Der Spiegel,Disinformation by MOIS,Fake-news,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News,Spiegel Online

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

“The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran” is Fake News by Der Spiegel

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

The Spiegel Magazine joins Iranian regime’s propaganda machine against Iran’s main democratic opposition the MEK. The Iranian communities expressed their outrage over the lies and fabrications reported by Der Spiegel-February 2019

Der Spiegel’s Hit Piece: Shoddy Journalism or Evidence of a Conflict of Interest?

As the dust settles on the Warsaw conference and the Iranian regime are forced to come to terms with the US’s concerted efforts to build a united international front against Iranian regime aggression, regime allies are intensifying attacks on the Iranian opposition.

Over 65 world leaders gathered in Warsaw to discuss ways of containing the Iranian threat and bring stability to the Middle East and the wider region. On the sidelines of the conference, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most influential Iranian pro-democracy group, organized rallies and protests against the regime and its four-decade hold on Iranian politics.

High-profile political figures from around the world turned out to support the MEK, including former New York Mayor and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The size and scale of the rallies, as well as the support they drew, drew international attention to the MEK and the leader of Iran opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi.

While this was a major step forward for Iranian democracy and the opposition movement, the increased profile of the opposition group caused a ripple of concern among the Iranian regime.

A Fearful Regime

The more international recognition the MEK and the Iranian opposition get, the more fearful the regime becomes. The group represents the most viable alternative to regime rule. Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan outlines a clear plan of action for installing a democratic government in Iran following the fall of the regime. The group’s very existence is a threat to the regime’s future survival.

As shockwaves of concern spread across the regime in the aftermath of the Warsaw conference, the regime’s allies intensified its attempts to publicly demonize the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

Spiegel Online or a Mouthpiece for Iran’s Dictatorship

These attempts cumulated in an article published from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. Entitled “Gefangene der Rebellion”, the article was a hit-piece designed to sway public opinion against the MEK and curb its rising popularity.

The article’s claims are the same as those that have previously been touted by the Iranian regime, many of which have been publicly disproved on numerous occasions.

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

However, the most concerning aspect of Der Spiegel’s article is not the mistruths and lies present in the text, but the complete lack of basic journalistic integrity and abandonment of journalistic principles. In the wake of the magazine’s recent Claas Relotius revelations (in which a prominent writer and journalist was found to have fabricated interviews with sources and experiences in his articles), the magazine has evidently not improved its fact-checking and information gathering practices.

This is all the more concerning considering that Der Spiegel publicly apologized following the Relotius scandal and maintained that the magazine was working to tighten its internal vetting and fact-checking processes.

A Flawed Fact-Gathering Process

An analysis of the magazine’s fact-finding process exposes a lack of journalistic integrity and the absence of even basic journalistic principles.

The writer interviewed regime affiliates, members of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), and ex-members of the MEK, all of whom have a clear anti-MEK agenda, yet did not confer with the MEK itself, Albanian authorities, or international politicians that have visited the MEK’s compounds to verify any of the MOIS and regime allies’ claims.

The MEK reached out to Der Spiegel and invited the magazine to the group’s compound in Albania to see how the group lives. The magazine declined the offer, preferring instead to rely on regime accounts.

Similarly, the reporter interviewed the father of 38-year old Somayeh Mohammadi, who claims his daughter is being held by the MEK against her will. Not only are the claims untrue (Mohammadi has his claims dismissed by an Albanian court following a full hearing) but Somayeh has often spoken to journalists and politicians, including former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, about how the claims are inaccurate and her father is a regime agent.

A Conflict of Interest?

At best, the article exposes a lack of integrity. However, many are speculating that there may be something more contrived afoot. The reporter allegedly lived in Iran for several months before writing the article. They also reportedly spent time with the Basij militia, a regime-affiliated militia organization. Given that the reporter declined to do the same with the MEK, it could be indicative of a severe conflict of interest.

More concerningly, on November 24, part of the article appeared on a website affiliated with the MOIS, with the addendum that the full article was published in Der Spiegel, although the full article had not yet been published. This indicates a deep level of collaboration between the Iranian regime and the reporter. It indicates that the regime itself had access to parts of the article long before it appeared in print.

As the MEK gathers momentum, both at home and abroad, and the Iranian regime finds itself confronted by a highly-mobilized and determined Iranian population, it feels its only chance of survival is to attack the Iranian opposition.

Der Spiegel’s latest article must be seen for what it is: the latest regime attempt to vilify and undermine its political opponents and silence dissent. It is nothing more than a political weapon to curb the rising popularity of the MEK. But the MEK is not the only victim. International journalism suffers when the Iranian regime uses it as a propaganda mouthpiece.

As long as international media outlets are unprepared to install rigorous fact-checking and editing standards, disinformation and lies will be allowed to propagate.

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Hon. Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson: Europe’s Instex a “Failed Attempt at Appeasement”

Hon. Struan Stevenson

Hon. Struan Stevenson, former MEP, and president of the EP’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, currently the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, speaking at one of the European Parliament meetings-Archive Photo

Struan Stevenson, a former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, penned an op-ed for UPI. The piece, entitled ‘Europe’s Instex is a failed attempt at appeasing Iranian regime’, criticizes Europe’s continued policy of appeasement towards Iran and demands a firmer approach to the Iranian regime.

He criticized Europeo for pursuing a “sanctions-busting policy” rather than applying pressure to the Iranian leadership. Stevenson writes, “on Jan. 31, the foreign secretaries of France, Germany and the United Kingdom shamefully announced a deal to help companies that wish to continue trading with Iran to avoid American sanctions.”

The three European nations will channel Iranian imports and exports through Instex, a platform designed to bypass US sanctions against Iran.

Tightening the Screws

Following evidence that the mullahs are breaching the terms of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under Barack Obama in 2015, President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA shortly after his election and re-introduced sanctions. The Iranian regime has cheated “on the terms of the deal, oppressing its own citizens and waging proxy wars throughout the Middle East,” Stevenson writes.

Choosing to ignore the rampant human rights abuses and financing of international militia groups and state-sponsored terrorism, the European Union has prioritized its own lucrative commercial contracts and explored methods of bypassing the US sanctions. “Instex was the result.”

Europe has had its finger burnt with policies of appeasement before. “Neville Chamberlain’s attempts to appease Adolf Hitler can attest,” Stevenson writes. Recent assassinations and foiled terror attacks on European soil have served to demonstrate how dangerous the Iranian regime is. Appeasing the regime and continuing to provide it with willing trading partners is “incomprehensible in such circumstances.”

Invoking US Ire

Europe’s decision did not please the White House. The US government warned that any company that wanted to continue trading with Iran would be excluded from US markets, forcing many companies to cut ties with Iran out of fear they would invoke the wrath of the US government.

Many EU nations declined to provide Instex with premises for its headquarters, fearing a similar fate. “Finally, France stepped into the breach, offering Paris as the Instex base,” Stevenson writes.

There are limits on what trade Instex can facilitate. The platform can only trade in goods that are not covered by US sanctions. It cannot, for example, purchase Iranian oil, which was the regime’s most lucrative export.

The editor in chief of Keyhan Daily, one of the regime’s many mouthpieces, lamented this decision. “The most humiliating aspect of Instex is that in return for our oil income we are only permitted to purchase food and medicine,” he said.

The Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the leader of Iran opposition, Maryam Rajavi are calling for an end to Europe’s dangerous policy of appeasement. They held a large rally in Warsaw last week which included high-profile speakers including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. At the rally the MEK and its supporters could be heard chanting, “appeasement no; regime change yes.”

Stevenson concludes, “Instex seemed, like Chamberlain’s piece of paper, to be destined for the trash can; another failed attempt at appeasement.

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The top mullah who rules Iran

The Regime is at “A Strategic Dead-End”: It is Time to End US Appeasement

The top mullah who rules Iran

Iranian Regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei

On Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, L. Todd Wood wrote a piece for the Washington Times criticizing the policy of appeasement towards the Iranian regime that has dominated US politics for the last four decades.

The piece, entitled ‘Iran Resistance: 40 Years of Perceived US Appeasement’, begins with the coverage of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) recent event held at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The NCRI or the parliament in exile of the Iranian opposition includes the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most organized Iranian opposition group.

“The event began with remarks by US Ambassador J. Adam Ereli, who reviewed the difficult history the MEK has had with the American government,” Wood wrote. Consecutive US administrations “threw the MEK under the bus,” in an effort to appease the Iranian regime. Despite being a legitimate pro-democracy group, US administrations included the MEK on its terrorist blacklists, a move that was later overturned by the courts and deemed illegal.

Ali Safavi of the NCRI said, “when we talk about the West’s 40-year policy in dealing with the Iranian regime, we can find a common thread throughout the past four decades: an attempt to work with the ruling theocracy… in the hopes of moderating its behavior.”

Far from moderating the mullahs’ behavior, this approach has emboldened them and allowed them to continue to abuse Iranian human rights with impunity and launch an international state-sponsored terrorist campaign. Safavi concludes, “appeasement has actually helped prolong the mullahs’ rule.”

An End of Appeasement?

However, under the Trump administration, there have been signs that the US government is finally willing to end its decades-old policy of appeasement. The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and re-introduced economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

In the face of US pressure, coupled with domestic pressure from a rapidly expanding MEK-led protest movement, the regime is under intense pressure. The NCRI’s US representative Soona Samsami said at the groups National Press Club event, “the Iranian regime is weak and vulnerable. It lacks internal legitimacy.”

She continued, “the regime’s internal policies, its human rights violations and economic mismanagement have depleted its strategic capital. It has no solutions to these massive crises and no way to curb the uprising.” She concluded, “put simply, the regime is at a strategic dead-end.”

What Is the Alternative?

In his piece, L. Todd Wood makes it abundantly clear that appeasement is not the only option. The NCRI and the MEK have a viable democratic alternative to regime rule in Iran. Their president-elect Maryam Rajavi has a ten-point plan for realizing a democratic Iran following the fall of the regime.

Woods asserts that the West has a “historic opportunity… to bring about regime change in Iran by helping the MEK.” It can only realize this opportunity by breaking with tradition, ending its policy of appeasement, and supporting the MEK in its pursuit of Iranian democracy.

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MEK supporters Rally in Paris

The Warsaw Conference: An Opportunity to Build an International Anti-Regime Coalition

MEK supporters Rally in Paris

The MEK Rally in Paris, calling for regime change in Iran, as the only possible way to restore freedom and democracy for Iran-February 8, 2019

In an op-ed for UPI, Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan, the Executive Director of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, the leading academic assure the United States that it should not fear regime change in Iran.

Professor Sheehan writes, “when the United States hosts a conference on the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, this month, it will be an opportunity to set Iran on a different path.” The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arranged the upcoming conference to explore strategies aimed at curbing the Iranian regime’s threat.

The conference “will be focused on confronting Iran’s regional influence and its belligerence,” Sheehan writes. Although not explicitly stated by Trump, Sheehan suspects that the president’s goal would be to see regime change in Iran and the arrival of democracy.

There is no call for military intervention

However, one concern for Western heads of state is that regime change would prompt a situation where the US and Europe would become militarily entangled in Iranian affairs. Sheehan argues that these fears “are not warranted.”

The Iranian opposition’s leader, Mayam Rajavi, has long advocated for the international community’s support for a free Iran, and she has done so while emphasizing that this support ought to consist only of political advocacy, economic sanctions, and diplomatic pressure,” Sheehan explains.

The Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), therefore rejects military interference from Western governments. It maintains that the Iranian people are the key to regime change.

The wheels of regime change are in motion

14 months ago, at the end of 2017, Iranians began taking to the streets to call for regime change in what would quickly become vast nationwide protests. The protests, in December 2017 and January 2018, rapidly spread to all 31 of Iran’s provinces and united all segments of Iranian society under the banner of regime change.

“Less than two weeks later, as regime authorities struggled to stifle the movement, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei attributed it to the MEK”, Sheehan writes.

MEK-Iran: Our Iran Released Summary of 2018 Protest Movement

The MEK has been instrumental in coordinating anti-regime protests across Iran. Units of MEK members are active in all of Iran’s cities, organizing and advertising protests and opposing the regime’s violence everywhere it is on display.

President Trump has publicly expressed support for the Iranian people. In a speech at the UN, he called them the longest-suffering victims of the regime. The only thing that remains to be seen is in what capacity the US will lend them its support.

Building an anti-regime coalition is the first step

With US sanctions in place, the first step for the US is convincing the EU government to follow suit. Europeans have been reluctant to acknowledge the Iranian threat. Following Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, many European governments continued to try and salvage the deal. Many European companies and nations are also exploring ways to bypass Iranian sanctions.

But “following the revelation of multiple Iranian terror threats directed at Western interests, accompanied by Tehran’s open rejection of a U.N. Security Council resolution concerning ballistic missile tests”, Europe is beginning to come around. It recently announced EU sanctions against a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). However, this should just be the start.

Sheehan writes, “the United States will have to persuade its allies to line up behind a new vision for Iran, specifically the vision of a free, democratic and modern society that rejects dictatorship.”

He concludes, “if this can be accomplished… without requiring direct intervention by the United States or other powers, then the relevant policies should be an easy sell at the Warsaw conference.”

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Middle East Expert Breaks Down the Iranian Regime’s Use of Terror as a Political Tool

“The Recent Iranian Terrorist Plots in Europe”

A white paper by Claude Moniquet on the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities on European soil published on February 2019

Middle East analyst and counter security expert, Claude Moniquet released an in-depth report examining the Iranian regime’s terror plots on European soil. Entitled, “The Recent Iranian Terrorist Plots in Europe”, the 35-page document charts the recent developments in the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism and places them in the context of the domestic political and social landscape within Iran.

Claude Moniquet, posing for a photo call, outside Brussels’ conference on the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities in Europe-February 4, 2019

“In 2018, the Iranian regime, facing a domestic uprising, collapsing economy, and international sanctions, took the decision to step up terrorism on European and US soil against the Iranian opposition movement,” Moniquet writes.

Moniquet outlines the regime’s involvement in two plots against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), one in France and one in Albania. He also highlights regime involvement in a plot to kill an Iranian dissident in Denmark and a plot in the US that was foiled during the surveillance stages of planning.

A Limited Fallout

In the wake of the increase in terrorist plots, the Netherlands, France, and Albania expelled diplomats. The French government also levied sanctions against the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and two Iranian officials.

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) also made the decision to include a branch of the MOIS on the EU terror list for the first time. This is a welcome step, however, Moniquet acknowledges that the EU and the US’s “conciliatory policy” has been “counterproductive, emboldening the regime to pursue its objectives through terrorism.”

The Use of Terrorism as a “Political Tool”

The regime has been embroiled in a dozen terror attacks since it seized power four decades ago. In 1979, it was involved in the Iran Hostage Crisis and the assassination of the Shah’s nephew in Paris. Throughout the decades since, it has been involved in the bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, the Lebanon Hostage Crisis in 1982, a string of bomb attacks in Paris, the murder of Kazem Rajavi (the founder and leader of the MEK), attacked the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, and attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC.

“Terrorism is used to support Iran’s political agenda in the Middle East and extend its influence on the “Shiite crescent” (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon), to fuel tensions in the Gulf Area…, to provoke the Israeli “arch enemy” … and to eradicate opponents living in exile,” Moniquet writes.

These four objectives underpin the Iranian terrorist machine. The regime uses its terror cells in Europe and around the world to further these objectives. The mullahs have employed terrorism to further these aims since the regime’s inception.

Why Now?

With these objectives in mind, it becomes clear why the regime is now intensifying its terror activities across the world.

The plots against the MEK were a deliberate attempt to damage the group and reduce its influence both abroad and within Iran. Since 2017, protests within Iran have spiraled. The MEK has been instrumental in organizing protests within the country. “Thus, to eradicate the opposition inside and outside Iran is a strategic goal for the regime for its survival,” Moniquet asserts.

Moniquet also suggests that the West’s inaction to previous terror attacks has contributed to a feeling of complacency within the regime that it can get away with terror attacks with relative impunity. “Tehran understood that it was possible to threaten and even attack Europe without having any price to pay,” he says.

“Those attacks benefitted Iran,” he added. Following attacks and bombings in Lebanon Western forces from the country, giving the Iranian regime what it craved. “Appeasement was the only European answer to the mullahs violence,” Moniquet writes.

Orders from the Top

Moniquet examines the regime’s mechanisms for planning terror attacks. He describes how the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), presided over by President Hassan Rouhani makes the regime’s decisions regarding terrorist operations and matters of national security.

The council has 12 permanent members including senior members of the regime leadership like Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Ali Jafari (the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Cops), Mohammad Javad Zarif (the Minister of Foreign Affairs), and Mahmoud Alavi (the Minister of Intelligence).

Eight of the twelve members of the SNSC are under the direct control of the Supreme Leader, indicating that the Supreme Leader himself is implicit in the terror network of the Iranian regime.

What Next?

“So, the only question, today, is the following: what the European should do?”, Moniquet writes. Moniquet suggests an answer,

“European Union States must expel all the identified Iranian intelligence officers,” adding, “they must close all the Iranian sponsored institutions involved in terrorism or hate propaganda, they must blacklist all the officials linked to the MOIS and the IRGC  and all the institutions, companies and individuals linked to Iranian intelligence activities.”

“Last but not least,” Moniquet concludes, “they must condition political relations with Iran to a strict observance of human rights inside its borders and end of terrorist activities, support and funding outside its borders and they must support democratic opposition forces seeking fundamental and democratic change in Iran.”

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Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

New Book on the MEK and Ashraf III

Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

Struan Stevenson Publishes New Book on the MEK and the new residence of the MEK in Albania, Ashraf III .

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of European Parliament representing Scotland and longtime supporter of the MEK, has written a new book, Ashraf III, Rising from the Ashes: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers. The book, which describes the widespread protest movement currently taking place in Iran that threatens to topple the theocratic regime, also details the regime’s efforts to demonize the MEK over the past forty years and its numerous attempts to destroy the organization through missile strikes, smear campaigns, and terrorist plots.

The book’s main focus is the MEK’s struggle to find a safe haven, first at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, then at Camp Liberty in Iraq, and finally at Ashraf 3 in Albania. Thousands of members of the MEK lived in exile at Camp Ashraf and Liberty from 1986 until 2017. After the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the MEK camp was targeted by repeated deadly missile strikes. These strikes were ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian regime. After years of negotiations and deteriorating conditions, the Albanian government agreed to allow the MEK to move its headquarters to Tirana.

Ashraf 3: A New Beginning

The new MEK camp, Ashraf 3, is home to 3,000 MEK members, all of whom have a personal stake in working toward the goal of a free Iran. These “Ashrafis” have worked tirelessly to a home for the Iranian Resistance.

Struan Stevenson visited Ashraf 3 last year, along with two other MEPs, Tunne Kelam & Jaromir Stetina. The delegation toured the camp and spoke to the residents there about their stories and motivations for working for the Resistance.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Stevenson described Ashraf 3 after his visit last year in a piece for UPI. He wrote: “These hard-working and resilient freedom fighters have constructed a small city with shops, clinics, sports facilities, kitchens, bakeries, dormitory blocks, meeting halls, offices, and studios.”

In his book, Stevenson writes about the efforts the Ashrafis have made to forge relationships with the Albanian community. He emphasizes the resilience of the MEK members in rebuilding their home after decades of attacks by the Iranian regime. Ashraf 3, says Stevenson, serves as a beacon of hope to the 80 million Iranian citizens who pray for freedom from oppression. The people of Iran see the MEK as the only viable democratic alternative to the theocratic regime, and the Ashrafis take this responsibility seriously.

Chaos in Iran

Stevenson’s report describes the current unrest in Iran that has arisen since the widespread uprising by the Iranian people in late 2017. The book details the regime’s response to the protests, which has included a massive crackdown on any political activity. Stevenson discusses the arrests, executions, imprisonment, and intimidation of the Iranian people and the failure of the regime to respond to the concerns of the protesters. He also shows how the regime has increased its efforts to censor social media and access to the Internet, as well as its demonization campaign against the MEK.

Stevenson also criticizes Federica Mogherini, the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs, for her failure to address the regime’s human rights abuses.

Struan Stevenson’s book may be purchased from Amazon.com.
ASHRAF III, RISING FROM THE ASHES: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers; A European Delegation Report Paperback – February 2019

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Ministerial conference in Poland

The Warsaw Ministerial Conference Must voice support for the Iranian People’s Protests

Ministerial conference in Poland

The Iranian diaspora in the United States, supporters of the MEK, call on the upcoming Ministerial conference in Warsaw to support the Iranian people’s uprising in Iran for regime change.

Ahead of the Warsaw Ministerial Conference, when governments will meet in the Polish capital on the 13th and 14th of this month to discuss the Iranian threat, the Iranian diaspora in the United States took out an ad in the Washington Times.

Fourteen Iranian-American groups, including the Association of Iranian Americans in New York, the California Society for Democracy in Iran, the Members of the Organization of Iranian American Communities, and the Iranian American Community of Massachusetts, took out the whole-page ad to demonstrate the need to hold the Iranian regime to account.

The Iranian People Deserve to Have Their Voices Heard

The Iranian diaspora in the United States call on the upcoming Ministerial Conference in Warsaw to support the Iranian people’s uprising.

The Iranian regime is the world’s leader in executions per capita. Its people suffer gross human rights abuses on a daily basis. In 2018, the regime detained more than 10,000 protestors in Iran. Their crime was merely taking to the streets to demonstrate their political opposition to the regime.

The political opposition living abroad have been the target of the world’s largest state-sponsored terror campaign. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) have been persecuted. In March, an Iranian plot was uncovered to attack their compound in Albania where more than 2,000 live in exile.

Then, in June, at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event where more than 100,000 international politicians and supporters meet in Paris, the Iranian regime orchestrated a plot to detonate a car bomb. The plan was foiled by Belgian authorities when they arrested a Belgian-Iranian couple en-route on the event in a car laden with explosives.

Beyond planning terror attacks, the Iranian regime is also financing terrorist and militia groups across the Middle East. Their finances flow to the coffers of Hezbollah, the Taliban, Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, and militia groups in Iraq.

The People Are Showing Their Anger

The regime’s heinous crimes and destabilizing activities have not gone unnoticed. The Iranian people launched a nationwide uprising at the beginning of 2018. The movement led to protests spreading across 160 cities and towns in the nation in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The MEK played a central role in these protests, facilitating communication through resistance units that distributed pamphlets and organized protests.

These protests represented a decisive moment in the opposition movement. The ranks of the protestors swelled to include teachers, students, merchants, farmers, nurses, retirees, investors, factory workers, and truck drivers. Demographics that the regime typically relied on for support have turned against the mullahs and are joining the opposition movement in larger numbers than ever before.

The statement by the Iranian diaspora, published in the Washington Times, expresses two points in bold. “Must voice support for the Iranian people’s uprising for a #FreeIran,” and “must hold Iran’s ruling theocracy accountable for its record.” The regime’s heinous and violent behavior and the momentum the Iranian opposition is building demonstrate the need for both. The mullahs’ current position is untenable. The international community would be well-placed to acknowledge that.

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Tom Ridge

Former US Homeland Security Secretary: The EU “Must Take Steps to Underscore the Existing Regime’s Illegitimacy

 

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge, Rudy Guiliani and Representative Robert Pittenger greet Maryam Rajavi – leader of Iran opposition as she joins them at the annual gathering of the MEK in Paris-June 2015

Tom Ridge, the former US Homeland Security Secretary (2001-2003) reiterated the threat the Iranian regime poses to democracies and called for a coordinated strategy from the European Union (EU) in addressing the Iranian threat. In an article published in the National Interest on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, Ridge said:

“In January German authorities arrested an Afghan-German dual national for spying on behalf of the Iranian intelligence agency. The incident was far from the first, and only underscored the potential threat lurking behind each new revelation.”

There has been a surge in Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and intelligence operations over the last 13 months. In June, in what surmounted to one of the most high-profile plots, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in connection with a plot to bomb the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

In March, two regime agents were arrested in Albania after targeting the Iranian opposition group once again. The agents had been monitoring the MEK’s compound outside the Albanian capital of Tirana with the intention of carrying out a terror attack during the Persian New Year celebrations.

Targeting the heart of the Iranian opposition

The MEK has always been the target of the regime’s ire but this has surged since the nationwide protests that broke out in Iran in January 2018. The protests quickly spread to more than 140 towns and cities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The regime holds the MEK, a pro-democracy group, responsible. The MEK was instrumental in the protest’s organisation and communicated the plans with pro-democracy elements across Iran.

The MEK’s effectiveness and its central role in the Iranian opposition movement have made it a target for regime terror attacks. In addition to the Paris and Albania attacks, there have been assassination attempts, and murders carried out against MEK members.

A slow political response

Despite the Iranian regime’s numerous plots to kill and main MEK officials on European soil, the political backlash has been muted. France and Albania both expelled diplomats in the wake of the foiled plots, however, the EU has been reluctant to follow the US in adopting sanctions against the regime, rights Tom Ridge in his article.

The EU announced last month that it would introduce new sanctions targeting a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), but critics “do not believe they go nearly far enough,” Ridges writes.

“We know for a fact that there are ongoing conspiracies to spy on European entities and set the stage for further terrorist attacks,” Ridges asserts, “making it absolutely imperative for the EU and broader international community to address the issue.”

“Any solution must confront the Islamic Republic on multiple fronts,” he continued. The regime is forging closer bonds with extremist groups like the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. If it is sharing the information it has collected through spies in Europe and the US with these groups, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Desperate measures at home and abroad

In addition to the regime’s violent and aggressive activities abroad, it is intensifying its repressive and bloody policies at home.

Following nationwide protests, the regime has launched a crackdown against the political opposition within Iran. The regime has arrested thousands of protestors and executed political prisoners, but the protest movement shows no sign of losing its momentum.

Ridges argues that a coordinated strategy from the international community that attempts to modify the regime’s behavior both at home and abroad is the best way to reduce conflict and increase global stability.

When world leaders meet on February 13th and 14th in Warsaw, Ridges argues, they have the opportunity to construct a coordinated response to Iranian aggression. “The Warsaw summit could go a long way towards developing a coordinated strategy to contain Iran,” he says, “but no strategy would be complete unless it also reaches out to, and coordinates with, Iran’s organized domestic opposition;” the MEK.

Ridges concludes that the EU, “must take steps to underscore the existing regime’s illegitimacy. There is no better way to do that than standing behind the regime’s most active domestic opponents.”

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Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson: The Iranian People Have Lost Their Fear

Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson, former MEP from Scotland and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), published a piece in the Riyadh Daily news outlet on the shifting global attitudes towards the Iranian regime.

The former MEP outlined how recent state-sponsored terror attacks on European soil have garnered the Iranian regime opponents in the international community. He also traces the development of the protest movement within Iran over the past twelve months and illustrates the increasing uncertainty surrounding the mullahs’ future in power.

A Growing Protest Movement

“The uprising, involving hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens, has raged for more than 13 months in towns and cities across Iran,” he begins. All walks of Iranian life have risked their lives and their freedom to exercise their right to protest the regime’s corruption, pillaging, and brutal use of violence.

 

Struan Stevenson describes how the Iranian regime has “stolen Iran’s wealth, oppressed its 80 million people, over half of whom are under thirty, and waged proxy wars across the Middle East.” “Poverty is widespread,” he says, and “people now struggle to feed their families against a backdrop of power cuts, water shortages, and soaring food prices.”

Protests have racked Iran’s key industries as truck drivers, pensioners, teachers, factory workers, farmers, and investors have taken to the streets to protest the regime’s abuse of power and economic mismanagement.

Instead of taking steps to remedy the dire economic situation, the regime has deployed agents and used its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to quell the protests. Struan asserts that the regime has murdered dozens of protestors and arrested “over twelve thousand,” “but the Iranian people have lost their fear. They are openly demanding regime change,” he added.

Economic Decline

Iran’s economy has been in freefall as the Iranian regime and its Supreme Leader Khamenei has funneled millions of dollars abroad to foreign militias and terrorist groups across the Middle East. The IRGC and Quds Forces are active in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Gaza. In Lebanon alone, the regime pours some $750 million annually, much of it flowing into Hezbollah’s coiffures.

The Iranian people have made it clear that they will no longer foot the bill for these foreign ventures.

The Regime Lashes Out

As its grip on power weakens, the regime has responded by lashing out. In 2018, the mullahs orchestrated a string of terror attacks on European soil against the Iranian opposition. In June, Belgian authorities detained a Belgian-Iranian couple travelling to Paris in a car laden with homemade explosives. An Iranian diplomat based at the Iranian embassy in Vienna was found to have provided the couple with the explosive material.

There were similar plots planned against the opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), in the US, Albania, Denmark, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

The moves left Iran further isolated on the international stage. In December, the Albanian government expelled the Iranian ambassador to the country on the grounds that they posed a significant security risk to the country. “They had been openly plotting assassination and terror activities targeting the 2,500 MEK opposition members” living in the country, Stevenson writes.

The move earnt the Albanian president, Edi Rama, praise from President Trump, who hailed his bravery in the face of Iranian aggression.

Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration

 

In a display of Iranian isolation, the US government has scheduled a conference to take place in Warsaw in February. More than 90 world leaders will meet in Poland to discuss the Iranian terror campaign and the best way to deal with the Iranian threat.

The Opposition Grows Stronger

Meanwhile, the Iranian opposition is growing stronger. The MEK is present in “virtually every town and city in Iran,” Stevenson writes. These members coordinate protests, distribute leaflets, and world tirelessly opposing the mullahs’ cruelty and corruption in an effort to secure a free Iran.

“It is clear that in the MEK there is a credible opposition movement ready and prepared to restore peace, freedom and justice to Iran’s 80 million citizens,” Stevenson concludes. “The West must recognize this fact and provide their full support to the new revolution.”

 

Staff Writer

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Massoud Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the main Iranian opposition to the religious dictatorship ruling Iran

Massoud Rajavi in the words of international dignitaries

 

Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the main Iranian opposition to the religious dictatorship ruling Iran

Massoud Rajavi, the historical leader of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK), the Chairman and founder of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI)

Massoud Rajavi, the historical leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK / PMOI) has had a major role in forming the opposition against the religious dictatorship ruling in Iran. Ever since his release from the Shah’s prisons, he started a massive campaign of education to draw a line between the real tolerant and  democratic view on Islam versus the fanatic, and extremist interpretations by the reactionary religious elite that gained the leadership of the 1979 revolution, led by the then Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, who later issued a decree to kill all the supporters and activists of the MEK for that reason.

Massoud Rajavi has been known as the key strategist and leader of the MEK and one of the most popular politicians in Iran’s contemporary history for his dedication to freedom, democracy and standing by the progressive and humanitarian morals the Iranian nation are known for. Below you will find several of many existing quotes by famous politicians that have known Rajavi or have worked with him during the past few decades.

Professor Jean Ziegler, Switzerland, April 2015

Professor Jean Ziegler, Professor Jean Ziegler, member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council

One of the things that impressed me most was the letters exchanged between Kazem (Rajavi) and Massoud (Rajavi) which I happened to receive every once in a while. In reading these letters, one could feel an enormous sense of respect on the part of Kazem for his brother but also a sense of deep love. And a mutual sense of trust that would immediately come to fore. It was all too obvious that there was something far beyond political solidarity and cooperation at work between the two brothers.

There was deep affection between the two, brotherhood and mutual understanding without saying a word. And seeing the two together was much too beautiful. It was the image of genuine fraternity. And I think that Massoud gave a lot of energy to Kazem in his struggle. Today, Massoud remains without Kazem but I am sure that Kazem’s memory is a source of energy not only for us, the ordinary combatants but also for Massoud.

Ché Guevara used to say that martyred revolutionaries never die because they are like stars that will continue to shine on to us for centuries after they die.

 

 

 

François Colcombet, founder of the French Judges Syndicate, June 30, 2018

François Colcombet, former French Parliamentarian and famous politician

Massoud Rajavi was the last political prisoner released from Shah’s jails before the fall of the monarchical regime. Let us remember that he was twice sentenced to death and Khomeini always considered him to be the regime’s No. 1 enemy because Massoud Rajavi was the only one who confronted the mullahs’ religious dictatorship by calling for a democratic revolution. And the death squads are still after him. Today, Massoud Rajavi’s messages continue to inspire freedom-fighters and freedom lovers in Iran and works as their driving force.

 

 

Giulio Terzi, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Giulio Terzi, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Those who embrace a tolerant pluralistic democratic vision for the society must take the lead. That was a conviction deeply rooted in Massoud Rajavi’s political and moral teachings.

Already in 1983, in a period of extreme violence for the Iranian theocratic revolution and repression against all political opponents, Massoud Rajavi described Islam with these prophetic words: A particular characteristic of Islam we believe in is its democratic nature. This Islam recognizes the rights of other religions, opinions, and schools of thought.

 

 

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament, June 22, 2013

You are the beacon of a resistance which never gets tired and that does not need to rely on foreign powers. I commend President Rajavi for her leadership and also wish to salute the historical leader of the Iranian Resistance, Massoud Rajavi. I hope to meet him very soon in a free Iran.

Massoud and his brave followers have become symbols of perseverance and hope in these dark times of moral relativism and dirty pragmatism.

 

 

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament, December 19, 2012

You are the beacon of a resistance which never gets tired and that does not need to rely on foreign powers. I commend President Rajavi for her leadership and also wish to salute the historical leader of the Iranian Resistance, Massoud Rajavi. I hope to meet him very soon in a free Iran.

Massoud and his brave followers have become symbols of perseverance and hope in these dark times of moral relativism and dirty pragmatism.

 

Dr. Ahmad Al-Khattab, Syrian opposition figure

In 1984, thirty years ago in days like this, we came to this place. There were three or four of us Syrians and the oldest among us was national leader Akram Hourani. In front of us was the Iranian national leader, the lion of Iran, Massoud Rajavi. A number of other members of the leadership were by his side. We had a meeting lasting for 2 or 3 hours and we issued a joint statement.

 

Reza Al-Reza, Secretary General of the Jaafari Shiite Delegation of Iraq

The world will see that the Mojahedin are like a firm mountain that is not shaken by the storms of oppressors of history. Massoud Rajavi’s school of thought is against religious and racist regimes and has drawn a red line with these two issues.

 

Senator Jean-Pierre Michel

Senator Jean-Pierre Michel – France

I would like to remind the 1980 article by Le Monde which said if Massoud Rajavi’s candidacy had not been stopped (by Khomeini’s fatwa), he would have won millions of votes and Iran would have seen a different destiny. This is a clear answer to all those who questioned the support your movement and resistance enjoy in Iran.

 

 

 

Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield,

Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, September 6, 2014

Le Monde said that Massoud Rajavi had he been allowed to run instead of having a secret fatwa calling for his death would have gained millions of votes including the support of all of the ethnic minorities, women and religious minorities as well.

 

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