Europe Policy on Iran,Iran Deal,Iran Regime Change,Lord Maginnis,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Lord Ken Maginnis

UK Lord Says European Lawmakers are “Divorced from Reality” on Iran Issue

Lord Ken Maginnis

Lord Ken Maginnis
Member of House of Lords in UK Parliament speaking at a Parliamentary committee asking for a firm policy on Iran

Lord Ken Maginnis, who sits in the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary House of Lords, called out European leaders who wish to preserve the status quo with Iran as “divorced from reality.”

The diversion between US and European attitudes towards the Iranian regime has appeared since the Trump administration took office. Under President Trump, the US has adopted a firmer stance towards the Iranian regime over its support of international terror and blatant human rights abuses. The President pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-introduced economic sanctions.

However, Europe has been reluctant to follow the US’s lead. Many UK, French, and German lawmakers believe salvaging the Iranian nuclear deal is preferable to slapping economic restrictions on the Iranian regime and cutting off Iranian markets. Maginnis writes, “what they fail to take into account is the strong possibility that this and any other deal may be rendered null and void anyway, by domestically driven regime change.”

A Year of Unrest

2018 represented a year of unrest for the Iranian regime. What began in the nationwide uprising of December 2017, continued across all 31 provinces of Iran in the form of isolated protests among workers, teachers, students, merchants, truck drivers, investors, pensioners, and farmers.

Each time a protest emerged, and Iranians took to the streets, the regime responded with brutality and violence, imprisoning thousands of Iranians and torturing and executing many.  “But this did not prevent Iranians in countless localities from returning to the streets over and over again throughout 2018 to repeat provocative anti-government slogans and give shape to what was described as a “year full of uprisings” by Maryam Rajavi, the leader-in-exile of Iran’s democratic resistance movement,” Maginnis writes.

A Ten-Point Plan for Democracy

Mrs. Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI), has a ten-point plan for restoring democracy in Iran. Her plan would see an Iranian government with democratic legitimacy, committed to the values of equality, secularism, and religious freedom.

What Europe fails to see is that Mrs. Rajavi’s dream is approaching reality. Demonstrations, both within Iran and abroad, are increasing in frequency and size. The MEK now has a host of support from prominent international politicians, including Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, and the National Security Advisor, John Bolton.

Last week, this was on display when governments from around the world convened in Warsaw at the behest of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the Iranian threat. As the politicians convened, the MEK and its supporters staged protests to call on Europe to protect their national security interests, help bring stability to the Middle East, and protect the abused and downtrodden Iranian population by adopting a firmer stance towards the Iranian regime.

It is in Europe’s interests to do so. Maginnis charts the increased threat of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism poses to those across the globe. The regime was involved in terror plots on French, American and Albanian soil last year. It was also behind attempted assassinations in the Netherlands and Denmark. As the regime becomes more violent in the face of mounting internal challenges, Maginnis argues that to ignore the escalating Iranian threat is to be “divorced from reality.”

“The notion of internal moderation by the existing regime has been proved over 40 years to be a fantasy,” he writes. “But now that [the] regime is clinging to power with all the violence at its disposal, the long-term survival of that regime is revealing itself to be a fantasy as well.”

Maginnis is clear that he is not calling for the US and Europe to interfere in Iranian affairs to bring about regime change. He decries imposing regime change on a country that “is not ready for it.” But he is also clear to point out that Iran is increasingly resembling a country that is ready for it. By “encouraging support for the Iranian people who, under the leadership of the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran) and Maryam Rajavi, have been making great strides toward democracy on their own.”

Maginnis concludes that it is becoming impossible to ignore the voices of the Iranian people who are overwhelmingly calling for regime change in the country. He asserts, “it is now time for the careless UK and European politicians to recognize the legitimacy of the Iranian Resistance and to help it in achieving its democratic aims.” He concludes, “it is long past the time for the reluctant UK and European Press to grapple with the moral reality of having downplayed the 40 years of pseudo-religious persecution of a people who know better, seek better, and deserve better.”

Staff Writer

 

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Senator Torricelli's interview with INTV

Senator Robert Torricelli Believes “a Lot” of Nations Support Regime Change in Iran

Senator Torricelli's interview with INTV

Robert Torricelli, who served as the United States senator from New Jersey from 1997 to 2003 participates in a private interview with Iran NTV, the satellite TV program affiliated with the Iranian opposition-February 2019

In the wake of the Warsaw conference earlier this month, there have been signs the world is beginning to take note to the Iranian threat. The conference, organized by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saw 65 governments come together from across the globe to explore ways of applying pressure to the Iranian regime in response to its destabilizing activities across the Middle East and rampant human rights abuses.

Alongside the conference, the Iranian resistance held vast rallies condemning the regime and outlining its plan for bringing democracy to Iran. The rallies garnered international attention and brought an increasing number of high-profile political figures into the ranks of its supporters.

One such supporter, Senator Robert Torricelli who spoke at the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) rally in Warsaw, appeared on INTV, the television station run by the Iranian resistance, to discuss the importance of a united international coalition against Iran.

“The dictatorship in Iran is not simply a regional problem,” he said, “the terrorist activities of the regime in Tehran is a global concern.” The Iranian regime intensified its terror activities abroad in 2018. A string of high-profile terror attacks saw the regime plan bombings in Albania, the US, and Paris, as well as a number of assassination attempts in both the Netherlands and Denmark.

Speaking about the Warsaw conference, Torricelli went on, “I think it would have been a mistake to just bring together regional nations. It was important to have a global look… about first containing and eventually eliminating this regime.”

While the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities are felt most ardently in the Middle East, the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism poses is not limited to Middle Eastern nations.

A Growing International Interest in Regime Change?

Torricelli also seemed to acknowledge a growing appetite for Iranian regime change in embassies across the globe. “I don’t have any doubt that the United States was talking about regime change,” he said. “My guess is a lot of other nations that may have ambassadors in Tehran also support regime change but they’re more careful with their words.

Demonstrating the need for regime change, Torricelli spoke of the widespread suffering the clerical regime has caused among the Iranian population. “We’ve lost a generation of Iranian people,” he said, “generations have been born who’ve never had a free government. Kids going to school and having no jobs. Children without enough food. People can’t speak their minds, really choose their leaders,” he said.

He also acknowledged the growing calls for regime change among Iranians, both within Iran, living under the weight of regime rule, and abroad. “Look at the streets of the cities and towns of Iran. Look at the young people. Look at the universities. Look at those who are standing up,” he said. “Look at the people who put their lives on the line. They’re not thousands, they’re hundreds of thousands of Iranians around the world, who with the right government would come back and rebuild Iran.”

He concluded, “you look at those young people. There’s your leaders. You see the conference we do in Paris every year (the MEK’s annuals Grand Gathering event). Mrs. Rajavi (president-elect of the Iranian opposition) speaks. Look at her and those people around her. There’s your leaders.”

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HRC40

Amnesty International Issues Written Statement to the UN Urging an Investigation into Iranian Human Rights Abuses

HRC40

40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council will discuss Iranian regime’s violations of Human Rights in Iran

The fortieth session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will convene on February 25th and run until March 22nd, 2019. Of particular note will be the fourth item on the agenda, a written statement by Amnesty International, the human rights advocacy group that enjoys special consultative status within the UNHRC.

Amnesty International’s written statement explicitly calls on the UNHRC to investigate and report on the Iranian regime’s sustained crimes against humanity. It said that the impact UNHRC Special Rapporteurs could have on the situation could save lives, reduce suffering and demand accountability.

Forced Disappearances

In particular, Amnesty International is calling on the Human Rights Council to investigate “the forced disappearance of thousands of political dissidents over the past 30 years, including many who were under the age of 18 at the time of the arrest.”

The recommendation comes just months after Amnesty International released a damning report following its own investigations into the regime’s 1988 massacre. The group found that the regime had executed thousands of members of the political opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

“While it may appear that these crimes belong to a distant past, the pain and anguish inflicted on the family members of the victims is both severe and current,” the statement read. The Iranian regime continues to withhold information regarding the whereabouts of the victims, preventing their families from disposing of the remains according to their religious or cultural rituals.

Most of the bodies were disposed of in unmarked graves at undisclosed locations that remain concealed to this day. Amnesty International puts the death toll at around 5,000, however, some estimates suggest up to 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK members and other political dissidents were killed in the summer of 1988.

The Iranian regime has not taken any action to bring those accountable for these forced disappearances to justice. Quite the opposite, current Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has filled his cabinet with a number of prominent regime figures who played an active role in the 1988 massacre. “They have also subjected survivors, families of victims and human rights defenders to reprisals for seeking truth and justice.”

Amnesty International’s statement read, “for years, Iranian officials at all levels have sought to disguise, distort, and “justify” the mass extrajudicial executions.” They have denied the scale of the massacre and attempted to pass the deaths off as “battlefield deaths”.

A Crumbling Wall of Secrecy

In recent years, events have chipped away at the regime’s wall of secrecy surrounding the 1988 massacre. Leaked official records have revealed the planning of the executions. In response, the regime has intensified efforts to vilify and demonize the victims, labeling them “murders,” “terrorists,” and drug addicts.

Beyond the 1988 massacre, even today, the Iranian regime arbitrarily detains journalists, protestors, dissidents, lawyers, activists, religious and ethnic minorities, trade unionists, and members of the MEK. While in regime custody, prisoners are also routinely subjected to torture and inhumane living conditions.

“This succession of grave human rights violations committed in Iran is inextricably linked to the impunity the Iranian authorities have enjoyed,” Amnesty International wrote.

The statement concluded with the human rights group urging “states to break this link, to speak openly and firmly about Iran’s ongoing crimes against humanity.” Amnesty International calls on the UNHRC to find the location of the remains of the victims killed in 1988. It also asks that the UN protects the victims’ family members from harassment and intimidation and puts an end to arbitrary detention in Iran.

Finally, the group asked for the UN to “identify effective pathways to justice, truth and reparation with a view to ensuring those suspected of responsibility are prosecuted in fair trials, without imposing the death penalty.”

 

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zarif meeting Hezbollah leader

Zarif Rants against MEK after Series of Large Protests in Europe Leave Regime Fuming

zarif meeting Hezbollah leader

Archive photo-Javad Zarif meeting with Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the terrorist group, Hezbollah

On February 17th, Iranian regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif went on an off-topic rant against the MEK in an interview at the site of the Munich Security Conference. His remarks came at the end of a ten-day period of protests and demonstrations by the MEK and the Iranian Resistance in opposition to the regime and its 40 years of human rights abuses of its people and terrorist actions across the world.

The following is a timeline of those events:

Demonstration in Paris

On February 8th, the MEK and the Iranian Resistance rallied in Paris in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the people’s revolution in Iran that overthrew the Shah’s monarchic regime.

Demonstration in Warsaw

On February 13th and 14th, the MEK and Iranian Revolution held a two-day demonstration in Warsaw, which was scheduled to coincide with the international security summit on the future of Middle Eastern policy taking place at the same time. The conference was primarily focused on Iran’s role in creating instability in the region, and the protesters used the occasion to call attention to the regime’s human rights abuses of its own people, as well as to urge the policymakers at the conference to recognize the right of the Iranian people to overthrow their oppressors and create a free Iran.

Demonstration in Munich

On February 17th, the Iranian Resistance and the MEK organized yet another protest in Munich. This protest was scheduled to coincide with the annual Munich Security Conference, at which Zarif was a participant. The protesters demanded that Zarif be expelled from the summit because of his role in the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities.

Protests of this magnitude held in a single month in three different countries by an organized opposition group are exceedingly rare.

Zarif Loses His Temper

Finally, on February 17th, while attending the Munich Security Conference, Zarif was interviewed by a news outlet as protests raged outside of the conference. Unable to control his temper any longer, Zarif ignored the questions about the regime’s terrorist activities in Europe and instead lashed out at the MEK and Iranian Resistance in an angry rant that defied diplomatic protocols.

Zarif’s outburst clearly arose from his anger and fear at the series of well-organized protests by the MEK, which the regime considers an existential threat. Zarif is used to using his power to suppress dissent within Iran and to threaten the opposition with terrorist attacks abroad. Neither of these strategies has been effective in silencing the MEK, and the size and scope of the recent protests in Europe left Zarif too shocked to mitigate his responsibility.

 

The Iranian regime hoped that they could suppress the opposition and that the Western trend toward abandoning the policy of appeasement would end. They are now beginning to realize that neither of these things are happening. The U.S. left the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions, and the European Union sanctioned the regime’s  Ministry of Intelligence and Security and expelled several of its agents for their role in a number of terrorist plots on European soil. The Iranian people have been protesting against the regime for over a year and seem unlikely to stop anytime soon.

 

Regime change is closer than it has been in the last forty years, and the mullahs are well-aware of this, as are the Iranian people.

Staff Writer

 

 

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Protests in Iran

Der Spiegel’s Reporting Makes Them Accomplices in the Regime’s Human Rights Abuses

Protests in Iran

Archive photo-Demonstrations in front of the offices of the education ministry in protest to the government’s lack of response to their demands.-January 2019

Under increasing pressure at home, the Iranian regime has intensified its misinformation campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). The Iranian regime faces widespread protests each and every day. Since Sunday, there have been nine protests across the country attacking the mullahs’ mismanagement of the economy, soaring inflation, and unpaid wages.

These are the latest developments in a wave of protests that have washed across Iran over the last 14 months. What began in a nationwide uprising at the tail end of 2017, shows no sign of letting up.

An “army of hungry and unemployed” Iranians are taking to the streets and calling for regime change. Youth unemployment is above 50%, Iranian purchasing power is falling, and wages are stagnating. Iranians are struggling to put food on the table, meanwhile, the mullahs are living lavish lifestyles, funneling money to militia and terrorist groups abroad, and spending vast sums on clandestine missile programs.

The Regime Looks Outward

Rather than look inward at its own failings, the clerical regime has looked outwards and responded to the intensifying protest movement by cracking down on political opponents. As sanctions start to bite, targeting the regime’s oil revenue and crippling its finances, the regime has intensified its attacks on the MEK, the largest and most organized pro-democracy group who has played a crucial role in mobilizing the population.

The regime has deployed a misinformation campaign targeting the opposition group. Last year, Twitter removed 770 regime-affiliated accounts that the mullahs were using to spread disinformation about the MEK. A separate investigation from Reuters found that the Iranian regime used more than 70 websites to spread anti-MEK propaganda across the world, many of which are still in operation today.

Regime Hit Pieces

The mullahs’ latest attacks have come through Western media outlets. Its most recent hit piece against the MEK has published in German magazine Der Spiegel. As with previous hit pieces, including one published last year in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the regime uses former members of the MEK to spread lies and deceit about the group, often touting the frequently disproved claim the MEK is a violent group that keeps members against their will.

The pieces usually allege that the MEK is not a threat to the regime and does not command the support of the Iranian population. This begs the question if the MEK is not a threat, why does the regime devout such resources and time to attacking them online, in print, and through violent terror attacks and assassinations?

The regime’s most recent propaganda piece in Der Spiegel made no less than 60 false claims against the MEK. Its publication raises questions, not only about the regime’s conduct but the journalists and editors that failed to carry out even basic fact-checking procedures. If they had vetted the information, they would have found that many of the allegations and baseless lies have been debunked many times in courts around the world.

Distracting the Global Media

What is perhaps more troubling is that while the world’s media laps up the regime’s bile and propaganda, frequent and severe human rights abuses are going unreported in Iran. Political, environmental, and human rights activists suffer attacks, arbitrary detention, and torture at the hands of the regime’s agents, yet the international media let them pass unnoticed.

The regime has a rich history of repressing, silencing, and exploiting its population. Iran has endured 40 years of regime rule and has come to expect it from the mullahs. But now, the international media and Der Spiegel is doing the same thing. Repeating the regime’s lies and failing to hold the mullahs to account for blatant and barbaric human rights abuses is tantamount to being an accomplice in these human rights abuses.

It is the international media’s role to give voice to the downtrodden and stand up for justice. Instead, in its most recent piece, Der Spiegel gave voice to the oppressors and only served to tighten the shackles the Iranian people find themselves in.

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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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appeasement policy,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

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.”

Staff writer

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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.”

Staff Writer

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