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Demonstrations in Mashhad, Iran- December 2017

History of Iranian Uprising since December 2017

Demonstrations in Mashhad, Iran- December 2017

Archive Photo- Demonstration in Mashhad against the high prices – December 2017

On December 28, 2017, a protest began on the streets of Mashhad that triggered an uprising that continues on eight months later.

This new wave of protests has been marked by continuity. But the uprising can be divided into three main phases. Mojahedin.org reported on the three phases of the current uprising taking place in Iran.

Phase One

The first phase started on December 28, 2017 with a protest about inflation. It quickly mutated into a series of anti-government protests targeting the regime as a whole. The protests lasted until January 6, 2018. Though the uprising has ebbed and flowed, it has continued in one form or another since then.

Phase Two

The second phase of the uprising started in March 2018, at the beginning of the Iranian New Year.

The Ahwazi Arabs began protesting on March 28, 2018. The farmers of Isfahan took to the streets after the start of the new year, taking the lead in the uprising. The farmers had already begun protesting for water rights before the beginning of the new year. The authorities cracked down on the farmers, making widespread arrests.

On April 14th, the people of Kazerun began weeks of protests for freedom. Four protesters were killed when security forces opened fire upon a crowd of protesters in May.

On May 10th, teachers went on a nationwide strike in 34 cities across Iran. Their strike had a major impact on the next events in the uprising.

The border city bazaars went on strike in April and May, and on May 14th the strikes spread to Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and then to other cities.
On May 22nd, Iran’s truckers began a nationwide strike that spread to almost every province in the country. The strike had a deep impact on the regime. The strikes were widespread, highly visible, difficult to suppress, and enjoyed popular support. The truck drivers strikes drew a great deal of attention to the regime’s incompetence.

Phase Three

On July 23rd, Iran’s truck driver’s began their second round of strikes. The regime made a number of concessions and promises for reform after the first round of strikes, but most of these had gone unfulfilled.

 

On July 31st, the industrial workers of the Shapur district in Isfahan were joined by other citizens of Isfahan in a grand uprising after the plunge in value of the rial. The uprising quickly spread to a number of other cities, including Shiraz, Karaj, Arak, Mashhad, and Tehran. Calls for regime change were reported by the MEK network inside Iran within the first day of protests.

The third phase of the Iranian uprising is currently in progress. Protesters are asking for the same things they have asked for in past uprisings: Freedom, economic opportunity, human rights, and a free and democratic government.

Characteristics of the Current Uprising

 

Since the mullahs took power in the 1979 revolution, there have been a number of protests and uprisings. These protests and uprisings may be organized into three major cycles.

 

The Iran student protests of 1999:

 

These protests consisted mostly of students and resulted from an internal power struggle between “reformists” and conservatives within the Iranian regime. Protesters hoped to find a solution within the existing political system.

 

 

The 2009 Iranian election protests:

 

These protests included the middle and upper classes of Iran and also resulted from internal struggles between “moderates” and conservatives. In contrast to the 1999 protests, the 2009 protests were not limited to students and included Iranians of different education levels, ethnicities, and origins. The protests were widespread, including virtually every major city. And while protesters initially hoped to find a solution within the system, as the protests grew and spread, that hope was abandoned and the protesters turned on the regime as a whole.

 

2017-present uprisings:

 

The ongoing uprising is fundamentally different in nature from past protest movements. These difference could lead to its eventual success in overthrowing the regime.

 

Protesters are looking outside of the system for answers. The Iranian people have learned that the myth of the moderate is a lie. Rouhani promised reform during the election and has failed to follow through on a single promise. The MEK network has repeatedly reported chants of “Moderates, conservatives, the game is over!” at protests. Protests on issues as diverse as water access and economic stability turn to calls for regime change within hours. The people are done with the lie that “moderates” are willing or able to change the system.

 

Second, the current uprising is unprecedented in its duration. The uprising has lasted for over eight months. In the almost 40 years of the mullahs’ rule, no wave of protests has ever lasted this long. This is despite the brutal crackdown by the regime.

 

Third, the protests are comprised of a wide range of Iranians from across the political spectrum and from every class, ethnicity, and occupation. Farmers, merchants, truckers, and industrial workers are all marching side by side for freedom. Young people march for a secular government, while religious protesters go to Friday prayers and turn their backs on regime-backed prayer leaders, chanting, “We turn our backs to the enemy, and embrace the country!” Fully chador-clad women join protesters on the streets after Friday prayers, chanting, “Our enemy is right here, they lie about it being America!”

 

Finally, the Iranian regime is in a tailspin due to its corruption, mismanagement, incompetence, and sanctions. In the past, the mullahs have been able to use oil profits to cover for their incompetence. But the economy is no longer able to sustain decades of mismanagement. Experts estimate Iran’s inflation rate is between 100-200 percent per year, and the rial has dropped 100 percent in value against the U.S. dollar in the past six months alone. With the economy in free fall, the mullahs may have lost any leverage they once had to deal with dissent from the people.

 

The people are no longer afraid of the regime’s security forces. Phase three may be the final phase of the uprising.

Staff Writer

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MEK's popularity in Iran

Regime Experts Admit MEK’s Major Role in Recent Protests

MEK's popularity in Iran

A recent Infographic distributed over the internet, challenging the Iranian regime’s misinformation about the lack of popularity for MEK (the principal opposition to the regime) in Iran

While for years the Iranian dictatorship and its lobbies had denied MEK’s major support at home, and by running smear campaigns had tried to misinform the International audience from the popularity of the main opposition among Iranians inside and outside the country, the recent positions by various high officials prove differently.

A series of protests have spread throughout Iran’s cities since July 31st, in response to the terrible economic situation and the spread of poverty across Iran, the mismanagement of water and electricity and carelessness of the regime towards bare necessities of Iranians while spending billions to prop up the dictatorship in Syria. People from all walks of life have taken to the streets to protest the regime’s failed economic policies. Though the protests were sparked by economic unrest due to the latest plunge in the rial’s value and resulting increase in costs, outrage among the protesters soon turned to the regime and its leadership, particularly the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Chants of “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to Khamenei!” were heard in Isfahan, Karaj, Tehran, and other cities and towns across Iran. The role of MEK during these demonstrations has been essential in mobilizing and expanding the anti-regime protests.

The following are some of the quotes that have been made by regime officials and “experts” over the past few weeks as protests have ramped up to the current widespread uprising.

On July 3, 2018, Hassan Rouzi-Talab gave an interview to Vatan-e-Emrooz State Daily. Rouzi-Talab is an IRGC expert on the MEK. He made the following statements in the interview, admitting MEK’s widespread support in the social media :

“The MEK has been on top of the social media scene from the start. They attract political activists in the streets and ordinary people and convince them to be MEK resources.” He went on to talk more about the MEK’s role in social media.

“More than 70% of calls to protest and video coming out of the protests… are related to MEK channels. Massoud Rajavi [one of the founders of the MEK] has issued five statements about the protests and clashes since December which is really unprecedented in recent years.”

He also acknowledged that the MEK organized the protests. “MEK forces have divvied up the cities among themselves and organized protest veterans in the streets into Telegram groups in a process that has taken several years. For example, in one small town, there are over 5,000 members in various groups who have the means to coordinate a place and time for gatherings there.

Rouzi-Talab revealed the MEK’s support at home by admitting their slogans and calls being popularly chanted by the people. “Their behavior and slogans are all related to the MEK… Direct calls for overthrow, it was heard everywhere (in all cities) and was repeated frequently.”
On July 14, 2018, IRGC Brigadier General Jalali, Commander of the regime’s “Passive Defense Organization” gave an interview to the Tasnim State News Agency. He credited the MEK as the basis of the resistance movement. In this interview, he said, “We are at a very critical point in the history of our revolution… The striking issue is that all counter-revolutionaries [activities] are designed on the basis of the MEK.”

On July 21, 2018, Ali Rabiei, the regime’s Labor Minister, spoke about the MEK’s role in Iran’s labor movements. He was quoted as saying:

“Today our enemies, particularly the MEK, are targeting the labor issues in the country, something that was very apparent in the issue of the truckers… Various networks were activated to transform this demand as a protest by the MEK in the shortest possible time…”

On July 25, 2015, Mohamad Khan Boluki, Managing Director of the regime’s Transportation Union, also claimed that the MEK was responsible for the labor movement. “The majority of the people that guided the truckers’ gatherings to insurrection were from the MEK who had infiltrated this social sector,” he said.

On August 1, 2018, immediately after the renewed set of protests began, Reza Hosseini, consultant to Soft Wars HQ of the Armed Forces gave an interview with Fars News Agency in which he discussed the MEK’s increased visibility in Iran. He said, “We have to pay attention to what the MEK did in the 1980s to understand how they have resurfaced again and have advanced to the forefront and leadership stage in some sectors.”
He went on to say, “Sometimes it is said that these guys (MEK) have been killed off and don’t mention them anymore!… As an expert, I will tell you that anyone who says the MEK is dead either has a bad motive or is ignorant.”Hosseini added, “The MEK are creating waves today. They have entered into various social strata like the truckers and bazaar owners and provide them with direction.”
 
Hosseini concluded by stating the importance that the regime places on the MEK and its influence on the people of Iran: “Right now they have influence in the universities, particularly in provincial capitals. That is why we sometimes hear discourses in university settings that are the MEK’s narrative.”

On August 2, 2018, as protests picked up steam, Ahmad Salek, a member of Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament), affiliated with the pro-Khamenei faction, spoke to Tasnim News Agency-Mullah about recent protests by workers in Isfahan: “The slogans that were chanted in the demonstration were directed by the MEK through foreign news channels.”

The running thread through all of the statements made by regime officials and experts is that the MEK – the powerful force in the Iranian resistance – is driving the protests and social upheaval taking place in the country. The regime is wrong to place the blame for the uprising at the feet of the MEK: the regime is responsible for the uprising through its corruption, cruelty, and mismanagement, and the people are rising up of their own accord. But the longstanding argument of the regime has been that the MEK is a weak organization that has no standing or power within Iran. Now that the people have risen up, it has been forced to adopt a new narrative and has contradicted itself. The MEK cannot be both a toothless organization with no internal support and a well-organized resistance that is responsible for a massive uprising and its slogans demanding freedom and democracy through regime change in Iran “being heard everywhere”.

Staff Writer

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Iran protest in various cities

Once Again A Nationwide Uprising Begins in Various Cities in Iran

Iran protest in various cities

Despite heavy security measure, Iran protests are spreading across the country in all major cities.

In scenes reminiscent of January 2018, on Thursday, August 2nd, the flames of protest once again fanned across Iran. Angry residents of Isfahan, Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, Najaf Abad, Arak, Karaj, and Ahvaz rose up as one against the tyrannical regime.

MEK Network reports: 

The people’s frustration was channeled into a litany of anti-regime slogans. In Ahvaz, brave protestors filled Naderi intersection and chanted, “our enemy is right here; they are lying that it is America”, and, “the nation is poor, while the mullahs live like a god”.

In Tehran, the protestors adopted a similar narrative. Those gathered in Vali-e-Asr Square chanted, “death to Khamenei” and, “death to the dictator”. Similar slogans could be heard from the multitude in Najaf Abad, and Shiraz, where the protestors gathered on Daryoush Street.

Strength in Numbers

It has been apparent in this latest wave of protests that the mullahs’ repressive strategies designed to prevent residents mobilizing and protesting are not working. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and agents of the regime were on full alert following the protests the previous day.

Intelligence officials sent SMS messages to resident’s phones warning them not to partake in any protests the following day. The messages pointed at the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) of inciting unrest by using rising prices and a struggling economy to mobilize the population for political ends.

Despite this, and the looming threat of imprisonment and execution, the brave protestors took to the streets anyway. In Tehran, defiant protestors clashed with the security forces and the IRGC. The protestors also set fire to objects and created blockades to stop the movement of the regime’s repressive forces.

In Isfahan, protestors also clashed with the regime’s security forces. The regime’s agents attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas, firing canisters into the crowd. To counter the tear gas, protestors burnt tires, to create a thick black smoke that would soften the burning effects of the gas.

Weapons were deployed at protests in Mashhad. The regime’s agents shot into the air in an attempt to disperse those gathered. When this didn’t work, they arrested many gathered in attendance.

The regime’s forces deployed violence to bring the situation back under control. In Isfahan, plainclothes officials attacked the protestors, but rather than be dispelled, the people fought back, fighting the regime’s mercenaries with anything that came to hand, including sticks and rocks.

Protestors Will Not Rest Until the Iranian People are Free

As images of the nationwide protests spread across social media, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance (NCRIhailed the people’s determination.

Rajavi offered words of encouragement to the protestors, stating, “by defying the criminal Revolutionary Guards, Basijis, and plainclothes agents once again today, the arisen women and youth represent a defiant generation which will not rest until the Iranian people and nation are free.”

Her words look likely to ring true as more cities join the movement. There is no government on earth that more powerful than a united and determined population.

Staff Writer

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Protest by people of Isfahan

The People of Isfahan Stand with Iran’s Truck Drivers as the City’s Protest Enters its Second Day

Protest by people of Isfahan

A large number of protesters take to the streets of Isfahan their dissatisfaction and outrage over the high prices and plunge in rial

The truckers and lorry drivers strike has drawn attention from the Iranian population, the regime, and the international media. This attention led to large crowds in Ishafan gathering in support of the striking truck drivers.

On August 1st, 2018, the strike from owners and truck drivers in Isfahan entered its second day. As the protest spread, shopkeepers, young Iranians, and other civilians disenfranchised by the mullahs’ repressive and violent regime took to the streets. The crowd marched down the city’s main streets, chanting “death to the dictator”, “death to high prices, death to unemployment”, and “incompetent officials resign, resign”.

A National Crisis

The truck driver’s strike in Isfahan is one part of a wider, national strike, undertaken by truck drivers over poor working conditions and economic decline. The most recent national strike began on July 24th, quickly spreading to major Iranian cities, including Mashhad, Qazvin, Farrokh Shahr, and Marand.

The protests are crippling the Iranian infrastructure. Videos and images of, normally bustling, loading terminal stations in Khomeini Port sitting empty are circulating online.

The truck drivers are demanding an increase in wages, which have stagnated despite soaring inflation, lowered insurance premiums, lowered prices for replacement truck parts, and reduced highway tolls. The first round of strikes, which began in May and lasted for 11 days, did not yield results.

Commission fees have become a way for the mullahs to extort money from the nation’s truckers. The state-run ILNA news agency reported that logistics firms have to pay transport commissions of up to 10% of the cargo’s worth. Some shipment companies have been reported asking commissions up to 40%.

On top of these crippling fees, increasing fuel prices and highway tolls eat into the truck driver’s meager earnings. The state-run Mehr news agency reported that Iranian truck driver’s earnings do not adequately cover their expenses, leaving many facing financial ruin.

The Regime’s Aggressive Response

Much like the May strike, the latest round of strikes has been met with an aggressive response from the regime. In Isfahan, the regime sent its security forces to disperse the crowds and bombarded those gathered with tear gas.

The protestors in Isfahan fought back against the agents of the regime. They burnt tyres to mask the tear gas. They would not be deterred and continued their protests in the face of mounting oppression.

A Mounting Protest Movement

The trucker’s protest is just one part of Iran’s growing opposition protest movement. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) has been a driving force behind a growing opposition movement. Maryam Rajavi, leader of Iran’s main opposition and the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has been instrumental in drawing support and international recognition for the Iranian opposition movement. Rajavi threw her support behind the Iranian truck drivers, and all those resisting the mullahs’ rule across Iran.

On July 31st, the people of Karaj mounted their own protest, taking over Gohardasht First Square. Again, the regime fought to bring the situation under control, but the determined people of Karaj erected barricades to block the movement of the regime’s forces.

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portray of Rouhani and Khamenei

How the portrayal of Rouhani as a moderate weakens the Iranian opposition

portray of Rouhani and Khamenei

How the portrayal of Rouhani as a moderate weakens the Iranian opposition

On Saturday, July 28th, The Daily Caller published an article entitled “Iran Echo Chamber’ Campaigns to Stop Iranian People’s Struggle Against the Theocracy’, revealing Iranian regime’s apologists and their campaign against a firm position towards the dictatorship ruling Iran also questioning Rouhani’s label as a “moderate”.

The article drew comparisons between Rouhani and other hard-liners within his organization, suggesting Rouhani and regime’s Foreign Minister Zarif are wolves in sheep’s clothing and painting the picture of them as reformers or moderates creates a dangerous and misleading narrative.

The Drums of War

The article argues that Rouhani is a destabilizing factor on the global stage. His latest blustering included a threat of war with the US should they prevent Iran’s oil exports. At a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Tehran, Rouhani stated, “anyone who understands politics a little bit would never say that he/she would prevent exports of Iran’s oil,” adding, “America should know the war with Iran is the mother of all wars”.

Rouhani suggested that if Iranian oil exports were interrupted, Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important body of water linking the Persian Gulf with the Oman Sea. The strait is a trade artery for the whole Middle East and its closure would inflame geopolitical tensions across the region. With such dangerous and grave consequences, the decision to threaten the international community is this way are not the actions of a moderate reformer.

Rouhani’s threats were welcomed by the hard-line leaders of both the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC commander, expressed his support, stating, “we stand ready to put in action President Hassan Rouhani’s latest position that if Tehran were not able to export its crude oil through the Strait of Hormuz, no other country would be able to do so”. The IRGC terrorist Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani echoed Jafari’s sentiments.

While Rouhani’s posturing is designed to provoke, we cannot dismiss his words as empty threats. The Daily Caller article points out that Tehran is internationally isolated, and the mullahs are losing their grip on power at home as the country’s economic and social crisis worsens.

The President has already sent a signal to the international community. Rouhani, along with senior members of his regime, planned a terror attack against the Iranian opposition in Paris.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) organized their annual Free Iran Rally in Paris on June 30th. A Belgian couple was detained by French authorities armed with explosives and instructions to attack the rally. They had received their explosives from an Iranian diplomat working at the Iranian embassy in Austria.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The article argues that Rouhani’s aggressive threats and foiled plot to launch a devastating terrorist attack on European soil demonstrate that he is far from the moderate reformer he is often touted to be.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, suggested the same thing. During a speech to the Iranian-American community living in the United States, he cast doubt on Rouhani and Zarif’s moderate image. “The truth is they are merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry. Their nuclear deal didn’t make them moderates; it made them wolves in sheep’s clothing”, he said.

Regime Agents in the Western Media

Regime Apologists

An infographic distributed widely on the internet to express outrage against biased and propaganda pieces against MEK by regime apologists.

The regime has allies in the Western media, like Guardian journalist Saeed Kamali Dehghan and MSNBC producer Darius Bazargan, who perpetuate the myth of Rouhani as a moderate reformer. Former Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian even admitted that the regime had sent agents to infiltrate foreign media outlets and promote regime interests in the Western media.

This was apparent following the foiled terror attack in Paris. Several media outlets published pieces criticising the victim, the NCRI and MEK and their leader, President-elect Maryam Rajavi. They attacked both the Iranian opposition directly, and President Trump for the firm stance he is pursuing towards the Iranian regime.

The article cites the attacks on US ambassador Nikki Haley as an example of pro-regime journalists targeting MEK and NCRI sympathizers. Haley retweeted a photo from the official MEK Twitter account. Journalists working for BBC Persian singled the ambassador out in their criticisms. The BBC Farsi channel is known as “Ayatollah BBC” in Iran for its pro-regime positions.

These journalist’s criticism and vilification of the Iranian opposition movement and the MEK attempt to offer justification for the mullahs’ attempted terror attack. They create an atmosphere of appeasement to the regime and of hostility towards the NCRI and MEK.

This, Daily Caller article argues, sows “discord among Iranian communities” and is yet another strategy from the regime to fragment and divide the opposition. By creating a competing narrative and fostering a debate over Rouhani as a hard-liner or a moderate, the regime can effectively weaken the opposition by preventing the formation of a united front.

The article finishes by outlining the struggle confronting the Iranian people. “The Iranian people are not only struggling against a brutal religious dictatorship but also must overcome a massive media campaign aimed at [discrediting] their legitimate struggle for liberty, democracy and the pursuit of happiness.”

Staff Writer

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The grand gathering of Iran opposition-June 30, 2018

Youth Vow to Make a Free Iran Possible At NCRI Gathering

The grand gathering of Iran opposition-June 30, 2018

Over a 100,000 supporters of MEK, gathered in Villepinte-Paris, to voice support for Iran’s main opposition, and a free Iran- June 30, 2018

On Saturday, June 30, 2018, tens of thousands of supporters of MEK, the Iranian opposition gathered in Paris for the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) annual gathering, this year entitled “Free Iran: The Alternative.

The three-day event was marked by panel discussions about the weakness of the regime and the growing opposition movement, speeches by political figures, government officials, and dignitaries from all over the world, and a keynote address from Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI.

The unifying message from all of these speakers, who ranged from across the political spectrum, was one of hope for a free Iran and support for the NCRI and the MEK.

Maryam Rajavi addressing Free Iran 2018 grand gathering in Paris-June 2018

The Iranian opposition President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, addresses over 100,000 supporters during the annual gathering of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Paris-2018

The event also featured videos, celebrations of the cultural history and heritage of the Iranian people, examples of how the resistance is working inside Iran, and delegations of supporters of the resistance movement. Many members of the MEK were in attendance.

Early in the day, a video was shown from the perspective of a political prisoner facing execution during the 1988 massacre of political dissidents in Iran. In the summer of 1988, 30,000 Iranians, most of them members of the MEK, were executed by the regime. The video, shot from the perspective of one of these prisoners, counted down the minutes until execution.

The Iranian flag played a large role in the day’s events as well, with delegates waving the true Iranian flag, which features the lion and the sun. The regime changed the flag’s center when it took power, but the resistance continues to recognize the traditional flag as the legitimate flag of Iran.

Among the most inspiring of Saturday’s events was the delegation of youth who have recently fled Iran. These youth were represented by a young woman who spoke passionately of the commitment of the youth of Iran to the cause of freedom. Her words were stirring:

“We promise that we will continue our fight to make a free Iran possible,” she vowed.

“We are the centers of the resistance in Iran.” She continued, “The light of freedom will soon shine in the sun of Iran.”

As she spoke, the rest of the delegation solemnly stood behind her holding signs. A small child stood with the youth holding a red flower.

The young speaker took a moment to adjust her veil, but when she continued, her voice was strong.

“I will now ask everyone to stand up, close your fists, say that you are the voices of our friends in Iran. You are the voices of our political prisoners, and hold our flag, and be part of this international campaign, and to condemn the suffering of those in the land of the sun and the lion. To say that we will continue to fight, that we will sacrifice, that we will reclaim Iran and free Iran.”

Mrs. Rajavi has praised the young people who are currently protesting in Iran and urged them to continue their fight.

Delegations from France, Albania, Yemen, Canada, the United States, San Marino, and Arabs opposed to the regime were among those who took the stage during the convention.

The delegation from the United Kingdom was large and comprised MPs from both houses and several political parties.

A number of notable political figures from the United States from both parties gave speeches as well, including Bill Richardson, Rudolph Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Louis Freeh.

Staff Writer

 

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NCRI the democratic alternative to Iran's dictatorship

NCRI Envisions Alternative to Iranian Regime

NCRI the democratic alternative to Iran's dictatorship

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) the only viable alternative to the religious tyranny ruling Iran.

On May 15, 2018, ncri-iran.org published an editorial advocating for an alternative to the oppressive regime in Iran. Since the editorial was published, protests across Iran have continued unabated, and several events have occurred in the international community with regard to Iran that has further destabilized the regime. On June 30th, the Iranian opposition will hold its annual grand gathering, where it will address the issues discussed in the NCRI’s editorial, which we will revisit here.

In its editorial, the NCRI argued that Western policy on Iran often excludes the will of the Iranian people. For a policy to be effective, it is crucial to take into account events on the ground in Iran.

In December of 2017, a wave of protests began in Iran that shook both the ruling the regime and the world at large. People in over 140 cities across Iran took to the streets to reject the theocratic regime. The people chanted “Death to Khamenei and Rouhani!” and reformists, hardliners, the game is over!” leaving no doubt that they would accept nothing less than regime change. Governments and those who considered themselves experts on Iran were surprised to find that the core of the protesters were the same people whom they had assumed to be the strongest supporters of the regime. The entire country rose up to demand a change in regime.

 

On June 30, 2018, Iranians from all over the world will gather in Paris for the opposition’s annual gathering, which this year is titled Free Iran; The Alternative.” The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants, with each Iranian representing dozens, of not hundreds or thousands of people inside Iran who are currently protesting for change. The people of Iran have received word of the event through social media, and messages of support have poured in from all corners of civil society. According to the NCRI editorial, [t]he people of Iran see the June 30 event as the echo of their own cry for freedom.”

In past years, this annual event has drawn as many as 100,000 participants. This year’s gathering is unique, given the ongoing uprising and international developments affecting Iran. According to the NCRI, this year’s gathering “heralds the dawn of freedom for the people of Iran and an end to the nightmare of the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and instability in the region.”

 

At the 2017 gathering, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), of which the MEK is the largest member, said that “regime change in Iran is necessary and within reach.” Many so-called experts were skeptical of her message at the time, but recent events have proven her words to be true. According to the NCRI, this year’s message is short but precise: “Iran has a democratic alternative – thus, setting aside the misguided notion, advocated by the Iranian regime’s lobby, that regime change would lead to chaos.”

 

The NCRI believes that the West has ignored the will of the Iranian people for far too long. Their editorial states:

 

“The mullahs’ regime cannot exist without suppression at home and export of terrorism abroad. Silence regarding the criminal mullahs, let alone wittingly or unwittingly empowering those responsible for, and the perpetrators of, the massacre of the Iranian nation, will only embolden the religious dictatorship’s warmongering, export of fundamentalism and terrorism. The end of religious dictatorship in Iran is a requisite for regional peace, democracy, security, and stability. This is the only way to end war and crisis in the region and avert a larger war.

The alternative to the mullahs’ regime is a free Iran, governed by the rule of law. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran in which women can be treated as equals, including in political leadership. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran where the there is no compulsory veil or compulsion to religion. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran where all national and religious ethnicities can live and work together in harmony to rebuild the country from the ashes left by the ruinous clerical regime.

 

The Free Iran event is also unique in that is a rare opportunity for unity in an era of partisanship on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the NCRI’s editorial:

 

“[D]dignitaries, politicians and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will join each other to support the Iranian people in their dream and desire for a free and democratic Iran. Americans and Europeans, Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Christian Democrats, as well as Social Democrats and Socialists, will address the rally along with representatives of Iranian communities.”

 

The NCRI believes that the unity of the people in attendance at the rally, the bond between the millions of people protesting in the streets of Iran, and the diversity of political support for the opposition moment “will show that there exists within the organized opposition the capacity to lead the protests in Iran to ultimate regime change.” The regime’s Supreme Leader has already expressed concern about the MEK’s role in organizing the uprising in Iran, going as far as to unsuccessfully demand that French President Emmanuel Macron take action against MEK members in France. He and the regime fear the momentum of the popular uprising.

 

Last year’s gathering was attended by more than 500 dignitaries from all over the world, including former Prime Ministers, government officials, and Members of Parliament. Attendees included Bernard Kouchner, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs; Rita Suessmuth, the former President of Germany’s Bundestag; and the former U.K. Minister of Northern Ireland, as well as Ambassador John Bolton, Senator Joe Lieberman, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Ed Rendell, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The Free Iran gathering will take place on June 30th and will present an alternative to the Iranian regime. More information about the event may be found here.

 

 

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MEPs support for Iran Freedom.

More MEPs Voice Support for Free Iran Rally

MEPs support for Iran Freedom.

MEPs express support for the #FreeIran2018 gathering in support of Iran’s main democratic opposition.

As the annual gathering of the Iranian opposition grows near, a growing number of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and other governmental entities have expressed their support for the event and the opposition movement, of which the MEK is the largest and most well-organized group.

 

The two most recent MEPs to express solidarity with the Free Iran rally and the Iranian opposition movement are Emma McClarkin and Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea.

Emma McClarkin is from the U.K. and was first elected to European Parliament in 2009. In 2014, she was re-elected to represent the East Midlands as one of its two Conservative MEPs. In her statement of support for the gathering she said:

 

“The people of Iran want real change from the protests in January. We have seen that you want an end to oppression, that you want freedom and democracy to come to Iran and an end of the oppression by the regime and their security forces.

 

“On the 30th of June, I’m delighted that the Iranian community will be meeting in Paris. The freedom of expression that you experienced there hopefully will inspire you to express those very real wishes that you have for real change in Iran. We in the European Parliament will be participating. We’ll be watching. We will be listening and we will always be supporting a free Iran.”

Spanish MEP Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea also recently expressed her support for the Free Iran rally. Ms. Basterrechea is a liberal-democratic writer and politician from Madrid. She is the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and is a member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

 

In her statement of solidarity for the Free Iran event, she said the following:

 

“I am particularly encouraged by the role women play in leading many of these protests. I think Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of NCRI, whom I have met several times, is a role model for many women who want to stand up for their rights in Iran.

 

“From all indications, we can see that after four decades of brutal and anti-women rule of the mullahs, change is about to come to Iran. The people of Iran have said it clearly: We don’t want to be ruled by these fanatics who have ruined the country in all these years!

“I, therefore, believe that the Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition that will be held in Paris on 30 June can be a turning point towards a democratic change in Iran. So, I urge everyone to come to the rally to join voices in support of a free Iran.”

This year’s gathering is titled “Free Iran: The Alternative” and will he held on June 30th in Paris. The MEK will help lead the discussion on the future of Iran and the need for regime change. More information about the Free Iran rally may be found here.

Staff Writer

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Italian Municipalities Support for #FreeIran2018 gathering

Italian Municipalities Voice Support for June 30th Free Iran Rally in Paris

Italian Municipalities Support for #FreeIran2018 gathering

Italian Municipalities, support Free Iran 2018 Gathering in Paris.

Twenty-two Italian municipalities from the Piedmont region signed a statement in support of the Free Iran rally that is scheduled for June 30th in Paris. The statement was written following a regional Mayors’ council meeting in Italy’s Vale De Susa on Friday, June 1, 2018, in which the statement was discussed and approved by those in attendance.

 

The statement is an expression of solidarity for the Iranian people and their widespread uprising against the repressive ruling regime. The uprising, which began in December 2017, took place in 140 cities across Iran for two weeks before being temporarily suppressed by the regime. The people staged their initial protests to express dissatisfaction with current economic conditions, but as the uprising spread, the people began to call for regime change and nothing less. Protests were widely publicized with the help of social media, and the international community became aware of the unrest.

 

The statement by Italian municipalities acknowledged the validity of the resistance movement, which includes the MEK, and declared support for Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for democratic change in Iran. Mrs. Rajavi is the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, of which the MEK is the largest member. The statement said:

 

“We support NCRI’s President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan, which is aimed at setting up a democratic republic based on separation of religion and government, gender, ethnic and religious equality, non-pursuing any nuclear program, abolition of death penalty, peaceful coexistence and commitment to international rules and conventions, to ensure democracy, development and progress in Iran and the world.

“It’s time for the international community to put itself on the right side of history.”

 

The statement went on to express support for the upcoming Free Iran Grand Gathering, which will take place in Paris on June 30th. The annual event is intended to promote the resistance movement in Iran and to support the people’s desire to overthrow the oppressive theocracy currently in power and replace it with a secular democracy.

 

The statement also referred to the Iranian regime’s massacre of 120,000 political prisoners, including 30,000 in the summer of 1988 alone, most of whom were MEK members. The following is from the statement:

 

“Amnesty International has regarded the massacre as a crime against humanity, calling for its perpetrators to be brought to justice. According to UN reports, the Iranian regime has the highest per capita execution rate in the world.

“The Iranian people showed the world that they’re more than willing to join their organized resistance and pay the price for democratically changing the ruling dictatorship in Iran and replacing it with a system that is based on separation of religion and politics.

“We hereby express our solidarity with Iranian people’s uprising for freedom and democracy and also declare our support for NCRI’s program for a democratic change in Iran.

“We ask the international community to make its relations with the Iranian regime conditional on the regime’s respect for human rights, and also ask with a loud voice for the release of all political prisoners in Iran.”

 

The municipalities who signed the statement were  Almese, Avigliana, Borgone Susa, Brozolo, Bussoleno, Caprie, Caselette, Cianocco, Chianocco, Cusa di San Michelle, Condove, Mattie, Mompantero, Novalesa, San Didero, San Giorio di Susa, Sant’Ambrogio di Torino, Sant’Antonio di Susa, Susa, Vaie, Venaus, Villar Dora and Villar Focchiardo.

 

Staff Writer

 

 

 

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Truck driver's nationwide strike continues

The Regime Responds to Continued Protests

Truck driver's nationwide strike continues

Truck driver’s strike on its 9th day.

On Wednesday, May 30th, the truck drivers’ strike in Iran stretched to its ninth day. Drivers in 257  cities in 31 provinces began their latest strike on May 22nd. The strike has forced the closure of numerous businesses and has led to fuel shortages in urban areas.

 

Strikes among Iran’s truck drivers have taken place over the last three years, with the first such strike occurring in July 2015, as drivers face increasing frustrations. The truck drivers have cited a number of grievances that led to the current strike. Among their concerns are:

  • High taxes;
  • Increased levies on transported loads;
  • No change in rental fees for three years;
  • Increased fees from third-party insurance companies;
  • Low rental fees despite high expenditures by drivers;
  • Unfair distribution of loads at sea ports;
  • Disparities in load tones between common drivers and those with ties to the regime.

The protests taking place across Iran have clearly demonstrated the people’s dissatisfaction with the current regime and their desire for regime change. As protests and strikes continue across the country, the regime has resorted to using force to respond to their just demands, in further attempts to suppress dissent from the people and prolong their rule.

 

On Tuesday, May 29th, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported on the regime’s response to the ongoing uprising currently taking place throughout Iran. The regime has become increasingly alarmed by the anger of the people and the steady stream of protests against the regime and its policies. Khamenei expresses this sense of desperation when he ordered the deployment of armed units to protect state offices and agencies from the people and their escalating protests.

 

The IRGC news agency reported that Khamenei’s directive for “Establishment of protection units in executive agencies” that was “approved by the Supreme Commander General, was notified to the relevant authorities to be executed.”

 

According to Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, the stated purpose of the directive was “to protect the infrastructure, buildings, facilities, equipment and some of the specialized subject-specific missions of the executive agencies requiring armed protection, with the aim of developing, enhancing and strengthening the security of the mentioned apparatuses through the organization of armed units of executive agencies by the police force and by assigning security and protection to these apparatuses.”

 

The directive is a repressive measure intended to protect the regime and its institutions from the people it has oppressed with its corruption and brutality. As part of the uprising, protesters in January occupied many government buildings, as well as organs of repression and crime, “theological centers,” and offices of Khamenei’s representatives and “Friday Imams.”

 

Efforts to suppress protests have largely failed, and the people of Iran are still gathering daily for multiple protests about a variety of issues.

Staff writer

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