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Leader of the terrorist IRGC force

Khamenei Replaces IRGC Head, Reversing Strategy in Wake of FTO Designation

Leader of the terrorist IRGC force

The leader of the criminal Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during an IRGC event. In the photo, Salami, the new IRGC Commander in Chief(right), Qassem Soleimani (middle) IRGC’s terrorist Qud’s force, Jafari (left) recently dismissed IRGC commander in chief.

On Monday, Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced the removal of Mohammad-Ali Jafari as commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Later that day, he announced the appointment of Hossein Salami, Jafari’s second-in-command, as the new head of the IRGC. Salami was also promoted to the rank of Major General.

The change in leadership comes on the heels of the recent designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States. The designation has sent shock waves through the regime as those in power struggle to deal with the resulting political and economic consequences.

An Unusual Transition

Khamenei’s decision to remove Jafari from command appears to be related to the FTO designation, which was announced two weeks ago, according to observers and political analysts. A number of irregularities in the transition have raised eyebrows among those who follow the regime closely.

Past IRGC commanders have been appointed to important positions after leaving their commands, including military advisors to the regime’s Supreme Leader. Jafari, by contrast, was appointed as the head of the Baqiyatullah al-Azam Cultural and Social Base. This post is neither related to the military nor is it particularly prestigious for a former IRGC head.

 

When Khamenei announced Jafari’s removal and subsequent appointment to the Baqiyatullah Base, he claimed that the commander had a desire “to engage in cultural grounds and the soft war.” Khamenei’s reference to the “soft war” is the regime’s suppression of the Internet and social media information and its dissemination of propaganda. The regime has stepped up its social media campaigns in response to the MEK’s successful use of social media to spread unfiltered news and to organize protests. Although this is an important role in the regime, it is unlikely that a military commander would see a job as a social media propaganda director as a suitable promotion.

Jafari’s future within the regime seemed bright two years ago when Khamenei issued a decree extending Jafari’s term as commander for another three years. The former IRGC head’s removal amounts to dismissal from his post.

Strategic Failure

As Commander in Chief of the IRGC for the last 12 years, Mohammad Ali Jafari shaped the regime’s domestic suppression efforts and military strategies. His removal indicates that the regime sees those strategies as failures.

Under Jafari’s leadership, the Iranian army took over responsibility for border security so that the IRGC could devote its time and resources to suppressing dissent within Iran and exporting terrorism abroad.

During his tenure, the provincial Guards were created, and changes were made to the Basij Force that made them more effective at suppression. These structural changes enabled the IRGC to participate in regional conflicts and wars.

These overtly terrorist actions have landed the IRGC on the FTO list and have been ineffective in suppressing dissent within Iran. Khamenei seems ready to try a new approach.

Propaganda and Words

Khamenei’s new choice for IRGC Commander represents a change from actions to words. While Jafari’s strengths were violent suppression and terrorism, 59-year-old Hossein Salami appears to use propaganda and harsh words as his weapons. He has a history of making threats against other countries.

Two months ago, Salami made threats against Europe, saying that if the EU wanted to disarm Iran’s missile program, “we will have to make a strategic leap.”Last fall, he threatened Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, saying that if they crossed Iran’s red lines, “we will surely cross yours.”

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Parviz Khazai- NCRI representative in Scandinavia

International Law Expert Says Europe Should “Sit Up and Take Notice” of the Rising Tide of Unrest in Iran

Parviz Khazai- NCRI representative in Scandinavia

Perviz Khazai, speaking at a high level of experts panel, during a conference in the United Nation’s headquarter in Geneva, seeking international justice over Iranian regime’s 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK activists.
Mr. Gilbert Mitterrand (Left) President of the Foundation France Libertés – Danielle-Mitterrand Foundation since 2011, Irish Senator
Brian Ó Domhnaill (Middle) who served for the Agricultural Panel since August 2007, was also among the speakers at this conference-September 30, 2016

International law expert and former apprentice diplomat in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Perviz S. Khazai, wrote an op-ed for news site Eurasia Review. Khazai charts the nature of EU-Iran relations in the wake of the US’s designation of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

Khazai’s point of reference begins in 2010 when the Iranian regime and Europe butted heads over the Iranian nuclear program. This rift was smoothed over by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPO), the nuclear agreement signed in 2015.

“However, since agreeing to the 2015 deal, Iran has expanded its nuclear program,” Khazai writes, “despite warnings from the United States and European Countries.” This culminated in the early months of 2019, when the Iranian regime attempted to launch a satellite into orbit.

Europe is “Gravely Concerned”

The EU expressed its concern and has called on the Iranian regime to refrain from any further missile launches. The EU Council said in a statement, “these activities deepen mistrust and contribute to regional instability.”

Then, in February, the EU discussed re-imposing select sanctions on Iran. The discussion marked the first time Iranian sanctions had been brought to the table since 2015. The sanctions were limited. The EU only chose to sanction one deputy minister of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and two MOIS members. But they represented a cooling attitude towards the Iranian regime following several failed terror attacks on European soil.

The EU Is Resisting the US’s Economic Sanctions

Aside from its own limited sanctions, the EU has displayed a reluctance to follow the US down the road of economic sanctions. Following the re-imposition of US economic sanctions under US President Donald Trump, several European nations established INSTEX, a payment channel through which they could continue trading with the Iranian market and circumvent US sanctions.

But rifts in the regime leadership have hampered INSTEX’s methods. In March, the regime Supreme Leader issued a statement during a public speech that INSTEX was a “bitter joke” and reminded his followers that the EU cannot be trusted.

Although persevering with INSTEX to continue trading with Iran, several EU nations have sanctioned Iran’s Mahan Air. The airline is known to carry resources and equipment for the regime’s IRGC.

“Germany imposed its ban on Mahan in January, with the German foreign ministry saying this was necessary to protect Berlin’s ‘foreign and security policy interests,’” Khazai wrote.

Iranian Hackers Are Promoting Instability

Reports from Reuters in November found that the regime systematically targeted MEK members living in European countries through online misinformation channels. The Netherlands is also accusing the regime of being behind two assassinations of political dissidents on Dutch soil last year.

“Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Islamic revolutionary guard’s corps (IRGC) have been dedicated to export [sic] terrorism abroad. Despite the efforts of the EU and US during past years, Iran has never terminated its support for terrorist organizations especially in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq,” Khazai writes.

Khazai calls on the EU to support the US’s designation of the IRGC as a terror organization. “Europe should sit up and take notice that the protests and strike action ongoing across Iran since the end of 2017 by teachers, laborers, students, truck drivers and so many more [are] already a game changer,” he writes.

Khazai concluded,

“European governments and institutions would be wise at this point to discontinue their current dialogue with Tehran while they undertake a full and in-depth review of their approach toward Iran. Full transparency and accurate information made available to the public would be an essential requirement.”

Staff writer 

 

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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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Colonel Thomas Cantwell

Retired US Military Officer Urges the United States to Maintain Pressure on Tehran

Colonel Thomas Cantwell

Colonel Thomas Cantwell speaking at the Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris- June 2014

Colonel Thomas Cantwell, a retired military officer and employee of the United States Army who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote an op-ed for Real Clear Defense calling for sustained pressure towards the Iranian regime.

His comments came a week after the White House announced its decision to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist. It is the first time a US Presidential administration has included the regime’s repressive organ on the list of foreign terror organizations (FTOs).

Cantwell describes how the decision was emblematic of Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” towards the Iranian regime. In his speech announcing the decision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that the decision would be part of a wider effort to “ratchet up pressure” on the brutal regime.

The IRGC is Instrumental for the Regime’s Survival

“The president’s announcement correctly identified the powerful, hardline organization as the regime’s primary instrument of terrorism as a form of statecraft,” Cantwell wrote.

The IRGC is active across the Middle East. Its troops and resources have been discovered operating in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. There is not a single conflict in the Middle East in which the IRGC does not have a disruptive, destabilizing influence.

At home in Iran, the IRGC is one of the regime’s organs of repression through which it crushes political dissent. Its plainclothes agents arrest members of the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) at their peaceful protests. They also carry out torture and kidnapping operations against MEK members.

Following the FTO designation, the Washington Post called the IRGC, the “single most effective guarantor of the regime’s survival.”

They Are Being Stretched to Their Limit

Cantwell describes how the IRGC is already under immense pressure within Iran. He writes, “the mass uprising last year stretched the repressive capabilities of the IRGC to their limit. Had the IRGC been weakened ahead of time by global economic isolation, the public protests might have forced the clerical regime further into domestic isolation, precipitating its collapse.”

The protest movement within Iran is gaining momentum under the leadership of the MEK. The new designation will severely weaken the IRGC at a time when the regime will need to rely on it to quell protests.

The regime’s “actions on the world stage have been indicative of its escalating desperation in the face of the dual pressures of its own people and the international community,” Cantwell writes. This desperation can be increased with sustained pressure from the US and its international allies.

For Cantwell, once the IRGC is stretched beyond its means and the protest movement intensifies, the regime will have nothing left to protect it. It will inevitably collapse.

The MEK Offers Iran a Positive Future

Filling the void left by the regime will fall on the MEK’s shoulders. The Iranian opposition President-elect Maryam Rajavi has a ten-point plan for restoring democracy in Iran. It promises Iranians a secular future with an independent judiciary, gender equality, and religious freedom, without nuclear weapons and the death penalty.

But to fully realize this dream, the US must tackle the other repressive organs within the regime. The first on the list, Cantwell argues, should be the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

The MOIS has been behind many of Iran’s terror plots abroad, including the one last June that intended to detonate a car bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in France.

“As Tehran watches the walls closing in, it will surely shift some of its resources from a newly isolated IRGC to an intelligence service that still enjoys a foothold,” Cantwell writes. “In this sense, the terror designation could represent a greater danger to the West,” he continues, “but only if the US and its European allies fail to follow up by keeping the pressure on Tehran.”

Cantwell finished with a message of hope. “On the other hand,” he writes, “if they do so,… they will critically impede the Iranian regime’s strategy for maintaining its grip on power.” This would signal support for the Iranian public and help usher in a new democratic dawn for the Iranian people.

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Zarif, Jafari, and Qassim Soleimani

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

Zarif, Jafari, and Qassim Soleimani

The terrorist IRGC commanders including Qassem Soleimani and Jafari, meeting with the “reformist” Javad Zarif, in the aftermath of the FTO listing by the U.S. state department.

In response to the recent designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States, the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called a meeting with members of the IRGC’s senior command to discuss how to save face in light of growing alarm over the consequences of the action. IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari and Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani were both present at the meeting.

State-run television reported on the meeting and quoted Zarif as saying, “The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has played a major role in maintaining the country’s security.”

Zarif ignored the economic ramifications of the terrorist designation and instead focused on a nonexistent possibility of a U.S. attack on regime forces, which he answered with a threat.

“U.S. forces in the region cannot carry out any military actions against [Iran],” he said. “However, if they do take measures, they will face an immediate, serious and firm response from our side.”

Factional Infighting

The FTO designation has thrown the regime into chaos, with various factions casting blame on the others. The Kayhan daily newspaper is closely aligned with regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, faulted regime President Hassan Rouhani’s “Reformist” faction for the designation in a recent editorial.

“When a number of officials launch verbal attacks against the IRGC and question this entity, they are requesting the IRGC and other military units to return to their bases! They consider the IRGC’s presence across the Middle East as useless; the missile era over; the IRGC’s missile tests as provoking the enemy; and despite the deceptions behind the [2015] nuclear deal, they are still not willing to exit this disgraceful arrangement; and are in fact seeking to impose new restrictions through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) bills… It’s obvious why the U.S. designated the IRGC as an FTO,” he wrote.

In an April 11th article, the state-run Siasat-e Rooz daily faulted regime factions that have been hesitant to go to war for the FTO designation, writing: “The Americans have seen how some people in [the regime in Iran] are terrified of even the shadows of war. Therefore, they are going down the path of gaining even more concessions from us.”

 

Ahmad Jannati, head of the mullahs’ Assembly of Experts, went a different route and expressed his support for the many Majlis (regime parliament) members who wore IRGC uniforms in solidarity with the Revolutionary Guards.

Blame the MEK

Regime Prosecutor General Jafar Montazeri was quick to bring the MEK into the discussion.

 

“There’s nothing new in the U.S.’ enmity and we have witnessed America’s enmity in different areas, including its support of the [MEK],” he said.

On April 10th, the regime’s Propaganda Coordination Council in Qom Province specifically claimed that the MEK was responsible for the IRGC’s inclusion on the FTO list.

Deep Concerns

 

Behind all of the infighting and assignment of blame is a deep fear. Officials have not come to a consensus on what will happen as a result of the terrorist designation or how to best address it, but everyone seems to understand that it does not bode well for the regime.

After Calls from the MEK and NCRI, the US is Set to Include the IRGC and MOIS in its Terror Blacklist

Javad Mansouri, the first IRGC commander, worried about military action, saying, “The day that the Americans have gone down every path and reached no conclusion, there is a possibility they will seek military measures.”

Foad Izadi, who is closely affiliated with Khamenei’s inner circle, explained the various options available to the regime.

“Considering the fact that we are in new circumstances regarding the IRGC, we are now facing even more difficulties regarding the FATF because the U.S. has a significant presence in FATF-linked entities. What can we do now that they have designated the IRGC as an FTO? If it is approved, we either have to cut off the IRGC’s budget, merge this entity into the army, or have the IRGC personnel fired. We can’t go down any of these paths,” he said.

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Chief commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)

After Calls from the MEK and NCRI, the US is Set to Include the IRGC and MOIS in its Terror Blacklist

 

Chief commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)

IRGC Commander, Ghassem Soleimani (Middle) commander of the terrorist Quds force, sitting next to Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari is the Iranian commander-in-chief of the IRGC (left), and IRGC deputy commander Salami (Right)

Over the weekend, two op-eds captured the international sentiment towards the Iranian regime. The first came on Saturday, April 6. Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) Foreign Affairs Committee wrote an op-ed for Lima Charlie World calling on the international community to acknowledge the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terror.

The Iranian regime has openly admitted that it sends agents to the United States and other nations under the guise of journalists. In August last year, US authorities arrested two agents of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) for plotting a terror attack against members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), an opposition pro-democracy group.

Given the clear evidence that the Iranian regime is planning terror attacks on US soil, Safavi argues that that the MOIS and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) should be included in the US’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list.

The two are already on the US government’s Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) blacklist.

The IRGC plays a central role in suppressing the political opposition within Iran. Companies associated with the entity control most of the Iranian economy.

Exporting Terrorism and Violence

Safavi describes how both the IRGC and the MOIS are active in several countries across the globe. “The IRGC has numerous facilities inside Iran to train terrorists as part of the regime’s strategy to step up its meddling abroad,” he writes.

The IRGC has also been behind around 608 deaths of American service members, around 17% of the total US personnel deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. This is in addition to the many thousands of Iranians it has tortured and killed.

2018 saw a marked increase in the regime’s state-sponsored terrorism output. Plots were foiled in Albania, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US. Iranians and European citizens were among those targeted.

Safavi argues that the MOIS and IRGC meet the criteria for inclusion on the FTO list. Under Section 29 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a group must meet three requirements for inclusion on the list. It must be a foreign organization. It must engage in terror activities, or “retain the capability and intent to engage” in terrorist activities, and it must pose a threat to US nationals or the national security of the United States.

The IRGC and MOIS clearly fulfill all three requirements.

A Welcome Announcement

Writing for Eurasia Review, human rights advocate Hassan Mahmoudi wrote that the blacklisting of IRGC would, “ramp up pressure on the elite force.”

The move will be welcomed among the Iranian opposition, including the NCRI and MEK. The MEK’s president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, has been calling for a more assertive stance towards the Iranian regime from the international community. This inclusion of its MOIS and IRGC forces will be just that.

On January 11, Maryam Rajavi urged the US to include the IRGC in its FTO. She also called for governments to refer Iranian human rights abuses to the UN Security Council.

For decades, western governments have adopted a policy of appeasement towards Iran. In doing so, it has empowered and emboldened the regime. Mahmoudi writes, “inaction regarding the IRGC and MOIS has further enabled the regime to set up missile factories in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq in order to broaden its regional sphere of influence.”

 

The inclusion of the organizations on the FTO is more than simply a symbolic one. It will make it illegal for a US person to provide material “support or resources” to these entities. This includes advice or assistance. It will also allow the government to remove MOIS or IRGC officials from US soil.

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International conference held in Brussels to discuss Iranian regime's terrorist activities in Europe

Leading Minds Meet in Brussels to Discuss the Iranian Threat

International conference held in Brussels to discuss Iranian regime's terrorist activities in Europe

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE-BRUSSELS- FEB 4, 2019
Iranian State Terrorism – Growing Threat for Europe – Correct policy
Role of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diplomats in Terrorist Structure and Operations

On Monday, February 4th, Alejo Vidal Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI, Farzin Hashemi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Giulio Terzi, the former foreign minister of Italy, Yves Bonnet, the former director of France’s DST, and Claude Moniquet, a counter-terrorism and Middle East specialist, attended the International Conference in Brussels to discuss the Iranian threat.

Vidal Quadras opened the conference with a brief on the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities in Europe and the US, particularly the recent terrorist activities targeting the MEK. He described how those accused of plotting terrorist acts abroad have close ties to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and regularly accompanied the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to meetings.

The Former Vice-President of the European Parliament criticized the EU’s policy of appeasement and asked, “why not sanction the regime’s supreme leader who endorses all of the terrorist operations?”

Vidal Quadras asserted that Europe, “cannot have normal relations with a regime which jeopardizes the safety of citizens in Europe and the US.”

A State-Financed and Controlled Operation

Next, Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI addressed those in attendance. He reiterated that the connections between the terrorist assailants and the upper echelons of the regime’s leadership demonstrated that “the terrorist activities of the Iranian regime is not the work of only several rogues.” He said, “it is clearly state-financed and state-controlled.”

Freeh drew parallels between the most recent spate of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks on foreign soil and previous attacks that took place while he was head of the FBI.

In 1996, the Iranian regime carried out an attack on the Khobar Tower in Saudi Arabia. 19 US soldiers were killed and the FBI opened an investigation. Freeh said, “the attack was controlled, organized and carried out by the IRGC (the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp). This was done by the government of Iran at senior levels of power.”

“In those days,” Freeh continued, “the regime wanted to appear strong and disciplined and at the same time they resorted to terrorism.”

Freeh concluded, “the Iranian regime cannot be trusted,” adding, “the regime has been doing the same thing for the past 25 years.” “Terrorism is not a pattern of behavior but it is institutionalized. Appeasement of the regime not only conveys a sense of weakness, but it conveys to the adversary to continue to do what it does and the business goes on,” Freeh asserted.

For Freeh, the EU needs to modify its position. Continuing down the road of appeasement will not help combat Iranian terrorism. It will allow it to continue unchecked. “The only way to deal with this regime is clear, firm force and applied sanctions,” he said.

A Regime of Terrorists

To support Freeh’s assessment, the NCRI’s Farzin Hashemi described the findings of an investigation carried out by the NCRI and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Hashemi revealed that Reza Amiri Moghaddam was responsible for the planning and execution of the foiled terror attack in Paris. He coordinated the operation, which involved using a car laden with explosives to attack members of the MEK and their allies at the opposition group’s annual Grand Gathering event, from Vienna with the regime’s diplomat, Assadollah Assadi.

Moghaddam also represented the Iranian regime during the Iranian nuclear deal negotiations. “The EU has been negotiating with individuals who have been personally involved in acts of terrorism and planning in terrorism,” he said.

Additionally, the recently expelled ambassador to Albania, Gholam Hossein Mohammadnia was also a member of the regime’s JCPOA negotiating team.

“Terrorism is institutionalized in the Iranian regime and is approved by Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Security Council,” Hashemi said, “literally terrorism is in the regime’s DNA.”

“All the regime’s officials are involved in terrorism. They cannot be interlocutors to the European governments. It is time for the EU to impose sanctions on the entire MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security) and IRGC,” Hashemi concluded.

The Cyber Threat

Alejo Vidal Quadras then handed the former Foreign Minister of Italy, Giulio Terzi, the floor. Terzi introduced the regime’s cyber threat and charted its subversive activities online.

He accused Iran of using social media to subvert Western democracy. “Accounts under false names” are emerging from Iran, he said. “Special attention is needed for counteracting the cyber threat from Iran,” Terzi asserted.

Dealing with the Iranian Threat

All of the speakers at the conference endorsed similar methods for dealing with the regime’s threat. “We must close down the embassies of the Iranian regime that violate the laws of the countries that host them,” Yves Bonnet, the former director of France’s DST, said.

He also endorsed international recognition of the NCRI and the MEK as a viable democratic alternative to regime rule.

Counter-terrorism and Middle East specialist, Claude Moniquet echoed these views and called for tougher sanctions against the MOIS and IRGC. “We have the power to use our authority to obtain and impose verifiable sanctions on the Iranian regime immediately for its terrorist activities on European soil,” he said.

He concluded, “complacency never paid. Today there is plenty of evidence against the Iranian regime and this will help us to put pressure on the EU to punish this terrorist regime and demand the end of these activities against Iranian opponents in Europe.”

 

Staff Writer

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Iranian regime the Godfather of Terrorism

Iranian Regime Poses Increasing Terror Threat to the West

Iranian regime the Godfather of Terrorism

The religious dictatorship that is ruling in Iran is the main source of spreading extremism and terrorism in the region.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) recently reported that the Iranian regime’s “terrorist threat and terror games” in the United States and Europe have “rapidly intensified” over the course of the past year as a result of their escalating campaign to eliminate the MEK and the Iranian Opposition.

 

The NCRI and MEK have argued for years that the Iranian regime is responsible for the exportation of terrorism throughout the world, but it is only recently that leaders in the U.S. and Europe have begun to take the threat seriously. Now, in the wake of a series of terrorist activities in 2018 by the Iranian regime, some world leaders have begun to fear that the regime might be planning to launch future attacks in the West.

A Firm Policy toward the Mullahs

 

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, argued that the Iranian regime must face consequences for its past actions in order to prevent such attacks. She urged the U.S. and E.U. to adopt a firm policy against the mullahs, including the blacklisting of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and the expulsion of regime intelligence agents.

“The mullahs must understand that their terrorist activities will have serious consequences and that Europe will not tolerate such malign activities as it is determined to fight against terrorism in all forms,” said Mrs. Rajavi.

Mrs. Rajavi’s comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the “very real” threat posed by Iran at the Davos World Economic Forum on Tuesday.

A History of Terrorist Activities

 

In 2018, the Iranian regime was responsible for a number of attempted terrorist actions and foiled attacks on foreign soil.

In March, two Iranian agents posing as journalists were arrested in Albania with a truck loaded with explosives. The truck was set to be detonated at the MEK headquarters in Tirana (Ashraf 3), which is home to 3,000 MEK members. The bombing was to coincide with the MEK’s celebration of the Persian New Year (Nowruz).

Terrorist Plots by Iranian Regime Threaten MEK and NCRI Groups Abroad

On June 30th, German authorities arrested an Iranian couple posing as MEK members with 500 grams of TATP explosives in their possession. They were en route to the annual gathering of the NCRI, which was attended by tens of thousands of MEK members, as well as hundreds of international politicians, world leaders, and dignitaries. Regime diplomat Assadollah Assadi was arrested later that day for masterminding the attack and supplying the explosives. He is currently standing trial on terrorist charges in Belgium, along with the Iranian couple and another man who was arrested outside of the gathering.

 

In August, two Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents, Ahmadreza Mohammadi Doostdar and Majid Ghorbani, were arrested in the United States for spying on MEK members on behalf of the Iranian regime.

 

In October, an Iranian-Norwegian citizen was arrested in Denmark for a failed attack on an Iranian dissident.

The E.U. Takes Action

On January 8, 2019, the European Union decided to take action against the Iranian regime in response to some of its most egregious terrorist actions in 2018, which was a marked departure from its usual policy of appeasement toward the mullahs at all costs. The E.U. added the MOIS and its Director General, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, to its terror list. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen called the action “a huge victory.”

“No other country’s intelligence services are on the terror list. So it’s a very clear signal we send to Iran today,” Samuelsen declared.

Small Steps

Elham Zanjani and Elahe Arj from the Women’s Committee of the NCRI said that these actions are only the first steps toward ending the policy of appeasement. They said, “While all signals are calling for an alert with the rise of the mullah’s state terrorism, the decision of European governments is a positive step to counter these, but more needs to be done. For years, western governments had adopted the policy of appeasement of the mullahs but the time is over for the policy of appeasement.”

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Maryam Rajavi joins the panel of speakers in Tirana Conference

Iranian Communities Simultaneous Conference Demand Hault on Iran’s Terrorism

Maryam Rajavi joins the panel of speakers in Tirana Conference

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition, arrives at the main conference hall in Tirana, Albania. Rajavi greets distinguished speakers of the conference before joining them on the panel.

On Saturday, December 15th, the Iranian Communities, supporters of the MEK, held a joint video conference in 42 cities across Europe, North America, and Australia. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the ongoing popular protests in Iran and the regime’s terrorist actions against the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi gave the keynote address. Speaking to the Iranian communities, she said:

“The regime’s recourse to terrorism is not a transient or tactical reaction, but a strategic outlet for it to confront the uprisings and its overthrow. Today, the regime makes use of terrorism to confronting the Iranian people’s uprisings. The arrests and expulsions of the regime’s diplomat-terrorists and terrorists with ties to their embassies show that the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the terrorist Quds Force, the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), the Foreign Ministry, and the regime’s embassies are all parts of the clerical regime’s terrorist network.”

https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_Eng/status/1074046440949862401

Mrs. Rajavi called for the international community to adopt a firm approach toward the Iranian regime. She said:

“The IRGC, the MOIS, and the regime’s state propaganda machine must be placed on the U.S. List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and the terror list of the European Union. The regime’s financial lifelines which fund Khamenei’s apparatus, the IRGC and the terrorist Quds Force must be blocked. And the dossier of the regime’s continuing crimes against humanity must be referred to the UN Security Council, and Khamenei, Rouhani and other regime leaders must face justice.”

https://twitter.com/iran_policy/status/1074225349062475776

Rajavi then urged the international community to end the policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime.

“If you don’t want to stand by the people of Iran, at least do not victimize your own citizens’ security. Why do you aid a regime that poses threats to European capitals? This is our word: Respect the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime and establish freedom and democracy. Let the hands of this criminal regime be cut off from Iran’s oil revenues which is our national asset. Every barrel of oil the regime sells is a lash on the back of the people of Iran and a bullet piercing the heart of the people of the region. The regime’s successive missile tests aim at nothing but blackmailing and threatening regional and global peace,”.

Mrs. Rajavi directly addressed the MEK resistance units who have organized and led the protest movement in her speech, saying:

“Today, the regime’s existence is more than ever in danger. Iran’s society is also more prepared than any other time and simmering. The establishment of a free Iran is on the shoulders of the Iranian people and Resistance. It is your willpower that is going to determine how the present volatile conditions will evolve into the overthrow of the mullahs’ dictatorship. The secret to victory is the united struggle of the people of Iran and the evolution of uprisings pioneered by resistance units and councils.”

Mr. Patrick Kennedy has been a longtime supporter of the MEK and the Iranian Resistance. In his speech, he spoke about the bipartisan support for the Iranian Resistance within the United States. He said:

“Contrary to the Iranian regime’s propaganda, both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. are united in supporting a firm policy on Iran and to stand with the Iranian people in their desire for change and to have a republic based on free election, separation of religion and state and gender equality. It is within this context that we support Maryam Rajavi and her ten-point declaration for a free Iran. The regime’s propaganda against the MEK, echoed sometimes in the Western media, is the best sign of regime’s fear of the MEK’s popularity in Iran and its role in the anti-regime protests. It is time for Europe to also stand up to regime’s growing terrorism in Europe and its malign activities in the region.”

Former Colombian Presidential Candidate, Ingrid Betancourt spoke about the need for European governments to adopt a firm approach toward the Iranian regime in light of its terrorist activities, saying: “Over the past year the Iranian regime has increased its terrorist activities in Europe and simultaneously, intensified its propaganda against the MEK. This clearly shows the fear of the regime from the MEK and its decisive role in the continued anti-regime protests in Iran and their desire for regime change.  It is time the European governments adopt a firm policy against the regime and side with no ambiguity with the Iranian people. Finally, free Western media has to be alert in order to avoid spreading the dictator’s propaganda against democratic opposition.”

Representatives from over 300 Iranian associations across the world also spoke at the conference in order to reaffirm their support for the NCRI, the MEK, and Maryam Rajavi’s Ten-point Plan for re-establishing democracy in Iran after the fall of the mullahs’ regime.

In declaring their support for the MEK and its goal of restoring democratic rule to Iran, they said: “The Iranian Resistance, led by Mr. Massoud Rajavi, enjoys a broad social base of support in Iran, has a strong organization, offers a clear platform and has adopted progressive and democratic plans for future Iran. It is able to bring about regime change and is capable of transferring the sovereignty to people. They have unique capacities and potentials for rebuilding future Iran, offer social justice, and returning hope and trust to a nation which has suffered numerous treasons over the past 100 years and has been viciously suppressed and discriminated against under the dictatorships of the shahs and the mullahs.”

They went on to say: “It is because of these capacities that the clerical regime considers this Resistance as its only existential threat, and in addition to brutal suppression inside Iran it is resorting to terrorism and carrying out extensive demonization and misinformation campaigns against the Iranian Resistance to justify and prepare the grounds for domestic suppression and terrorism abroad.”

Speakers and participants at the conference included President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Mrs. Maryam Rajavi; former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Patrick Kennedy; Minister of State for Diaspora and former Prime Minister of Albania Pandeli Majko; Republican Party Leader and former Albanian Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu; former Algerian Prime Minister Syed Ahmad Ghozali,; former Colombian Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt; Deputy Leader of the U.K. Liberal Democratic Party Lord Navnit Dholakia; French Governor and former Director of DST Yves Bonnet; Chair of the Committee on Equality of Men and Women in the Parliament of Romania Christina Luristina; Deputy Chair of the Financial Committee in the Senate of South Ireland Gerry Horkan; Member of Italian Parliament Antonio Tasso; and Member of the Norwegian Parliamentary Judiciary Committee Peter Eide. A number of other politicians, legal, and religious figures also attended the conference, as well as members of the Iranian communities.

The conference was held in 42 cities including Ashraf 3, the MEK camp in Albania; Brussels, Belgium; Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, Canada; Copenhagen and Arhus, Denmark;  London, Liverpool, Bristol, Sheffield and Birmingham, U.K.; Helsinki and Turku, Finland; Paris, France, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt, Germany; Rome, Italy; Luxembourg, Luxembourg; The Hague, Zwolle, and Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway; Bucharest, Romania, Zurich, Switzerland; Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Boras, and Solleftea, Sweden; Washington, D.C., Berkeley, Orange County, Atlanta, and Dallas, U.S.; Vienna, Austria; and Sydney, Australia.

Staff Writer

 

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