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General James Jones United States Natinonal Security Adviser

General James Jones: The Iranian Regime Remains Mankind’s Most Existential Threat to Peace and Stability

General James Jones United States Natinonal Security Adviser

General James Jones, former United States National Security Adviser, addressing the Free Iran Summit in New York (supporters of the MEK) – September 22, 2018

General James Jones, former National Security Adviser under President Obama, and the interim Chairman of the Atlantic Council addressed the Iranian opposition movement at its 2018 Iran Uprising Summit. He was greeted to the stage by a standing ovation amid cheers and applause from all in attendance.

Jones has been outspoken in his disdain for the Iranian regime. He recently told The National that he has little hope of the regime abandoning its export of state-sponsored terrorism and called the regime, “an existential threat to the region”.

A “Threat to Peace and Stability”

Jones began his speech by echoing these comments. He said that today, “the Iranian regime remains mankind’s most existential threat to peace and stability”.

In support of his statement, he referred to the regime’s systematic violation of human rights and interference in regional affairs.

“Tehran remains a chief antagonist of democracy and liberalization across the Middle East”, he continued. “We see the regime’s aspirations of regional hegemony graphically on display in countries like Syria, Yemen, and Iraq”.

He condemned the regime’s spread of “radical ideology” through “force and intimidation” across the Middle East. He also decried its financial support of militant and terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.

The US “Must do Everything Necessary” to Curb Tehran’s Territorial Ambitions

Jones was unequivocal in his belief that the US must check Tehran’s ambitions. “If the regime succeeds, the strategic implications will be grave”, he said. “The result will be more death and suffering”, he explained. He urged the United States government to remove “passivity and weakness” from its Iran policy.

Jones spoke about his time in government as the National Security Adviser. He lamented that despite his best efforts, the US government did not act quicker in coming to rescue of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) when the regime committed crimes against its membership.

“Frankly, I regard that chapter as a glaring, and I hope atypical, failure in America’s leadership of the international human rights movement”, he said.

“New Challenges”

James Jones stressed the importance of responding to today’s challenges. He described “new obstacles”, referring to the regime’s terrorist plots against the MEK in Europe. “The regime is keeping up its efforts to silence dissidents”, he said.

Jones took the opportunity to praise those in the US government who are working to support the Iranian people. He named the current National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, and praised him for remaining “steadfast in his support” of the Iranian opposition.

He praised Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, calling it the “correct measure”, which prompted applause from those in attendance.

“The Most Enduring and Forceful Protest Since 1979”

Jones went on the praise the brave people of Iran, that have taken to the streets to express their frustration at the Iranian regime.

“We know that Iran is suffering deep economic pain… some will point to the sanctions, old and new, as the culprit but ladies and gentlemen, the true culprit is the regime”.

He also went on the describe the similarities between President-elect of the MEK, Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan, and the principles that America was founded on. “These are Jeffersonian principles”, he said, “that every form of tyranny fears.”

“This is what the regime fears the most and we look forward with great anticipation to the day when its fears are realized”. He acknowledged the role of the US and its allies in bringing to fruition “the kind of future that the ten-point plan promises”.

It was in this context that Jones laid out his own five strategic imperatives. The first imperative, he said, is to extensively monitor the Iranian regime’s nuclear missile program.

The second imperative is to bring an end to the conflict in Syria and end the ongoing human rights crisis that has engulfed that part of the Middle East. “Nothing would strengthen Tehran more than to maintain Syria as a proxy”, he warned.

The third strategic imperative, Jones said, is to support the Gulf community in its creation of an alliance against the Iranian regime. The fourth is to “reinvigorate the Middle East peace process”.

Jones’ final imperative is to “support the Iranian people who hunger for democracy and a government worthy of their hopes and dreams”. “That is the future we are entering”, he said, the regime’s days are numbered because the Iranian people “will not stop in their demand for a government that reflects their hopes, their dreams, and their aspirations… That is a future worth creating”.

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Rudy Giuliani addresses Free Iran Summit in New York

Giuliani: NCRI Is Alternative to “Outlaws and Murderers”

Rudy Giuliani addresses Free Iran Summit in New York

Mayer Rudy Giuliani addresses the Free Iran Summit in New York, expressing his support for the Iranian opposition activities in Iran to achieve freedom and democracy-September 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was one of the speakers last Saturday at the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) summit. The summit had the goal of recognizing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the democratic alternative to the current regime in Iran and supporting the ongoing uprising in Iran that began last December, thereby honoring the people of Iran’s call for regime change.

The event, held in New York City in advance of the U.N. General Assembly, was entitled “The Path to Freedom-The Alternative” and also featured speeches from former National Security Advisor General James Jones, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi. More than 1,700 people were in attendance at the summit, including supporters of the NCRI and the MEK.

In his speech, Giuliani referred to the two Iranian intelligence agents who were arrested last month in the United States for spying on MEK members. Giuliani spoke directly to the corrupt ruling regime in Iran, saying, “So I say to the Iranian government, you must truly be afraid of being overthrown. We will not forget that you wanted to commit murder on our soil.”

Giuliani said that the NCRI is the democratic alternative to “a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and they have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable,” adding that, “Iran is entitled to freedom and democracy.”

Giuliani went on to express his confidence that the mullahs would be removed from power. “I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them,” he said. “It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen.”.

Giuliani said he believed that the sanctions that have been newly reimposed by the Trump administration will lead an economic crisis that could bring on a “successful revolution” by the Iranian people.

The renewed sanctions are a result of U.S. President Donald Trump’s sudden decision in May to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Sanctions against Iran have caused the already struggling rial to plummet in value, and additional sanctions affecting the country’s petroleum and financial sectors will take effect on November 4th, causing more economic crises. The Iranian regime was already faltering as a result of its own mismanagement, as well as a cascade of economic and social crises, most notably the ongoing anti-regime uprising that has been taking place across the country since last December. The U.S. sanctions may well be the last nail in the coffin of a dying theocracy.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, said that the rial has lost two-thirds of its value over the past year due to economic unrest. “The regime is surrounded, politically and internationally,” she said. “In economic terms, it is on the brink of collapse.”

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Maryam Rajavi's speech in FreeIran Summit

Maryam Rajavi Urges European Leaders to Stop the Flow of Finances to the Iranian Regime

Maryam Rajavi's speech in FreeIran Summit

Maryam Rajavi addresses the Free Iran Summit in New York on September-2018

The leader of the Iranian opposition, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) urged European leaders to end their financial support for the Iranian regime.

Maryam Rajavi, the charismatic and influential leader of the Iranian opposition movement, addressed the Iran Uprising Summit in New York via a video link. The summit attracted more than 1,700 activists and MEK-supporters, eager to hear Maryam Rajavi and other prominent speakers including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“testing Western governments”

Ms. Rajavi took the opportunity to condemn recent human rights abuses from the Iranian regime. She said, “in committing these crimes, the mullahs are testing Western governments”. She went on to assert that should Western leaders respond to these tests with inaction, it will embolden the regime and “intensify the regime’s terrorist actions”.

She then urged governments in Europe to close their Iranian embassies. The failed terror attack in Paris this summer exposed an elaborate network of Iranian embassies secretly involved in the planning and execution of terror plots.

She also had a message for the United Nations Security Council, which will meet on September 26th to discuss the Iranian regime. Rajavi said, “I must recall the demands of the Iranian Resistance underscored many years ago. It is an urgent imperative that the Security Council addresses the flagrant violations of human rights in Iran, especially the torture and massacre of political prisoners, and the regime’s export of terrorism and warmongering in the Middle East region”.

Ending the Financial Flow

For Maryam Rajavi, the best way to end the regime’s torture and massacre is by cutting its financial lifelines.

The regular financial assistance from the West is funneled into the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Quds Forces. It enables these military groups to play an active role in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, fuelling unrest and violence in the Middle East.

A Message of Hope

The event opened with a tribute to John McCain. McCain was actively involved in rescuing the MEK members during the time they were in Camp Liberty in Iraq. Rudy Giuliani, in a heartfelt message, recounted a time when McCain admitted that he would not live to see a free Iran, but urged Giuliani to continue the fight and take his place.

In his speech, Giuliani also challenged the regime’s assertion that the MEK was an ineffective and feeble force in Iran. He asked the audience gathered in New York, “if you are so weak and ineffective, why are they constantly trying to kill you?”

The event brought Iranians and MEK supporters together from across the US and beyond. There were uplifting messages of hope, particularly from the young people in attendance.

A highlight of the summit was a 15-year-old girl who told the crowd, “I have never been to Iran, where my parents met. But one day I will visit a free Iran.” But first, Europe must cut the regime off.

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MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

American Reporter Visits MEK Camp in Albania

MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

Religious Freedom is a Pillar of Trump’s Foreign Policy

Trump to make address religious freedoms at the UN General Assembly

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

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

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

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

The Regime Cannot Survive in an Environment of Religious Freedom

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

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

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

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

The US administration should back alternative forms of government in Iran

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

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

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

The Next Step

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

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

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

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

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

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A poster expressing objection to Rouhanis visit to the UNGA

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

A poster expressing objection to Rouhanis visit to the UNGA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UN Security Council

The Iranian Crisis Represents a Political Opportunity

UN Security Council

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

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

Iran in Crisis

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

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

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

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

Valuable Allies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNSC Expected to Condemn Iranian Regime’s Human Rights Abuses

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

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

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

Staff Writer

 

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Wikipedia Abused against MEK

The Iranian Regime Uses Social Media as a Propaganda Tool

Wikipedia Abused against MEK

Wikipedia abused by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) as a tool to demonize MEK, its main opposition.

On September 12th, Sharnoff’s Global Views published a commentary from Iranian dissident and freelance writer, Pejman Amiri. In the piece, Amiri explores the Iranian regime’s use of social media to demonize opposition groups such as the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Targetting the MEK

For the Iranian regime, 2018 has been a difficult year. During the Nowruz celebrations (Persian New Year) in March, two regime agents were detained in Albania on charges of plotting terrorist acts against members of the MEK living in the country. The pair were swiftly deported.

Then, in June, a Belgian-Iranian couple, and two other agents, including a diplomat working at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, were arrested in Europe. The four were detained over their involvement in a planned terrorist plot at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris. The couple had received explosives and instructions from Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi.

The dust had barely settled on the foiled terror attack in Paris, when, in August, two more Iranian agents were arrested in the United States on charges of espionage. The pair were collecting information on the MEK’s members and activities in the US and appear to have been plotting another attack.

An Online Campaign

Behind the scenes, the regime has also been working on social media to influence public opinion abroad. In late August, Facebook, Twitter, and Google announced the closure of hundreds of regime-run accounts and websites.

Iranian political analyst, Heshmat Alavi, outlined the three main objectives of the regime’s online campaign. Firstly, the regime seeks to justify its warmongering and involvement in conflicts across the Middle East. Secondly, Alavi argues, the regime seeks to save the Iranian nuclear agreement and maintain a policy of appeasement towards Iran among heads of states in Europe and North America.

Finally, through its online activities, the regime seeks to demonize and undermine its opposition, including the MEK.

The Regime Will Go to Great Lengths to Demonize the MEK

Events that unfolded in Albania in July demonstrated the extreme lengths the regime will go to demonize the MEK. A Canadian resident, Mustafa Mohammadi, arrived in Albania claiming the MEK had abducted his daughter in Iraq 20-years prior. He told officials he believed she was imprisoned in the town of Manez.

When details of the story emerged, Mohammadi’s daughter, Somaya, wrote a letter to the Albanian Interior Ministry and the media denying her father’s claims. In the letter, she explained that her father was an agent of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), and she had cut ties with him shortly after his recruitment in 2004.

The Albanian prosecutor dismissed Mustafa Mohammadi’s case after an investigation by the Albanian judiciary.

Channel 4’s Involvement

The regime has used allies in international media organizations to further its objectives.

Through Iranian agents, Massoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Ann Singleton, the regime made contact with Channel 4, a British television channel. The organization sent a reporter to Albania in August.

Channel 4 News Report Serves as Tool for Iran Lobby

Once there, the reporter, assisted by an Albanian film crew, began filming the MEK residence without permission. When the Albanian police arrested the crew, Khodabandeh took to social media to spread the false accusation that the MEK had assaulted the crew.

Even the reporter from Channel 4 working on the project denied that the crew had been beaten by the MEK. But this did not stop several Albanian media outlets from reporting the falsehood.

Using Wikipedia as a Propaganda Tool

Wikipedia has also been a valuable propaganda tool for the mullahs. On the platform, anybody can add information. The regime has spread false information across pages associated with opposition groups.

In the past, the regime has blocked users who have attempted to expose them, misusing Wikipedia’s regulations as a tool to stifle the truth.

On the MEK Wikipedia page in Farsi, many of the falsehoods can be traced back to Morteza Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari served in the Ahmadinejad administration as Justice Minister. He was also one of the men behind the 1988 massacre when 30,000 members of the MEK were executed at the hands of the regime.

Bakhtiari is restricted from traveling to the EU and the US under an international travel ban, introduced due to his criminal history.

Through Bakhtiari and officials like him, the regime hijacks Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Google, turning them into mouthpieces for the mullahs and undermining the values of free speech and expression that these companies were founded on.

Allowing the regime to spout their propaganda across the internet is not just a threat to expression. It facilitates its warmongering, terrorism, and expansionist ideology. In the interests of a more stable the Middle East, and safer world, free from the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Google must investigate and remove these propaganda campaigns from their platforms.

Staff Writer

 

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