Free Iran 2018,Free Iran Gathering,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Regime Change

FreeIran Gatheing in Paris.

#FreeIran2018 an Occasion for the World Leaders to Stand with the Iranian People for Freedom

FreeIran Gatheing in Paris.

A young man raise the flag of Iran’s opposition, during a rally in Brussels protesting Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister visit to Brussel.

On June 10th, the Kansas City Star published a commentary piece by Saeid Sajadi. The article, entitled “Real hope for democracy in Iran, but the U.S should help”, called on the Trump administration of offer a message of support to annual gathering of the Iranians in Paris, the Free Iran-2018.

Saeid Sajadi began by exploring the effect regime change in Iran would have on the wider Middle East. He called the Iranian regime, “the most destructive force affecting the stability, safety and security in the region and beyond”.

Regime Change is Within the People’s Grasp

The uprisings which took place at the tail end of 2017 “shook the foundation of the regime”, Sajadi said. Rather than isolated demographic groups protesting their individual grievances, the uprisings united people from all walks of Iranian society. The poor stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the urban middle class and wealthy merchants.

This was a landmark moment for the regime. It had long relied on the unfettered support of the nation’s lower classes. Slogans like “death to the dictator”, and “the game is now over”, will have shaken the mullahs’ confidence.

The rapid spread of civil unrest, which reached 140 cities over the span of a few days, shows two things, according to Sajadi. Firstly, it demonstrates the extent that Iranian society has been harbouring a desire for regime change. The eagerness with which people took to the streets, risking both their lives and freedom, indicates that many held deep-rooted mistrust towards the regime.

The Effectiveness of the MEK

The second is the strength of the MEK’s networks. Sajadi said the scale of the revolts indicates how “deeply the hidden and effective network of the main Iranian opposition force- PMOI, or the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran [MEK]- is rooted throughout Iran”.

What is incredible, is that the group has survived a perpetual attack on its existence by the Iranian government. Sajadi cites the massacre of 1988 when the government executed 30,000 MEK members in a single summer. Yet the group is not only still active but thriving and threatening the mullahs’ grip on power.

As President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi, predicted, 2018 has so far been a “year of uprising”. Nationwide-strikes have crippled the logistics sector. Other sectors like education, metalworks, taxi drivers, shop owners, and students have also organised protests and strikes against the regime.

The role of the US

Unable to avoid the will of the Iranian people, the US is beginning to change its stance towards the clerical regime in Iran. On May 21st, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, outlined 12 areas in which the regime needed to adjust its behaviour. The demands were explicitly designed to minimise Iran’s influence as a disrupting force in the Middle East.

These demands, although intended to limit Iranian power and influence, also provide support to the Iranian public. However, Sajadi argues the US should go further. With Iranians risking their lives in Iran to show the world that they want regime change, the U.S. has the opportunity to support real change in Iran. Lending its support to the Iranian people, in concrete terms, is in the interests of American people, Sajadi says.

He even provides an opportunity for the US to do so. On the 30th of June, there will be an international gathering of NCRI supporters in Paris. Many Iranians living in exile, and Iranian-Americans are set to attend. Sajadi calls on President Trump to offer a message of support at this, or another event organised by the Iranian opposition, to provide solidarity to the Iranian people on their quest for regime change.

 

 

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MEK,Nuclear Deal,PMOI,Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson holds his book "Self Sacrifice"

The mullahs begin to panic in the face of a disintegrating nuclear deal

Struan Stevenson holds his book "Self Sacrifice"

Struan Stevenson, Former MEP and the Coordinator of Campaign for Iran Change, holds his book on his experience with MEK, “Self Sacrifice”.

On June 6th, UPI published an article from Struan Stevenson entitled, “Iran’s mullahs press the panic button”. In the article, Struan Stevenson describes the anxiety and panic evident in the Iranian regime following the collapse of the nuclear deal.

Following the US withdrawal from the deal, European companies faced a decision: continue trading with Iran and risk the wrath of the US State Department or follow suit and cut ties. As it looks increasingly inevitable that European companies are going to follow the lead of the US, Stevenson suggests that the mullahs have “pressed the panic button”.

Mitigating Losses

In a desperate attempt to salvage the deal, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif pleaded with the EU to “make up for Iran’s losses”. His comments were echoed by the supreme leader Khamenei.

Khamenei initiated work on a new centrifuge-assembly center. The site at Natanz was one of the many top-secret nuclear sites exposed by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The Flawed Deal

The nuclear deal that Khamenei and the mullahs are so desperately trying to save was flawed from the outset. It removed sanctions against the Iranian regime and unlocked more than US$150 billion in financing for the regime. Rather than spend this money investing in its people or economic future, instead the regime plowed the money into destabilizing the Middle East. The Iranian regime exported their Quds Force and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to carry out their brand of violence and terrorism in other conflicts in the region.

The violent, terror groups have been present in the Syrian and Iraq conflicts. According to Stevenson, the Iranian regime has also funneled funds to Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Violence at Home

The regime’s brand of violence and repression has not only been present abroad. At home, the mullahs used the money to crack down on dissidents and public protests. In his article, Stevenson described how recent months have seen vast uprisings taking place across Iran, involving truck drivers, civil servants, teachers, investors, and laborers.

The regime’s response has been brutal. Hundreds of dissidents have been killed and executed. More than 8,000 have been arrested and detained by the regime, several of which have been tortured while in custody.

Human rights organizations have condemned the Iranian clerical regime. Iran now leads the world in state executions per capita, with more than half of global state executions taking place on Iranian soil. The situation has deteriorated so much that seven Iranian prisoners wrote an open letter to the government, risking their lives by calling hanging “murder by the government, in all circumstances”.

European silence

Despite the appalling situation in Iran and destabilizing effect the regime is having on the wider Middle East region, European governments have been reluctant to cut ties with the Iranian regime. Stevenson says European companies “will secure new, rich business deals, while political prisoners dangle from the gallows.” The EU seems content to put financial gain above Iranian human rights, he emphasized.

Stevenson, as well as the MEK and the leader of Iran opposition, Maryam Rajavi, have urged the EU to acknowledge the severity of the situation in Iran. The Iranian regime brokers terrorism across the Middle East, causing thousands of deaths both in Iran and abroad.

The nuclear deal was inadequate. It gave concessions to the regime but failed to prevent them advancing their nuclear ambitions or curbing their missile programs. Stevenson finished his article by urging the European nations to back the Iranian people instead of the regime. He said, “we should back the Iranian people who want rid of this fascist dictatorship and who yearn for Iran to become a peaceful and prosperous partner in the global family of nations.”

Staff Writer

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Kazerun,Protests in May,Strike,Teacher's strike,Truck drivers protests,worker's strike

Truck drivers protest in solidarity with their fellow truck drivers in more than 240 cities.

MEK – Iran Protests Rise by %233 During The Month of May

Truck drivers protest in solidarity with their fellow truck drivers in more than 240 cities.

Striking truck drivers raise their hands in solidarity with other strikers in more then 240 cities across the country.

Reports from MEK network inside Iran indicate a major rise in protests in Iran in comparison to the month of April. A report by “our Iran” confirms the rise in protests in the month of May.

Our Iran published a summary highlighting the increase in protest activities in May. The month of May saw protests spread like wildfire across Iran’s urban and rural population. 1093 individual protests took place, an average of 35 a day, with people from all walks of Iran’s population putting down their work and taking part. Poultry workers stood aside truck drivers, laborers, and teachers, united in their shared disgust for the tyrannical regime.

There has been a marked increase in protest activity. April saw an average of 15 protests a day across Iran. May more than doubled this figure. The bulk of the May protests came from striking truck drivers, whose strikes affected 285 of Iran’s cities.

Striking Truck Drivers

Between May 22nd and June 2nd, heavy vehicle drivers in all 31 of Iran’s provinces put down their keys and turned off their engines in an act of defiance. They had plenty to protest. The mullahs have increased insurance prices, highway tolls, and cargo commission rates, in a thinly-veiled attempt to further line their own pockets. Illegal charges, job shortages, and exorbitant vehicle repair prices left the truck drivers with little money for themselves.

The plight of the nation’s truck drivers attracted the attention of other industry sectors. The leader of Iran opposition, Maryam Rajavi, pledged her support and encouraged others to stand with the drivers in a gesture of solidarity. As a result, taxi drivers, minibus drivers, and petrol truck delivery drivers joined the strike, leaving gas stations empty and long queues of cars waiting to fill up.

Tehran’s Taxi Drivers Strike

Taxi drivers at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport also put down their keys to protest their inability to enter the traffic area to pick up patrons. Their plight also inspired others, with taxi drivers across Iran joining their cause, and that of the truck drivers. Taxi drivers in a total of 11 provinces joined the strike in protest at their own appalling working conditions.

A Wide Array of Labour Protests

May saw no less than 249 individual labor protests across 62 of Iran’s cities. The majority of these were born from discontent over non-payment of salaries, unfair dismissals, and closures of factories. Railway workers, coal miners, sugarcane workers and factory workers were among those that coordinated strikes against the regime.

Protestors from Plundered Investors

38 separate protests came from plundered investors. These investors lost their savings after the mullahs looted credit institutions. In Rasht, angry protestors tore down a statue of the head of the central bank of Iran, Saif. In Tehran, demonstrators threw eggs and tomatoes at the doors of the monetary prosecutor’s office, the Trade Bank, and the Future Bank. In another protest, investors conducted a sit-in outside the Central Bank. They blocked the street, and cars prevented cars from moving.

Protests from the Elderly

On May 11th, the retired population of Iran took to the streets to vent frustrations of their own. Pensioners in Iran frequently do not receive payments, and when they do, they are so meagre that they are forced to live in appalling conditions. Retired teachers, steelworkers, and petrochemical workers took to the streets to demand a fairer and more reliable pension system.

Teachers Protests

Teachers accounted for 38 protests across 34 cities in May, a fivefold increase of teacher strike activity for April. The Council for the Coordination of Teachers Organizations called on teachers across Iran to strike over unpaid wages, discrimination, and limited job stability. Like the MEK, the Council has been instrumental in coordinating resistance to the clerical regime.

The teachers faced a violent response from the regime’s agents. They targeted the striking education workers and beat them up, targeting female teachers. Many of those in attendance, including members of the Teacher’s Association, were arrested for their involvement in the protests.

Student Resistance

Iran’s student population was also vocal in its criticism of the clerical regime. They raged against systematic corruption, the regime’s involvement in university affairs, the plundering of student’s tuition, cutting educational terms, and the unplanned movement of university locations. 12 cities saw student protests in May, showing a renewed determination from Iran’s youth to risk their lives and their freedom to have their opinions heard.

Tehran’s Market Strike

On May 12th, Iran’s shopkeepers and market stall owners closed their stalls and shops for business. They were protesting a high exchange rate and significant price fluctuations, causing economic uncertainty for them and their families.

Iconic shopping areas of Tehran were deserted. The Kuwaiti Bazaar, Sadaf Passage, sections of Cyrus Street, and the Aladdin Passage were among the areas affected by the strike. Merchants in Baneh continued their strike after the closure of border crossings impacted their supply routes. They lifted the strike after the regime promised to address their demands. However, when the regime failed to deliver any reforms, they merchants and shopkeepers of Baneh resumed their strike on May 15th, in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Tehran.

Kazerun’s Protests

Kazerun became the site of clashes between the regime’s forces and the enraged Iranian public. After protestors gathered to air their discontent at plans to divide the city, the Iranian security forces opened fire on those in attendance. Four citizens were killed, starting a period of public mourning which saw the local amenities shuttered.

The people got their wish. The government backed down on its plans to divide the city. However, it cost four martyrs their lives and many more their freedom after the authorities carried out widespread arrests.

Shahrud’s Protests

Merchants at the Shahrud Grand Bazaar went on strike over the regime’s proposal to move the Roads and Transport Department out of Shahrud. The Iranian authorities wanted to move the government department to Semnan, taking with it many of Shahrud’s employment opportunities. After intense public pressure, the regime conceded and backed down on its plans to move the department.

Naser Malek Motie’s Funeral

On May 27th, the Iranian public turned out for the funeral of Iranian film icon, Naser Malek Motie. The actor and cinematographer suffered at the hands of the Iranian regime throughout his life and represented a beacon for supporters of the opposition movement. The funeral soon turned into an anti-government protest as those in attendance began chanting anti-government slogans. Agents loyal to the regime attempted to disperse the crowd, firing tear gas, however, the brave mourners would not be moved.

The tireless work of the MEK orchestrated the May protests, providing Iran’s youth with a beacon of hope for a brighter future for Iran. The growing number of protests in May shows the burning desire for regime change in Iran, despite all the repressive measures has not changed, but grown by 233% in comparison to the protests in April.

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Arrested protesters,International Cooperation on Human Rights Culture,Iran Protests,MEK

call on UN to pressure Iran to release detained Iran Protesters

Italian Human Rights Group Calls for Immediate Release of Iranian Protesters

call on UN to pressure Iran to release detained Iran Protesters

International Cooperation on Human Rights Culture calls on UN to put pressure on Iran to release the protesters arrested during the recent Iran uprising

On Thursday, June 7th, Roberto Malini, Dario Picciau, and Glenys Robinson, the Italian Co-Presidents of the Group for International Cooperation on Human Rights Culture, called on the United Nations to secure the unconditional release of thousands of Iranians arrested during the ongoing uprising in Iran. In their letter to the U.N., they also asked the international organization to take decisive action to prevent further suppression of and violence toward the peaceful protesters. A call for the immediate release of protesters and an end to the brutal suppression of the regime toward its people, a call that had been supported by MEK previously.

 

The statement said, in part: “We are gravely concerned about the human rights violations going on in Iran and the killing and suppression of peaceful demonstrators in that country.”

The widespread uprising, which began in December of 2017, was set off by protests about the poor economic conditions in the country, which have led to 75% of people in some rural provinces living in poverty, food and water shortages, and the withholding of salaries from some workers for months or even a year. As the uprising gathered steam, people began to protest the regime’s corruption and systemic human rights abuses as well. Protests were held in 140 cities across Iran, and by the time the uprising was briefly suppressed two weeks later, the people had joined together in a deafening call for regime change and nothing less.

 

Despite the brutal efforts by the regime to suppress the uprising, including thousands of arrests, countless acts of violence, and the fatal shooting of defenseless protesters, protests continue today, with multiple acts of defiance toward the regime and protest gatherings occurring daily across the country. The regime has responded to this undeniable call for change with mass arrests, detentions, and further violence.

 

Those protesters who have been arrested have been subjected to brutal interrogations and torture. Some of the arrested protesters have disappeared and others were killed under torture. The regime later announced that they have committed suicide in Iranian prisons! MEK members have been specifically targeted by the regime, and the regime openly blamed the MEK for the uprising.

The letter to the United Nations specifically mentioned the recent protest in Kazerun on May 9, 2018, that turned deadly after suppressive forces fired upon the crowd from a rooftop. Four protesters were shot and killed and dozens more were arrested. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a spokesman for the U.N., responded to the deadly protests, saying that the U.N. “wanted to make sure that the rights of teams to assemble and to protest peacefully were respected by all, including the security forces.” He added that the United Nations would hold Iran to that standard.

In their letter, the Group for International Cooperation on Human Rights Culture asked the U.N. to let the Iranian regime know that acts of suppression toward its people would not be tolerated and that continued actions would result in severe consequences from the U.N.

The Group for International Cooperation on Human Rights culture considers these acts by the regime to show a disregard for the Iranian people’s freedom of speech and their right to peaceably assemble. The Italian NGO believes that it is the responsibility of the U.N. to make the Iranian regime accountable for its actions.

Staff Writer

 

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Iran Protests,MEK,PMOI

Kazerun demonstration-May 2018

Regime Change is Coming to Iran: Europe Must Take Note

Kazerun demonstration-May 2018

Archive photo- Mass demonstration in Kazerun in response to Iranian regime’s repressive measures -May 2018

Article published in the German version of HuffPost, assess that the situation in Iran is reaching a critical stage. However, it reminds that just like in 1977, when Iran was on the eve of political change, western governments have been slow to react. On December 31st, 1977, Jimmy Carter publicly described Iran as an “island of stability”. He could not have been more wrong. Just eight months later, Iran was rocked by anti-government protests daily, and the country soon went through a significant political change.

Iran is Ready for Change

The situation today looks eerily similar to Iran of 1978. The public, exasperated and frustrated with decades of oppression from the clerical regime and its corrupt practices and policies, are taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers.

Every public gathering and event has become an opportunity to vent their displeasure and frustration. For example, on May 27th, at a funeral for Iranian movie icon, Nasser Malek Motiei, those in attendance began chanting “death to the dictator, long live Nasser”. The protestors also lamented the state of Iranian television and radio, shouting “our state TV and radio is a shame”.

Others in the arts industries have taken to social media to express their discontent. After Rouhani, regime’s president invited Iranian artists to celebrate the fasting break in the month of Ramadan, many declined the invitation, publishing photos of their invites on social media and outlining reasons why they would be skipping the event. They cited reasons such as Rouhani turning a blind eye to those suffering across the country, leaving promises unfulfilled, and the imprisoning of artists and political prisoners, the article writes.

In other sectors, there is the same story. The nationwide truck driver’s strike has left fuel stations empty, with drivers on strike across 242 cities. Last month protests ravaged the city of Kazerun. Protestors clashed with agents of the state and the Revolutionary Guards shot and killed four demonstrators. This gave rise to yet more protests at the funerals of the martyred protestors.

The article sums up that in the final week of May there were no less than 489 individual protests across Iran, an average of 69 a day. Workers protests accounted for 33 of them, nine came from investor communities, four were carried out by the country’s retired population, 406 were from the haulage and trucking industries, three came from teachers, three from political prisoners, and 29 came from other sectors of society.

The protests have spread across all sectors of Iranian society, and each demographic has its own distinct cause. Some are protesting dire economic conditions, some drought, others the crippling unemployment rate, while others are expressing dissatisfaction at rampant corruption.

No End in Sight

The regime has resorted to the same oppressive tactics in each case. It makes arrests, tortures prisoners, executes many involved, threatens others against joining the protest movement, and disseminates fear and intimidation.

But these methods will not quell the protests. Each protest that is successfully carried out provides hope and generates momentum for the next protest. The more the people can see the regime losing its grip, the more people it inspires to take to the streets.

The HuffPost article determines that the protestors cannot be intimidated and repressed through violence. The crisis is too severe this time. The economic problems Iran is facing are too widespread.

A More Organised Protest Movement

The Iranian opposition is also far more organized than it has ever been before. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) has worked tirelessly organizing protests and drawing international attention to the plight of the Iranian people.

Its efforts have received the interest of the clerical regime. Representatives of the state have blamed MEK for its role in the protest movement and expressed dismay at its ability to inspire the Iranian people to make their voices heard.

Europe’s Role

The article concludes that the US is beginning to understand the untenable position Rouhani and his regime occupy in Iran. It is reviving old sanctions and considering a tougher stance towards the regime. However, like Jimmy Carter in 1977, European heads of state are burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the situation in Iran.

Persevering with a policy of appeasement towards the regime lacks political sense. The Iranian citizens have made their opinion clear. They want regime change. The intensification of protests has shown that the status quo cannot continue. Regime change is on the horizon. Europe would be in a far better position when it does if it adjusts its position now and ends its financial and political investment in Rouhani and the mullahs. Betting on him now is a bet on a dead horse.

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Disinfomation against MEK,Disinformation Campaign,MEK,MSNBC On Assignment,PMOI,Richar Engel Propaganda,Richard Engel

MEK supporters rally in London in solidarity with Iran Protests.

MSNBC’s MEK Coverage Lacks Accuracy and Objectivity

MEK supporters rally in London in solidarity with Iran Protests.

Supporters of MEK, rally in London in solidarity with Iran Protests at home.

MSNBC’s coverage of recent protests in Iran lacked the objectivity necessary to provide its audience with accurate, factual evidence on the situation in Iran. On the 25th of May, the network broadcasted its “On Assignment” program. The program, narrated by Richard Engel, repeated the Iranian regime’s false narrative on the protests, even going as far as to include a notorious agent of the regime as a key witness.

The coverage presented unfounded allegations about the Iranian opposition movement, the MEK, including that it carries out acts of torture. It also framed the prospect of change in Iran as a purely American adventure, overlooking the many protests that have racked the country in recent months, and continue to rack the country on a daily basis.

Omission of Facts

The report was forthcoming in allegations against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), however, it failed to mention many important facts. It tried to depict the activists involved in the resistance movement as violent brutes but declined to mention that the NCRI and particularly the MEK are the prominent victims of the violence in Iran, with the regime executing as many as 30,000 of its members in the single summer of 1988.

In total, as many as 120,000 members of the MEK have been arbitrarily executed at the hands of the regime. Many more have been imprisoned on jumped up charges and face harassment from the regime on a daily basis.

Pushing Trump Towards War

The program went on suggest that the Trump administration is careering towards a war with Iran, driven on by the NCRI’s encouragement. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The MEK and the Iranian opposition has asserted time and time again that it does not want war. The leaders of the movement, including Maryam Rajavi, have publicly appealed against military intervention.

The Death of US Military Personnel in Iran

The “On Assignment” program also claimed that the MEK was involved in the death of six American military personnel and contractors that occurred in the 70s in Iran, also claimed that MEK was involved in the hostage-taking after the 1979 revolution. These claims were discredited in 2006 in an independent study from the Iran Policy Committee.

Based on the independent study, The MEK leaders and most of its members were in Shah’s prisons when the assassinations took place by a separatist group that had taken over the organization in the absence of all its leaders who were in Prison at the time. They had hijacked the name of the organization, changed its ideology to Marxism and even murdered some of the members who resisted their take over. MEK had no role in the alleged assassinations.

The Iran Policy Committee also found that the MEK had no part in the embassy takeover. In reality, the whole incident was orchestrated by the clerical regime to turn public opinion against, and then suppress, the Iranian opposition.

This reassessment of the circumstances around the 1979 embassy takeover led the State Department to revoke its designation of the MEK in 2012 after it found no evidence of terrorism carried out by the MEK or the NCRI. Instead, it acknowledged the MEK as a legitimate resistance movement.

Had MSNBC consulted members of the House and Senate, it would have quickly discovered that rather than a violent and aggressive organization, the MEK is a peaceful and legitimate resistance movement. Hordes of scholars and writers have publicly debunked the falsehoods and misinformation disseminated by the clerical regime about the MEK. Conducting basic research would have exposed much of MSNBC’s assertion as false.

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Disinfomation against MEK,Masoud Khodabandeh,MEK,MSNBC Propaganda piece,On Assignment Piece against MEK,PMOI,Richard Engel

NCRIUS debunks propaganda piece against MEK

U.S. NCRI Office Responds to False Allegations About MEK, Made on MSNBC Program

NCRIUS debunks propaganda piece against MEK

Richard Engel’s piece published at MSNBC-A propaganda piece against Iran opposition, debunked by NCRIUS

On Saturday, May 26th, the National Council of Resistance of Iran U.S. Representative Office (NCRIUS) published a rebuttal to the outrageous allegations made in a program that aired on MSNBC on May 25th. The program in question was Richard Engel’s “On Assignment”, included a number of old and debunked allegations about the MEK, which is the largest member of the NCRI.

 

The program relied on claims made by Masoud Khodabandeh, a long-standing known operative of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Khodabandeh has been used repeatedly by the Iranian regime to further its demonization campaign against the MEK, and his allegations have been proven false repeatedly.

 

The recent uprising and continuing protests by the Iranian people have made it clear that they want regime change and that they support the resistance movement, which includes the MEK, as its backbone. The regime finds itself in a desperate position and has increased its efforts to delegitimize the MEK and stave off the revolution. Part of this effort to demonize the MEK includes planting false narratives in Western media about the MEK and its goals, in an attempt to frighten away potential allies of the resistance. These falsehoods have all been debunked in the past. In addition, it is important to note that the MEK does not desire U.S. military involvement in toppling the Iranian regime. The organization is capable of this without outside intervention. The NCRIUS responded to the false allegations made on MSNBC point by point.

 

On claims by Masoud Khodabandeh that the MEK is a “destructive cult” that receives money and gold from Saudi Arabia:

 

It has been established by numerous sources (including a report commissioned by the Library of Congress) that Masoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Anne Singleton, are MOIS agents working for the Iranian regime. Witnesses have seen Ms. Singleton doing the work of the regime on several occasions.

 

The MEK flatly denies allegations that it has taken money from Saudi Arabia or any other foreign government. The MEK relies on its members to finance its activities and challenges anyone to prove otherwise.

 

On claims that the MEK was responsible for the deaths of six American military personnel and Pentagon contractors in the early 1970s in Iran:

 

According to a 2013 independent study by the University of Baltimore and a 2014 Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder, the MEK was not in any way involved in the deaths of U.S. service members in Iran. In fact, the assassins responsible for the U.S. deaths also assassinated several MEK leaders. These assassins later confessed to these crimes and were executed by the Shah’s regime.

 

The MEK members at Camp Ashraf in Iraq were later designated as “protected persons” under the Geneva Convention, a status that could not be conferred to members of an organization that had participated in terrorist acts. According to the New York Times, “Senior American officials said extensive interviews by officials of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any members of the group [MEK].”

 

On claims that the MEK participated in the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979:

Iran’s Supreme Leader after the 1979 revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini, engineered the hostage crisis in order to consolidate power and crush the MEK. Masoumeh Ebtekar was a Spokesperson for the hostage-takers and is now a member of President Rouhani’s cabinet. She confirmed that the MEK had no role in the hostage crisis.

 

On Engel’s claim that the MEK paid large sums of money to former U.S. officials as speaking fees:

The MEK denies making payments to Americans, and an investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department confirmed this. The 2012 investigation concluded that Iranian-Americans exercised their First Amendment rights in organizing events where U.S. officials spoke and broke no laws in doing so.

On claims by Daniel Benjamin, former Coordinator of Counterterrorism, that the MEK is a terrorist organization, despite being delisted:

 

The MEK was originally listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) as a “goodwill gesture,” which was intended to appease the Iranian regime. The Clinton Administration later officially confirmed that this was their reasoning in adding the MEK to the terror list. In 1998, a letter from the House Majority described the designation as a “wrong-headed policy,” that would only embolden the regime, and characterized the MEK as “a legitimate resistance movement.”

In 2010 the MEK filed the first of many court cases to challenge its inclusion on the terror list, and court after court ruled in favor of the organization. In a final ruling, a federal court found no evidence that the MEK was involved in terrorist activities and gave the Secretary of State a deadline to issue a new decision. Otherwise, the court stated that it would delist the organization itself. The State Department refused to comply with the court order. In response, the MEK filed the first successful writ of mandamus since 1803, which forced the State Department to delist the organization in 2012.

The MSNBC piece was based on falsehoods that have been propagated by the regime and its surrogates for many years, despite being easily disproved by the public record. The regime hopes that by continuing to demonize the MEK they can prevent the inevitable downfall of their oppressive reign. But after the uprising that began last year and spread to 140 cities across Iran, it is obvious that this strategy will not be successful, despite their efforts to spread propaganda in the Western world.

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Iran Protests,Iran Uprising,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,PMOI,Ramesh Sepehrrad

MEK Rally in support of IranProtests

New Study Suggests Revolution on Horizon in Iran

MEK Rally in support of IranProtests

MEK Rally in Paris, in support of Iran Protests-2018

A new study was written by Dr. Ramesh Sepehrrad, a scholar-practitioner at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR) at George Mason University, published in the journal E-International Relations on May 21st draws attention to the growing unrest in Iran. The uprising that began last December gave voice to a growing number of Iranians who are tired of the regime’s shallow claims of reform and are demanding regime change. Sepehrrad’s paper discusses the roots of the uprising, the reason for its widespread impact, and its potential to start a revolution in Iran.

 

The scope of the Protests

 

According to Sepehrrad, the recent uprising in Iran began with a protest in the northeastern holy city of Mashad over rising food prices and quickly spread into a massive uprising that took place in 140 cities across Iran. During the two weeks before the regime temporarily suppressed the uprising, the scope of the protests grew from economic conditions to inequality, to corruption, and finally to calls for regime change.

 

The people protesting came from all walks of life, but the first protests were led by Iranians from the lower middle-class whose standard of living has decreased dramatically in recent years. They were joined by large numbers of women and youths who rose up in solidarity with those struggling through poor economic conditions. As the uprising grew, more people joined the ranks of protesters, including members of Iran’s many ethnic groups, including Turks, Kurds, Turkmen, Arab, Taleshi, Baluch, Lor, Bakhtiari, and Ghashghai, and the uprising began to look more like a coordinated effort and less like scattered protests. The regime attempted to paint the protesters as looters and criminals, but, as Sepehrrad wrote in her paper, this argument was invalidated by the fact that no looting occurred. The uprising was well-organized and goal-oriented, not a few protests by the poor and desperate.

 

Sepehrrad pointed out that Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei later acknowledged the role of the MEK in the uprising in an attempt to frighten people and prevent further protests. The regime’s record of brutality to the MEK is well-documented. In the summer of 1988 alone the regime executed 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were MEK members. By acknowledging the MEK’s role in the uprising, the regime hoped to discourage protesters who did not want to meet the same fate as the tens of thousands of MEK members who have been targeted by the mullahs, but instead, they inadvertently lent credibility to the resistance organization and its goal of regime change.

 

According to Sepehrrad, the December 2017/January 2018 uprisings were unique in several respects. For one thing, the protests were widespread, occurring in 140 cities over the course of two weeks. Protests occurred both in cities and in more rural areas. This was partially due to the use of social media, specifically Telegram, to spread the word of the uprisings. Government censorship efforts tend to cluster in the larger cities in Iran, so protesters in smaller cities were able to bypass state censors to get their message out in a way that would not have been possible in Tehran. The Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is also more densely clustered in larger cities, meaning that protests in small cities were not quickly or easily suppressed before word could spread. In addition, the protests began because of frustrations with economic conditions. The poor are disproportionately located in smaller cities, so the places where protests could spread more easily were also the places where more people felt compelled to protest.

 

Sepehrrad found that protesters also utilized social media to collect data about the uprising. This information is an invaluable resource for predicting future acts of resistance by the people. Sepehrrad claims that the data gathered during the uprising shows a new model of protest in Iran that encompasses diverse groups and locations.

 

Sepehrrad also wrote about the unity shown by the protesters. People protested for many reasons, but all of the protesters were united by their desire for regime change. According to Sepehrrad’s research, 65% of protest signs seem during the uprising called for regime change. This was extraordinary for such a diverse group of people. The poor, women, young people, legitimate political groups, the labor movement, various ethnic groups, and representatives from every social class banded together to demand change. This sort of unity in protest has been seen historically in revolutionary settings.

 

The data collected during the uprising provided a picture of the protesters and their goals. Sepehrrad found four major themes in her analysis of the data.

 

  1. Unlike previous uprisings, the protesters in the recent uprising had no desire to negotiate with the regime for concessions. They demanded nothing less than regime change.
  2. The uprising was an organized nationwide movement, with protests occurring all over Iran, not just in the cities.
  3. Social media played a huge role in the uprising, in part because the protesters were able to flip the script and transfer the fear of retaliation from the protesters to the regime by documenting protests and communicating in a medium that could bypass the regime’s attempts at censorship.
  4. The unity displayed by a diverse group of protesters has unleashed sentiments of revolution across Iran.

 

Goals and Tactics of Protesters

 

Protesters shared the common goal of regime change, but Sepehrrad found that there were a number of different issues that led people to rise up. Economic conditions caused many people to rise up. The lower middle class made up a large percentage of protesters because this group has been forced into poverty by the regime’s policies. Under the ruling regime, economic disparities between regime officials and their families and the rest of the country have disillusioned many Iranians. The regime has been accused of financial corruption, leading to unequal access to wealth that has caused widespread poverty amongst Iranians. Numerous allegations of corruption by the members of the regime have been made, and these claims have been substantiated by a report by Transparency International, which ranked Iran 131 among 178 countries.

 

According to Sepehrrad‘s research, 40% of Iranian citizens in large cities live below the poverty line, and 60-70% of people in smaller cities and towns live in poverty. Young people, educated women, and college graduates are chronically unemployed or underemployed, with the regime acknowledging a 35% unemployment rate among the nation’s youth and a 52% unemployment rate among women.

 

In addition to the epidemic of poverty, Iran’s housing crisis has been unaddressed by the regime, leaving many living in dire conditions. Sepehrrad estimated that 25% of the population has been affected by this crisis. The environmental crisis caused by the regime has compounded the inhumane living conditions faced by the people. According to Sepehrrad, the regime’s mismanagement has led to the drying of 90% of the country’s wetlands, leaving many without access to water.

 

 

The Role of Social Media

 

 

The increased access to the Internet and social media drove many to demand change. Despite the regime’s efforts to censor online material, Iranians have found ways to connect with each other and the larger world. These people, particularly women and educated youth, see the disparity between the rights enjoyed by people in other countries and the oppression and inequality experienced within Iran. They protested for greater individual freedoms, freedom of the press and freedom of association.

 

According to Sepehrrad, the increase in access to online information has also given the Iranian people access to unbiased news, and not just the propaganda published by the state. This has drawn attention to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, a majority of whom were MEK members. Some of the biggest sites of protests were in cities where mass graves of the executed 1988 political prisoners were located.

 

Sepehrrad added that increased access to social media has also led to greater awareness of the plight of political prisoners. Word travels fast on the Internet, and now when someone is detained for the crime of speaking their mind, the rest of Iran knows about it. Iran’s abysmal human rights record (17 out of 100 points, according to Amnesty International) has led many to feel that Iran is unreformable. For many, the only solution to Iran’s problems is regime change. This sentiment, expressed by a large and diverse group of Iranians spread across the country, is the main ingredient of a revolution.

 

Protests did not end when the uprising was suppressed and continue each day in cities across Iran. In late January of 2018, protesters began using a secure crowdsourcing tool to communicate with each other about upcoming protests, resistance efforts, and the current locations of security forces. They also take videos of events in Iran to share with the rest of the world.

 

Sepehrrad noted that the use of purposeful collective action has been a factor in the uprising and continuing protests. Protesters have unified to act against the state in a coordinated fashion. Sepehrrad wrote that targets of these actions include “local religious leaders and centers, security forces and personnel, government-controlled financial institutions and banks, judicial branches, and government offices.” Protesters have taken down and burned images of the Supreme Leader in numerous cities. This action, in particular, has energized the resistance movement. Collective action is still occurring in Iran as part of ongoing protest efforts.

 

The MEK’s Role in the Uprising

 

According to Sepehrrad and the regime itself, Tehran has placed responsibility for the uprising on the MEK, who did indeed play a large role in organizing protests. But the seeds of dissent have been present among the people of Iran for decades. The MEK is simply an expression of the dissatisfaction of the people with the current regime.

 

The usual practice of the regime is to violently suppress any dissent. But Sepehrrad noted that those calling themselves “reformers” have been more hesitant to violently act against their own people. The uprising has given these reformers pause, and they have had to backtrack on many of their “reformist” views because it is clear that the people are serious about regime change. Sepehrrad wrote that on January 24, 2018, one of the senior pundits of the so-called “reformist” faction admitted that these protests will come in waves and as they recede, “they will come back stronger.”

 

The MEK has long been a target of the regime’s wrath, wrote Sepehrrad, as they are the largest and oldest resistance movement in Iran and have had success in opposing the mullahs’ rule. The regime has spent significant time and political capital in an attempt to delegitimize the movement and have claimed repeatedly that the MEK has been diminished and has little influence or support from the Iranian people. But the recent acknowledgment by the regime of the MEK’s role in the growing unrest runs counter to their argument that the MEK does not speak for the people. The large and widespread uprising that took place clearly shows the will of the people, and their goals align with the MEK and its longstanding position that meaningful change can only happen with the end of the mullahs’ rule.

 

Conclusion

 

Sepehrrad’s paper demonstrates that the uprising and continuing protests in Iran are not scattered acts of resistance. The large-scale nature of the protests, their continuance despite attempts by the regime at suppression, their diverse makeup, and the unity displayed by the protesters point to revolution. The use of social media has made Iranians more aware of their shared concerns and has enabled them to organize more effectively. The people have no desire to negotiate with the regime. Their message is clear. Revolution is the only way to bring true reform to Iran. Sepehrrad’s paper may be read in its entirety on the E-International Relations website.

 

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MEK rally in London

America’s JCPOA Withdrawal Offers Fresh Opportunities

MEK rally in London

Iran opposition activists rally in support of MEK

On May 22nd, townhall.com published a piece by Soona Samsami on Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The article published under the title “After Nuclear Deal, the West Should Focus on Real Change”, highlighted the rise of the pro-democracy movement in Iran and urged the international community to reassess its stance towards the Iranian regime.

Samsami, the U.S. representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, argued that with the withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), there is an opportunity for the international community to broaden the discussion. The JCPOA was negotiated to curb the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, first and foremost. With the deal’s looming failure, there is an opportunity to reach international consensus on a course of action which promotes democracy, peace, and security, not just denuclearisation.

A more comprehensive approach

The leader of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, was quoted in the article. She has often expressed concerns with the Iran deal. She believes that regime change is a prerequisite for “peace, democracy, security and stability”.

The recent wave of protests that began in December 2017, and continues to rage across the country, has shown that creating stability and security in the Middle East, depends on more than just an effective denuclearisation deal. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) has organized highly-effective national protests which have mobilized Iranians from all walks of life.

These outbursts of dissatisfaction from the Iranian public demonstrate the unpopularity of the regime in Iran. It presents an opportunity for the international community to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions once and for all; by helping the people, and the MEK, secure regime change and restores Iranian democracy.

A regime under threat

There have been recent indicators that the position of Rouhani and his mullahs is under threat. He phoned French President Emmanuel Macron and urged him to crack down on the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) activities in France. A week later, Ali Khamenei conceded publicly that the MEK had planned protests across the country.

The regime has also attempted to repress dissent across the country by coming down violently on those that protest. In clear breach of international human rights laws, the regime has executed and imprisoned those that dare to protest in the streets.

Denuclearisation and human rights can go hand in hand

The American withdrawal from the Iran deal allows the international community to consider an alternative that would promote both denuclearisation and human rights in the region. Maryam Rajavi urged the international community to modify their stance towards the regime in consideration of the human rights abuses carried out by the mullahs. She said the Iranian people “are calling on the international community, in particular, the West, to support their uprising for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.”

The plight of the Iranian people has attracted support from prominent figures in the Trump administration, including Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton. Public events organized by the Iranian opposition across the globe also draw in large numbers in support of the cause. The annual rally in support of the Iranian opposition near Paris, which is held on June 30th at Villepinte this year, usually draws numbers of over 100,000.

The conditions in 2015, when the Iran nuclear deal was negotiated, were drastically different from those in the country today. The deal at a time when the survival of the clerical regime appeared much more concrete. International heads of state believed they would be dealing with the regime for the foreseeable future and had little margin for negotiation beyond curbing its nuclear program, which has now proved to be a mistake.

Today, the survival of the regime looks in doubt. Protests are intensifying and the well-organized opposition of the MEK are pushing for the regime’s overthrow. This is an opportunity for the Western world to support the Iranian people in their quest for democracy and regime change. Only then can they be sure that Iran will be free from nuclear weapons, and the stability of the Middle East will be improved. Allowing the regime to remain in power and pushing forward with an ineffective deal will only lead to more chaos, routine human rights abuses, and instability throughout the Middle East.

Staff Writer

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Iran Mullahs Step up Attacks against MEK as Uprising Continues

Mullahs Step up Attacks against MEK as Uprising Continues

Iran Mullahs Step up Attacks against MEK as Uprising Continues

Foreign Policy article demonizes MEK – The continuation of the failed policy of appeasement.

On May 11th, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) published an official rebuttal to the most recent smear attack against the MEK by the ruling regime. The article, entitled “Bolton’s ascent gives Iranian group a new lease on life” was published on ForeignPolicy.com on April 30th and claimed that the MEK does not enjoy popular support within Iran and is thus not a viable alternative to the current regime. The mullahs have often used these false claims in their failed attempts to delegitimize the MEK, and it is unsurprising that they should do so again, in the wake of the uprising in Iran that began last December.

 

In the rebuttal, Shahin Gobadi wrote that the article “is a rare collection of threadbare allegations against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI) that the propaganda machine and smear campaign of the mullahs’ regime have been conjuring up for years. What is very telling is the timing of the article.”

 

The recent uprising, which took place in 140 cities across Iran in late December and January, clearly indicated a desire for regime change amongst the Iranian people, who chanted “Down with Rouhani!” and “Down with Khamenei!” This threatened both the mullahs’ regime and the regime’s lobbyists and apologists in the West, who had clearly misunderstood the will of the people in their assessments.

 

The policy of appeasement to the regime has been popular in the West for decades, a policy which assumed that the people were happy with the oppressive regime and that the best way to deal with Iran was to appease and compromise with its ruling mullahs. Part of the appeasement policy focused on going along with the regime’s demonization campaign against the opposition, specifically the MEK, which relied on lies about the organization.

 

This appeasement policy no longer works in the face of the popular uprising in Iran. The strength of the movement has become undeniable. The Foreign Policy article is an act of desperation by those who advocated appeasement, as they struggle to justify their failed policy.

 

The power and popularity of the MEK has grown to the point that Khamenei himself acknowledged it, saying that the MEK organized the recent widespread uprising. MEK members inside Iran come from all walks of life and include “academics, intellectuals, scientists, traders, and businessmen.” MEK members outside of Iran include some of the country’s most educated and productive citizens, who left Iran to escape its repressive regime. The most recent MEK gathering outside of Iran was held in Paris on July 1, 2017, and more than 110,000 people attended. The MEK is the largest non-governmental organization in Iran and has formed hundreds of associated groups.

 

The “experts” quoted in the article are known regime apologists who have touted hollow “reforms” and moderation by the regime. But the Iranian people have seen that these claims ring false and are demanding change.

 

Recently, the President-elect of the NCRI, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, revealed her 10-point plan for regime change, which was met with bipartisan support from numerous American officials and dignitaries. Military leaders from four past administrations, U.S. Congressmen, and officials dealing with national security have taken part in NCRI meetings. This diverse group of Democratic and Republican leaders has embraced the MEK’s opposition movement as the logical alternative to the dangerous and oppressive Iranian regime.

 

The article also included patently false statements about the MEK’s inclusion in and subsequent delisting from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. These claims have been rejected by courts in the U.S., U.K., E.U., and France, who all delisted the resistance organization after no evidence was found that the MEK participated in any terrorist activities. In fact, the inclusion of the MEK on the terrorist lists was a goodwill gesture to the regime and was used as a bargaining chip to curry favor with the mullahs. All of this information is recorded in numerous court rulings across the West, and many Western leaders later denounced the MEK’s designation on the list.

 

Further claims that the MEK fought against the Iranian people in the Iran/Iraq war are also false and easily disproven. The MEK was an Independent presence in Iraq throughout its time in the region. According to the rebuttal, “eight American agencies confirmed this via a 16-month investigation and even the current, Tehran-controlled government of Iraq has not been able to provide any evidence to the contrary.

 

The claim that the MEK helped expose the nuclear weapons program in Iran is not in dispute. The MEK was a leading force in exposing the regime’s dangerous nuclear program, using its expansive network of members inside Iran. These members exposed the nuclear program at grave personal risk in order to prevent nuclear war. The world at large has benefited from their brave actions.

 

The regime and its apologists can no longer deny the power of the resistance movement led by the MEK, so they are once again attempting to demonize the organization. These desperate acts are the last gasps of a dying theocracy vainly attempting to hold onto power. The people have demanded regime change and will not be fooled by lies and deceptions.

 

Staff writer

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