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Protest in Iran

Daily Strikes and Protests Continue to Be Reported across Iran

Protest in Iran

Iran Protests in various cities across Iran

Protests and strikes continue on a daily basis in cities across Iran, with people from all sectors of society taking to the streets in protest of the regime’s corruption and mismanagement of the country’s economy, as well as the mullahs’ oppression of the Iranian people.

The following protests were reported by the MEK network inside Iran over the past few days.

Protests Reported on Thursday

A large group of contract employees currently working in the 9th oil refinery in the South Pars gas field in southern Iran protested the delay of their paychecks and pensions. The protesters are demanding that their paychecks be delivered by the beginning of the Iranian New Year on March 21st “so we can go home without feeling ashamed,” according to one of the workers.

In Sanandaj, western Iran, another group of contract workers employed by the city’s municipality rallied outside of the town hall to protest the delay of their paychecks.

Protests Reported on Wednesday

Slaughterhouse workers in Nahavand, western Iran, launched a strike on Wednesday to protest not receiving their wages for four months. The striking workers rallied outside of the governor’s office in Nahavand to demand their unpaid wages.

Municipal workers in Towheed, Ilam Province, held a protest to demand payment of their wages, which they have not received for the past six months. The workers held a sign that read, “We the Towheed municipality employees have not received our paychecks for the past six months. Please see to our requests. We can no longer raise our heads before our families.”
Nurses at the Medical University in Babol, northern Iran, demonstrated outside of the university dean’s office in protest of not receiving responses to their earlier demands.

In Kashan, central Iran, nurses at Beheshti Hospital launched a strike and protest over the hospital’s discriminatory policies and failure to pay their overtime wages or pensions for the past eleven months.

In Shush, southwest Iran, a group of retired factory workers from the Haft Tappeh sugar company rallied outside of the company’s door to demand their unpaid pensions.

A group of looted clients of the Padideh Credit Firm rallied outside of the prosecutor’s office in Mashhad, northeast Iran, to demand the return of their stolen savings.

Protests Reported on Tuesday

Looted clients of the Caspian Credit Union rallied outside of the regime’s judiciary in Tehran to demand the return of their stolen savings.

The Caspian Credit Union, which is closely linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is the largest of several state-backed credit firms that looted billions of dollars from Iranians in an elaborate government-sanctioned Ponzi scheme.
A group of municipality workers in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, rallied outside of the main entrance of the town hall to protest the six-month delay of their paychecks.

In Asaluyeh, southern Iran, employees of phase 12 in the South Pars gas field projects continued their strike. The workers are protesting their employer’s failure to pay their wages for the past two months and their pensions for the past two years.

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Giulio Terzi

Giulio Terzi: Western Policymakers have Turned a ‘Blind Eye’ to Rouhani’s Human Rights Record

Giulio Terzi

Hon. Giulio Terzi, the former Foreign Minister of Italy

Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giulio Terzi, wrote another opinion piece calling for European governments to sever economic ties with the ruthless and violent Iranian regime. The piece, entitled ‘Six Years After Rouhani’s Election, Moderation is as Far Away as Ever for Iran’, appeared in Euractiv on Friday, March 8.

In the piece, Terzi criticized the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as Head of the Iranian Judiciary which took place last week. Although Raisi’s predecessor was far from a moderate, his appointment represents a step back for Iranian human rights. “Raisi represents the worst features of the Iranian judiciary,” Terzi wrote, “at best his appointment by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei signals the regime’s public disregards for international human rights principles, and at worst it sets the stage for a dramatic upsurge in politically-motivated killings.”

A Dark Past

Raisi’s past is of particular concern. Like previous heads of the judiciary, he was part of the “death commissions” that took part in the 1988 massacre when regime agents rounded up and executed more than 30,000 members of the Iranian opposition. Many of those killed were members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest pro-democracy opposition group in Iran. Their only crime was their “failure to demonstrate loyalty to the theocratic dictatorship,” Terzi lamented.

The 30,000 executions took place in the span of a single summer. Many were buried in unmarked graves, the whereabouts of which the regime has continued to withhold, leaving many families in the dark on the fate of their loved ones.

The massacre was the regime’s response to growing calls for democracy. The MEK has established itself as a viable alternative to the regime’s ruthless branch of religious fascism, which it remains to this day.  “The massacre failed in its goal,” argues Terzi, “the PMOI (MEK) went on to gain in strength and popularity over the next three decades.” Today, the MEK is instrumental in coordinating protests against the regime’s economic mismanagement and rampant human rights abuses. It played a central role in the nationwide protests that rapidly spread across the country in 2018.

Like in 1988, the regime’s response has been to suppress protests through a violent crackdown on the Iranian opposition. In January alone, more than 8,000 Iranian protestors were detained and 50 were killed.

A Sustained Crackdown

When viewed in the context of recent events, Raisi’s appointment can be seen as a continued part of the regime’s backlash against the MEK and the Iranian opposition. Terzi called it

“a deliberate message to Iran’s activist community that the regime is ready to carry out further massacres.”

There have already been signs of impending violence. The clerical regime has made overt threats of executions against those engaging in protests and strikes against the regime.

 

Iranian regime’s President Hassan Rouhani, often championed among European governments as a “moderate” influence within the Iranian regime, has shown indifference towards the appointment of murderers and criminals to senior positions in the Iranian judiciary. He has also filled his own cabinet with those that took part in the 1988 massacre. These appointments show that at best, Rouhani is a loyal servant to the Supreme Leader and at worst, he is another hardliner, happy to promote murderers and brutes.

“Western policymakers have turned a blind eye to his record,” Terzi asserts, “because of their expectations about opening up Iranian markets and gaining access to Iranian oil.” “Such a short-sighted attitude cannot be a guiding principle for Western policies toward the Islamic Republic anymore,” Terzi concludes.

Terzi calls for the immediate severance of ties with Iranian businesses and diplomats. “The international community should push for an independent inquiry about all the crimes committed by the Iranian regime,” he asserts. If Tehran refuses, then international governments must embrace the only viable alternative to regime rule: the MEK.

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OIAC Free Iran March in Washington D.C.

Maryam Rajavi Speaks at Demonstration in Washington, D.C.

OIAC Free Iran March in Washington D.C.

The Iranian-American communities in the U.S. OIAC, March in Washington D.C. in solidarity with Iran Protests, calling for regime change in Iran. The protesters also lend their support to the main democratic opposition led by Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

On Friday, March 8th, thousands of Iranian-Americans held a demonstration in Washington, D.C. in honor of International Women’s Day. The demonstration was organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) in order to call attention to the Iranian regime’s treatment of women and to ask the United States to recognize the right of the Iranian people to overthrow the oppressive theocratic regime.

Demonstrators at the rally carried banners reading, “Recognize the Right of the Iranian People to Overthrow the Iranian Dictatorship” and “Victory is Certain, Iran Will Be Free.” Others carried signs saying, “Iranian People Want Regime Change,” held large posters featuring images of Iranian Resistance leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, and waved Persian flags.

Speakers included Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D.), and former Reagan Cabinet member Linda Chavez.

Maryam Rajavi’s Speech

Mrs. Rajavi’s speech at the event was focused on inspiring the women of the world to support Iranian women in their fight to overthrow the mullahs’ misogynistic regime.

She lauded the young women of Iran who have stepped up to take leadership roles in the MEK’s ever-expanding Resistance Units. She went on to quote MEK leader Massoud Rajavi, saying, “As the Iranian Resistance’s leader Massoud Rajavi has said, the Resistance Units are ‘the tip of the spear and guiding light for the uprisings. They are the critical component in continuing and guaranteeing advancement and victory. The historic destiny of the Iranian people in their battle for liberation will be decided with the resistance units and rebel cities.’”

Mrs. Rajavi added, “Yes, change in Iran without being organized is impossible. Change in Iran without sacrifice is impossible.”

Rajavi noted that social and economic issues have “grown to catastrophic proportions” under the mullahs’ rule. She described the rampant poverty, water shortages, inflation, unemployment, environmental destruction, and lack of access to health care.

“So long as the clerical regime is in power, none of these ills will be resolved,” she said. “The ruling mullahs will become ever more dependent on their devastating policies, namely the suppression of Iranian society, warmongering and destructive meddling in the region, money laundering, terrorism in Europe and the United States, and plundering the assets of the people of Iran.”

She added, “The velayat-e faqih regime will continue all these policies until the day of its overthrow.”

Mrs. Rajavi emphasizes that Iran is at a turning point in its history. She said, “The regime now faces one of the most difficult periods of its rule. The continued uprisings have destabilized the ruling structure. And there is no going back. Change in Iran is within reach more than any other time.”

Rajavi went on to speak about the democratic alternative for the future of Iran offered by the NCRI and the MEK. She stressed, “There is a democratic and competent alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. A Resistance deeply rooted in Iran which is capable of overthrowing the regime and managing affairs during the transition so that the Iranian people can choose their true representatives through free and fair elections.”

Finally, Mrs. Rajavi emphasizes the obligation of the United States and the rest of the world to recognize the will of the Iranian people to overthrow their oppressors. “The international community is duty-bound to respect the struggle of the Iranian people to overthrow the clerical regime. This is essential for global peace and security,” she said.

Rajavi added, “It is time for the State Department to designate the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the infamous Ministry of Intelligence as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). Doing so would be a positive message to the Iranian people, and a decisive message against the clerical regime.”

Reaction of Demonstrators to Mrs. Rajavi’s Plan

According to the Washington Times’ coverage of the event, many of the demonstrators who were interviewed were hopeful that Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for Iran’s future will prove to be successful.

 

“The fact that this whole event is led by a woman is just really exciting to see,” said a student at the event who was interviewed by the Times. “Gender equality I think is something that every country strives for these days.”

Staff Writer

 

 

 

 

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Maryam Rajavi, leader of Iran opposition

On International Women’s Day, Maryam Rajavi Urges Iranian Women to “Struggle for Not Only What Is Possible, But What Must Be”

Maryam Rajavi, leader of Iran opposition

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), during a video message on the occasion of the International Women’s Day- March 8, 2019

On March 8th, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), gave a speech in honor of International Women’s Day.

 

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi expressed her admiration and support for the brave women inside Iran and across the world who have fought against oppression and tyranny to achieve equality. She also saluted the women of the MEK who have endured torture at the hands of the mullahs and those who have protested against the theocratic regime currently in power in Iran.

“A Glorious Resistance Movement”

“Iranian women are proud to have struggled against forty years of despicable religious tyranny, since day one until now,” said Mrs. Rajavi. “They have produced a glorious resistance movement.”

Mrs. Rajavi pointed out the role that women have played in the people’s anti-regime protests that have been taking place in Iran for over a year. “In the midst of fear and silence, it is women who chant, ‘Death to Khamenei!’ in the face of the regime’s agents. They lead workers’ protests and become the voice of teachers and retirees. They inspire youth to stand up against the regime’s agents,” Rajavi stated.

She also saluted the courage of those who have been imprisoned for fighting for the cause of freedom and applauded the many women who have taken on leadership roles in the MEK’s Resistance Units, saying, “They persevere in prisons with extraordinary courage, alongside their sisters. And, in the ranks of freedom fighters, they have established Units of Resistance.”

“The Arch Nemesis of Women”

Mrs. Rajavi then discussed some of the recent developments in Iran. She mentioned Khamenei’s recent appointment of a member of the infamous Death Committee of Tehran to the position of Judiciary Chief. Khamenei’s pick for the head of the Ministry of Justice was one of the primary perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were MEK members. Many of those who were executed were women.

She also discussed high unemployment rates among Iranian women and the regime’s failure to address the issue. She spoke about child marriages, which have created epidemic rates of homelessness, drug addiction, prostitution, and poverty amongst the women of Iran.

She noted the misogynistic policy of policing women’s clothing, saying that thousands of women were arrested, harassed, and intimidated last year for “mal-veiling.”

Mrs. Rajavi went on to say that the regime is

“the arch nemesis of women and the primary obstacle against freedom and equality. Therefore, as a first step, any struggle and movement for freedom and equality go through the overthrow of the religious tyranny.”

https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/1103967593306775552

Solidarity through Sisterhood

She further emphasized that the women of Iran hold the key to ending the mullahs’ rule and creating an Iran where women can be treated as equals. She said,

“The main force to defeat the ruling religious dictatorship is the Iranian women, who have borne the brunt of the injustices and have the highest degree of motivation to overthrow the regime.”

Rajavi stressed that in order to achieve this goal, Iranian women must unite as sisters. “Every woman’s talents and potentials can be realized to the highest extent only through solidarity with her sisters,” she said.

“When individual action evolves into collective action, facing barriers becomes easier. So, each one of us can advance ahead and be effective to the extent that we avoid abandoning our sisters. We need to have more women in our ranks.”

Mrs. Rajavi discussed the importance of changing women’s beliefs about themselves and their role in society in order to affect change. She said,

“We have to struggle for not only what is possible, but what must be. And on this path, shifting the mindset and dislodging of women’s own beliefs is a significant and extremely imperative step.”

https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/1103968724149829633

She went on to say, “Rising up, searching for new values and discovering the potentials of the self and others in a collective effort and struggle supplies the roadmap for the struggle for freedom and equality. she added:

“In the struggle against gender discrimination and while vindicating the assumption of responsibility and demonstrating the capabilities of Iranian women, female Mojahedin of the Iranian Resistance have successfully overcome many challenges and traversed a long path. They have learned and proven that women as a collective, joined together, have extraordinary abilities.”

Mrs. Rajavi stressed that women were not meant to live as second-class citizens. “Women have not been born to submit to intimidation, injustice, and exploitation,” she said. “They can and they must change the world in accordance with the ideal of equality.”

“The Future Will Be Shaped in Your Hands”

Mrs.Rajavi concluded her speech with a stirring call to action and the promise of a brighter future under the leadership of the Iranian Resistance and the MEK.

“It is time to organize,” she said. “Turn your pains, suffering, tears, and yearning into a force of struggle and progress. The future will be shaped in your hands and in your units of resistance and resistance councils.”

She called on women to resist the regime’s laws on compulsory veiling, urged them to support children and women street vendors, and to “actively participate at every location where the flames of resistance and protests are burning.”

Rajavi further encouraged women to rebel against the patriarchal regime. “Stand up to the mullahs, who promote lack of trust, hopelessness, hostility and divisiveness in society in a coordinated and organized manner. They want to tell the Iranian people that nothing works, nothing matters, the situation will become worse, and so we must submit and adapt to the status quo. It is up to you, brave and aware sisters, to defeat this evil policy. It is up to you to rebel against the culture of surrender and it is up to you to cultivate solidarity, compassion, friendship and trust among our people,” she urged.

As the leader of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs. Rajavi reminded the audience that the NCRI and MEK have shown a decisive commitment to the cause of gender equality in its fight for democracy and freedom and that it is a strong advocate for the elimination of all factors that contribute to the inability of women to participate as equal citizens in a free Iran.

Equality in a Free Society

Rajavi then enumerated the rights that should be available to all women in a free society, as described in her ten-point plan for Iran’s future and the MEK’s political platform:

“Women from any ethnicity, religion or social class, regardless of their age or place of residence, must enjoy equal rights with men in all economic, social and political arenas.

“Women are free to choose their place of residence, their occupation, and education. They have a right to freely choose their spouse, to freely travel, to exit the country, to divorce, and to have custody over their children.

“Belief in a certain faith, religion or persuasion must not lead to humiliation of any woman or prevention of their access to employment opportunities, educational opportunities or seeking justice.

“Women should be able to enjoy protection by the law equal to men.

“Women should enjoy equal rights with men when it comes to seeking justice. Women must have freedom of choice for selecting their attire. The compulsory veiling law must be abolished; and it will be abolished.

“Women must particularly have the right to equal participation in the society’s political leadership.

“Women must enjoy equal rights with men in receiving inheritance and engaging in contracts and management of financial assets.

“When it comes to employment, women must have equal opportunities with men and they must receive equal pay and benefits for equal work.

“Polygamy must be banned and marriage below the legal age will not be permitted.

“And, women must enjoy equal rights to have and retain all fundamental human rights and freedoms.”

Staff Writer

 

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Hon. Bob Blackman MP

British MP Describes Climate of Fear in the Regime’s Leadership

Hon. Bob Blackman MP

MP Bob Blackman, during a video message in support of MEK’s Free Iran gathering-June 2018

A Member of the UK Parliament (MP) penned an op-ed for Politics Home on March 4th, 2019. The piece was a response to the Warsaw Conference which took place the previous month. Bob Blackman, who represents the Harrow East constituency and is a member of the UK’s Conservative Party, describes the precarious situation in which the Iranian regime now finds itself. With shrinking international support, rampant infighting, and an opposition movement grows stronger by the day, the MP concludes that the regime is in a crisis.

Sounding Alarm Bells

Following the Warsaw Conference and the emergence of an international coalition united against Iranian expansionism and state-sponsored terrorism, Blackman describes how Iranian government officials are “sounding alarm bells”.

The conference represented a landmark moment in the history of Iranian policy. There has been nothing like it in the last 30 years, and the threat to the regime was only enhanced by the scores of Iranian opposition protestors that gathered alongside the Warsaw Conference to vent their frustrations.

MEK Supporters Rally for Second Day Outside of Warsaw Conference

The US is Leading the Charge

There have been signs that the US will not tolerate a violent and murderous regime in the Middle East undermining regional security and running roughshod over human rights with impunity. Vice-President Mike Pence told Europe in no uncertain terms that the US expected the union to adopt a firmer stance against the violent Iranian regime. He said, “the time has come for our European partners to stop undermining US sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime.”

His comments prompted a response from Khamenei which was significant for several reasons. The Iranian Supreme Leader told his colleagues that they “should not fear the enemy,” a comment that was revealing for Blackman.

Fear is Taking Hold

Blackman wrote that this comment “clarifies two issues.” Firstly, “the panic and fear of the regime’s followers have now spread to decision-makers at the top of the regime.” Secondly, that “the growing fear in officials is not an isolated case and has overtaken the entire theocracy.”

This fear, Blackman asserts, is the result of escalating domestic and international crises. At home, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) has been relentless in its pursuit for Iranian democracy and regime change. It has mobilized large swathes of the population against the mullahs and used its political influence abroad to draw international attention to the regime’s glaring human rights abuses.

The MEK represents a “viable democratic alternative to the current theocratic regime,” Blackman wrote, and that makes them an existential threat to the clerical regime. Its resistance units, consistently praised by the Iranian opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, are active across Iranian towns and cities and are busy encouraging protest against the regime’s repressive and violent policies.

Blackman concludes, “it is clear that February was a very tumultuous month for Iran’s regime.” In the words of senior Iranian cleric Makarem Shirazi, “there is no going back.”

Staff Writer

 

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Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Ingrid Betancourt: Maryam Rajavi is There to Replace the Regime

Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Hon. Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian Politician, and former presidential candidate speaks at the conference “Iran’s Perspective in 2019” held  in the Colbert hall inside the French National Assemblee-February 2019

During a recent conference in the French Parliament, Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian-French politician and supporter of the Iranian opposition movement, addressed French MPs on the threat the regime poses.

Asking the Right Questions

Betancourt began by calling on French politicians to ensure they will be on the right side of history and give voice to the downtrodden and repressed Iranian population. She said, “be the voice of the Iranian people, the voice that asks the right questions about the attacks, the executions, the imprisonment.”

Ms. Betancourt reminded that the Iranian regime has run roughshod over the basic human rights of the Iranian people. Pro-democracy activists in Iran, gender equality activists, trade unionists, ethnic minorities, Christians, and women, amongst others, are frequently repressed, arrested, and executed without fair trial and due process.

The Iranian people have endured four decades of the clerical regime’s blatant and violent human rights abuses. Nobody has been on the receiving end of these abuses more than the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most active opposition group, Ms. Betancourt emphasized.

A Thorn in the Regime’s Side

Ms. Betancourt, the former candidate for Colombia’s presidential campaign, outlined that the MEK has been a thorn in the side of the clerical regime since day one. Resistance units operate across Iran’s cities, organizing protests and opposing the mullahs’ violent tyranny wherever it occurs.

In response, the mullahs have launched a series of bloody crackdowns on the opposition group. In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime rounded up and executed more than 30,000 MEK members in what amounted to one of the largest crimes against humanity of the twentieth century.

Most recently, the regime launched a state-sponsored terror campaign against the MEK. It plotted a series of violent attacks on MEK members living in Albania. Then it plotted to bomb the group’s annual Grand Gathering event in France. Shortly afterward, two regime agents were arrested in the United States for carrying out reconnaissance activities against MEK members in the US ahead of a planned terror attack.

Speaking about the attacks, Ms. Betancourt asked, “why”, “what is the purpose of removing Ms. Rajavi and removing the Iranian Resistance Council?” The “answer is simple,” she explained. “The mullahs want to convince the world that there is only one viable interlocutor in Iran.”

Weaponizing Word

Ms. Betancourt pointed out that the regime has not limited its fight against the MEK to physical attacks. It uses international media outlets to spout lies and disinformation against the MEK and the Iranian opposition and turn public opinion against pro-democracy groups.

One of the most recent regime-originated hit-pieces appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. The article spewed a series of falsehoods and lies, all of which have been extensively disproved in international courts. The piece drew criticism from politicians across the globe. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former vice-President of the European Parliament, called the piece, “a laundry list of baseless accusations.”

Why Devote Time and Resources?

The regime frequently insists that the MEK is a small and unpopular organization and that it has limited support among the wider Iranian population. But if that were the case, why would the regime devote such resources to attacking the group both at home and abroad?

The 2018 terror attacks demonstrated that the regime was willing to risk bilateral relations with European nations in order to kill and maim MEK members. Why would the regime go to such lengths over an insignificant organization?

The reality is that the MEK poses a significant existential risk to the regime. Its ranks swell by the day. The MEK-organised protest movement is expanding, and each time the group and its supporters take to the streets, the calls for regime change get louder.

There have been signs that the regime is growing uneasy. Privately, many of the regime’s leadership have made comments expressing concern, and the Supreme Leader himself blamed the group for the nationwide protests that took place across Iran in early 2018.

The MEK represent a democratic alternative to regime rule. The Iranian people know this, and now, at last, international governments are beginning to take note. Betancourt concluded her speech in the French Parliament by urging French MPs to “ask until when will we continue to believe that our only legitimate interlocutor is the tyrannical regime ruling Iran.”

Maryam Rajavi (the president-elect of the MEK) is there to replace them,” she concluded.

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Fire festival

MEK Calls for Protests at Festival of Fire

Fire festival

The Iranian people celebrate the Fire Festival every year as part of Iran’s ancient customs, despite heavy security measures and the Iranian regime’s abandoning the rituals. The Iranian regime is terrified that the people will use the opportunity to take it to the street and turn the festival into a large demonstration against the regime.

 

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran-PMOI (MEK) has called for the annual Fire Festival and the last week of the Iranian calendar year into a year of protests and fire against the mullahs ruling Iran.

March 21st marks the Persian New Year (Nowruz), which is preceded by the annual Festival of Fire (Charshanbe Suri). The mullahs have attempted to prevent public celebrations of the pre-Islamic celebrations, but the people of Iran persist in honoring their culture in what has become an act of defiance against the repressive regime.

December 2017 Uprisings

Last year’s Fire Festival came just weeks after the December 2017 people’s uprisings, in which thousands of Iranians in 142 cities in every province took to the streets to demand the overthrow of the regime over a two week period. Despite brutal crackdowns by the regime, including the arrests of over 8,000 protesters and the deaths of at least 14 protesters in custody due to torture, protests continued in the streets of Iran.

A New Day

The 2018 Fire Festival became an act of rebellion for the people of Iran. Chaharshanbeh Souri is a pre-Islamic tradition of jumping over a fire to symbolize purification and a new beginning. Nowruz is a Persian word meaning “new day.” The MEK and Iranian Resistance organized demonstrations during Charshanbe Suri and Nowruz as a show of defiance to the mullahs and a vow to the people that a new day had dawned in Iran.

One year later, anti-regime protests and strikes continue on a daily basis in the streets of Iran. People from all sectors of society have joined together in calls for regime change, and chants of “Death to Khamenei!” are heard regularly in demonstrations. The MEK’s Resistance Units have used social media to disseminate news and worked on the ground with diverse groups of people to organize an opposition movement that is too powerful for the regime to suppress.

 

The Festival of Fire is here once again, and the MEK is ready to celebrate this new beginning with another act of rebellion. The progress made over the past year cannot be denied, but there is more work to be done. Regime change is close at hand. A new day is upon us.

 

The following is the full statement from the MEK:

 

Fellow compatriots,

Brave youths across Iran,

The annual Fire Festival is here. We must turn the last week of the [Iranian calendar] year into a year of protests and fire against the mullahs ruling Iran.

Along with Resistance Units, we must tear down images of [the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, [regime founder Ruhollah] Khomeini and anything symbolizing the mullahs’ rule in all four corners of our country. Setting fire to any and all signs and symbols of Khomeini, Khamenei and [mullahs’ President Hassan] Rouhani brings joy to the Iranian people’s hearts.

Let us welcome in the New Year with a fire uprising during the annual Fire Festival.

This will be a launching pad to expand protests and the uprising throughout the New Year, at any time and any place.

We can and we must take back Iran from the corrupt and criminal mullahs. The spring of victory has arrived. This most beautiful country will be free.

March 1, 2019



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MEK's supporters protest outside HRC40 in Geneva

Zarif Resigns as Protesters Protest His Planned Speech in Geneva

MEK's supporters protest outside HRC40 in Geneva

MEK supporters rally opposite UN Geneva amid the Fortieth Session of the Human Rights Council, to protest Javad Zarif’s planned speech at the council. Protesters called for regime’s accountability for the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners and for the ongoing violations of human rights in Iran, urging the UN to expel regime’s representatives from the Council.

Members of the Iranian diaspora across Europe and their international allies gathered in Geneva to protest the arrival of the regime’s foreign minister Javad Zarif at the UN. As the UN’s fortieth Human Rights Council convened, the Iranian resistance used Zarif’s arrival as an opportunity to draw attention to the glaring human rights violations perpetuated by the Iranian regime.

A Violent and Bloody Regime

Under current President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian regime has carried out at least 3,590 executions, including 30 executions on those that were juveniles when the crime was allegedly committed. This figure makes Iran the country with the highest rate of executions per capita in the world.

As members of the Iranian resistance protested the regime’s atrocities in Geneva, they carried images of those executed by the mullahs over the forty years of their tyrannical rule. They also carried banners condemning the regime’s 1988 massacre of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Over the space of a single summer in 1988, the clerical regime executed around 30,000 members of the political opposition group, the MEK. In Geneva, a small exhibit dedicated to the 30,000 victims of the massacre was erected. The protestors echoed Amnesty International’s recent calls for the UN to open an investigation into the massacre and hold those accountable to justice.

Ending the Mullahs Export of Terror

The protestors also expressed their anger and dismay at the regime’s state-sponsored terror activities that played out across Europe and the West in 2018. The regime was involved in the planning of terror attacks in France, Albania, and the US.

The protestors in Geneva called on the European governments to expel Iranian diplomats and prevent the regime using diplomatic buildings and figures as cover for underground terror activities. The protestors held banners with messages stating that there is no place in the UN for executioners and terrorist-agents.

Infighting in Within the Regime Leadership

As protestors gathered, Javad Zarif issued his resignation in a surprise twist of events. His resignations underscored protestors messages that the Iranian regime is in turmoil. Infighting has caused deep rifts in the leadership, which most likely prompted Zarif’s sudden resignation.

Explaining the decision, the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI’s) Mohammad Mohaddessin tweeted, “Zarif’s resignation for whatever reason and regardless of the outcome, indicates [an] escalation of the crisis and internal power struggle in the regime, also its international failures.”

Mohaddessin said, “in the past 5.5 years, Zarif tried to create a façade of a “moderate image” for Iran’s religious fascism and pave the way for trade with the regime,” he added, “Zarif’s time has come to an end. Whether his resignation is finalized or overturned… [the] world will no longer be duped by Rouhani & Zarif.”

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Protests in Iran

Der Spiegel’s Reporting Makes Them Accomplices in the Regime’s Human Rights Abuses

Protests in Iran

Archive photo-Demonstrations in front of the offices of the education ministry in protest to the government’s lack of response to their demands.-January 2019

Under increasing pressure at home, the Iranian regime has intensified its misinformation campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). The Iranian regime faces widespread protests each and every day. Since Sunday, there have been nine protests across the country attacking the mullahs’ mismanagement of the economy, soaring inflation, and unpaid wages.

These are the latest developments in a wave of protests that have washed across Iran over the last 14 months. What began in a nationwide uprising at the tail end of 2017, shows no sign of letting up.

An “army of hungry and unemployed” Iranians are taking to the streets and calling for regime change. Youth unemployment is above 50%, Iranian purchasing power is falling, and wages are stagnating. Iranians are struggling to put food on the table, meanwhile, the mullahs are living lavish lifestyles, funneling money to militia and terrorist groups abroad, and spending vast sums on clandestine missile programs.

The Regime Looks Outward

Rather than look inward at its own failings, the clerical regime has looked outwards and responded to the intensifying protest movement by cracking down on political opponents. As sanctions start to bite, targeting the regime’s oil revenue and crippling its finances, the regime has intensified its attacks on the MEK, the largest and most organized pro-democracy group who has played a crucial role in mobilizing the population.

The regime has deployed a misinformation campaign targeting the opposition group. Last year, Twitter removed 770 regime-affiliated accounts that the mullahs were using to spread disinformation about the MEK. A separate investigation from Reuters found that the Iranian regime used more than 70 websites to spread anti-MEK propaganda across the world, many of which are still in operation today.

Regime Hit Pieces

The mullahs’ latest attacks have come through Western media outlets. Its most recent hit piece against the MEK has published in German magazine Der Spiegel. As with previous hit pieces, including one published last year in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the regime uses former members of the MEK to spread lies and deceit about the group, often touting the frequently disproved claim the MEK is a violent group that keeps members against their will.

The pieces usually allege that the MEK is not a threat to the regime and does not command the support of the Iranian population. This begs the question if the MEK is not a threat, why does the regime devout such resources and time to attacking them online, in print, and through violent terror attacks and assassinations?

The regime’s most recent propaganda piece in Der Spiegel made no less than 60 false claims against the MEK. Its publication raises questions, not only about the regime’s conduct but the journalists and editors that failed to carry out even basic fact-checking procedures. If they had vetted the information, they would have found that many of the allegations and baseless lies have been debunked many times in courts around the world.

Distracting the Global Media

What is perhaps more troubling is that while the world’s media laps up the regime’s bile and propaganda, frequent and severe human rights abuses are going unreported in Iran. Political, environmental, and human rights activists suffer attacks, arbitrary detention, and torture at the hands of the regime’s agents, yet the international media let them pass unnoticed.

The regime has a rich history of repressing, silencing, and exploiting its population. Iran has endured 40 years of regime rule and has come to expect it from the mullahs. But now, the international media and Der Spiegel is doing the same thing. Repeating the regime’s lies and failing to hold the mullahs to account for blatant and barbaric human rights abuses is tantamount to being an accomplice in these human rights abuses.

It is the international media’s role to give voice to the downtrodden and stand up for justice. Instead, in its most recent piece, Der Spiegel gave voice to the oppressors and only served to tighten the shackles the Iranian people find themselves in.

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Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Why Der Spiegel is Little More than a Regime Mouthpiece

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Spiegel published a full of lies story about MEK, Iran’s main opposition force, raising an outrage among the Iranian communities-February 2019

Der Spiegel, a German magazine, published a hit piece against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The piece, entitled “Prisoners of the Rebellion”, went to press on February 16 and contained a host of mistruths and lies about the Iranian opposition groups.

The article spouted the regime’s propaganda without meeting even the basic principles of journalistic integrity. The authors declined to visit the MEK’s compound in Albania and ignored correspondences with the NCRI in which the pro-democracy group sent documents disproving the regime’s allegations. Instead, the writers spent time with the regime’s Basij agents in Iran, interviewed members of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) disguised as former MEK members without dealing with the group itself directly.

Waiting for the Perfect Time

Nothing demonstrates that the piece was little more than a poorly-informed hatched job against the MEK more than the timing of the piece.

In a statement released following the article’s publication, the NCRI revealed that it had been in communication with Der Spiegel’s deputy foreign editor, Mr Mathieu von Rohr, who had confirmed that the article was due to be published on November 24, 2018.

The article’s publication was delayed until “a time that the Iranian regime needed such “support,” the NCRI’s statement read. The recent conference in Warsaw which saw more than 60 governments from nations around the world come together to explore ways of dealing with the Iranian threat clearly prompted Der Spiegel to believe that this was the time the regime needed the “support” the article could lend.

The article was immediately picked up by all the Iranian state-run media outlets, which centered their coverage on the baseless allegations that the MEK carried out massacres and brutal acts of torture at its base in Albania.

Snubbed Invitations

The NCRI’s statement shows that the MEK and the NCRI had been in contact with von Rohr in the run-up to the article’s publication and were aware of the allegations about to be levied against them.

In a gesture of transparency, the MEK invited Der Spiegel to visit the group’s residence in Albania. The group frequently invites politicians and dignitaries to the compound, most recently former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson and former Bundestag President Rita Sussmuth both visited the compound. However, Der Spiegel did not reply to the group’s invitation. The magazine clearly had no inclination of getting to the truth of the matter and instead preferred to accept the regime’s lies at face value.

The regime sent a letter instead. The NCRI’s statement claims that Mathieu von Rohr sent a letter with ten questions for the MEK and gave a deadline of one week for the group to answer said questions.

The NCRI’s statement reports that the questions included several regime-originated mistruths and propaganda statements. For example, the first question asked if MEK members were not permitted to use cell phones, clocks, and calendars, an often-touted regime lie.

The NCRI and MEK replied to the ten questions in a 6,600-word reply just four days later. In this letter, they once again extended an invitation to Der Spiegel and implored them to visit the MEK compound. Given that this letter was sent on November 18, and the final article was not published until February 16, there was ample time for Der Spiegel to dispatch reporters to the compound to conduct journalistic due diligence and investigate the regime’s lies.

A Close Relationship

Although Der Spiegel did not publish the article on the intended date of November 24, it did share the article with the Iranian regime. On November 24, the Nejat Association, an offshoot of the regime’s MOIS published a Der Spiegel interview with former MEK member, Gholamreza Shekari. The interview was eventually included in the final Der Spiegel piece.

The fact that the Iranian regime was able to publish segments of the article several months before Der Spiegel published the piece, demonstrates close ties and deep cooperation between the German magazine and the Iranian regime.

Following the publication of the interview, in which Gholamreza, a close regime affiliate, repeated the regime’s usual lies, the NCRI reached out to Der Spiegel once more. The letter read, “what the Iranian people will not forget and will not forgive are the war crimes and the crimes committed by this regime against humanity.” The letter reiterated that these crimes had gone unnoticed and unreported by Der Spiegel.

“The appeasement of the mullahs at the expense of the Iranian people and their suffering and the blood of hundreds of thousands of tortured and executed political prisoners are truly disgusting,” it added.

Finally, the letter concluded, “the regime may reiterate its vile defamation of the PMOI (MEK) with labels such as personality cult, domination, anti-democratic structure and sect as often as it wishes: this will not stop the fall of this regime, a process in which the PMOI (MEK) is at the forefront. The process that will lead to the demise of the mullahs has begun and is irreversible.”

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