    Days after CNN published its investigative story, Venezuela pulled the plug on CNN en Español. A statement released by the National Telecommunications Commission said the channel’s coverage represented “direct aggressions against the peace and democratic stability” of the country and “generated an environment of intolerance.”
    All of this fits an established profile. According to a recent report by counterterrorism and intelligence specialist, Matthew Levitt, there has been an uptick in the activity of Hezbollah’s foreign relations department, “whose members formally serve as liaisons to Shiite communities around the world but who have been increasingly employed in various criminal and terrorist activities.” Canadian intelligence officials have reported similar activities.
    Indeed, Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises span the globe. According to Levitt, “U.S. officials believe ‘a substantial portion’ of revenue raised by Middle Eastern terrorist groups in general comes from the $20 to $30 million brought in annually by the illicit scam industry in the United States alone.” Whether from narcotics, used car sales, or setting up money laundering front companies, U.S. law enforcement now views Hezbollah-affiliated criminal operators as “super-facilitators” for a host of crimes and clients.
    At the heart of the Iranian-Hezbollah-South America nexus and Hezbollah’s terrorist enterprise is Iran’s clerical army, the IRGC. They are Iran’s most important security, military, and political institution, with financial interests in most areas of the state’s economy. Its Quds Force, which is in charge of global operations, was officially designated as a terrorist entity by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007. Hezbollah was designated in 1997. The Trump administration appears to recognize that more work lies ahead.
    The recent announcement of additional sanctions on Iranian and Venezuelan individuals and entities represents a good start. Hundreds of other IRGC-associated operators and entities could be targeted as more pressure is warranted. Given the billions of dollars in sanctions relief that replenished Iran’s coffers, restricting the IRGC and Hezbollah’s financing of civil wars, terrorism, and illicit activities represents a sensible measure to check their global ambitions.
    Trump’s immigration order targets failed states that serve as an incubator for terrorism or states where terrorists operate either freely or under the direction of those in power. Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions are increasingly targeting corrupt states and officials who illegally profit from their endeavors on a global scale.
    In the world of counterterrorism, all of these issues are interlinked. Whether the new immigration order fits that bill or not, one thing is for sure: A combination of vigilance at the border, careful screening for visas, and targeted sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department are tools the Trump administration will need to use to push back against Iran and ISIS, combat terrorist financing, and drain the financial swamp where those who threaten the U.S. conduct illegal business.

    Source: Trump Starts to Put the Squeeze on Iran’s International Terror Operations

  • Masoud Dalvand 9:25 pm on 23 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran’s Regime of Terror by the Numbers 


    By Heshmat Alavi

    In 38 years the country’s Islamist regime has taken the people into poverty and illiteracy while the leadership has gotten richer and richer.

    The mullahs now ruling Iran were able to hijack the revolution that sacked the U.S.-backed Shah regime back in February 1979. However, the 38-year report card left by the mullahs has only raised extreme anger throughout the Iranian society.

    Numbers are very vivid in revealing the undeniable atrocities caused by the mullahs’ disastrous policies.

    The daily trend of continuous executions in Iran has raised anger amongst the international community for years. Iran is considered the number one executioner per capita.

    The number of executions in Iran “paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” according to Amnesty International.

    Suicides are also on the rise, especially amongst women, ranking Iran first in the Middle East and third in the world. There are also reports of a growing number of teenagers committing suicide.

    Drug addiction is yet another disastrous result of the mullahs’ rule in Iran. The amount of drugs spreading amongst women and teenagers is skyrocketing and state-run media are citing experts estimating at least 8 million Iranians are suffering from this dreadful phenomenon.

    Iran’s roads are even considered very dangerous, as the mullahs refuse to allocate the necessary budget to provide safe passages. 20,000 people die each year in Iran and 300,000 injured (150% more than the global average). Iran’s annual road accident casualty statistics are even compared to an all-out war.

    Poverty has increased to an extent that many Iranians have resorted to gathering recyclable products, food stuffs and other trash to make ends meet, and the homeless sleeping in pre-dug graves.

    All the while Iran is a country sitting on a vast sea of crude oil and natural gas, with new reports of 2 billion barrels of shell oil discovered in western Iran.

    The country’s economy, however, has nosedived to such an extent that more than 50% of the industrial units have gone bankrupt or are on the verge of bankruptcy.

    Unemployment is now a critical and increasing crisis. Nearly 15 million people are unemployed in Iran, according to an Iranian economy expert.

    The mullahs’ policies have literally destroyed the entire “middle class” in Iran, leaving the population divided between a small percentage with massive riches, and a high percentage living in poverty.

    30% of the country’s population is hungry and have no bread to eat,” said Ali Akbar Sayari, Deputy Health Minister in the cabinet of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    Iran has an urban population of 65 million, of which one third live in city outskirts comparable to shacks and slums.

    “Around 20 million people are living in 53,000 hectares (204 square miles) of non-official residential areas,” according to Mohammad Saeed Izadi, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Road and Construction.

    Financial corruption is spreading throughout society like cancer. The numbers have become massive and even unimaginable. Above all is the apparatus linked to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose riches value at $95 billion.

    Iran’s environment is also on the verge of complete annihilation.

    “If the water crisis in Iran continues, the country will soon become very similar to Somalia and 50 million Iranians will be forced to leave the country,” said Isa Kalantari, Rouhani’s advisor in water and agricultural matters.

    Even the workplace is considered unsafe under the mullahs’ rule, as Iran ranks first in the world in workplace incidents.

    “Iran is the world record holder in construction accidents,” said Akbar Shokat, head of the Construction Workers’ Guild Center in an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency.

    Illiteracy is plaguing millions of Iranian children, depriving them of education due to their family’s economic and social problems. Iran has a population of 10 million illiterates and 10 million low-literates, according to Rouhani’s Deputy Education Minister.

    Yet another repulsive custom rendered from the mullahs’ regime has been child marriages. Poverty forces families to give off their young daughters, leaving them to face unthinkable spiritual and physical damages from arranged marriages.

    43,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 15 are currently married in Iran,” according to regime officials.

    This is merely a tip of the iceberg of the mullahs’ horrific track record in the past 38 years, making serious measures against this regime and in support of the Iranian people all the more necessary.

    Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program.

    He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi & blogs at IranCommentary

    Originally posted in The Clarion Project

    via   Iran’s Regime of Terror by the Numbers — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 8:36 pm on 22 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Containing Iran 


    By Heshmat Alavi

    The new White House with President Donald Trump at the help has rightfully placed Iran “on notice.” Washington also responded with a new round of sanctions after Tehran’s January 29th ballistic missile test, in defiance of a United Nations Security Council resolution in relation to the controversial Iran nuclear deal.

    The firm policy adopted vis-a-vis Iran is a step in the right direction toward a new Middle East foreign policy. And as the White House and Congress have begun to weigh new measures and designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, there are voices heard raising the alarm about the U.S. intending to go to war.

    It is a known fact that the IRGC is behind all of Iran’s terrorist activities, including the regime’sinvolvement in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Through the past decades the IRGC has also gained an iron grip over the regime’s economy, with some estimates ranging between 30 to 50 percent.

    To this end, blacklisting the IRGC would certainly target the very entity that is also behind Iran’s nuclear program and a massive apparatus, including the paramilitary Basij and state security forces, responsible for a long slate of human rights violations across the country.

    Unfortunately, those continuing to advocate a policy pivoting on appeasement — despite failing to achieve any true results — remain steadfast on their promotions for such a perspective.

    The truth is that the nuclear deal, or JCPOA, a byproduct of the Obama appeasement mentality, has also raised a long list of critical remarks as the accord is now functioning as an instrument of leverage that Tehran took advantage of.

    Whenever there was even a rumor of the Obama administration seeking strong action against Iran, Tehran’s lobbyists, with their unprecedented access to the White House, would warn that such measures would provoke the IRGC to attack American allies and interests in the region.

    Tehran also effectively held a hanging sword over the Obama administration, threatening to abandon the JCPOA ship in case of punitive economic measures in reaction to Iran’s regional belligerence, 14 different ballistic missile tests and violating the JCPOA itself.

    During the Obama “golden era” Iran felt completely free to pursue its dangerous ambitions and the end result was atrocious. The world witnessed in horror as Syria burned in flames, leaving 500,000 dead and millions displaced across the Middle East and Europe.

    Iraq remains a land of havoc as Iran-backed Shiite militias roam free and carry out horrendous atrocities, all in the name of battling the Islamic State. Tehran continues to ship boatloads of weapons to Yemen’s Houthis and threatening the security of Saudi Arabia.

    Hizb’allah chief Hassan Nassrollah openly confirms that his group receiving financial support from Iran. The mullahs’ meddling in Bahrain and Afghanistan also goes without need of mentioning.

    A very quick look at the Middle East brings us to a correct conclusion that the current flashpoint status is the end result of many years of appeasement, parallel to the strategic mistakes of launching wars that all played into the hands of Iran’s mullahs.

    The West, spearheaded by the U.S., placed its crosshairs on all the wrong targets, further engulfing the region in bloodshed and allowing Iran instigate sectarian hatred that lacked any such existence for centuries. Yet now, the scene before us resembles an image of an ongoing and vicious dispute, all thanks to Iran taking advantage of a highly flawed engagement policy.

    What is needed now is to end this failed policy and set aside any talk of U.S.-led military attacks against Iran, which would only play into the mullahs’ hands.

    Instead, a correct parallel approach consists of implementing the JCPOA to its true nature and punishing all of Iran’s aggressive measures and its atrocious human rights record with more economic sanctions. We must not forget how the crippling effect of international sanctions brought Iran’s mullahs to the negotiating table, fearing an explosive powder keg of domestic social unrest.

    In line with these measures, the U.S. should take the long overdue action of designating the IRGC, as the main element behind Iran’s nuclear program, warmongering across the region, and domestic crackdown, as a foreign terrorist organization.

    This would be the first major ultimatum the mullahs have received in a long time. And rest assured, as the senior Iranian regime leadership have toned down their rhetoric in response to President Donald Trump taking office, they will fully understand the meaning of the IRGC blacklisting.

    This is how the regime is contained, without firing a single bullet, and all the while weakening the very force that is preventing the Iranian people from voicing their demands for regime change to establish a free and democratic Iran.
    Originally posted in American Thinker

    via Containing Iran — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 8:26 pm on 22 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Ahwaz protests in Iran: A sign of things to come? 

    Tensions continue to rise between the new US administration and Iran with a series of actions and reactions. Most recently, Iran has launched a new round of military drills, embarking on more provocative actions, while US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel have joined in by issuing what is described as twin warnings to […]

    via   Ahwaz protests in Iran: A sign of things to come? — Iran Commentary

  • Masoud Dalvand 9:45 am on 21 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Will the Trump administration label the IRGC as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’? 


    Eric Shawn reports: Calls for more pressure on Iran

    Will the Trump administration label the IRGC as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’?

    Please watch this video for more information.

    • syriairanfreedom 9:54 pm on 21 Feb 2017 Permalink

      It is an important question and I think Trump will be forced to put IRGC in FTO bcz mullahs without export of terror and war in the region can not survive .

      Liked by 1 person

    • Freedom Star 6:52 pm on 22 Feb 2017 Permalink

      Thank you for comment my friend. Good luck.


  • Masoud Dalvand 9:09 pm on 20 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The World of Women Under the Iranian Mullahs 

    For women under the Iranian regime, equal rights stop at the door of their homes. This means that they don’t have the right to their money, to work or to their children. Everything is set up to keep them uneducated and isolated at home.

    One key way that the abuse of women in Iran hides in plain sight is through the use of the sigheh, or temporary marriage. There are two types of religiously permissible marriages available in Iran, the permanent and temporary. The sigheh or temporary marriage is a verbal contract that can last as long as desired, be it an hour, a week, a year or more. While it might be sold as a real marriage, the reality is that the man usually gives a woman something, be it money or a place to sleep, in exchange for sex and complete control over her.

    The reality for women is that they can often be forced into these marriages and once it is completed, the woman is unlikely to be able to marry permanently. In fact, these kinds of marriages give the men a robust tool to prevent victims from suing for rape. This is because under a temporary marriage, the sex is legal conducted, even if the woman was forced.

    A man, therefore, is relieved of any real commitment to the woman, while at the same time, gets to enjoy various women as sex tools. For this, he believes he will be rewarded by God.

    Iranian women are being exploited, subjugated and dehumanized by this practice. Judges use it with virgins who are about to be executed, since it is against the law to execute a virgin. Detained girls and women are promised freedom if they will participate in a temporary marriage with an official or a judge.


    Iran’s morality police have created a judicial system that limits personal freedom with very painful results. For example, a 14-year-old girl and her teenage friends were beaten by the morality police for wearing ripped jeans in public. After they signed pledges promising not to wear the offensive jeans again, the girls were let go.

    “In the 21st century, it is shameful to hear that a government makes decisions on how women should dress. There are many women sharing stories showing that they got lashes just because of attending a mixed party with men or dancing with men at a birthday party,” said one human rights activist.

    Women whose hair or body are deemed to be inadequately covered may be publicly admonished, warned, fined or even arrested. Physical punishment can also take place.

    Gender segregation is also a part of everyday life in Iran. Women must use separate facilities, including recreation facilities and parks.

    Additionally, though women are a part of the workforce, they are a smaller part and often suffer from higher levels of unemployment. While they are able to access education, including degrees in engineering, many struggle to carve out careers for themselves.

    According to the Tasnim News Agency, Iran’s minister of culture and guidance announced the elimination of 10 feminist-themed movies from the Fajr film festival. Throughout Iran, women are being turned into second-class citizens, whose realm is their home and nothing more. They are limited in terms of legal recourse for men to answer for any abuses and they must live according to the mullahs’ definition of morality.

    The results for women are mixed, but not likely to improve without significant change in the Iranian government and its theocratic regime.


    via  The World of Women Under the Iranian Mullahs — The Media Express

  • Masoud Dalvand 9:02 pm on 20 Feb 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Why Iran Cannot Reform with Regime Change 

    Iran is a driving force of terrorism and unrest within the Middle East. They have pursued nuclear ambitions, in spite of international sanctions and the economic unrest it has caused. Unemployment is up, but so too is the oppression of political opposition, women and those who do not worship in the fundamentalist way of Islam as defined by the Supreme Leader Khamenei.

    The international community has used various methods to encourage change and address the human rights violations within Iran. The United Nations has issued directives, sanctions and reports, but Iran has defied them all. At home, the regime has stamped out protests through multiple human rights violations, including executions of political prisoners, public floggings, torture and long prison sentences, often without the benefit of a jury trial.


    When looking back through Iran’s history, it is easy to see that political power has often been centralized to strongmen. These might have been shahs or mullahs, but the power is rarely found within the institutions themselves. Khamenei has proved to be a shrewd politician, playing individuals against each other to keep the power of the government centered in his hands.

    “…‘moderates’ in the Iranian regime aren’t moderate by any objective international definition. Everyone who gets to run in the election for the Assembly of Experts will be hand-picked by the Supreme Leader. And every single one of them will be an Islamic theologian. That’s what the Assembly of Experts is. A theocratic institution of Islamic theologians,” said Michael J. Totten, a journalist for the World Affairs.

    The question is can Iran’s regime be reformed and a more “moderate” government join the international community. With the current regime, the answer has to be no. Here are just a few reasons why the regime is unable to reform itself.

    • The power structure and most of the civil society are centralized under the personal control of the Supreme Leader, making it an entrenched dictatorship with little reason to create real change.
    • The regime itself was designed to resist change by adopting a theocratic structure based on Islam and brute force allowing it to maintain absolute power.
    • All the bureaucratic agencies are approved by Khamenei. Any individual or coalition who might try to check his absolute power often find themselves beholden to him and his caprices.
    • Elections do not make a democracy. This is especially true if all the individuals running have been vetted by the Supreme Leader. There are no factions based on ideology, but just competing for the favor of the Supreme Leader (Velayate Faghih).
    • Western governments provide concessions to the regime in order to empower “reformists” or “moderates”, but the reality is that these concessions are strengthening Khamenei and decreasing any chance of real change.


    The regime has been consolidating its power since 1979, both at home and abroad. “While Khamenei is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces, his most feared weapon is the parallel army founded by his predecessor: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Fiercely loyal to the Supreme Leader and brutally ruthless, the IRGC is lethally efficient in protecting the regime at home and exporting the ‘revolution’ abroad, in places as varied as Yemen and South America,” said Heshmat Alavi, a political and rights activist in an article published by the Gatestone Institute.

    Additionally, the Supreme Leader has a special representative over each division of the armed forces. Commanders are promoted or retired by the Supreme Leader and his advisors. The IRGC has also acquired major financial stakes in various industries, and has become a source of power in its own right.

    Change within Iran can only happen if the entire structure of the Supreme Leader’s organization and the IRGC were dissolved. Otherwise, no matter who sits in the president’s chair, the policies will never really change.


    via   Why Iran Cannot Reform with Regime Change — The Media Express

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