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Iranian regime's terrorist activities abroad

The Iranian Regime’s International Web of Terror and Violence Serves to Divert Attention Away from Its Domestic Crisis

Iranian regime's terrorist activities abroad

Photo Credit to Washington Times: Top IRGC commanders plotted on the front line in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria.The Iranian backed invasion that left thousands of civilians killed and tens of thousands displaced.

A report from The Washington Times on Sunday, October 21st, drew public attention to the Iranian regime’s terrorist cells operating under the guise of diplomatic outposts.

The piece by Rowan Scarborough, entitled “Iranian Terrorists Lurk Abroad in Guise of Diplomats, Dissidents Report”, discussed the regime’s activities in places like Austria, Iraq, and Albania, where Iranian embassies have become hotbeds for terrorist activities.

The article referred to a report from the Iranian National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) which explored the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorism in Europe as well as its meddling in conflicts in the Middle East.

Diverting Attention Away from Domestic Crisis

The piece suggests that the mullahs may be using terrorism as a means of diverting the Iranian public’s attention away from the escalating crisis within Iran. The NCRI report states that the “regime has funneled billions of dollars to finance its belligerent war agenda in the Middle East while the majority of Iran’s people are living in poverty”.

“If the regime fails to inflame wars outside Iran’s borders”, it continued, “it [the regime] would have to fight for survival in Iran’s borders”.

The Iranian regime has supported terrorist organizations across the Middle East, including Hezbollah. Its fingerprints are on every major conflict in the region, including the civil war in Syria, and the war in Yemen.

In Syria, the regime-affiliated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have a presence of over 100,000 troops. They are working with Assad’s forces, who have received credible accusations of using chemical weapons against the civilian population to retain power.

The NCRI estimates that the mullahs may have contributed as much as $100 billion to Assad’s campaign in Syria. The money was likely spent on constructing field bases, paying Syrian troops, and purchasing Russian weapons.

In Iraq, the Iranian ambassador, Iraj Masjedi, controls several prominent Shia militia groups. It is estimated he controls more than 100,000 troops in the country and is likely an active part of the anti-American forces working within the country.

There are also signs that the Iranian regime is working to extend its influence in Iraq. Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC, has made several visits to the country, the most recent of which is believed to have been in August.

“He is trying to threaten and intimidate various parties and groups to secure a larger share of power for the Iranian regime”, the NCRI report states.

A Web of Violence and Terror

In Europe, there are similar signs of regime-sponsored violence. In June, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in the Iranian embassy in Austria was detained by European authorities.

The explosive’s expert was arrested for his role in a foiled terror attack against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) in Paris. The diplomat turned terrorist provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with homemade explosives with instructions of how to carry out the planned car bombing at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering.

A German court has since approved Assadi’s extradition to Belgium, where he will face charges over the allegations.

The Washington Times article reports that: Gholamhossein Mohammadnia, the Iranian ambassador to Albania, also has extensive links to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). Albania is of particular importance to the clerical regime. It is the home of the MEK, the Iranian opposition group living in exile.

Since the MEK fled to Albania, the Iranian regime has bolstered its small embassy in the country into “one of the most important Iranian embassies in Europe”.

The Washington Times article wrote that further up the chain of command is Reza Amiri Moghadam. The NCRI reports that MOIS agents from across Europe report to Moghadam in Tehran. “He is the key figure for the regime’s terrorist operations outside Iran, particularly in Europe and the US”, an NCRI report said.

London NCRI Press Conference Reveals New Information About the Regime’s Terror Activities

The Iranian resistance and their allies must condemn the regime’s destabilizing efforts across the globe while ensuring its actions do not divert attention from the domestic crisis in Iran. Only then can it oppose the regime’s violence, without furthering its domestic goals.

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Iranian regime disinformation campaign against MEK, using fake Twitter accounts.

The Iranian Regime May Have Been Working to Influence the 2016 US Election

Iranian regime disinformation campaign against MEK, using fake Twitter accounts.

Among 770 Twitter accounts that were closed by Twitter, due to their activities to manipulate policies in favor of the Iranian regime, there were many tweets that target MEK, the main opposition to the dictatorship ruling Iran

As commentators in the US explore the degree to which Russia may have influenced the 2016 Presidential election, worrying developments indicate that the Iranian regime also attempted to sway US voters.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab confirmed that the Iranian regime used hundreds of Twitter accounts to spread pro-regime messages in the US. Although it appears to have been less intrusive than Russia’s campaign, the accounts posed as journalists and US citizens to influence public opinion in the United States.

770 Suspended Accounts Operated from Iran

The news comes just two months after Twitter announced the suspension of 770 Iran-based accounts for violating its terms and conditions.

Following an investigation by cybersecurity firm, FireEye, Twitter found that the accounts had deliberately engaged in “coordinated manipulation”. While it could not confirm that the accounts were directly linked to the regime, the investigation found that since 2009 the 770 accounts had posted over 10 million tweets and 2 million images, GIFs and videos, many of which promoted regime messages.

Iranian Regime Fake Accounts Target MEK

Many of the accounts posted content attacking and demonizing the Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). They also explicitly referenced Iranian state-run media outlets and attacked the Saudi Arabian government, Israel, and the rebel groups in Syria.

What made many of the Tweets particularly damaging is that the bots and regime-supporters posed as credible foreign journalists. Many of the 770 accounts with alleged regime ties claimed to be reporters from France, Croatia, and Spain.

The only solace comes from the fact that the social media accounts were not as influential as the Russian accounts. They drew little support, with many Tweets receiving less than 12 engagements from other Twitter users.

The Atlantic Council concluded, “they were ill-adapted to the platforms they sought to use”.

Moving Forward

Twitter announced that it would make the tweets public, “with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviours from researchers and academics around the world”.

The news was welcomed by the director and managing editor at the Digital Forensic Research Lab, Graham Brooke. He said, “I think more transparency around this information is better than less transparency”, adding, “and that’s not strictly limited to foreign influence operations or domestic advertising. Consumers have a right to have a lot more information about the things they see”.

The timing of the findings is particularly relevant. In less than a month the United States will go to the polls to vote in the Congressional elections. There are already concerns from US intelligence agencies over foreign governments working to influence the upcoming elections.

To avoid a repeat of 2016, and subversive elements undermining US democracy in 2018, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have to come together to protect the election process.

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Six MEK supporters sentenced to long prison terms

The Iranian Regime Sentences Six to Between 8 and 18 Years in Prison for Protesting

Six MEK supporters sentenced to long prison terms

Photo Archive-Six MEK supporters in Yasuj and Gachsaran(South West Iran) sentenced to 8 -18 years imprisonment, for burning banner of regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei

The Iranian regime has handed out heavy sentences to protestors in recent weeks according to reports from the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

On Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, the ISNA News Agency reported the sentencing of six MEK supporters. They stood accused of burning images of the Iranian regime Supreme Leader Khamenei and writing the slogan “death to Khamenei- hail to Rajavi” (Rajavi refers to Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the MEK and President-elect of the NCRI).

The six men were arrested in June and received sentences of between 8 and 18 years behind bars. Those that escaped without prison time were exiled.

A Wider Trend of Heavy-Handed Punishments

The sentencing on Wednesday was part of a wider trend of harsh sentences handed out to protestors doing nothing more than exercising their right to protest.

In Arak, six men faced charges of “disrupting public order and peace” for their involvement in the December and January uprising. The regime awarded them a total of six years in prison and 444 lashes.

These cases are not isolated incidents. The regime arrested more than 8,000 protestors across Iran’s towns and cities. Of these 8,000, more than 14 have died in police custody, where they subjected to torture and maltreatment.

Fear and Intimidation

The regime uses the arrests and deaths to strike fear and intimidation across the Iranian population. It hopes to deter future protestors from taking to the streets out of fear for their liberty and their lives.

But clashes continue to occur in Iran’s streets, institutions, industries and prisons. The nation’s truck drivers have defied the regime and, at great personal risk, have sustained a nationwide strike for 18 consecutive days.

In Urmia Central Prison, the prisoners of ward 12 went on hunger strike. It prompted the guards to carry out a brutal raid where the political prisoners were severely beaten, including eight young offenders.

Reports indicate that the guards used batons, electric cattle prods and tear gas to beat the inmates into submission. At least one inmate suffered a broken nose.

The inmates of ward 12 have been subject to several brutal and violent attacks in recent months. On October 8th, Morteza Zohr-Ali was beaten by guards so badly, he suffered a fractured hand.

On September 23rd, Javad Shirazi, a young offender imprisoned in the youth ward of the prison was hospitalized after suffering from a severe concussion.

These instances are part of a wider strategy of employing violence and fear to maintain the political status quo. The mullahs will not show weakness out of fear of losing their grip on power.

But what they don’t realize is that in resorting to brutal and violent punishments against their own people, they are showing the world that they are weak, their future is uncertain, and they are doing anything they can to cling to power.

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General James Jones, former U.S. National Security Adviser speaks at OIAC summit in New York

General James Jones Illustrates Bipartisan Support for a Tougher US Stance Against the Iranian Regime

General James Jones delivered a speech at the Iran Uprising Summit, held on September 22nd at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, calling for a tougher stance towards the clerical regime. The event, which took place at the end of September, was organized by the Iranian opposition and featured speakers from around the world.

Jones was President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser between 2009 and 2010 and helped form foreign policy under the Obama administration.

An “Existential Threat to Peace and Stability”

Jones began his speech with a damning assessment of the Iranian regime. He told the crowd that he believes the Iranian regime remains the globes biggest “existential threat to peace and stability”.

He described the regime’s behavior as “unrelenting” in its quest to “undermine our values, our freedom, and our prosperity”.

He criticized the regime’s human rights abuses and the manner in which it flaunts international law. Jones specifically referred to the regime’s attempts to undermine the Middle East peace process and its financing of terror and militia groups in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

The regime actively promotes Sharia-Sunni conflict in the Middle East, with the goal of “establishing a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut via Iraq and Syria”.

Jones asserted that the United States, along with its allies, “must do everything necessary to prevent these territorial ambitions from being realized”. He went on to warn of “grave” implications if the regime succeeds in its ambitions.

“The result will be more death and suffering, more destruction [of] the kind that the regime and its proxies have been inflicting across the region”, he said.

The MEK’s Sacrifices

Jones also referred to the heavy losses inflicted on the Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). He mentioned the attacks on Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf which left 140 dead, 7 abducted, and more than 1300 wounded refugees.

“We must no longer accept passivity and weakness in the face of this tyrannical regime,” he said, adding that one of his greatest regrets was that the United States did not act faster or more decisively in the wake of the regime attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty.

“The outrageous delay in coming to their aid resulted in an innocent loss of life”, he said, “frankly I regard that chapter as a glaring, and I hope atypical, failure in America’s leadership of the international human rights movement.”

Today’s Challenges

Jones was adamant that the challenges he describes are not things of the past. 1,900 MEK members are living in exile in Albania, but the Iranian regime still pursues them.

Jones described the arrest of regime agents in Albania this summer, who had nefarious designs against the MEK. “We must do what’s necessary to ensure the dissidents… are not made to become the subjects of the Iranian regime’s plots in Albania.”

The General also drew attention to the foiled terror plot in June, where the regime orchestrated an explosive attack against the MEK in Paris. It was foiled by Belgian authorities in the late stages.

A Bipartisan Issue

General Jones also alluded to the fact that there was general bipartisan support for a tougher stance against the Iranian regime. He cited the current National Security Adviser under President Trump, John Bolton, who, Jones said, “has remained steadfast in his support” for the Iranian opposition.

Bolton later thanked the General over Twitter for his “kind words and leadership on Iran”. Bolton, a staunch Republican, and Jones, a Democrat, personify the bipartisan agreement on the Iran issue in the US.

Protests in the Street

As evidence for a tougher Iran policy in the US, Jones went on the describe the domestic situation within Iran. He echoed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments, who described the protests as “the most enduring and forceful protests since 1979”.

Jones told the audience that the regime has imprisoned thousands of its own citizens, but he celebrated the “courage and passions” of the people who continued to demand their right to liberty.

He described the economic climate of rising inflation and a collapsing rial. “Some will point to the sanctions, old and new, as the culprit. But ladies and gentlemen the true culprit is the regime that rejects the international norms of behavior on which orderly relations, global trade, and economic engagement are based,” he said.

Jones defended Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. “Could Tehran really have been surprised given the lack of trust produced by its relentless reception, history of non-compliance and deadly support of terrorism?”, Jones asked.

In another gesture of bipartisan cooperation on Iran, Jones also praised Mike Pompeo’s economic sanctions.

Ten Point Plan

Finally, Jones drew attention to the MEK and Maryam Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan, describing them as “Jeffersonian principles that every freedom-loving member of the human race can embrace and every form of tyranny fears”.

He acknowledged the role of the United States and its allies in bringing Maryam Rajavi’s ten principles to fruition. He suggested that the US monitor the regime’s nuclear development program and prevent it from realizing its nuclear goals.

He also urged the United States to make progress on bringing peace to Syria to prevent Iran from using it as a proxy.

But the first step, Jones acknowledged, is to “support the Iranian people who hunger for democracy and a government worthy of their hopes and dreams.”

 

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Lord Alton

British Lord and Professor Urges the UK and Europe to Consider Any US Proposal for Further Iranian Sanctions

Lord Alton

Lord Alton, member of the UK House of Lords a long time strong supporter of MEK

A distinguished professor and member of the UK’s House of Lords has urged the UK government and its European allies to seriously consider a US appeal for multilateral participation on economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran.

Different Approaches

Following the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, the US has reintroduced stringent economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

However, the UK and European governments have been reluctant to follow suit, instead preferring to salvage the JCPOA in some way.

Lord Alton wrote, “It is understandable that there are different attitudes on each side of the Atlantic”, adding, “but it is important that neither the US nor Europe allows this discord to distract them from the imperative to establish a coordinated, cohesive strategy for dealing with other pressing issues related to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The nuclear issue may have grabbed headlines, but it is by no means the only threat the Iranian regime poses.

World Leaders…

For example, the Iranian regime has maintained its title as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. In 2018 alone, the regime orchestrated two terror attacks on European soil. Both targeted the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), and both were foiled in the late stages of the operation.

The regime also leads the world in executions per capita, with Alton calling it a “representative example of the repressiveness of ideological dictatorships.”

What is perhaps even more troubling, is that under the JCPOA, which allowed for the easing of sanctions and inflow of aid to the regime, these two issues were allowed to increase unfettered.

The Iranian regime tightened its control of the population, executing political dissidents, women, and juvenile offenders alike. More than 60 peaceful protestors were killed in January alone.

Similarly, the regime constructed an elaborate network of espionage and terror in Europe, using Iranian embassies as underground hubs of nefarious activities. Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat operating out of the Iranian embassy in Vienna, was the mastermind behind the plot to detonate a bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering in Paris.

Increasing Instability

Regardless of the JCPOA’s effectiveness at limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities, it has undoubtedly failed in its other purpose: to promote regional and international stability.

Alton writes, “the lack of progress in the Middle East is particularly obvious, as hard-line Iranian institutions continue to inject themselves into the civil wars in Syria and Yemen”.

Within Iran as well, instability reigns. The economic crisis brought on by the regime has prompted protests and outrage from the Iranian public. Key industries in Iran have gone on strike and brought the country’s economy to its knees.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), made the connection between the regime’s ddestabilizing effect abroad and their violence within Iran.

She said, “the mullahs’ anti-human regime is hell-bent on stepping up the atmosphere of terror and repression to extinguish the Iranian people’s uprising through suppression, executions, bombardment and missile attacks”.

In continuing to treat the mullahs and Rouhani as though he is a moderate reformer on a crusade to bring stability to Iran and the Middle East is deeply flawed. Alton writes, “they [the UK and EU governments] are only turning their back on the most closely held human rights principles that define modern democratic nations.”

In his closing statement, Lord Alton called on the UK and other EU nations to address the issue, “regardless of their feelings about the JCPOA”. For Alton, this means giving a fair hearing to any proposal from the Trump administration for implementing multilateral economic and political sanctions against the Iranian regime. “It is the right thing to do for the people of Iran, and it is the right thing to do for the nations of Europe as well”, Alton concluded.

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French authorities confirm the Iranian regime's responsibility over the foiled terror attempt in Paris

The French Government Confirms “Without any Doubt” the Iranian Regime was Behind the Foiled Terror Attack

French authorities confirm the Iranian regime's responsibility over the foiled terror attempt in Paris

Three months after the foiled terror France confirms the Iranian Regime was Behind the attack.

In response to the Iranian regime’s involvement in a terror plot against the Iranian opposition at a rally in Paris, French authorities froze assets held by several suspects. The plot, due to be carried out in late June, involved a Belgian-Iranian couple using an explosive-laden vehicle to attack the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering.

The French government was unambiguous in its condemnation of the Iranian regime. A diplomatic source told Reuters that the assets were frozen after a “long, meticulous and detailed investigation by our [intelligence] services”.

Following the investigation, Paris concluded, “without any doubt, that responsibility fell on the Iranian Intelligence Ministry”.

The French government’s investigation has been collaborated by separate investigations undertaken in Vienna, Brussels, and Berlin.

Who are the suspects?

Among the Iranians with assets frozen is a diplomat, Assadollah Assadi. He was working in the Iranian embassy in Vienna, Austria, at the time of the attack, and is allegedly responsible for providing the Belgian-Iranian couple with the explosives. Assadi was later arrested by German authorities and extradited to Belgium, where he could face trial.

The other frozen assets belonging to the Internal Security Department in Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence including, the Deputy Minister of Intelligence, Saeed Hashemi Muqaddam.

Along with freezing assets, French anti-terrorism units raided a Shia center in the town of Dunkirk. The anti-terror unit believed the center was in “clear support for several terrorist organizations”.

The mullahs’ response has been odd

Following the French authorities’ crackdown on Iranian-linked accounts and outspoken accusations against the Iranian clerical regime, the mullahs appeared unphased.

Iranian regime’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bahram Ghasemi, said, “if there is a misunderstanding… about a thing that does not exist, be it a conspiracy by others or a mistake, we can sit down and talk about it”.

The “misunderstanding” he is referring to could be incredibly costly. France was among one of Europe’s biggest advocates for salvaging the Iranian nuclear deal, a deal Tehran is fighting to keep alive.

The French Government Seizes Iranian Assets Over This Summer’s Foiled Terror Attack

The evidence linking the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence to the failed terror attack in Paris could have grave consequences to Iranian-French relations, and in turn, cause the nuclear deal to slip through Khamenei and Rouhani’s grasp.

International Condemnation

The French government have not been the only ones condemning the actions of the Iranian leadership. British MPs, former Italian ministers, and former members of the US Senate have also condemned the actions of the Iranian regime as a clear violation of international law.

Speaking at a conference last week, the men urged the European heads of state to take a tougher stance against Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism both in the Middle East and in Europe.

The regime’s state-sponsored terrorism is even undermining its own objectives. It is further isolating Iran at a time when Iran needs all the economic support it can get following the reintroduction of US sanctions.

The mullahs are on a dangerous path. Continuing to involve themselves in terror plots on European soil will only leave them in a more precarious situation. The nuclear agreement will be the worst of their worries when the heads of Europe side with the US and leave Rouhani without a lifeline in the economic wilderness.

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Truck Drivers' strike in Iran Continues

Iran’s Truck Driver’s Strike Continues to Cripple Iran

Truck Drivers' strike in Iran Continues

Truck Drivers continue on strike on their 10th day, due to high prices and Iranian regime’s extensive corruption.

On Friday, October 5th, American Thinker published a piece by Hassan Mahmoudi entitled “Striking truck-drivers crippling Iranian regime”. In the piece, Mahmoudi examines the impact of the rapidly escalating truck driver’s strike in Iran and explores the regime’s responses.

Truck drivers across Iran are parking their vehicles across busy streets in protest at the rising business costs associated with the logistics industry.

Specifically, the protestors grievances lie in corrupt officials, rising fuel costs, high repair costs, low salaries, and poor road conditions. The national tax department has also imposed unjust taxes on truck drivers, forcing an already underpaid sector into dire financial circumstances.

The drivers are demanding management change within the extensively corrupt Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization.

Crippling Effects

Mahmoudi cites several reports indicating that the strike has had a profound impact on the national economy. Cargo terminals across the country are inactive or closed as protestors in 259 towns and cities have stopped working.

Severe Repercussions

In response to the escalating threat to the economy, Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Chief Prosecutor, General Montazeri, announced the arrest and execution of those involved.

His statement read, “they [the protesting truck drivers] are subject to the rules and regulations of banditry and the punishment of the bandits according to the law is very severe, sometimes resulting in the death penalty”.

A U-Turn

The aggressive statement from Montazeri represents a U-turn for the Iranian regime. Just two days previously the regime was denying the existence of the strike.

The transportation director-general of Fars province had referred to the strikes as nothing more than “rumours”.

Support from the President-Elect, Maryam Rajavi

At this difficult and uncertain time for the truck drivers and their families, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), pledged her support.

Maryam Rajavi denounced the threats of the regime as “vindictive” and saluted the truck drivers for their defiance. She urged the Iranian youth to stand with the striking drivers in their crusade to end corruption.

She added that the real bandits in Iran were the mullahs, who use their repressive and violent regime to silence the demands of the Iranian people.

Finally, Ms. Rajavi called on human rights groups to respond to the calls of the Iranian people. She urged them to intervene to secure the release of Iranian prisoners and pressure the international community to take action against the bloody and corrupt clerical regime. There should be no place at the table for a regime that threatens protestors with execution.

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ITWF statement in support of Striking Truckers

Iran: International Transport Workers’ Federation Issues Statement in Support of Striking Truckers

ITWF statement in support of Striking Truckers

International Transport Workers’ Federation support the national trucker’s strike in Iran.

On Tuesday, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) issued a statement in support of the Iranian truck drivers’ strike, which, as of Wednesday, is on its eleventh day.

In the statement, the ITF’s Head of Inland Transport Noel Coard was emphatic in ITF’s support for the truckers. “Let it be clear, ITF unions globally voice their solidarity and stand alongside the truckers of Iran in their fight to defend workers’ rights,” he said.

The ITF first supported the Iranian truck drivers during their May strike. That strike rapidly became a nationwide strike and also drew the support of the Teamsters. Despite repeated promises by the regime, few changes have been made. The current strike is the third round of truck drivers’ strikes to take place in Iran this year. The regime has now resorted to threats of execution and arrests.

According to the ITF statement: “The ITF is extremely concerned that news emerging from Iran has detailed a large number of driver arrests. Around 150 truck drivers in various provinces have reportedly been detained for participating in the action, with a spokesperson for the judiciary threatening ‘heavy punishment.’

“Most seriously, the ITF understands that Iran’s attorney general, Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri, has suggested that those who initiated the protest actions will be subject to the death penalty, citing a threat to national security. His comments have been echoed by other clerics.”

Iran’s truck drivers are protesting low wages; high costs for parts (particularly replacement tires); increasing fees and costs, such as tolls and loading fees; poor working conditions; and corruption. Economic conditions have worsened over the past year with the plummet in value of the rial. Iran’s national currency has lost 80% of its value since the beginning of the year, leading to higher prices for everyone. Truck drivers are finding it more difficult to pay for essential goods, and truck parts are all but impossible to afford, making their jobs unsustainable.

The economic crisis facing Iran affects every sector of Iranian society, and truck drivers are one of many groups that have joined the protests over the past year. The MEK’s resistance units have been active in helping to organize protests across Iran among people from all walks of life who are dissatisfied with the current regime and its handling of the country.

Hundreds of striking truckers have parked their trucks in Tehran, Isfahan, Zrin Shahr, Droud, Arak, Marvdasht, Garmsar, Karan, Zarand, Marand, Kashan, Bandar Abbas, and Mashhad, according to the ITF statement. Footage of the parked trucks may be found on social media.

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Free Iran Rally in Villepint Paris.

The French Government Seizes Iranian Assets Over This Summer’s Foiled Terror Attack

Free Iran Rally in Villepint Paris.

The Free Iran rally, where over 100,000 supporters of MEK gathered on June 30, 2018, to pledge support for the democratic alternative to the Iranian regime (the National Council of Resistance of Iran-NCRI). The Iranian regime had planned to bomb the gathering, but several of the Iranian regime operatives were arrested including one of its diplomats, Assadollah Assadi.

In a retaliatory gesture, the French authorities seized assets owned by the Iranian regime on French soil. On Tuesday, October 3rd, the French government confirmed that it had frozen accounts and funds owned by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, along with two other Iranian citizens.

The seizure was an act of retaliation. The Iranian regime attempted to carry out a terror attack in Paris in June 2018, at the Iranian opposition’s annual Grand Gathering. The event brings together members of the Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

“Intolerable Activities”

A joint statement from the French government reinforced France’s commitment to fighting terrorism. It called the seizures, “preventative, targeted and proportionate”, asserting that the foiled terror attack, “could not go without a response”.

The French Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire echoed his colleagues’ comments. He said, “we must dry up the channels of financing of terrorists to end their intolerable activities”.

The Iranian Leadership Were Involved

A senior official within the French government told reporters that Paris was certain that the Iranian regime orchestrated the terror attack. The official hinted that it may have come from religious hardliners in an attempt to undermine Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

A report revealed by the MEK and NCRI earlier this year indicated that senior members of the regime leadership were involved in the attack’s planning and execution.

One of the two Iranians whose assets have been frozen is Assadollah Assadi. Assadi was an Iranian diplomat working at the Iranian embassy in Vienna. He was arrested in Germany for his involvement in the planned Paris attack. Assadi allegedly provided the explosives to be used in the attack.

According to the MEK, Assadi provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with an explosive matter, as well as detailed plans of how the attack was to be carried out. The couple was late apprehended by Belgian authorities. Assadi has been extradited to Belgium where he is expected to face trial.

The other Iranian affected by the asset seizures was Saeid Hashemi Moghdam. His involvement in the plot is still unclear.

Strained Paris-Tehran Relations

The timing is significant for French-Iranian relations. Hassan Rouhani, Iranian regime’s President, recently made a trip to Europe in an attempt to persuade the European heads of state to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

At last week’s UN General Assembly in New York, French President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks with their counterparts in the Iranian regime. They reportedly sought answers over the thwarted Paris attack.

Aside from the asset seizures, Paris has suspended its nomination of a new ambassador to Iran. It has also refused to respond to Tehran’s nomination for diplomats in France.

These moves could be an indication of a changing tide in Europe.

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Dr. Bernard Kouchner, addressing MEK supporters in New York-Free Iran Summit

Kouchner to Iranian Communities: Regime is “Playing a Destructive Role”

Dr. Bernard Kouchner, addressing MEK supporters in New York-Free Iran Summit

Dr. Bernard Kouchner, Former Foreign Minister of France, addressing OIAC’s summint in NewYork-September 22, 2018

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC) held a summit in New York City. Titled “Iran Uprising: The Path to Freedom,” the event was attended by more than 1,500 leaders and delegates from the Iranian American community supporter of the MEK and featured a lineup of distinguished speakers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and former Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Giulio Terzi, along with others.

Former French Foreign Minister and founder of Médecins Sans Frontières Dr. Bernard Kouchner was among the speakers at the summit. In his speech, Dr. Kouchner described the terrorist actions of the Iranian regime and emphasized the need for the United States and Europe to come together to support the Iranian people in their goal of a free Iran. He also praised the MEK for their work in the Iranian Opposition movement and pointed out that a democratic alternative exists to replace the regime.

Dr. Kouchner called for unity in opposing the repressive Iranian regime saying: “[W]e are dealing with a brutal regime—a theocracy, a religious dictatorship which suppresses its own people. Indeed, the prime victims of this regime are the Iranian people themselves. We in democratic countries cannot ignore such atrocities as a matter of human rights and pure national security interest. We are on the same side.”

The regime’s behavior, according to Kouchner is unacceptable to both Americans and Europeans. “There is hardly any problem in the region that the Iranian regime is not playing a very malignant role in,” Kouchner said. “In Syria, they join Assad in the mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Syrian people. In Lebanon, they created Hezbollah, which has divided the country. They were sending, and are still sending thousands and thousands of missiles to Hezbollah…[I]n Lebanon, in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution, they are arming the Houthis in Yemen. They are playing a destructive role in Iraq itself.  They are also in violation of Security Council,” he added.

Kouchner also discussed the regime’s terrorist activities in Europe, detailing the foiled terrorist plot last June against the NCRI annual gathering in Paris. Kouchner mentioned that he was one of the speakers at the gathering that was targeted and noted that “an Iranian diplomat personally provided the bomb to the agent to carry the terrorist attack.” Belgian authorities, working with the French police and the German judiciary, discovered and foiled the plot before the terrorists were able to reach the convention. Kouchner said that a similar plot against the MEK was thwarted in March in Albania.

Kouchner stressed that the people of Iran have been very clear about their desires: “[T]he people of Iran have expressed their desire that they want a republic based on separation of religion and state. They do not want this regime in its entirety.  They said the game of the so-called moderate versus hardliner is over. They want no more theocratic regime.”

Kouchner emphasized that Iran has another choice: “a democratic alternative which is struggling for a secular Iran.” Iran’s clerical regime, said Kouchner, is unacceptable for normal people.

Gender balance and separation of religion and government are what make the NCRI  “through Madame Rajavi, the fantastic agent of the necessity of having a gender balance,” said Kouchner. “The women are the future of Iran.”

Kouchner ended his speech with a call for Europe to take a firm stance toward the Iranian regime “for its own principle and for its own security.”

Staff Writer

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