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Iranians demonstration in New York against Rouhani's visit 2017

The Regime’s Wave of Executions Continues with Another Collective Execution at Adelabad

Iranians demonstration in New York against Rouhani's visit 2017

The Iranian communities supporters of the MEK, demonstrate in NewYork against Rouhani’s presence to the UNGA

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Iranian regime carried out a collective execution at Adelabad Prison. At the prison in Shiraz, the regime hanged nine prisoners in the same session, underscoring the Justice of Fars’ comments that the regime will deal with those that disturb the order of society.

The hangings came just a few days after the execution of four prisoners in Qir and Karzain County. Another prisoner was beaten to death in Bonab, East Azerbaijan while in police custody.

Blood on Their Hands

The mullahs have blood on their hands. The executions which took place this week were the latest in a string of brutal killings over the last 20 days. In just under three weeks, the regime has killed 31 prisoners.

The vast majority of victims were young political prisoners, detained on jumped up charges of “Moharebeh”, the practice of waging war against God. Many were hanged in groups, as at Adelabad Prison. In Gohardasht Prison on September 5th, a further eight prisoners were hanged.

International Condemnation

The reports coming out of Iran describing the regime’s wave of executions have prompted an outcry among the international Iranian community. Iranian communities in North America have voiced their support.

It is not just Iranians that are concerned by the latest human rights abuses in Iran. Former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein accused Rouhani and the mullahs of violating international human rights laws. He cited the Iranian regime’s use of execution in cases brought against juveniles.

Amnesty International reported that the Iranian regime executes more of its own citizens than any other government on earth. Children are often among those hanged. Earlier this year, Maboubeh Mofifi, aged 16, was executed on charges of murdering her husband.

Escalating an Atmosphere of Intimidation

The recent wave of executions comes as the mullahs seek new ways of maintaining their grip on power. A recent wave of protests has left the mullahs future in power uncertain. With domestic pressure mounting, the regime is resorting to a campaign of violence and terror to settle the domestic landscape.

Iranian opposition groups, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), have called on international human rights organizations and the UN to help end the ruthless execution of Iranian citizens.

The Iranian regime cannot be allowed to carry out these barbaric atrocities unchallenged. The Iranian people rely on non-profit organizations and international governments to be their voice and bring an end to this tyranny.

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MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

American Reporter Visits MEK Camp in Albania

MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

MEK members during September Congress during which they elected their secretary general.

A report published in the Washington Times on September 19th sheds light on the lives of MEK members living in Albania. Reporter L.Todd Wood researched the article while traveling in Albania. Wood was invited to visit the new MEK camp that is being built outside of Tirana while in Albania and learned about the MEK and its members. His report separates fact from fiction and explores the kinds of people who join the MEK and their reasons for doing so.

The new MEK camp, named Ashraf 3, houses around 3,200 members of the Iranian opposition movement. The group built the camp after being forced out of their old home in Iraq by a series of attacks by the Iranian-backed government.

The Iranian government is extremely fearful of the MEK, as it sees the group as an existential threat. As a result of this fear, the regime has repeatedly carried out brutal and reckless acts against the MEK in a series of failed attempts to destroy the organization and all opposition to the mullahs’ rule. In June, an Iranian diplomat was arrested for planning a foiled terrorist attack on the Iranian resistance’s Free Iran gathering in Paris. In August, two Iranian intelligence agents were arrested in the United States and charged with spying on the MEK on behalf of the Iranian regime.

According to Wood, the Iranian regime has taken its demonization campaign against the MEK all the way to Albania, employing its intelligence agents to recruit former MEK members to spread propaganda against the group in an attempt to ruin the organization’s reputation within Albania.

Wood’s visit to Ashraf 3 took place against the backdrop of the regime’s hostile attacks against the MEK, as well as the popular uprising currently taking place in Iran, which is being organized by MEK resistance units; the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, which are exacerbating Iran’s escalating social and economic crises; and a regime that is teetering on the verge of collapse through its own corruption, incompetence, and mistreatment of its people.

Wood described his entrance to Ashraf 3 in terms of the security measures that were required to ensure the safety of camp residents. Any time he left the camp during his visit, two cars had to travel together. Local security services were employed to provide perimeter defense and to inspect all cars who entered the camp gates.

According to Wood, Ashraf 3 resembles a small city in various stages of construction. It has lodging, robust cooking facilities, assembly halls, a medical facility, and an administrative building. He said that the MEK has done a remarkable job in recreating their home in Iraq in such a short time, noting that the facilities were already very functional, if still somewhat barren.

Wood met the leaders of the camp and was immediately struck by their openness. The MEK has been the subject of a number of recent journalistic attacks by BBC Channel 4 and Al Jazeera, ending in a flyover of the camp by a drone owned by Channel 4. The false reports have left the MEK eager to set the record straight. Wood indicated that he would be willing to keep an open mind, and he received full and detailed answers to all of his questions. In some cases, additional members were brought in to provide more detail on a response. No subject was taboo during the two-day visit, and Wood left with positive feelings about the MEK and a commitment to come back and learn more about the organization.

Wood was interested in the members of Ashraf 3. He wanted to know who joined the MEK, who chose to live at Ashraf 3, and why they joined the organization. He found that most of the camp residents were older, as the children of MEK members were moved out of Iraq and sent to Europe and the U.S. over the last decade when Camp Ashraf and Liberty became the targets of missile attacks. There were, however, quite a few younger members, some of whom were part of the group of children who were evacuated from Iraq in 2009. These children grew up and joined the MEK as adults, following in their parents’ footsteps.

Wood interviewed approximately 50 MEK members during his stay at the camp, speaking to people both young and old about their experiences and what led them to join the organization. Some of the people he interviewed joined because their loved ones suffered violence at the hands of the regime. Others joined because the regime executed a loved one. Many became members because they couldn’t envision a future in Iran and chose to commit themselves to bring regime change for the generations to come.

Wood acknowledges that the MEK has been described as a cult, but he pushes back against this idea, saying instead that it is a “fanatically committed group of individuals who have given their lives for an idea: a free Iran.” He describes the members of the MEK as individuals who want a better life for their brothers and sisters in Iran. He said that this was especially prevalent amongst the young people at the camp, many of whom carried physical scars from their time at Camp Ashraf or Iran. Many of the MEK members Wood spoke to “had a deep sense of loss and pain from their dealings with the regime-murder, assault, deceit, torture. Their overriding principle was to prevent future generations of Iran from having to go through the same horrific experiences.”

Wood pointed out that the camp residents are mostly intellectuals and were very successful before joining the MEK. These are people who could have settled anywhere in the West and done well for themselves, but they chose to sacrifice everything to work toward a free Iran. Wood emphasized that everyone in the camp is singularly focused on freedom, that the idea of freedom permeates the camp itself. He spoke of the focus and determination of every member of the camp in completing their tasks. The members of Ashraf 3 have one goal—freedom—and they are determined to achieve it. Wood said that everyone he spoke to knew why they were fighting and why it was important that they do so.

Wood also referred to recent propaganda pieces published by the Iranian regime lobbies or paid agents saying: “Albania has nothing to fear from this group. I did not see any weapons or military training. They want to become good citizens of Albania and to build a life in the former communist country. In fact, it is the MEKwho has to be worried about violence. The regime has shown it will stop at nothing to destroy them. Iranian Ministry of Intelligence agents are active in Albania. They are the ones the Albanian public has to fear, not the people in the camp.”

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Commemoration of 30,000 MEK supporters executed during 1988 massacre of Political prisoners

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

Commemoration of 30,000 MEK supporters executed during 1988 massacre of Political prisoners

Members of MEK raise photos of some of the fallen heroes and heroines of MEK, for standing to the criminal regime in Iran

The Iranian regime’s rising panic about the Iranian opposition movement, specifically the MEK, displays itself in state media on a regular basis. For decades, the mullahs denied that the MEK had any influence within Iran, but the regime can no longer dispute the power that the opposition group has in organizing popular protests on a daily basis through its resistance units.

Now the regime and its mouthpieces in the state-run media have changed their strategy of attempting to understand how the MEK works in order to stop the uprising that is taking place across Iran.

In an opinion piece dated September 16, 2018, a pro-regime writer from Baharestan County discussed threats to the regime and how to identify those threats and prepare for them. The main threat identified in his piece was the MEK, whom he described as the regime’s “number one enemy,” saying that the regime must “make [their]] forces vigilant and raise awareness among them disregarding all the unnecessary positions and all the other enemies that are not serious.”

The author went on to discuss other threats to the regime. He wrote: “Are Israel, the U.S., and Europe the main threats against us? Of course, they remain our enemies but can the U.S. truly overthrow the Islamic Republic? How about Israel? Certainly not. So, a realistic outlook demands that we determine as a first step that the main enemy is not a foreign force but an internal one.” It is clear that the regime and its supporters see the MEK as an existential threat. The regime is so fearful of the MEK that it planned multiple terrorist attacks this year on the group, all of which were foiled.

The opinion piece goes on to describe the ways in which the MEK poses a legitimate threat to the mullahs’ regime. The piece says: “One is their desire to overthrow the establishment, and the other is their capability to make that desire come true.”

The author writes that other groups do not have both the desire and the power to overthrow the regime. Monarchists do not have the power translate their desire into reality because “because none of the monarchist individuals are prepared to have their nose bloodied for the sake of this objective let alone being killed on this path.” He also notes that no Marxists and secular groups “both have the desire and the ability to overthrow the establishment.”

The author emphasizes that “the MEK meets both requirements for the overthrow of the regime” and that regime Supreme Leader Khamenei has made the same point repeatedly. He goes on to say, “Therefore, it is necessary that we identify them … without any concern, to raise awareness and to prepare all the insiders against this real and serious opponent.”

The author of the opinion piece believes that the MEK will display a show of power during the month of Muharram. He then cited unnamed reports indicating that the MEK is setting the stage to launch activities during Muharram (A month dedicated to religious ceremonies that prepares the ground for mass gatherings in Iran).

This latest piece of state media is just another example of the fear that is emanating from the regime loyal forces and an admittance to the influence the MEK has on the youth. The MEK’s resistance units have organized and mobilized the people, and the people have made their voices heard. The corrupt regime is falling, and a democratic alternative is here to replace it.

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Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

Religious Freedom is a Pillar of Trump’s Foreign Policy

Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

President Trump presiding over the U.N. Security Council session on September 26 expected to make a stand for universal values including religious freedoms and to make a clear case for greater multilateral pressure on Iran

“Trump is expected to advance religious liberty at the UN”, writes Ambassador Kenneth Blackwell in his recent article in The American Thinker. He refers to the widespread human rights abuses in Iran, with religious minorities among the worst affected groups.

Based on Amb. Blackwell’s article, a recent US State Department report estimated that between 2010 and 2017, the Iranian regime sentenced over 600 Christians to prison terms. The same report revealed its findings on anti-Christian messages within the Iranian state-run media. It found a recent uptick in aggressive anti-Christian sentiment, which corresponded with increased raids on places of worship.

Last month, the Iranian regime imprisoned an entire Christian congregation. Each member of the church was sentenced to one year in prison for practicing Christianity.

The Regime Cannot Survive in an Environment of Religious Freedom

The uptick in home-based church raids has coincided with a period of increased uncertainty for the clerical regime. Domestic pressure is mounting as public protests become increasingly common.

So far, the regime’s response has been to lock up protestors and political dissidents. The decision to imprison Christians reveals that the regime sees religious freedom as a direct threat to its authority. The regime does not believe it can maintain its grip on power in an environment of religious freedom writes Blackwell.

Ambassador Ken Blackwell the former U.S. representative to the United Nations emphasized that the Iran nuclear deal sought to usher in a new era of moderation among the Iranian leadership. The Obama administration and its European allies believed that the deal would force the Iranian regime to accept religious tolerance and end its persecution of Christians and other minorities.

Now, more than three years later, rather than promoting religious freedom, Rouhani and Khamenei have only intensified their campaign against minorities.

The US administration should back alternative forms of government in Iran

Blackwell believes that for the Trump administration, violation of religious freedom is far more of a priority. It has made it a pillar of its foreign policy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the Values Voter Summit this week, an international discussion of religious liberties. It will be the first time a Secretary of State has attended the summit.

Given the central role religious freedom occupies in Trump’s foreign policy, the US administration should back alternative forms of government in Iran that share the same values, writes Amb. Blackwell. He emphasized:

“Although Iran is presently one of the world’s most troubled areas in terms of religious liberty and human rights, it is also home to one of the most active, organized, and well-established movements in favor of Western-style values and democratic governance.  There is no better or more obvious way of promoting those values in Iranian society than by endorsing and supporting the MEK and its allies. ”

The Next Step

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) at its core hold those values. Its President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, has a ten-point plan for bringing democracy to Iran, founded on religious freedom of expression.

The MEK has been behind the expanding protest movement within Iran. It aided the spread of uprisings in December and January and has been behind some of the largest protests within the country since.

In response to the group’s mounting success, the Iranian regime has launched a brutal crackdown on MEK activities. The regime has imprisoned more than 8,000 of its members and killed over 50.

This has not deterred the group or its supporters in Iran. The Iranian public has continued to take to the streets, despite the risk to their lives and their freedom, ignited by Maryam Rajavi’s calls for a “year full of uprisings”. In August alone, protestors took to the streets in more than 24 Iranian cities, with many protesters calling for regime change, writes Amb. Blackwell.

President Trump has the opportunity to make a prominent statement next week at the UN Security Council Session. The Iranian people deserve the right to exercise their essential rights and liberties, including religious liberties. Trump can create his legacy as the President that made that happen. It is time to tighten the pressure on the clerical regime and pledge US support to the Iranian opposition.

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A poster expressing objection to Rouhanis visit to the UNGA

Rouhani Should Be Expelled from U.N. General Assembly and Security Council Meetings

A poster expressing objection to Rouhanis visit to the UNGA

Archive photo-A campaign against Rouhani, Iranian regime’s president’s visit to the UN by supporters of MEK in the U.S.- September 2017

Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to travel to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly on September 25th. The Iranian opposition opposes Rouhani’s presence at the annual meeting and believes that he should be expelled from the U.N., as his attendance violates the U.N.’s philosophy of peace.

Rouhani attended last year’s General Assembly as well, but circumstances have changed dramatically over the past year.

For one thing, this is the first U.N. General Assembly since the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The JCPOA was considered to be one of Rouhani’s greatest achievements as President, and its failure is indicative of systemic breakdowns at the highest levels of the regime.

To make matters worse, the U.N. Security Council Meeting next week will be headed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has been notoriously hostile to the Iranian regime.

In addition, the regime is in the midst of an escalating series of economic and social crises, the greatest of which is the possibility of regime change. The Iranian opposition, led by the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is a constant source of anxiety for regime authorities, who have sought to suppress the opposition.

The U.N. Security Council’s member states are expected to attend the General Assembly as well, due to the coordination in meeting times. Iran may attend this meeting as well as a non-member, but it is unclear if it will do so.

Hussein Shariatmadari, director of the Kayhan government newspaper, advised Rouhani not to attend the General Assembly. He believes that by skipping the session that Iran can embarrass President Trump. Shariatmadari sees this as a necessary maneuver to counter the “psychological policies” that Trump has directed against the Iranian regime. His advice to Rouhani is to have someone from the Foreign Ministry attended the Security Council meeting in Rouhani’s place.

Javad Zarif Khonsari, the regime’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, would be the preferred surrogate for Rouhani in this scenario. He would be expected to use his knowledge of English and various issues to humiliate Trump. It is fairly unlikely that this gambit would work. The regime is not in a position to bargain with the Security Council, as it is already under U.S. sanctions.

Rouhani’s participation in the Security Council is mostly an issue of vanity for the regime. The Iranian people want the regime to be banned from the U.N. entirely. Rouhani and the Iranian regime violate the principles of human rights and peace that the United Nations was built upon, and they should be expelled from the U.N. entirely.

Rouhani’s own words speak for themselves. On August 22nd he spoke at the regime’s Ministry of Defense and said this: “We will not comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. The resolution will not be our obstacle. We will, whenever we want, buy weapons and we will not await anyone’s approval. We will not look at any resolutions. We will sell weapons wherever necessary, we will sell without any consideration or obligation towards any resolution.”

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The plunging rial

Iran: Regime’s “Super Challenges” Are Insurmountable

The plunging rial

The dire condition of economy in Iran under the rule of the mullahs.

Iran’s faltering regime has begun to refer to its compounding crises as challenges and “super challenges.” The number of super challenges disclosed by Vice President Es’hagh Jahangiri, Majlis (parliament) speaker Ali Larijani, and other high-ranking officials within the regime has now approached 30 and is growing. These super challenges are the many overlapping rises faced by the regime that have dire consequences for both the regime and Iran as a whole.

Economic Crises

The economic situation in Iran affects people at every economic and social class. The regime’s own figures place the number of unemployed at over eight million, but economists estimate that the actual number may be as high as 15 million.

Liquidity Crisis

The regime has caused a crisis in liquidity by printing paper currency without collateral to back up its value. Regime sources say that the volume of printed currency without collegial equal value is increasing at a rate of 16 trillion rials per day.

Economic Depression

Iran’s economic depression has led to numerous factory and workshop closures. In addition to causing widespread unemployment, these closures have destroyed the country’s industry and domestic production.

Class Inequality

While those related to the ruling class hold 75 percent of all bank holdings in the country, 30 million Iranians live in absolute poverty. Those living in poverty are sometimes forced to sell their organs to meet their basic needs. The inequality has become such an issue that even the regime cannot ignore it. The regime’s own Chamber of Commerce chief warned, “If things continue on this track, we will be facing famine in 30 months.”

Social Crises

The water epidemic in Iran has wreaked havoc on people in many provinces. In some provinces in Iran, people lack access to clean drinking water. In others, farmers lack water to irrigate their crops. In some towns in Iran, people do not have water that is suitable to bathe in.

Meanwhile, the suicide rate rises, particularly among women. Women lack access to education, and those who do attain degrees find that they cannot find jobs or are not paid well. Depression and other mental health issues run rampant and untreated among Iranians. Drug addiction is on the rise, as is alcoholism, although alcohol and drugs are banned by the mullahs.

Dissatisfaction

Although the regime and its officials acknowledge the scope of the problem and admit they have failed to address the crises, this does nothing to help the country. These officials are worried about the consequences for the regime and the threat to its existence. The MEK and the Iranian opposition are worried about the future of Iran if the mullahs are not removed from power.

Crises are nothing new in Iran. What is new is the level of dissatisfaction by the Iranian people. Poverty, economic unrest, social upheaval, income inequality, and human rights violations have all added up for the people of Iran, and the regime’s existence is threatened. The regime has been forced to admit to its weakness.

The Iranian regime’s deputy homeland minister said this: “Right now, 80 percent of the people are unhappy about the status quo. If this reaches the 90 percent mark and public opinion is aggravated, God forbid, we will enter an ominous situation which would be very costly to get out of.”

Background

The Iranian regime is in jeopardy for two main reasons:

  1. The popular uprising by the Iranian people, which began in December of last year, caused major disruption to the regime’s power structure. Regime President Hassan Rouhani specifically said that everything changed after the uprising began on December 26, 2017.
  2. The United States ended its policy of appeasement to the mullahs, making it more difficult for the Iranian regime to bully the West into submission. In addition, Tehran has yet to sign the FATF anti-money laundering treaty. If it does not sign the treaty by the October 2nd deadline, it will lose access to banks and financial institutions in more than 200 FATF states

Effect of U.S. Sanctions

In a final, crushing blow, the second round of U.S. sanctions is set to take effect on November 4th. These sanctions will include the country’s oil and banking sectors and are predicted to have devastating consequences.

Any of these issues would be a serious problem for the regime, but the combination is insurmountable. The mullahs are aware that their claim to power is shaky, and the regime’s leaders have publicly declared that the country is in crisis.

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Protest in Isfahan over the plung of rial

The Evolution of the Iranian Uprising

Protest in Isfahan over the plung of rial

People of Isfahan take to the street their outrage over the increasing prices, the plunge of rial and lack of management by the regime.

It has been almost nine months since the beginning of the Iranian uprising that spread to more than 140 cities in every province in less than two weeks. The massive anti-government protests are still ongoing today and have shaken the regime to its core. Mohammad Hanif Jazayeri, editor of Free Iran, an organization that is opposed to the ruling regime, recently spoke about the manner in which the uprising has changed since its beginning late last year.

 

The uprising began last December as a response to worsening economic conditions in Iran and spread rapidly to more than 140 cities in less than two weeks. Iranians from all walks of life were furious about skyrocketing costs, the devaluation of the rial, increased military spending, and a budget proposal that would cut assistance to the poor.

 

Jazayeri believes that the protests have moved beyond the single issue of the economy and are now a direct challenge to the authority of the regime. He said: “While the protests began initially over the dire economic situation and mismanagement, the chants quickly turned political. Slogans such as ‘Leave Syria alone, think of us instead!’ undermine the regime’s national strategy, while chants of ‘death to the dictator!’ directly challenge the Supreme Leader’s authority. Once an unimaginable sight, today chants of ‘Death to Khamenei!’, the leader and ‘Death to Rouhani!’ the President, are now the norm in protests of all sizes.”

Jazayeri noted that the regime has been forceful and violent in its suppression of the protests. Its tactics led to more than 8,000 arrests and 65 arrests in just the first few weeks of protests.

 

The regime also monitors and follows protesters during rallies. Protesters may be arrested at home several days after attending a demonstration.

 

The regime has increased its use of neighborhood patrols and checkpoints in Tehran and other major cities to counter the MEK’s successful use of resistance units to organize protests, but it has had less success doing so in rural areas. In many cases, local security forces have been forced to call larger cities for backup.

 

Iran severed ties with the West after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and it has earned a reputation as a pariah in the international community due to its state sponsorship of terrorism and its policy of interventionism in the Middle East.

In 2002, the Iranian opposition revealed that the Iranian regime was developing nuclear weapons. This discovery led to sanctions against Iran, which were lifted in 2015 in exchange for an agreement by the regime to restrict its nuclear program.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May of this year, calling it “the worst deal ever.” The U.S. re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian regime, with the second wave set to take effect on November 4th. The U.S. sanctions are likely to prove disastrous for the already faltering regime.

 

Jazayeri emphasized that the recent protests have been successful due to the organization of the movement as a whole. The individual protests are all part of a greater goal.

Jazayeri said: “One way this can be seen is through the coordinated nature of the slogans that are being chanted from completely different sectors of society. For example, steelworkers in Ahvaz, down in the southwest, swindled investors in Rasht, in the north, and nurses and bazaar merchants in Tehran are chanting identical slogans. In recent months the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has set up ‘resistance units’ whose goal is to organise anti-government protests. They’ve actually been very successful thus far, not least due to the public’s support for their goal.”

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Iranian regime attempts to extend censorship to Twitter

The Mullahs are Losing Control of the Narrative in What Could Be a Defining Moment

Iranian regime attempts to extend censorship to Twitter

The Iranian regime Foreign Minister demands Twitter, to close down opposition accounts in Tirana in a bid to silence the voice of protesters in Iran that want Regime Change in the country.

The mullahs have suffered critical defeats on several fronts in their attempt to maintain their grip on power in Iran. The domestic landscape is becoming more turbulent, and their position in power becomes more precarious with each passing day as each revelation sheds more light on the mullahs’ reign of terror.

The economic crisis has sparked unrest, leading to protestors calling for Khamenei and Rouhani’s death in the streets. Abroad, the reintroduction of sanctions is hitting the regime’s oil profits, and digital giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Google are closing down the regime’s fake profiles spouting pro-regime propaganda.

A Step Too Far

The closure of the mullahs’ social media accounts came after US firm, FireEye, identified a network of suspicious accounts sharing posts from Iranian state-run accounts.

After careful investigation, FireEye concluded that the Iranian regime had established an elaborate network of fake profiles which it used to spread anti-Trump messages within the US. For the US-based social media companies, this was a step too far, and it took the decision to close the fake accounts associated with the campaign.

The bulk of the Iranian regime’s activities were centered around criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw the Iranian nuclear deal, and its subsequent decision to reimpose sanctions against Iran.

Out of Ideas

When Twitter and Facebook forced the closure of the accounts, Iranian regime Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that the tech giants were unjustly censoring innocent Iranians. He appealed to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, in a tweet, urging him to reinstate the accounts and investigate the main Iranian opposition group, MEK’s activists calling for regime change instead.

His tweet reads like a man without any ideas frantically trying to deflect attention from his own nefarious activities, onto his rivals. Zarif appealed to Dorsey to investigate tweets coming out of Tirana, the capital of Albania where many members of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) live in exile.

This was his latest attempt to accuse others of the crimes his regime has widely committed. In the past, he has accused Israel and Saudi Arabia, among other opposition groups, including the MEK, of being behind campaigns on social media calling for regime change in Iran.

Controlling the Narrative

Zarif’s appeal to Dorsey on Twitter while it demonstrates the weak and fragile status of the regime, which feels so vulnerable that it’s Foreign Minister has to appeal to Twitter for the closure of the opposition accounts. It also fits with the regime’s wider ambitions of controlling the narrative, both within Iran and abroad. Within Iran, the regime works tirelessly to block Iranians’ access to the wider world. A firewall is in operation, and many are forced to use VPN software to access the international media.

It also recently closed down a national newspaper after it published remarks critical of the regime. The regime accused the newspaper of insulting Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. The article cited was about gender reassignment surgery.

Outside Iran, the regime has attempted to publicly discredit opposition groups like the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). It has coordinated smear campaigns against the groups, their members, and their leader, Maryam Rajavi.

Part of this is to attack opposition groups and shore up power, but the mullahs are also anxious not to let details of their human rights abuses and crimes against humanity be revealed to the international community.

Incidents like the public flogging of journalists, the execution of political dissidents, and the massacre of MEK members in 1988 are among those that the mullahs want to keep under wraps.

The mullahs believe that by controlling the narrative, they can maintain their grip on power. But this strategy is unraveling.

The decision by Facebook and Twitter to close the regime-affiliated fake social media accounts demonstrates that the international tech community will not tolerate it. The Iranian people demonstrating in the streets calling for regime change shows that the people will not tolerate it, and the decision from Trump to reimpose sanctions against the regime shows that governments in the West will not tolerate it.

On this front, the regime is losing. But it is not going down without a fight. Following Zarif’s plea to Dorsey, Al-Jazeera, the Head of the National Iranian American Council, and New America, all released statements echoing Zarif’s talking points.

The mullahs have mobilized all the support they can muster. However, it is unlikely to be enough. The closure of its social media accounts is likely to be a defining moment in the demise of the Irian regime. The regime is losing control of the narrative and with it, it is losing control of the country.

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Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras Speaks at Geneva conference on 1988Massacre of political prisoners in Iran

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras Speaks at Geneva Conference Commemorating 1988 Massacre

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras Speaks at Geneva conference on 1988Massacre of political prisoners in Iran

Dr Alejo Vidal Quadras, Former Vice President of the European Parliament, speaks at a conference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners (mainly MEK activists) in Iran- September 2018

On September 14th, Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras gave a speech at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 1988 execution of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. The prisoners, who were mostly members or supporters of the MEK, were executed over the course of a single summer after refusing to renounce their support for the MEK.

The conference was attended by a group of human rights activists, politicians, and dignitaries who seek an independent investigation into the crimes against humanity. Dr. Vidal-Quadras was a co-organizer of the event and is president of the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ), an organization whose goal is to see that the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre are brought to justice and tried in international court.

In his speech, Dr. Vidal-Quadras called the 1988 massacre “probably the worst crime in Iran’s modern history. Vidal-Quadras noted that none of the perpetrators have ever been arrested for the executions. Instead, many “who have even admitted their role in this crime, have been rewarded and hold senior or ministerial positions in Iran today. Two of them are the previous and the present minister of Justice. Appointing the perpetrator of a crime against humanity as minister of Justice is really a world record of Evil.”

Vidal-Quadras spoke of the current human rights situation in Iran and the current number of executions. He rejected the idea that regime President Hassan Rouhani is a reformer, pointing out that more than 3,500 people have been executed in Iran since the start of Rouhani’s presidency.

Vidal-Quadras described the regime as a “killing machine,” saying that the regime has “responded brutally to the nationwide protests and uprisings which began in late December and have continued in different cities.” He added that more people have died under torture once in custody.

Dr. Vidal-Quadras urged the European community to “side with the people of Iran.” He said that the current policy of the EU and Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), “in closing their eyes to human rights violations and repression of women and just focusing on business and trade, is a disgrace.”

Vidal-Quadras stressed that Europe must make relations with Iran conditional on a halt in executions and significant progress in human rights. He emphasized that “Iran is not a normal country to do business with. There are no free elections in Iran. Iran is indeed a dictatorship but of an especially malignant type. It is a totalitarian theocracy which survives by the repression inside and instigation of war, terrorism and civil conflicts outside its borders.”

Vidal-Quadras stated that the Iranian regime is “very unstable and weak” and “has no future.” He reiterated his point that there are no moderates in Iran and that that the future “

We should tell them that contrary to what they think, this is a regime and e. So even for our long-term interests we should not count on the mullahs and have illusions about Rouhani or the so-called moderates, there are no real moderates in this religious dictatorship. The future “belongs to democracy and not these backward, brutal and murderous fanatics that oppress cruelly their own people and are the worst threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and in the whole world.”

Vidal-Quadras concluded by saying: “It is essential that the UN Security Council refer this case to the International Criminal Court to arrange for the prosecution of the regime’s leaders and those responsible for the massacre. I look forward to a more active role of the UN to prosecute the Iranian regime’s officials who took part in the mass killings in summer of 1988. We need urgently a commission of enquiry.  A crime of such magnitude must not remain unpunished.”

Staff Writer

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UN Security Council

The Iranian Crisis Represents a Political Opportunity

UN Security Council

The UNSC expected to condemn Iranian regime’s human rights abuses

As the mullahs struggle to get a handle on the domestic crisis, the international community has an opportunity to apply pressure to the regime. Khamenei, Rouhani, and their cronies are in a precarious situation. They are scrambling to hold onto power, exposing their corruption, human rights abuses, and mismanagement of the national finances in the process.

Iran in Crisis

The Iranian economy is in turmoil. The rial soared to 150,000 to the US dollar, prompting a national outcry and string of public protests.

Protests have become the norm in 2018. As details of the mullahs’ economic mismanagement have come to light, the Iranian people have responded with anger and fury. Protesters chanted “death to the dictator” and “death to Rouhani” in the streets at a number of high-profile protests.

The Iranian leadership has attempted to deflect the anger. The mullahs have publicly blamed the crisis on a foreign conspiracy, fostering an image of the regime as a victim.

However, the public has remained unconvinced. Among the protestor’s chants and slogans, many describe the regime as the “enemy”. On social media, Iranians have refuted the regime’s lies, and thwarted their attempts to portray the US as the enemy.

Valuable Allies

Instead of accepting the regime’s narrative of the US and Europe as the enemies, the Iranian protesters pointed at the regime as the enemy, not the West.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, expressed his concerns about the foiled plot against the Iranian opposition. At the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) Grand Gathering event in Paris, other prominent international politicians, including Newt Gingrich from the US and Bob Blackman from the UK, made speeches at the event and lent their support to the opposition movement.

The Iranian public called on heads of states from the US and Europe to stand with them in their struggle.

As the regime finds itself increasingly threatened, it is resorting to more extreme measures to maintain its grip on power. Its mechanisms of repression and widespread human rights abuses have become even more apparent.

In August, the regime arrested around 1,000 peaceful protestors. During the nationwide protests that gripped the country in late 2017 and early 2018, the regime locked up around 8,000 civilians. Those arrested are frequently tortured, forced to sign false confessions, and kept in isolation.

Members of the Iranian resistance abroad are also in danger. MEK and Nation Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) members were the targets of two regime-orchestrated terror attacks, both of which were thwarted in the final stages.

The regime’s stifling of political expression and routine human rights abuses are having an effect on the regime’s popularity abroad. It is becoming increasingly politically isolated. The latest round of sanctions is putting the Iranian economy under intense pressure.

UNSC Expected to Condemn Iranian Regime’s Human Rights Abuses

The upcoming UN Security Council meeting on September 26th will provide another opportunity for the international community to condemn the regime’s human rights abuses. As will the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit.

Western countries share the interests of the Iranian people. Both want an Iranian government which promotes peace in the Middle East, upholds the basic human rights of its people and manages a prosperous and thriving Iranian economy.

Working together, the Iranian people and the international community can apply pressure to the regime from two fronts. The people protesting in the streets hold the regime to account internally, while the international community maintains external pressure. With this two-pronged approach, the regime would be unable to maintain its grip on power and Iran could usher in a new era of democracy.

Staff Writer

 

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