Iran’s Impasse and the “Sanctions Black Hole”

By Shahriar Kia

My article originally posted on Practical Politicking

The current plan for sanctions against Iran leaves the regime between a proverbial rock and hard place since its choices are complied or die.

The adoption of “Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017” by the United States Senate has rendered a variety of reactions from Iran resembling the terrified status of the regime’s senior ranks. Iranian media have widely referred to this new bill and the resulting authorizations as the “mother of all sanctions” and the “sanctions black hole.”

“Section 5 of this bill is related to new sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). This new bill is dubbed the ‘sanctions black hole’ considering the fact that based on Executive Order 13224, any individual providing services to an identified organization in this Executive Order, that individual or his/her entity will be placed on the US sanctions list or the SDN… with the adoption and implementation of this bill, we can forecast that a few thousand individuals will be placed in the SDN sanctions list…,” according to IRGC-affiliated semi-official Fars news agency.

Continue reading:  via  Iran’s Impasse and the “Sanctions Black Hole” — Iran Liberty

What Is the Right U.S. Policy on Iran? 

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Iranian women protest election irregularities in 2009 (Photo: Getty Images)

By Shahriar Kia

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to a variety of very serious questions raised by House of Representatives members in a recent hearing focusing on U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran. Representative Ted Poe (R) from Texas touched on what many believe is the ultimate issue when he said:

“I’d like to know what the policy is of the U.S. toward Iran. Do we support the current regime? Do we support a philosophy of regime change, peaceful regime change? There are Iranians in exile all over the world. Some are here. And then there’s Iranians in Iran who don’t support the totalitarian state. So is the U.S. position to leave things as they are or set up a peaceful, long-term regime change?”

America’s top diplomat, taking into consideration how the Trump administration’s all-out Iran policy remains an issue of evaluation, answered:

“… our Iranian policy is under development.

“We continually review the merits both from the standpoint of diplomatic but also international consequences of designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in its entirety as a terrorist organization.” 

Tillerson added. “As you know, we have designated the Quds [Force]. Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.”

Iran is terrified of such a stance and responded immediately. In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that 75 percent of Iran’s population voted in the recent election farce back in May.

Iran’s wrath was not limited to this very issue. Following the twin ISIS attacks targeting Iran’s parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, senior regime officials sought to portray their apparatus as a victim of terrorism.

Failing to do so, Iranian regime officials accused the US, Saudi Arabia and the main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), of this terrorist plot. A few days ago, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at the US and accused Washington of bringing ISIS to life.

“Who created ISIS? Was it anyone but the U.S.? … The U.S. claim that they have established a coalition against ISIS is a lie; of course, the U.S. is against an ‘unrestrained ISIS,’ however, if anyone truly seeks to eradicate ISIS, they will have to fight against it,” he said.

Now the question is, what is Iran so concerned about and what is the right policy vis-à-vis Iran?

With Obama leaving the White House, Iran forever lost a major international backer. For eight years, the “golden era” as Iran dubbed the Obama years, any and all activities by the Iranian people and their organized opposition for change in Iran was countered by the domestic crackdowns and international hurdles, specifically by the U.S.

Obama’s neglect of Tehran’s crimes in Syria and Iraq led to the disasters we are witnessing today. Internationally, a major overhaul of U.S. policy in the region and establishing a significant Arab-American alliance in the face of Iran’s meddling has become a major concern for the mullahs.

In addition, increasing popular dissent and widespread activities by the PMOI/MEK in the past few months have also raised major concerns for the regime.

Khamenei personally intervened last week, first acknowledging the 1988 massacre, defending the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and those involved in the murder of over 30,000 political prisoners. Most of the victims, all executed in mass groups, were PMOI/MEK members and supporters.

Khamenei’s second concern and that of his entire apparatus is focused on the upcoming Iranian opposition’s annual convention in Paris scheduled for July 1 this year. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main entity representing the Iranian opposition, hosts more than 100,000 Iranians from across the globe each year alongside hundreds of prominent dignitaries delivering their support and speeches seeking true change in Iran.

Last year alone, a very prominent delegation of American dignitaries from both sides of the political aisle included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton from the Republicans, former Democratic National Committee chairman Gov. Howard Dean, former U.S. ambassador to the UN Gov. Bill Richardson took part.

This year’s Iranian opposition rally is already brewing major concerns for Tehran as the regime understands the end of the era of appeasement has led to sweeping changes in Western policy regarding the Middle East, and most importantly Iran.

This is exactly why Tehran is going the limits to prevent the shifting of policy towards the Iranian people. Tehran’s lobbies in the U.S. and Europe are placing a comprehensive effort to demonize the images of the PMOI/MEK and the NCRI to prevent any such changes, especially in Washington.

If Iran resorts to ridiculous remarks of accusing the U.S. and Iranian opposition of staging the recent double attacks in Tehran, the correct policy is none other than supporting the Iranian people and their resistance to realize regime change in Tehran.

shahriar_kia2  SK

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.

Source: What Is the Right U.S. Policy on Iran? | Clarion Project

How Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Financial Empire Funds Terrorism

This short video shows how the Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i empowered the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to build a financial empire and dominate much of the Iranian economy and financial system and where the money ends up in funding international terrorism in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere and how the money is used to fuel the Syria war. The video explains that it is time to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). This 3 minute video clip is made based on the newly published book, “The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire: How the Supreme Leader and the IRGC Rob the People to Fund International Terror.”

Alireza Jafarzadeh press conference on Iran missile program 20 June 2017

On June 20, 2017, Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a press conference in NCRIUS office and revealed the acceleration of the missile program of Iran, presented a list of 42 locations of missile sites of Iran involved in the design, production, testing, launching and command of the missile program of the Iranian regime. He also elaborated on the collaboration between the organization in charge of the weaponization of the nuclear program of Iran (SPND) and the missile program. He then elaborated on the role of North Korea in building the underground tunnels under the mountains, as well as research and production of the missile for the Iranian regime. Alireza Jafarzadeh provided the latest organizational charts of the Aerospace Force tasked with the manufacturing of the missile as well as the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps tasked with the launching and deployment of the missiles. There were a dozen sites exposed for the first time by the NCRI. Jafarzadeh provided the first full picture of the missile program of Iran. He also made some policy suggestions for the United States Government.

Iran Opposition Unveils IRGC Missile Sites

Iran Opposition Unveils IRGC Missile Sites

Iran has been pursuing an extensive ballistic missile program through dozens of very important sites, including twelve unknown to this day and one specifically linked to its highly sensitive and controversial nuclear program, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed at a press conference Tuesday in Washington.

The NCRI, citing sources of coalition member People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) network inside Iran, in this case in Iran’s Defense Ministry & the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has a history of blowing the whistle on Tehran’s ballistic missile program, nuclear weapons drive, terrorism and meddling across the Middle East and beyond, and human rights violations.

Various aspects of the dozen hitherto-unknown sites involved in ballistic missile production, testing and launches, all controlled by the IRGC, were also unveiled.

NCRI US Office Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh presented satellite imagery on the sites and details of North Korean experts who took part in the construction of such highly essential centers.

NCRI US Office Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh
NCRI US Office Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei demanded the acceleration of missiles production and tests following the nuclear deal signed with the P5+1 and specifically tasking the IRGC Aerospace Force to realize this objective.

The scope of Iran’s IRGC-pursued missile program is far more extensive than previously perceived. In this press conference the NCRI identified the locations of 42 IRGC sites, of which 15 are involved in missile manufacturing and containing several factories linked to a missile industry group.

Four of Iran’s most important missile sites are located in the cities of Semnan (east of Tehran), Lar (southcentral Iran), Khorramabad (western Iran) and near Karaj (west of Tehran), according to the PMOI/MEK sources. Iran has only acknowledged the existence of two of these sites to this day.

The Semnan site has been actively associated to SPND, Iran’s organization in charge of building a nuclear weapon, PMOI/MEK sources revealed. SPND has carried out many of its tests at this site.

SPND is the Persian acronym for the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, including Iran’s nuclear weapons program engineering unit. The NCRI first unveiled the existence of SPND in July 2011, leading to its sanctioning three years later.

IRGC missile sites have all been constructed based on North Korean blueprints, according to PMOI/MEK sources, adding Pyongyang’s experts have also been present at sites assisting their Iranian counterparts.

NCRI US Office press conference - Tuesday, 20 June 2017
NCRI US Office press conference – Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The NCRI revelation comes at a sensitive timing as the US Senate levied extensive new sanctions on Iran covering particularly its ballistic missile program, and support for terrorism and human rights violations.

All factions of the regime in Iran are fully supportive of their drive to upgrade their ballistic missile program, considered a critical aspect of the mullahs’ national security framework and foreign policy.

“We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted recently.

The region is currently engulfed in escalating tension as Iran launched six medium-range ballistic missiles targeting ISIS in eastern Syria on Sunday. Adding to the list of turmoil, the US military shot down a Syrian regime Su-22 fighter jet near the city of Raqqa for dropping bombs on US-allied ground forces. This is a first for Washington in the six-year long multi-faceted Syrian conflict.

This increase in foreign crises, parallel to Iran’s powder keg society causing major dilemmas for the mullahs as protests elevate across the country, will be a major issue of discussion in the upcoming NCRI annual convention scheduled for July 1st in Paris.

The NCRI, representing the most powerful Iranian opposition coalition, is calling for the following measures against Tehran:

  • Enacting and implementing effective and comprehensive sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and all associated individuals and entities,
  • Designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization as the institution behind Iran’s missile program, terrorism and meddling,
  • Evicting the IRGC and all affiliated proxy militias from Middle East countries, specifically Syria and Iraq.

Source: Iran Opposition Unveils IRGC Missile Sites

For watching the conference click on the below link:

The press conference revealing information on four of the most important Iranian Regime’s Missile Centers

 

What are the most beautiful dreams for Iran? Maryam Rajavi – I have a dream

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Maryam Rajavi – I Have A Dream
I have a dream, an Iran without execution and torture. A country in which cranes will be used to build a free and beautiful Iran, not for hanging human beings. A country in which stoning, amputating hands and feet will be something of the past. No place for sharia law and kangaroo courts, and love, friendship and tolerance will replace distrust, hatred and vengeance.
I have a dream, a free and democratic Iran, a country in which people enjoy freedom, freedom of life and freedom of security for all. Everyone is free to express their beliefs and demands. Everyone is free to protest. Everyone is free to choose their attire and determine their customs, and women to enjoy equal rights as men in all fields, including leadership.
I have a dream, an Iran full of tolerance and peace, and a country in which people with different beliefs and religions can live alongside each other in equality.
No religion is banned and no faith has any superiority over others.
There will be no inquisition in Iran’s society and no one will be prosecuted or harassed for their beliefs.
I have a dream, an Iran of peace and friendship, and a country in which war, bloodshed and violence is completely eradicated.
A country where fundamentalism and terrorism are replaced by peace and friendship in the region, and across the globe. A country committed to peaceful coexistence.
Yes, I have no doubt that in the path of realizing this dream we will overcome all obstacles. We will erase fundamentalism from our history forever.
Nothing can prevent the sunrise of liberty for the Iranian people, and nothing can prevent the realization of freedom in Iran.
And now, I hear the voice of the great nation of Iran saying, “We will be victorious and our country will be free.”

To see the subtitles have been translated into English please click on button “CC” at the bottom of the video clip.

Less seen scenes from Maryam Rajavi

 

1000 Ashrafs, 1000 bastions of resistance against tyranny

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Maryam Rajavi to the Grand Gathering in Paris 9 July 2016

Today, therefore, the question is not whether the ruling theocracy will be overthrown. The question is how we can reach that goal more quickly. We can do so by committing to the mantra of establishing. “1,000 Ashrafs;” thousands of bastions of rebellion and resistance against the ruling theocracy.
To achieve a free and just republic in Iran, we do not expect any miracles to happen. Nor do we expect any coincidental or chance occurrences in our favor. Our entire asset base consists of the Iranian nation and its vanguard children.

حماسه 10شهريور 1000اشرف

And this indeed gives us the greatest power in the world. So, we must expect
everything to be achieved with our own hands and through our own determination.

1000 Ashraf

This is why we must establish 1,000 Ashrafs.
The symbolism of establishing 1,000 Ashrafs really speaks to an attempt to unearth repressed potentials;
it means joining together the countless individuals who are currently scattered and disconnected, and it means encouraging people to invite real hope in their hearts and minds that the beast can be brought down. Yes, we can and we must.
1,000 Ashrafs means that we bring about the overthrow of the regime through the power of our people’s determination and their organized resistance movement. So, let me borrow from a poem by Bertolt Brecht: “Resist, person in exile! Resist, person in prison; Resist wife sitting in your house; Resist displaced person; Resist, you who are shivering in the cold; you must prepare to take command now.”

The mantra of 1,000 Ashrafs offers both the blueprint for freedom, and the motivating force for the general uprising. It is the heavy hammer that will descend upon the ruling theocracy.