Posts Tagged ‘Maryam Rajavi’

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran Protests,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Former Vice-President of European Parliament Urges the West to Take Stronger Action Against the Iranian Regime

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament and the president of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, wrote an op-ed for Eurasia Review on the need for international sanctions against Iran.

Vidal-Quadras outlined the European Union’s recent decision to impose sanctions against the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) after it plotted an assassination attempt against an Iranian dissident living in Copenhagen.

He also charted the string of terror plots that have emerged from the MOIS over the last 12 months, including a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb at an event in Paris, and the arrest of two Iranian operatives that planned to attack a compound in Albania where 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) live.

Following the attempted terror attacks, France expelled several diplomats and froze MOIS assets. An Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind behind the foiled plot, Assadollah Assadi, is awaiting prosecution in Belgium.

The French Government Seizes Iranian Assets Over This Summer’s Foiled Terror Attack

The resulting investigation launched by French authorities found that senior members of the Iranian leadership were behind the Paris plot. It found that the Iranian regime’s diplomatic infrastructure, including European embassies and consulate buildings, had been involved in the planning process and harbored terrorists who would carry out the attacks.

Vidal-Quadras quotes a Belgian judiciary official who told reporters,

“nearly all Iranian diplomats in Europe are in fact members of the Iranian secret service.”

A Move Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition

Following the EU’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be imposing sanctions against the MOIS, “the NCRI quickly released a statement calling for further action,” Vidal-Quadras writes.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI, is the umbrella group of the MEK and, along with its leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, is one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian regime.

Its statement in response to the EU sanctions read,

“it is time for the EU to adopt a firm policy towards the mullah’s regime by expelling all of its mercenaries and agents from Europe.”

https://twitter.com/amsafavi/status/1085116260680126464

The First Step Towards Meaningful Action

Vidal-Quadras echoed the words of the MEK and the Iranian opposition. He called the sanctions, “a positive sign,” and, “a symbol of an ongoing trend toward greater recognition of the Iranian threat.”

However, Vidal-Quadras acknowledged that “that trend is still proceeding at too slow a pace. Meanwhile, the danger is growing much more quickly.” He cited the presence of further terrorist plots targeting Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany that were disrupted in 2018. He said, “Europe cannot count on its luck holding out over the long term, especially if lawmakers fail to take measures that will truly disrupt the regime’s terrorist infrastructure.”

The terror attacks have been targeted against the MEK and the Iranian resistance movement. As domestic protests increase in volume and intensity, the Iranian regime is lashing out at the MEK abroad. As a result, Vidal-Quadras says,

“the clerical regime is desperate to undermine any and all networks of support for domestic activism.”

“Under these circumstances,” Vidal-Quadras continued, “Iranian expatriate communities in every corner of the world are potential targets, and their host countries are in severe danger of suffering collateral damage alongside the dire insult of having their autonomy violated by terrorists dispatched by the Iranian government.”

It is in this context that Vidal-Quadras calls for “the expulsion of Iranian diplomats, the implementation of stronger sanctions, and other such firm policies.” He argues, these measures, “will not only help defend the Western world against Iran-backed terrorism, but it will also help the Iranian people to even more strongly assert their demands for civic freedoms and democratic governance.”

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Maryam Rajavi visits the European Parliamen

Former European Minister of Poland Calls on International Community to Support MEK in Op-Ed

Maryam Rajavi visits the European Parliamen

European Lawmakers led by , Ryszard Czarnecki the then Vice President of the European Parliament receive Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Opposition for a meeting on the occasion of the Human Rights Day in the European Parliament-06 December 2017

On Tuesday, January 15th, a former European Minister of Poland and sitting Member of the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, penned an op-ed for International Policy Digest. The piece, entitled ‘Western Leaders Must Join Iranian Activists in Recognizing Their Movement’s Potential’, calls on governments around the world to lend their support to the only viable democratic alternative in Iran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, which the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) is the principal member to.

A Mobilised Population

Czarnecki praised the work of the Iranian resistance units operating inside Iran to promote the Iranian resistance movement. They have worked tirelessly, “placing posters in public places throughout Tehran and other cities, identifying martyrs by name and reiterating the slogans associated with their cause.”

The President-elect Maryam Rajavi was acutely aware of the capabilities of the resistance cells in Iran. Last year, she predicted a “year full of uprisings.” 2018 lived up to her predictions.

In 2018, there were a total of 9,596 individual protests, affecting all 31 of Iran’s provinces and more than 142 towns and cities.

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

As Maryam Rajavi predicted, 2018 was a pivotal moment for the Iranian opposition movement. For the first time, the mullahs seemed to acknowledge that the MEK was behind the surge in opposition protests. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei blamed the MEK for the surge in street protests and pointed the finger at their shrewd use of social media to organise protests and connect their supporters as the source of their influence.

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

This represented a break from the regime’s traditional propaganda narrative which had maintained that the MEK was a fringe movement, with little to no support within Iran, “and incapable of affecting change on a large scale,” Czarnecki writes.

2019 is unlikely to provide the mullahs with any respite. In the opening days of the year, bank customers, municipal workers, and car buyers took to the streets to protest. The regime’s failure to address the economic crisis and its “chronic inattention to public welfare,” means that the conditions that gave rise to the protests in 2018 are still very much present in the Iranian landscape in 2019.

However, Czarnecki writes, “what is much less clear is whether the international community will prove similarly responsive.”

The Iranian Regime is a Threat to Western Democracy

The Iranian regime’s policies do not play out in a bubble and are not limited to Iran. The mullahs desire to influence regional politics make the clerical regime a threat to Western democracies and their national security interest.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is active across the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The mullahs have also been accused of funnelling money and weapons to militia groups across the region.

Czarnecki predicts, “the footprint of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will deepen all across the Middle East, and can affect the situation in the West, where foreign supporters of the PMOI (MEK) were targeted several times over the past year.”

Czarnecki is referring to the high-profile terrorist attacks that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) planned in Paris, Albania, and the US, and the assassination plots that unfolded in the Netherlands and Denmark.

The regime has demonstrated that its actions are not limited to Iran, but place citizens from across the West at risk.

“The situation demands international attention, particularly in the form of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation aimed at limiting the regime’s ability to project force beyond its borders and to crack down on dissent inside them,” Czarnecki writes.

The work of the MEK’s resistance units offers an opportunity for international opponents to the Iranian regime to facilitate meaningful change in Iran. While the protest movement is expanding, the Iranian regime is in a vulnerable position. Should the MEK receive “earnest and sustained support from the international community,” Czarnecki writes, “it may soon be able to achieve the long-sought goal of regime change.”

Staff Writer

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MEK Rally in London

Friday Prayer Leaders Express Fear of MEK in Dire Warnings about Protests

MEK Rally in London

Supporters of MEK, during a rally in London in support of the uprisings in Iran.

The clerical regime in Iran uses a variety of tactics to spread propaganda amongst the people. One of its most insidious methods is the use of Friday prayer leaders. Each week, these men use the guise of religion to promulgate the talking points of the mullahs.

As it has become clear that the protests that have been taking place across the country for over a year are not going to stop because of the regime’s efforts to intimidate and suppress the people, Friday prayer leaders have stepped up their warnings about the MEK and its role in the ongoing efforts to bring back democracy in Iran. In the process, the leaders have exposed the regime’s fear of the popular uprising and its potential to topple the theocratic regime.

MEK Network: Fact Sheet on Protest Suppression

“Plans of the Enemy”

Over the past few weeks, this phenomenon has been particularly pronounced. Friday prayer leaders have referred to the “plans of the enemy” and “uprisings by the disenchanted population” against the Iranian regime.

Mohammad Taghi Keramati, Golpaygan’s Friday prayer leader described an enemy who wants to “destroy the roots of the establishment.” Despite these ominous words, he said that officials should not be afraid and lose their resolve in the face of this enemy.

Ghorbanali Dori Najafabadi, Arak’s Friday prayer leader, named the MEK as the enemy of the Iranian regime in his sermon and said that the regime must “resist against the enemy with vigilance and awareness.”

Mohammad Reza Naseri, Yazd’s Friday prayer leader, said in his sermon that regime officials should be cautious about believing rumors. “The enemy intends to cause mistrust in officials and the goals of the revolution through rumors,” he warned in a sermon that was streamed on social media.

Fear of the MEK

Some prayer leaders sought to hide their anxiety about the upheaval taking place around the country by expressing relief that the Islamic Republic still stands.

Hormozgan’s Friday prayer leader, Gholamali Naeem Abadi, said, “As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Revolution, all the enemies who prayed for the destruction of the establishment have themselves been destroyed.” (It is worth noting that the MEK has not, in fact, been destroyed, and the regime and all of its officials and prayer leaders are abundantly aware of this, as are the Iranian people.)

Yusef Ghassemi, Kangan’s Friday prayer leader was less celebratory. “As Iran puts the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution behind, the enemies are trying to push protests toward strife by assembling working groups,” he said.

MEK Resistance Units Are Organizing a Revolution

Villainizing the MEK Abroad

Yet another common thread among Friday prayer leaders’ sermons has been a fixation with the MEK’s activities abroad. Mohammad Ali Ale Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday prayer leader, said that the MEK is “a group that has disagreed with the principles of the Islamic Republic for four decades and is seeking its collapse.” He described the MEK’s activities in Europe as a cause for concern and demanded that the European Union “respond to the Iranian people about harboring [MEK members].”

 

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Maryam Rajavi's quote on Fox News

Iran’s Regime is “a Lot Weaker Than You Would Expect”

Maryam Rajavi's quote on Fox News

Fox news quoting Maryam Rajavi, leader of Iran opposition in response to recent remarks by Secretary Pompeo emphasizing an end to the U.S. policy of appeasement towards the mullahs in Iran.

During coverage of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s nine-nation tour of the Middle East, Fox News aired Pompeo’s speech he made on Friday, January 11th.

In the speech, the Secretary of State denounced the Iranian regime’s “malign activity” as “creating enormous instability here in the region”. Pompeo announced that the US would arrange a world summit on Iran, to be held in Poland in February 2019, where the international community would explore avenues of curbing the regime’s influence in the region.

Fox News interviewed Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who spoke about his recent visit to the Middle East and meetings he had with top leaders in the region.

Dubowitz described leaders’ concerns about the Iranian regime and its “destructive and malign activities.”

He said, “dozens of countries, including the Europeans, understand, the Iranian regime is engaged in assassinations, support for terrorism, and building ballistic missiles,” he continued, “not to mention brutal human rights abuses within Iran.”

MEK, The Largest Opposition Group

Fox News then aired footage of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering, held outside Paris. Eric Shawn, the Fox News host, described how the Iranian regime had plotted to bomb the event, attended by more than 100,000 MEK supporters and allies from across the world.

The French Government Confirms “Without any Doubt” the Iranian Regime was Behind the Foiled Terror Attack

Shawn pointed out that among those in attendance were several former US officials, including Trump’s lawyer and former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who, Shawn said, “speak every year,” at the event.

Fox News aired comments from the Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi, in response to Pompeo’s speech in Cairo. Mrs. Rajavi said,

“the US Secretary of State reiterated that when America partners with enemies such as the mullahs, ‘they advance’ gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, violations of human rights, export of fundamentalism, and terrorism,” which Ms. Rajavi says, “are the four pillars holding up the theocratic regime ruling Iran.”

Maryam Rajavi President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), emphasized, “the ultimate solution for discarding the mullahs’ religious fascism is changing this illegitimate regime at the hands of the Iranian people and Resistance.”

Shawn put the question to Dubowitz, asking “can that ever be done?”

“These regimes are actually a lot weaker than you would expect,” Dubowitz asserted. “Hopefully within our lifetime, we will see the end of the Islamic Republic, which is the best guarantee for global security.”

 

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Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

An End of Appeasement and Realising a Democratic Iran

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

Archive photo-Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition during a speech to the Paris conference, “Mullahs’ Regime in Crises”-December 16, 2017

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, made a speech in Cairo outlining the termination of the United States’ policy of appeasement towards the ruling mullahs in Iran. He said,

“we joined the Iranian people in calling for freedom and accountability”, adding, “the age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering.”

He reiterated the need to form strategic partnerships with the mullahs’ international enemies, suggesting that when these forces collaborated, they were able to “advance.”

Following his statement, Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian opposition, which includes the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK),  welcomed Pompeo’s announcement and welcomed an end to the policy of appeasement that has characterized US Iranian policy for decades.

She reiterated that the Iranian regime relied on a climate of fear, instilled by the accumulation of long-range weapons of mass destruction, violations of human rights at home, and the export of state-sponsored terrorism abroad.

Mrs. Rajavi asserted that the only way to end the religious fascism that has typified this regime is through the Iranian public and their unwavering pursuit of regime change.

She reiterated the importance of international governments and organizations recognizing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the only viable democratic alternative to the Iranian regime.

Maryam Rajavi calls for necessary steps to rectifying and ending the disastrous policy of appeasement

Maryam Rajavi and the MEK have long advocated for a transition to a democratic Iran. She has put together a ten-step plan to democracy that would ensure a smooth transition from the authoritarian dictatorship under the mullahs, to a free Iran governed by principles of a secular democracy.

Maryam Rajavi and the MEK advocate the following measures to help bring democratic governance to Iran:

  1. International recognition of the Iranian people’s right to overthrow the mullahs’ fascist dictatorship and remove themselves from the shackles of the repressive regime.
  2. The addition of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) on EU and US terrorist entity lists.
  3. The expulsion of Iranian regime agents from the US and Europe.
  4. The referral of Iranian human rights violations to the UN Security Council.
  5. The opening of an international tribunal to investigate the murder of 30,000 political dissidents in the summer of 1988.
  6. The removal of the Iranian clerical regime from the UN and the immediate recognition of representation of the people’s just Resistance.
  7. The expulsion of the Iranian regime’s forces from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.
  8. Compelling the government of Iraq to pay compensation for the properties, equipment, arms, and camps the PMOI/MEK and the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), which had fully paid for them and whose evidentiary documents are available.

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1988 Massacre,Human Rights,Iran human rights,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Torture in Iran

No to torture Banner

Report Marks 40 Years of Torture

No to torture Banner

The sign held in MEK supporters’ rally in Canada, protesting the violations of human rights in Iran.

Iran News Wire recently published a report on the Iranian regime’s widespread use of torture in its four decades in power.

Despite the regime adamantly denying using torture methods, the report highlighted the role flogging plays in the Iranian penal code. The clerical regime has made flogging a punishment for more than 100 offenses. The punishment method has been entrenched in the regime’s justice system and dished out in a multitude of cases.

Torture as an Interrogation Method

Iran News Wire reported that torture has been used in interrogations since the 1980s. Reports have consistently shown that regime agents routinely use physical torture methods to force confessions from prisoners.

The Iranian public also has limited legal protections and recourses available should they receive torture at the hands of the regime. They are unable to take their complaints to any legal authority and the regime is free to carry out torture without ramification.

Esmail Bakshi, a labor activist who recently recounted the torture he experienced in regime custody, is now facing charges from the regime for publicly reporting his ordeal. The activist told the world in an Instagram post that regime agents tortured him “to the brink of death,” over a period of thirty days.

Torture and Execution in the 1980s

In the early days of the Islamic Republic, the regime adopted violent and abusive torture methods. In 1988, the regime tortured and executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, mainly supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), a political opposition group.

In a recent report from Amnesty International, investigators concluded, “by concealing the fate and whereabouts of thousands of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and secretly executed in prison 30 years ago, Iranian authorities are continuing to commit crimes against humanity.”

Amnesty International Holds Press Conference Following its Landmark Report on 1988 Massacre

Those that were in regime custody in the 1980s have frequently called the period one of the darkest times in regime history. Torture was widespread and often brutal. Women reported being systematically raped before their execution.

Torture in the 21st Century

In the early 2000s, students became the object of much of the regime’s brutality and violence. Following a wave of student protests, many Iranian students were imprisoned and held in regime custody. Many have since shared their memories of torture and abuse at the hands of the regime’s agents.

In 2009, after protests erupted following contested elections, many activists and members of the Iranian resistance were arrested and taken to Kahrizak Detention Centre. There, many were raped, sexually abused, and physically and psychologically tortured.

At least 5 inmates died during torture sessions.

With a capacity of 50 prisoners, Kahrizak was filled with hundreds of inmates. Eyewitnesses report limited ventilation and toilet facilities. They recount that guards beat them with metal bars, electrocuted them, sexually abused them with batons, and forced them to urinate on other bound prisoners.

More recently, since 2010, the rise of technology has offered an even clearer glimpse into the regime’s use of torture. Those detained are able to write about their experiences in online blogs.

These blogs have indicated that the regime has focused its energies on psychological torture methods in recent years. It has routine employed sustained solitary confinement as a torture method, as well as the harassment of families of those imprisoned.

Agents have withheld medical treatment, including for those suffering from cancer. Rape is also still widely used as an intimidation and torture method.

Following the nationwide uprising in December 2017 and January 2018, dozens of prisoners perished in regime custody while undergoing torture. The regime attempted to hide their murders by claiming the prisoners were drug addicts and had committed suicide in prison, however, few have been persuaded by this narrative.

After 40 years, Iran’s citizens are tired of the regime’s rampant use of torture and human rights abuses. They are making their voices heard and standing up to this brutal and abhorrent regime.

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Javad Zarif,, Iranian regime's FM

Europe’s Sanctions Are Welcome, Now A Change In Policies Is Required.

Javad Zarif,, Iranian regime's FM

Javad Zarif, Iranian regime’s top diplomat, whose staff have now been arrested or expelled from several European countries, attacks EU as a escape goat to justify acts of terrorism in EU soil.

Europe introduced its own set of sanctions against Iran in what represented a small shift in policy towards the Iranian regime. Not since before the Iran nuclear deal has Europe employed sanctions against the Iranian Regime. The move signifies that European leaders may finally be awakening to the fact that the Iran nuclear deal has not altered Iran’s behavior and the Iranian regime is still the worlds leading state sponsor of terrorism.

The sanctions are rooted in the terrorist threat Iranian regime poses

In 2018, the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorist machine increased its output dramatically. In March, a pair of Iranian regime agents were detained in Albania after it emerged the regime has orchestrated a bomb attack against the members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the principal opposition group living in exile outside the Albanian capital of Tirana.

Shortly afterward, in June, the regime launched its most ambitious plan of the year. An Iranian diplomat working out of the regime’s embassy in Vienna provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with explosives and sent them to Paris to detonate a bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering.

The French Government Confirms “Without any Doubt” the Iranian Regime was Behind the Foiled Terror Attack

The event was attended by more than 100,000 people, including dignitaries from the UK, the US, France, Germany, and Italy, amongst other nations. Belgian authorities foiled the attack at the eleventh hour, preventing hundreds and thousands of potential deaths. Following the attack, the French government froze assets belonging to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and expelled two diplomats from the country.

In October, Denmark announced that it had discovered an Iranian plot to assassinate a political dissident living on Danish soil. The revelation prompted an outcry among the Danish public as protestors gathered in the capital to call for a firm response to Iranian aggression.

Protestors Gather in Copenhagen to Call for a Firm Response to Iranian Aggression

Most recently, the Dutch government revealed that it believes the Iranian government was behind the assassination of two Dutch citizens. The Dutch government said this week that it had evidence that the Iranian government had hired hitmen to carry out the assassinations.

Europe’s sanctions target the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS)

Europe’s latest sanctions target the MOIS, including the director general of the Iranian intelligence agency, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. The targets have had their European assets frozen and have been added to Europe’s terror list.

In response to the announcement, Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while admitting the regime’s role in terrorist attempts attacked the EU as regime’s usual way, to avoid responding to the crimes it has committed. Wall Street Journal Editorial, on its Wednesday Jauary 9 edition, writes:

“The new sanctions target an Iranian intelligence unit and two of its agents, including deputy minister and director general of intelligence Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. They have been added to Europe’s terror list and their assets will be frozen. Iranian Foregin Minister Javad Zarif on Twitter tried to justiry the attacks: “Accusing Iran won’t absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorist”- his preferred word for anyone who opposes the regime.”

What is the next step?

While the sanctions against the MOIS unit and senior officials in the department are welcome, they will not stop the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities.

To protect its citizens and national security interests, Europe must follow up with firmer action. Continuing to do business with the Iranian regime, whose economy is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other repressive organizations, any trade in Iranian markets will indirectly fund terrorist activities, including similar attempts trying to target the opposition.

The regime has demonstrated that it has little or no regard for foreign sovereignty or the safety of European citizens. It will use terrorism as a weapon against its enemies, regardless of who is hurt or killed in the process.

The Iranian opposition has recommended blacklisting the MOIS and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, closing Iran’s embassies on European soil, refraining from issuing visas to the regime leadership, expelling Iranian agents and mercenaries, and ending ministerial meetings between European and Iranian officials.

The Iranian Resistance Outlines Strategies for Confronting the Regime’s Terror Activites

Expelling Iranian diplomats and closing Iranian diplomatic offices and buildings must become a priority. Investigations in the wake of the 2018 terror attacks demonstrated that Iranian embassies on foreign soil were hotbeds of terror activities and were instrumental in the planning and execution of terror attacks.

Europe should follow their sanctions against the MOIS with tough economic sanctions, restricting Iranian trade and preventing companies from doing business with the ruthless and repressive regime.

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Ahvaz Protests,Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory workers strike,Human Rights,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

December’s Human Rights Report: Escalating Brutality and Crackdowns

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

The University of Azad Bus incident that resulted in ten university students getting killed, and sparked large protests by students against the regime’s mismanagement and carelessness

On Monday, Iran Human Rights Monitor released its December report on human rights conditions in Iran. December was a brutal month in Iran due to the regime’s crackdown on political protests and strikes. In addition, the regime’s crumbling economy manifested on the deaths of several students this month.

Student Deaths

According to state-run media, four young girls died in a fire at an all-girls preschool and elementary school in Zahedan on December 18th. A fourth girl died later in a hospital from her injuries.

Several days later, a bus accident killed ten students from Azad University’s Science and Research Center in Tehran and injured 28 more. The bus swerved off of a mountainous road, crashing into a cement barrier. University students blame the accident on the school’s aging fleet of buses.

Tehran Students Demand Accountability for Bus Crash in Third Day of Protests

Regime officials have been faulted for allowing the unsafe conditions which led to both deadly incidents.

Executions

The Human Rights Monitor Report lists 23 executions during the month of December. Those executions include:

  • 3 public executions in Shiraz;
  • a mass execution of 12 prisoners in Kerman;
  • the hanging execution of a 25-year-old woman. She is the 86th woman to be executed during Rouhani’s presidency.

The Iranian Supreme Court upheld the sentence of a juvenile offender who was sentenced to death at the age of 14.

Freedom of Speech and Assembly

An increase in protest activity in the month of December led to a crackdown on political activism by the Iranian regime. The MEK reported on a number of arrests of protesting steelworkers and factory workers in the province of Ahvaz in December. The workers were striking in protest of months of unpaid wages.

Further Arrests Follow the Second Night of Raids in Ahvaz

Security forces arrested at least 41 striking workers from the Ahvaz National Steel Group in a series of midnight raids on the workers’ houses. Workers were violently dragged from their homes, according to Iran’s Free Labor Union (FLU).

35 of the workers were later released, but seven remain in custody in Sheyban prison in Ahvaz.

Ali Nejati, a labor activist for the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workers, was violently arrested and beaten for “disrupting public order” and “spreading propaganda” against the Iranian government after participating in the sugarcane factory workers’ strikes. Nejati suffers from a heart condition.

Torture, Inhumane, and Degrading Punishment

The Human Rights Monitor Report listed several instances of cruel punishments by the Iranian regime. Fifteen workers from the Ilam Petrochemical Plant were sentenced to prison terms and lashes for “disrupting public order and peace” after participating in a sit-in outside of the factory. The workers were protesting the factory’s refusal to hire local workers and the layoffs of eleven experienced workers from the plant.

Poet, satirist and Telegram channel administrator Mohammad Hossein Sodagar was publicly flogged after being convicted of “dissemination of false information.” He received 74 lashes.

According to the state-run IRIB news agency, another unnamed man was publicly flogged in Zeberkhan District after being convicted of drug charges.

Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, political activist Vahid Sayadi Nasiri died in prison after a 60-day hunger strike. Nasiri had been imprisoned repeatedly due to his social media posts and charged with “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the state.”

He began his hunger strike in October in protest of the conditions at the prison and his lack of access to a lawyer. He also said that he was being held along with ordinary criminals, which is a violation of his rights as a political prisoner. Nasiri was taken to the hospital before his death, according to reports.

Denial of Medical Treatment

Political prisoner Saeed Shirzad is being denied needed medical care, according to the Human Rights Monitor Report, and may lose a kidney as a result. Doctors at Rajaee Shahr Prison, where he has been held for the past three years, say that one of his kidneys has shrunk and the other has developed a cyst. His requests for hospitalization have thus far been denied.

Lack of Due Process

The regime’s Appeals Court upheld the conviction against Mohammad Habibi, a member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) for “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state” and “disturbing public order,” according to the Human Rights Monitor.

Habibi will have to serve at least 7.5 years of his 10.5-year sentence. He was also sentenced to 74 lashes and two years’ abstinence from political and social activities and was prohibited from leaving the country for two years.
Gonabadi Dervish lawyer Mostafa Daneshjoo was sentenced to eight years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security, disturbing public opinion, and spreading propaganda against the system.”

Indefinite solitary confinement

Iran Human Rights Monitor received information that guards at Zahedan Central Prison in Iran’s Baluchistan Province broke the legs of political prisoner Arzhang Davoudi. The guards reportedly threw him down a staircase while torturing him, breaking his legs.

Doctors have said the 65-year-old prisoner will not be able to walk again.

Freedom of Religion and Belief

Baha’is

Yekta Fahandej Sa’di was given an 11 year 9-month sentence for practicing her Baha’i religious beliefs by a preliminary court in the city of Shiraz. She was convicted on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”

Baha’i faith member Ali Ahmadi was arrested for the third time. Ahmadi was charged with “propaganda against the state” for having a holy book in his home. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at the Kachouie Detention Center in Sari.

Christians

According to the Human Rights Monitor, Christians in Iran faced a severe crackdown around the Christmas holiday. 114 Christians were arrested in December, many of whom had converted from Islam.

According to Open Doors UK, those who were arrested had to report a history of their Christian activities and cut ties with Christian groups.

Persecution of Ethnic Minorities

Arabs

According to the Human Rights Monitor, regime authorities arrested at least twelve Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan Province in December. Most of the detainees were not allowed legal representation or allowed to contact their families.

Baluchis

At least three Baluchis were killed while smuggling gas and oil in Sistan-Baluchistan Province. High unemployment in the province has forced many people to smuggle gas in order to get by.

Kurds

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, more than 20 Kurds were arrested in Kurdistan in December. Kurdish human rights activists report that some of those who were arrested for cooperating with Kurdish opposition parties were taken to the Revolutionary Guard’s al-Mahdi barracks detention center.

 

Security forces killed at least five porters through direct fire and wounded another 13.

Gender Discrimination

A bill to increase the marriage age in Iran was rejected in Parliament. The bill would have banned marriages for girls under the age of 13 and for boys under the age of 16. Girls between the ages of 13 and 16 would need parental and judicial consent to marry. The bill fail due to “religious and social deficiencies,” according to Allahyar Malekshahi, Chair of the Judicial and Legal Committee of the regime’s parliament.

Human Rights Attorneys

The Human Rights Monitor report listed a number of arrests and convictions of human rights lawyers in Iran during the month of December.

Human rights lawyers Qasem Sholehsadi and Arash Keykhosravi were sentenced to six years in prison after being arrested at a gathering in front of the regime’s parliament in August, according to the ISNA news agency.

Human rights lawyer Mohammad Najafi, who is currently serving a three-year sentence for exposing torture in Iran’s prisons, was sentenced to an additional 13 years for an additional two charges.

Human rights lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi has been detained by regime authorities since November 20th in Evin Prison and denied access to his attorney. His attorney believes that the charges against him are “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.” He may also be charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security.”

The MEK and Iranian Opposition have made repeated calls for the international community to take action against the theocratic regime to end its brutal human rights violations. It is clear that these atrocities will not stop until the regime is toppled and Iran is free.

Staff Writer

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Ahvaz Steel Workers continue their protests in the its 2nd month

The MEK’s Resistance Units are Breathing New Life into Iran’s Opposition Movement

Ahvaz Steel Workers continue their protests in the its 2nd month

Archive Photo-The second week of protest by Ahvaz Steelworkers against the repressive regime.

On Sunday, January 6th, Hassan Mahmoudi penned a piece for tsarism exploring the leaders of the Iranian protest movement. The piece, entitled ‘Who is Leading and Organizing the Iranian Strikes’, looked at the escalating protest movement in Iran and the driving forces behind the expanding opposition movement.

Mahmoudi began, “over the past 12 months, a single week hasn’t passed where some sort of protest and demonstration has not taken place somewhere in the country.”

He describes how dissent and public fury has seeped across Iranian industries, bringing truckers, market stall owners, teachers, sugar workers, steelworkers, and farmers into the streets in protest. “Virtually every Iranian group and community has expressed its discontent with the current political structure,” Mahmoudi says.

Their grievances have been wide-ranging, but several themes have reared their heads in the Iranian workforce time and time again; corruption, economic mismanagement, unpaid wages, inflation, and reduced Iranian purchasing power.

In typical regime fashion, the mullahs have responded to the growing protests with violence and repression. Most recently, Esmail Bakshi, one of the labor activists arrested in Shush during the strikes carried out by the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workforce, endured extensive physical and psychological torture in regime custody. His injuries were so severe he had to be transferred to hospital.

At a protest among farmers in Isfahan on January 2nd, regime agents used tear gas and fired live rounds in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowds, and earlier in the year, when Iran’s truck drivers were striking, the regime threatened them with imprisonment and even execution.

The Organizing Force Behind Iran’s Protest Movement

While many regime officials still dismiss the protest organizers as “opportunists and anti-revolutionaries who want to take advantage of political turmoil inside the country,” there has been an increasing acceptance among the regime’s leadership of the reality that the Iranian opposition is a well-organized political force.

Members of Parliament like Naser Mousavi Larijani are beginning to point the finger at the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI / MEK), and the group is increasingly receiving coverage from the Iranian state-run media outlets.

The MEK has been relentless in their organization of protests. They publish details of protests through their social media outlets and have been putting up posters across the country.

MEK Resistance Units Are Organizing a Revolution

The group has an abundance of resistance units, from Tehran to Mashhad, Kermanshah, and Ahvaz. Many draw attention to the opulence that the regime leadership enjoys while much of the Iranian population struggles to put food on the table.

Mahmoudi quoted the prominent Iranian political scientist Dr. Behrouz Puyan in his article. Puyan said, “with conditions inside Iran and abroad changing dramatically, the MEK implemented its new strategy of launching resistance units,” he added, “by organizing and leading the Iranian uprising in an effective manner, resistance units are injecting a new life in the society and protestors on the streets.”

Staff Writer

 

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Ahvaz Steel workers protest

Steelworkers in Ahvaz Release a Statement Condemning the Regime’s Unlawful Arrests and Torture

Ahvaz Steel workers protest

The Ahvaz Steel workers protest against the lack of payment and regime’s repressive measure against protesting workers.

Following the arrest and torture of a number of their colleagues, the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) released a statement condemning the brutal acts of violence and aggression carried out at the behest of the Iranian regime.

In their statement, the workers lamented that their once-thriving factory in Ahvaz had been reduced to little more than a military base where regime agents summoned and threatened activists at their whim.

The group said that since 2016, it has witnessed despicable threatening behavior by regime security authorities, including, “arrests, prison, torture and preventing our colleagues from coming to work”.

The statement also highlighted the defiance and determination Iran’s brave steelworkers possessed to keep turning out to protest in the face of such aggression. The statement maintained that “these events haven’t prevented the noble workers of National Industrial Steel Group from pursuing their rights.”

The statement went on to accuse the regime of deliberately trying to shutter the group by deliberately placing military personnel in the factory and “gradually transforming INSIG from a production facility into a military base under the control of security and judiciary institutions.”

Months of Strikes

INSIG is Iran’s largest producer and exporter of steel and employs a significant portion of the Ahvaz workforce.

In recent months, this workforce has laid down their tools and left their place of work in a display of anger over unpaid wages, decreased workers’ rights, limited job security, and corruption amongst the company management.

The workers have referred to the company director and his allies as “the mafia” due to their extensive network of corruption and greed with little regard for the hardworking workforce that depends on the company for their livelihood.

Support from Across Iran

The steelworkers’ protests drew attention from across the Iranian population. Students in Tehran pledged their support to the workers, as did the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, mentioned the brave workers in her recent speech at a conference on December 15th. She said, “the brave steel workers of Ahvaz have incited more resistance and protests across the country.”

Out of fear that the steelworkers’ protest would spread to other segments of the Iranian population, the regime administered a violent crackdown against the striking INSIG workers.

Regime agents raided the properties of known protestors during the night and carted them off to prison where they face torture and inhumane conditions.

The INSIG statement read, “seven of our colleagues are still in prison. Meanwhile, authorities continue to summon and imprison more workers.”

They expressed their dismay but indicated that they would use the incidents to channel their anger and fuel their determination for further protests. “At first glance, it might seem that after our street protests were halted, our justice-seeking voices have been stifled. But rest assured that this isn’t the end of our struggle against tyranny and injustice and the mafia. By drawing lessons from the past and using the experience we’ve earned, we will soon return in full force.”

Staff Writer

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