Black listing IRGC,IRGC,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

Chief commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)

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

 

Chief commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)

IRGC Commander, Ghassem Soleimani (Middle) commander of the terrorist Quds force, sitting next to Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari is the Iranian commander-in-chief of the IRGC (left), and IRGC deputy commander Salami (Right)

Over the weekend, two op-eds captured the international sentiment towards the Iranian regime. The first came on Saturday, April 6. Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) Foreign Affairs Committee wrote an op-ed for Lima Charlie World calling on the international community to acknowledge the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terror.

The Iranian regime has openly admitted that it sends agents to the United States and other nations under the guise of journalists. In August last year, US authorities arrested two agents of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) for plotting a terror attack against members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), an opposition pro-democracy group.

Given the clear evidence that the Iranian regime is planning terror attacks on US soil, Safavi argues that that the MOIS and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) should be included in the US’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list.

The two are already on the US government’s Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) blacklist.

The IRGC plays a central role in suppressing the political opposition within Iran. Companies associated with the entity control most of the Iranian economy.

Exporting Terrorism and Violence

Safavi describes how both the IRGC and the MOIS are active in several countries across the globe. “The IRGC has numerous facilities inside Iran to train terrorists as part of the regime’s strategy to step up its meddling abroad,” he writes.

The IRGC has also been behind around 608 deaths of American service members, around 17% of the total US personnel deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. This is in addition to the many thousands of Iranians it has tortured and killed.

2018 saw a marked increase in the regime’s state-sponsored terrorism output. Plots were foiled in Albania, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US. Iranians and European citizens were among those targeted.

Safavi argues that the MOIS and IRGC meet the criteria for inclusion on the FTO list. Under Section 29 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a group must meet three requirements for inclusion on the list. It must be a foreign organization. It must engage in terror activities, or “retain the capability and intent to engage” in terrorist activities, and it must pose a threat to US nationals or the national security of the United States.

The IRGC and MOIS clearly fulfill all three requirements.

A Welcome Announcement

Writing for Eurasia Review, human rights advocate Hassan Mahmoudi wrote that the blacklisting of IRGC would, “ramp up pressure on the elite force.”

The move will be welcomed among the Iranian opposition, including the NCRI and MEK. The MEK’s president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, has been calling for a more assertive stance towards the Iranian regime from the international community. This inclusion of its MOIS and IRGC forces will be just that.

On January 11, Maryam Rajavi urged the US to include the IRGC in its FTO. She also called for governments to refer Iranian human rights abuses to the UN Security Council.

For decades, western governments have adopted a policy of appeasement towards Iran. In doing so, it has empowered and emboldened the regime. Mahmoudi writes, “inaction regarding the IRGC and MOIS has further enabled the regime to set up missile factories in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq in order to broaden its regional sphere of influence.”

 

The inclusion of the organizations on the FTO is more than simply a symbolic one. It will make it illegal for a US person to provide material “support or resources” to these entities. This includes advice or assistance. It will also allow the government to remove MOIS or IRGC officials from US soil.

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IranHRM March report

Iran Human Rights Monitor Releases its Monthly Report for March

 

IranHRM March report

The cover photo for “Iran Human Rights Monitor” report – March edition, covering the horrific flooding and the consequences of the mismanagement of the regime on the people residing in the flood-stricken areas.

Iran Human Rights Monitor released its monthly report for the month of March. The group shone a light on the recent flooding that has affected 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces, reporting that at least 200 Iranian have lost their lives in the disaster.

The group accused the regime’s aid of being “too little and too slow.” Instead of getting aid workers to the regions affected as quickly as possible, the regime dispatched its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Basij forces. They were instructed to prevent any outbreak of protests.

As Iranians were stranded without food and water, the regime refused to help, instead focusing on its own preservation. “Many social media users observed that residents, often themselves victims of the floods, rushed to help others, while the authorities did very little or nothing,” Iran Human Rights Monitor reported.

Inspired by messages of solidarity from President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, Iran’s citizens rallied around each other and offered their support for their fellow compatriots. Shop owners, mechanics and other business owners in Shiraz offered their services to the flood victims free of charge.

A Regime Responsible

Iran Human Rights Monitor noted that the regime must bear a share of the responsibility for the scale of the flooding. “Authorities have been over-constructing for a long time and it has destroyed the natural flood barriers that were in place,” it reported.

The regime has destroyed more than 30% of the country’s forests, built villas in agricultural lands, failed to effectively upkeep dams and built on vulnerable river banks and flood plains. This natural mismanagement of Iran’s natural flood defenses exacerbated the disaster and undoubtedly led to the destruction and loss of life this month.

Human Rights Abuses

The group also reports that the regime carried out 15 public executions over the course of the month, including a father and son in Birjand Prison charged with the murder of two regime agents.

Three activists received flogging sentences.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer arrested in 2018, was tried again on a further seven charges. The lawyer is currently in prison serving a five-year sentence for “association and collusion with the intent of sabotaging national security”. She was tried in absentia for a further seven charges. Her lawyer was prevented from attending the trial. She received another 34-year prison sentence and 148 lashes.

Sotoudeh became the target of the regime’s injustices for her peaceful human rights work. She was vocal in her defense of women protesting the regime’s compulsory veil laws and a public critic of the death penalty.

Along with Sotoudeh, labor activist Arsham Rezai received an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence. He was tried without a lawyer or prior notice. He was accused of “spreading propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”

There were also reports of prisoners being denied treatment. Ali Badrkhani, who is being held at Urmia Central Prison, is reportedly being denied access to outside treatment for his kidney disease. Abolghasam Fouladvand at Raja’I Shahr Prison is also reportedly being denied treatment for his heart failure.

The Persecution of Ethnic Minorities

Iran Human Rights Monitor also reported the rampant arrest of ethnic minority groups in Iran. In March, the Iranian Judiciary sentenced 23 members of the Sufi Dervish to a total of 190 years in prison and numerous lashes. Most of those convicted received sentences of between six and nine years and will serve them in the Greater Tehran Prison.

At least eight Iranian- Arabs from Ahvaz and 24 Kurds were also arrested throughout the month.

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90 Flood Deaths in One Western Iranian City, According to Internal Police Report

Flood covers vast areas of Khuzestan Province, South West Iran

Flooding in western Iran led to the deaths of at least 90 people, according to an internal police report. The deaths occurred in the city of Poldokhtar in Lorestan Province during the country’s most recent fatal flood.

Poldokhtar is surrounded by the Karkheh River. The city flooded when heavy rains caused the river to swell, and the dams overflowed.

Kioumars Heydari, Commander of the regime’s Army’s Ground Forces, acknowledged that conditions in Poldokhtar were “horrific” in an interview with the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

“The bridges and roads have been completely blocked off and homes in villages have been engulfed by water up to their rooftops,” he added.
Videos posted on social media show homes in Poldokhtar collapsing from the force of the rushing water.

Regime Official Denies Deaths

Heydari denied that anyone died in the catastrophic floods, though. On Tuesday, he told the ISNA News Agency that “there were no fatalities” reported in the floods, directly contradicting the internal report.

Heydari also claimed that “the necessary equipment for relief aid to the people of Poldokhtar had been provided.” Heydari is responsible for providing emergency aid to the residents of Poldokhtar.

This is despite local reports, which indicate that a number of people were stranded on their rooftops for a day without food, water, or assistance.

Flood victims in other areas of Iran have been vocal in their criticism of regime officials’ response to the floods. Residents of flood-stricken areas say that they have received no emergency aid from the government and that what assistance they have received has come from the public.

The Iranian regime frequently covers up the number of fatalities in disasters. This is largely due to the fact that the Iranian people fault the regime for its mismanagement of the country’s infrastructure and its destructive environmental policies, both of which worsen the effects of natural and manmade disasters.

Publishers of Flood Reports Threatened

Those who have reported on the floods have been threatened with arrest. The regime’s Attorney General recently warned that publishers of “fake” news about the floods were violating national security and that anyone who was caught publishing such information would be dealt with for “disrupting the security of the country.”

The disparities between the regime’s official reporting of the fatal floods and local and eyewitness reports are significant. Local reports, which are supported by numerous videos and eyewitness accounts, indicate that at least 150 people lost their lives during the March 25th floods at the Quran Gate in Shiraz. Regime officials claim that 19 people died in the deadly floods.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called for solidarity among the people of Iran in a statement last week. The regime has neglected and abandoned people affected by the flood, so Iranians, particularly the youth and the MEK’s Resistance Units, must organize councils and provide assistance to one another.

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SPND site in Tehran

Leading Iran Expert Questions the Regime’s Curtailing of its Nuclear Program

SPND site in Tehran

Iranian regime’s SPND, the center that deals with Iran’s neclear weaponry program, exposed by the MEK.

President of the International American Council Dr. Majid Rafizedah, a leading expert on Iran and US policy, penned an op-ed in Arab News on Thursday. In his op-ed, Rafizedah stressed the importance that nuclear inspectors be permitted to visit the Iranian military site at Parchin. His article is largely a response to those advocating the Iranian nuclear deal who criticized the US government’s decision to introduce sanctions against 14 individuals and 17 entities with ties to the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

Many in favor of the deal inaccurately claim that the Iranian regime has abandoned its nuclear ambitions and is complying with the terms of the deal. However, Rafizedah points out that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not detect the Iranian regime’s Nuclear program. It was the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) that revealed the regime’s clandestine Nuclear program at its sites in Arak and Natanz.

Despite the IAEA receiving several credible intelligence reports warning of the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear program, the organization failed to report on the regime’s activities on several occasions.

Repeated Mistakes

For Rafizedah, the IAEA is “repeating the same mistake by ignoring reports and revelations surrounding Iran’s nuclear activities.” He describes how the German intelligence agencies have expressed concerns over Iran’s clandestine path to nuclear weapons. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella group of the MEK, has also raised concerns over the regime’s secret activities at Parchin military base.

Despite these valid and credible complaints, “the IAEA has not taken any action to inspect Iran’s military site at Parchin,” Rafizedah writes. According to the MEK and the NCRI, the Iran nuclear deal that came into effect in 2015 did little to disrupt the regime’s nuclear program. In a statement, the NCRI claimed, “it is now clear that in some fields its activities have even expanded.”

Even during the 2015 negotiations for the deal, there was intense resistance from the Iranian regime over Parchin’s inclusion in the list of sites that the IAEA would have the authority to visit. “Iran was determined that Parchin must be beyond the reach of IAEA inspectors,” Rafizedah writes.

“The Iranian regime has become skilled at disguising the true nature of its nuclear centers by using tactics such as labeling them as military sites or conventional research centers,” Rafizedah continues.

Even regime insiders have hinted that the regime has expanded its nuclear capabilities since 2015. The head of the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization, Akbar Salehi, said in an interview, “if we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before. We will be standing in a much, much higher position.”

Rafizedah concluded his op-ed by calling for the immediate inspection of Parchin and all the Iranian regime’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) centers to ensure Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and international rules. He also called for the IAEA to conduct interviews with senior figures in the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, along with scientists and researchers in the country.

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MEK supporters rally in London

Protesters Gather in London to Express Support for Iranian Flood Victims and Condemn the Regime

MEK supporters rally in London

MEK supporters in London, demonstrate regime’s inaction regarding the flash-flood.

Supporters of the MEK, across the world, have been expressing their solidarity with the flood victims in Iran. On Saturday, March 30, protestors gathered in London outside the UK Prime Minister’s residence, Number 10 Downing Street. The protestors expressed their sympathy and condolences with their compatriots in Iran.

They also expressed their anger and frustration at the regime’s response to the disaster. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) revealed that the regime has deliberately misled the public over the death toll caused by the flooding.

A National Crisis

Heavy rain and extreme weather have caused widespread flooding across 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces. Roads, buildings, cars and tragically, people, have been washed away in flooding in Shiraz, Khorramabad, and Isfahan.

However, the regime’s response has been muted. Instead of mobilizing the country’s resources to organize coordinated rescue efforts, the regime has attempted to deflect blame. The MEK’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi drew attention to the regime’s role in exacerbating the flooding. In a statement, she said, “they destroyed the channel that used to lead floodwaters out.” During heavy rain, this led to extensive flooding in Shiraz.

The regime deployed the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Basij forces, but instead of helping victims, they were quelling protests, demonstrating that even in a time of national crisis, the regime will put its interest ahead of those of ordinary Iranians.

Maryam Rajavi summed up the situation in another statement. “The disaster once again proved that the ruling mullahs’40-year policy of plunder and pillage has taken a heavy toll on the lives and livelihood of our people,” she said.

The leader of the Iranian opposition went on to call for cooperation among Iranian civilians. “The only way and the best way is that we help one another,” she said, adding, “no other power is more effective and more accessible than the power of solidarity among us.”

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/iran-resistance/26016-anglo-iranian-communities-express-solidarity-with-flood-victims-in-iran%5C

Lies and Deception

In addition to refusing to devote adequate resources to the rescue efforts, the clerical regime has deliberately hidden the full death toll from the public. The MEK believes more than 200 Iranian lives were claimed by the catastrophe. “The delay and procrastination in helping those who are besieged by the flood have increased the number of victims,” Hossein Abedini of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella group of the MEK, asserted.

In hiding the full extent of the crisis, the regime has prevented international aid agencies from offering sufficient assistance.

The International Response

In their protest on Saturday, the Anglo-Iranian community outside Downing Street called on the UK government to condemn the regime’s response to the crisis and work with the European Union to pressure the regime to provide disaster relief to the affected areas.

Malcolm Fowler, a solicitor and former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales addressed the protestors. He said, “the neglect and deceptions of the Iranian regime over the catastrophic floods and landslides are characteristic of its disregard and oppression of all dissidents. Mrs. May’s Government must now take them to a task.”

Several other prominent UK lawyers also spoke at the rally, expressing their solidarity with the Iranian victims and calling for a more “responsible” government.

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

NCRI's Nowruz ceremony

Former US Lawmakers and Officials Address the NCRI in Washington to Mark Nowruz

 

NCRI's Nowruz ceremony

Former US lawmakers, and US officials speak at NCRI’s Nowruz ceremony in Washington D.C.

The US representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), celebrated Iranian New Year (Nowruz) by hosting a dinner reception. The event, held in Washington D.C. on March 22, featured several prominent former US officials who spoke at length on the threat the Iranian regime poses to international peace, stability and human rights.

All of those that took the floor took the opportunity to call for a firm stance from the US government towards the Iranian threat. But among the calls for firm action were hopeful messages. Dr. Sofey Saidi of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee opened the evening with a speech full of optimism.

She outlined how 2019 is set to be a strong year for the pro-democratic opposition in Iran. The NCRI and its main member, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) are making huge strides within Iran. Its resistance units in Iranian towns and cities have mobilized the disenfranchised Iranian population. Iran’s citizens are protesting the mullahs’ tyranny in streets across Iran on an almost daily basis. The fall of the mullahs is “inevitable,” Saidi said.

Unlawful Arrests

When Tom Ridge, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, took the floor, he condemned the regimes unlawful arrests of more than 10,000 people across 160 Iranian towns and cities. “The people in their own way are saying that the situation is unacceptable and they want change,” he said.

Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph echoed these sentiments. He was hopeful that the Iranian people would “throw off this yoke of oppression.” “The days get longer than the nights, and the light replaces the darkness,” he said, adding that the symbolism of Nowruz was not lost on the Iranian people. “Forty years of oppression is forty years too long for the Iranian people,” he concluded.

A former US ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Kenneth Blackwell, spoke of the “new burst and a new energy and a new yearning for freedom in the country.”

The Only Viable Alternative to the Mullahs

The speakers also all echoed the same conviction that Iran’s rejection of the religious fascism instilled by the clerical regime must be replaced with the democratic values outlined in the MEK and Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan.

Robert Joseph said, “the ten-point plan of the MEK and the NCRI, I think, point the way to freedom and point the way to bringing that light to take away the darkeness.” “The rebirth of the great Persian nation is at hand,” he said, concluding, “the goal that so many of you have sought for so many years is reachable… the inevitable result is a free Iran.”

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Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,MEK,MEK Abania,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Der Spiegel to Pull Unsupported Claims Against the MEK

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Spiegel published a full of lies story about MEK, Iran’s main opposition force, raising outrage among the Iranian communities-February 2019

On Tuesday, March 26, the New York Times reported on the decision from a German court ordering German magazine Der Spiegel to pull passages of an article for unsupported allegations. Der Spiegel published a feature on the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) last month. In it, the magazine made brazenly false allegations that the group engages in activities that amount to torture.

In a statement, the group categorically denied the allegations. The MEK accused the publication of promoting the Iranian regime’s international objectives and deliberately participating in the mullahs’ disinformation campaign against the political opposition.

Published at NYT on March 26, 2019

Analyzing the Claims

In the piece, Der Spiegel accused the MEK of practicing massacres and torture at its compound in Albania. It also accused the group of holding members against their will.

Both are claims often repeated by the Iranian regime. The regime wants to sway international opinion against the political opposition. The MEK is a pro-democracy group that stands opposed to the mullahs’ brand of religious fascism. By painting MEK members as bloodthirsty savages, the regime attempts to legitimize its violent terror campaign and assassination attempts against the MEK membership both within Iran and abroad.

The MEK, upon hearing of the article’s impending publication and its contents, invited Der Spiegel’s journalists to visit its compound in Albania and witness the conditions there for themselves. They refused. Had they have taken the MEK up on its offer, they would have seen that they do not engage in the activities they stand accused of.

International court cases brought against the MEK by regime stooges for allegedly holding members against their will have been dismissed. This information is widely available online. Even a rudimentary observance of basic journalistic fact-checking principles would have revealed many of the allegations laid out in the article to be categorically false. But Der Spiegel published it anyway.

Deep Ties with the Iranian Regime

There were also indications that the magazine conspired with the Iranian regime in the publication of the hit piece against the Iranian opposition group. Before the article was published, sections appeared on an Iranian state-affiliated website.

A journalist working on the piece was also hosted in Iran and granted access to the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Justice

A court in Hamburg ordered Der Spiegel to remove the unsupported allegations from its website. The magazine will have to pay a 250,000 euro fine (US$282,000) if it fails to adhere to journalistic standards, and repeats the claims on any of its publications.

The MEK celebrated the ruling. The group released a statement accusing the magazine of “spreading a wealth of lies and false allegations.”

In the age of fake news and rampant disinformation online, the ruling represents a victory for truth and justice. Western media outlets must be held accountable for journalistic standards. Their reporting can have very dangerous implications for political groups like the MEK, who are a constant target of Iranian state-sponsored violence and terrorism. The media must remain a guardian of truth, not a political mouthpiece. Der Spiegel has demonstrated that its lack of commitment to truth, instead choosing to become a political tool to a violent and repressive foreign dictatorship.

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Hamburg court rules against misinformation targeting the MEK

A Hamburg Court Rules Against Der Spiegel in Blow to Regime’s Misinformation Campaign

Hamburg court rules against misinformation targeting the MEK

The court in Hamburg rules against the spread of false information against MEK, Iran’s main opposition.

A Hamburg court struck a blow to the Iranian regime’s misinformation and demonization campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). On Thursday, March 21, a Hamburg court ruled that German Magazine Der Spiegel acted illegally by spreading false accusations against the MEK. It determined that the magazine had failed to adhere to the basic principles of journalism and adequately fact check information it received from the clerical regime in Iran.

Vile Lies and Falsehoods

In an article published in the magazine on February 19, Der Spiegel printed a host of lies and falsehoods about the Iranian pro-democracy organization. In particular, it repeated regime lies that accuse the MEK of engaging in brutal violence and torture, which were proved to be incorrect, the court order says.

The MEK pointed out that Der Spiegel’s “journalist” who researched the piece, worked closely with the Iranian regime and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The magazine also ignored the MEK’s requests to visit its compound in Albania, Camp Ashraf, the alleged site of torture and violence. Der Spiegel’s unwillingness to visit the MEK’s site at the invitation of the group demonstrated a lack of interest in uncovering the truth and reality of the situation in Albania. It showed the magazine preferred to spout fabrications at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Part of the article was even published before its release on a website controlled by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). This illustrates the deep cooperation between Der Spiegel and the clerical regime.

Legal Ramifications

Following the article’s publication, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella organization which includes the MEK, applied for an injunction in the Hamburg courts against the magazine.

The court ruled that Der Spiegel is now prohibited from publishing allegations of torture against the MEK at its settlement in Albania. The court decided that the NCRI had “substantiated the false nature” of the allegations. It also prevented the magazine from publishing any further allegations that accuse the group of practicing “cutting throats with knives, breaking hands, piercing eyes with fingers” and, “tearing corners of the mouth.”

The court determined that Der Spiegel’s investigation methods did not meet national journalistic standards, making the information unlawfully reported.

The court threatened Der Spiegel with a €250,000 fine. In the event that the magazine cannot, or will not, pay the fine, the court invoked a custodial sentence of up to six months.

Der Spiegel removed the illegal statements from its article online.

Emboldening the Iranian Regime

The original article repeated regime mistruths and lies. It was welcomed by the regime’s state-run media. The Mehr and Fars news agencies both ran pieces echoing Der Spiegel’s claims to much fanfare and many other Iranian media outlets published translations of the article.

In a statement from the NCRI, its representative office in Germany explained the danger of allowing regime misinformation to propagate. “By spreading false information, the regime justifies its domestic massacres of the PMOI/MEK and prepares the ground for its terrorist operations on European and foreign soil,”. Referring to the reasons for a rise in the misinformation campaigns against the MEK, the statement says:

“After the safe and organized relocation of the PMOI/MEK from Iraq to abroad, and after popular uprisings in Iran in January 2018 and the end of US appeasement of this regime, the Iranian regime has resorted to intense terrorism and disinformation campaigns against the PMOI/MEK and Iranian Resistance, believing this to be a remedy to its existential crisis. By spreading false information, the regime justifies its domestic massacres of the PMOI/MEK and prepares the ground for its terrorist operations on European and foreign soil. Additionally, it messages a lie to Western circles that there is no alternative to this regime and that if it were overthrown, conditions in Iran would worsen.”

As a result, the ruling in Hamburg must be viewed as a victory. Not just for the MEK, but for truth, democracy, and stability both in Iran and in the West. The regime must not be permitted to hijack Western media outlets to advance its own objectives and undermine regional security. It is our collective responsibility to challenge regime lies, wherever they occur.

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Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

Khamenei’s “Hopeful” Nowruz Speech Paints Dismal Portrait of Iran

Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime.

Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in his recent speech published in his website, on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in which he tried to portray the spectacular failures of the past year in a positive light and to deflect blame for the growing economic and political crises within the country on rival factions within his own government and unnamed “enemies.”

Despite his justifications and blame-passing, though, Khamenei was unable to deny that the past twelve months have been difficult for both the Iranian people and the regime. Once again, the Supreme Leader attempted to give a message of hope and inadvertently reaffirmed that the regime is close to collapse.

Growing Resistance

Khamenei mentioned the growing protest movement in the country, led by the MEK and the Iranian Resistance, when he said, “We surpassed a very adventurous year. Our enemies had plans for the Iranian people.” Khamenei often refers to the MEK as “the enemy” and has expressed his fear that the organization could overthrow the regime on a number of occasions.

 

Khamenei falsely claimed to have the support of the people, saying, “The people… showed a strong response in the political and economic perspectives.” He also said that the regime was popular with the people, noting that the regime had celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at a rally on February 11th. He failed to point out that the rally was widely boycotted by the Iranian people.

Economic Crisis

The regime Supreme Leader referred to the economic crisis that has left 80% of the Iranian people living below the poverty line as an “issue.”  He said, “Economically, we have many issues. The lowering value of the national currency is an important matter. So is the people’s purchasing power. The problems facing our factories, unemployment, and in some cases, some of our factories closing down. These are issues,”

Khamenei, who has allowed Iran to sink further into economic crisis, said that he had a simple solution to all of the country’s problems. “I have studied these issues and listened to the experts. The key to all these issues is developing our national production.”

He elaborated on his plan, which is an extension of the same failed plan he tried last year. “We named last year, 1397, as the year of Supporting Iranian Products,’” he said. “I can’t say this motto was completely implemented. However, I can say that this slogan was acknowledged at a wide scale.” According to Khamenei, 1398 will be the year of “Production Growth.”

“If production is launched as it should, it can solve both our poor living standards and provide what we are in need of from foreigners, including countries that are our enemies. It can also resolve our unemployment and national currency issues to a significant extent,” he added.

Khamenei’s words illustrate the current state of the regime. The only piece of good news the Supreme Leader could share was that the regime had made it through a year of protests and economic upheaval without collapsing. Khamenei’s half-baked plan for economic recovery was a rehash of last year’s half-baked plan, which failed so completely that workers across the country have been forced to strike after working for months without wages. It is a New Day in Iran, and the mullahs are stuck in the past.

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Fire festival in Iran

MEK-Iran: Fire Festival Becomes Act of Rebellion as Protesters Clash with Suppressive Forces

Fire festival in Iran

Fire Festival in Iran, turns in to a protest against the regime in entire Iran

On Tuesday, March 29th, people in cities across Iran, especially the youth, used the celebration of Chaharshanbe Suri (Fire Festival) as an opportunity to protest the mullahs’ oppressive regime. The protests took place despite the regime’s efforts to prevent celebrations of the national holiday.

 

Last year’s Fire Festival followed the December 2017 uprisings that spread to 142 cities in every province over a two-week period. The massive nationwide protests brought thousands of Iranians from all sectors of society into the streets to demand the overthrow of the clerical regime and sparked a protest movement that continues to this day.

Chaharshanbe Suri came on the heels of this massive uprising, and the MEK and Iranian Resistance organized celebrations of the event in cities and towns around the country as an act of rebellion. The regime, which was already shaken to its core by the uprisings and growing Iranian Resistance, reacted to the Fire Festival celebrations with suppressive actions.

Fatwa against Chaharshanbe Suri

This year the regime expressed its fear of protests by stepping up its attempts to prevent celebrations of Chaharshanbe Suri. Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against the Fire Festival, saying that “Chaharshanbe Suri has no religious basis and it leads to damage or corruption or propagation of false beliefs, not permitted.” Members of the regime’s judiciary warned people in several cities that “those in violation” would be dealt with severely.

Protests and Clashes with Suppressive Forces

Despite these threats, youth in a number of cities, including Tehran, Mashad, Karaj, Masjed Soleiman, Khorramabad, Semnan, Ilam, and Mahshahr protested on Tuesday, burning pictures and effigies of Khamenei and Khomeini and chanting, “Death to Khamenei, death to the principle of Velayat-e-faqih, death to the dictator, with you, Dictator, we would fight fire with fire!

 

In other cities, people attacked official centers with sound grenades and fireworks. In the city of

Divandareh, youth clashed with repressive forces, who fired guns into the air to disperse protesters.

Attempts at Suppression

In Isfahan and several other cities, security forces unsuccessfully attempted to stop people from celebrating Chaharshanbe Suri, but their attacks were not enough to stop the Fire Festival.

 

The clerical regime slowed the Internet in some areas and cut off access to the Internet completely in others in attempts to prevent protesters from sharing photographs and videos of the protests on social media. These efforts were not entirely successful.

Background

Chaharshanbe Suri is an Iranian tradition that predates the Islamic regime. The Fire Festival takes place on the last Tuesday before Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and includes a number of traditions, including jumping over a bonfire. The holiday has long been a target of the mullahs’ ire because of its association with pre-Islamic tradition, but it is deeply ingrained in Iranian culture and particularly popular among the nation’s youth. Attempts to suppress public celebrations of Chaharshanbe Suri have proved to be fruitless, and over the past two years, the holiday has become a symbol of the growing Resistance Movement.

The MEK’s Social Headquarters issued a communique on March 1, 2019, inviting the youth of Iran and the Resistance Units to burn pictures and effigies of Khamenei, Khomeini, and other symbols of the regime in every street and corner during celebrations of Chaharshanbe Suri.

Staff writer

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