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zarif meeting Hezbollah leader

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

zarif meeting Hezbollah leader

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

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

The following is a timeline of those events:

Demonstration in Paris

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

Demonstration in Warsaw

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

Demonstration in Munich

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

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

Zarif Loses His Temper

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

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

 

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

 

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

Staff Writer

 

 

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Protests in Iran

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

Protests in Iran

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

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

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

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

The Regime Looks Outward

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

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

Regime Hit Pieces

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

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

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

Distracting the Global Media

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

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

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

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Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

“The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran” is Fake News by Der Spiegel

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

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

Der Spiegel’s Hit Piece: Shoddy Journalism or Evidence of a Conflict of Interest?

As the dust settles on the Warsaw conference and the Iranian regime are forced to come to terms with the US’s concerted efforts to build a united international front against Iranian regime aggression, regime allies are intensifying attacks on the Iranian opposition.

Over 65 world leaders gathered in Warsaw to discuss ways of containing the Iranian threat and bring stability to the Middle East and the wider region. On the sidelines of the conference, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most influential Iranian pro-democracy group, organized rallies and protests against the regime and its four-decade hold on Iranian politics.

High-profile political figures from around the world turned out to support the MEK, including former New York Mayor and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The size and scale of the rallies, as well as the support they drew, drew international attention to the MEK and the leader of Iran opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi.

While this was a major step forward for Iranian democracy and the opposition movement, the increased profile of the opposition group caused a ripple of concern among the Iranian regime.

A Fearful Regime

The more international recognition the MEK and the Iranian opposition get, the more fearful the regime becomes. The group represents the most viable alternative to regime rule. Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan outlines a clear plan of action for installing a democratic government in Iran following the fall of the regime. The group’s very existence is a threat to the regime’s future survival.

As shockwaves of concern spread across the regime in the aftermath of the Warsaw conference, the regime’s allies intensified its attempts to publicly demonize the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

Spiegel Online or a Mouthpiece for Iran’s Dictatorship

These attempts cumulated in an article published from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. Entitled “Gefangene der Rebellion”, the article was a hit-piece designed to sway public opinion against the MEK and curb its rising popularity.

The article’s claims are the same as those that have previously been touted by the Iranian regime, many of which have been publicly disproved on numerous occasions.

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

However, the most concerning aspect of Der Spiegel’s article is not the mistruths and lies present in the text, but the complete lack of basic journalistic integrity and abandonment of journalistic principles. In the wake of the magazine’s recent Claas Relotius revelations (in which a prominent writer and journalist was found to have fabricated interviews with sources and experiences in his articles), the magazine has evidently not improved its fact-checking and information gathering practices.

This is all the more concerning considering that Der Spiegel publicly apologized following the Relotius scandal and maintained that the magazine was working to tighten its internal vetting and fact-checking processes.

A Flawed Fact-Gathering Process

An analysis of the magazine’s fact-finding process exposes a lack of journalistic integrity and the absence of even basic journalistic principles.

The writer interviewed regime affiliates, members of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), and ex-members of the MEK, all of whom have a clear anti-MEK agenda, yet did not confer with the MEK itself, Albanian authorities, or international politicians that have visited the MEK’s compounds to verify any of the MOIS and regime allies’ claims.

The MEK reached out to Der Spiegel and invited the magazine to the group’s compound in Albania to see how the group lives. The magazine declined the offer, preferring instead to rely on regime accounts.

Similarly, the reporter interviewed the father of 38-year old Somayeh Mohammadi, who claims his daughter is being held by the MEK against her will. Not only are the claims untrue (Mohammadi has his claims dismissed by an Albanian court following a full hearing) but Somayeh has often spoken to journalists and politicians, including former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, about how the claims are inaccurate and her father is a regime agent.

A Conflict of Interest?

At best, the article exposes a lack of integrity. However, many are speculating that there may be something more contrived afoot. The reporter allegedly lived in Iran for several months before writing the article. They also reportedly spent time with the Basij militia, a regime-affiliated militia organization. Given that the reporter declined to do the same with the MEK, it could be indicative of a severe conflict of interest.

More concerningly, on November 24, part of the article appeared on a website affiliated with the MOIS, with the addendum that the full article was published in Der Spiegel, although the full article had not yet been published. This indicates a deep level of collaboration between the Iranian regime and the reporter. It indicates that the regime itself had access to parts of the article long before it appeared in print.

As the MEK gathers momentum, both at home and abroad, and the Iranian regime finds itself confronted by a highly-mobilized and determined Iranian population, it feels its only chance of survival is to attack the Iranian opposition.

Der Spiegel’s latest article must be seen for what it is: the latest regime attempt to vilify and undermine its political opponents and silence dissent. It is nothing more than a political weapon to curb the rising popularity of the MEK. But the MEK is not the only victim. International journalism suffers when the Iranian regime uses it as a propaganda mouthpiece.

As long as international media outlets are unprepared to install rigorous fact-checking and editing standards, disinformation and lies will be allowed to propagate.

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Hon. Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson: Europe’s Instex a “Failed Attempt at Appeasement”

Hon. Struan Stevenson

Hon. Struan Stevenson, former MEP, and president of the EP’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, currently the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, speaking at one of the European Parliament meetings-Archive Photo

Struan Stevenson, a former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, penned an op-ed for UPI. The piece, entitled ‘Europe’s Instex is a failed attempt at appeasing Iranian regime’, criticizes Europe’s continued policy of appeasement towards Iran and demands a firmer approach to the Iranian regime.

He criticized Europeo for pursuing a “sanctions-busting policy” rather than applying pressure to the Iranian leadership. Stevenson writes, “on Jan. 31, the foreign secretaries of France, Germany and the United Kingdom shamefully announced a deal to help companies that wish to continue trading with Iran to avoid American sanctions.”

The three European nations will channel Iranian imports and exports through Instex, a platform designed to bypass US sanctions against Iran.

Tightening the Screws

Following evidence that the mullahs are breaching the terms of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under Barack Obama in 2015, President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA shortly after his election and re-introduced sanctions. The Iranian regime has cheated “on the terms of the deal, oppressing its own citizens and waging proxy wars throughout the Middle East,” Stevenson writes.

Choosing to ignore the rampant human rights abuses and financing of international militia groups and state-sponsored terrorism, the European Union has prioritized its own lucrative commercial contracts and explored methods of bypassing the US sanctions. “Instex was the result.”

Europe has had its finger burnt with policies of appeasement before. “Neville Chamberlain’s attempts to appease Adolf Hitler can attest,” Stevenson writes. Recent assassinations and foiled terror attacks on European soil have served to demonstrate how dangerous the Iranian regime is. Appeasing the regime and continuing to provide it with willing trading partners is “incomprehensible in such circumstances.”

Invoking US Ire

Europe’s decision did not please the White House. The US government warned that any company that wanted to continue trading with Iran would be excluded from US markets, forcing many companies to cut ties with Iran out of fear they would invoke the wrath of the US government.

Many EU nations declined to provide Instex with premises for its headquarters, fearing a similar fate. “Finally, France stepped into the breach, offering Paris as the Instex base,” Stevenson writes.

There are limits on what trade Instex can facilitate. The platform can only trade in goods that are not covered by US sanctions. It cannot, for example, purchase Iranian oil, which was the regime’s most lucrative export.

The editor in chief of Keyhan Daily, one of the regime’s many mouthpieces, lamented this decision. “The most humiliating aspect of Instex is that in return for our oil income we are only permitted to purchase food and medicine,” he said.

The Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the leader of Iran opposition, Maryam Rajavi are calling for an end to Europe’s dangerous policy of appeasement. They held a large rally in Warsaw last week which included high-profile speakers including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. At the rally the MEK and its supporters could be heard chanting, “appeasement no; regime change yes.”

Stevenson concludes, “Instex seemed, like Chamberlain’s piece of paper, to be destined for the trash can; another failed attempt at appeasement.

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The top mullah who rules Iran

The Regime is at “A Strategic Dead-End”: It is Time to End US Appeasement

The top mullah who rules Iran

Iranian Regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei

On Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, L. Todd Wood wrote a piece for the Washington Times criticizing the policy of appeasement towards the Iranian regime that has dominated US politics for the last four decades.

The piece, entitled ‘Iran Resistance: 40 Years of Perceived US Appeasement’, begins with the coverage of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) recent event held at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The NCRI or the parliament in exile of the Iranian opposition includes the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most organized Iranian opposition group.

“The event began with remarks by US Ambassador J. Adam Ereli, who reviewed the difficult history the MEK has had with the American government,” Wood wrote. Consecutive US administrations “threw the MEK under the bus,” in an effort to appease the Iranian regime. Despite being a legitimate pro-democracy group, US administrations included the MEK on its terrorist blacklists, a move that was later overturned by the courts and deemed illegal.

Ali Safavi of the NCRI said, “when we talk about the West’s 40-year policy in dealing with the Iranian regime, we can find a common thread throughout the past four decades: an attempt to work with the ruling theocracy… in the hopes of moderating its behavior.”

Far from moderating the mullahs’ behavior, this approach has emboldened them and allowed them to continue to abuse Iranian human rights with impunity and launch an international state-sponsored terrorist campaign. Safavi concludes, “appeasement has actually helped prolong the mullahs’ rule.”

An End of Appeasement?

However, under the Trump administration, there have been signs that the US government is finally willing to end its decades-old policy of appeasement. The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and re-introduced economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

In the face of US pressure, coupled with domestic pressure from a rapidly expanding MEK-led protest movement, the regime is under intense pressure. The NCRI’s US representative Soona Samsami said at the groups National Press Club event, “the Iranian regime is weak and vulnerable. It lacks internal legitimacy.”

She continued, “the regime’s internal policies, its human rights violations and economic mismanagement have depleted its strategic capital. It has no solutions to these massive crises and no way to curb the uprising.” She concluded, “put simply, the regime is at a strategic dead-end.”

What Is the Alternative?

In his piece, L. Todd Wood makes it abundantly clear that appeasement is not the only option. The NCRI and the MEK have a viable democratic alternative to regime rule in Iran. Their president-elect Maryam Rajavi has a ten-point plan for realizing a democratic Iran following the fall of the regime.

Woods asserts that the West has a “historic opportunity… to bring about regime change in Iran by helping the MEK.” It can only realize this opportunity by breaking with tradition, ending its policy of appeasement, and supporting the MEK in its pursuit of Iranian democracy.

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MEK supporters Rally in Paris

The Warsaw Conference: An Opportunity to Build an International Anti-Regime Coalition

MEK supporters Rally in Paris

The MEK Rally in Paris, calling for regime change in Iran, as the only possible way to restore freedom and democracy for Iran-February 8, 2019

In an op-ed for UPI, Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan, the Executive Director of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, the leading academic assure the United States that it should not fear regime change in Iran.

Professor Sheehan writes, “when the United States hosts a conference on the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, this month, it will be an opportunity to set Iran on a different path.” The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arranged the upcoming conference to explore strategies aimed at curbing the Iranian regime’s threat.

The conference “will be focused on confronting Iran’s regional influence and its belligerence,” Sheehan writes. Although not explicitly stated by Trump, Sheehan suspects that the president’s goal would be to see regime change in Iran and the arrival of democracy.

There is no call for military intervention

However, one concern for Western heads of state is that regime change would prompt a situation where the US and Europe would become militarily entangled in Iranian affairs. Sheehan argues that these fears “are not warranted.”

The Iranian opposition’s leader, Mayam Rajavi, has long advocated for the international community’s support for a free Iran, and she has done so while emphasizing that this support ought to consist only of political advocacy, economic sanctions, and diplomatic pressure,” Sheehan explains.

The Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), therefore rejects military interference from Western governments. It maintains that the Iranian people are the key to regime change.

The wheels of regime change are in motion

14 months ago, at the end of 2017, Iranians began taking to the streets to call for regime change in what would quickly become vast nationwide protests. The protests, in December 2017 and January 2018, rapidly spread to all 31 of Iran’s provinces and united all segments of Iranian society under the banner of regime change.

“Less than two weeks later, as regime authorities struggled to stifle the movement, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei attributed it to the MEK”, Sheehan writes.

MEK-Iran: Our Iran Released Summary of 2018 Protest Movement

The MEK has been instrumental in coordinating anti-regime protests across Iran. Units of MEK members are active in all of Iran’s cities, organizing and advertising protests and opposing the regime’s violence everywhere it is on display.

President Trump has publicly expressed support for the Iranian people. In a speech at the UN, he called them the longest-suffering victims of the regime. The only thing that remains to be seen is in what capacity the US will lend them its support.

Building an anti-regime coalition is the first step

With US sanctions in place, the first step for the US is convincing the EU government to follow suit. Europeans have been reluctant to acknowledge the Iranian threat. Following Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, many European governments continued to try and salvage the deal. Many European companies and nations are also exploring ways to bypass Iranian sanctions.

But “following the revelation of multiple Iranian terror threats directed at Western interests, accompanied by Tehran’s open rejection of a U.N. Security Council resolution concerning ballistic missile tests”, Europe is beginning to come around. It recently announced EU sanctions against a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). However, this should just be the start.

Sheehan writes, “the United States will have to persuade its allies to line up behind a new vision for Iran, specifically the vision of a free, democratic and modern society that rejects dictatorship.”

He concludes, “if this can be accomplished… without requiring direct intervention by the United States or other powers, then the relevant policies should be an easy sell at the Warsaw conference.”

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Middle East Expert Breaks Down the Iranian Regime’s Use of Terror as a Political Tool

“The Recent Iranian Terrorist Plots in Europe”

A white paper by Claude Moniquet on the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities on European soil published on February 2019

Middle East analyst and counter security expert, Claude Moniquet released an in-depth report examining the Iranian regime’s terror plots on European soil. Entitled, “The Recent Iranian Terrorist Plots in Europe”, the 35-page document charts the recent developments in the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism and places them in the context of the domestic political and social landscape within Iran.

Claude Moniquet, posing for a photo call, outside Brussels’ conference on the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities in Europe-February 4, 2019

“In 2018, the Iranian regime, facing a domestic uprising, collapsing economy, and international sanctions, took the decision to step up terrorism on European and US soil against the Iranian opposition movement,” Moniquet writes.

Moniquet outlines the regime’s involvement in two plots against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), one in France and one in Albania. He also highlights regime involvement in a plot to kill an Iranian dissident in Denmark and a plot in the US that was foiled during the surveillance stages of planning.

A Limited Fallout

In the wake of the increase in terrorist plots, the Netherlands, France, and Albania expelled diplomats. The French government also levied sanctions against the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and two Iranian officials.

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) also made the decision to include a branch of the MOIS on the EU terror list for the first time. This is a welcome step, however, Moniquet acknowledges that the EU and the US’s “conciliatory policy” has been “counterproductive, emboldening the regime to pursue its objectives through terrorism.”

The Use of Terrorism as a “Political Tool”

The regime has been embroiled in a dozen terror attacks since it seized power four decades ago. In 1979, it was involved in the Iran Hostage Crisis and the assassination of the Shah’s nephew in Paris. Throughout the decades since, it has been involved in the bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, the Lebanon Hostage Crisis in 1982, a string of bomb attacks in Paris, the murder of Kazem Rajavi (the founder and leader of the MEK), attacked the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, and attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC.

“Terrorism is used to support Iran’s political agenda in the Middle East and extend its influence on the “Shiite crescent” (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon), to fuel tensions in the Gulf Area…, to provoke the Israeli “arch enemy” … and to eradicate opponents living in exile,” Moniquet writes.

These four objectives underpin the Iranian terrorist machine. The regime uses its terror cells in Europe and around the world to further these objectives. The mullahs have employed terrorism to further these aims since the regime’s inception.

Why Now?

With these objectives in mind, it becomes clear why the regime is now intensifying its terror activities across the world.

The plots against the MEK were a deliberate attempt to damage the group and reduce its influence both abroad and within Iran. Since 2017, protests within Iran have spiraled. The MEK has been instrumental in organizing protests within the country. “Thus, to eradicate the opposition inside and outside Iran is a strategic goal for the regime for its survival,” Moniquet asserts.

Moniquet also suggests that the West’s inaction to previous terror attacks has contributed to a feeling of complacency within the regime that it can get away with terror attacks with relative impunity. “Tehran understood that it was possible to threaten and even attack Europe without having any price to pay,” he says.

“Those attacks benefitted Iran,” he added. Following attacks and bombings in Lebanon Western forces from the country, giving the Iranian regime what it craved. “Appeasement was the only European answer to the mullahs violence,” Moniquet writes.

Orders from the Top

Moniquet examines the regime’s mechanisms for planning terror attacks. He describes how the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), presided over by President Hassan Rouhani makes the regime’s decisions regarding terrorist operations and matters of national security.

The council has 12 permanent members including senior members of the regime leadership like Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Ali Jafari (the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Cops), Mohammad Javad Zarif (the Minister of Foreign Affairs), and Mahmoud Alavi (the Minister of Intelligence).

Eight of the twelve members of the SNSC are under the direct control of the Supreme Leader, indicating that the Supreme Leader himself is implicit in the terror network of the Iranian regime.

What Next?

“So, the only question, today, is the following: what the European should do?”, Moniquet writes. Moniquet suggests an answer,

“European Union States must expel all the identified Iranian intelligence officers,” adding, “they must close all the Iranian sponsored institutions involved in terrorism or hate propaganda, they must blacklist all the officials linked to the MOIS and the IRGC  and all the institutions, companies and individuals linked to Iranian intelligence activities.”

“Last but not least,” Moniquet concludes, “they must condition political relations with Iran to a strict observance of human rights inside its borders and end of terrorist activities, support and funding outside its borders and they must support democratic opposition forces seeking fundamental and democratic change in Iran.”

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Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

New Book on the MEK and Ashraf III

Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

Struan Stevenson Publishes New Book on the MEK and the new residence of the MEK in Albania, Ashraf III .

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of European Parliament representing Scotland and longtime supporter of the MEK, has written a new book, Ashraf III, Rising from the Ashes: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers. The book, which describes the widespread protest movement currently taking place in Iran that threatens to topple the theocratic regime, also details the regime’s efforts to demonize the MEK over the past forty years and its numerous attempts to destroy the organization through missile strikes, smear campaigns, and terrorist plots.

The book’s main focus is the MEK’s struggle to find a safe haven, first at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, then at Camp Liberty in Iraq, and finally at Ashraf 3 in Albania. Thousands of members of the MEK lived in exile at Camp Ashraf and Liberty from 1986 until 2017. After the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the MEK camp was targeted by repeated deadly missile strikes. These strikes were ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian regime. After years of negotiations and deteriorating conditions, the Albanian government agreed to allow the MEK to move its headquarters to Tirana.

Ashraf 3: A New Beginning

The new MEK camp, Ashraf 3, is home to 3,000 MEK members, all of whom have a personal stake in working toward the goal of a free Iran. These “Ashrafis” have worked tirelessly to a home for the Iranian Resistance.

Struan Stevenson visited Ashraf 3 last year, along with two other MEPs, Tunne Kelam & Jaromir Stetina. The delegation toured the camp and spoke to the residents there about their stories and motivations for working for the Resistance.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Stevenson described Ashraf 3 after his visit last year in a piece for UPI. He wrote: “These hard-working and resilient freedom fighters have constructed a small city with shops, clinics, sports facilities, kitchens, bakeries, dormitory blocks, meeting halls, offices, and studios.”

In his book, Stevenson writes about the efforts the Ashrafis have made to forge relationships with the Albanian community. He emphasizes the resilience of the MEK members in rebuilding their home after decades of attacks by the Iranian regime. Ashraf 3, says Stevenson, serves as a beacon of hope to the 80 million Iranian citizens who pray for freedom from oppression. The people of Iran see the MEK as the only viable democratic alternative to the theocratic regime, and the Ashrafis take this responsibility seriously.

Chaos in Iran

Stevenson’s report describes the current unrest in Iran that has arisen since the widespread uprising by the Iranian people in late 2017. The book details the regime’s response to the protests, which has included a massive crackdown on any political activity. Stevenson discusses the arrests, executions, imprisonment, and intimidation of the Iranian people and the failure of the regime to respond to the concerns of the protesters. He also shows how the regime has increased its efforts to censor social media and access to the Internet, as well as its demonization campaign against the MEK.

Stevenson also criticizes Federica Mogherini, the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs, for her failure to address the regime’s human rights abuses.

Struan Stevenson’s book may be purchased from Amazon.com.
ASHRAF III, RISING FROM THE ASHES: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers; A European Delegation Report Paperback – February 2019

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Ministerial conference in Poland

The Warsaw Ministerial Conference Must voice support for the Iranian People’s Protests

Ministerial conference in Poland

The Iranian diaspora in the United States, supporters of the MEK, call on the upcoming Ministerial conference in Warsaw to support the Iranian people’s uprising in Iran for regime change.

Ahead of the Warsaw Ministerial Conference, when governments will meet in the Polish capital on the 13th and 14th of this month to discuss the Iranian threat, the Iranian diaspora in the United States took out an ad in the Washington Times.

Fourteen Iranian-American groups, including the Association of Iranian Americans in New York, the California Society for Democracy in Iran, the Members of the Organization of Iranian American Communities, and the Iranian American Community of Massachusetts, took out the whole-page ad to demonstrate the need to hold the Iranian regime to account.

The Iranian People Deserve to Have Their Voices Heard

The Iranian diaspora in the United States call on the upcoming Ministerial Conference in Warsaw to support the Iranian people’s uprising.

The Iranian regime is the world’s leader in executions per capita. Its people suffer gross human rights abuses on a daily basis. In 2018, the regime detained more than 10,000 protestors in Iran. Their crime was merely taking to the streets to demonstrate their political opposition to the regime.

The political opposition living abroad have been the target of the world’s largest state-sponsored terror campaign. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) have been persecuted. In March, an Iranian plot was uncovered to attack their compound in Albania where more than 2,000 live in exile.

Then, in June, at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event where more than 100,000 international politicians and supporters meet in Paris, the Iranian regime orchestrated a plot to detonate a car bomb. The plan was foiled by Belgian authorities when they arrested a Belgian-Iranian couple en-route on the event in a car laden with explosives.

Beyond planning terror attacks, the Iranian regime is also financing terrorist and militia groups across the Middle East. Their finances flow to the coffers of Hezbollah, the Taliban, Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, and militia groups in Iraq.

The People Are Showing Their Anger

The regime’s heinous crimes and destabilizing activities have not gone unnoticed. The Iranian people launched a nationwide uprising at the beginning of 2018. The movement led to protests spreading across 160 cities and towns in the nation in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The MEK played a central role in these protests, facilitating communication through resistance units that distributed pamphlets and organized protests.

These protests represented a decisive moment in the opposition movement. The ranks of the protestors swelled to include teachers, students, merchants, farmers, nurses, retirees, investors, factory workers, and truck drivers. Demographics that the regime typically relied on for support have turned against the mullahs and are joining the opposition movement in larger numbers than ever before.

The statement by the Iranian diaspora, published in the Washington Times, expresses two points in bold. “Must voice support for the Iranian people’s uprising for a #FreeIran,” and “must hold Iran’s ruling theocracy accountable for its record.” The regime’s heinous and violent behavior and the momentum the Iranian opposition is building demonstrate the need for both. The mullahs’ current position is untenable. The international community would be well-placed to acknowledge that.

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Tom Ridge

Former US Homeland Security Secretary: The EU “Must Take Steps to Underscore the Existing Regime’s Illegitimacy

 

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge, Rudy Guiliani and Representative Robert Pittenger greet Maryam Rajavi – leader of Iran opposition as she joins them at the annual gathering of the MEK in Paris-June 2015

Tom Ridge, the former US Homeland Security Secretary (2001-2003) reiterated the threat the Iranian regime poses to democracies and called for a coordinated strategy from the European Union (EU) in addressing the Iranian threat. In an article published in the National Interest on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, Ridge said:

“In January German authorities arrested an Afghan-German dual national for spying on behalf of the Iranian intelligence agency. The incident was far from the first, and only underscored the potential threat lurking behind each new revelation.”

There has been a surge in Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and intelligence operations over the last 13 months. In June, in what surmounted to one of the most high-profile plots, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in connection with a plot to bomb the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

In March, two regime agents were arrested in Albania after targeting the Iranian opposition group once again. The agents had been monitoring the MEK’s compound outside the Albanian capital of Tirana with the intention of carrying out a terror attack during the Persian New Year celebrations.

Targeting the heart of the Iranian opposition

The MEK has always been the target of the regime’s ire but this has surged since the nationwide protests that broke out in Iran in January 2018. The protests quickly spread to more than 140 towns and cities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The regime holds the MEK, a pro-democracy group, responsible. The MEK was instrumental in the protest’s organisation and communicated the plans with pro-democracy elements across Iran.

The MEK’s effectiveness and its central role in the Iranian opposition movement have made it a target for regime terror attacks. In addition to the Paris and Albania attacks, there have been assassination attempts, and murders carried out against MEK members.

A slow political response

Despite the Iranian regime’s numerous plots to kill and main MEK officials on European soil, the political backlash has been muted. France and Albania both expelled diplomats in the wake of the foiled plots, however, the EU has been reluctant to follow the US in adopting sanctions against the regime, rights Tom Ridge in his article.

The EU announced last month that it would introduce new sanctions targeting a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), but critics “do not believe they go nearly far enough,” Ridges writes.

“We know for a fact that there are ongoing conspiracies to spy on European entities and set the stage for further terrorist attacks,” Ridges asserts, “making it absolutely imperative for the EU and broader international community to address the issue.”

“Any solution must confront the Islamic Republic on multiple fronts,” he continued. The regime is forging closer bonds with extremist groups like the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. If it is sharing the information it has collected through spies in Europe and the US with these groups, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Desperate measures at home and abroad

In addition to the regime’s violent and aggressive activities abroad, it is intensifying its repressive and bloody policies at home.

Following nationwide protests, the regime has launched a crackdown against the political opposition within Iran. The regime has arrested thousands of protestors and executed political prisoners, but the protest movement shows no sign of losing its momentum.

Ridges argues that a coordinated strategy from the international community that attempts to modify the regime’s behavior both at home and abroad is the best way to reduce conflict and increase global stability.

When world leaders meet on February 13th and 14th in Warsaw, Ridges argues, they have the opportunity to construct a coordinated response to Iranian aggression. “The Warsaw summit could go a long way towards developing a coordinated strategy to contain Iran,” he says, “but no strategy would be complete unless it also reaches out to, and coordinates with, Iran’s organized domestic opposition;” the MEK.

Ridges concludes that the EU, “must take steps to underscore the existing regime’s illegitimacy. There is no better way to do that than standing behind the regime’s most active domestic opponents.”

Staff Writer

 

 

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