Iran Terrorism,IRGC BlackListing,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

Alireza Jafarzadeh

Deputy Director of the NCRI’s US Office Examines the IRGC’s FTO Designation

Alireza Jafarzadeh

Alireza Jafarzadeh during an NCRI press conference in Washington on 27 April 2017. During this conference, Jafarzadeh based on first-hand information exposed the continuation of the Iranian regime’s nuclear activities despite the nuclear agreement by the IRGC affiliated officials in SPND.

Alireza Jafarzadeh of the National Council of Resistance of Iran penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Sunday, April 21. Entitled ‘Iran’s guard gets a long-overdue but much-deserved terrorist designation’, the piece examines the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and analyses the recent designation of the group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the US State Department.

Jafarzadeh began by welcoming the designation. “This is a major step towards effectively countering Tehran’s systemic use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” he said.

The IRGC Meets the State Department’s Criteria

In order for an entity to be eligible for inclusion in the US government’s terror blacklist, it must meet the State Department’s criteria:

  • It must be a foreign organization.
  • It must engage in acts of terrorism or retain the capability and intent to engage in acts of terror.
  • It must threaten American nationals or the national security of the United States.

Jafarzedah states that IRGC adequately meets these three criteria. “It is the core apparatus of repression, the primary driver of war and export of terrorism, and it runs Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile projects,” he writes.

The Move was Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition

The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) and the leader of the opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, have long called for the IRGC’s inclusion on the US terror blacklist. Following the announcement, Mrs. Rajavi issued a statement praising the US’s response to a “long-standing and righteous demand of the Iranian Resistance.”

She called the designation an “urgent and necessary step to end war and terrorism throughout the region and the world.”

Hard Realizations

Jafarzadeh also examined the response from Tehran. He asserted that the mullahs’ “realize that from this point on, they will have drastically less room to mount terror operations and act with impunity.”

The regime has already demonstrated that it lacks the resources and mechanisms to contain uprisings and public protest. At the tail end of 2017 and into 2018, the MEK-led national uprising quickly spread across all 31 Iranian provinces and hit all of Iran’s major towns and cities.

The regime relied on the IRGC’s suppressive tactics to restore order and maintain its grip on power. With the IRGC severely weakened by the FTO designation and with constrained financial resources, should another uprising emerge, the regime will find its vital repressive organ stretched beyond its capabilities? “In short, Tehran is much weaker now than it was a year or so ago,” Jafarzadeh writes.

“The foreign terrorist organization designation gives U.S. officials an additional tool for prosecuting Americans who help the Iranian regime,” he continues. But beyond the financial limitations and reduced international support, the designation also scores a major psychological victory over the IRGC.

It demoralizes the IRGC forces and their proxies abroad. It shows them that they are not on the winning side. “The designation should also boost the morale of Iranians, who detest the Guard,” Jafarzadeh adds.

It will also resonate across the rest of the world. The designation will prompt second thoughts from European companies considering doing business with the IRGC.

Jafarzadeh concludes:

“The next step is to identify all Guard affiliate entities and subject them to sanctions. The foreign terrorist organization designation strikes a major blow to the terror apparatus of the regime. Tehran’s terrorists and those who enable them can finally be made to pay the price.”

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The NCRI’S Washington D.C. Representative Welcomes the Blacklisting of the IRGC

NCRI has long been calling for blacklisting of the IRGC

The Books published on IRGC’s terrorist activities inside Iran and abroad by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) during the recent years calling for the blacklisting of the IRGC.

Ms. Soona Samsami, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative for Washington D.C.

Soona Samsami, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative for Washington D.C., welcomed the US State Department’s designation of the Iranian regime’s IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

The designation from the Trump administration made it unlawful for any US citizen to provide financial assistance, resources, services or advice to the IRGC and its subsidiaries, the Quds Force, Basij Organization, Aerospace Force, Navy and Ground Forces.

Samsami said:

“The IRGC is not just a terror machine. It controls the lion’s share of the Iranian economy. It controls many economic conglomerates, from oil, gas, and petrochemicals to pharmaceutical, food and farm products to banking, investment, the auto, airline, aerospace, and shipping industries.”

Previous estimates have suggested that the IRGC controls half of the Iranian economy while 80% of Iranians live below the international poverty line.

Sustained Pressure

For Samsami and the NCRI, the next step is to sustain and increase the pressure on the regime’s organs of repression. Beyond the IRGC, the regime has the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) which it uses to coordinate international terror attacks against members of the opposition living abroad.

In 2018, the MOIS was behind several failed terror plots, in the US, France, and Albania. The most extreme was foiled in June when a Belgian-Iranian couple was detained while traveling to the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event. The pair had homemade explosives and planned to detonate a car bomb at the event.

“Just in 2018, five Iranian regime diplomats, including an Ambassador, were expelled from France, the Netherlands and Albania, all on terrorism charges,” Samsami said. “A dozen other MOIS agents have been detained in Europe and the United States.”

The MEK has played a central role in exposing the terrorist activities of the regime and its use of the IRGC and MOIS for violent purposes. In books and press conferences, the pro-democracy group revealed the existence of 15 training camps where IRGC forces trained terrorists and radicalized foreign recruits. The MEK also exposed the network of embassies and diplomatic buildings the regime uses to coordinate its terror attacks on foreign soil.

The MEK also exposed the regime’s missile development programs, the IRGC’s involvement in wars across the region and its cyberespionage activities. It was the MEK’s revelation that the regime was using sites in Natanz and Arak to develop nuclear weapons that led to the IAEA’s inspection of the sites.

This relentless pursuit of the truth and willingness to confront the regime’s violence and brutality wherever it occurs has put the MEK in the regime’s crosshairs. Its members are often the targets of assassination attempts abroad and its event are key objectives for the regime’s terror apparatus.

The Next Step

The FTO designation of the IRGC appears to have had the desired effect. Senior regime officials including the Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have made a series of retaliatory threats.

In an attempt to boost the IRGC morale, many officials and journalists wore IRGC uniforms last week in a move that drew international criticism and public jest.

Samsami outlined her vision for the next phase of pressure.

“With IRGC’s FTO designation now in effect, the next step is to implement the provisions the designation entails. As such, every effort must be made to be made to prevent the Iranian regime from exporting any oil, whose revenues it uses to continue its brutal crackdown of dissent at home and foment instability, chaos and terrorism in the region and beyond.”

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Hassan Mahmoudi,Iran Terrorism,IRGC,IRGC BlackListing,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

IRGC's blacklisting consequences

Human Rights Activist and Journalist Outlines the Consequences of the IRGC’s Blacklisting

IRGC's blacklisting consequences

IRGC, Iranian dictatorship’s main force for repression and expansion of terrorism was proscribed by the U.S. State Department as an FTO.

Hassan Mahmoudi, a human rights activist and journalist, wrote an op-ed for the Eurasia Review outlining the consequences of the recent decision from the US government to blacklist the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

For Mahmoudi, the importance of the move cannot be overstated. He said the terror blacklisting of the IRGC had caused the Iranian regime to “enter a troubled period that risks considerably changing the international balance of power at the expense of the mullahs’ regime.”

A Vulnerable Regime

The terror blacklisting of the IRGC means one of the regime’s most significant repressive organs will be financially cut off. Under the designation, any American individual or corporation providing financial assistance, good, and services, or advice to the IRGC will be considered to be aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and vulnerable to prosecution.

In the wake of the decision, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed concerns. The IRGC has been instrumental in quashing dissent and curbing civil unrest within Iran. With the IRGC weakened, the regime is vulnerable to mass protests, civil disobedience and the increasing calls for democracy. For Mahmoudi, its reduced international standing “could very well lead to an uprising in Iran.”

“The mullahs’ supreme leader is terrified of escalating social dissent from the scales of the flood disasters and unimaginable increase in the cost of living,” he writes, adding that the situation “could turn into an all-out uprising bringing down the regime in its entirety.”

Khamenei attempted to reassure the IRGC forces. He told them that “a sufficient number of people are standing strong behind you.” He went on to call American officials “stupid” and “Satan”, although, he conceded that name-calling in this fashion “won’t solve any problems.”

Empowered Protestors

The designation was welcomed by the Iranian opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, released a statement of support following the designation.

The blacklisting of the IRGC will undoubtedly empower protestors across Iran. Since the designation, Iranians in the cities of Mashhad, Damavand and Pars Abad and across Khuzestan province have taken to the streets to protest the regime’s corruption, increasing costs of living and the inadequacy of the regime’s response to the intense flooding in recent weeks. “These locals are especially angry at the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) for protecting its own facilities at the price of placing residential areas in danger,” Mahmoudi writes.

Elsewhere, supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), MEK’s “Resistance Units” have been active in their efforts to oppose regime brutality and violence wherever it occurs.

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Colonel Thomas Cantwell

Retired US Military Officer Urges the United States to Maintain Pressure on Tehran

Colonel Thomas Cantwell

Colonel Thomas Cantwell speaking at the Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris- June 2014

Colonel Thomas Cantwell, a retired military officer and employee of the United States Army who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote an op-ed for Real Clear Defense calling for sustained pressure towards the Iranian regime.

His comments came a week after the White House announced its decision to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist. It is the first time a US Presidential administration has included the regime’s repressive organ on the list of foreign terror organizations (FTOs).

Cantwell describes how the decision was emblematic of Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” towards the Iranian regime. In his speech announcing the decision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that the decision would be part of a wider effort to “ratchet up pressure” on the brutal regime.

The IRGC is Instrumental for the Regime’s Survival

“The president’s announcement correctly identified the powerful, hardline organization as the regime’s primary instrument of terrorism as a form of statecraft,” Cantwell wrote.

The IRGC is active across the Middle East. Its troops and resources have been discovered operating in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. There is not a single conflict in the Middle East in which the IRGC does not have a disruptive, destabilizing influence.

At home in Iran, the IRGC is one of the regime’s organs of repression through which it crushes political dissent. Its plainclothes agents arrest members of the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) at their peaceful protests. They also carry out torture and kidnapping operations against MEK members.

Following the FTO designation, the Washington Post called the IRGC, the “single most effective guarantor of the regime’s survival.”

They Are Being Stretched to Their Limit

Cantwell describes how the IRGC is already under immense pressure within Iran. He writes, “the mass uprising last year stretched the repressive capabilities of the IRGC to their limit. Had the IRGC been weakened ahead of time by global economic isolation, the public protests might have forced the clerical regime further into domestic isolation, precipitating its collapse.”

The protest movement within Iran is gaining momentum under the leadership of the MEK. The new designation will severely weaken the IRGC at a time when the regime will need to rely on it to quell protests.

The regime’s “actions on the world stage have been indicative of its escalating desperation in the face of the dual pressures of its own people and the international community,” Cantwell writes. This desperation can be increased with sustained pressure from the US and its international allies.

For Cantwell, once the IRGC is stretched beyond its means and the protest movement intensifies, the regime will have nothing left to protect it. It will inevitably collapse.

The MEK Offers Iran a Positive Future

Filling the void left by the regime will fall on the MEK’s shoulders. The Iranian opposition President-elect Maryam Rajavi has a ten-point plan for restoring democracy in Iran. It promises Iranians a secular future with an independent judiciary, gender equality, and religious freedom, without nuclear weapons and the death penalty.

But to fully realize this dream, the US must tackle the other repressive organs within the regime. The first on the list, Cantwell argues, should be the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

The MOIS has been behind many of Iran’s terror plots abroad, including the one last June that intended to detonate a car bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in France.

“As Tehran watches the walls closing in, it will surely shift some of its resources from a newly isolated IRGC to an intelligence service that still enjoys a foothold,” Cantwell writes. “In this sense, the terror designation could represent a greater danger to the West,” he continues, “but only if the US and its European allies fail to follow up by keeping the pressure on Tehran.”

Cantwell finished with a message of hope. “On the other hand,” he writes, “if they do so,… they will critically impede the Iranian regime’s strategy for maintaining its grip on power.” This would signal support for the Iranian public and help usher in a new democratic dawn for the Iranian people.

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Ali Safavi's interview with FoxNews

Ali Safavi Tell Fox News: The Regime’s “Number One Target is its Organised Democratic Opposition”

Ali Safavi's interview with FoxNews

Ali Safavi, from NCRI’s office in Washington D.C. tells FoxNews on the recent blacklisting of the IRGC: “the next step would be to designate the Iranian military intelligence and security, the MOIS, for hatching terrorist plots”.

Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) Foreign Affairs Committee took part in an interview with Fox New’s Eric Shawn on Sunday, April 14. Shawn quizzed Safavi on the State Department’s decision to place Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist.

The move came after the Iranian regime was found to be behind foiled terror attacks in France, Albania, and the US in 2018. One such attack was due to take place at the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

An Iranian diplomat provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with 500g of homemade explosives and instructed them to drive to Paris and detonate the car bomb at the event. They were stopped en-route Paris by Belgian authorities, averting disaster for the more than 100,000 attendees gathered in Paris.

“It’s only one other example of how the Iranian regime… are terrified of the organized opposition,” Safavi said. “If anything it indicates the need that now the IRGC is designated [as a foreign terrorist organization] I think the next step would be to designate the Iranian military intelligence and security, the MOIS, for hatching terrorist plots and carrying out assassinations against dissidents in Europe, in the Middle East and… here in the United States.”

In the Interest of National Security

When asked if he believed the IRGC would carry out a terror attack or assassination on US soil, Safavi responded, “I absolutely have no doubt.” He added, “you have to remember that this regime is on its last legs, it is facing an increasingly enraged population.” “Its number one target is its organized democratic opposition.”

He described how the Iranian regime has proven on several occasions that it has no scruples regarding the murder of Iranian opposition members on foreign soil. “They have done it in the 1990s, assassinating the NCRI’s representative in Switzerland… and its representative in Rome in 1993,” he said.

Stopping the Regime’s Export of Terror

Eric Shawn described how the NCRI’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi has called on the US and other western governments to expel Iranian diplomats and close embassies to deny the regime a footing from which they can coordinate terror attacks. He went on to ask Safavi if he agreed with this approach.

“I think that’s an absolute necessity,” he replied. “As Mrs. Rajavi has said numerous times, the ultimate solution to all of this mayhem, instability, terrorism, and chaos… is for the Iranian people and the organized opposition to overthrow it [the regime].” “I think it is time now for the international community, for the United States to recognize the right of the Iranian people to bring down this regime and of course, recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the mullahs of Iran.”

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IRGC blacklisting

Former US Ambassador Urges Government to Extend FTO Blacklisting to Include Iran’s MOIS

IRGC blacklisting

IRGC blacklisted for its terrorist activities.

US Ambassador Ken Blackwell wrote an op-ed for Townhall urging the United States government to increase its pressure on the Iranian regime in the wake of its inclusion of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist.

Blackwell warned that “Iran’s malign influence is growing,” and urged Western leaders to confront the regime’s “imperialism.”

The Emergence of IRGC-Funded Militia Groups

President Donald Trump’s designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) was a welcome move that Blackwell argued had “grown more imperative” in recent years. The IRGC is a vital organ of repression for the regime in Iran. It also uses it to export its state-sponsored terrorism across the globe.

However, Blackwell asserts, it was the “proliferation of IRGC-funded and facilitated extremist groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere,” that meant the US administration had no choice but to take firm action against the group.

“Serious critics of the Iranian regime were quick to embrace the FTO designation,” Blackwell writes. Among them was Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and NCRI’s main component, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK is the largest and most popular opposition group and has been behind many of the protests that have taken place in Iran over the last 18 months.

In a statement, Mrs. Rajavi called the US government’s designation “long overdue.” For the MEK, Blackwell writes, “western pressure on the IRGC is not only a means of promoting international peace and stability but also a sign of support for the Iranian people in their conflict with the theocratic dictatorship.”

For the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the designation was vital for cutting off financial assistance and resources to the IRGC from American entities. He made it clear that until the Iranian regime ends its “malign activities” and ends its use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft, it would continue to face economic pressure and restrictions.

Every Cent That Goes to the IRGC Goes Towards Death and Repression

The IRGC has been instrumental to the regime’s Middle East objectives. Its militia and proxies are active in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Every cent that flows into IRGC coffers in a cent available to use in devising terror plots, assembling militia and murdering opposition members.

But for Blackwell, the designation does not go far enough. The IRGC, for example, was not behind the regime’s international terror plots on European soil. In June 2018, for example, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) orchestrated a plot to detonate a car bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event. The plot was foiled by Belgian authorities, averting countless deaths and immeasurable tragedy.

“President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have frequently promised that pressure on the Islamic Republic will continue to intensify until American goals are realized,” Blackwell wrote. He then urged President Trump and Secretary Pompeo to “recognize that the logical next step in exerting such pressure is to extend the newfound terrorist designation from the IRGC to its accomplice, MOIS.”

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Flooding in Ahvaz

Leading Iran Expert Accuses the Regime of Downplaying Casualty Figures and Contributing to the Loss of Life in Recent Flooding

Flooding in Ahvaz

The locals in Ahvaz, rushing to block the flash flooding from damaging their farms, as the government seems not to care about them.

Arab News published an op-ed from Dr. Majid Rafizadeh on Sunday, April 14. Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated political scientist and one of the world’s leading experts on Iran and US foreign policy.

The piece, entitled “after the deluge: Iran’s paramilitary looting takes a deadly toll”, criticized the Iranian regime over its response to recent floods and accused it of putting its own interests ahead those of the Iranian people.

Downplaying Casualty Figures

Rafizadeh highlighted the discrepancy between the information being released by the regime and reports coming from the Iranian opposition. “The official death toll from recent massive flooding in Iran stands at 77, but it is more likely that well over 250 people have been killed by the disaster and as a result of bungled relief efforts,” he writes.

In the wake of the flooding, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) revealed that the regime was deliberately withholding accurate reports on the scale of the flood’s damage, including the loss of human life.

The Iranian judiciary, under regime control, was reportedly threatening Iranians with prosecution if they spoke publicly on the full extent of the flood damage.

“Iranian security forces, the military, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are all on the ground in flood-ravaged areas, but are generally more focused on suppressing dissent and preserving the theocratic regime’s reputation than contributing to relief efforts,” Rafizadeh writes.

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi shared this sentiment. She released a statement accusing the mullahs of doing “nothing but preserving their shameless rule and plundering the people.” For Mrs Rajavi, “national solidarity and cooperation is the only way to confront the flash floods.”

Mismanaging Natural Resources

Rafizadeh was not only enraged by the regime’s flood response, but he also accused the regime of contributing to the flood’s damage by mismanaging Iranian natural resources, engaging in unsafe construction practices and neglecting ecological assessments.

The regime and its IRGC constructed on land alongside waterways, failed to maintain dams and failed to dredge rivers and lakes to allow for an uninterrupted flow of water. These practices, Rafizadeh argues, exacerbated the flooding and led to unnecessary damage and death.

Environmentalists who have tried to raise concerns in recent years have been subject to arrest and tortured. One Iranian-Canadian professor named Kavous Seyed-Emami died in regime custody under suspicious circumstances. Another four environmental activists remain in prison on charges of “spreading corruption on earth.” The charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Exploiting the Flooding to Tighten Suppressive Measures

“Reports indicate hard-liners are presently jostling to exploit the flood damage and further tighten their grip on Iranian commerce and society,” Rafizadeh writes. There have already been reports of the regime moving Afghani, Iraqi and Pakistani mercenaries into flood-stricken areas to quash dissent.

Rafizadeh concluded, “the pain being experienced by the Iranian people is likely to get much worse unless the international community sanctions the IRGC and isolates its activities to such an extent that it becomes impossible to put more Iranian wealth into its hands.”

 

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Zarif, Jafari, and Qassim Soleimani

Regime Reacts to Implications of IRGC Terrorist Listing with Growing Alarm and Confusion

Zarif, Jafari, and Qassim Soleimani

The terrorist IRGC commanders including Qassem Soleimani and Jafari, meeting with the “reformist” Javad Zarif, in the aftermath of the FTO listing by the U.S. state department.

In response to the recent designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States, the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called a meeting with members of the IRGC’s senior command to discuss how to save face in light of growing alarm over the consequences of the action. IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari and Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani were both present at the meeting.

State-run television reported on the meeting and quoted Zarif as saying, “The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has played a major role in maintaining the country’s security.”

Zarif ignored the economic ramifications of the terrorist designation and instead focused on a nonexistent possibility of a U.S. attack on regime forces, which he answered with a threat.

“U.S. forces in the region cannot carry out any military actions against [Iran],” he said. “However, if they do take measures, they will face an immediate, serious and firm response from our side.”

Factional Infighting

The FTO designation has thrown the regime into chaos, with various factions casting blame on the others. The Kayhan daily newspaper is closely aligned with regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, faulted regime President Hassan Rouhani’s “Reformist” faction for the designation in a recent editorial.

“When a number of officials launch verbal attacks against the IRGC and question this entity, they are requesting the IRGC and other military units to return to their bases! They consider the IRGC’s presence across the Middle East as useless; the missile era over; the IRGC’s missile tests as provoking the enemy; and despite the deceptions behind the [2015] nuclear deal, they are still not willing to exit this disgraceful arrangement; and are in fact seeking to impose new restrictions through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) bills… It’s obvious why the U.S. designated the IRGC as an FTO,” he wrote.

In an April 11th article, the state-run Siasat-e Rooz daily faulted regime factions that have been hesitant to go to war for the FTO designation, writing: “The Americans have seen how some people in [the regime in Iran] are terrified of even the shadows of war. Therefore, they are going down the path of gaining even more concessions from us.”

 

Ahmad Jannati, head of the mullahs’ Assembly of Experts, went a different route and expressed his support for the many Majlis (regime parliament) members who wore IRGC uniforms in solidarity with the Revolutionary Guards.

Blame the MEK

Regime Prosecutor General Jafar Montazeri was quick to bring the MEK into the discussion.

 

“There’s nothing new in the U.S.’ enmity and we have witnessed America’s enmity in different areas, including its support of the [MEK],” he said.

On April 10th, the regime’s Propaganda Coordination Council in Qom Province specifically claimed that the MEK was responsible for the IRGC’s inclusion on the FTO list.

Deep Concerns

 

Behind all of the infighting and assignment of blame is a deep fear. Officials have not come to a consensus on what will happen as a result of the terrorist designation or how to best address it, but everyone seems to understand that it does not bode well for the regime.

After Calls from the MEK and NCRI, the US is Set to Include the IRGC and MOIS in its Terror Blacklist

Javad Mansouri, the first IRGC commander, worried about military action, saying, “The day that the Americans have gone down every path and reached no conclusion, there is a possibility they will seek military measures.”

Foad Izadi, who is closely affiliated with Khamenei’s inner circle, explained the various options available to the regime.

“Considering the fact that we are in new circumstances regarding the IRGC, we are now facing even more difficulties regarding the FATF because the U.S. has a significant presence in FATF-linked entities. What can we do now that they have designated the IRGC as an FTO? If it is approved, we either have to cut off the IRGC’s budget, merge this entity into the army, or have the IRGC personnel fired. We can’t go down any of these paths,” he said.

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Ambassador Adam Ereli

Former US Ambassador of Bahrain Debunks Hit Piece Against the MEK

Ambassador Adam Ereli

Amb. Adam Ereli, the former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, speaking at the panel of experts titled “the current policy of the U.S. and Europe toward the Iranian regime and policy recommendations to support the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran” organized by the Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies (FEMO)-June 2018, Paris

On March 28, 2019, The National Interest published an op-ed by Michael Rubin. The piece, entitled ‘The Mojahedin e-Khalk Aren’t America’s Friends’ was a hit piece against the largest Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).

Rubin claimed that the MEK had limited support inside Iran, even among those that do not agree with the methods of the clerical regime and are in favor of regime change.

The piece was so inaccurate in its portrayal of the pro-democracy group that it inspired Joseph Adam Ereli, the former US Ambassador to Bahrain and Deputy State Department Spokesman under President George W. Bush, to write an op-ed of his own.

In the op-ed, also published on The National Interest, Ereli accuses Rubin of missing a crucial point;

“the reason this Iranian opposition group has survived for so long is precisely because it has support inside Iran.”

Considering the Evidence

Ereli implores his readers to consider the evidence instead of taking Rubin’s piece at face value. In 1988, the Iranian regime Supreme Leader Khomeini considered the MEK such a threat to the regime’s future in power, he had 30,000 political prisoners rounded up and killed, the majority of which were MEK activists.

If, as Rubin claims, the MEK was “unable to win any support from Iranians inside Iran”, why would the Iranian leader carry out such a widespread, and potentially damaging, crackdown on the opposition group, write Amb. Ereli?

There are also signs within Iran today that the MEK enjoys support from the Iranian population. Since 2017, protests have swept across Iran’s towns and cities. All segments of Iranian society have rallied together and taken to the streets in protest at the regime’s repressive policies, routine human rights abuses and gross economic mismanagement.

“Since December 2017, the government of Iran has been facing unprecedented waves of protests throughout the country. Iranians from all classes, social backgrounds, age demographics from every one of the country’s thirty-one provinces have been engaged in demonstrations against clerical rule. Students, merchants, truck drivers, young and old, educated and illiterate have called for an end to the Iranian revolution, which has brought them little beyond isolation, privation and corruption.

Video evidence from inside Iran shows that many of these protestors are MEK supporters. They hang pictures of Maryam Rajavi, the head of the MEK’s parent organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) from highway overpasses. They parade with signs condemning the regime and endorsing the MEK in front of mosques and major squares in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz and even Qom, the seat of mullahs’ power. These people are putting their lives on the line. They know that if caught, they and their family members will be arrested, tortured and—some at least—probably executed. Yet despite the risk, they persist. These are not the actions of paid shills.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani even acknowledged the MEK’s role in the protests. In January 2018, when the wave of domestic protests reached its peak, Rouhani phoned French President Emmanuel Macron and requested that he limit the MEK’s operations in France. The French President declined to act.

A Costly and Extensive Demonisation Campaign

To further demonstrate his point, Ereli reminds his readers that the clerical regime devotes vast sums of money and extensive resources to demonizing the MEK both at home and abroad.

“Iran’s state media has produced a total of nineteen movies, series and documentaries- some of them consisting of up to twenty-eight segments of thirty to forty-five minutes each- that demonize the MEK.”

Referring to Michael Rubin’s efforts in trying to promote the Monarchists as an alternative to the MEK, Ereli writes:

“He [Rubin] then marshals a series of anecdotes and assertions in romanticizing about the make-believe world in which Iranians once again become subjects of the Pahlavi monarchy. He says that one storekeeper asked: “Oh my shah, my shah, where is my shah?” It is unclear if he is trying to be funny or just disingenuous.

To my knowledge, the regime has not spent a dime on demonizing the elderly remnants of the monarchy, but it does pay journalists abroad to publish fake stories against the MEK. The head of a major Canadian think tank revealed that the Iranian regime embassy offered him up to $80,000 to refer to the MEK as a “cult” in his publications.”

Ereli concludes that “This unprecedented demonization campaign tells me that the regime views the MEK (and only the MEK) as an existential threat.”

The Spectre of Terror

Ereli also cites the string of failed regime terror plots against the MEK as further evidence that the regime views the MEK and its increasing popularity among young Iranians at home and abroad as a direct threat to its future in power.

In 2018, the regime planned terror attacks against MEK members in France, Albania, and the United States. In response to these plots on European and US soil, France, Belgium, Germany, and Albania expelled diplomats from Iranian embassies in their countries.

Ereli concludes,

“suffice to say, that the MEK’s base of support does not lie in Washington, Paris or any other capital. It lies in the hearts and minds of the legions of Iranians who have and continue to be the target of the murderous policies of a ruthless and unrepentant Iranian regime.”

 

Staff writer

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Iran Floods,Iran Protests,MEK,MEK Network,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Flooding in Ahvaz

Bungled Flood Response Lead to Cause Massive Protests

Flooding in Ahvaz

Photo credit to Iran News Wire-The locals in Ahvaz, rushing to block the flash flooding from damaging their farms, as the government seems not to care about them.

In the aftermath of a series of devastating floods that ravaged more than 27 provinces in Iran, thousands of survivors say that they have been abandoned by the regime. While the Tasnim news agency and other state-run media outlets continue to report that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij Forces, and other regime agencies are providing assistance to flood victims, reports from local residents and dozens of videos shared on social media tell a different story.

Flood Victims in Khuzestan Left without Shelter

The southwestern province of Khuzestan sustained heavy damage from the floods, leaving numerous people homeless and entire towns destroyed. In one video shared on social media, a man broke down sobbing, saying that he had still not received a tent one week after losing his home.

“How much cruelty?! I have been surrounded by water for seven days. They can’t come here and give me a tent?! My sister is sleeping under a tree. Didn’t we participate in the [Iran-Iraq] war to defend our country,” he asked.

“Who should I ask (for help)? Whomever I ask, they say it’s not my responsibility. I asked the IRGC, the army, and the Governor. Who should I ask then?! You give me an address to go wherever you say. Maybe I should kill myself. Why am I even alive?!” he cried.

Other videos show people in Khuzestan making their own flood barriers bags filled with rice and sand.

Pictures show young men sleeping on their homemade barriers to protect them at night.

Women Assist Lorestan Flood Victims

A video from Lorestan Province shows Iranian Arab women making bread for flood victims in the western province.

 

Lorestan Province was among the hardest-hit by the recent floods, and many villages are still inaccessible by roads. Residents in these areas have still not received badly-needed assistance from the regime, so Iranian youth are walking for hours through mountainous terrain to deliver supplies to their countrymen.

Waiting for an Opportunity

The failure of the regime to provide assistance to its people after the deadly floods have led to growing anger among the population. A number of regime officials and state-run media outlets and journalists have expressed concern that this anger could lead to a revolt.

Former regime intelligence official and political strategist Saied Hajarian worried that the regime’s failure to provide flood assistance could lead to distrust in the government.

“We have to take note that the crisis of distrust will lead to a crisis of discredit to the extent that people will prefer neutral foreign arbitrators to their Iranian counterparts,” he said.

In an April 9th interview published on the Fararu website, “reformist” journalist Abbas Abdi warned that the people were already angry with the regime and that the floods would cause additional protests.

“The people are waiting for an opportunity to vent out [their frustration] and what better opportunity than floods and similar incidents,” he added.

The Shoaar Sal website, which is affiliated with the regime, acknowledged that the regime has been negligent in addressing the floods in Lorestan Province, warning that the “people’s increased distrust will have horrifying effects in the future.”

Lack of Public Trust

The Ebtekar daily newspaper, which is closely tied to regime President Hassan Rouhani, wrote that the Iranian people no longer trust state-run media, turning instead to social media for flood-related news. The MEK uses its network inside Iran to share information on social media and the Internet as a whole. This has been invaluable in countering the mullahs’ propaganda and giving the Iranian people the power to access accurate news.

It admitted, “We continue to witness the public’s lack of trust in official media against social networks. The internet and reports on social media are more trusted by the people than official media.”

The regime has consistently underreported the extent of the damages and fatalities caused by catastrophic floods. Official reports claim that 70 people died in more than 20 days of flooding in 25 provinces.

Local reports and eyewitness accounts contradict that number. Several hundred men, women, and children are believed to have died in the floods, mostly in the cities of Shiraz and Poldokhtar.

The regime’s Attorney General attempted to suppress accurate reporting on the floods and the government’s response to them by threatening publishers of “fake news” on the floods, saying that anyone found publishing information contradicting official reports would be dealt with for “disrupting the security of the country.”

According to Tehran’s Chief of Police, four people were arrested in the nation’s capital for “spreading rumors” about the regime’s botched response to the floods.

Staff writer

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