Baneh,Iran Protests,MEK,Merchant's Strike,NCRI,PMOI,Tehran Bazaar Strike

Strike in Tehran Baazar objecting Iranian regime's mismanagement.

Tehran Merchants Go on Strike to Protest the Mismanagement of the Iranian Economy

Strike in Tehran Baazar objecting Iranian regime's mismanagement.

Tehran Merchants Go on Strike to Protest the Mismanagement of the Iranian Economy

On Monday, May 14th, merchants in Tehran bazaar closed their shutters in protest at the destructive economic policy and prohibitive customs tariffs imposed by the clerical regime. Popular stalls, including the Kuwaiti bazaar, Sadaf Passage, and Aladdin Passage, were closed after marketers called for a day of strikes.

The move comes in the face of increased repression towards protestors. Intelligence agents of the clerical regime made ominous threats against any vendors who would shutter their stalls in solidarity with the opposition.

A statement published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “Striking bazaaris object to the fall of the official exchange rate of the country, market fray and ambiguity about the future of the economic situation. The 4200 tomans dollar exchange rate, announced by Rouhani and his deputy, is not existant, currency exchanges are closed, and the dollar is traded in very limited amounts and more than 8,000 tomans.”

Tehran’s merchant strike comes as the merchant strike in Baneh enters its fourth week. There, the authorities have responded with repressive measures. Merchants striking are being arrested and running the risk of losing their livelihoods.

They have no choice

The reality of the situation is that the vendors have no choice. The Iranian regime closed border crossings at Baneh, Marivan, Piranhasar and Sardasht. This has reduced local employment options, causing a sharp rise in unemployment. This means people are not shopping as much as they used to. The economy is stagnating, and shop owners are seeing their profits erased.

This economic stagnation is compounded by the mullahs’ decision to increase customs tariffs in April. What meagre profits merchants were able to scrape together are now being devoured by the mullahs in the form of tariffs, leaving the people with no choice but to go on strike.

What next?

The regime will undoubtedly employ the same tactics of terror and repression it is using in Baneh, against the merchants in Tehran. Plain clothes agents and guards are already roaming around the bazaar, positions at important intersections including Imam Hossein Square, Ferdowsi Avenue and Molawi.

The Iranian resistance, the NCRI and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) stand with the merchants. The organisations, called on the public, especially the youth, to support and express solidarity with the protests of merchants in Tehran and other cities.

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MEK Network,PMOI,Teachers Protest

MEK Network-Teachers Rally across Iran: Political Prisoners Must Be Freed

MEK Network-Teachers Rally across Iran: Political Prisoners Must Be Freed

MEK Network-Teachers Rally across Iran: Political Prisoners Must Be Freed

Teachers Rally across Iran: Political Prisoners Must Be Freed

On Thursday, May 10th, teachers across Iran gathered to protest their low wages, lack of benefits (including quality health insurance), and lack of job security. The protesters were comprised of both working and retired teachers who were tired of having their demands ignored. Protests in Iran have continued to grow in the wake of the uprising, which began in December of last year. The MEK (PMOI) activists were actively involved in organizing the initial uprising, but soon the people began to rise up and join the wave of dissent, joining the MEK in their demands for freedom and regime change. The latest protests by teachers took place in a number of cities and were witnessed by MEK activists inside Iran. The protests are summarized below:

Tehran – The Capital

Teachers in Tehran protested in front of Parliament and the regime’s Planning and Budget Organization. They chanted: “Efficient insurance is our absolute right!” and “Imprisoned teachers should be freed!” Teachers carried signs saying: “Teachers, Workers, Students, United!” “Salary above the poverty line is the right of teachers!” “Bread, Labor, Freedom, Educational Justice!” “Access to quality, free and fair education is the right of all children!” The protests were shut down by repressive IRGC forces, who arrested dozens of teachers and injured several, MEK network reported. Mercenaries beat the protesters and confiscated their phones. One woman suffered a torn eye as the result of the violent mercenary response.

Kazeroon-South Iran

Kazeroon teachers chanted: “Teacher dies, but does not accept discrimination!” “Imprisoned teachers must be freed!” One of the signs carried during the protest read: “The teacher’s place is in the classroom, not in prison!”

Sari- North Iran

Teachers in Sari protested, chanting: “Free Imprisoned Teachers!” “Salaries above poverty line is the right of teachers and retirees!” “Standard schools are the right of students and teachers!”

Mamasani-South Iran

Mamasani educators carried signs that read: “The teacher’s place is in a classroom, not in a travel agency!”

Hamedan-West Iran

A sign carried by teachers in Hamedan read: “The enemies of teachers are the enemies of this homeland!”

Isfahan-Central Iran

In Isfahan, teachers protested for free, fair, and high-quality education. They chanted: “The teacher is awake and hates discrimination and poverty!” “Our salaries are paid in Rial, while the costs are in Dollar!” “We don’t want incompetent minister!” Protesters carried signs saying: “We demand that all forms of discrimination (ethnic, gender, religious, class) be eliminated from the structure of the educational system of the country!” “Independent and free form of organization is our right.”

Marivan- West Iran

Teachers in Marivan carried a sign condemning the suppression of teacher protests in Tehran.

Mashhad-North East Iran

In Mashhad, teachers protested for free primary and secondary education and more post-secondary education in Iran. They carried signs which said: “Stop privatization of education!”

Kermanshah-West Iran

Protesters in Kermanshah stated that the lack of attention given to education is the root cause of “poverty, injustice, discrimination and embezzlement.” They carried signs which read: “Independent organization is our absolute right!”

Shiraz-South Iran

Speakers in Shiraz condemned theft by the government while teachers struggle to survive on insufficient salaries.

Bushehr-SouthWest Iran

Teachers in Bushehr conducted a symbolic funeral for Iranian education.

Khorramabad-West Iran

In Khorramabad, teachers protested with signs reading: “Efficient insurance is the teacher’s right!”

Bojnourd-NorthEast Iran

A protest was held in Bojnourd, but repressive forces surrounded the protesters, preventing photos or videos from being taken of the gathering.

Thursday’s protests were only the latest in a series of demonstrations by teachers. Iranian educators have become more and more vocal about the deficiencies in the education system in the past few months, and their protests show no signs of slowing.

Staff Writer

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Farmer's Protests,Iran Protests,Isfahan,Kurdish businessmen and Marketers protests,MEK,PMOI,Teacher's Protests,Women,Youth

Map of Protests in Iran-April and May 2018

MEK Network: A Summary of Protests in Iran in April 2018

Map of Protests in Iran-April and May 2018

SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF RECENT PROTESTS IN IRAN-Credit to irane-ma.com

A recent report from Our Iran described protests in Iran during the month of April 2018. The report that is mainly based on reports from the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) network inside Iran, indicates that there were a total of 452 protests and gatherings last month in Iran, averaging 15 per day. Protesters came from all walks of life, from farmers to teachers to those looted by financial institutions. Women and youth made up a sizable proportion of those protesting. The April protests can be broken down as follows:

 

  • Labor protests: 109
  • Plundered people protests: 39
  • Student protests: 16
  • Retiree protests: 7
  • Teacher protests: 8
  • Other sectors: 245

 

Workers

Reports from MEK’s network, shows, labor protests made up a large percentage of total protests in April. Workers protested for many reasons, including lack of employment, dismissals, failure of employers to pay wages, job uncertainty, and recruitment of non-partisan forces.

 

Victims of Plundering

Protests by looted people took place in 13 cities across Iran in April. Women played a large part in these protests. Protesters closed buildings and looted businesses, throwing garbage and rotten eggs and fruit at the businesses that looted their financial accounts.

 

Retirees

Retirees protested in two cities in Iran this April. They protested the retirement age, lack of benefits and matching funds for retirees, and the inability to achieve the required years of service in order to retire.

 

Teachers

MEK network also reports that Iranian teachers gathered in five different cities to protest the withholding of their salaries for months and sometimes up to a year. A number of teachers resigned en masse in response to rumors that Director General of Education was going to be dismissed. And teachers protested for the release of Mohammad Habibi, a teacher who was detained by the regime. After a series of protests for his freedom, the regime bowed to pressure and released him.

 

Students

University students held protests in eight cities across Iran in April. They had a variety of concerns, including the firing of a professor, more possible firings of faculty, poor food quality on campuses, mismanagement and corruption by university officials, and poor wages and employment status. Students also protested in support of striking businessmen and marketers in Kurdistan.

 

Other Protests

Another 245 protests reported by MEK sources in Iran in 73 cities did not fit into any of the above categories. The protesters and their causes were varied and diverse. There were protests against closing border crossings and increasing tariffs. Kurdish businessmen and marketers protested an offensive characterization by state media. Farmers protested against poor economic conditions. Farmers and many other citizens protested unfair water rights and lack of access to water.

 

The number of protests grew from March to April as the widespread uprising against the ruling regime continues. May is on pace to surpass the April protests.

Staff Writer

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Human Rights,Iran Convention,Iran Deal,Iran Protests,Iranian American,JCPOA,Maryam Rajavi,Maryam Rajavi's Message,MEK,NCRI,Nuclear Deal,PMOI

Maryam Rajavi's message to the Iranian Convention in Washington D.C.

Maryam Rajavi Addresses the Iran Freedom Convention in the U.S.

Maryam Rajavi's message to the Iranian Convention in Washington D.C.

Maryam Rajavi’s message to the Iran Freedom Convention in the US-May 5, 2018

Website of Maryam Rajavi, leader of Iran’s opposition, reported on her recent remarks to the Iran Freedom Convention in Washington D.C. held on May 5, 2018. The convention included delegates representing Iranian communities, youth, and women, as well as a number of dignitaries and officials from the U.S.

 

Mrs. Rajavi’s remarks came in the form of a video message, in which she reaffirmed the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI, of which the MEK is a member) position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Her speech included a seven-point summary of the correct policy toward Iran, as well as comments on the ongoing uprising in Iran.

 

Mrs. Rajavi’s seven-point policy reflects the position of the NCRI toward the Iranian regime. Her points are summarized below:

  1. The people of Iran want to overthrow the clerical regime and have participated in hundreds of protests for regime change since last December. They ask for the support of the international community, particularly the West, in this endeavor.
  2. The NCRI calls on the international community to take a stand against the repressive Iranian regime and not to be silent in the face of its crimes, including its record of the highest per capita executions in the world. World leaders are called upon to take punitive measures against the regime to compel the mullahs to release those arrested for protesting, including “hundreds of our Arab compatriots in Khuzestan Province and a large number of Kurds in western Iran, and to end the barbaric persecution of farmers in Isfahan.”
  3. Western leaders have recently acknowledged the flaws in the Iran nuclear deal, which the Iranian resistance (which includes the MEK) opposed from its inception. Mrs. Rajavi spoke out against the JCPOA on the day it was signed, on July 14, 2015, saying that the deal had given “unwarranted concessions to the mullahs’ regime.” She further stated that “evicting the regime from the Middle East and preventing its regional meddling… is a fundamental principle that needs to be included in any agreement.” Mrs. Rajavi also said that the billions of dollars given to the regime as part of the deal should be subject to monitoring by the United Nations to ensure that the funds would go toward the urgent needs of the Iranian people. Otherwise, the money would be spent furthering the regime’s “policy of export of terrorism and fundamentalism in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.”
  4. The regime has used the concessions granted by the JCPOA to suppress the voice of its people and to massacre the people of Syria. As such, she called on the West to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program in its entirety and to conduct unconditional inspections to ensure that the regime engages in no further nuclear activities.
  5. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian opposition, emphasized that the issues with regard to Iran extend beyond its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. She highlighted that any policy toward Iran should also include the expulsion of the Revolutionary Guard from countries in the region and the end of the regime’s practices of torturing and executing its citizens.
  6. The regime, particularly the Revolutionary Guard, should be cut off from the international banking system in order to prevent further illegal activities by the theocracy.
  7. The NCRI must be recognized as the democratic alternative to the ruling regime to make up for the policies of appeasement toward the mullahs that have prolonged their reign of terror.

Mrs. Rajavi ended her speech by calling on supporters of the resistance to rise up and expand the uprising, “by neutralizing the lobby and proponents of the religious dictatorship, and by stepping up [their] activities to convey the cries of the Iranian people to the peoples of the world.”

Staff Writer

 

 

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Iranian Women workers,Workers condition

Iranian women's discrimination at work

Poor Working Conditions Create Desperation among Iran’s Women Workers

Iranian women's discrimination at work

Poor Working Conditions Create Desperation among Iran’s Women Workers

On the occasion of International Workers Day, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Women’s Committee reported on the plight of Iranian women workers. The report describes the poor working conditions faced by Iranians as a whole and by women specifically. It also describes the role of women in the recent uprising in Iran. Women have been a vocal part of the resistance movement, calling for equitable treatment and freedom from oppression.

 

Iranian workers as a whole have suffered under the mullahs’ regime. Workers may go months without being paid for their work, with some not seeing their salaries for over a year. In desperation, these workers do whatever they can to get money to survive, including taking out loans with interest or even selling their organs.

 

The plight of women workers in Iran is even direr. Discrimination against women is enshrined in law, and they suffer the consequences of this discrimination in their employment and every other facet of daily life.

 

The Iranian regime is a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is charged with “eliminating structural barriers and discriminatory laws” and “creating equal economic opportunities.” The regime has chosen not to adopt any of the recommendations made by the CSW, choosing instead to further discriminate against and marginalize women.

 

Ali Khamenei has made his feelings about women very clear. He says that women “physically and emotionally have been created by God for a special role in life” and “the issue of women’s employment is not among the main issues,”
according to the NCRI report. The result of this misogynistic viewpoint is that women in Iran are paid low wages to work jobs in unsafe conditions with no insurance or benefits and little to no job security.

 

Women heads of household fare the worst among workers under the mullahs’ regime. The recent budget slashed child benefits for women heads of household. Subtracting this money from an already insufficient salary has left these women unable to provide for their families without taking extraordinary measures.

 

Women have been the most harshly affected by the recent bankruptcies of many businesses in Iran. When the economy struggles, women are the first to be laid off. Married women, in particular, suffer in these conditions. Many employers fire married women in favor of single workers because they do not want to have vacancies during maternity leaves. The regime recently even made it legal to fire women who take maternity leave.

 

On September 15, 2017, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported:

 

“The General Board of Directors of the Administrative Court of Justice rescinded a directive by the general director of the Labor Ministry which had banned laying off working mothers for two years while they nurse their children. The Administrative Court of Justice pronounced the directive as unlawful and outside the jurisdiction of the body that had adopted it.”

 

According to the NCRI report, highly educated women in Iran also suffer from low wages and lack of benefits. Most college-educated women cannot find work in their chosen fields and resort to low-paying, menial jobs, thanks to an employment market that favors men.

 

Faced with such dire economic conditions, many women are forced to take desperate measures. Women heads of household are sometimes forced to sell their own organs to provide for their families. The regime has even acknowledged the lengths working women in Iran have had to go to in order to help their families survive. Shahindokht Molaverdi, regime President Rouhani’s deputy for women’s affairs, said:

 

“Today, we witness the sale of unborn infants in their mothers’ uterus and before they are born. We do not know the exact numbers but their numbers are large enough to make the news.” (The state-run ILNA news agency, June 22, 2016)

 

The NCRI report noted that women’s voices have been some of the loudest in the recent uprising and subsequent protests across Iran. Iranian women are lifting their voices to demand change.

Staff Writer

 

 

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freedom of expression,Human Rights,NCRI,Telegram ban in Iran

Telegram banned in Iran

The Iranian Regime Blocks Telegram in an Indication of its Weakening Grip on Power

Telegram banned in Iran

Telegram was officially banned in Iran

Although it had been talked about for months, Iran’s judiciary finally made the announcement on Monday, April 30th, that it would block Telegram. In a statement, the judiciary said, the “blocking should be implemented in a way that the content of this network will not be available in the country with any software”.

The decision to block the social network stemmed from the regime’s fear that the messaging service provided a platform for protestors to mobilise and organise their demonstrations against the regime. The judiciary statement alluded to the dissemination of “propaganda against the system through this messenger.”

Human Rights Groups Have Condemned the Decision

With more than 40 million users, Telegram was the main social media platform for Iranians. Human Rights Watch called the decision to block the service “an unjustifiable restriction on freedom of information”.

An Indicator of Success

The decision to block Telegram is a direct reflection of the success of the protestors and the threat they represent to the regime’s authority. Despite the fact that Rouhani had publicly stated he opposes bans to the country’s social media, but due to the widespread protests flaring up across the country, the regime had little choice but to proceed with repressive measures to retain its grip on power.

Last year the regime arrested more than 70,000 cyberspace users for allegedly “threatening “the tranquillity of the country”. This, like the ban, is a reflection of the regime’s inability to quash public dissent. It has to resort to extreme repression to stay in power.

The Ban Will Not Disrupt the Determination of the Iranian People

Last time the regime banned Telegram, for two weeks in December 2017, when the nation was in the grip of national protests, there were reports that some 30 million people used bypass tools. The ban did not bring an end to the protests; it only fuelled the drive of the Iranian people to intensify their resistance.

The same is expected to occur on this occasion.

In a statement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),  strongly condemned the “mass arrests and unprecedented repression of Internet users” and calls on all international human rights organizations, including Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Speech, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Arrests, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other relevant international bodies to strongly condemn the mullahs regime for this brutal suppression.

The international community should stand by the Iranian people and condemn the clear violation of the Iranian public’s civil liberties. The UN Security Council and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) should add their voices to those of the human rights organizations and take measures to overturn this breach of international law.

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Mr Struan Stevenson, former chair of European Parliament’s official Delegation for Relations with Iraq

New Report Details Iran Regime’s Demonization Campaign Against the MEK

Mr Struan Stevenson, former chair of European Parliament’s official Delegation for Relations with Iraq

Mr. Struan Stevenson, former chair of European Parliament’s official Delegation for Relations with Iraq

A paper published this month by Struan Stevenson, Coordinator for the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), details the Iranian regime’s campaign to demonize the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK or PMOI). Stevenson’s detailed analysis describes the history and current actions of the ruling regime to delegitimize the MEK by vilifying the resistance organization.

Stevenson describes the ways in which the Iranian regime has stepped up its campaign of disinformation against the MEK (PMOI) since the massive uprising in Iran beginning in December of last year. Large-scale protests took place in 140 cities across Iran. Protesters burned the offices of representatives of the Supreme Leader and invaded the Basij militia and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) centers. The uprising was only quelled by suppressive forces after two weeks of demonstrations. 8,000 protesters were arrested and to date, 14 have been killed while in custody. Despite the severity of the regime’s response, smaller protests have continued throughout Iran since the uprising was quelled.

Stevenson notes that the regime was quick to acknowledge the MEK’s role in the uprising and to implicitly threaten protesters with execution. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that on January 2, President Hassan Rouhani asked French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call to take action against the MEK, which is currently based in Paris, accusing the resistance organization of launching the uprising. President Macron refused his request.

The regime’s response to the uprising was to brutally suppress the protests with mass arrests, torture, and executions. On February 8th, the regime reported the suicide of Dr. Kavous Seyyed Emami, a prominent environmentalist who had been arrested 15 days earlier on trumped-up charges. Ten prisoners were executed in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj on February 14th.

Meanwhile in Albania, according to Stevenson, the regime has set its sights on the MEK (PMOI) refugees living there. The relocation of MEK members from Iraq to Albania provoked the ire of Iran’s mullahs, who had hoped to eliminate the resistance group while they were in Iraq. Since their relocation in 2016, the Iranian embassy has greatly increased its size and dispatched new diplomatic personnel to advance their agenda. The regime has also deployed a large number of operatives to gather intelligence on the MEK members living in Albania and it has expanded its operations throughout the Balkans.

History of the MEK

Stevenson provides a brief history of the MEK in his paper, which is summarized below. You can read his full report here. In 1965, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK or PMOI) was founded by Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saied Mohsen and Ali-Asghar Badizadegan, three university students. They were united in their opposition to the “corrupt and oppressive dictatorship of Shah Pahlavi and the absolute rule of the monarch.”

In the 1970s, the Shah’s infamous secret service, Savak, cracked down on the MEK, imprisoning or executing most of its members and leaders, including Massoud Rajavi. Mr. Rajavi joined the MEK when he was 20 and was one of the group’s leaders. He was spared from execution through the efforts of his brother, Professor Kazem Rajavi, who launched a successful international campaign to spare Mr. Rajavi from death.

Mr. Rajavi was imprisoned from 1972-1979, along with the majority of the MEK’s leadership and many of its members. According to Stevenson’s research, some rogue members used this power vacuum to usurp the organization and rebrand it as a Marxist group. The remaining MEK members outside of prison saw this coup as a betrayal of their founders’ vision and were vocal in their opposition. These members were suppressed, and in some cases murdered by the new leaders. The new Marxist leaders carried out several attacks against American personnel in Iran while using the MEK’s name.

Stevenson points out that Mr. Rajavi denounced the individuals responsible for these attacks from prison. Upon his release in 1979, he and several other senior MEK (PMOI) members set out to restore the organization’s reputation and reaffirm its commitment to democracy and equality. During the 1979 revolution, the MEK supported the movement to overthrow the Shah and replace his rule with a secular democracy. Amidst widespread demonstrations, the Shah fled Iran.

The Shah’s departure left a power vacuum in Iran, which was soon filled by Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini was a Shi’ia cleric who had been exiled by the Shah in 1964 because of his growing status as a religious leader and because of his denunciation of the Shah’s rule. He had recently returned to Iran and was perfectly placed to take power. He claimed to be a religious man with very little interest in the day to day running of the country.

According to Steveson, Khomeini showed his true colors once he took power, refusing to set up a democratically-elected parliament, and opting instead to create an “Assembly of Experts.” These “experts”/clerics created a theocracy, wherein the clergy has absolute power. Khomeini appointed himself Supreme Leader. This was the birth of Islamic Fundamentalism. Iranian society changed overnight.

The MEK refused to participate in the referendum on the Velayat-e-faqih constitution, believing it to be undemocratic. Stevenson describes Khomeini’s “reign of terror” against the opposition group. Khomeini decreed, “the Mojahedin of Iran are infidels and worse than blasphemers… They have no right to life.” Since then, over 100,000 MEK members and supporters have been executed by the regime, and dozens more have been assassinated outside of Iran’s borders. In the summer of 1988 alone, more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in Iran, most of whom were MEK members. The violence against the MEK continues today.

Mr. Stevenson’s paper describes the regime’s decades-long attempt to cover up the massacre, despite the efforts of the MEK. But on August 9, 2016, the son of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the former Deputy Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and the nominated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, published a previously unknown audio-tape in which Montazeri admitted that the massacre had taken place and had been ordered at the highest levels.

Montazeri can be heard in the tape talking to members of the “Death Committee” that ordered the executions in 1988. He said:

“The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you. Your names will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals.”

Faced with this climate of terror, many of the surviving MEK members fled the country, living in exile in Paris and other places in Europe and North America.

Camp Ashraf and Liberty

Stevenson’s report goes on to detail the history of Camp Ashraf and Liberty. His history and analysis is expansive and can be read in full in his paper, but it is summarized below. The MEK has been a resistance organization from its inception, dedicated to bringing freedom, democracy, and equality to Iran. It has always sought to do this work peacefully. In 1981, the mullahs’ regime began mass executions, and all previous attempts to participate in the political process had been exhausted. The MEK then took up arms against the repressive regime as a last resort. Maryam Rajavi has spoken about this reluctant decision:

“…the Islam that we profess does not condone bloodshed. We have never sought, nor do we welcome confrontation and violence. If Khomeini is prepared to hold truly free elections, I will return to my homeland immediately. The Mojahedin will lay down their arms to participate in such elections. We do not fear election results, whatever they may be. Before the start of armed struggle, we tried to utilize all legal means of political activity, but suppression compelled us to take up arms. If Khomeini had allowed half or even a quarter of freedoms presently enjoyed in France, we would certainly have achieved a democratic victory.”

Massoud Rajavi was forced into exile in 1981, but the MEK survived as an armed resistance movement, with its leadership working from France while MEK members in Iran worked as an underground movement. According to Stevenson,  the MEK was forced to relocate to Iraq in 1986, after regime officials pressured the French government to expel the MEK in exchange for the return of French hostages.

The MEK built Camp Ashraf on a barren spot in Iraq and built it into a small city. In 2003, American led forces bombed Camp Ashraf at the behest of the Iranian regime. Stevenson writes that the American and British forces hoped that by attacking the opposition group, they could appease Iran into remaining neutral. On April 17, 2003, the Wall street journal reported:

“The dismantling of the Iranian opposition force in Iraq. . . fulfills a private U.S. assurance conveyed to Iranian officials before the start of hostilities that the group would be targeted by British and American forces if Iran stayed out of the fight, according to U.S. officials . .”

The residents of Camp Ashraf agreed to lay down their arms in return for protection by American forces. After exhaustive interviews with camp residents and screening, the U.S. government designated the MEK members at Camp Ashraf as “protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” acknowledging that the residents were not involved in terrorist activities and could not be charged with any crimes.

Stevenson writes that the Iranian regime launched a series of attacks against the MEK, attempting to discredit the group by taking out a series of print ads, falsely calling them “friends of terrorists.”  These ads, placed by the MOIS, would sometimes contain a web address to substantiate the claims, but the websites did not exist. The MOIS made false claims in media outlets in a further attempt to vilify the organization, using spurious information. The regime saw the MEK as a threat to its stranglehold on Iranian citizens and used every means available to smear the resistance group with outright lies and unsubstantiated claims.

Camp Liberty under attack by mercenaries of Iran- July 4, 2016

Missile Attack on Camp Liberty-Iraq, by agents of Iran’s dictatorship. July 4, 2016

In January 2009, American forces left Iraq, leaving the defenseless MEK members without promised protection. According to Stevenson, the Iranian regime applied pressure on Iraqi leaders to expel the MEK residents from Iraq, using threats of further attacks against camp residents and deception. The Iraqi government agreed to move the MEK residents to a new compound named Camp Liberty. The regime had hoped to force camp residents to return to Iran, where they would face imprisonment and execution.  When that did not happen, the regime launched deadly missile strikes, the largest of which killed 24 residents, wounded many others, and destroyed part of their camp. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry condemned these acts of violence.

Stevenson reports that Mrs. Maryam Rajavi negotiated with high-ranking officials in Albania to relocate the MEK residents to safety in Albania. Her efforts were successful and were supported by UNHCR and the U.S., including John Kerry, who traveled to Tirana to meet with the Albanian prime minister, Edi Rama. Rama agreed to the relocation, and the 3,000 residents were flown to Albania, angering the Iranian regime.

In response to this humiliating defeat, Tehran deployed a task force of MOIS agents to Albania and greatly expanded their embassy in Tirana, appointing more than a dozen new cultural attaches to the formerly junior outpost.

According to Stevenson, the regime then launched a propaganda attack against the MEK, using known MOIS operatives to make brazenly false allegations against the resistance group, including claims that the MEK was responsible for the deaths of civilians and accusing them of terrorist acts. This was accomplished through a network of operatives known to be working with the MOIS, including Anne Singleton, who was photographed outside of Camp Ashraf and Liberty before deadly attacks on both camps.

How Iran’s Agents Breech Security in the West

Stevenson describes the systematic way that the Iranian regime recruits non-Iranians to participate in their demonization campaign against the MEK, often by using threats and intimidation. Anne Singleton is a British citizen who was recruited by the MOIS, along with her Iranian husband, Massoud Khodabandeh.  In December 2012, the U.S. Pentagon published a report entitled “Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A profile.” This thoroughly researched document exposed Ms. Singleton as an MOIS spy. The report described the process through which she was recruited:

“The recruitment of a British subject, Anne Singleton, and her Iranian husband, Massoud Khodabandeh, provides a relevant example of how MOIS coerces non-Iranians to cooperate. She worked with the MEK in the late 1980s. Massoud Khodabandeh and his brother Ibrahim were both members of the MEK at the time. In 1996 Massoud Khodabandeh decided to leave the organization. Later, he married Anne Singleton. Soon after their marriage, MOIS forced them to cooperate by threatening to confiscate Khodabandeh’s mother’s extensive property in Tehran. Singleton and Khodabandeh then agreed to work for MOIS and spy on the MEK. In 2002 Singleton met in Tehran with MOIS agents who were interested in her background. She agreed to cooperate with the MOIS to save her brother-in-law’s life—he was still a member of the MEK at the time. During her stay in Tehran, she received training from the MOIS. After her return to England, she launched the iran-interlink.org website in the winter of 2002. After she made many trips to Iran and Singapore—the country where the agency contacts its foreign agents— the MEK became doubtful of Singleton and
Khodabandeh’s loyalty to the organization. In 2004 Singleton finally met her brother-in-law, Ibrahim, who was sent from Syria to Iran after the Syrians arrested him (it appears that Syrians closely cooperate with the MOIS). Eventually, the MOIS forced him to cooperate as well.”

According to Stevenson’s research, the report proved that the Iranian regime feared the MEK and sought to vilify the organization through the use of MOIS agents. By naming Anne Singleton, the report confirmed that the false propaganda against the MEK was generated by the regime. It also made clear the extent of activities by the regime and its operatives against the MEK and revealed conspiracies to control members and plans to murder citizens. Finally, the report reaffirmed the findings of courts in the U.S., U.K., France, and the E.U., which ruled that the MEK should never have been listed as a terrorist organization, as the classified information that supposedly led to their listing was based upon information supplied by MOIS agents. The MEK was delisted after proving all of this in court, and the Pentagon report further supported their findings.

Iran’s Efforts in Albania

Stevenson’s paper details the alarming manner in which the Iranian regime has helped to spread Islamic Fundamentalism to the Balkans. The spread of Islamic Fundamentalism is a growing concern for all democratic societies. Iran has positioned itself to promote this kind of fundamentalism across the Middle East and into the West as well. In the Middle East, Iran stokes sectarian conflict by interfering with domestic affairs in other countries. Perhaps more worrisome is the Iranian regime’s habit of quietly taking over business and political interests in other countries in order to promote its worldview. Tehran has built a number of schools, mosques, and clinics in Lebanon and Iraq, under the pretense of helping deprived communities. The regime distributes fundamentalist literature and teaches Quran classes in those settings, which has led to the formation of terrorist and sectarian groups across the Middle East.

Mr. Stevenson describes the shift in the regime’s focus in recent years. The regime has taken its fundamentalist campaign to the Balkans, specifically Albania. The regime started a college in Albania to promote fundamentalist Islam while undermining the PMOI presence in Tiran. Abdul-Ali Asgari, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and Mohammad Akhgari, deputy chair of IRIB international affairs, launched “Pars Today,”  a propaganda machine disguised as a television news network. The network also includes a website, called “Parrena.” Both of these media outlets routinely disseminate lies and propaganda against the MEK.

Anne Singleton, a known agent of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), visits Albania to try to recruit new agents for MOIS

Anne Singleton, a known agent of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), visits Albania to try to recruit new agents for MOIS

Stevenson reports that the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine uses intelligence agents outside of Iran to spread disinformation about the PMOI. Dozens of these agents have been unmasked, with many of them masquerading as “Iranian experts.”  This cover allows them to spy and launch attacks against MEK members and to spread misinformation about the organization. This strategy has been increasingly employed in Albania.

The regime has even used MOIS agents to speak as former MEK members, spreading false and malicious lies about the organization. Three of these agents gave an interview on an Albanian news network that was produced by the Iranian embassy in Albania. These agents were briefed by Anne Singleton before their appearance.

Stevenson notes that some supporters of the regime claim to be “concerned” for MEK members, using their false sympathy to spread lies about the organization. Pro-regime MEP Ana Gomez has made several salacious claims about MEK members in Albania, saying that they “are held
against their will.” Ms. Gomes’ false sympathy stands in stark contrast to her silence when MEK members were repeatedly attacked and killed by the regime while they were refugees in Iraq.
In March of this year, Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian agents who were suspected of spying on MEK members. The agents claimed to be journalists. Another ten Iranian citizens have been held by Albanian police on suspicion of planning terrorist activities against the MEK.
Stevenson believes that Iran’s mullahs have undertaken this massive campaign of deception against the MEK because of their fear of the organization, as has been borne out by his research on the issue. The MEK continues to grow in popularity, attracting supporters from all over the world and shedding light on the appalling rule of the oppressive Iranian regime. Recently, well-known regime apologist,  Olsi Jazexhi, said:

“The problem is that the Mojahedin (PMOI) have attracted the support of a large number of Albanian politicians, musicians, students, and civil society activists, and an American senator visits the PMOI in Albania every three months and holds large meetings with Albanian politicians.”
Stevenson notes that the Albanian government understands the threat that the Iranian regime poses to the world and recognizes that they threaten the safety of the opposition. On April 19th, the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, responded to a question about terrorist threats against the MEK in Albania. He said:

“I believe that for PMOI we did the right thing. We gave accommodation to a group which is persecuted. And that’s it. Regarding your question about security and threats, we are on the right side of history, we are in a group of countries of the Euro Atlantic club which are threatened in the same way. I believe that all these countries take measures against terrorist threats.”

According to Stevenson, the Albanian government is justified in its fear of the Iranian regime. Since the beginning of this year, there have been numerous reports of covert surveillance activities outside of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) offices in Berlin and Washington, D.C.  These activities point to a serious threat of terrorist actions against Iranian opposition groups.

The U.S. government has acknowledged the flagrant and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime. The U.S. Treasury Department has listed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as an international terrorist organization. The Quds Force has been on the same list for years. These organizations are the primary groups used to spread Islamic fundamentalism outside of Iran.

The Iranian regime supports the tyrannical regime in Syria, which has massacred scores of its own people. It supported the Shi’ite militias who murdered Sunni families and destroyed cities in Iraq from 2014 to 2017. The regime is responsible for spreading death and destruction throughout the Middle East and hopes to do the same in the Balkans.

Iran’s Network of Agents in Europe

One of the more disturbing parts of Stevenson’s paper is his description and analysis of Iran’s use of MOIS members, including some former MEK members. The MOIS has a talent for finding MEK members who have voluntarily left the organization and attempting to recruit them, using threats and bribes. Though most refuse to cooperate, the few who do are used as weapons against the MEK. These agents make outrageous and false allegations of abuse and torture, and sometimes their claims are repeated in Western media outlets, who then publish easily refutable claims of cult-like activity by the MEK.

Stevenson reports that the network of known Iranian spies in Europe is extensive. In France, police arrested Ghorbanali Hosseinnejad in 2015 for espionage activities, including delivering payment to MOIS agents and surveilling the home of Maryam Rajavi. Gholam Reza, a Canadian citizen living in Belgium who was recruited by the IRGC, was arrested in Iraq in 2008 after attempting to harass MEK residents of Camp Ashraf. Ali-Akbar Rastgou and Mehdi Khoshhal are two agents who frequently visit pro-regime MEP Ana Gomes. The German newspaper Der Spiegel wrote this about the men:

“German security agencies released two weeks ago two Iranian-born German nationals who were detained for more than five weeks under suspicion of espionage in a prison in Baghdad. Ali R., a resident of the city of Cologne, his acquaintance Mehdi K, who lives in Baghdad, and an Iranian who traveled to Baghdad in late May, were
arrested there by security forces. They must have identified an ‘important national interest facility’. Ali R is an active member of the Aawa Association, based in Cologne, that confronts the left-Muslim People’s Mojahedin Organization.”

Davood Baghervand Arshad was a MEK member who left Camp Ashraf because of the difficult situation there. He was offered amnesty by the Iranian government and was subsequently recruited by the MOIS and trained to work against the opposition movement. He has been seen frequently in European Parliament, notably with Ana Gomes.

Stevenson describes how the network of Iranian spies in Europe has carried out a number of assassinations of dissidents, engaged in espionage activities, and spread disinformation about the opposition. Saeed Karimian was assassinated on April 29, 2017, in Turkey. The television executive had previously been condemned in absentia by a Tehran court for spreading propaganda. Ahmad Mola Nissi, an opposition activist, was assassinated on November 8, 2017, by Iranian operatives in the Hague. Four Iranian Kurdish dissidents were assassinated in 1992 in a Berlin restaurant. A German court found that the assassinations were carried out by high-level MOIS agents at the behest of the Iranian government and expelled all MOIS agents from the EU. This sanction was lifted in order to appease the Iranian regime. That move presents a danger to current opposition activists.

Numerous agents from countries across Europe have been revealed as spies for the regime and sentenced by European courts. More agents are currently operating in Europe, where they pose a clear and present danger to MEK members and activists.

Iran’s Lobbying Efforts

Stevenson’s paper describes the massive lobbying effort undertaken by the Iranian regime. The regime has huge sums of money devoted to lobbying against the MEK and the opposition movement. It gives money to universities through fake charities. One of these charities, the Alavi Foundation in the U.S., is currently under investigation for money laundering and violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

According to Stevenson, Iranian lobbyists use trained foreigners as lobbyists to add to their credibility and uses those foreigners to spread misinformation about the opposition movement. A number of these lobbyists attend the annual U.N. Human Rights Council meetings in Geneva. The regime has also been known to set up NGOs controlled by the state in order to spread falsehoods.

Mr. Stevenson found that the regime is willing to pay large amounts of money to those who are willing to spread propaganda on their behalf. The Toronto Sun reported that John Thompson, head of the Mackenzie Institute, an influential think tank, was offered $80,000 to publish an article on the MEK. He told the paper the goal of the recruiters. “Iran is trying to get other countries to label
it as a terrorist cult,” he said. Thompson refused the offer.

Stevenson writes that the regime increases its lobbying efforts when Maryam Rajavi is scheduled to visit parliaments in Europe, using its ambassadors to apply pressure in attempts to prevent such visits from occurring. Failing that, the regime uses the occasion of such visits as a chance to spread more propaganda about the MEK and NCRI. Western delegations to Tehran receive the same false messages.

MEPs who are sympathetic to the Iranian opposition movement are often targeted by MOIS agents claiming to be former members of the MEK. In this manner the Iranian regime and its MOIS agents inundate policymakers with misinformation and outright lies, hoping to delegitimize the opposition movement in order to maintain their oppressive rule.

In conclusion, Stevenson’s extensively researched paper describes how the Iranian regime will go to any lengths to suppress dissent. The MEK is the largest and most popular opposition group
in Iran, and as such, the regime has devoted large amounts of time and money to demonize the resistance organization.

Because of the recent uprising, Tehran has stepped up its campaign of misinformation against the MEK. Past experience has taught that these actions tend to lead to violent attacks on the MEK.

Despite the lies and propaganda spread by the Iranian regime, the MEK has widespread support both in and outside of Iran. The MEKs allies have the power to prevent MOIS agents from infiltrating parliaments and carrying out their smear campaign against the MEK.

Stevenson’s paper can be downloaded in its entirety for free here.

Staff Writer

 

 

 

 

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Ardestan,Baneh,Economy,Hamidieh,MEK,Protest,Women

The Iranian Economy is Becoming an Issue the Mullahs Cannot Ignore

The Iranian Economy is Becoming an Issue the Mullahs Cannot Ignore

The Iranian Economy is Becoming an Issue the Mullahs Cannot Ignore

The Iranian Economy is Becoming an Issue the Mullahs Cannot Ignore

The cries of the people over Iran’s economic crisis are becoming too loud to ignore. The whole country is engulfed in the flames of civil unrest and public anger. Strikes have raged for the past eleven days in Baneh and Javanrood; shops remain closed as business owners refuse to yield to the regime’s demands.

In Isfahan, the local farmers have continued to vent their frustrations at the country’s deepening water crisis and the regime’s mismanagement of the situation. The sit-in at the local government buildings entered its sixty-ninth day. The local governor met with the protestors, but provided no solutions, leaving the farmers with no choice but to continue their struggle.

Farmers in Ardestan protested the drilling of water wells this week. Given the scarcity of water, continued drilling would only cause further shortages in the future. In Khuzestan Province, farmers from Weiss and Mollasani took up their shovels to protest their own water crisis.

In Hamidieh, protests against the regime entered its third day. Protestors have not received their salaries for months and, despite repeated empty promises from the regime, there are no indications payments will be distributed any time soon.

A similar situation is developing in Yazd. Truck drivers who drive fuel-supplying trucks in the region went on strike over lower wages. Citizens from Tehran and Ahvaz protested outside the cities’ financial institutions over the regimes ransacking of the country’s banks, leaving the public out of pocket, without access to their savings.

The crisis is reaching a breaking point

The level of public outrage indicates the extreme economic situation in Iran. The Iranian currency has plummeted in value, leaving salaries lower than ever. The regime has squandered more than 400 trillion tomans of public money and hollowed out the country’s financial institutions. The banks are on the brink of collapse, with some banks having spent as much as 80% of their deposits.

Discrimination is rife. The government forces receive four times more pay than contracted forces. Just under half of the country’s workforce are employed on temporary contracts with little job security and low job satisfaction.

The country’s Central Bank is woefully ill-equipped to handle the economic crisis and impending economic collapse. Rather than employ competent, elite economists, the regime has filled the institution with its cronies, inexperienced in generating economic policy and running an economy.

The regime cannot ignore the situation any longer

The regime has mismanaged the national finances and destroyed the Iranian economy for decades. The people have reached their breaking point, and the recent spate of protests are just the beginning.

There are indications that the regime is waking up to the public outrage. Recently, several regime officials have acknowledged the danger posed by the widespread public protests. Eshagh Jahangiri, the first vice president of the regime, said, “the issue of Kazeroon should be resolved.”

MP from Hamedan, Amir Khojasteh, addressed the Minister of Economy, Massoud Karbasiyan, directly. He said, “if you do not sort these [economic issues] out, swear to God, the people will make their decision on us”.

He is not wrong. The people will make their decision. The continued economic ruin of Iran cannot continue. The public will not let it.  Inspired by the success of recent protests, they will drive the Iranian regime out of power and replace it with a democratic government with the knowledge and inclination to save the Iranian economy.

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Ahvaz,Iran Protests,Isfahan,Kazeroun,Maryam Rajavi,Massoud Rajavi,MEK

Maryam Rajavi Reaps Praise on the Brave Iranians Turning out to Protest Across the Ruling Dictatorship

Maryam Rajavi Reaps Praise on the Brave Iranians Turning out to Protest Across the Ruling Dictatorship

Maryam Rajavi Reaps Praise on the Brave Iranians Turning out to Protest Across the Ruling Dictatorship

Maryam Rajavi Reaps Praise on the Brave Iranians Turning out to Protest Across the Ruling Dictatorship-Credit to maryam-rajavi.com

 Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), praised the resolve of the Iranian people for the sustained protests and strikes in major cities across Iran. Strikes have continued to rage in Kazeroun for the last seven days. The farmer’s protests in Isfahan are also still going strong two months into their struggle. Protests in Ahvaz and Khuzistan have also sprung up in recent weeks.

Rajavi reaped praise from those protesting in Kazeroun, stating “hail to the people of Kazeroun who have a great history of supporting the great leader of Iran’s freedom movement, Dr. Mohammad Mossaddeq.” After Kazeroun citizens were arbitrarily butchered by the regime in 1988, many of the city’s citizens joined the MEK and the resistance movement to oppose the mullah’s tyrannical regime.

Maryam Rajavi hailed those exercising civil disobedience in Isfahan, Kazeroun, and Ahvaz, praising those who disrupted the mullah’s Friday prayers. Those in Baneh and Piranshahr who went on strike and closed their businesses also received Maryam Rajavi’s blessings.

She spoke of the plight of Iran’s Kurdish minority, forced into back-breaking work as porters for the regime. Rajavi described how they often face water shortages, are denied their rightful earnings, and endure routine discrimination at the hands of the oppressive regime. All those in Iran suffer at the hands of Rouhani, but the minorities of the Kurdish, Arab and Baluchi people face “double oppression”, according to Rajavi.

The message from the leader of the MEK was clear; keep up the good work and disrupt the mullah’s regime wherever possible. Massoud Rajavi, the historical leader of the Iranian Resistance had previously sent a message to the Iranian people. He said, “it is an urgent patriotic duty to keep alight the beacon of protests at any opportunity, any time and any place.”

The Iranian population must show their solidarity with those who are risking their freedom and lives to protest the oppressive regime. Only through continued civil disobedience and disruption will the full weight of the Iranian population be felt by the ruling mullahs.

The regime is creaking under the pressure of sustained civil protest. It is intensifying its reign of terror and violence, executing political prisoners at an alarming rate, and arresting brave Iranian protestors across Kazeroun in scores. Rouhani and the mullahs are scrambling to maintain their grip on the situation.

This will only add fuel to the fire. It will inspire the Iranian people to insist on the freedom of their compatriots. “Declare solidarity with the arisen people of the Iranian provinces” is Maryam Rajavi’s message to Iran. Keep the flame of protest alive.

Staff Writer

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executions,Human Rights,Iran,IRGC,Ramin Hossein Panahi,Rouhani

The Iranian Regime’s Bloody Week of Violence

The Iranian Regime’s Bloody Week of Violence

The Iranian Regime’s Bloody Week of Violence

The Iranian Regime’s Bloody Week of Violence

The Iranian regime unleashed a wave of violence against prisoners in Iran this week. The regime brutally executed 19 prisoners across the nation’s prisons, with eight of the 19 hung in a mass execution at Gohardasht Prison in Karaj province.

On April 17th, the wave of violence began with the execution of a prisoner in Tabriz. The next day, the hanging of the eight martyrs took place in Gohardasht Prison. On the same day, Bahman Varmazyar, a sports coach imprisoned in Hamadan, was executed by the regime. Five days later, on April 23rd, five prisoners from Urmia Prison were hanged, three from Kermanshah and one prisoner interned in Ilam were also sent to the gallows.

It was not just those that the regime executed that met their end this week. Mohsen Parvas took his own life on the 21st of April. He committed suicide in protest at the appalling conditions and overwhelming pressures on him in prison. Another 31-year-old, Nasir Zoraghi, died following restrictions on his access to medical assistance. He collapsed following a stroke in Zahedan Central Prison.

Many of those executed had endured show trials and arbitrary suspension of their human rights. They were prisoners like Ramin Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish political prisoner who had his death sentence upheld this week by the Iranian Supreme Court. His trial lasted less than an hour.

His lawyer described his illegal treatment at the hands of the Iranian authorities. There was no evidence pointing to Panahi’s charge of “taking up arms against the state”. He was unarmed when he was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

While in prison, Panahi has been subject to torture, apparent from the marks and bruises on his skin. He was also only permitted to speak to his legal counsel on one occasion. On that occasion, the meeting took place under the watch of Iranian security agents.

These show trials and brutal executions are a violation of international law. It represents the Iranian regime attempting to maintain its weakening grip on power through the brutal administration of violent reprisals towards its critics.

The rise in executions is a desperate attempt to intimidate the public, who are taking to the streets to express their discontent, given the growing protests in objection to the reign of terror and corruption and the growing poverty.

The authorities wave of executions is unacceptable. It is time to put an end to these arbitrary executions, show trails, torturous interrogations, and illegal imprisonments. The Iranian people must mobilize and throw off the shackles of the regime.

Staff Writer

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