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  • Masoud Dalvand 7:50 am on July 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Iranian Youth, , ,   

    MEK’s popularity among Iranian youth, regime’s nightmare 

    Free Iran Rally in Paris 1 July 2017

    By: Jubin Katiraie

    For many associated with the Iranian lobby and appeasers of the clerical regime in Tehran, the best way to prop up the regime is to discredit any alternative options presented to the international community. In addition, the lobby and appeasers continue to stress that regime change will lead to war. As an example, they point to the struggles of the Iraq government since the removal of Saddam by the U.S. and its allies.

    However, history teaches us that any regime’s existence is limited when it begins with a violent upheaval. The current Iranian regime was born out of a revolution to end the rule of the Shah, but that revolution’s goal was to create a secular, pluralistic, and democratic Iran. However, the mullahs hijacked the revolution, creating a theocracy and suppressing any alternative political voices, including the MEK/PMOI.

    Instead, to consolidate their power, the Iranian regime has relied on the typical tools of oppression, including the creation of a paramilitary and judiciary system that touches every section of Iranian society. The regime, using its lobby and appeasers, have been quick in attacking any publication or personalities that dare to speak up about the quest of the Iranian people to achieve their original dream of a democratic Iran.

    Anyone who dares to talk about “regime change” is targeted for repressive measures. The MEK/PMOI have been high on the regime’s list, since the MEK/PMOI are the most dedicated and organized opposition with extensive routes and support at home, with the ability to materialize regime change.

    The people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has been the subject of propaganda campaigns by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) at home and by regime lobbies and appeasers throughout the international community. This campaign is focused on discrediting the MEK/PMOI, by saying there is no democratic alternative to the Iranian regime and that regime change will result in war and increased instability within the region.

    But why is the MEK/PMOI being targeted so directly? The MEK/PMOI is the oldest, largest, and most popular resistance movement within Iran. They form the core of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is a coalition of opposition groups from all sectors of Iran. The PMOI/MEK was founded in September 1965 by three Iranian engineers who wanted to replace the Shah’s dictatorship with a democracy.

    It is this continued support of democracy that has kept the MEK/PMOI so popular among Iranians. The MEK/PMOI believes that Islam is inherently tolerant and democratic, and fully compatible with the values of modern-day civilization. This vision is the cure to the current spread of extremism, which can be traced back to Iran and its mullahs. Yet, during the time of upheaval after the revolution, the MEK/PMOI leaders witnessed Ayatollah Khomeini’s hijacking of the revolution to create his theocracy.

    Khomeini’s response to the efforts of the MEK/PMOI to stop the rise of this theocracy was brutal repression throughout the 1980s, including the massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners who were primarily members or supporters of the MEK/PMOI. Despite the escalation of attacks by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) throughout the years, the MEK/PMOI has never stopped promoting a pro-democracy vision of Iran. These actions demonstrated that the regime would only hold power by using brutality and repression to keep the Iranian people under their control.

    Despite this, the MEK/PMOI has continued to receive support and demonstrations held throughout Iran show that the Iranian people are not cowed by the regime, but still believe in a free Iran.

    In the recent 2017 election, hundreds of video clips and photos of banners and placards hanging from pathways and auto routes on billboards, were published on Telegram and YouTube channels, showcasing the vast magnitude of the activities of those who support the MEK/PMOI. The slogan, “My vote is regime change”, echoed throughout the country.

    The regime’s election was therefore quickly ended in the first round to avoid further opportunities for protest. Yet, internally, the regime is suffering from deep divisions about how to ensure its survival, as the domestic unrest continues to grow.

    Dr. Rafizadeh, a leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council on the Middle East, and best-selling author in an opinion piece in Huffington post publishing 8 video clips of MEK activities inside Iran, wrote: “The activists of the network of the Iranian opposition movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its group the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), inside Iran have been engaged in an extensive campaign nationwide, calling on Iranians to boycott the elections. Finally, from my perspective, it is critical to point out that Iranian leaders fear the soft power of oppositional groups more than the military and hard power of foreign governments. That is why Iranian leaders and media outlets normally react forcefully and anxiously to activities by the opposition such as the recent critical move, where Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently met with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tirana, Albania. Iran’s oppositional groups can be a very powerful tool to counterbalance the Islamic Republic.”

    This support has not gone unnoticed by the regime, whose leadership has continued to try to clamp down on the MEK/PMOI by blocking access to the internet and monitoring social media posts and clips. They have also tried to block the MEK/PMOI Telegram website and associated channels, only to be rejected each time.

    In addition to using blunt force on people, the regime invests heavily in the massive propaganda effort it mobilizes through state-controlled media and via its lobbies and paid agents abroad, in order to discourage more support for the MEK, which is the main drive for regime change in Iran. The extent of the anti MEK propaganda has increased particularly after the July 1, 2017 gathering in Paris, which had a clear message, “Regime change in Iran is within reach.” Some 100,000 Iranian diaspora and supporters of MEK gave energy to it.

    This is why it serves the regime’s purposes to continually dangle the threat of war over the heads of its people. It also helps the Iran lobby’s PR efforts to cast Iran like some poor, defenseless nation under threat by the big bad U.S. and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia or the Iranian resistance movement, the MEK/PMOI.

    Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council and staunch advocate for the Iranian regime, appeared on Bloomberg to beat the war drum again, as well as attacking the Trump administration for not living up to the Iran nuclear deal, even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the renewal of the compliance certification for another 90 days.

    But the Trump administration also is asserting that Iranian regime’s development of ballistic missiles; support of terrorism and militancy; complicity in atrocities by the government of Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad; cyberattacks on the U.S.; and other actions “severely undermine the intent” of the nuclear accord and support additional sanctions as a response to these actions.

    The real threat to the Iranian regime though lies not within sanctions, but in the simple acts of defiance that the Iranian people undertake themselves such as the hanging of banners on Tehran’s overpasses bearing the image of MEK/PMOI leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi; an act punishable by death if the perpetrators were caught.

    The regime is also threatened by every protest over low wages or unsafe working conditions. In many ways large and small, the process of regime change can happen slowly, methodically, and inexorably.

    Mrs. Rajavi, in a recent speech at the annual gathering of the Iranian resistance movement and supporters of MEK/PMOI, opined that the movement did not require outside assistance from governments, such as the U.S., to succeed. It only needed the recognition by such governments to be empowered to bring about peaceful regime change and give birth to a democratic Iran.

    More about the People’s Mojahdin Organization of Iran (PMOI/ MEK)

    The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Also known as MEK, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq / Mujahedeen-e-Khalq), was founded on September 6, 1965, by Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen, and Ali-Asghar Badizadgan. All engineers, they had earlier been members of the Freedom Movement (also known as the Liberation Movement), created by Medhi Bazargan in May 1961.1

    The MEK’s quest culminated in a true interpretation of Islam, which is inherently tolerant and democratic, and fully compatible with the values of modern-day civilization. It took six years for the MEK to formulate its view of Islam and develop a strategy to replace Iran’s dictatorial monarchy with a democratic government.

    MEK’s interpretation of Islam

    The theocratic mullah regime in Iran believe interpreting Islam is their exclusive domain. The MEK reject this view and the cleric’s reactionary vision of Islam. The MEK’s comprehensive interpretation of Islam proved to be more persuasive and appealing to the Iranian youth.

    MEK’s founders and new members studied the various schools of thought, the Iranian history and those of other countries, enabling them to analyze other philosophies and ideologies with considerable knowledge and to present their own ideology, based on Islam, as the answer to Iran’s problems.

    MEK’s leadership’s arrest during the 70s.

    The Shah’s notorious secret police, SAVAK, arrested all MEK leaders and most of its member’s in1971. On May 1972, the founders of the MEK, Mohammad Hanifnejad , Saeed Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badizadegan, along with two members of the MEK leadership, Mahmoud Askarizadeh and Rasoul Meshkinfam, were put before death squads and were executed after long months of imprisonment and torture. They were the true vanguards, who stood against the dictatorial regime of Shah. However, they are also recognized for their opposition to what is today known as Islamic fundamentalism.

    The death sentence of Massoud Rajavi, a member of MEK’s central committee, was commuted to life imprisonment as a result of an international campaign by his Geneva based brother, Dr. Kazem Rajavi (assassinated in April 1990 in Geneva by mullahs’ agents) and the personal intervention of the French President Georges Pompidou and Francois Mitterrand. He was the only survivor of the MEK original leadership.

    Massoud Rajavi’s critical role in characterizing religious extremism

    From 1975 to 1979, while incarcerated in different prisons, Massoud Rajavi led the MEK’s struggle while constantly under torture for his leading position.

    Massoud Rajavi stressed the need to continue the struggle against the shah’s dictatorship. At the same time, he characterized religious fanaticism as the primary internal threat to the popular opposition, and warned against the emergence and growth of religious fanaticism and autocracy. He also played a crucial role when some splinter used the vacuum in the MEK leadership who were all executed or imprisoned at the time, to claim a change of ideology and policy. Massoud Rajavi as the MEK leader condemn these individual’s misuse of MEK’s name while continuing to stress the struggle against dictatorship. His efforts while still in prison forced these individuals to no longer operating under the name of MEK and adopting a different name for their group. These positions remained the MEK’s manifesto until the overthrow of the shah’s regime.

    Release of Political Prisoners on the last days of the Shah

    A month before the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Shah was forced to flee Iran, never to return. All democratic opposition leaders had by then either been executed by the Shah’s SAVAK or imprisoned, and could exert little influence on the trend of events. Khomeini and his network of mullahs across the country, who had by and large been spared the wrath of SAVAK, were the only force that remained unharmed and could take advantage of the political vacuum. In France, Khomeini received maximum exposure to the world media. With the aid of his clerical followers, he hijacked a revolution that began with calls for democracy and freedom and diverted it towards his fundamentalist goals. Through an exceptional combination of historical events, Shiite clerics assumed power in Iran.

    Khomeini’s gradual crackdown on MEK in fear of their popular support

    In internal discourses, Rajavi the remaining leader of the MEK, argued that Khomeini represented the reactionary sector of society and preached religious fascism. Later, in the early days after the 1979 revolution, the mullahs, specifically Rafsanjani, pointed to these statements in inciting the hezbollahi club-wielders to attack the MEK.

    Following the revolution, the MEK became Iran’s largest organized political party. It had hundreds of thousands of members who operated from MEK offices all over the country. MEK publication, ‘Mojahed’ was circulated in 500,000 copies.

    Khomeini set up an Assembly of Experts comprised of sixty of his closest mullahs and loyalists to ratify the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute supremacy of clerical rule) as a pillar of the Constitution. The MEK launched a nationwide campaign in opposition to this move, which enjoyed enormous popular support. Subsequently, the MEK refused to approve the new constitution based on the concept of velayat-e faqih, while stressing its observance of the law of the country to deny the mullahs any excuse for further suppression of MEK supporters who were regularly targeted by the regime’s official and unofficial thugs.

    Khomeini sanctioned the occupation of the United States embassy in 1979 in order to create an anti-American frenzy, which facilitated the holding of a referendum to approve his Constitution, which the MEK rejected.

    MEK’s endeavors to participate in the political process avoiding an unwanted conflict with government repressive forces

    The MEK actively participated in the political process, fielding candidates for the parliamentary and presidential elections. The MEK also entered avidly into the national debate on the structure of the new Islamic regime, though was unsuccessful in seeking an elected constituent assembly to draft a constitution.

    The MEK similarly made an attempt at political participation when [then] Massoud Rajavi ran for the presidency in January 1980. MEK’s leader was forced to withdraw when Khomeini ruled that only candidates who had supported the constitution in the December referendum — which the MEK had boycotted- were eligible. Rajavi’s withdrawal statement emphasized the MEK’s efforts to conform to election regulations and reiterated the MEK’s intention to advance its political aims within the new legal system”. (Unclassified report on the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/ MEK) by the Department of State to the United States House of Representatives, December 1984.)

    However, the MEK soon found itself in a direct struggle against the forces of the regime’s Supreme leader. The MEK’s differences with Khomeini dated back to the 1970s, and stem from its opposition to what is known today as Islamic extremism. Angry at the position taken by the MEK against his regime and worried about the MEK’s growing popularity, Khomeini ordered a brutal crackdown against the MEK and its supporters. Between 1979 and 1981, some 70 MEK members and sympathizers were killed and several thousand more were imprisoned by the Iranian regime.

    June 20, 1981- Khomeini’s order to open fire on peaceful demonstration of half-a-million supporters of MEK

    The turning point came on 20th June 1981, when the MEK called a demonstration to protest at the regime’s crackdown, and to call for political freedom which half-a-million supporters participated at. Khomeini ordered the Revolutionary Guards to open fire on the swelling crowd, fearing that without absolute repression the democratic opposition (MEK) would force him to engage in serious reforms — an anathema as far as he was concerned; he ordered the mass and summary executions of those arrested.

    Since then, MEK activists have been the prime victims of human rights violations in Iran. Over 120,000 of its members and supporters have been executed by the Iranian regime, 30,000 of which, were executed in a few months in the summer of 1988, on a direct fatwa by Khomeini, which stated any prisoners who remain loyal to the MEK must be executed.

    Having been denied its fundamental rights and having come under extensive attack at the time that millions of its members, supporters and sympathizers had no protection against the brutal onslaught of the Iranian regime, the MEK had no choice but to resist against the mullahs’ reign of terror.

    “Towards the end of 1981, many of the members of the MEK and supporters went into exile. Their principal refuge was in France. But in 1986, after negotiations between the French and the Iranian authorities, the French government effectively treated them as undesirable aliens, and the leadership of the MEK with several thousand followers relocated to Iraq.” (Judgment of the Proscribed Organizations Appeal Commission, November 30, 2007.)

    MEK Today

    The MEK today is the oldest and largest anti-fundamentalist Muslim group in the Middle East. It has been active for more than a half century, battling two dictatorships and a wide range of issues. The MEK supports:

    • Universal suffrage as the sole criterion for legitimacy

    • Pluralistic system of governance

    • Respect for individual freedoms

    • Ban on the death penalty

    • Separation of religion and state

    • Full gender equality

    • Equal participation of women in political leadership. MEK is actually led by its central committee consist of 1000 women.

    • Modern judicial system that emphasizes the principle of innocence, a right to a defense, and due process

    • Free markets

    • Relations with all countries in the world

    • Commitment to a non-nuclear Iran

    The MEK remains a strong and cohesive organization, with a broad reach both worldwide and deep within Iran. MEK is the leading voice for democracy in Iran, supported by its interpretation of Islam that discredits the fundamentalist mullahs’ regime.

    Source: http://irannewsupdate.com/blog/4038-mek-pmoi-s-popularity-among-iranian-youth-regime-s-nightmare-contrary-to-iran-lobby-claims-regime-change-does-not-end-in-war.html

    Originally published at iranarabspring.wordpress.com on July 30, 2017.

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    • nathalierobisco 8:28 am on July 31, 2017 Permalink

      Thanks for your post. Very interesting: in Western countries, people are not fully aware of the Revolution of 1979 and is consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Masoud Dalvand 10:05 am on July 31, 2017 Permalink

      Thank you dear Nathalie for your comment, yes indeed, your support is valuable for me, you are a great friend and supporter for me, thanks again and good luck my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Masoud Dalvand 6:09 pm on July 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Why Iran Apologists Demonize the MEK? 

    Free Iran Rally in Paris 1 July 2017

    By Jubin Katiraie

    The U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously on Thursday to pass new sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran.

    The officials of Iranian regime are already afraid of the consequences of the new sanctions. In addition to economic implications of the sanctions, what worries them the most is the actions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. Designating and imposing sanctions on the IRGC was long overdue because the IRGC serves as the guarantee to preserve the entirety of the regime ruling Iran and is the main entity responsible for domestic suppression, the export of terrorism and extremism, and obtaining weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

    The new bill has added to already shaky regime’s fears. Janati, the head of the Guardian Council announced on Thursday that the main issue which has preoccupied the Supreme leader is his concern over regime change.

    Regime change was the main topic of the July 1, 2017 annual gathering of Iranian resistance (The Mujahedin-e-Khalq or MEK) in Paris. Many speakers talked about the regime change and their support for the MEK.

    “I’m happiest to be here because I can say, can probably say this with a good deal of authority, that the government of the United States supports you” Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York City said referring to MEK supporters in the gathering.

    “we’re behind you, we agree with your values. The government of the United States understands the danger of Iran. The government of the United States will not allow Iran to become an empire in the Middle East.” Added Giuliani addressing the MEK supporters in the meeting.

    “I have come to bring you a simple message. Iran must be free. The only practical goal is to support a movement that could free Iran, and that’s you.” Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich addressing MEK supporters in the gathering.

    “The presence of 3000 MEK in Albania is a decisive defeat for dictatorship in Tehran. the name of your president will stand the same as George Washington and Lafayette in the United States” Added Gingrich addressing the MEK supporters.

    “The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday.” Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said addressing the MEK supporters in the meeting.

    It is over thirty years since Iranian people and their just resistance (MEK) have been seeking for a regime change, but the brutal internal suppression, and international and especially US policy of appeasement towards Iran have been the main obstacles to reach this goal.

    Now the time has come for a regime change, and Iranian regime understands this more than anyone else, and that is why their lobbies and apologists are spreading this fake news that regime change in Iran means another war in the Middle East and the war in Iraq will be repeated in Iran and US will get stuck in another war.

    Iran lobbies also have started a widespread campaign against the MEK to demonize the MEK. Their goal from demonizing the MEK is to say that this regime does not have any alternative so for any possible change, the solution is within the regime and the West must try to find “moderates” inside the regime, and they should not support the MEK.

    Contrary to many countries including Iraq, in Iran a democratic and organized opposition exists. The Mujahedin-e-Khalq or the MEK has been fighting with this regime for over thirty-eight years.

    Since June 20, 1981 Iranian regime has executed over 120,000, mostly members and supporters of the MEK. Only in summer of 1988 over 30,000 political prisoners, majority of them from the MEK, were massacred.

    In addition to the massacre of MEK members and supports, Iranian regime created an atmosphere of fear and terror in the society. The terror atmosphere was such that whoever had any connection of any kind with the MEK they would be arrested and tortured. Even using the name of MEK was prohibited. Any call or communication with MEK members in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq by their family members was considered a crime and many MEK family members were arrested and tortured just because they called to talk to their loved ones.

    Despite all the carnage, pressures, suppression, and demonizing campaigns the MEK continued its fight against the regime. After transfer of MEK members to Albania, they focused on activities inside Iran. In the past nine months, the MEK supports have staged a campaign regarding the 1988 massacre in Iran, revealing many atrocities of the regime. The campaign has been so wide spread and extensive that the supreme leader of the regime, Ali Khamenei, was forced to react against the MEK, by defending the massacre of MEK members and supporters in the prisons.

    The adoption of the bill by the US House of Representatives, imposing new sanctions on the regime for violating human rights and pursuing ballistic missiles, and designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity is an essential step in rectifying the damaging policy of appeasement that needs to be completed by other measures including the eviction of the IRGC and its affiliated militia particularly from Syria and Iraq as well as the recognition of the Iranian people’s right to overthrow the clerical regime.

    *******

    More about MEK

    A Long Conflict between the Clerical Regime and the MEK

    The origins of the MEK date back to before the 1979 Iranian Revolution., the MEK helped to overthrow the dictatorship of Shah Reza Pahlavi, but it quickly became a bitter enemy of the emerging the religious fascism under the pretext of Islamic Republic. To this day, the MEK and NCRI describe Ruhollah Khomenei and his associates as having co-opted a popular revolution in order to empower themselves while imposing a fundamentalist view of Islam onto the people of Iran.

    Under the Islamic Republic, the MEK was quickly marginalized and affiliation with it was criminalized. Much of the organization’s leadership went to neighboring Iraq and built an exile community called Camp Ashraf, from which the MEK organized activities aimed at ousting the clerical regime and bringing the Iranian Revolution back in line with its pro-democratic origins. But the persistence of these efforts also prompted the struggling regime to crack down with extreme violence on the MEK and other opponents of theocratic rule.

    The crackdowns culminated in the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, as the Iran-Iraq War was coming to a close. Thousands of political prisoners were held in Iranian jails at that time, many of them having already served out their assigned prison sentences. And with the MEK already serving as the main voice of opposition to the regime at that time, its members and supporters naturally made up the vast majority of the population of such prisoners.

    As the result of a fatwa handed down by Khomeini, the regime convened what came to be known as the Death Commission, assigning three judges the task of briefly interviewing prisoners to determine whether they retained any sympathy for the MEK or harbored any resentment toward the existing government. Those who were deemed to have shown any sign of continued opposition were sentenced to be hanged. After a period of about three months, an estimated 30,000 people had been put to death. Many other killings of MEK members preceded and followed that incident, so that today the Free Iran rally includes an annual memorial for approximately 120,000 martyrs from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

    The obvious motive behind the 1988 massacre and other such killings was the destruction of the MEK. And yet it has not only survived but thrived, gaining allies to form the NCRI and acquiring the widespread support that is put on display at each year’s Free Iran rally. In the previous events, the keynote speech was delivered by Maryam Rajavi, who has been known to receive several minutes of applause from the massive crowd as she takes the stage. Her speeches provide concrete examples of the vulnerability of the clerical regime and emphasize the ever-improving prospects for the MEK to lead the way in bringing about regime change.

    The recipients of that message are diverse and they include more than just the assembled crowd of MEK members and supporters. The expectation is that the international dignitaries at each year’s event will carry the message of the MEK back to their own governments and help to encourage more policymakers to recognize the role of the Iranian Resistance in the potential creation of a free and democratic Iranian nation. It is also expected that the event will inspire millions of Iranians to plan for the eventual removal of the clerical regime. And indeed, the MEK broadcasts the event via its own satellite television network, to millions of Iranian households with illegal hookups.

    MEK’s Domestic Activism and Intelligence Network

    What’s more, the MEK retains a solid base of activists inside its Iranian homeland. In the run-up to this year’s Free Iran rally the role of those activists was particularly evident, since the event comes just a month and a half after the latest Iranian presidential elections, in which heavily stage-managed elections resulted in the supposedly moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani securing reelection. His initial election in 2013 was embraced by some Western policymakers as a possible sign of progress inside the Islamic Republic, but aside from the 2015 nuclear agreement with six world powers, none of his progressive-sounding campaign promises have seen the light of day.

    Rouhani’s poor record has provided additional fertile ground for the message of the MEK and Maryam Rajavi. The Iranian Resistance has long argued that change from within the regime is impossible, and this was strongly reiterated against the backdrop of the presidential elections, when MEK activists used graffiti, banners, and other communications to describe the sitting president as an “imposter.” Many of those same communications decried Rouhani’s leading challenger, Ebrahim Raisi, as a “murderer,” owing to his leading role in the massacre of MEK supporters in 1988.

    That fact helped to underscore the domestic support for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, insofar as many people who participated in the election said they recognized Raisi as the worst the regime had to offer, and that they were eager to prevent him from taking office. But this is not to say that voters saw Rouhani in a positive light, especially where the MEK is concerned. Under the Rouhani administration, the Justice Minister is headed by Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who also served on the Death Commission and declared as recently as last year that he was proud of himself for having carried out what he described as God’s command of death for MEK supporters.

    With this and other aspects of the Islamic Republic’s record, the MEK’s pre-election activism was mainly focused on encouraging Iranians to boycott the polls. The publicly displayed banners and posters urged a “vote for regime change,” and many of them included the likeness of Maryam Rajavi, suggesting that her return to Iran from France would signify a meaningful alternative to the hardline servants of the clerical regime who are currently the only option in any Iranian national election.

    Naturally, this direct impact on Iranian politics is the ultimate goal of MEK activism. But it performs other recognizable roles from its position in exile, not just limited to the motivational and organization role of the Free Iran rally and other, smaller gatherings. In fact, the MEK rose to particular international prominence in 2005 when it released information that had been kept secret by the Iranian regime about its nuclear program. These revelations included the locations of two secret nuclear sites: a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak, capable of producing enriched plutonium.

    As well as having a substantial impact on the status of international policy regarding the Iranian nuclear program, the revelations also highlighted the MEK’s popular support and strong network inside Iran. Although Maryam Rajavi and the rest of the leadership of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran reside outside of the country, MEK affiliates are scattered throughout Iranian society with some even holding positions within hardline government and military institutions, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    Drawing upon the resources of that intelligence network, the MEK has continued to share crucial information with Western governments in recent years, some of it related to the nuclear program and some of it related to other matters including terrorist training, military development, and the misappropriation of financial resources. The MEK has variously pointed out that the Revolutionary Guard controls well over half of Iran’s gross domestic product, both directly and through a series of front companies and close affiliates in all manner of Iranian industries.

    In February of this year, the Washington, D.C. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran held press conferences to detail MEK intelligence regarding the expansion of terrorist training programs being carried out across Iran by the Revolutionary Guards. The growth of these programs reportedly followed upon direct orders from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and coincided with increased recruitment of foreign nationals to fight on Tehran’s behalf in regional conflicts including the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars.

    In the weeks following that press conference, the MEK’s parent organization also prepared documents and held other talks explaining the source of some of the Revolutionary Guards’ power and wealth. Notably, this series of revelations reflected upon trends in American policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. And other revelations continue to do so, even now.

    MEK Intelligence Bolstering US Policy Shifts

    Soon after taking office, and around the time the MEK identified a series of Revolutionary Guard training camps, US President Donald Trump directed the State Department to review the possibility of designating Iran’s hardline paramilitary as a foreign terrorist organization. Doing so would open the Revolutionary Guards up to dramatically increased sanctions — a strategy that the MEK prominently supports as a means of weakening the barriers to regime change within Iran.

    The recent revelations of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran have gone a long way toward illustrating both the reasons for giving this designation to the Revolutionary Guards and the potential impact of doing so. Since then, the MEK has also used its intelligence gathering to highlight the ways in which further sanctioning the Guards could result in improved regional security, regardless of the specific impact on terrorist financing.

    For example, in June the NCRI’s Washington, D.C. office held yet another press conference wherein it explained that MEK operatives had become aware of another order for escalation that had been given by Supreme Leader Khamenei, this one related to the Iranian ballistic missile program. This had also been a longstanding point of contention for the Trump administration and the rest of the US government, in light of several ballistic missile launches that have been carried out since the conclusion of nuclear negotiations, including an actual strike on eastern Syria.

    That strike was widely viewed as a threatening gesture toward the US. And the MEK has helped to clarify the extent of the threat by identifying 42 separate missile sites scattered throughout Iran, including one that was working closely with the Iranian institution that had previously been tasked with weaponizing aspects of the Iranian nuclear program.

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) led by Maryam Rajavi is thus going to great lengths to encourage the current trend in US policy, which is pointing to more assertiveness and possibly even to the ultimate goal of regime change. The MEK is also striving to move Europe in a similar direction, and the July 1 gathering is likely to show further progress toward that goal. This is because hundreds of American and European politicians and scholars have already declared support for the NCRI and MEK and the platform of Maryam Rajavi. The number grows every year, while the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran continues to collect intelligence that promises to clarify the need for regime change and the practicality of their strategy for achieving it.

    Originally published at http://www.iranfocus.com.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 5:25 pm on July 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Justice seeking movement has shaken up the regime relying on massacre- Maryam Rajavi’s message on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre 

    Justice seeking movement has shaken up the regime relying on massacre- Maryam Rajavi’s message on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre

    Fellow compatriots, 29 years ago on these days, Khomeini, the century’s most ruthless murderer, launched the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners affiliated with the PMOI and other dissident groups.

    Justice seeking movement has shaken up the regime relying on massacre- Maryam Rajavi’s message on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre

    He sought to uproot the resistance movement in a bid to preserve his own rule. He wanted to do something that no one would ever again think of change and of freedom. He found his answer in the hasty annihilation of the PMOI and all those who persisted on the ideal of freedom.
    In the face of such unprecedented brutality, the PMOI prisoners took pride in going to the gallows in the thousands. They registered themselves in the historical conscience of their nation as symbols of dedication and loyalty to the cause of freedom. And the history of Iran was blessed with the light and hope of their unwavering resistance.
    Throughout the years, their blood has continued to run in the veins of society, provoking the spirit of rebellion and protest in the struggle against the tyrannical clerical regime.
    Our endless salutes to all the prisoners massacred in 1988 who persisted on their positions against the Velayat-e Faqih under interrogation and stood up for freedom. Their struggle and resistance has been battering the regime since then until now.
    Khomeini concealed their names, but they are the most famous men and women of Iran’s modern history. The regime hid their graves, but they have remained the most spirited and obvious members of the nation fighting in the field. Long years pass since they kissed the gallows, but they continue to sing the crimson anthem of freedom.
    My fellow compatriots and courageous youths,
    Last year, on July 28, 2016, the families of martyrs and political prisoners issued a statement announcing a campaign commemorating the victims of the 1988 massacre. The movement demanding justice for the victims of the massacre is now one-year-old. During this period, the campaign energized by the victims’ sacrifice and our nation’s will to achieve freedom has time and again shaken up the clerical regime that relies on massacre.
    It has brought about broad-based knowledge in Iranian society particularly among the youth about the dreadful crimes committed by the Velayat-e Faqih regime. It shattered the mullahs’ conspiracy of silence to cover up the 1988 massacre and compelled the ruling clerics to confess to their involvement in this crime against humanity.
    The justice seeking movement dealt a heavy setback to Khamenei who had nominated a death-commission member for presidency. It defeated the regime in its totality in the elections sham, as the nation embraced the movement’s slogan of “no to the executioner, no to the charlatan.” The campaign also resuscitated this case internationally while it had been silenced by the western governments’ policy of appeasement.
    These efforts led to the point where the UN Secretary General noted the 1988 massacre in his annual report this year.
    This year-long campaign proved that the Velayat-e Faqih regime is extremely vulnerable with regards to the slaughter on which the pillars of its rule rest. As a result, every effort by the mullahs to incriminate the PMOI immerses them even further in a quagmire of disgrace.
    Since the outset, when the news of this massacre began to leak out of prisons, the Iranian Resistance has endeavored to expose this crime on the international level. In a letter to the UN Secretary General at the time, Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, wrote, “The international community must compel the regime to answer questions about the identities of all those executed, the date, place and manner of executions and their place of burial. It must introduce those in charge and those who carried out this major crime.”
    In the past year, too, supporters of the Iranian Resistance risked their own lives to collect the previously unannounced names of victims of the massacre and addresses of their graves, as well as information about members of the death commissions in the provinces.
    I thank all of them and everyone who joined the justice seeking movement over the past year. I thank all the youths and students who voiced their demand for justice for victims of the 1988 massacre at any opportunity, and the prisoners who supported the movement under the most difficult circumstances.
    Nevertheless, everything done so far has been only the first step. The Iranian people and Resistance will not relent until those in charge of the massacre of political prisoners, namely those who hold the highest positions of authority in this regime, face justice.
    In the start of the second year of the movement calling for justice, I urge everyone to help further expand the movement. This is part and parcel with the Iranian people’s quest for freedom and the overthrow of the regime in its entirety. Accordingly,
    1. I call on all the courageous youths of this land to stage protests to compel the regime’s leaders to publish a complete list of names of those massacred, addresses of their graves, and names of those in charge of the slaughter.
    2. I call on the families of martyrs and political prisoners to gather at the gravesites of their martyrs and in this way force the clerical regime to recognize their trampled right to hold memorial ceremonies for their heroic children.
    3. I call on my fellow compatriots to actively participate in the national campaign to collect the information of the martyrs, find their tombs and expose the mullahs and murderers involved in this crime.
    4. I call on young seminary students and the clergy who have distanced themselves from the ominous regime of the velayat-e faqih to openly condemn the massacre and distance themselves from Khomeini and the inhuman and anti-Islamic velayat-e faqih regime.
    5. I call on parliaments, political parties, human rights organizations, religious leaders, political and social personalities in various countries to strongly condemn the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in an act of solidarity with the Iranian people. They should urge their governments to make their continued political and commercial relations with the mullahs’ religious dictatorship contingent on end to executions and torture in Iran.
    6. I urge the UN High Commissioner on human rights to immediately set up an independent committee to investigate the 1988 massacre and subsequently put those in charge before justice. I urge the UN Security Council to make the arrangements for prosecution of the regime’s leaders for committing crime against humanity.
    All the major cases of carnage and repression in the past quarter of a century in Iran are linked to the person of Khamenei and his corrupt offices. He earned succession to Khomeini by actively participating in the 1988 massacre, and must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity before all the other leaders of the regime.
    Dear compatriots, the main target of the massacre in 1988 was the PMOI. Khomeini taught his successors that to preserve power, they must annihilate the group that persists on its positions. In the past three decades, Khamenei and his accomplice, have put this lesson into practice.
    In contrast, the PMOI and the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as the democratic alternative to the regime, are the force of victory and freedom. They will realize their glorious goal by relying on the people of Iran. On that day, the victims of the 1988 massacre and all the 120,000 martyrs fallen for Iran’s freedom will live in the determination of Iran’s youths, in 1000 bastions of rebellion, 1000 Ashrafs, and in the army of freedom. They will thus start a blessed era of freedom, democracy and equality.
    Endless salutes to the shining stars of the Iranian Resistance, the proud martyrs of 1988.
    And hail to the pioneers who have risen to call for justice for the victims and continue their path and cause on a higher level for Iran’s freedom.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:02 am on July 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iranian Opposition Welcomes New US Sanctions Against IRGC 

    New sanctions on Iran are a step towards taking power away from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, but there is much more the US and its allies can do.

    By Shahriar Kia

    The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to rally major new sanctions on Iran, parallel to measures on North Korea and Russia. To impose additional sanctions on Iran’s defense sector, The House voted 419–3, moving the bill forward to be signed by President Trump. Coming after three weeks of negotiations, this bill “tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries,” explained House Speaker Paul Ryan.

    The bill sanctions anyone associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or anyone whom the US determines is complicit in Iranian human rights violations. Anyone sanctioned under the act may later have sanctions removed after a five-year review.

    Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi welcome the US House of Reps’ new sanctions and terrorist designation of IRGC as essential to rectifying the policy of appeasement and described the act as a “step in line with the Iranian people’s desires and peace in the region,” especially as it turns up the heat on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

    https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/890533258362048513

    The new administration coming to Washington has promised many things, not least of which includes a reexamination of US policies towards Iran. Though the Obama administration did all it could to sell the nuclear deal as a victory, at best it has deferred the ultimate questions about how to deal with the regime in Iran, and at worst it has emboldened their belligerence in the region.

    A successful policy vis-a-vis the regime in Tehran has seemingly eluded Republicans and Democrats for the last 16 years. It may be time to try something new.

    Middle Eastern states when confronted with intense instability can result in the spread of insecurity across the globe. This includes the threat of terrorism in Europe and the US, and the increase of sectarian conflicts abroad.

    Yet there are no easy solutions to these issues. The prospects of being dragged into another war are not appealing to anyone, yet neither can we afford to sit back and watch radical terror spread throughout the Middle East.

    Unfortunately, the appeasement policy by the West for the past two decades has exacerbated this problem, directly or indirectly supporting or engaging Islamic fundamentalists at the expense of their main secular and progressive opposition. The cold war policies of arming jihadists and undermining democratic groups is a direct example of this. It is time to employ a reversal of this policy.

    A common denominator underlying the rise of ISIS, and the spread of instability and fundamentalism, is none other than the regime in Tehran. No one can deny this. Yet at every turn, we are told that the only solution is one which engages the mullahs and strengthens their grip on power. The time for such thinking is at an end.

    The regime has been reluctant to make good on promises of change and thus far has continued its brutal repression of dissidents while maintaining an aggressive policy in the region.

    The question of how to guarantee a long term shift in the behavior of the Iranian regime remains unanswered by Iranian regime apologists.

    The only long term policy which can guarantee a fundamental change of behavior in Iran, and sets an example for hope and change abroad, is one which recognizes the legitimate rights of the Iranian people to bring about democratic change and topple the theocratic fascist state in Iran.

    It is the time that the United States firmly aligned itself with the Iranian opposition which embraces democratic change, freedom and liberty, and secular governance. The Iranian people and their organized resistance should be the primary negotiation partners and allies, not the ruling mullahs.

    The principal opposition to the Iranian theocracy, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its main pillar, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is one such organization.

    “In history, the name of your president elect, Maryam Rajavi, will go down in the same tradition of fighters for freedom as Washington, Lafayette, and Garibaldi,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a speech at the annual NCRI convention held this year on July 1st in Paris.

    Rajavi advocates a new future of Iran. This includes a ten-point plan for a democratic secular republic in Iran, free of nuclear weapons, capital punishment, and tolerant to all religions, ethnicities, and ideas.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………..

    Shahriar Kia

    About Shahriar Kia 8 Articles

    Shahriar Kia is a human rights activist and a political analyst writing on Iran and the MIdlle East. As a member of the Iranian opposition, he dedicated his life for the freedom of his people in Iran. He graduated from University of North Texas (USA).

    Originally published at practicalpoliticking.com on July 28, 2017.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:31 am on July 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Shahin Gobadi,   

    NCRI – FAC member comments on new sanctions against Iran regime by US Congress 

    Shahin Gobadi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee commented on adoption of a bill by the US Senate and House of Representatives on the Iranian regime for violating human rights and pursuing ballistic missiles. He called the bill that included extending sanctions on the IRGC for its role in terrorism, as a positive and important step. Gobadi also commented on the following steps for full implementation of this bill and the need to complete these sanctions with urgent actions against officials in charge of executions, torture and particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:17 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    How blood of innocents has become an endless nightmare for Iranian regime 

    People chant slogans and hold pre-revolutionary Iranian flags in Paris, on August 17, 2013, as they take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners. (AFP)

     By F. Mahmoudi
    In Iran, 1980s is known as a bloody decade as thousands of political opponents were executed in brutal mass murder.
    In the summer of 1988, a massive slaughter took place in Iran’s prisons. Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the successor of Khomeini, was dismissed as a result of his objection to this massacre.
    In September 2016, an audio tape from a meeting of the late Ayatollah Montazeri with members of the committee of executioners (commonly known by Iranians as death committee) was published by his son, which led to his arrest and prosecution.
    In the audio tape, Ayatollah Montazeri described this massacre as the worst crime in the history of the Islamic Republic, and named Ibrahim Raisi, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, Hossein Ali Nayeri and other coordinators as criminals.

    Judgment against Islam

    In a recent TV interview, Ali Fallahian, the minister of intelligence during the Rafsanjani government, said: “The view of Mr. Montazeri, who disagreed with Imam (Khomeini), was that these executions will ultimately cause a “historical judgment” against us, a judgement against Islam, so it is to our benefit not to conduct these executions, but Imam said that you must perform your religious duty and don’t wait for the judgment of history.”
    The families of victims of 1988 massacre are currently seeking justice for their loved ones who were secretly executed and buried in mass graves at nights without any due process. The call for justice led by Iranian opposition, which started last year, caused a challenge for both of the regime’s factions during the presidential elections.
    The created chaos between regime’s factions forced Khamenei to comment in a recent speech that “no one should be allowed to change the place of martyr and henchman in relation to the executions of the 1980s.”
    What he meant was that the heads of this government are executioners in the eyes of the Iranian people, and this will create internal and international consequences that must be avoided.

    Nimrooz movie

    Additionally, state-controlled media released Khamenei’s praises about the “Nimrooz” movie, a production funded by the Iran revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) aimed at demonizing the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), a prominent opposition movement. The reason of making this film was to prevent another uprising similar to 2009, in which the MEK played a pivotal role in organizing protests against the regime.
    After the release of the film, former political prisoners and families of executed prisoners condemned the events showed during this film and called it as a distortion of the reality in history.
    In another hasty event, the Iranian regime put up a show, a tour of Evin Prison, to international delegations. The purpose of holding this tour for 50 ambassadors of different countries on July 5 was to destroy and wash the traces of the regime’s crimes. Amnesty International called this tour a “crude PR Stunt” and mentioned in a statement that Evin prison is known in the world as a symbol of wide political oppression in Iran.
    The executed prisoners of the 1980s were members and supporters of opposition groups of the Iranian regime, such as the MEK, Marxists and Kurds. MEK members and supporters accounted for more than 90 percent of the victims. Beleaguered in Iraq in the post 2003 era, the MEK experienced a very difficult and dangerous situation, particularly over the last decade.
    Under such circumstances this movement has been able to attract public sympathy through mass media, especially satellite and Internet. Currently, the Iranians and the International communities have become curious to acquire knowledge about this movement.

    Inhuman seige

    In face of an inhumane siege and the looming danger of further massacres, members of MEK put up a heroic persistence and defended themselves with bare hands and survived the many plots of their enemies. Eventually, the MEK members exited Iraq and resettled in Albania. Now, the MEK is finding a fast-growing following in Iran, especially among the youth, creating a serious challenge for the Iranian regime.
    With the rise of the call for justice for 1988 massacre, the Iranian regime is trying to destroy the evidence of this brutal murder and discourage the youth from joining the opposition movement. It has produced a propaganda film to change the place of martyr and executioner, and destroyed the mass graves of executed prisoners.
    The Iranian youth, even the children of regime officials, want to know the reality and the truth of what happened in the 1980s, and the history of the movement that recently held a huge gathering in Paris. Also, they want to know what message it conveys for them.
    Meanwhile, Khamenei has ordered to produce another film for Assadollah Lajevardi, the former head of Evin prison known as “Evin hangman,” who was one of the criminals 1988 massacre. “Hopefully, you can do something for Lajevardi as well. He is one of the figures who deserves something. His name was mentioned in this film, but he is one of the persons that we called him ‘strong man’ before,” Khamenei said.
    It seems the spilled blood of the innocents who were ruthlessly murdered in Iran is now undermining the foundations and the very existence of the Iranian regime. Sympathy for the victims and their family has now penetrated the depths of the Iranian society and has become an endless nightmare for regime.
    As Rahimpour Azghadi, a Khamenei confidant has said, “the events of the ‘80s and 88 will uproot the regime, even if we have the largest missile in store.”

    Source: How blood of innocents has become an endless nightmare for Iranian regime

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:05 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Two years into JCPOA, Iran needs regime change 

    By Shahriar Kia

    ​July 14 marked the second anniversary of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna back in 2015.

    This pact was reached fundamentally by sanctions against Tehran due to continuous revelations made by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), being the first to blow the whistle on Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

    The possibility was at hand to completely uproot Iran’s nuclear bomb-making facilities.  The West’s appeasement policy in the face of Tehran and unnecessary concessions provided to the mullahs, parallel to the windfall of billions gifted to Iran as sanctions were lifted, only fueled the flames of war in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  Despite all the concessions provided, Iran has been anything but contained.

    Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei personally sought to reach a nuclear agreement to prevent the toppling of his regime.  For four years, he personally supervised the nuclear talks, even prior to the tenure of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

    “In 2012 the country faced an oil-for-food program, similar to the measures that destroyed the state of Iraq and caused the fall of Saddam Hussein’s rule in a matter of days. Our regional rivals and enemies were hoping the head of the snake be chopped off soon,” according to the July 16 edition of the Iran Daily.

    The international community expected the JCPOA to launch the mullahs’ behavioral shift and containment.  The West, however, failed to understand that, as Khamenei recently described, “any change in behavior means regime change.”  Iran neither could nor had the will to respond positively to the international community’s request for change.

     

    Originally published at:  Two years into JCPOA, Iran needs regime change

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:56 am on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , National Council of Resistance of Iran,   

    Maryam Rajavi welcomes news sanctions act, stresses need to immediately and fully implement them 

    Grand Gathering of Iranians-for a FreeIran

    Eviction of the IRGC and their militia from the Middle East is indispensable to the enactment of this Act
    Maryam Rajavi welcomed adoption of a bill by both chambers of the US Congress which imposes new sanctions on the Iranian regime for violating human rights and pursuing ballistic missiles. The U.S. Congress also extends sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) for its involvement in terrorism.
    She added: “Since several years ago, the Iranian Resistance had urged the terrorist designation of the IRGC, as it preserves the entirety of the clerical regime and acts as its main apparatus for domestic suppression and export of terrorism and fundamentalism. However, the policy of appeasing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship paved the way for the IRGC and its proxies’ rampage in the entire region.”
    Rajavi underscored the need for the immediate and complete implementation of these sanctions and their respective provisions. She emphasized that there should be no loopholes that would allow the regime and its official and unofficial entities, as well as its domestic and foreign interlocutors to evade the implications of the bill.
    Maryam Rajavi urged other countries, in particular the EU and the Middle East nations, to adopt these sanctions, so as to deny the regime the opportunity to take advantage of its diplomatic and commercial ties with them and continue to suppress the Iranian people and export terrorism and war to the rest of the region.
    She added: “The immediate implementation of sanctions against the IRGC and its affiliated entities must be coupled with the expulsion of IRGC and its affiliated militias from the Middle East, in particular from Syria and Iraq; this is indispensable to the enactment of this Act and a prerequisite to ending conflict and crisis that have engulfed that region.
    Rajavi asserted that full implementation of these sanctions against the Iranian regime must be completed with urgent actions against officials in charge of executions, torture and particularly the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Topping the list is Ali Khamenei, the mullahs’ supreme leader. They must face justice for 38 years of crimes against humanity. The ultimate solution to the crisis in the region is the overthrow of the illegitimate clerical regime by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance. Recognition of the Iranian people’s desire and right to overthrow the mullahs and establish democracy and freedom in Iran is the greatest contribution to peace and tranquility in the Middle East and the world.
     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:51 am on July 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    New US Sanctions Blacklist Iran’s IRGC 

    WASHINGTON, DC — APRIL 05: Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) speaks during a news conference discussing new legislation on U.S. policy toward Russia April 5, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. U.S. Also pictured is Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

    By Heshmat Alavi

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday placing new sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. This follows a similar version adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate in a 98–2 vote last month.

    The House resolution, however, faced a more peculiar road even riddled with obstacles. Fortunately, the overwhelming 419 to three vote in favor of this bill, the bipartisan Countering Adversarial Nations Through Sanctions Act (H.R.3364) has made it veto proof. Despite the fact of alterations made in the initial text, all glitches have been set aside to gain White House consent.

    “The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), not just the IRGC Quds Force, is responsible for implementing Iran’s international program of destabilizing activities, support for acts of international terrorism and ballistic missiles,” the House Resolution text reads in part.

    This development is a devastating blow to Tehran and a major success for the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

    https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/890533063599509504

    Calls for regime change in Iran and support for the NCRI have been gaining unprecedented weight in Washington, leaving Iran’s mullahs utterly terrified.

    Iran has been found “threatening U.S. national security and undermining global stability with a range of aggressive acts” through ballistic missile tests, supporting terrorist organizations and meddling in the internal affairs of other states. The House bill is calling for political and economic measures to place Iran before accountability.

    This resolution can fundamentally be considered the blacklisting of Iran’s IRGC as the criteria imposes mirroring restrictions, and at times goes even further.

    The IRGC will be placed on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists following these procedures becoming law and US President Donald Trump taking the engagements necessary. The following is a list of the actions stated in this House resolution:

    • All assets and property in the US belonging to IRGC-linked individuals and entities will be frozen.
    • No American individual or entity has the right to establish financial, business, services or other affiliations with any individuals directly or indirectly associated to the IRGC.
    • No American individual or entity has the right to violate these sanctions through intermediaries or bypassing these procedures.
    • All individuals and entities having any relations with the IRGC must be sanctioned. Considering the fact that the IRGC officially enjoy a variety of connections and associations, this will effectively be paralyzing for Iran. One such example is the IRGC Khatam al-Anbiya group that is currently cooperating with more than 2,500 economic firms. All these companies will be sanctioned, rendering any relations with them illegal.
    • As these measures place the IRGC under secondary banking sanctions, practically no financial institution will be permitted to provide direct and/or indirect banking services to IRGC-linked individuals and entities. No foreign bank will cooperate with any Iranian entity that is in any way related to the IRGC and/or its affiliated entities.

    These sweeping arrangements follow the NCRI’s annual convention held on July 1st in Paris this year with senior American figures such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling for even more drastic moves against Iran.

    “It is long past time to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. They on their hands the blood of so many of your people, and they have on their hands the blood of my people, too, whom they helped to kill in Iraq. We should declare them a terrorist organization so we can cut them off support around the world,” Giuliani said in his speech at the NCRI event.

    Through Iran’s perspective, these new methods are the “mother of all sanctions,” as described by Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Keyhan daily, considered the mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This sheds light on the significant political impact of these sanctions for Tehran.

    These new sanctions come at a time when the Trump administration is blueprinting its comprehensive Iran policy, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis both mentioning regime change in recent remarks.

    These actions are the building blocks for the next vital steps necessary for Washington and the international community:

    • Officially designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization,
    • Standing alongside the Iranian people and their organized opposition, represented by the NCRI, to realize regime change in Tehran.

    Originally published at http://www.forbes.com on July 26, 2017.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:07 am on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Former U.S. Officials, , , , , , ,   

    Senior Former U.S. Officials Reject War With Iran, Urge Reaching Out To The Iranian People, Organized Opposition 

    By  Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

    On the heels of the major gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris on July 1, some thirty prominent American luminaries and former officials issued a joint statement expressing bipartisan support for the Iranian resistance and underscoring the need for a more firm approach towards Iran’s ruling clerics.

     

    Among the signatories were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

     

    The letter scolds the ruling clerics of Iran for causing regional instability, engaging in egregious human rights violations and exporting terrorism and extremism abroad. The high-profile personalities and former officials rejected the view that Iran’s political establishment can be reformed. “The hope of some Western governments was that time would lead to moderation by the Mullahs or to the emergence of a reformist faction that could challenge the dominance of the clerical regime. The reality has been far different,” they stated.

     

    Concerning Tehran’s regional role, the signatories said, “The Iran-fueled sectarian division of Iraq laid the foundation for the creation of ISIS…. Iran today commands and funds upwards of 150,000 IRGC, Shia militia and mercenary armed fighters in Iraq and Syria.” “We agree with the apparent new US policy of ending the previous United States overture toward the Iranian regime,” the statement added.

    Among other signatories are former Senator Joseph Lieberman, former National Security Advisor James Jones, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former DNC Chairman Edward Rendell, former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway, , and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

     

    They added that the “Tehran regime is uniquely vulnerable,” citing chronic economic mismanagement and fierce power struggle within the regime. “Mounting popular discontent has increasingly become visible in public,” they added, citing growing socialcalls for accountability for the “mass executions of political opponents, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners with a majority of them from the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).”

     

    The luminaries said a “viable organization” exists to change the clerical regime. “Underthe leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman standing for gender equality, which is an antidote to Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, it is working every day to bring about a tolerant, non-nuclear Iranian republic based on separation of religion and state, that will uphold the rights of all.”

     

    They added, “The National Council of Resistance of Iran … has the vision, leadership and courage to lead the way to the creation of a new Iran.”

    They called on world governments to provide moral support to the Iranian people’s quest for freedom.

    “The international community,” they said, “must meet its responsibility by condemning the Mullahs’ oppression and embracing the Iranian people’s aspirations for a free and prosperous Iran accepted and respected around the world.”

    On July 1, more than 100,000 Iranian expatriates and their supporters from five continents gathered near Paris to voice support for regime change and the NCRI’s plan for a free Iran. Prior to the rally, hundreds of pictures and videos surfaced in Iran where young people wrote slogans and hanged posters in Tehran and other major Iranian cities in support of the Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi.

     

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    You can learn more about Dr. Rafizadeh on HERE. The post was originally published on the Arab News.

     

    Source: Senior Former U.S. Officials Reject War With Iran, Urge Reaching Out To The Iranian People, Organized Opposition

     
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