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  • Masoud Dalvand 6:56 am on 11 May 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Alireza Jafarzadeh Presentation on Iran’s Ballistic Buildup 

    Washington, DC – On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the National Council of Resistance of Iran-U.S. Representative Office (NCRI-US) hosted a panel of leading subject-matter experts to discuss Iran’s burgeoning missile program and its ties with the nuclear weapons program.

    The new 133-page book by the NCRI-US, Iran’s Ballistic Buildup: The March Toward Nuclear-Capable Missiles, was also presented by Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the NCRI’s Washington Office.

    The book, which has dozens of charts, pictures, satellite imageries, and maps, provides key details on crucial infrastructure of Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

    Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director of National Counter Proliferation Center and Special Adviser to the Director of National Intelligence;

    Dr. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and head of its Department of Safeguards;

    Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.;

    and Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Deputy Director for Strategy, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at The Atlantic Council, were the other panelists.

    Rebeccah Heinrichs, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute moderated the event, after Ali Safavi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI welcomed the panelist.

    Alireza Jafarzadeh, who is also the author of The Iran Threat, explained the strategy framework designed to ensure the survival of Iran’s ruling regime and its core elements. He said, “To remain in power, the regime in Tehran functions on two foundations. One is internal suppression and the other is crisis making and export of terror abroad.

    The second pillar has three components itself which complement each other and are all part and parcel of the larger strategy for survival. One would not work without the other. First component is sponsorship of terrorism.

    The second element is Iran’s nuclear weapons program. And the third element is the ballistic missile program. For Tehran, these are critical issues for its survival; that’s why it has never abandoned any of them, and it never will.” Exposing the details of the inner working of the regime’s Aerospace Industries Organization, the Hemmat Missile Industrial Group, and Aerospace Force of the IRGC, Mr. Jafarzadeh stated, “there are 15 sites associated with the Aerospace Industries Organization and 27 sites associated with Aerospace Force of the IRGC.” He provided the names, specific functions and their internal codenames, command and control structure, and location of these sites. Jafarzadeh concluded his presentation by saying, “The Iranian regime right now is engulfed in large scale protests and uprising that started last December and is still continuing.

    The economy is in shambles, currency is plunging further, and there’s extensive institutionalized corruption. So, the long-term and lasting solution to the threat posed by Tehran is internal change. The people inside Iran are calling for change by the people of Iran. That’s when we’re going to see those three threats resolved.”

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  • Masoud Dalvand 9:30 pm on 9 May 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Target Iran’s nuclear/terrorism threats for regime change 

    Iranian missile program, a menace to the security of the region

    Iranian missile program, a menace to the security of the region

    PMOI/MEK staff writer

    May 9, 2018 – Following the United State’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and fully impose powerful economic against Tehran, there will be an increase in discussions on the path forward from here.

    If the Middle East is to experience anything resembling peace, democracy, stability, and security, it is an inarguable necessity to first realize democratic change and end the mullahs’ rule in Iran.

    Tehran has taken advantage of several decades of appeasement, resulting in the suffering of the Iranian people and nations across the region. The history of billions flowing into Iranian regime bank accounts and pallets of cash flown into this country must come to an end.

    Iran’s sinister regime, understanding no language but the language of a firm and definitive policy, is beginning to see the end of a long and fruitful journey at the expense of many others.

    Tehran, being the world’s central banker of international terrorism, “has funded its long reign of terror by plundering the wealth of its own people,” according to U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech.

    It is worth noting how the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), of which the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is a member of, first blew the whistle back in 2002 on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program, highly suspicious of seeking nuclear weapons.

    Such an industrial scale effort is meaningless for a country sitting on an ocean of oil and natural gas. Especially when such a multi-billion dollar project is depriving millions of people struggling with poverty across the country.

    “Eradicating the clerical regime’s nuclear and terrorism threats means getting rid of the regime in its entirety. A regime based on the principle of Velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of the clergy) cannot exist without terrorism, suppression, and weapons of mass destruction,” said NCRIPresident Maryam Rajavi following the US decision.

    All banks and companies currently doing business with Iran are finding it extremely difficult to continue their endeavors. It is quite obvious that Iran’s $450 billion economy is no choice in the face of the U.S. $44 trillion economy.

    It is also a moral decision placed before everyone from all walks of life in the international community: to continue seeking short-term economic interests with Iran’s regime, or finally deciding to stand with the Iranian people in their quest for freedom, democracy, and human rights.

    Iran’s regime must also be stopped in its treks of warmongering, export of fundamentalism and terrorism, as explained by Mrs. Rajvi. It is quite interesting how standing alongside the Iranian people will actually further the long-term interests of the very parties currently appeasing the Iranian regime and only seeking short-term interests.

    Such a policy will also prevent Iran from launching a new war and bring an end to the ongoing wars already causing havoc across the region.

    The Iranian people proved once again in December and January how they seek liberation from the oppressive rulers sitting on the throne in Tehran.

    Democratic change is coming to Iran and each and every member of the international community must decide sooner or later where they stand on this very dire matter.

    As a necessity, the United Nations Security Council should take this opportunity and launch the global effort focusing on Iran’s long forgone human rights dossier, parallel to holding this regime accountable for its meddling throughout the Middle East and beyond, and advancing a dangerous ballistic missile program.

    Countless crimes have been committed by the Iranian regime inside the country and abroad. Steps are being taken against Tehran. More needs to be done and the Iranian regime must be held to the ropes until all those responsible for these crimes are placed before justice.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 11:01 am on 4 Mar 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran Regime Lies About Arming Houthis 

    The Iranian Regime is once again lying about its involvement in the Yemeni war, which has caused thousands of deaths and triggered a humanitarian crisis; just days after Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Iran for supplying the Yemeni Houthis with weapons and missiles, in violation of an arms embargo.

    Bahram Qassemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, outright denied that Iran sent weapons to Yemen and accused the UK of “dishonest behaviour” for drafting the resolution.

    He said: “We don’t send weapons to Yemen. Such allegations and attempts are made to project the blame on others by those who want to use the existing situation against Iran. We are witnessing a [sic] dishonest behaviour from the British government that uses the international mechanisms to defend the aggressor despite its slogans about a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis.”

    He went on to claim that the situation in Yemen “is the result of the export of British and American arms”, but it is notable that UN experts have completed a report that found Iran was supplying military aid to the Houthis.

    It’s not a coincidence that these comments came just days after General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command in the Middle East, told the House Armed Services Committee that Iran was trying to turn Yemen into a client state, as it did with Lebanon, but in a much shorter timeframe.

    Votel said: “Iran has extended its tentacles across the region through numerous proxies, including Lebanese Hezbollah operating in multiple countries, hardline Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMGs) in Iraq and Syria, and Iranian support has enabled the Houthis.”

    This is not surprising when you listen to the recent comments of Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

    Velayati said: “Our presence in the region is inevitable. We will continue this process, so as to become the most decisive force in the region. We are present in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon…We help Yemen because it is our human duty to do so. Saudi Arabia must know that this ongoing process will make Yemen its Vietnam.”

    In this, Velayati is admitting that Iran deceives its enemies, when others claim that they are not building a coalition of Shiite forces in Syria and Iraq, and that Iran’s goal in aiding the Houthis is not aiding Yemen but hurting Saudi Arabia.

    Iran is gaining military dominance in Yemen in the same way that it did in Iraq, which makes it easy to see why the Houthis blocked a 2016 peace deal and why Iran is interfering in Iraq’s upcoming elections.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:50 pm on 25 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hamas, , , , ,   

    “Axis of Resistance” Encompasses Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and Hamas 

    INU – When President George W. Bush gave his 2002 State of the Union address, he used the now-famous term, ”Axis of Evil” that warning against the development of weapons of mass destruction by the countries of North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

    In 2010, the term “Axis of Resistance” was adopted to encompass the forces of Iran, Hezbollah, Bashar Assad’s Syria, and Hamas.

    After the February 10th downing of an Iranian drone, and the loss of an Israeli F-16 following Israeli strikes against Syria, the media mentioned the “Axis of Resistance” phrase, but did not discuss its meaning or motivation in depth.

    In an article for the US News and World Report by Lamont Colucci, associate professor of politics and government at Ripon College, and senior fellow in National Security Affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council, writes, “Iran has mobilized its own forces, its proxies and Syrian services to create a powerful network to threaten Israeli security. Iran and Syria have been instrumental in transferring greater amounts and more sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah, utilizing the fighting in Syria as a real-world training ground for future conflicts. The world was so mono-focused on the Islamic State group and the Syrian civil war that it continued to ignore Iranian strategic moves and intentions that go well beyond an Assad victory. In fact, we may come to view the Syrian Civil War as merely phase one of an overall Iranian plan to dominate the Middle East and wage war against Israel, culminating in an attempt to blunt or even drive out the American presence from much of the region.”

    Iran would like to gain access to the Mediterranean, and the new axis could become powerful enough to intimidate American allies in the region to retract support for American foreign policy goals.

    Colucci adds, “The ‘Axis of Resistance’ poses a direct threat to the national interests of the United States and should be treated as a fundamental priority. It has no place in the international arena, and the movements and regimes that are its supporters are by definition illegitimate. In the past, the United States allowed Syria to dominate Lebanon; it now needs to decide if it is acceptable for Iran to dominate Syria, coerce Iraq and wage war against Israel.” He calls out this axis, “worshiping at the altar of tyranny, conquest and theocracy,” as “evil”.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:24 pm on 22 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Iranian Expansionism Destroying the Middle East 

    The aggressive expansionism of the Iranian Regime has caused violence and divisions across the Middle East, while their efforts to create regional proxy militias are worsening the situation in three already unstable countries: Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

    It is well known that there are numerous Iran-backed Shiite militia groups fighting in Syria for the Assad regime, but some of these groups, like the Hashd Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces, are also working in Iraq to hamper peace and stability.

    In December, five Christian protesters were shot and injured by members of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia in Bartala, northern Iraq, while protesting as part of a larger group about assaults on Christians by the Shia militia.

    Captain Agathon Saleh said: “Many Christians are angry with practices of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia and consider them a continuation of violations committed by the Daesh terrorist group.”

    In Yemen, Shiite Houthi militia routinely attacks Yemeni government forces and civilians.

    Just last week, the Iran-backed Houthis kidnapped 300 people, mainly the elderly and children, in the town of Adeen. As it came so soon after the death of Houthi commander Abu Abdulrahman Al-Alwi, it is thought that this may have been retaliation.

    Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, when the Houthis took over the capital Sanaa and many other cities, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee to Saudi Arabia.

    However, it is in Syria where people have been most affected by Iran’s destabilization campaign as Iran-backed militias attack civilians and moderate opposition groups.

    Roughly 18,000 Shiite militiamen are said to fighting in Syria for the Bashar Assad regime, in a civil war that began in 2011 and many of them were recruited by the Iranian Regime or one of its proxies. This includes:

    • 10,000 Hezbollah fighters, who Iran deployed there from Lebanon

    • 5,000 fighters from Iraq’s Shiite areas, like Baghdad, Najaf, and Basra

    • 2,000 fighters from the Afghan Fatimiyun Brigade, who fight in the south of Aleppo, Damascus and Daraa

    • 500 fighters from the Pakistani Zaynabiyyun Brigades, who are fighting in the north of Aleppo

    On top of this, the Assad regime is using Iran-backed militia groups (or shabiha) to bolster its forces against the Syrian opposition. The 24,000-strong shabiha has been blamed for the killing of many anti-Assad protesters.

    The shabiha, believe to be funded by regime supporters including Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, began to replace soldiers that deserted the Syrian army during the first year of the civil war, and their numbers increased dramatically as the Assad regime started losing power.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 4:17 pm on 16 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    How The World Views Iran’s Role In Syria 

    By Heshmat Alavi

    As protests across Iran experience a variety of ups and downs following a major surge early this year, a wide array of analysts are seen writing about this important country’s domestic and foreign developments.

    More recently, concerns for Tehran are also increasing abroad as its international isolation begins to take its toll.

    To stand alongside the Iranian people, the international community must raise the cost of Tehran’s belligerence.

    In a piece some time ago I discussed How Iran Is Losing Europe, especially taking into consideration the distancing of France from Iran and President Emmanuelle Macron’s improving relations with the United States.

    Considering the fact that Iran’s economy is in desperate need of business ties with large French firms, such developments have become increasingly concerning for the Iranian regime’s ruling elite.

    President Macron recently threatened military action against the Assad regime in Syria, widely known to be remaining in power thanks to the support of Iran and Russia.

    “France will strike” if the Syrian conflict witnesses the use of chemical weapons against civilians, being in violation of international treaties, according to Reuters.

    “On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line,” Macron added. “If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made.”

    Last May Macron emphasized chemical weapons use would represent a “red line” crossing. Updating his position, Macron took advantage of last Friday’s telephone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to weigh in grave concern over signs of chlorine bomb usage against civilians in Syria.

    In recent weeks, rescue workers and aid groups in Syria, and the U.S. government, have been accusing Damascus of repeatedly deploying chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against civilians in Ghouta and Idlib.

    This highly dangerous chemical substance, which Syria claims to possess legally for purposes such as water purification, can be lethal when used as a weapon and causes suffocation.

    The “Syrians for Truth and Justice” organization is reporting how missiles carrying poisonous gasses targeting Ghouta belonged to Iran:

    “According to Bellingcat, the munitions used in the February 1 attack are Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions (IRAMs), based on modified Iranian 107mm rockets. The standard warhead has been replaced with a large pressurized gas cylinder, and tail fins have been added to the rocket.”

    Such developments go alongside further troubles brewing for Iran, emanating from strong remarks by other senior U.S. officials and figures.

    Daniel R. Coats, Director of National Intelligence at a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday:

    “Iran remains the most prominent state sponsor of terrorism, providing financial aid, advanced weapons and tactics, and direction to militant and terrorist groups across the Middle East and cultivating a network of operatives across the globe as a contingency to enable potential terrorist attacks.”

    In yet another reminder of Iran’s troubles regarding the controversial nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton emphasized in a FOX News TV interview of only three months remaining to U.S. President Donald Trump’s deadline regarding a decision over the accord’s future.

    Promises were made Tehran would join the community of civilized nations as a result of this deal. The result, however, has been anything but.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday renewed his government’s call on Iran to withdraw from Syria, accusing Tehran of destabilizing the Middle East through military presence.

    “Iran needs to withdraw its military, its militia from Syria, and allow a hope for the peace process to take hold in Geneva,” Tillerson emphasized at a news conference in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

    As argued extensively in the past, an interesting insight is now provided into how Washington can impose meaningful pressure on Tehran at a time when protesters are chanting for Iran’s regime to “Let go of Syria, think about us.”

    New York Post article reads in part:

    “Now is the time for Trump to re-establish a robust military deterrent toward Iranian expansionism in close collaboration with regional allies. His administration declared the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist entity in October, and he should target key Guards’ bases and weapons in Syria accordingly. Such an approach could help prevent a larger-scale conflict.”

    Iran understands how more money pumped abroad will flame their already crisis-riddled political status quo back home.

    Washington may particularly be focusing on also closing Iran’s “land bridge,” connecting Tehran to Damascus to easily influence the entire region and connect to the Mediterranean.

    Iran’s regime is very vulnerable following the recent uprising. Public unrest and the protesters’ demands for fundamental change are Tehran’s Achilles’ heel.

    Identifying and supporting the very element that can realize this change is crucial.

     

    via How The World Views Iran’s Role In Syria — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:45 pm on 13 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    How the Iranian Regime Is Waging a Proxy War in the Middle East 

    Slide4

    NCRI: The Iranian Regime has been merging its proxy groups across the Middle East with existing local defence forces in various countries, which become a part of that country’s army.

    This is evidenced in an April 2017 memo from the Syrian armed forces, which stated that the defense forces would replace the Iranian proxies eventually. This may lead you to believe that Iran is removing itself from the Syrian conflict, but this is simply untrue.

    They are removing their proxies to go to other places in the Middle East, but once the ideology has been spread, the local defense groups will become Iranian proxies themselves and can become far more influential if everybody thinks that the Iranian Regime is not involved.

    This tactic has been used by the Iranian Regime already in Iraq with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and Lebanon with Hezbollah, two groups that are now immensely in their respective countries and its political system. The Iranian Regime has deployed the PMF and Hezbollah to Syria and other areas of conflict and even used them to train terrorists.

    The groups are even known to work together, as a video of Qais al-Khazali, the leader of PMF affiliate Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, at the Lebanese-Israeli border in December shows. In the video, Khazali states that he is there with Hezbollah to oppose Israel.

     

    This move doesn’t reduce the number of Iranian proxies involved in conflicts across the Middle East, but increases them. There are then more pro-Iran regional militias to help create Iran’s dream of a Shiite Crescent across the Middle East, which would make it easier to create more proxies by supporting more local defense forces.

    Through the Shiite Crescent, the Iranian proxies could spread across Europe and eventually across the world if they aren’t stopped.

    The Regime’s overall goal in creating more proxies is to export the Iranian Islamic ideology across the region and eventually the world, just as it already has done in Iraq and Lebanon.

    Iran regime's millitias

    Iran regime’s militias 

    Ahmed, a Hezbollah member, said that there are also Hezbollah factions in Syria and Iraq, which share the same ideology and regional goals.

    He said: “All of these factions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon will fight side by side with each other in the next war.”

    That is a very worrying prospect for anyone concerned about Iranian aggression and expansionism, national sovereignty, peace in the Middle East, and extremist Islamic ideology.

    This is another reason that the Iranian Regime should not be allowed to reach its 40th anniversary in 2019

     

     

     

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 11:16 am on 8 Feb 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    How the Iranian Regime Is Using Its Proxy Groups and How the US Can Tackle Them 

    The Iranian Regime has a network of foreign proxy groups all across the Middle East, from large formal organizations like Hezbollah to small splinter groups like Asaib Ahl al-Haq. This means that Iranian influence is spreading further than ever before and is doing so in increasingly diverse ways. How can we stop them?

    At a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute on February 2, Hanin Ghaddar, the Institute’s Friedman Visiting Fellow and a veteran Lebanese journalist and researcher, spoke about the Iranian Regime’s control of Lebanon via Hezbollah and explained the political balance is a mere illusion in Lebanon because of Iran.

    He explained that because of Iran’s power over Hezbollah, the Regime has been able to build a land bridge across the Middle East through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, which the mullahs will use to transport weapons, troops, and money to its terrorist proxies (including splinter groups) across the region, and expand its power even more.

    At that same forum, Phillip Smyth, a Soref Fellow at the Institute and a researcher at the University of Maryland, explained that if the US wished to tackle these Iranian-backed groups, they must recognise that they are all connected.
    Even though it may seem as if the groups are divided along religious or ethnic or political grounds, they are all reading from the Regime’s script. They are paid from the same coffers, following the same idealogy, and fightinging the same battles.

    Smyth said: “Understanding Iranian ideology will allow Washington to counter it more effectively. Iranian operatives know how to work with individuals and splinter groups, while U.S. policy tends to be more binary in determining allies and adversaries. Going forward, U.S. officials should learn how to better utilize religious networks in the region. They should also take advantage of the fact that Iran overestimates its influence in certain quarters, particularly within the Iraqi army.”

    Both speakers agreed that because of the speed that the Iranian Regime was recruiting fighters via their proxy groups, the fighters were no longer as loyal to the cause or as well trained, which was also a way to attack the Iranian Regime.

    Ghaddar said: “The United States can take several steps in response… In the short term, supporting anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah candidates in the May elections could harden the line between the state and Hezbollah. In the longer term, Washington would be wise to draw red lines in Syria and stick to them.”

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:35 am on 24 Jan 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran Regime Is a Threat to Us All 

    Iran threat

    Houthis Terrorists supported by the Iranian regime

    NCRI – The Iranian Regime was founded on the principal of exporting their revolution- including their widely discredited interpretation of Islam- to the rest of the world. They have never given up on this idea and continue to pursue world domination through the use of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and proxy militias to fight for them.

    The Iran- sponsored Houthi militia in Yemen sought to overthrow the internationally recognised government, and replace them with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis captured the capital of Sana’a, and the Iranian Regime rejoiced at controlling another capital in the Middle East, but faced opposition from a Saudi-coalition, which stepped up the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, stated: “Iran is gradually increasing its support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Rather than eliminating the Iranian presence in the country, the Saudi-led war is giving Tehran the opportunity to become more influential there than ever. The Houthis … will need Tehran’s backing more as the stalemate continues … A war designed to weaken Iran is actually helping it against its regional rival.”

    In November, the Houthis attempted to fire a ballistic missile towards Riyadh International Airport in November, which was the first missile to be aimed at such a densely-populated area.

    The Iranian-made missile was thankfully destroyed in flight by Saudi forces before it could do any damage, but it is clear that the Iranian Regime at the very least supplied the missile and quite possibly order the attack. It is believed that the missile was disassembled, smuggled into Yemen, and reassembled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Lebanese-based proxy Hezbollah.

    The US considers this attack as evidence that Iran has violated two United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on the Yemen crisis and Iran’s missile program.

    The Houthis have since followed this up another attempted missile attack on Riyadh in December, but this was once again thwarted by the Saudis. However, the Iran-backed Houthi warned that these attacks mark a new chapter, because now Saudi palaces, military bases, and oil facilities, are within missile range.

    Iran’s use of proxies is widespread in the Middle East. Iran armed Shiite militants in Bahrain as part of an effort to bring the country back under Iran’s control- despite Bahrain gaining independence nine years before the Regime took power- and in November, the militants created an explosion on a major oil pipeline in Bahrain to slow the supply of oil to Saudi Arabia.

    With the help of their proxies, Iran does not need to get their hands dirty and have widely escaped the consequences of their actions.

    When the US threatened sanctions against Iran for noncompliance with the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), IRGC Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari threatened to launch ballistic missiles on any US military base within 1,200 miles (the range of their ballistic missiles). Ironically, Iran’s use of ballistic missiles is one of the things that Donald Trump sees as a violation of the JCPOA.

    Following those comments, US Representative Ron DeSantis responded: “Iran’s behaviour… has only seemed to get worse. … The present course is untenable and Iran’s threatening behaviour is likely to increase in frequency.”

    In 1983, Iran attacked a US Marines barracks in Lebanon and killed 241 American service members using its terrorist proxy Hezbollah. There is no reason to suspect that they would not do so again.

    Iran also threatened France after various French politicians raised concerns about the Iranian missile program, Iranian expansionism, and called for a political dialogue on the subjects.

    IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami said: “If Europe wants to turn into a threat, we will increase the range of our missiles… we have no limitations for the range of our missiles in technological terms.”

    Anthony Chibarirwe wrote on The Trumpet: “These [European leaders were] exercising caution even in their efforts to preserve the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran. But they aren’t doing so because they trust Iran or because they want it to go nuclear; they are doing so because they distrust and fear this belligerent Iran so much that they choose appeasement rather than confrontation. But their idealist school of thought will not solve the problem.”

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:26 pm on 18 Jan 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    Primary Causes of Poverty and Popular Uprisings in Iran 

    29_December_2017_protests_in_Kermanshah_Iran

    The Enormous Cost of the Regime’s Warmongering, Terrorism and Domestic Suppression

    January 2018

    As the uprising against the clerical regime engulfed various Iranian cities, protestors’ slogans expressed some aspects of the cause of that movement, namely grueling high prices and economic strains on an array of social sectors. Giving rise to these circumstances is the fact that the religious dictatorship has channeled Iran’s human resources and economic reserves toward domestic suppression, warmongering and expansion of terrorism abroad, leading to increasing poverty and deprivation among the population in Iran.

    The cost of war and terrorism: Not declared in official state budget

    According to assessments conducted by the Iranian Resistance and international experts, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has spent close to $15B to $20B a year in Syria over the past six years.1 The regime’s warmongering and fatal intervention in Syria alone cost the Iranian people at least $100B between the start of the war to the end of 2017.

    In addition to Syria, Tehran has used its military and terrorist arm, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to interfere in conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan while exporting terrorism to dozens of other countries in five continents around the world.

    The cost of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and of acquiring illicit material and equipment for the nuclear program can also be factored into the regime’s overall expenditures. A high-level assessment reveals that the regime spends at least $25B to $30B in these arenas from sources that are not declared in its official annual budget.

    In order to pay for its warmongering and domestic suppression, the regime has created a private network outside of official state structures. Particularly after 2005 (during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), Khamenei expanded his economic reach considerably by transferring the ownership of state enterprises, taking control of the financial market, and eliminating state subsidies.

    With the help of his enterprises and institutions, which operate through front organizations masked as private companies, Khamenei has taken over the bulk of Iran’s economy. This is how Khamenei pays for the undeclared and unofficial costs of war and suppression. These organizations and institutions, which include the IRGC, now control over 50% of Iran’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Official state institutions have no control or oversight on these entities’ sources of revenue or expenditures. They are also either exempt from taxes or simply do not pay them.

    Some of the most important of these entities include but are not limited to the following2: The IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbia Construction Headquarters, other IRGC-affiliated economic powerhouses, Khamenei’s Setad (Headquarters for Executing Imam’s Orders), the Mostaz’afan (Oppressed) Foundation, Astan-e Qods Razavi (religious foundation in Mashhad), Shahid (Martyr) Foundation, Emdad (Aid) Committee, IRGC Cooperatives Foundation, Bassij Cooperatives Foundation, Qadir Investment Company (tied to the Ministry of Defense), the Armed Forces Social Welfare Organization (SATA), Khatam al-Osia Base (tied to the Ministry of Defense), State Security Forces Cooperatives Foundation (NAJA), and the Islamic Republic Army Cooperatives Foundation (BTAJA).

    The cost of war and terrorism: as declared in the official state budget (military and security organs)

    An overview of the budget bill submitted to parliament (Majlis) in December 2017 by the Hassan Rouhani administration for the new Persian calendar year (March 2018 to March 2019) indicates a total budget of 425000 billion tomans (121.5 billion dollars. )3 Out of this amount, 93937B tomans ($26.8 billion dollars )4, or 22% of the entire budget, has been allocated to military and security-related spending, as well as to the export of terrorism and fundamentalism abroad. Details of the regime’s military and security costs are as follows:

    • Security affairs (including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the State Security Forces, the Special Tribunal for Clerics, etc.): 19745.9 billion tomans (5.641billion dollars) or 4.6% of the entire budget
    • Military affairs (IRGC, Bassij, army, etc.): 68483 billion tomans (19.5 billion dollars) or 16.17% of the entire budget.
    • Export of terrorism: 5708 billion tomans (1.6 billion dollars) or 1.34% of the entire budget

    An assessment of annual expenditures on warmongering and suppression

    A high-level assessment reveals that the minimum cost of keeping the clerical regime in power in Iran through warmongering and internal suppression is comprised of the following:

    – 26.8 billion dollars : Funds allocated to military and security-related affairs and export of terrorism in the official state budget

    – 27.5 billion dollars: Money channeled to military and security-related activities and export of terrorism, funded by revenues obtained from institutions controlled by the supreme leader’s office and the IRGC

    Based on these figures, the regime spends a total of at least 55 billion dollars (official and known unofficial sources of funding) in order to advance domestic suppression, warmongering and foreign terrorism.

    It is important to note that the Iranian regime spends an amount that is at least close to the officially declared budget on war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction by revenues generated from enteties tied to the supreme leader. This analysis reveals that the structure of the dictatorship has been shaped in a way that allows the advancement of the clerical dictatorship’s own goals and objectives. In other words, the Iranian people’s resources are being used to prop up the dictatorship.

    Case studies: How funding of warmongering and suppression fares against other state expenditures

    In order to see how the dictatorship’s warmongering and suppression have seized wealth from the Iranian people, resulting in widespread poverty, a few examples and case studies are provided below.

    Compared to the rebuilding costs after a recent earthquake: In November 2017, an earthquake shook the western province of Kermanshah, resulting in at least 1000 deaths and thousands wounded, while more than 100000 people were rendered homeless. In a preliminary analysis5,  the Kermanshah provincial government said the earthquake has resulted in at least 5632 billion tomans (1.61 billion dollars) in damage. The analysis added that this amount is equal to the province’s total budget for 11 years (approximately 140 million dollars per year). This means that the price tag for the clerical regime’s warmongering and suppression in a single year is 40 times more than the total damage resulting from the 2017 Kermanshah earthquake or more than 440 times the official annual budget of the entire Kermanshah province.

    Compared to the health care budget: The 2018 budget for the provision of health care to 80 million Iranians has been officially declared as 57000 billion tomans (16.3 billion dollars). This is a mere third of the regime’s annual warmongering and suppression costs. This means that every year, the entire Iranian population is forced to pay an amount that is three times higher than their total health care budget for warmongering and terrorism.

    The Iranian people’s welfare compared to salaries paid to Iranian regime mercenaries in Syria:According to statements made by Afghan mercenaries of the Iranian regime during public interviews with state-run media, each are paid 2.5 million tomans, (600 or 700 dollars) per month, every month. Nearly 20,000 Afghan nationals are dispatched to Syria by the IRGC. As such, every month, the regime pays 12 million to 14 million dollars to its Afghan mercenaries in Syria. This is while the Rouhani government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, has said that the government is planning to pay a monthly stipend of 250 thousand tomans or nearly 70 dollars to every Iranian living under the absolute poverty line. So, an Afghan sent to Syria is paid 10 times more than an Iranian living under the line of absolute poverty. This is while Afghans are sent to Syria by the IRGC as cheap soldiers, and their salaries represent a miniscule portion of the regime’s constant expenditures in Syria.

    Expenditures in Syria compared to financial aid to all people living under the absolute poverty line in Iran: On September 17, 2017,6 the head of the Emdad Khomeini Committee (Aid Committee), Seyyed Parviz Fattah Qarebaghi7, said it is estimated that the number of people living under the absolute poverty line in Iran ranges from 16 to 20 million. Assuming these people do receive a stipend of almost $70/month, the regime would have to come up with a monthly total of 1.4 billion dollars or an annual total of 17 billion dollars. This means that the amount the regime is spending in Syria alone (not the entire cost of warmongering and suppression, which is several times higher) could have been re-allocated to pay the monthly stipends of nearly 20 million impoverished people in Iran.

    That is why during the recent uprising in various Iranian cities, protestors shouted slogans like “Leave Syria, think about us” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I dedicate my life to Iran.” They also targeted the entire regime, demanding its overthrow by chanting “Death to Khamenei” and “Khamenei, shame on you, let go of the country.” They realize that the only way to obtain the Iranian people’s rights is through the overthrow of the clerical regime in its entirety.

    Conclusions:

    1. Khamenei’s velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule) has allocated Iran’s official and unofficial revenues and national wealth to serve foreign warmongering and terrorism as well as domestic suppression in order to ensure the regime’s survival. This is the primary cause of the backbreaking poverty haunting the country.

    2. As the regime’s armed entity, the IRGC has had the largest share in stealing the national wealth. A substantial portion of economic deals and control over key industries like oil and gas belongs to the IRGC. In addition to embezzlement, the IRGC then allocates resulting revenues to warmongering and terrorism as well as to suppression inside Iran.

    3. Any deals with the Iranian regime will strengthen the velayat-e faqih dictatorship and its armed entity the IRGC, resulting in the escalation of suppression of the Iranian people’s uprisings and the massacre of peoples across the region.

    4. In order to eliminate the dictatorship’s machinery of war and suppression, all of the regime’s officials, the IRGC and the array of economic organizations and institutions in their orbit of influence must be placed under international sanctions.

     

    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    1- Based on Bloomberg estimates quoting Steven Heydemann at the U.S. Institute of Peace; and “How Iran Fuels Syria War: Details of the IRGC Command HQ and Key Officers in Syria,” NCRI- U.S. Representative Office, November 2015.

    2- See “The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire: How the Supreme Leader and the IRGC Rob the People to Fund International Terror,” NCRI-U.S. Representative Office, March 2017. The detailed study shows how ownership of property in various spheres of the economy is gradually shifted from the population writ large towards a minority ruling elite comprised of the Supreme Leader’s office and the IRGC, using 14 powerhouses.

    3- 425,000,000,000,000 tomans: converted to dollars based on exchange rate of $1=3,500 tomans. This exchange rate has also been used for the regime’s official state budget.

    4- Equal to 93,937,000,000,000 tomans

    5-See “Damages Resulting from the Earthquake Equal to Kermanshah’s Budget of 11 Years,” state-run Entekhab daily, November 25, 2017 (in Farsi).

    6- See IRGC-affiliated Fars News website, September 17, 2017 (in Farsi).

    7- Qarebaghi is an IRGC Brig. Gen., who controls the Emdad Committee, an entity affiliated with the regime’s supreme leader.

     
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