Giulio Terzi,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),PMOI

Giulio Terzi

Giulio Terzi: Western Policymakers have Turned a ‘Blind Eye’ to Rouhani’s Human Rights Record

Giulio Terzi

Hon. Giulio Terzi, the former Foreign Minister of Italy

Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giulio Terzi, wrote another opinion piece calling for European governments to sever economic ties with the ruthless and violent Iranian regime. The piece, entitled ‘Six Years After Rouhani’s Election, Moderation is as Far Away as Ever for Iran’, appeared in Euractiv on Friday, March 8.

In the piece, Terzi criticized the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as Head of the Iranian Judiciary which took place last week. Although Raisi’s predecessor was far from a moderate, his appointment represents a step back for Iranian human rights. “Raisi represents the worst features of the Iranian judiciary,” Terzi wrote, “at best his appointment by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei signals the regime’s public disregards for international human rights principles, and at worst it sets the stage for a dramatic upsurge in politically-motivated killings.”

A Dark Past

Raisi’s past is of particular concern. Like previous heads of the judiciary, he was part of the “death commissions” that took part in the 1988 massacre when regime agents rounded up and executed more than 30,000 members of the Iranian opposition. Many of those killed were members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest pro-democracy opposition group in Iran. Their only crime was their “failure to demonstrate loyalty to the theocratic dictatorship,” Terzi lamented.

The 30,000 executions took place in the span of a single summer. Many were buried in unmarked graves, the whereabouts of which the regime has continued to withhold, leaving many families in the dark on the fate of their loved ones.

The massacre was the regime’s response to growing calls for democracy. The MEK has established itself as a viable alternative to the regime’s ruthless branch of religious fascism, which it remains to this day.  “The massacre failed in its goal,” argues Terzi, “the PMOI (MEK) went on to gain in strength and popularity over the next three decades.” Today, the MEK is instrumental in coordinating protests against the regime’s economic mismanagement and rampant human rights abuses. It played a central role in the nationwide protests that rapidly spread across the country in 2018.

Like in 1988, the regime’s response has been to suppress protests through a violent crackdown on the Iranian opposition. In January alone, more than 8,000 Iranian protestors were detained and 50 were killed.

A Sustained Crackdown

When viewed in the context of recent events, Raisi’s appointment can be seen as a continued part of the regime’s backlash against the MEK and the Iranian opposition. Terzi called it

“a deliberate message to Iran’s activist community that the regime is ready to carry out further massacres.”

There have already been signs of impending violence. The clerical regime has made overt threats of executions against those engaging in protests and strikes against the regime.

 

Iranian regime’s President Hassan Rouhani, often championed among European governments as a “moderate” influence within the Iranian regime, has shown indifference towards the appointment of murderers and criminals to senior positions in the Iranian judiciary. He has also filled his own cabinet with those that took part in the 1988 massacre. These appointments show that at best, Rouhani is a loyal servant to the Supreme Leader and at worst, he is another hardliner, happy to promote murderers and brutes.

“Western policymakers have turned a blind eye to his record,” Terzi asserts, “because of their expectations about opening up Iranian markets and gaining access to Iranian oil.” “Such a short-sighted attitude cannot be a guiding principle for Western policies toward the Islamic Republic anymore,” Terzi concludes.

Terzi calls for the immediate severance of ties with Iranian businesses and diplomats. “The international community should push for an independent inquiry about all the crimes committed by the Iranian regime,” he asserts. If Tehran refuses, then international governments must embrace the only viable alternative to regime rule: the MEK.

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Geneva Conference on situation of human rights in Iran,Human Rights,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI,Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson speaking at the Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

Former Scottish MEP, Struan Stevenson, Speaks at Human Rights Conference in Geneva

Struan Stevenson speaking at the Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

Struan Stevenson, the former MEP, and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), speaking at the Geneva Conference on the situation of human rights in Iran-March 7, 2019

Former Scottish Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Struan Stevenson, spoke at a conference in Geneva on the human rights situation in Iran calling on the International Community and particularly the European governments to hold the mullahs accountable for their crimes in Iran. He began by describing how, “after 40 years of a brutal clerical dictatorship, today, 80 million Iranians have had enough.”

Iranians are making their voices heard at an unprecedented level. In recent months, hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens have taken to the streets to demonstrate the regime’s brutality and violence. “Men, women, students, teachers, truck drivers, sugar-cane workers, business owners, and pensioners,” have come together under the call for regime change and in opposition to the regime’s greed, repression, and warmongering.

The mullahs’ mismanagement of Iran’s finances has left vast swathes of the population living below the poverty line and struggling to put food on the table.

“Instead of trying to mend Iran’s broken economy, the mullahs have used their equivalent of the Gestapo, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to crack down on the demonstrators, murdering dozens and arresting over ten thousand,” Stevenson told those gathered in Geneva. Despite the very real threat to their freedom and lives, Iran’s brave protestors have not been deterred, but continue to oppose regime oppression and violence wherever it occurs. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest pro-democracy opposition group, work tirelessly to organize protests and raise international awareness to the Iranian cause.

Their effort is necessary. Stevenson said, “Iran is the most repressive country in the Middle East. It executes more people per capita than any other country in the world. Here we have a regime that tortures, rapes, sodomizes, and executes political prisoners.” It uses flogging, amputations, and hanging as methods of punishment and has executed more than 4,000 people under the Rouhani administration.

One of the Worst Atrocities of the Twentieth Century

In 1988, the Iranian regime committed one of the worst human rights abuses of the twentieth century. In one summer, the regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, many of whom were members of the MEK.

Although Amnesty International recently released a landmark report on the atrocity and have petitioned the UN to investigate, the crimes went largely unrecognized by the international community and no formal international investigation took place.

“The perpetrators of that massacre are still in positions of power within the regime today,” Stevenson exclaimed. “Many have even boasted about their roles.” One of these has been Ebrahim Raisi, President Hassan Rouhani’s head of the Iranian judiciary.

Death Committee Member Appointed as Regime Judiciary Chief

The leader of Iran opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, has frequently criticized the move. In a recent Tweet, she wrote, “the Iranian regime has appointed Ebrahim Raisi, one of the most brutal agents of the 1988 massacre.” She continued, “in doing so, it has made a mockery of justice and trampled upon all legal and judicial standards.”

In Geneva, Stevenson continued, “despite this appalling record of human rights abuse and crimes against humanity, we still have EU governments that prefer to overlook these issues and seek to continue to sign trade deals as an act of craven appeasement of the vile Iranian regime.”

Many European heads of state have expressed a reluctance to follow the US’s lead in adopting strict economic sanctions against the regime. In what amounts to a gesture of placing profits ahead of human rights, France, Germany, and the UK are actively exploring ways to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iran.

Stevenson concluded his address by saying, “appeasing and kowtowing to this brutal dictatorship is a historic mistake and a betrayal of the Iranian people. The mullahs must be held to account for their crimes. They cannot benefit from impunity.” He finished with a call to the UN. “The focus of the civilized world today is on the United Nations. Please heed the cries of the oppressed millions in Iran.”

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Alfred de Zayas,Human rights situation in Iran,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,Parviz Khazai,PMOI,Remy Pagani,Struan Stevenson,UN Geneva

Speakers at Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

Families of Victims and International Experts Speak About Iranian Human Rights in Geneva

Speakers at Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran

The panel of speakers at the Geneva conference on the situation of human rights in Iran-March 7, 2019

On Thursday, March 7, the Iranian opposition gathered in Geneva for a conference on the Iranian regime’s human rights record throughout 2018. The Iranian people have endured four decades of regime rule. They have suffered barbaric and violent human rights abuses. But now they are making their voices heard and taking to the streets to say, ‘enough is enough’.

Ongoing Abuses

A recent Amnesty International report confirmed that the regime has arrested more than 7,000 members of the Iranian opposition over the past year, many being charged for their affiliation to the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest of the Iranian opposition groups.

Remy Pagani, a Swiss politician, opened the conference by decrying these arrests. He told those gathered that “it is time that democracy moves forward, and human rights are respected in Iran.”

An Outraged Population

The Iranian people are doing all they can to move democracy forward. Protests break out across the country daily. Most recently, Iran’s teachers demonstrated over unpaid wages and the unlawful arrests of their peers. “After 40 years of clerical dictatorship, 80 million Iranians have had enough,” former Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, Struan Stevenson said, “men and women, students, truck drivers… have taken to the streets in protest against [the] fascist mullahs’ regime.”

Aside from rampant human rights abuses, the economic decline caused by the mullahs’ mismanagement of Iran’s finances is galvanizing the population. Iran’s middle-class is shrinking. Inflation has skyrocketed. Iranian purchasing power has dropped dramatically, and many workers now struggle to make ends meet.

When Parviz Khazai addressed the conference, he criticized the mullahs’ wasteful spending that brought about the economic collapse of Iran. “The regime is at war with its own people but also at war against [the] Lebanese… it supports dictators, spending Iranian assets in the war against [the] people of the region and elsewhere,” he said.

At War With Its Own People

Khazai’s words couldn’t be more accurate. The regime has conducted a war against its own population. It is one of the most repressive states on earth and routinely tortures, hangs, and gouges out the eyes of its own population.

In 1988, the regime executed 30,000 members of the MEK and the Iranian opposition. Death squads rounded up dissidents and marched them to the gallows. Amnesty International recently released a report on the massacre, but it has been overlooked by the international community and the UN in recent years. This has been an ongoing issue, one that the Iranian opposition and their allies are calling to amend.

Taher Bumedra of the MEK said on the subject, “we hope the new rapporteur will continue to work on this issue and his next report will include this crime against humanity perpetrated by the mullahs’ regime in 1988.”

Inaction Only Emboldens the Regime

All the speakers were in agreement that inaction over the regime’s human rights abuses, including the 1988 massacre, only serves to embolden the regime and continue their crimes. Bumedra added,

“if the UN does not take action on the massacres that took place in Iran, that will encourage the regime to continue its behavior.”

Waiting for the regime to investigate itself is not an option. Many of those involved in the 1988 massacre now hold senior positions in Rouhani’s government, including the head of the judiciary, which only serves to compound the trauma the families of the 1988 victims carry with them.

Alfred de Zayas, a former UN independent expert on democracy and equitable international order, called for an investigation into the crimes. He said the “mullahs should not have impunity.”

Women Bear the Brunt of the Regime’s Crimes

Today, women are among those that suffer most under the regime. In Geneva, Simin Nouri, the President of the Association of Iranian Women in France, shed light on the plight of Iranian women. She said 30 million women across the country now live in poverty, many of which are forced to turn to prostitution to make money to survive.

Because of this, women are at the forefront of the protests against the regime. They are an integral part of the Iranian resistance. Nouri said, “regime authorities have confessed that the main triggers to protests have been women rejecting all powers in the regime and its corruption and expansionism.”

Despite routine harassment, arbitrary arrest, and torture, the brave men and women of Iran continue to take to the streets to protest this vile and abhorrent regime. Nouri called on the international community to “support morally and physically the protestors in Iran.”

Abandoning the Most Vulnerable

Among all the regime’s deplorable acts, few are as violent and merciless as its treatment of Iran’s children. Victims are executed for crimes they committed as children, under the age of 18 and public executions leave young Iranians traumatized. Sahar Sanaie drew attention to their situation. She said, “children experience daily humiliation of their mothers and other women of their family.” Schools teach young girls they are inferior.

Later in the conference, the families of those executed at the hands of the regime were given the floor. They told heart-wrenching details about how 16-year-old and 18-year-old family members were executed for nothing more than holding political beliefs that differed from those of the mullahs.

One family member, Sima Mirzaie, said, “it is 40 years that my and other families have [had] no rest. We ask the UN to bring the perpetrators to be tried. It is our legal right to know what transpired with our loved ones.”

This brutal regime cannot be permitted to carry out these crimes without consequence and punishment. It is up to all of us to be the voice of those who have been killed by the regime and add our calls to those calling on the UN to launch a full investigation into the crimes of 1988, and those more recently. Without it, Iranian families will continue to struggle, not knowing what happened to their loved ones.

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1988 Massacre,Ashraf III,Disinformation by MOIS,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

Struan Stevenson Presents New Report on Regime’s Demonization Campaign against the MEK in Albania

Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

The Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), former MEP (1999-2014), at a news conference in London, introducing a new book, titled, ‘ASHRAF III – Rising from the Ashes’ about the recent visit by a delegation of European MEPs to Ashraf III, the main residence of the MEK in Albania-March 5, 2019

On Tuesday, Struan Stevenson presented his new report, “Ashraf III – Rising From The Ashes,” at a press conference in London. Stevenson is a former Member of European Parliament, the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, and a longtime supporter of the MEK and has written extensively about Iran and the Western policy of appeasement toward the mullahs. His latest report describes the regime’s latest efforts to demonize the MEK through propaganda and eliminate the resistance organization through terrorist plots.

Terrorist Plots

During his remarks at the press conference, Stevenson discussed the Iranian regime’s escalating terrorist plots and propaganda attacks against the MEK under the leadership of “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani.

“The regime plotted to bomb a rally in Paris. I was at that rally. Several other terror plots were perpetrated by Iranian regime agents in Europe,” Stevenson said, describing the regime’s foiled terrorist plot on last year’s Free Iran rally outside of Paris, which targeted tens of thousands of MEK members and supporters, as well as hundreds of high-ranking politicians and dignitaries from all over the world. Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime diplomat, was arrested by German law enforcement for masterminding the attempted bombing and now awaiting trial in Belgium on terrorist charges. “But despite all that, we still have Europeans trying to sign trade deals with Iran as part of an appeasement policy,” Stevenson continued. “These countries have shamefully set up INSTEXT to bypass U.S. sanctions in a somewhat barter system.”

Recent Developments in Iran

Stevenson also spoke about recent political developments in Iran. “Only two days ago, Iran appointed Ebrahim Raisi, the notorious executioner of thousands only for their support for the PMOI/MEK. How on Earth can we have dialogue with a regime that appoints a man with such atrocities to head of judiciary?”

Raisi was a senior member of the “Death Committee” who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in kangaroo courts during the summer of 1988. Over 30,000 people, most of whom were MEK members or supporters, were executed in the 1988 Massacre. No one has ever been held accountable for this crime against humanity.

Stevenson also addressed regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s recent resignation and reinstatement, saying, “The sudden resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the uprising show the fragile status of the regime. The insistence of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani on Zarif’s reinstatement show how these two figures are working together on the regime’s foreign terrorist organization.”

Ashraf III

The bulk of Stevenson’s remarks were devoted to the Ashraf III, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, and the regime’s attempts to demonize and destroy Ashraf through propaganda and outright terrorism.

“Following the airlift of over 2,000 Iranian dissidents [from Iraq to Albania], the mullahs couldn’t tolerate it and sent dozens of agents to Albania. The mullahs’ regime began planning bomb plots and assassinations in response,” Stevenson said. “Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and her people built a whole city in a matter of months. Ashraf. That is why I call it ‘rising from the ashes.’”

Stevenson described the role of British citizen Anne Singleton, who was recruited along with her husband, Masoud Khodabandeh, by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to spread false propaganda about the MEK in Albania. “Anne Singleton actually held a press conference in Albania, claiming to work for the UK government as an anti-terrorism expert. Two Londoners, Masoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Singleton, who have sinister records and have been seen outside Ashraf in Iraq planning rocket attacks on the residents, are now regularly visiting in Albania,” Stevenson explained.

Stevenson concluded his remarks by stating the mission of the MEK members living in Albania and their goals for helping the people of Iran to establish a free Iran. “The people of Iran now look to the organized opposition [the PMOI and the NCRI] as the harbingers of a future of democracy, justice, and peace. The fortitude and stamina of PMOI [MEK] members in Albania has acted as a beacon of hope for the 80 million beleaguered citizens of Iran who hope and pray for freedom from oppression,” he emphasized. He went on to say, “The Iranian people have lost their fear and are demanding regime change. We have a regime that has executed 4,000 only during the so-called moderate Rouhani’s tenure. After 40 years of dictatorship, today 80 million Iranians have had enough.”

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Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament: The Regime Spouts “a Laundry List of Baseless Accusations” Against the MEK

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

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

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish professor of atomic and nuclear physics and a former vice-president of the European Parliament, published an op-ed for the Eurasia Review. His op-ed highlights the Iranian regime’s obsession with the democratic opposition and the extraordinary lengths it will go to discredit and vilify them in the international media.

His op-ed comes just weeks after German magazine, Der Spiegel, published a hit piece against the largest democratic opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). Vidal-Quadras described how the magazine “repeated a laundry list of lies and baseless accusations against the group’s “war footing” and its treatment of more than 2,000 members now living in Albania.”

A Demonization Campaign Across International Media

Vidal-Quadras expressed concern that those reading Der Spiegel’s article who are not familiar with the Iranian regime and its blatant attempts to discredit pro-democracy groups in Iran and abroad would fall victim to believing the regime’s lies. “They do not realize that every item on the list can be traced back to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and other purveyors of Iranian propaganda,” he said. Since the regime’s inception, the mullahs have devoted time and resources to spreading falsehoods and lies about the MEK and its members.

The regime has systematically rounded up and killed members of the MEK. In 1988 alone, the regime killed around 30,000 MEK members, burying them in unmarked mass graves. But according to Vidal-Quadras, events like the 1988 massacre “only scratch the surface of the Iranian regime’s violence against political dissenters.” In total, more than 100,000 members of the Iranian opposition have met their end at the hands of the regime. Many were tortured in custody, then hanged. In many cases, they were assassinated by agents while living in exile abroad.

The regime has also coordinated terrorist attacks against the MEK. Last year, a Belgian-Iranian couple was arrested while traveling to the MEK’s Grand Gathering event in Paris with homemade explosives. The regime also coordinated terror plots against the MEK in Albania and the US.

The MEK: A Threat to the Regime’s Future in Power

Vidal-Quadras explains the regime’s obsession with the democratic opposition as the result of a deep concern over the capabilities of the MEK. The group has drawn a great deal of international support. At its annual Grand Gathering event, it draws crowds of more than 100,000 supporters and high-profile political figures from across the globe, including Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

Within Iran, the MEK has a vast network of resistance cells across Iran’s towns and cities. The group was responsible for coordinating many of the protests that quickly spread across Iran in 2018. Its groups counter the regime’s lies, oppression, violence, and human rights abuses wherever they occur and enjoy widespread popularity across the Iranian population, especially among young Iranians.

Vidal-Quadras concludes, “in contrast to the picture that Tehran has tried to paint of the Iranian democratic opposition, the NCRI (and MEK) President Maryam Rajavi has outlined a 10-point plan for the country’s future.” In her plan, Maryam Rajavi provides a detailed roadmap for the country’s transition to democracy, including the holding of free elections, respect for human rights, the separation of religion and state, and a commitment to gender and ethnic equality.

Finally, Vidal-Quadras calls on governments across the world to lend their support. “It is time for our governments to recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran.”

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Struan Stevenson holds his book "Self Sacrifice"

Struan Stevenson:Good news, The Opposition is Headed By a Charismatic Female Leader Maryam Rajavi

Struan Stevenson holds his book "Self Sacrifice"

Struan Stevenson, Former MEP and the Coordinator of Campaign for Iran Change, holds his book on his experience with MEK.

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Struan Stevenson, a former member of the European Parliament (MEP) and frequent Iran commentator wrote his latest piece for UPI. His op-ed called on women in the West to lend their support to Iranian women in their fight to break free from the repressive policies of the Iranian regime.

Stevenson calls Iranian women, “among the most repressed in the world, ruled by a regime dominated by elderly, bearded misogynists.”

For this reason, Iranian women have played a central role in the Iranian opposition movement. They have been central figures in the protest movement that has swept across all 31 of Iran’s provinces. “Female teachers, medical staff, students, factory workers, and pensioners have taken to the streets to demand an end to corruption, and an end to discrimination and repression and an end to the clerical regime’s aggressive military adventurism across the Missile East,” Stevenson writes.

Leading Figures in the Calls for Regime Change

The largest voices in the calls for Iranian regime change come from the most influential and popular opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). Within the MEK, many of the senior leadership is made up of women. Its leader, the president-elect Maryam Rajavi, is also female and is held in high esteem by political figures from around the world.

Women, in particular, have been mobilized by the regime’s repressive policies and discriminatory practices towards women. Stevenson describes some of these laws, “in Iran, women are considered the property of their closest male relative and have no legal rights. Girls of 9 can be married off by their parents.”

In the Iranian legal system, evidence provided by a woman is worth half that provided by a man. As a result, women cannot charge a man with rape unless they have four credible witnesses, a near impossibly high standard.

A Violent and Aggressive Brand of Fundamentalism

Prior to the 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs and their regime to power, Khomeini criticized the Shah’s permissive attitude towards women voting. He cited an extremist interpretation of Islamic teaching and called gender equality a “defiance of some of the explicit commandments of the Qoran.”

Following the revolution, as expected, Khomeini retracted many women’s rights. The regime prevents females riding bicycles, forces them to wear the hijab, and scrutinized the way they dress.

Under the clerical regime, gender violence has drastically increased. Stevenson says, “girls who were deemed to be improperly dressed in the street have suffered horrific acid attacks and stabbings, in assaults openly condoned by the mullahs.” Even something as innocuous as dancing or singing on social media can be enough to get a girl flogged or fined.

Women Around the World Should Stand with Iran’s Women

In a public statement, the former first lady of Algeria, Anissa Boumediene pledged her support to Maryam Rajavi and the MEK. The statement read, “yes, we stand with you Maryam, as we stand with all our Iranian sisters in your fierce fight seeking to free Iranian women from what enchains and imprisons them.”

Stevenson concludes, “her words should resonate in the West, where female politicians and activists must show solidarity with their oppressed and brutalized Iranian sisters.” They can do this by pledging support to Maryam Rajavi and the MEK, who are fighting tirelessly for freedom, gender equality, and democratic secularism for Iran to give the nation’s daughters a brighter future.

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MEK's Social Media

Regime Expresses Growing Concern over MEK’s Use of Social Media

MEK's Social Media

MEK’s social media activities and their popularity has broken the walls of censorship in Iran causing fear for the regime officials.

Officials within the Iranian regime are showing their increasing discomfort over the influence of social media in Iran. In recent months a number of high-ranking officials within the regime, including regime Presidentو Hassan Rouhani have expressed their fear that social media could be used by the MEK and Iranian Resistance to rise up against the mullahs.

The most recent official to comment on social media’s role in the growing protest movement in Iran is regime Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. In an interview with the Fars News Agency, which is linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), he said, “Why should we be witnessing so much crime and sin in our society? The numbers are terrifying and this should be a warning to our officials. My messages are to those who can cleanse [social media], even if its 50 percent lesser. In the past ten months alone, cyberspace crimes and computer-based crimes have increased by 140 percent.”

Montazeri’s comments follow a series of similar remarks by regime officials. Their words invoke scare tactics that vilify the free exchange of information and set the stage for further crackdowns on social media usage and more extreme censorship of the Internet.

“Our authorities should know what a disgraceful atmosphere has been created in our society,” Montazeri went on to say.”Pay a visit to the Anti-Computer Crime Department. Who is responsible for all this?”

Countering Propaganda

Javad Javeed-Nia, the regime’s Deputy Prosecutor General in Cyberspace Affairs also spoke about the role of the Internet in changing people’s minds about issues. This is a deep concern for the regime, which relies heavily on propaganda.

Javeed-Nia said, “90 percent of the country’s cyberspace is controlled by foreigners and their main objective is to change the society’s tendencies and tastes. Everyone should react strongly through a planned process to the measures of our enemies and the [People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)].

“Considering the fact that our enemies have established cyber armies against the [mullahs’ regime], those who care about our state must launch a media campaign against the enemy, identify the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and place forward an adequate analysis,” Javeed-Nia continued. “In a study conducted last year, the aggressive content published in Instagram on a daily basis was very extensive.”

The MEK’s Use of Telegram

The state-run Tehran Press news agency acknowledged that the MEK’s use of social media platforms, particularly Telegram, has left the regime unable to suppress the Resistance. “Considering the specific type of our culture, we have not been able to surpass the enemy in regards to cyberspace,” it said. “In fact, we have been very behind and continuously suffered heavy attacks. I can dare to say that the enemy, especially the [PMOI/MEK] organization, is in control of the Telegram platform. For those who should be familiar with this organization’s tactics, these remarks are not exaggerations at all and are in fact a reflection of our status quo.”

The state-run news agency continued:

“If not 100 percent, the mentality of toppling [the regime], seen very active today in social media platforms, is very much influenced by the literature and terms of overthrowing that is used very vividly by the [PMOI/MEK]. This culture and vocabulary are witnessed in most Telegram groups, including political groups and even social groups. We may not believe it that many of the so-called principalists groups, those who appear to be loyal to the [regime], are not safe from the influence of this organization’s hypocritical culture. This is the mysterious and low-profile ruling state that continues to be active even in the homes of our senior officials. These days we are witnessing how the children of these loyal individuals and insiders are literally drowned in cyberspace platforms heavily influenced by the [PMOI/MEK] and are not aware of this reality.”

Social media has changed the landscape of the revolution. The mullahs no longer control access to information, and the information is power. The people of Iran are closer to freedom than ever now, and the regime and its officials can no longer deny this fact.

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Lord Ken Maginnis

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

Lord Ken Maginnis

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

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

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

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

A Year of Unrest

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

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

A Ten-Point Plan for Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staff Writer

 

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Human Rights,Iran Economy,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI,Robert Torricelli

Senator Torricelli's interview with INTV

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

Senator Torricelli's interview with INTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Growing International Interest in Regime Change?

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

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

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

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

Staff Writer

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1988 Massacre,Amnesty International Report on 1988 massacre,HRC40,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

HRC40

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

HRC40

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

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

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

Forced Disappearances

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Crumbling Wall of Secrecy

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

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

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

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

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

 

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