Posts Tagged ‘IRGC BlackListing’

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Ken Blackwell's opinion on IRGC's blacklisting

Former US Ambassador Joins Calls for MOIS Terror Designation

Ken Blackwell's opinion on IRGC's blacklisting

Ambassador, Ken Blackwell speaks with the Media about Iran policy, July 9th, 2016

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission Ken Blackwell wrote an op-ed in Townhall, the conservative US news and analysis site. Blackwell’s piece, entitled ‘America’s Assertive Iran Policy Must Continue’, called on the US government to maintain pressure against the Iranian regime and confront Iranian aggression with a focused campaign of financial and diplomatic efforts.

Blackwell began by praising the Trump administration’s Iran policy, however, expressed concerns about the pace of its progress.

He lamented the fact that it took the US government until May of 2018 before the Trump administration withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal, despite it being a campaign promise. He also mentioned the year delay between withdrawing from the deal and ending the waivers granted to countries importing Iranian oil.

Unprecedented Assertiveness

Despite the slow pace of change, Blackwell said that “The administration’s strategy for dealing with Iran and facilitating comprehensive change in its behavior has moved from merely ‘assertive’ to ‘unprecedented’,”.

Of particular note for Blackwell was the decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. The previous US and European governments deliberated but ultimately elected not to apply the designation to a branch of the “Iranian government”, instead, selecting to sanction individuals within the IRGC instead of the organ itself.

This was a mistake. The IRGC is one of the Iranian regime’s pillars of repression. It also controls around 90% of the Iranian economy through affiliated companies and has been instrumental in the Iranian government’s ability to circumvent sanctions and funnel money to terrorist and militia groups abroad.

Going One Step Further

The move was also welcomed by the Iranian opposition. At a press conference in Washington DC, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)  welcomed the designation. The pro-democracy groups urged the US government to consider going one step further and designating the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) as another foreign terror organization.

The argument is gaining some traction. Blackwell also supports the move. “While the IRGC has a long track record of terrorist activity on foreign soil and support for well-known terrorist proxies like Hezbollah, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has been directly linked to the planning of bombings and assassinations,” he said.

Last year alone, the MOIS was responsible for organizing terror attacks and assassinations in the US, Albania, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. Using its network of Iranian embassies on foreign soil, the MOIS has constructed a network of espionage and terror that has crept across Europe.

Although each of the 10 plots was foiled by European and US agencies, several came close to wreaking untold death and destruction on the European populace. In one incident, the MOIS attempted to detonate a car bomb at the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK)’s annual Grand Gathering Event in Paris. The event featured 100,000 distinguished guests, including MEK supporters across Europe and high-profile political figures like Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani.

More is Needed

Blackwell’s piece described how, although the US government is making unprecedented progress towards neutralizing the Iran threat, more is needed to bring stability to the Middle East and beyond.

Existing sanctions reportedly helped bring about a 10% decline in the Iranian regime’s military expenditure. However, “Iranian entities are still clearly threatening Western lives and territory,” Blackwell writes. “We cannot afford to take it for granted that this trend has gone far enough, or that it will continue naturally.”

Blackwell concluded: “The international community must keep its focus on the positive effects of preexisting economic pressures, all the while wisely targeting new measures against those Iranian entities whose violent threat has yet to be addressed.”

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Washington Times reflection of the NCRI-US press briefing

Former US Ambassador to Bahrain: “This is About Life and Death”

Washington Times reflection of the NCRI-US press briefing

The Washington Times published an article on the recent press briefing by the National Council of Resistance of Iran – U.S. representative office, on the Inner Workings of Tehran’s terror network.

The Washington Times published a piece on Wednesday, May 1, covering the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) press conference in Washington D.C.

The Deputy Director of the NCRI’s US operations, Alireza Jafarzadeh, is quoted in the piece pushing for the US government to take a firmer stance against the bloody and violent Iranian regime. In the press conference, Jafarzadeh urged the United States to add the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to its terror blacklist.

An Instrument of Terror

The MOIS has been behind many of the mullahs’ state-sponsored terror attacks planned across the globe. In 2018 alone, the Iranian regime orchestrated 10 separate terror attacks in countries like France, Albania and the US.

The MOIS uses diplomatic buildings in Europe as cover to send terror agents into the countries. In one incident last year, a diplomat working out of the regime’s Austrian embassy provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with explosive material. The couple’s target was the annual Grand Gathering of the largest Iranian opposition group in Paris.

“It is a clear sign of desperation. … The policy of [Iranian] appeasement had failed,” Jafarzadeh said. In response to increasing international isolation, the Iranian regime has increased its global terror activities.

“If [the U.S.] wants to fight terrorism, you designate the MOIS” as a terror organization, Jafarzadeh told reporters. Other notable terror groups on the US foreign terrorist organization (FTO) blacklist include al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, etc.

Progress Under Trump

The strong progress in Iran policy under Donald Trump has not been lost on the NCRI and the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). The Trump administration has withdrawn the United States from the failing Iran nuclear deal, re-introduced economic sanctions, and listed the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

These moves have restricted the regime’s cash flow and brought enormous pressure against the Iranian regime to return to the bargaining table.

This has been the objective according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He told reporters, “We’re going to zero across the board. Our goal has been to get countries to cease importing Iranian oil altogether.”

A Matter of Life and Death

“This is not theoretical mumbo-jumbo, this is about life and death,” former US Ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli said on Wednesday. The Iranian regime’s persistent use of terror and intimidation as a tool of statecraft is a danger to global peace and stability.

The US must respond with strength and place the MOIS on its terror blacklist. Until it does so, it will continue to raise funds and coordinate devastating attacks across the West. It is a matter of life and death for every member of the Iranian opposition living abroad in exile, but also for the citizens of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US, who are at risk of being caught up in a deadly Iranian terror attack.

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FCDI statement

French Committee for a Democratic Iran Calls for IRGC and MOIS Terror Listing

FCDI statement

French Committee for a Democratic Iran (FCDI) recently issued a statement calling for IRGC and MOIS blacklisting in Europe.

The French Committee for a Democratic Iran (FCDI) has urged the European Union (EU) to join the United States government in designating the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. They also urged the EU to go one step further and include the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) on their terror blacklist.

The Regime’s Pillars of Repression

The Iranian regime uses the IRGC as a repressive organ. Its agents stifle public dissent. Following the nationwide uprisings in 2018, in which protests spread rapidly across Iran’s 31 provinces, the IRGC was instrumental in crushing dissent. It arrested thousands of protestors, more than 14 of which died in IRGC custody after being subjected to torture.

By including the IRGC on the EU’s terror blacklist, it would severely limit the organization’s ability to raise funds. The IRGC controls more than 90% of the Iranian economy. Its inclusion on a terror blacklist would essentially put any international company or government trading with its shell companies in violation of terror financing laws.

The FCDI also wants to see the MOIS added to the EU’s list of terror organizations. There is strong ground for it to do so. The MOIS has been responsible for the Iranian regime’s surge of state-sponsored terror attacks in 2018.

The MOIS planned terror attacks in the US, France, and Albania. On one occasion, an MOIS agent posing as a diplomat at the regime’s embassy in Vienna provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with homemade explosives and instructed them to detonate a bomb at the annual Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) in Paris.

The plot was thwarted by Belgian officials; however, the regime put more than 100,000 lives at risk, including that of President Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who was in attendance.

The Regime Poses a Threat to the Region and Beyond

In a statement, the FCDI reiterated the threat the IRGC poses to the Middle East region and beyond. It reminded the EU that the IRGC proxies are active in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, destabilizing peace and contributing to the deaths of civilians and international forces.

“Tehran also sacrifices the Iranian people’s legitimate needs for the sake of providing the heavy expenses of expanding its nuclear apparatus and fueling its destructive foreign adventurism,” it added. “This regime is oppressing the Iranian people’s most basic necessities and is deaf to the younger generation’s freedom-loving demands.”

However, the FCDI added that the Iranian people have a beacon of hope. The MEK is active across the country. Its resistance units work tirelessly to oppose the regime’s violence and brutality and bring democracy to Tehran.

The FCDI concluded by calling on all democratic nations to offer their support to the alternative to the Iranian dictatorship, the NCRI, and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi.

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

Former MEP Urges the US to Increase Pressure on the Iranian Regime

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

Archive photo: Struan Stevenson, 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

The former member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson published an op-ed for UPI on Thursday, April 25. He used the opportunity to urge the US government to maintain its application of financial pressure on the Iranian regime and end its reign of violence and tyranny.

Stevenson called President Trump’s decision to end waivers for Turkey, Iraq, India, Japan, and China that permitted them to continue purchasing Iranian oil “the final nail” in “the mullahs’ coffin.” For Stevenson, this was a necessary move to slash Iranian oil exports closer to “zero” goal.

He also welcomed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of the US’s inclusion of the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) on the US terror blacklist. Stevenson predicted that the move would drastically restrict the funds available to the Iranian regime.

“The IRGC controls almost 90 percent of the Iranian economy, so it will be virtually impossible for anyone to trade with Iran without breaching US sanctions or facing severe penalties for dealing with a listed terrorist organization,” he writes.

The Next Step

Stevenson outlines the next step for President Donald Trump. This would be the addition of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) on the same foreign terrorist organization (FTO) blacklist.

“In June last year, a trained MOIS agent posing as an Iranian diplomat from its embassy in Vienna was arrested by German police and charged with handling a bomb to two other MOIS agents, instructing them to detonate it at a peaceful opposition rally in Paris,” he wrote.

The trained MOIS agent was Assadollah Assadi. He was working out of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Vienna.

Then, in December, the Albanian prime minister announced the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and his first secretary. Edi Rama told his Albanian people that the pair posed a risk to the country’s national security. “Once again, these so-called diplomats were revealed as trained MOIS agents who had been plotting bomb attacks and assassinations of opponents of the regime in Albania,” Stevenson writes.

Freeing the Iranian People from the Shackles of the Regime

The Iranian public welcomed the IRGC listing with earnest. They are organizing protests against the mullahs and their bloody regime on a daily basis. This week, teachers and construction workers marched in Iran’s streets, next week it could be truck drivers, students, pensioners, farmers, investors, or any other segment of Iran’s repressed population.

“Iranians are sick to death of the repression and brutality they have been forced to suffer for four decades under the medieval fascist dictatorship,” Stevenson claims. At the heart of their grievances is the regime’s decision to spend Iranian funds on proxy wars and militia groups in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. At protests, chants of “forget Syria, forget Hezbollah, what about us?” ring out.

The mullahs use the IRGC as a tool of repression. They send the IRGC to crush protests and arrest dissidents. Following the nationwide uprisings orchestrated by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) in early 2018, the regime arrested thousands of protestors. At least 14 died in regime custody under conditions of torture.

The most recent protests have focused on the regime’s inaction in the wake of recent flooding. Protestors denounced the regime’s inaction after flooding left at least 250 dead and many more without access to food and water. Instead of making the IRGC’s resources available to the rescue effort, including boats, helicopters, and shelter, the regime deployed mercenaries to keep civil order and prevent protests. Meanwhile, the Iranian people suffered.

“Some 80 million Iranians have lost their fear,” Stevenson writes, “They long for the freedom, justice, human rights, women’s rights, an end to the death penalty, an end to the nuclear threat and the restoration of a secular democracy that is being offered by the main and best-organized resistance movement, the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK).”

Resistance units across Iran are capturing the national sentiment, organizing protests, opposing regime violence and human rights abuses, and proudly displaying posters of the Iranian opposition’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi.

Stevenson concludes, “The Iranian population now recognizes that they have support in the West. They know that the U.S. administration will continue to turn the screw until this evil regime is replaced and peace and stability in the Middle East and worldwide can be restored.”

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IRGC blacklisting

U.S. Should Designate MOIS as a Terrorist Organization

IRGC blacklisting

IRGC blacklisted for its terrorist activities.

On April 8th, the United States announced that it had added the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The designation carries significant economic and political consequences for the IRGC, as well as the Iranian regime, and has already jeopardized Iranian regime’s chances at gaining membership in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The FTO designation applies to the IRGC and all of its associated entities, including the Quds Force, the Basij Organization, and the Aerospace, Navy, and Ground Forces. Anyone found providing these entities or their officials with financial support, equipment, training, or professional advice will face civil and/or criminal prosecution by U.S. federal authorities.

Consequences of FTO Designation

The Iranian Resistance has called for the international community to blacklist the IRGC for many years because of its suppressive actions toward its own people and its terrorist activities in the region. The FTO designation is a welcome step toward curtailing the regime’s ability to finance and provoke regional hostilities.

Because of the FTO designation, the Iranian regime will no longer be able to deliver promised money, weapons, training, or fighters to IRGC-affiliated militia groups participating in wars and regional conflicts. According to the Pentagon, the Iranian regime was responsible for the deaths of at least 608 U.S. service members in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. Currently, the regime spends billions each year supporting Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. IRGC groups will also lack funding to train terrorist groups to carry out attacks, as they have done numerous times over the past four decades.

The IRGC’s reach extends far beyond the military. The Revolutionary Guards control more than half of Iran’s economy, which means that anyone who chooses to work with an Iranian business or entity faces the possibility that they might be aiding a terrorist group and could suffer serious consequences as a result.

The MOIS and its Terrorist Activities

Designating the IRGC as an FTO is an excellent step in ending the Iranian regime’s reign of terror, but the U.S. needs to go further. Last year, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) was responsible for coordinating terrorist plots against MEK members in Albania, France, Denmark, and the United States. The foiled bombing of the annual gathering of the MEK outside of Paris in June 2018 led to the arrest and prosecution of a regime diplomat, who masterminded the attack on behalf of the MOIS. Several MOIS agents were expelled from Europe as a result of the planned attack, and Europe sanctioned the MOIS for their role in terrorist activities.

Last summer, Facebook and Twitter removed hundreds of fake accounts belonging to agents of the Iranian regime. The accounts were created to disseminate false information, much of which was intended to vilify the MEK. The MOIS was responsible for this large scale operation to deceive the American people.

Next Steps

The Iranian people are very close to overthrowing the theocratic regime and restoring democracy to their country. Since the widespread uprisings of December 2017, the MEK has taken the lead in organizing anti-regime protests across the country, and the Resistance Movement has spread. Protests, strikes, and demonstrations occur on a daily basis, despite the suppressive actions of the regime and its forces. The country is nearing a revolt.

As the MEK and the Iranian Resistance grow in strength and number, so does the regime’s fear. The MOIS has stepped up its terrorist activities against the MEK over the past year, and it is likely to continue to escalate its attacks on foreign soil.

It is time to end the terrorist Iranian regime. Resuming sanctions and designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization is a productive means to curb the regime’s financial access to power. Adding the MOIS to the FTO list would be a sensible next step that would make the world safer for everyone. Recognizing the right of the Iranian Resistance to overthrow their oppressors would then clear the way for the people to finally choose their own destiny. The final steps lie in the hands of the Iranian people.

 

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Alireza Jafarzadeh

Deputy Director of the NCRI’s US Office Examines the IRGC’s FTO Designation

Alireza Jafarzadeh

Alireza Jafarzadeh during an NCRI press conference in Washington on 27 April 2017. During this conference, Jafarzadeh based on first-hand information exposed the continuation of the Iranian regime’s nuclear activities despite the nuclear agreement by the IRGC affiliated officials in SPND.

Alireza Jafarzadeh of the National Council of Resistance of Iran penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Sunday, April 21. Entitled ‘Iran’s guard gets a long-overdue but much-deserved terrorist designation’, the piece examines the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and analyses the recent designation of the group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the US State Department.

Jafarzadeh began by welcoming the designation. “This is a major step towards effectively countering Tehran’s systemic use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” he said.

The IRGC Meets the State Department’s Criteria

In order for an entity to be eligible for inclusion in the US government’s terror blacklist, it must meet the State Department’s criteria:

  • It must be a foreign organization.
  • It must engage in acts of terrorism or retain the capability and intent to engage in acts of terror.
  • It must threaten American nationals or the national security of the United States.

Jafarzedah states that IRGC adequately meets these three criteria. “It is the core apparatus of repression, the primary driver of war and export of terrorism, and it runs Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile projects,” he writes.

The Move was Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition

The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) and the leader of the opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, have long called for the IRGC’s inclusion on the US terror blacklist. Following the announcement, Mrs. Rajavi issued a statement praising the US’s response to a “long-standing and righteous demand of the Iranian Resistance.”

She called the designation an “urgent and necessary step to end war and terrorism throughout the region and the world.”

Hard Realizations

Jafarzadeh also examined the response from Tehran. He asserted that the mullahs’ “realize that from this point on, they will have drastically less room to mount terror operations and act with impunity.”

The regime has already demonstrated that it lacks the resources and mechanisms to contain uprisings and public protest. At the tail end of 2017 and into 2018, the MEK-led national uprising quickly spread across all 31 Iranian provinces and hit all of Iran’s major towns and cities.

The regime relied on the IRGC’s suppressive tactics to restore order and maintain its grip on power. With the IRGC severely weakened by the FTO designation and with constrained financial resources, should another uprising emerge, the regime will find its vital repressive organ stretched beyond its capabilities? “In short, Tehran is much weaker now than it was a year or so ago,” Jafarzadeh writes.

“The foreign terrorist organization designation gives U.S. officials an additional tool for prosecuting Americans who help the Iranian regime,” he continues. But beyond the financial limitations and reduced international support, the designation also scores a major psychological victory over the IRGC.

It demoralizes the IRGC forces and their proxies abroad. It shows them that they are not on the winning side. “The designation should also boost the morale of Iranians, who detest the Guard,” Jafarzadeh adds.

It will also resonate across the rest of the world. The designation will prompt second thoughts from European companies considering doing business with the IRGC.

Jafarzadeh concludes:

“The next step is to identify all Guard affiliate entities and subject them to sanctions. The foreign terrorist organization designation strikes a major blow to the terror apparatus of the regime. Tehran’s terrorists and those who enable them can finally be made to pay the price.”

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The NCRI’S Washington D.C. Representative Welcomes the Blacklisting of the IRGC

NCRI has long been calling for blacklisting of the IRGC

The Books published on IRGC’s terrorist activities inside Iran and abroad by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) during the recent years calling for the blacklisting of the IRGC.

Ms. Soona Samsami, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative for Washington D.C.

Soona Samsami, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative for Washington D.C., welcomed the US State Department’s designation of the Iranian regime’s IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

The designation from the Trump administration made it unlawful for any US citizen to provide financial assistance, resources, services or advice to the IRGC and its subsidiaries, the Quds Force, Basij Organization, Aerospace Force, Navy and Ground Forces.

Samsami said:

“The IRGC is not just a terror machine. It controls the lion’s share of the Iranian economy. It controls many economic conglomerates, from oil, gas, and petrochemicals to pharmaceutical, food and farm products to banking, investment, the auto, airline, aerospace, and shipping industries.”

Previous estimates have suggested that the IRGC controls half of the Iranian economy while 80% of Iranians live below the international poverty line.

Sustained Pressure

For Samsami and the NCRI, the next step is to sustain and increase the pressure on the regime’s organs of repression. Beyond the IRGC, the regime has the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) which it uses to coordinate international terror attacks against members of the opposition living abroad.

In 2018, the MOIS was behind several failed terror plots, in the US, France, and Albania. The most extreme was foiled in June when a Belgian-Iranian couple was detained while traveling to the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event. The pair had homemade explosives and planned to detonate a car bomb at the event.

“Just in 2018, five Iranian regime diplomats, including an Ambassador, were expelled from France, the Netherlands and Albania, all on terrorism charges,” Samsami said. “A dozen other MOIS agents have been detained in Europe and the United States.”

The MEK has played a central role in exposing the terrorist activities of the regime and its use of the IRGC and MOIS for violent purposes. In books and press conferences, the pro-democracy group revealed the existence of 15 training camps where IRGC forces trained terrorists and radicalized foreign recruits. The MEK also exposed the network of embassies and diplomatic buildings the regime uses to coordinate its terror attacks on foreign soil.

The MEK also exposed the regime’s missile development programs, the IRGC’s involvement in wars across the region and its cyberespionage activities. It was the MEK’s revelation that the regime was using sites in Natanz and Arak to develop nuclear weapons that led to the IAEA’s inspection of the sites.

This relentless pursuit of the truth and willingness to confront the regime’s violence and brutality wherever it occurs has put the MEK in the regime’s crosshairs. Its members are often the targets of assassination attempts abroad and its event are key objectives for the regime’s terror apparatus.

The Next Step

The FTO designation of the IRGC appears to have had the desired effect. Senior regime officials including the Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have made a series of retaliatory threats.

In an attempt to boost the IRGC morale, many officials and journalists wore IRGC uniforms last week in a move that drew international criticism and public jest.

Samsami outlined her vision for the next phase of pressure.

“With IRGC’s FTO designation now in effect, the next step is to implement the provisions the designation entails. As such, every effort must be made to be made to prevent the Iranian regime from exporting any oil, whose revenues it uses to continue its brutal crackdown of dissent at home and foment instability, chaos and terrorism in the region and beyond.”

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IRGC's blacklisting consequences

Human Rights Activist and Journalist Outlines the Consequences of the IRGC’s Blacklisting

IRGC's blacklisting consequences

IRGC, Iranian dictatorship’s main force for repression and expansion of terrorism was proscribed by the U.S. State Department as an FTO.

Hassan Mahmoudi, a human rights activist and journalist, wrote an op-ed for the Eurasia Review outlining the consequences of the recent decision from the US government to blacklist the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

For Mahmoudi, the importance of the move cannot be overstated. He said the terror blacklisting of the IRGC had caused the Iranian regime to “enter a troubled period that risks considerably changing the international balance of power at the expense of the mullahs’ regime.”

A Vulnerable Regime

The terror blacklisting of the IRGC means one of the regime’s most significant repressive organs will be financially cut off. Under the designation, any American individual or corporation providing financial assistance, good, and services, or advice to the IRGC will be considered to be aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and vulnerable to prosecution.

In the wake of the decision, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed concerns. The IRGC has been instrumental in quashing dissent and curbing civil unrest within Iran. With the IRGC weakened, the regime is vulnerable to mass protests, civil disobedience and the increasing calls for democracy. For Mahmoudi, its reduced international standing “could very well lead to an uprising in Iran.”

“The mullahs’ supreme leader is terrified of escalating social dissent from the scales of the flood disasters and unimaginable increase in the cost of living,” he writes, adding that the situation “could turn into an all-out uprising bringing down the regime in its entirety.”

Khamenei attempted to reassure the IRGC forces. He told them that “a sufficient number of people are standing strong behind you.” He went on to call American officials “stupid” and “Satan”, although, he conceded that name-calling in this fashion “won’t solve any problems.”

Empowered Protestors

The designation was welcomed by the Iranian opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, released a statement of support following the designation.

The blacklisting of the IRGC will undoubtedly empower protestors across Iran. Since the designation, Iranians in the cities of Mashhad, Damavand and Pars Abad and across Khuzestan province have taken to the streets to protest the regime’s corruption, increasing costs of living and the inadequacy of the regime’s response to the intense flooding in recent weeks. “These locals are especially angry at the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) for protecting its own facilities at the price of placing residential areas in danger,” Mahmoudi writes.

Elsewhere, supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), MEK’s “Resistance Units” have been active in their efforts to oppose regime brutality and violence wherever it occurs.

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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.

Staff writer

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Ali Safavi's interview with FoxNews

Ali Safavi Tell Fox News: The Regime’s “Number One Target is its Organised Democratic Opposition”

Ali Safavi's interview with FoxNews

Ali Safavi, from NCRI’s office in Washington D.C. tells FoxNews on the recent blacklisting of the IRGC: “the next step would be to designate the Iranian military intelligence and security, the MOIS, for hatching terrorist plots”.

Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) Foreign Affairs Committee took part in an interview with Fox New’s Eric Shawn on Sunday, April 14. Shawn quizzed Safavi on the State Department’s decision to place Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist.

The move came after the Iranian regime was found to be behind foiled terror attacks in France, Albania, and the US in 2018. One such attack was due to take place at the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

An Iranian diplomat provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with 500g of homemade explosives and instructed them to drive to Paris and detonate the car bomb at the event. They were stopped en-route Paris by Belgian authorities, averting disaster for the more than 100,000 attendees gathered in Paris.

“It’s only one other example of how the Iranian regime… are terrified of the organized opposition,” Safavi said. “If anything it indicates the need that now the IRGC is designated [as a foreign terrorist organization] I think the next step would be to designate the Iranian military intelligence and security, the MOIS, for hatching terrorist plots and carrying out assassinations against dissidents in Europe, in the Middle East and… here in the United States.”

In the Interest of National Security

When asked if he believed the IRGC would carry out a terror attack or assassination on US soil, Safavi responded, “I absolutely have no doubt.” He added, “you have to remember that this regime is on its last legs, it is facing an increasingly enraged population.” “Its number one target is its organized democratic opposition.”

He described how the Iranian regime has proven on several occasions that it has no scruples regarding the murder of Iranian opposition members on foreign soil. “They have done it in the 1990s, assassinating the NCRI’s representative in Switzerland… and its representative in Rome in 1993,” he said.

Stopping the Regime’s Export of Terror

Eric Shawn described how the NCRI’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi has called on the US and other western governments to expel Iranian diplomats and close embassies to deny the regime a footing from which they can coordinate terror attacks. He went on to ask Safavi if he agreed with this approach.

“I think that’s an absolute necessity,” he replied. “As Mrs. Rajavi has said numerous times, the ultimate solution to all of this mayhem, instability, terrorism, and chaos… is for the Iranian people and the organized opposition to overthrow it [the regime].” “I think it is time now for the international community, for the United States to recognize the right of the Iranian people to bring down this regime and of course, recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the mullahs of Iran.”

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