Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Majid Rafizadeh’

Black list IRGC,Dr. Majid Rafizadeh,Iran Terrorism

MEK-Iran: Expert Criticizes Regime’s Use of Foreign Prisoners as Political Pawns

Zarif and Jafari, two faces of a criminal dictatorship

Javad Zarif, Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister embraces Ali Jafari, the then commander-in-chief of the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), now blacklisted as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran policy and president of the International American Council, penned an op-ed for Arab News on Thursday, May 2. Entitled, ‘Iranian regime uses foreign prisoners as political pawns’, the piece examined the way the Iranian regime uses prisoners in international diplomacy and the treatment of foreign citizens as political currency, to be traded and leveraged to further regime interests.

During Javad Zarif’s recent visit to the US, the Iranian foreign minister made a shocking offer to Western nations whose citizens are currently languishing in Iranian prisons. He offered to exchange them for Iranian prisoners inside the US and European nations.

“I put this offer on the table, publicly, now. Exchange them. All these people that are in prison inside the United States, on an extradition request from the United States… Let us exchange them,” he said.

False Hope

The centralized structure of power in Iran means that only the Supreme Leader Khamenei is able to make such offers and follow through with them. The matter of prisoner exchanges would fall under the remit of the judiciary. The head of the judiciary is appointed by Khamenei. Therefore, the judicial system would need Khamenei’s direct approval to make any prisoner exchange offers.

Zarif appeared to acknowledge this. In an interview, when Zarif was probed further on the details and quizzed about the possible release of eight US environmentalist from an Iranian prison, he responded with: “This is not my job. Our judiciary is independent. I have not agreed with the accusations against them, but I am busy enough preventing wars and economic pressures.”

Both the American government and the European Parliament have raised the issue of the eight detained environmentalists with the Iranian government before. In a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, several members of the European Parliament complained, “we understand that the Iranian judiciary has accused the activists of using environmental projects as a cover to collect classified strategic information, but a committee established under your authority has found no evidence of these allegations.”

The Iranian government has not yet responded. It has been previously unwilling to release the eight environmentalists or any of the other seven American and European prisoners currently detained in prisons across Iran.

Rafizadeh describes how under President Hassan Rouhani, several countries have increased their travel warnings, urging their citizens to take extra precautions, and in some cases, advising against traveling to Iran while the regime is in power.

The British Foreign Office recently warned all UK-Iranian dual nations to avoid traveling to Iran.

Political Pawns

The Iranian regime has a long history of using detained foreigners as diplomatic leverage to advance its international interests. Rafizadeh concluded: “In a nutshell, the Iranian regime is once again using foreign citizens as hostages in order to blackmail other governments.

He urged: “It is incumbent on these countries not to submit to Tehran’s hostage-taking game. Accepting Iran’s terms will only embolden and empower the regime.”

Staff writer

 

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Dr. Majid Rafizadeh,Iran Floods,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

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.”

 

Staff writer

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