1988 Massacre,Iran human rights,MEK,PMOI

Raisi a mass murderer

Regime Judiciary Chief Deserves Condemnation for His Role in 1988 Massacre, Says British Website

In a new article on the British website Express.co.uk, Shahin Gobadi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee argued that newly-appointed regime Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi should face international condemnation for his role in the mass execution of 30,000 political prisoners during the 1988 Massacre in Iran.

In the Thursday interview with the British website, Gobadi laid out the case against Raisi. He said: “Ebrahim Raisi, [was] a member of the Death Committee in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of whom were activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) in 1988. Raisi is also a devoted supporter of the regime supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, Gobadi emphasized.

“Raisi should be subject to international prosecution for committing crimes against humanity in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and tried for the genocide of MEK members.

“His appointment as the highest judicial authority of the clerical regime signals a hard turn to even more repression by the clerical regime against the Iranian people and resistance.

“In addition to committing a major crime in the 1988 massacre, Raisi is a low ranking cleric without adequate religious credentials.

“He is under the control of Khamenei and has been serving in the regime’s repressive agencies since the age of twenty.

Taken from the Social Media, widely used during campaigns upon Raisi’s appointment to the highest Judicial position under the mullahs’ rule.

“Raisi’s appointment by Khamenei proves once again that as the head of the crisis-stricken theocratic regime, he finds no other solution than a hard turn towards further repression in order to contain the growing crisis that the regime faces.

“Khamenei thus wants to barricade his clerical regime against the uprising of the Iranian people and their organized resistance for justice and freedom in Iran.”

The 1988 Massacre

During the summer of 1988, in the final months of the Iran-Iraq War, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the executions of all MEK members currently imprisoned in Iran. Over the course of a single summer, political prisoners were marched in front of “Death Committees” and sentenced to death in trials that lasted only minutes. Prisoners were asked if they renounced their allegiance to the MEK. Anyone who said no was sent immediately to the gallows, where people were executed in groups. 30,000 people were executed in the summer of 1988.

 

To date, none of the perpetrators responsible for the massacre have been held accountable. The regime has blocked all attempts to investigate the executions and has gone as far as to destroy mass graves of victims to cover up evidence of their crimes.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Role in the Massacre

Ebrahim Raisi sat at the head of Tehran’s Death Committee and personally sent thousands to their deaths. An audiotape surfaced in 2016 that provided insight into the brutality of the crime against humanity in which Raisi participated. In the recording, then Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri can be heard expressing remorse over the mass executions. He is heard saying that “pregnant women and 15-year-old girls” were among those executed and that the mass executions were the “biggest crimes committed by the Islamic Republic.”

Raisi is the second former Death Committee member to later be appointed to the position of Judiciary Chief in Rouhani’s “moderate” regime. Meanwhile, family members of victims of the massacre are prevented from publicly honoring their relatives, and their graves continue to be destroyed by a regime that mocks their loss by installing mass murderers in the Ministry of Justice.

Raisi was also recently named to the mullahs’ Assembly of Experts. He is widely considered to be a favorite to succeed Khamenei as regime Supreme Leader.

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Zarif and Alavi during Tehran's security conference

Tsarism Op-Ed Challenges the Regime’s Claim of “116 Resistance Units” Arrested

Zarif and Alavi during Tehran's security conference

Regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and regime’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, during a security conference in Iran. A close relationship between the two Ministries both inside and outside Iran

Tsarism, a news and analysis site, published an op-ed on the Iranian intelligence minister’s claim that the regime has arrested and “dealt with” 116 resistance units. The announcement came after the US State Department announced the inclusion of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist.

The regime has been rallying around its IRGC in recent weeks, with regime officials turning up to a parliamentary session wearing IRGC uniforms in a gesture of solidarity. It has also attempted to downplay the listing, asserting that the foreign terror organization (FTO) listing would not impact the group.

Dealing with 116 MEK Resistance Units

In an attempt to boost the morale of the IRGC and other repressive units, the Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced during Friday prayers last week that the regime had arrested and “dealt with” 166 resistance units as part of “national security efforts”.

He said: “Over the past year, we have confronted 116 [resistance] units affiliated with the Mujahedin-e Khalq organization [the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK / PMOI)].” He claimed that this crackdown had come from the regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei himself.

An Underestimation

Following the announcement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI), the umbrella organization of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), claimed that Alavi’s estimate was an underrepresentation of the true figure. It asserted that the number of arrests was far higher than those Alavi claimed, suggesting that he may have omitted units and MEK members arrested by the IRGC’s Intelligence and Information Protection branches.

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to arrange for an international delegation to visit the arrested activists currently detained in Iranian regime prisons. Alongside her calls, the MEK and NCRI published a list of prisoners currently in regime custody.

The Iranian opposition and the MEK have long called on the international community to scrutinize the Iranian regime’s arbitrary arrests and torture against political dissidents. Following the nationwide uprisings that broke out at the end of 2017 and early days of 2018, 14 prisoners died in regime custody. Many died during torturous interrogations.

More Determined Than Ever

Despite the daily persecution and constant threat of arrest, MEK resistance units are more committed than ever to confronting the regime and challenging its reign of tyranny and violence. On April 18, resistance units set fire to IRGC bases across Iran.

The op-ed assessed that “the resistance units are one of the most important parts of the Iranian people’s revolution, and they are playing their historical role in various methods.”

It concluded: “By organizing and leading the Iranian uprising in an effective manner, resistance units are injecting hope and new life into society.”

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

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.

Staff writer

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