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120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

Day Two of Conference at Ashraf-3 Features Speeches from International Dignitaries

120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

120 Years of Struggle by Iran’s People for Freedom – MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

The MEK hosted the second day of an international conference on Friday at Ashraf-3, the home of the Iranian Resistance’s headquarters in Albania. The conference, entitled “120 years of struggle of the Iranian people for freedom,” was attended by thousands of MEK members and prominent politicians and dignitaries from around the world.

The conference’s focus was to condemn the Iranian regime for its suppressive and inhuman actions at home and its terrorist activities abroad and to call on the international community to end the policy of appeasement that allowed the regime to act without consequences.

Speakers at the conference also emphasized that the international community must recognize the MEK and NCRI as the democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

The following are some of the highlights from the speeches at Friday’s event:

Maryam Rajavi

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

From Mrs. Rajavi’s keynote address:

“One of the missing links in previous movements of the Iranian people was a coherent organization and an organized struggle, coupled with a determined and battle-hardened force prepared to make any sacrifice necessary. As a result, the people’s previous struggles did not succeed despite all their sacrifices,” she said in reference to the failure of past uprisings.

Mrs. Rajavi also spoke about the many crimes perpetrated against the MEK by the mullahs’ regime.

“Despite all the crimes and massacres he committed, Khomeini failed to extinguish the flames of freedom. Over the past 40 years, 120,000 persons have given their lives for the cause of freedom. That includes the 30,000 people who were massacred in 1988 for insisting on their political identity as a member of the Mojahedin. Another half-a-million people were arrested and viciously tortured,” she said.

“The mullahs continued their crimes against Ashraf and Liberty by setting 22 deadlines in 10 years, through a medical blockade, through psychological torture using over 300 loudspeakers blaring into Ashraf for two years, and through 29 ground and aerial attacks, using armored vehicles and missile launchers, including the commission of seven bloodbaths and massacres,” she continued.

Mrs. Rajavi concluded on a hopeful note, saying, “But today, we have reached a historic turning point. An Ashraf which has once again risen up, proud and powerful, shining bright at the zenith of this Resistance. This Ashraf has been replicated 1000 times in the form of resistance units all over Iran. And a volatile society which is no longer willing to put up with the mullahs, yearning to overthrow them.”

Suda

MEK member and resident at Ashraf-3

“I grew up in Sweden and was about to travel to France to study, but a video that I’d seen couldn’t leave my mind; a video of someone being stoned to death in Iran. I saw myself at a crossroads. I could live my own life and fulfil my dreams or I could put everything aside and fulfil my people’s dreams. That’s why I joined the MEK, to live for others. I thank all of you for being with us,” she said.

Ingrid Betancourt

Former Colombian Senator and Presidential candidate

“It’s just amazing what the MEK has done to transform this place since the last time I visited. I am proud to be your friend,” said Ms. Betancourt. “Your decision to confront the tyranny and pay the highest price. This sacrifice today is bearing its fruit. I see that here in Ashraf 3. It’s a miracle. I have been with you for a couple of years and I am amazed by your support and your political savviness. As a woman, I feel very proud and that in the world there is no organization like the MEK that gives women this power.”

“We are making history today,” she added. “Your victory is our victory and we will be very soon with you in Tehran!” Ms. Betancourt proclaimed.

Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor

“There is an alternative to the theocracy and dictatorship in Iran. It is a government-in-exile, and it gives us the confidence that if we help overthrow the Iranian regime, there will be prosperity and democracy in Iran,” said the former mayor.

Giuliani referred to the numerous terrorist plots against the MEK by the Iranian regime in 2018, saying, “They tried to bomb us in the US. They tried to bomb us here in Tirana a year and a half ago. They tried to bomb us in Paris a year ago. They’re the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and we let them sit in the UN and talk to them like they’re decent people.”

“I thank Madam Maryam Rajavi for letting me be part of this, and this is something that I am proud of and probably my children will be proud of…I wish to have this meeting in Tehran before I die,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani encouraged the MEK to continue their struggle for freedom. “You keep trying and you fail, you keep trying and you fail, and then the Berlin Wall comes down. It will happen eventually, but let’s make it happen now before another 100,000 deaths,” he said.

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Former U.S. Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate

“You in the NCRI have given us the opportunity to be true to our national principles. When I’m here I feel that I’m representing the spirit of my great friend, the late Senator John McCain, who was warned by the establishment to stay away from this organization, but he spent time learning about it. He came to Ashraf 3, believing in this organization and its cause,” said Lieberman.

“Ashraf 3 has become something magnificent. Coming here and seeing this magnificent community that you’ve built is miraculous. It teaches us lessons,” he continued.

Lieberman praised the Ashrafis for their perseverance, saying, “The citizens of Ashraf never gave up despite the atrocities they faced imposed by the Iranian regime.”

He also talked about the exhibition of the history of MEK members who have been killed and persecuted by the Iranian regime that he and other speakers viewed before the conference began: “This exhibition, despite the mourning, is inspiring. And the whole story of the Ashrafis is inspiring,” he said.

“With the kind of leadership that the MEK and Maryam Rajavi are giving and will give in Iran; with the support of people from around the world who are represented here and with the resistance of the Iranian people inside of Iran, we will have a meeting some day in Iran and come together and have a great party,” Lieberman concluded.

Michèle Alliot-Marie

MEP; former French Foreign, Defense, Justice and Interior Minister

Alliot-Marie referenced the MEK memorial, saying, “I have to say that I’m very moved. What a contrast between the dramatic, horrifying images that we saw a few minutes ago. To be in contact with men and women who have given their lives for such a cause. To see what you have been able to achieve. You wish to give so much to the Iranian people.”

“You have people who have been tortured yet you still pave the path for freedom. This visit to Ashraf 3 was very moving for us,” she continued.

“I have the privilege of being able to speak and think freely. Yet I also know that today this liberty is not available everywhere across the globe,” Alliot-Marie said.

“We are also obliged to all people who are being subjugated to dictators around the world, and in Iran. We are here today, Mrs. Rajavi, to tell you that you are not alone,” she said.

“We have to give the Iranian people courage and the help they need so they can get their future back,” Alliot-Marie concluded.

Matthew Offord

MP (United Kingdom)

“You are the proof of a proud brave nation that will never succumb to the atrocities of the regime,” Offord said, addressing the MEK members at the conference.

“We have always argued that decoupling the regime’s human rights violations from the nuclear deal was a mistake,” he said.

“We have been proven right that there is no moderate faction inside the Iranian regime.” he added.

“There are two issues that we continue to raise in our debates,” Offord said:

  1. “We need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its atrocities in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.”
  2. “The U.K. government needs to blacklist the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and all its subsidiary as a terrorist organization.”

“This measure will signal to the Iranian people that they are not forgotten and we stand with them,” he emphasized.

Offord added, “We want to recognize the right of the Iranian people and the resistance led by Madame Maryam Rajavi to establish a democratic and free republic in Iran.”

“Iran’s current regime is not just a threat to the Iranian people but to the peace around the world,” he concluded.

General James Conway

Former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

“I participated in a policy panel in Ashraf 3 and we were invited to dinner with the ladies of Ashraf 3. And some of them shared with me their stories of sacrifice and suffering. What I saw last night in terms of the ability to endure loss and yet move on was the sense of unit cohesion and dedication to each other that was the same as you see in the military. The sense of mission and dedication to accomplish it, said General Conway.

“I’m absolutely confident that with those ladies, you will make your country free someday,” he added.

Ms. Mojgan Parsaie

Former MEK Secretary General

“The story of the supporters of Ashraf who helped rescue the MEK members is the story of honorable people,” said Ms. Parsaie.

“Time has shown that you stand on the right side of history. The future will show more appreciation,” she added.

“Mayor Giuliani was correct that the solution to Iran is not appeasement but regime change. Throughout history there are always tyrants and for a period they seem invincible. However, they all fall at the end. Always.” Ms. Parsaie concluded.

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A huge crowd of the supporters of MEK in Berlin

Maryam Rajavi to the World Leaders: Stop the Policy of Giving Concessions to Iran’s Religious Dictatorship

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi delivered a video address to the huge crowd of the supporters of the MEK in Berlin rally, calling on the need for a firm policy towards the Iranian regime.

“In this grand demonstration, the message to the world and the message to Europe, in particular, is this: stop the policy of giving concessions to the religious dictatorship. The policy of protecting the mullahs against being overthrown does not solve any of the problems of this regime.”

Mrs. Rajavi pointed out that thirty years of dialogue with the mullahs has led the regime to this terminal phase. She asked if the recent acts of belligerence were not enough to change the policy toward the regime.

Mrs. Rajavi discussed the foiled 2018 bombing of the Free Iran rally outside of Paris. German police arrested a regime diplomat for masterminding the attack and personally delivering the explosives which were to be used in the bombing. Before and after this, dozens of mercenaries of the MOIS were arrested and tried by the German judiciary for terrorist acts. “The question is why such significant incidents do not bring any change in Germany’s policy toward the Iranian regime.”

 

Mrs. Rajavi reiterated that the Iranian people do not want Western military intervention to overthrow the mullahs. “It is the job of the Army of Freedom and no one else,” she said.

“But what we must urge is that no one else keep the mullahs in power,” she added. Mrs. Rajavi enumerated some of the ways that the policy of appeasement has helped the mullahs maintain their power. The regime has avoided facing accountability for its actions, its embassies remain open, and its agents act without consequences.

 

Mrs. Rajavi called on Angela Merkel to stand up for human rights by forming a delegation to visit Iranian prisons and to insist that human rights declarations be enforced.

 

Mrs. Rajavi called on the international community to recognize the Iranian people’s right to overthrow the religious regime and to specifically recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the clerical dictatorship.

Mrs. Rajavi further called on the United Nations to take action on behalf of the Iranian people. “The dossier of the abuses of prisoners in the 1988 massacre of Iran must be forwarded to the United Nations Security Council,” she said.

“The United Nations Security Council must declare that the Iranian regime poses a global threat to peace and security,” she added.

 

Mrs. Rajavi concluded, “Yes, with the nation determined to overthrow the mullahs’ regime, your passion, and love of freedom, and with the resolve of Resistance Units in the battle waged by the Army of Freedom, Iran will be free! Iran will be free!”

Staff writer

 

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Iran's nuclear facilities

Regime Announces Latest Rollback to the Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran's nuclear facilities

The Iranian regime announced that it will begin the next phase of its rollback to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known as Iran Deal- June 17, 2019

The Iranian regime’s Atomic Energy Organization announced on Monday that it will begin the next phase of its rollback to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The regime will restart work at the Arak heavy water reactor facility as part of the latest reduction in its commitment to the deal.

The regime announced in April that it would no longer honor some of the terms of the JCPOA. Following this announcement, regime officials stated that Iran had quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.

On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, citing evidence that the regime was not in full compliance with its terms. The U.S. reimposed pre-2015 oil sanctions and tightened restrictions on imports of petrochemical products from the Iranian regime. Despite Europe’s efforts to save the deal, no country has been able to import oil without using the U.S. financial system and thus falling afoul of U.S. sanctions.

On the anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA this May, regime President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran was withdrawing from the JCPOA and would no longer honor the terms of the deal.

A report aired on state-run television reported the news. “The Supreme National Security Council issued a statement in which it declared to the member states of the JCPOA that starting today, May 8, 2019, Iran will stop its measures under the agreement and will give a 60-day window to the countries remaining in the deal to implement their commitments, especially in the domain of banking and oil,” said the report.

The statement by the regime’s Security Council specifically noted that it would no longer restrict its production of enriched uranium or adhere to the restrictions on its heavy water stockpile. It also threatened that the regime would respond if its nuclear dossier were to be presented to the United Nations Security Council.

European Leaders Respond to the Regime

European officials were quick to react to the regime’s actions. On May 9th, the UK, French, and German Foreign Ministers, along with the EU Foreign Policy Chief, issued a joint statement declaring that Europe would not accept the 60-day ultimatum offered by Iran. The statement also reminded the Iranian regime of its commitments under the terms of the JCPOA.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian went further, warned the regime that resumption of its nuclear program would place Iran in breach of the JCPOA.

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a press conference on May 9th in which he stated that the JCPOA should be strengthened with complementary agreements that would address the regime’s ballistic missile program and its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Surprise and Complaints from the Regime

The Iranian regime was unprepared for the strong reaction from European officials. Until the May 8th announcement, EU leaders had hoped to bypass U.S. sanctions with an alternative payment system known as INSTEX. The financial tool would have allowed oil transactions to pass from European countries to the Iranian regime without going through U.S. banking institutions.

When the regime did not get the expected appeasement from the EU, it resorted to resentful complaints about the failure of INSTEX. Keyhan, a representative of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote, “We shouldn’t expect Europe to have the will to even launch a useless financial channel.”

MEK sources inside Iran initially uncovered the regime’s nuclear program at great personal risk, leading to the pre-2015 sanctions. The MEK supports a non-nuclear Iran as part of its political platform.

Staff writer

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Ali Safavi

The Regime’s Crackdown on the MEK Only Serves to Demonstrate Its Effectiveness

Ali Safavi

Archive photo- Ali Safavi, member of NCRI’s FAC, during an interview with FoxNews- April 2019

Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee penned an op-ed article in Lima Charlie World. Within the piece, he demonstrates that the Iranian regime’s crackdown on the opposition movement stems from the movement’s rapidly increasing support among the Iranian people.

The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), Iran’s largest and most popular opposition group, has played a central role in organizing protests and mobilizing the Iranian public against the clerical regime.

A Group Under Attack

Its relentless commitment to protecting the human rights of Iranian people has put it in the regime’s crosshairs. As a result, the regime has sought to demonize, discredit, attack, murder and terrorize the MEK. In 2018, the regime launched a string of terror attacks and assassination attempts against the group.

The clerical regime attempted to bomb the group’s annual Grand Gathering in Paris, an event attended by more than 100,000 MEK supporters from across the world. In another incident, the regime attempted to bomb the MEK’s compound in Albania during the Iranian New Year celebrations.

“Tehran routinely refers to the MEK as an “existential threat” and subjects sympathizers to prison, torture, and death by hanging,” Safavi writes. He described how since 1979 the Iranian regime has executed more than 100,000 political opponents, many of whom were MEK members.

In the summer of 1988 alone, the regime systematically rounded up and executed more than 30,000 MEK members and sympathizers.

Unashamed

The regime has begun publicly acknowledging the threat the MEK poses to its future in power. Regime officials have also begun publicly referring to the violent crackdowns and efforts to curb the opposition’s activities.

In April 2019, Mahmoud Alavi, the Minister of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) publicly confirmed that the regime had “confronted” and “dealt with” 116 MEK resistance units across Iran in the last twelve months.

Later the same month, the MOIS Director General for East Azerbaijan Province announced that 60 MEK members had been arrested as part of a crackdown.

East Azerbaijan Intelligence Official Claims 60 MEK Units Arrested in 2018, 50 More Were “Briefed”

In Tehran, just weeks ago, a MEK member was sentenced to death. Three others received prison sentences for engaging in peaceful demonstrations against the regime.

These comments reflect “a small sample” of the true numbers of MEK activists languishing behind bars, Safavi writes.

Lashing Out

The recent crackdown, Safavi argues, illustrates that the regime is becoming increasingly nervous. “That is why it is on the hunt for anyone associated with the MEK,” he writes.

The regime has employed the same strategy before. When it was threatened in 2009 by a wave of public protests and outcry, it hanged MEK supporters.

The regime used an extensive demonization campaign to justify its violence against the MEK. The regime has accused the MEK and its president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, of being involved in terrorist acts. “Yet, a French investigative magistrate concluded after an eight-year investigation that the MEK’s military operations, which were unilaterally halted in 2001, were not terrorism, but rather resistance against tyranny,” Safavi writes.

MEK Will Not Be Silenced

The MEK is expanding its operations. It has established “Units of Rebellion” across Iran, each one committed to confronting the regime’s activities of suppression. The regime has carried out a wave of arrests.

The MEK’s efficient and effective organizational structure has allowed it to build a resilient network of activists across the country, committed to realizing the Iranian public’s dream of a democratic Iran. However, it needs the support of the international community.

It needs international governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and human rights groups to pressure the regime to release MEK members in regime custody for peacefully protesting. The MEK has also called on international governments to add the MOIS to its international terror blacklists over its involvement in plots to assassinate and maim MEK members.

“Let’s send another strong message to Tehran that its terrorism is no longer tolerated,” Safavi concluded.

Staff writer

 

 

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NCRI Releases Statement Calling for Release of Political Prisoners

Excerpts from the leader of the Iranian opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi asking the human rights organizations to take immediate action to save the lives of the political prisoners, recently arrested during Iran Protests

On Friday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a statement concerning the arrests of eleven people for supporting MEK following the regime’s recent crackdown on protests and political dissent within the country.

According to the statement, the crackdown is the most recent desperate attempt by the mullahs to quell the rising outrage in the country due to the dire state of the economy, the regime’s bungled response to the catastrophic floods last month, and the growing influence of MEK Resistance Units, resistance councils, and the nation’s rebellious in organizing protests. These fears have been intensified by the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and the strengthening of U.S. oil sanctions in the past months.

 

Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has taken a number of hardline measures to try to prevent the overthrow of the clerical regime. In March, Khamenei appointed notorious Death Committee member Ebrahim Raisi to the position of Judiciary Chief. Raisi was personally responsible for sending thousands of MEK supporters to their executions during the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. Khamenei then appointed Salami, Fadavi, and Naghdi as Commander, Deputy Commander, and Coordinator of the IRGC. All three men are known for their cruelty, according to the NCRI statement.

 

The regime has now launched a new wave of suppressive measures to prevent the spread of popular uprisings. Hashd al-Shabi forces were transferred from Iraq to flood-stricken areas in Iran, where victims of the disaster are protesting the lack of government aid. Last week, the regime announced the widespread launch of the Razavion, which it has described as “neighborhood-based security patrols.” Security forces have stepped up arrests of political dissidents, particularly MEK supporters.

Arrests of MEK Activists

 

The NCRI obtained the names of eleven people that have been arrested in late April 2019, for supporting MEK:

 

  • Nematollah Hakimi Kiasarai, 46, Tehran
  • Salar Eskandarzadeh, 29, Tehran
  • Hamid Reza Haddadi, 36, Kermanshah
  • Dariush Hosseini, 65, Mahshahr
  • Mohammad Khatibnia, 28, Khorramabad
  • Reza Nabavi, 24, Semnan
  • Mohsen Hosseini, 23, along with his two brothers, Neyshabur
  • Mahmoud Salami, 25, Neyshabur
  • Shokouh Majd, 55, Neyshabur

 

 

On April 23rd, the MEK released a list of 28 people who were arrested prior to that date for the similar charges.

 

On April 19, 2019, Mullah Alavi, the regime’s Minister of Intelligence, said in a speech that 116 teams associated with the MEK had been arrested over the past Iranian calendar year. On April 24th, the Director General of Intelligence in East Azarbaijan Province followed that statement with his own numbers, reporting 60 arrests and 50 additional encounters with MEK supporters over the past year.

 

These numbers do not take into account arrests made by the regime’s other suppressive organs, including the IRGC and local law enforcement. Actual arrest numbers are much higher.

Statement by Maryam Rajavi

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, once again called on the United Nations Secretary-General, High Commissioner and Human Rights Council, as well as international human rights organizations,  to take urgent action to secure the release of imprisoned people. She also called for the appointment of delegations to visit the regime’s prisons in order to meet with political prisoners. Mrs. Rajavi stresses that political prisoners in Iran are subject to torture and execution.

Staff writer

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Mehdi Abrichamchi, chairman of Peace and Security Committee of NCRI during a news conference.

New Report on Iranian Nuclear Program Sheds New Light on Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons

Mehdi Abrichamchi, chairman of Peace and Security Committee of NCRI during a news conference.

Mehdi Abrichamchi the chairman of the committee of Peace and Security of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), during a news conference in Paris, revealing the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear activities – November 2013

The Institute for Science and International Security, a think tank focused on nuclear proliferation, published a report on May 7, shedding light on the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear program. The report, entitled ‘Shock Wave Generator for Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: More than a Feasibility Study’, used information previously revealed by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), to gather intelligence and build a greater understanding of the Iranian development and manufacturing of key nuclear weapon subcomponents.

The Ahmad Plan

The report reveals that since the early 2000s, the Iranian regime has been active in the development of nuclear weapon subcomponents. The Ahmad Plan, as it was known, sought to develop a “shock wave generator”, a system designed to initiate a charge that would prompt weapons-grade uranium to achieve a supercritical mass and create a nuclear explosion.

The Ahmad Plan sought to develop five nuclear weapons using this technology. It also implemented the construction of an underground facility for nuclear testing. The report also indicated that the plan involved “at least one former member of the Soviet nuclear weapons program”, indicating that the clerical regime had the assistance of foreign agents.

Deep Cover

The report goes on to describe how after 2003, when the MEK and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed many of the regime’s clandestine nuclear activities, parts of the program were given cover stories.

One such location was located near the village of Sanjarian. Known as the “Sanjarian facility”, the site was the location chosen to build the explosive components in the shock wave generator. After 2003, it was redesigned to appear to be a non-military facility carrying out non-military tests, hiding its true purpose.

However, in 2009, the NCRI and MEK sources got wind of the activities taking place at Sanjarian. The opposition revealed that the facility was engaged in the development of high-explosive detonators for use in nuclear weapons.

Staying One Step Ahead

More recently, the MEK confirmed that the regime had moved many of its activities out of Sanjarian. The opposition group concluded that the bulwark of the Iranian nuclear program was now being carried out in the Parchin military complex.

This is supported by satellite imagery of the Sanjarian facility, which appears less maintained than in previous years.

In 2017, the MEK published extensive findings on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. It revealed that the majority of its activities were now taking place in tunnels near Mamlo Dam north of the Parchin High Explosive Test Chamber Facility.

Ongoing Surveillance

The report concludes that moving forward, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be permitted to regularly inspect Iran’s nuclear research sites, including Parchin and Sanjarian and examine any equipment and materials relating to the enrichment of uranium and development of shock wave generators.

The IAEA must also be granted permission to interview personnel involved in the shock wave generator project and characterize and understand the status of the project today.

The MEK will continue to work tirelessly to expose the Iranian regime’s nuclear activities. Since 1991, the resistance group has exposed some 100 secret nuclear projects and helped prevent the regime from fulfilling its nuclear ambitions.

 

 

 

 

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MEK Iran: Tehran’s Student Protest the Regime’s Repressive Policies

University of Tehran- Protesters object new restrictive measures against female students.

On Monday, April 13, students at Tehran university held a rally in opposition at the Iranian regime over the repressive restrictions in place on female students’ clothing on campus. A video clip of the students’ rally was shared across social media by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The University of Tehran enforces new restrictive forced hijab regulations. Female students have to wear the hijab and cannot make their own decisions regarding freedom of clothing. They chanted, “college students would rather die than live in shame,” and held signs reading: ““Freedom of choice is our right.”

A Nationwide Suppressive Force

The student protests come just days after the regime announced that it would launch a new police force to tackle political dissent and expression.

Last Wednesday, the regime’s chief of police, Hossein Ashtari, announced the assembly of the Razavion Patrol. The patrol is an extension of the Basij patrols that have taken place since the nationwide uprising in early 2018. The Basij forces regularly set up checkpoints in areas where there are more protests and harass suspected dissidents (i.e. supporters of the MEK).

The Razavion Patrol will undertake similar activities but are expected to have more funds and resources than their Basij counterparts.

Gholam-Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander in the Basij forces had alluded to the crackdown last September. He revealed, “we have begun a series of plans to upgrade the IRGC Basij… we believe our patrols are more effective than checkpoints. More recently, these Basij patrols have been dubbed as the Razavion network.”

The network was partially rolled out in November, with patrols beginning in Bukan and Yazd, as well as in Alborz Province. However, it wasn’t a nationwide scheme until now.

Growing Concerns

The Iranian regime is increasing pressure on protestors. The most recent student protest will have only increased regime fears that the political opposition is drawing increased support from the Iranian population.

2019 has seen regime officials become increasingly worried about the rising popularity of the MEK, the largest and most organized opposition group. Javad Javeed-Nia, the regime’s Deputy Prosecutor General in Cyberspace Affairs, said : “Considering the fact that our enemies [the MEK] have established cyber armies against the [mullahs’ regime], those who care about our state must launch a media campaign against the enemy, identify the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and place forward an adequate analysis.”

The state-run Tehran Press News Agency also expressed concerns over the MEK’s use of the instant messaging app, Telegram.

The students’ rally must be seen in the context of a regime rapidly losing its grip on power in the face of mounting political dissent. The Iranian public, like Tehran’s youth, will not stand idly by while the regime embarks on a campaign of violence and repression.

The mullahs are scared. They are right to be. The tide of change is coming.

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The oppressive Razavion Patrol.

Regime Rolls out New Suppressive Force as Part of Crackdown on Protests and Dissent

The oppressive Razavion Patrol.

The new oppressive patrol-Razavion- is setup to add on to various regime security forces-as fear of a surge in uprisings in Iran grows among regime officials.

On Wednesday, the Iranian regime’s Chief of Police announced the nationwide launch of new patrols as part of its continued efforts to suppress political dissent and protests.

 

In an interview with the IRNA news agency, Hossein Ashtari said, “An agreement has been reached between the police and the Basij Organization in the context of further engagement and cooperation on the launch of the Razavion Patrol.”

The Razavion Patrol is massive in scope and will have sizable resources and power at its disposal. The Chief of Police in the city of Qom described the patrol as “a plan on the national level which has been coordinated with the IRGC, Judiciary, and the police and will use the infinite power of the Basij.”

Evolution of the Razavion Patrol

 

The Basij Force began patrolling Iranian neighborhoods in early 2018 in response to the nationwide uprising in December 2017 and subsequent anti-regime protests. In September 2018, the Basij Force stepped up its patrols, set up checkpoints in neighborhoods where MEK supporters were known to reside, and began conducting drills. This was due to increased activity by MEK Resistance Units.

 

In September, Gholam-Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander of the Basij Force, commented on the crackdown, saying, ““We have begun a series of plans to upgrade the IRGC Basij. We have not rounded up our patrols and we believe our patrols are more effective than checkpoints. More recently, these Basij patrols have been dubbed as the Razavion network.”

 

The Razavion Patrol was partially rolled out in November 2018, coinciding with Iran’s Week of Basij. Patrols were launched in several cities, including Bukan, western Iran, and Yazd, central Iran. Patrols were also rolled out in a number of cities in  Alborz Province.

 

On May 5th, Iranian state-run news agencies reported that Razavion Patrols were also launched in Qom in order to prevent “theft and crime.” The commander of the regime’s police force claimed that the patrols were launched in Qom for the purpose of “promoting the people’s security”, read regime security.

Past Uses of Suppressive Patrols

 

The use of suppressive patrols is not a new idea. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Basij Force have used their expansive authority in the past to set up similar patrols intended to intimidate people under the guise of “providing security.” Previous iterations were called “Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice” patrols and “Revolution Committee” patrols.

 

Ashtari described the Razavion Patrol as “neighborhood security patrols,” but those who have been subject to the patrols have compared them to the “Revolution Committee” patrols of the early years of the regime. The Revolution Committee patrols suppressed dissent and prevented an uprising during the first decade after the mullahs stole the 1979 Revolution, and its members went on to form the IRGC and establish its core values of violent suppression of dissent.

 

The Razavion Force is a new version of an old strategy by the regime. The mullahs are terrified of a widespread rebellion and will do anything to suppress it short of actually listening to the people’s demands. At this point, people have only one demand: regime change.

 

Staff writer

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Iranian regime's executions during the month of April 2019

Iran Human Rights Monitor Outlines Human Rights Abuses in its Monthly Report for April

Iranian regime's executions during the month of April 2019

The chart shows the Iranian regime’s executions during the month of April 2019

Iran Human Rights Monitor released its monthly report on the regime’s human rights abuses for the month of April 2019. The document makes for grim reading as the regime continues to run roughshod over the rights of Iran’s citizens on a near-daily basis.

The report revealed that in the month of April, the regime carried out arbitrary arrests and killings, tortured prisoners in its custody, violated the rights of ethnic minorities, and carried out several executions.

The Execution of Two Juvenile Offenders

Perhaps the most abhorrent act undertaken by the regime in April was the unlawful execution of two juveniles. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, two 17-year-old cousins, were executed in Shiraz on April 25.

In a statement issued two days after their execution, international human rights group Amnesty International condemned the regime for carrying out an unfair trial and breaking international law prohibiting the execution of prisoners under the age of 18.

In a statement, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director, said: “It seems they cruelly kept these two boys in the dark about their death sentences for two years, flogged them in the final moments of their lives, and then carried out their executions in secret.”

Their families were able to visit them shortly before their death but were not informed of their impending execution, robbing them of their goodbyes.

The act also prompted outrage from the UN human rights chief who reminded the regime that the execution of children is banned under international law.

The Global Leader in Juvenile Executions

The Iranian regime executed more juvenile offenders than any other nation on earth. Between 1990 and 2018, the regime executed 97 inmates convicted of crimes as minors. Just last year it executed seven prisoners who committed the alleged crimes as minors.

More than 90 remain on death row in prisons across Iran according to Amnesty International.

Torture and Arbitrary Arrest

April also saw the prominent human rights defender Nader Afshari sentenced to 74 lashes and a year in prison on charges of “disrupting public order” and carrying out “propaganda against the state.”

A further 63 volunteers were arrested after carrying out community rescue operations and providing assistance to victims affected by recent flooding in Khuzestan. Also, 25 internet activists were detained for reporting on the flooding online.

The regime has attempted to stifle any information regarding the full death toll of the flooding out of fear it will inflame public anger. At least 250 people died after heavy rains brought widespread flooding to Khuzestan and the surrounding areas. The regime’s inaction compounded the destruction and loss of life as the mullahs refused to make boats, helicopters, and shelters available for public use in the rescue efforts. MEK sources in Iran reported widely on the damage the floods created, also the Iranian regime’s inaction during and in the aftermath of the floods.

On April 16, the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran also issued an indictment for the arrest of Amir Salar Davoudi on charges of “cooperating with hostile governments” and “establishing a group to overthrow the system” after he participated in an interview with VOA and partook in a Telegram messaging group sharing information about news and events pertaining to the Iranian judicial system.

Inhumane Conditions in Iranian Prisons

Iran Human Rights Monitor also describes the despicable and abhorrent treatment of prisoners in Iranian prisons. It reported the withholding of medical treatment for Alireza Shirmohammad-Ali in Great Tehran Penitentiary. Shirmohammad-Ali was beaten by guards and has been suffering from acute abdominal pain. He has received no treatment for his condition.

Mojtaba Dadashi, an imprisoned university student also went on hunger strike after being denied treatment for his respiratory tract infection he contracted last week.

In another incident, an inmate was encouraged to assault another inmate by the prison agents. An inmate convicted of drug offenses was promised a case review if she assaulted her fellow inmate, Sima Entesari.

The Fate of Ethnic Minorites

Ethnic minorities continue to suffer under the clerical regime. State security forces arrested 88 Ahwazi Arabs, 12 Kurds, and three Baluchi people. They also killed nine Kurdish porters

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Regime Leaders Powerless as Iranian People Turn to MEK and Social Media for News

Regime officials have recently expressed increasing concern about the MEK’s use of the Internet and social media to report accurate news of events within Iran and to expose the regime’s corruption and incompetence.

Reporting during the Floods

These fears have intensified in the wake of the destructive floods that caused severe damage across the country. Recently, the head of the FATA (the regime’s police division that handles Internet censorship) in Isfahan complained about the MEK’s reporting during the floods. He was most upset that the MEK had exposed the regime’s role in worsening the severity of the floods and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp’s (IRGC) incompetent response to the disaster.

He said, “Most of the news on the recent floods were published by the PMOI/MEK on the internet. The cyber war is the front line of today’s wars… Most of the news about the recent floods were published on social media by this group…”

Public confidence in state-run media has plummeted since the rise of social media has made it possible for Iranians to access information other than regime propaganda. During the floods last month, official regime reports downplayed the severity of the disaster even as people in 25 out of 31 provinces saw significant damage from the floods. Officials gave false numbers of casualties and damages and made claims of recovery efforts that had not taken place. People turned to social media for truthful reporting of the floods. The regime’s judiciary responded to the public’s loss of confidence by threatening those who published information about the floods. A number of Internet activists were subsequently arrested.

An “Overt and Covert Role”

The regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security is taking measures to address the MEK’s growing influence in shaping the flow of information going in and out of Iran. The MOIS announced that it held an event in Mashhad to evaluate the “overt and covert role” of the MEK in social media platforms.

“Gathering Information”

 

Regime leaders, who for years claimed that the MEK had little influence within Iran, are now openly expressing their fears about the MEK’s ability to expose the regime’s corrupt and illegal acts through their powerful connections within the country and their growing online presence.

Regime Expresses Fear that MEK Will Overthrow Regime through Online Activism

Former IRGC member and current regime faction head Kan’ani Moghadam expressed his concerns about the MEK’s ability to uncover regime plots.

“They have infiltrated our apparatus inside the country, becoming very capable in gathering information,” he said. “The PMOI/MEK is monitoring all of our activities.”

“Spreading Disappointing News”

On Sunday, a member of Majlis (the regime’s parliament) voiced his concern that the MEK is effectively countering state propaganda and changing public opinion about the regime. The regime relies on propaganda to prevent widespread rebellion, so this is troubling news for those in power.

“Around 15 percent of the [Iranian regime dissidents] and the PMOI/MEK inside the country are active on social media,” he said. “They are spreading disappointing news about the Revolution and the state to influence public opinion.”

Staff writer

 

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