Posts Tagged ‘Iran Economy’

FATF,Iran Economy,Iran Terrorism,IRGC BlackListing,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

FATF

Regime Factions Fight over Fate of FATF after Terrorist Designation

FATF

The IRGC blacklisting will carry major consequences for the Iranian dictatorship. FATF had previously blacklisted Iranian regime for funding terrorism, and their temporary waiver is believed not to be extended as a result of the recent IRGC terrorist designation.

On April 8th, the United States officially designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) after months of deliberations. The measure carries significant consequences for the Iranian regime, which is already facing severe economic pressure due to U.S. sanctions.

 

One of the most pressing issues for the Iranian regime in light of the FTO designation is the diminishing possibility of the country’s acceptance into the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is an international coalition that works to prevent money laundering and funding of terrorism. The FTO designation puts the possibility of FATF approval in severe jeopardy. It would be difficult to argue that the regime should be part of an anti-terrorism task force after its military has been labeled as a terrorist organization.

Factional Infighting

The regime’s various factions have been fighting for months about whether or not to comply with the terms necessary to become members in good standing with the FATF. Hard-liners say that the FATF rules will prevent the regime from acting as it pleases, while “moderates” argue that FATF membership is essential to preventing further isolation from the international community. Bills to confirm membership in the FATF have stalled in the regime’s Majlis (parliament) for months.

Ahmad Tavakoli, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, said that Iran is unlikely to gain approval for the FATF after the IRGC’s designation as a terrorist organization. He urged the regime to stop seeking FATF approval, claiming that it would be seen as a concession to the United States. He further recommended that the regime’s Majlis abandon the bill in its entirety, lest in emboldening the U.S.

 

Reza Ansari, who is close to Rouhani’s “moderate” faction, took the opposite side of the argument. He said that the FTO designation was “a trap” meant to “bait” Iran into making “harsh and angry decisions” like leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, in order to justify further actions against the regime. He argued that abandoning the FATF bills or making other rash decisions would be the worst thing the regime could do right now. “Currently, the best gift for the hardliners is unnecessary self-harm such as boycotting the FATF bills, losing one’s ‘strategic patience’, and embarking on ill-advised action that the thinkers and propaganda machine of the warmongering party can capitalize on,” he said.

 

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, Chair of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, argued a middle ground approach to the situation. He cautioned against making a decision about the FATF based on politics and said that the bill should be reviewed before an informed decision is made. He warned that a political decision would harm the country.

A Weak Position

The regime has responded to the IRGC designation with claims that it is united against the U.S. and that the terrorist label will have little effect. This is a common talking point from the mullahs when challenged, and it falls apart upon even the slightest scrutiny. The FTO designation carries significant consequences for the regime in both the short and long term, and despite the regime’s claims of unity, this most recent crisis has exposed more of the infighting between factions in the government.

Regime Reacts to Implications of IRGC Terrorist Listing with Growing Alarm and Confusion

The End of the Era of Appeasement

The MEK and the Iranian Resistance have called for the IRGC to be blacklisted by the international community for its terrorist activities for many years, and the recent action by the United States is a welcome step toward recognizing the regime’s role in domestic and international terrorism.

The FTO designation was an unprecedented action against a foreign government’s military and came as a shock to many who were not familiar with the IRGC. The Revolutionary Guards have met the criteria for a Foreign Terrorist Organization for many years though, and their inclusion on the terror list is a decisive step toward the end of the era of appeasement to the mullahs.

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Iran's economy

Iranian Regime Chooses Isolation at the Expense of its Own Survival

Iran's economy

InfoGraphic credit to IranNewsWire- Iran’s economy, the source of financing terrorism while the Iranian people live in poverty.

The Iranian regime is facing a series of unprecedented challenges that could lead to the end of its rule. The ever-worsening economic crisis, the growing popular protest movement, the rise of the MEK Resistance Units, the reinstatement of crippling U.S. sanctions, and the regime’s increasing isolation among the international community have led many officials within the regime to fear that the forty-year reign of the mullahs might be at its end.

Ali Rabiei, a former Iranian intelligence officer and regime President Hassan Rouhani’s Minister of Labor until 2018, expressed his deep fear for the regime’s future when he said, “The Persian year ends while very few people expected such an end at its beginning. Fast developments in international relations and global rules, economic uncertainty, and a change in people’s perceptions and values.”

Rabiei then blamed U.S. sanctions for economic issues that existed prior to 2018. “We started last year with [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s threats and his unilateral sanctions. A lack of readiness for an internal and effective counteraction and some wrong decisions made us end the year in a not very well situation,” he said.

Mutual Economic Dependency

Referring to the disastrous effects of Iran’s growing isolation in the international community Rabiei said, “Some people still don’t believe in the fact of globalization and an increasing and irreversible mutual economic dependency of the world and interpret economic and social issues with a view limited to internal political competition.”

He added, “Policies and decisions also showed that we lack a structural readiness and sufficient knowledge and experience for crisis situations.”

Rabiei also alluded to the possibility of a popular uprising leading to the overthrow of the regime. He said, “I believe that if we continue the new Persian year as before, there won’t be a bright prospect in front of us and I very much imagine the possibility of social movements and turning of conceptual upheavals into the physical realm.”

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a well-known figure in the “moderate” faction, also made the argument that Iran cannot survive while remaining isolated from the international community. He said, “I predict a very difficult year for the country in the economic sector.”

Tajzadeh said that “Especially if the sanctions aren’t lifted and continue, the economic situation will become more complicated and difficult. Rouhani’s government hasn’t much space to maneuver under the sanctions” he said.

A Lack of Friends in the International Community

Mohammad Gholi Yousefi, an economist with close ties to Rouhani’s faction, agreed that Iran’s lack of friends was costing it dearly. “The country’s economy isn’t well, there have been no investments, the country’s manufacturing industry’s production has decreased dramatically, and agriculture isn’t in a good shape. In terms of international issues, we haven’t been able to have wide-reaching engagement and solve our issues on the international stage so that we can have a good situation in terms of trading or attracting foreign investments. Unfortunately, we don’t have many friends among world countries and sanctions are increasing,” he said.

“Problems are aggregating and will show themselves one day,” Yousef added.

Self-Destruction Before Defeat

Iran’s isolation from the international community is certainly a problem for the regime, but it is far from the only problem facing the country. Decades of corruption and mismanagement have left the economy in ruins. The U.S. sanctions have exacerbated a problem that had already brought thousands of people into the streets to demand the overthrow of the regime during the nationwide uprisings in December 2017/January 2018.

Further, the mullahs are unlikely to bow to pressure to comply with sanctions. The same hubris, incompetence, and corruption that led to the economic crisis and the sanctions will ultimately sabotage any attempts at seeking real solutions.

Regime pundits may talk about solutions, but given the fact, the country is run by the regime Supreme Leader, and given the inhumane nature of the corrupt dictatorship that has no value for its people’s lives,

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Ali Khamenei,Iran Economy,Iran Protests,MEK Network,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

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

Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime.

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

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

Growing Resistance

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

 

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

Economic Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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Impoverished Nowruz due to bankrupt economy in Iran

Iranians Struggle to Celebrate Nowruz in Grim Economic Climate

Impoverished Nowruz due to bankrupt economy in Iran

The bankrupt economy under the rule of the religious dictatorship in Iran has lowered people’s ability to do the traditional shopping at Nowruz

On March 21st, Iranians will welcome in the Persian New Year. Nowruz, which takes place on the first day of spring, is a celebration of freshness and renewal that predates the clerical regime by well over a thousand years. Nowruz is deeply ingrained in the cultural history of Iran and has persisted despite the mullahs’ attempts to limit public celebrations of the holiday.

Iranians celebrate Nowruz by buying new clothes and shoes, preparing Haft-sin tables, doing spring cleaning and decluttering, and hosting out-of-town family members. Large meals are prepared, and older family members give gifts of cash to children.

Economic Crisis

This year’s Nowruz comes in the midst of an economic crisis that has left 80% of the population under the poverty line. Many workers go months without receiving their wages if they are lucky enough to have jobs at all. With the majority of Iranians struggling to make ends meet, families are struggling to find ways to celebrate Nowruz traditions.

Some breadwinners have taken three jobs already just to pay the bills and feed their families. People are now taking additional work hours and cutting out extra expenses, such as eating at restaurants and going on vacations, to pay for Nowruz.

In Nowruz 2018, one U.S. dollar was equal to 3,500 tomans, exported tea cost 30,000-40,000 tomans per kilo, red meat cost 40,000 tomans per kilo, and sugar cost 2,800 tomans per kilo.

As of last week, one U.S. dollar is equal to 13,000 tomans, tea costs 140,000-160,000 tomans, red meat costs 120,000 tomans, and sugar costs 8,000-10,000 tomans per kilo.

Rent prices have more than doubled in the past year, and all goods except for bread and gas have more than doubled or tripled.

Wages have remained stagnant over the past year and are only expected to increase by 10-20% over the next year.

The state-run media has also acknowledged the troubling lack of purchases leading up to Nowruz. According to a recent article published by the ILNA news agency, “Neither vendors are happy with the market situation nor customers have a tendency to buy anything. It seems that this year, we start the year unlike any other year with high prices. There is little commotion in the bazaar… Even fruit prices have increased.”

Regime’s Denial

Meanwhile, regime First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri recently claimed that Iran’s economic problems were in the past.

The Iranian people are not fooled by the regime’s false claims. They know that the economic crisis is not over. That is plain. And they know that the responsibility for the problem lies at the feet of the regime. Anti-regime protests take place on a daily basis in Iran, and the MEK’s Resistance Units grow stronger each day. The people know that there is an alternative to the corruption and mismanagement of the mullahs’ regime.

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Caspian Credit Company,Human Rights,Iran Economy,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,MEK,MEK Network,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Khaje Nasiredeen university students' protest

Escalating Protests Show the Escalation of the Resistance Movement in Iran

Khaje Nasiredeen university students' protest

The students at Khaje Nasiredeen University protesting the ruling regime and campus officials’ neglect of their human rights-March 2019

On Tuesday, March 12, reports emerged from MEK sources inside Iran of another series of protests breaking out across the country. Unpaid salaries have mobilized large swathes of the Iranian population. This time, it was clients of the Caspian credit firm, a company closely affiliated with the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), that were demanding their money.

An Unpaid Population

Since the beginning of 2019, railway workers, teachers, bus drivers, and taxi drivers have all taken to the streets over unpaid salaries and poor working conditions. Years of economic mismanagement, corruption, and embezzlement have left Iranian institutions hollow. Regime officials have plundered workers’ savings, leaving many Iranians struggling to survive in the midst of an economic crisis.

On Tuesday, the clients of Caspian gathered outside the offices of the Judiciary in Tehran to demand reimbursement for their stolen savings. They were the victims of what amounted to a government-run Ponzi scheme.

A Movement Building

On the same day that Caspian investors demanded their money in Tehran, in Southern Iran workers at the South Pars gas field projects were holding a strike of their own. The workers had begun their strike the preceding morning following two months of unpaid wages. There were pensioners among the workers that complained their pension had not been paid out for two years.

Elsewhere, in Tehran, students attending the Khaje Nasiredeen University protesting the ruling regime and campus officials’ neglect of their human rights. They released a statement that read, “we the students of Khaje Nasiredeen University announce today that enough is enough and [the] neglect must come to an end. The students’ basic rights must be respected and we demand all our rights be acknowledged.” Similar protests have taken place at Razi University in Kermanshah and the Science University in Mazandaran, sources from MEK report.

The students and investors are part of a wider resistance movement building in Iran. Everywhere across the country, workers, students, pensioners, ethnic minorities, and human rights activists are calling for regime change. Iranians have had enough of the persistent mismanagement of Iranian finances.

They are tired of the mullahs using the savings of hardworking Iranians to fund foreign wars and terror groups. They are tired of being kept in abstract poverty while the mullahs enjoy a lifestyle of opulence. They are tired of seeing their funds funneled to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad’s regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen, etc.

Iranian voices will not be silenced anymore. They are making their voices heard.

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3rd day of protest by teachers across Iran

Iran’s Defiant Teachers Will not Be Silenced

3rd day of protest by teachers across Iran

Nationwide protests by teachers across Iran- MEK sources report strikes in more than 110 cities across Iran over low payments and repressive measures against teachers

On Sunday, March 3rd, Iranian teachers mobilized for their latest round of protests and sit-ins. Teachers from across Iran staged demonstrations over the regime’s inaction to address their basic demands. Reports from MEK sources inside Iran indicate that teachers from Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, Karaj, Qazvin, Yazd, Kermanshah, and Saqqez, among others, protested unpaid wages and regime economic mismanagement.

A String of Protests from Educators

Iran’s educators have protested on a number of occasions over the last 14 months. Government corruption, economic decline, and unpaid wages have left Iran’s teachers struggling to make a living and support themselves and their families.

The teachers have repeatedly demanded higher wages, economic reform to ease their financial hardship, free education for all, and equal rights for Iranian ethnic and religious minorities. Retired teachers have also joined the cause and asked for an increase in the funds allocated to the country’s education sector.

However, the regime has been steadfast in its refusal to even acknowledge the teachers’ demands. It has responded by arresting prominent teachers’ rights activists and threatened those attending protests.

Teachers have remained defiant and have turned out in vast numbers to protest the regime on several occasions. In December, teachers were attacked and arrested during a peaceful protest. On November, 12 were detained and held in regime custody for over their involvement in protests. They also staged strikes in October, and May last year. Each time, Iran’s brave teachers continued and sustained their protests in the face of regime threats, arrests, and violent baton and pepper spray attacks.

The Regime Cannot Stifle the Voice of Justice

Iran’s teachers, like other segments of the workforce, have shown that they will not back down in the face of violence. They will not have their voices silenced and stand idle while their peers and colleagues are arrested and subject to extreme violence.

The protests are part of a wider movement across Iranian society. Led by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), Iranian people are rising up against their oppressors in unprecedented numbers and frequency. MEK resistance units orchestrate protests on an almost daily basis across Iran’s towns and cities, challenging the regime’s violence and oppression wherever it occurs.

On Monday, the MEK issued a statement in solidarity with Iran’s protesting teachers. The principal Iranian opposition called on international trade unions and educators to pledge their support to their peers across Iran and provide assistance to the protestors in any way they can.

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Bankrupt economy in Iran under the rule of the mullahs.

Resistance and Political Change Will Come from the Depths of Economic Despair

Bankrupt economy in Iran under the rule of the mullahs.

Credit to Mojahedin.org: Info-graphic shows how the Iranian regime has been dedicating the country’s resources to terrorism, while a large population of the country leave under the poverty line

The plight of Iran’s economy under the rule of the mullahs is not a new issue. The Iranian people have been struggling with this problem for many years. The Iranian regime has plundered property and resources from Iranian institutions, funneled money to terrorist parties across the Middle East, and spent astronomical sums on missile development. Under this regime, poverty, addiction and corruption have been institutionalized in all aspects of society as the Iranian people struggle under the weight of economic collapse.

 A Population Struggling to Make Ends Meet

For many years, millions of Iranian men and women have been living under the poverty line. More than a third of Iran’s 80 million citizens live below the international poverty line. Selling kidneys to survive has become common. Walls in Tehran bear advertisements for body parts for sale as the underground organ market preys on Iranian’s desperation.

Iran’s children are dying from curable diseases because of a lack of medical facilities. Every year, 10,000 Iranian infants die from conditions related to poverty. The adults in families do not far much better. Men and women commit suicide as the stress of the inability to provide for their children with basics essentials become too much.

In the male-dominated society created by the anti-female ideology of the mullahs, unemployment and financial insecurity drives women to prostitution rings in an attempt to earn a living. With unemployment topping, 25% among young people,  even educated Iranians are turning to drugs and narcotics at an unprecedented rate as addiction levels soar across all strata of Iranian society.

Gross Economic Mismanagement

Despite the population drowning in poverty, the criminal leaders of the regime are wasting all the country’s financial, human and natural resources.

Every year, the regime squanders US$15-20 billion on financing militias propping up the Assad regime in Syria. A further US$25-30 billion is spent on the regime’s missile development programs and the pursuit of its nuclear ambitions. It also sends around US$900 million to terror groups abroad each year, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups.

Empowered by International Indifference

Despite the regime’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East and blatant disregard for the economic crisis at home, the international community adopted a policy of appeasement towards the mullahs. Instead of becoming an international pariah, successive European and US governments made deals with the regime, like the Iran nuclear deal, which unlocked vast sums of financial aid. This provided the mullahs with a steady flow of international cash to continue financing terror and civil war across the Middle East.

Thanks to the relentless efforts of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), led by Ms. Maryam Rajavi‘s leadership and a new era of Western consciousness, this policy of appeasement is coming to an end. Current US President Donald Trump has re-imposed economic sanctions against the regime ad is pressuring his European counterparts to follow suit.

The Iranian regime attempts to blame the domestic economic crisis on these sanctions. It claims that the misfortune Iranians face is a direct result of US aggression and economic manipulation. But this is nothing but a bunch of lies. Iranians know that Iran’s capital is spent on terrorism and the regime’s warmongering across the region.

But the question is: Is there a clear future for Iran and the people of Iran?

Iranian Determination for a Brighter Future

The answer is yes.  The Iranian resistance, the MEK has been instrumental in showing the world that Iranians have had enough of the mullahs’ repression and economic irresponsibility. Insurgent combat cells have sprung up inside and non-cooperation and civil disobedience movements are gaining traction.

Daily protests and strikes across Iran’s cities are indicative of huge changes taking place in Iran’s political and social spectrum. These changes pose a very real threat to the future existence of the Iranian regime and will eventually destroy the foundation of this medieval regime and bring it crashing down. The people of Iran will soon celebrate their freedom from clandestine tyranny in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. Blessed are those who are on the path to democracy and freedom of Iran, along with the people of Iran, and its Resistance.

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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.”

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Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson: The Iranian People Have Lost Their Fear

Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson, former MEP from Scotland and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), published a piece in the Riyadh Daily news outlet on the shifting global attitudes towards the Iranian regime.

The former MEP outlined how recent state-sponsored terror attacks on European soil have garnered the Iranian regime opponents in the international community. He also traces the development of the protest movement within Iran over the past twelve months and illustrates the increasing uncertainty surrounding the mullahs’ future in power.

A Growing Protest Movement

“The uprising, involving hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens, has raged for more than 13 months in towns and cities across Iran,” he begins. All walks of Iranian life have risked their lives and their freedom to exercise their right to protest the regime’s corruption, pillaging, and brutal use of violence.

 

Struan Stevenson describes how the Iranian regime has “stolen Iran’s wealth, oppressed its 80 million people, over half of whom are under thirty, and waged proxy wars across the Middle East.” “Poverty is widespread,” he says, and “people now struggle to feed their families against a backdrop of power cuts, water shortages, and soaring food prices.”

Protests have racked Iran’s key industries as truck drivers, pensioners, teachers, factory workers, farmers, and investors have taken to the streets to protest the regime’s abuse of power and economic mismanagement.

Instead of taking steps to remedy the dire economic situation, the regime has deployed agents and used its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to quell the protests. Struan asserts that the regime has murdered dozens of protestors and arrested “over twelve thousand,” “but the Iranian people have lost their fear. They are openly demanding regime change,” he added.

Economic Decline

Iran’s economy has been in freefall as the Iranian regime and its Supreme Leader Khamenei has funneled millions of dollars abroad to foreign militias and terrorist groups across the Middle East. The IRGC and Quds Forces are active in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Gaza. In Lebanon alone, the regime pours some $750 million annually, much of it flowing into Hezbollah’s coiffures.

The Iranian people have made it clear that they will no longer foot the bill for these foreign ventures.

The Regime Lashes Out

As its grip on power weakens, the regime has responded by lashing out. In 2018, the mullahs orchestrated a string of terror attacks on European soil against the Iranian opposition. In June, Belgian authorities detained a Belgian-Iranian couple travelling to Paris in a car laden with homemade explosives. An Iranian diplomat based at the Iranian embassy in Vienna was found to have provided the couple with the explosive material.

There were similar plots planned against the opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), in the US, Albania, Denmark, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

The moves left Iran further isolated on the international stage. In December, the Albanian government expelled the Iranian ambassador to the country on the grounds that they posed a significant security risk to the country. “They had been openly plotting assassination and terror activities targeting the 2,500 MEK opposition members” living in the country, Stevenson writes.

The move earnt the Albanian president, Edi Rama, praise from President Trump, who hailed his bravery in the face of Iranian aggression.

Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration

 

In a display of Iranian isolation, the US government has scheduled a conference to take place in Warsaw in February. More than 90 world leaders will meet in Poland to discuss the Iranian terror campaign and the best way to deal with the Iranian threat.

The Opposition Grows Stronger

Meanwhile, the Iranian opposition is growing stronger. The MEK is present in “virtually every town and city in Iran,” Stevenson writes. These members coordinate protests, distribute leaflets, and world tirelessly opposing the mullahs’ cruelty and corruption in an effort to secure a free Iran.

“It is clear that in the MEK there is a credible opposition movement ready and prepared to restore peace, freedom and justice to Iran’s 80 million citizens,” Stevenson concludes. “The West must recognize this fact and provide their full support to the new revolution.”

 

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Disturbing view of children sleeping in streets in Iran

Iran Regime Manipulates Poverty Figures to Avoid Paying Higher Wages

Disturbing view of children sleeping in streets in Iran

Poverty has hit Iranian families hard. Seeing poor families living rough in streets in Iran is very common.

The Iranian regime is intentionally deceiving the public by withholding government statistics on poverty levels and inflation across Iran.

Experts have indicated that the rising poverty level and inflation are not being fully recognized by the Iranian officials out of fear of repercussions. The Iranian public has taken to the streets almost daily across Iran to protest the rising cost of living, soaring inflation, and surging unemployment rate.

Part of the issue is that old yardstick used to measure poverty no longer applies. “Previously, the poverty line was below 3 million tomans, but this has changed with regard to the current economic situation in the country; the poverty line has now reached salaries of less than 6 million tomans,” Ruhollah Babaie Saleh, a lawmaker in Iran’s parliament from Buin Zahra, said.

Iran’s Parliament Research Center is still using 3 million tomans for a family of four as the criteria for being in poverty. This masks the true number of Iranians struggling to put food on the table each day.

“We have not seen any of the administrations officially announce the line of poverty,” Faramarz Tofighi, the head of the Salary Committee of the Supreme Center of Islamic Labor Councils, said.

“While relevant officials refuse to provide information on the poverty line, unofficial authorities provide different and sometimes contradictory statistics; we have so much of an information vacuum that data on the suitable food poverty pyramid for Iranian households has still not been specified,” the official said.

Like many other issues, the issue of food poverty has been neglected, Tofighi asserted.

Fear of the Consequences

Tofighi believes that the motives behind withholding the information are due to the inevitable consequences. “The reason is the fear of the consequences of statistical transparency, since announcing the poverty line can have a direct impact on many macroeconomic issues,” he asserted.

“If the poverty level is formally announced,” he continued, “in the next phase they have to work towards the eradication of poverty. They would have to consider the line of poverty while determining wages for employees and workers.”

By keeping the real poverty figures out of the public eye, the regime can get away with paying workers wages below the poverty line. One municipal worker from Nishapur told Iran News Wire that his salary has been cut to half while the prices have skyrocketed.

“Before this, I received 2.7 million tomans since I had two children but in the new contract, my salary was reduced to 1.5 million tomans,” the worker from Razavi Khorasan Province said.

2018 saw the Iranian regime racked by protests across all sectors of Iranian society. This is a better indicator of the dire economic situation most Iranians find themselves in than any official statistic. As has been continually reported by MEK, truck drivers, factory workers, teachers, investors, and farmers have turned out to protest rocking inflation, reduced Iranian purchasing power, and unpaid wages.

In just the last three months, 10 cities have seen protests form their workers over unpaid wages. In some cases, workers hadn’t been paid in 8 months. This is not a sign of economic stability or a low poverty rate.

 

Staff Writer

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