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Terribly biased article on the Guardian against the MEK

Falsehoods and Lies: Debunking the Guardian’s Piece on the MEK

Terribly biased article on the Guardian against the MEK

Biased article bashing the MEK in the Guardian raises outrage among the Iranian diaspora. The piece is considered a reaction to the recent surge in protests and strikes in the country and a preparation for more terrorist activities against the main opposition, the MEK.

Aaron Merat’s long-awaited hit piece was finally published in the Guardian on Friday. Under the headline ‘Terrorists, Cultists- or Champions of Iranian Democracy’, the piece pedaled the regime’s brand of lies and misinformation. It was a clear example of Tehran’s smear campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) that it has used to undermine the Iranian opposition and legitimize its use of violence against political dissidents.

The Death of Independent Journalism

Even before the article’s publication, the MEK expressed its misgivings over its content. MEK spokesperson, Shahin Gobadi, wrote two letters to the editor of the Guardian in recent weeks. In the letters, he aired his concerns over Aaron Merat’s ability to conduct objective journalism on the MEK.

Merat has close ties to the Iranian regime and its lobbyists. He worked for the Economist between 2011 and 2014, during which time he was an outspoken advocate for the regime. He has written previous articles with the explicit intention of demonizing the MEK and condemning the Iranian resistance.

Who is the MEK?

It came as little surprise then that his piece for the Guardian was no different. It was essentially a hit piece against the Iranian resistance group and was full of inaccuracies, falsehoods, and barely concealed attacks on the MEK.

In his very definition of who the MEK are, Merat is incorrect. He described the organization as a “fringe Iranian revolutionary group”.

The MEK is far from a “fringe” group. They are the oldest, largest, and most popular Iranian resistance group.

The group organized nationwide protests in January and December which spread across every major city in Iran. At its annual Grand Gathering event, it draws an attendance of more than 100,000 supporters, including high-profile political figures such as former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and President Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton.

The Grand Gathering of over 100,000 MEK supporters at VillePinte Paris-June 30, 2018

The resistance group enjoys widespread support inside Iran and abroad.

Merat later seems to admit that the MEK does enjoy the support of international political figures but seeks to explain this by suggesting that the MEK pays “western political influencers fees to pen op-eds and give speeches”.

This is untrue. Professor Raymond Tanter debunked this myth with the help of the US Treasury Department. The Treasury Department investigated the allegations that its political figures had received cash to write opinion pieces and give speeches at MEK-organised events, but found them to be “unsupported claims”.

Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi

Merat’s piece begins by describing Mostafa and Robbie Mohammadi’s journey to Albania to “rescue their daughter”. Merat alleges that Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi, the couple’s daughter, is being held against her will by the MEK.

These allegations are false. Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi joined the MEK in 1990 and has been a member for more than two decades. She has previously been interviewed by Canadian and US officials, and each time she has maintained that she is in Albania working for the MEK out of her own free will.

Somayeh Mohammadi, one of distinguished members of MEK, now living in Albania

She has previously written a book about the regime pedaling lies about her situation and using her case to legitimize terror attacks against the MEK. She even went as far as to write an open letter to Albania’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Fatmir Xhafaj, publicly calling for an end to his lies.

Repeating Lies to Demonize the MEK

The Guardian piece goes on to blame the MEK for the deaths of six Americans in Iran in the 1970s.

However, subsequent investigations by both the US State Department and the Washington Post newspaper found this to be false. The 2005 State Department report clearly states, “a splinter organization with ties to Marxist groups in Cuba and Oman… appropriated and modified the MEK name and symbols, clashing with original MEK members, and killed Americans in Tehran”.

The report describes that the individuals responsible for the murders were later caught, tried, and executed for the killings.

Merat also attempts to blame the MEK for killing Iraqi Kurds in the North of Iraq. He claims Saddam Hussein used MEK members to quell the Kurdish armed resistance during the 1990 Gulf War.

The Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) provided a written statement in 1999 that unequivocally stated the MEK was not involved in the killing of the Kurdish people. The statement read “the KDP can confirm that the Mujahedin were not involved in suppressing the Kurdish people neither during the uprising nor in its aftermath”.

Delisting the MEK as a Terror Group

Merat goes on to suggest that the MEK’s delisting as a terrorist group was not because the group was deemed mislabelled and was a non-violent organization, but because if the US didn’t delist them, the group would have been wiped out in Iraq.

Once again, this claim is unfounded. The Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit actually threatened to court order Hillary Clinton’s State Department unless she removed the group from the country’s terror list.

Burying the Regime’s Terrorist Plots

Merat then furthers the regime’s interests by attempting to cast doubt over the regime’s terror activities in Europe. In June, European authorities foiled a plot to detonate a car laden with explosives at the MEK’s Grand Gathering in Paris.

After a thorough investigation, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat working at the regime’s embassy in Vienna was found to have orchestrated the plot. The French government froze the assets of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.

Merat attempts to shift the blame away from the regime. He quotes the Iranian Foreign Minister directly in his piece, who called the allegations of the Iranian terror plot a “sinister false flag ploy”.

If the plot was nothing more than a “false flag ploy” it seems unlikely that the French government would have taken such forceful actions against the Iranian regime.

On top of seizing assets, the Emmanuel Macron’s government expelled an Iranian diplomat and is currently refusing to nominate a new French ambassador to Iran. France’s foreign ministry also confirmed that following its own investigation, it was in no doubt that the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind the June 30th terror plot.

The Regime is Fearful

Aaron Merat’s piece goes on to spout all of the regime talking points against the MEK. However, his piece does provide some insight into why the regime spends so much time, money and effort on demonizing the MEK and its supporters.

He wrote, “politicians openly called for bombing the Islamic republic, amid growing panic over Iran’s nuclear program- the existence of which had first been exposed by the MEK”. In this sentence, Merat demonstrates why the regime despises the MEK. It works tirelessly to bring the regime’s atrocities and illegal behavior to light.

Merat writes that the MEK and its supporters around the world “openly call for the overthrow of the Islamic republic and the installation of Maryam Rajavi as the leader of Iran”.

In this one aspect, Merat is correct. But in drawing this to attention, Merat is also drawing to attention why both he and the regime relentlessly pursue the MEK.

The MEK represents the single greatest existential threat to the mullahs’ regime. It has orchestrated nationwide protests that have crippled Iranian regime’s key industries. Even regime officials have admitted publicly that the MEK is a direct threat to the regime.

The MEK has resistance units working inside Iran, that mobilized in the nationwide uprisings in December and January of this year. This has the Iranian regime terrified and explains why they use mouthpieces like Aaron Merat to undermine and demonize the MEK in international media outlets.

New Report Details Iran Regime’s Demonization Campaign Against the MEK

The piece in the Guardian is little more than the mullahs lashing out at the MEK out of fear. The MEK is gathering momentum. Strikes and protests are now a daily occurrence in Iran and the mullahs future in power is growing more uncertain by the day. The fact is, regime change is on the horizon. When it comes, the world will look at Merat’s piece, and others like it and wonder how they got away with such blatant lies and deceit.

Staff Writer

 

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Human rights record in Iran

Nobody is Exempt from the Regime’s Violent Punishments

Human rights record in Iran

Archive Photo: The crude scene of a public hanging in Iran.

The clerical regime in Iran remains among the most and violent dictatorships on earth. Only China carries out more executions per year than Iran, and the country has a population 17 times larger than Iran’s.

The mullahs execute more people per capita than any other country in the planet and according to figures released by Amnesty International, more than half of all the executions that take place each year take place in Iran.

Nobody is exempt

The regime in Tehran is ruthless in its application of the death penalty. Nobody is spared including juvenile offenders and women.

Among the worst targeted are ethnic and religious minorities and political dissidents. Iran Human Rights Monitor recorded 3,602 executions carried out under current President Hassan Rouhani. Among them were 34 juvenile offenders, 84 women, and 86 political dissidents.

Iran is among a handful of countries on earth that executes young offenders. There are currently 85 individuals on death row for crimes they committed as a minor. The regime detains young offenders until they reach the age of 18. Then they execute them.

In one recent case, the regime executed Mahboubeh Mofidi, a 20-year-old accused of murdering her abusive husband when she was 17. She had been forced to marry the man when she was just 13.

In 2018 alone, 223 people have met their end at the hands of the regime, including 6 individuals who were executed for crimes they committed under the age of 18.

Many of the executions were carried out in prisons or behind closed doors. However, 35 were carried out in front of the public.

The death penalty is a tool for the regime

The regime uses the death penalty as a political tool to cement its position in power. When anti-regime protests and strikes occur, the mullahs are quick to remind the public that they are not just risking their liberty in protesting, they are risking their lives.

Most recently, when truck driver protests erupted across Iran’s towns and cities, the regime threatened the striking drivers with the death penalty. According to the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the regime’s Chief Prosecutor, General Montazeri, personally threatened the striking drivers.

Silencing the Opposition

The death penalty is widely employed against members of the political opposition. In 2018, 10 political prisoners have been executed, several of which were denied a fair trial.

Ramin Hossein Panahi was executed in early September over allegations he pulled a gun on Iranian security agents. He confessed to his crimes, but his family suggested that in court he showed signs of torture on his body. He subsequently went on hunger strike in Rahaei Shahr prison in protest at his circumstances.

Three Condemned for Corruption after Bloody Month of Executions

A similar story occurred in the case of Mohammad Salas. The 51-year-old was accused of killing three police officers. The only piece of evidence connecting him with the murder was a confession he allegedly made from his hospital bed. He was denied access to a lawyer throughout the proceedings and was sentenced to death last March.

Prisoner’s on death row also report horrifying and brutal conditions. Many report prolonged periods of solitary confinement and tortures akin to those used in Medieval Europe, including scalding with boiling water, pushing needles into their genitals, hanging prisoners by their wrists and ankles, pulling out prisoners’ fingernails, and floggings.

When prisoners are finally taken to the gallows, often their families are not informed, giving them any opportunity to say goodbye.

To add insult, the families are often billed for the noose used in the hanging, or the bullet used to shoot them. They are often prevented from retrieving the victim’s body until the debt has been paid in full.

Iran Human Rights Monitor, as well as the MEK and other Iranian opposition groups, call on human rights advocates around the world to use their position to pressure the Iranian regime to abandon this barbaric and outdated form of punishment.

Staff Writer

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Maryam Rajavi Calls Supporting Iran’s Strikers Citizens’ ‘Patriotic Duty’

2nd day of strike by merchants in Iran

For the second day, the merchants in various bazaars in Iran are on strike over the plunging rial and the dire economic crisis due to the regime corruption and mismanagement.

Tehran’s merchants are striking, as are the Iranian farmers and truck drivers as yet more protests threaten to engulf the country, based on reports from the MEK network inside Iran.

On Monday, November 5th, merchants in several Iranian cities closed their stalls in local bazaars. The strikes, which coincided with the reintroduction of strict US sanctions, were organized across social media and quickly gained traction.

Skyrocketing prices and crippling inflation have thrown many of Iran’s merchants into poverty. With new sanctions affecting Iranian imports and exports, the situation is set to worsen.

For the nation’s truck drivers, the working conditions are not much better. The sector shut down for the fourth time on the 31st of October and is yet to restart. Drivers from Tehran, Isfahan, Hormozgan, Zanjan, Golestan, Kermanshah, Kerman, West Azerbaijan, Central, Khorasan Razavi, and Yazd all turned off their engines in protest at the rising cost of spare parts, corruption, and appalling working conditions that have left many of them in a fight for their survival.

For Iran’s farmers, there is a similar picture of abstract poverty and a struggle to put food on the table. This has prompted many brave farmers from provinces across the country, including Isfahan a Khorasgan, to stage a sit-in and protest.

Unparalleled Bravery

The strikers are demonstrating their bravery and determination by maintaining these protests against the bloody and violent regime.

For the truck drivers, many of their colleagues and friends were arrested in the previous rounds of strikes. More than 200 drivers were detained in the third round of strikes that took place earlier this year. The regime then threatened to execute 17 of those detained.

The strikers that took to the streets in this latest round of protests are also demanding the immediate release of their colleagues.

The regime’s treatment of the truck drivers has not been atypical. The mullahs frequently employ repressive and heavy-handed strategies for dealing with public protest and political dissent.

The farmers and merchants, along with the valiant truck drivers, are aware of the danger they are in, yet they continue to risk their liberty and their lives to protest the regime and its policies.

A Call for Support

Their determination has not gone unnoticed by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the President-elect of the Iranian resistance, Maryam Rajavi.

Ms. Rajavi saluted the striking truck drivers, farmers, and merchants in a statement to the Iranian people. She called on Iran’s youth to stand with these brave men and women and said that supporting the full restitution of the rights of the Iranian people was a matter of patriotic duty.

Maryam Rajavi also called on the international community to lend their support. She urged syndicates, trade unions, and human rights organizations to lend assistance to Iran’s farmers, truck drivers and merchants in whatever capacity they could.

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Hostage taking in Iran was with the order of the regime's supreme leader

Mohammad Ali Jafari Makes a Startling Confession About the 1979 Hostage Crisis

Hostage taking in Iran was with the order of the regime's supreme leader

IRGC Commander admits the U.S. hostage-taking in 1979 was with the order of the regime’s Supreme Leader order

Mohammad Ali Jafari made an unexpected and historic confession. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander admitted on November 4th, that the decision to take more than 60 US hostages from the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 had been approved by Khamenei himself.

Jafari’s remarks came as he spoke at an event to mark the anniversary of the crisis, which took place on November 4th, 1979.

The 1979 Hostage Crisis

The hostages were taken when a crowd of Iranian students stormed the US embassy and took more than 60 Americans hostage over US President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow the recently ousted Shah to travel to the US for cancer treatment.

Beyond the Shah’s cancer treatment, the hostage crisis was a protest against Western governmental inference in Iran.

The students held the hostages for 444 days, only releasing them on January 21, 1981, after President Reagan had replaced Jimmy Carter.

New Light on a Historic Event

The statement by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) says “Only a handful of the officials and revolutionary figures, and on top of them, the supreme leader, (Khamenei), were totally in support of this revolutionary move,” and if the hostage-taking had not taken place, “undoubtedly our revolution could not last for forty years and it would have been over in the first decade,” Jafari added.

At the time, the attack on the embassy was depicted as spontaneous and opportunistic and the perpetrators merely overzealous students. However, Jafari indicated that this was not the case.

Jafari went on to suggest that without the events of November 4th, 1979, the Iranian regime would not have been able to cement its grip on power, and the regime would never have lasted until today. He said if it wasn’t for the hostage situation, “undoubtedly our revolution could not last for forty years… it would have been over in the first decade”.

 Could it Be Repeated?

Jafari’s comments are a cause for concern. He concluded his speech by implying that Iran would benefit from a similar high-profile situation like the 1979 hostage crisis. He said, “similar moves, of course not taking over embassies, this is not what I mean, but this sort of moves, should be conducted for creating stability”.

Jafari’s comments only further illustrate concerns long-held by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the Iranian opposition; that the regime relies on sewing destruction and violence to stay in power.

The statement by the NCRI concludes: “Jafari’s remarks is a clear acknowledgment that the clerical regime has always found the solution in hostage-taking, creating crisis and havoc, export of terrorism, and belligerence and it plans for these acts at the highest levels.”

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MEK Resistance Units activities in 1st week of November

MEK Resistance Units Increasing Activities

MEK Resistance Units activities in 1st week of November

Activities of the MEK Resistance Units in Iran during the first week of November 2018

On Monday, members of the MEK’s Resistance Units took several actions against the Iranian regime in an escalation of the uprising currently taking place in Iran. MEK members set fire to the entrance of a Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Basij base in Kermanshah in a dramatic show of rebellion against the repressive Iranian regime. The base is home to a number of the regime’s repressive Units.

MEK members set fire to posters of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Qaemshahr. In Karaj, they raised the flag of the National Liberation Army, chanting, “Death to Khamenei, Hail to Rajavi!”

In Gachsaran, they put up graffiti saying, “Death to Khamenei” in public places. MEK members in Tehran and Shiraz publicly displayed posters of MEK members who were murdered by the Iranian regime. Resistance Units in Mashhad, Isfahan, and Amol put up graffiti and posters calling upon students to organize protests on their campuses.

These acts of resistance take place against a backdrop of widespread anti-regime protests that have rapidly spread throughout the country. Economic unrest, along with dissatisfaction with the mullahs’ mismanagement and corruption, has caused Iranians from all walks of life to take to the streets to demand regime change.

Protests and strikes have been taking place in multiple locations on a daily basis. The following are a few of the protests that have occurred over the past few days:

Wednesday

Iran’s truck drivers entered their seventh continuous day of strikes, despite threats from the regime. The strike has now spread to 35 cities in 18 provinces across Iran, including Isfahan, Najafabad, Sabzevar, Mashhad, Ardabil, Qazvin, Mobarakeh, Yazd, Zarrin Shahr, Rumeshgan, Kermanshah, Shahr-e Kord, Sirjan, and Sabzevar.

The striking truckers are protesting low pay, the high price of spare parts and replacement tires, high fees, and poor working conditions. They are also demanding the release of their imprisoned colleagues who were arrested during the last round of strikes. During the last round of strikes, more than 200 truck drivers were arrested for participating in the strikes, and 17 of the arrested drivers were threatened with execution.

Saturday

In Chabahar, Naval University students gathered to protest school officials’ incompetence and their schools’ food services.

Friday

In Tehran, Open University students from the Medical Sciences Department rallied outside of the main building of the campus and outside of Parliament over unfair conditions at the school.

In Behbahan, young people held a protest at Friday prayers. The protesters were angry because they were not hired at the local refinery in favor of non-locals who would work for lower wages.

Thursday

In Varzaneh, Shatur and Ziar, farmers protested

the scarcity of water and lack of access to water resources. The regime has dried the Zayanderud River by diverting its water away from the Isfahan region to factories controlled by the Revolutionary Guards. The diversion of water, along with record droughts, has destroyed the farms of once-prosperous Isfahan farmers and caused water shortages throughout the region.

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Protest against the abduction of Hashem Khastar

Iran: Protesters Call for Release of Abducted Activist Teacher

Protest against the abduction of Hashem Khastar

Tens of protesters object the continued abduction of the retired teacher and union activists, Hashem Khastar by the Iranian intelligence forces.

Tens of activists joined the family of Mr. Hashem Khastar, the retired teacher and head of the Teachers Union Center in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Monday to protest his abduction by the Iranian regime. Dozens of protesters rallied outside of Ebn Seena Hospital to demand Khastar’s release from the psychiatric facility where he is being held without cause.

State security forces and anti-riot units were already present and immediately arrested Khastar’s son.

Mr. Khastar’s wife, Sedighe Maleki, refused to leave, saying, “I will remain here until my husband is released.”

State security forces then arrested Mrs. Maleki as well and transferred her to an unknown location. Mrs. Maleki is currently in poor health following open heart surgery.

Mr. Khastar’s sister also refused to leave the hospital, despite orders from security forces. Witnesses saw her shouting for the release of her brother.

Khastar’s Abduction

Hashem Khastar was abducted from his farm in Mashhad on October 23rd by security forces. After his wife reported his disappearance, she received a call from a member of the Revolutionary Guards, who said that her husband was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of Ibn Seena Hospital.

Activist Teacher Abducted by Iranian Regime

Mr. Khastar has no history of psychiatric illness. He takes blood pressure medication, which is normal for his age but has no other physical ailments.

Mr. Khastar is under heavy guard and has not been allowed, visitors. Mrs. Maleki has still not been permitted to see her husband. She spoke of her frustration in an interview:

“On Thursday, I went to the courthouse for permission to visit my husband, Mr. Seyed Hashem Khastar, in Mashhad’s Ebn Seena Hospital. There was no file or records about this arrest. I spoke to the deputy public prosecutor about my husband’s arrest and he said they had not issued any orders for his arrest. I spoke with another deputy public prosecutor and he said we had not given any orders either. I received the same answer from the Intelligence Ministry, the IRGC intelligence and the police.

“The Social Emergency unit arrested him outside his orchard and took him straight to the Ebn Seena Hospital. They took blood from him and gave him an injection… Considering the fact that my husband’s life is in danger in this psychiatric hospital, he must be released immediately,” she added.

Calls to Action

Mrs. Maleki asked the protesters to demand that the Iranian regime’s judiciary immediately release Khastar.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has issued a call for international human rights organizations to take action and call upon the Iranian region to release Mr. Khastar. The NCRI Education Commission is also calling upon the

United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran to guarantee Mr. Khastar’s safety.

Arrested for Activism

Reports published on social media by MEK sources say that Mr. Khastar was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents without a warrant and transferred to a psychiatric ward. Mrs. Maleki described the roadblocks she had encountered in her efforts to visit her husband.

“A nurse told me that Mr. Khastar has been hospitalized in an emergency room and is banned from any family visits, based on orders issued by security officials,” she said.

“He was completely healthy and after retiring spent many of his days farming. The only medication he consumed were blood pressure pills. Khastar being hospitalized in an emergency section of a special facility for psychiatric patients means [authorities] injected a special type of medication with the intention of killing him, or he had been severely injured under torture or during his arrest,” Mrs. Maleki added.

Khastar was a tireless advocate of teachers who had been arrested and imprisoned by the regime on a number of occasions for his activism. In the weeks leading up to his abduction, Khastar participated in protests on behalf of jailed teachers and made public calls for the release of his imprisoned colleagues.

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Merchants Strike in Iran

Merchants Begin New Round of Strikes as Final Phase of U.S. Sanctions Takes Effect

Merchants Strike in Iran

New round of Strikes by merchants in Iran, as the Second major U.S. Sanctions take place.

Bazaar merchants in Iran went on strike on Monday in several cities. The strikes were timed to take place on the day that the final phase of U.S. sanctions took effect.

The planned strike took place after a call to action on social media. The bazaar merchants went on strike to protest skyrocketing prices and inflation.

The MEK network posted images on social media of closed shops in Tabriz in northwest Iran and Mashhad in northeast Iran. A video posted by the MEK shows that striking merchants have closed shops in Tehran’s rug market despite threats from authorities. Owners of home appliance stores in Tehran were also on strike. In Babol in northern Iran, merchants in the Rezvanshahr market were on strike. In Gorgan in northern Iran, all of the shops were closed in the Aftab Mall, which is the largest mall in the city. Merchants in Tabriz in northeastern Iran also closed their shops and went on strike.

Sources indicate that the strikes had now spread to Roudsar in northern Iran and Saqez and Baneh in western Iran.

The merchants went on strike last on October 8th. That round of strikes spread to over 50 cities in 21 provinces.

Truck Drivers’ Strikes Continue for the Sixth Day

Meanwhile, the fourth round of nationwide truck drivers’ strikes reached its sixth day on Tuesday. The most recent round of strikes began on November 1st after a call went out on social media urging the drivers to park their truck and strike. The truckers are protesting low pay and high prices for spare parts and replacement tires. They are also demanding the release of their colleagues who were arrested during the last round of strikes.

The MEK shared a number of videos of trucks parked in loading terminals as truckers joined the strike and refused to load cargo.

The state-run ILNA news agency reported on the strike on November 4th, writing: “Lack of truck tires, the emergence of the black market and dealers, and price instability have been some of the problems that the automotive market has faced in recent months.

“Truckers and heavy vehicle drivers are the first to suffer from this issue. All of this has led to the economic downturn and less food on the table for the people and as a result, some truckers have bought government tires and sold them in the free market, which has implications such as the use of worn-out tires and consequently, increased crash rates.”

Despite four rounds of strikes, Iran’s truck drivers have not been able to achieve their goals. During the last round of strikes, regime authorities arrested over 200 striking drivers and threatened to execute 17 of the arrested truckers. The arrests and threats of execution drew international condemnation from labor unions, including the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
and the Teamsters
, who both wrote statements supporting the truck drivers and condemning the regime’s actions.

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Truck drivers strike in Iran

Iran’s Truckers Strike for Fifth Consecutive Day

Truck drivers strike in Iran

The Iranian truck drivers have entered their 5th day of the strike for the fourth time this year.

Monday marked the fifth consecutive day of strikes by Iran’s truck drivers. The MEK network inside Iran reported that the latest round of strikes has spread to 44 cities in 23 provinces across the country. The strikes have garnered widespread support from Iranians from all sectors of society.

 

Truck drivers across Iran are parking their trucks and refusing to carry loads. Videos shared on social media by the Iranian Resistance show evidence of the strike taking place across Iran. In Dezful and Mashhad, the loading stations were filled with parked trucks. In Marand, East Azerbaijan Province, the roads were empty of heavy trucks.

 

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and leader of the Iranian Resistance, saluted the striking the striking drivers, tweeting:

“Hail to #Iran’s truck drivers who have started their fourth round of nationwide strike. In addition to their basic rights, they are also demanding freedom of their imprisoned colleagues.”

Mrs. Rajavi further called upon Iran’s youth to support the drivers and asked international labor unions to lend their support to the strike:

“I call on the youth to lend their moral and material support to the truck drivers, and urge international workers and truckers’ unions to declare their solidarity with the truck drivers on strike in #Iran.”

This is the fourth strike this year for Iran’s struggling truck drivers. The drivers are protesting low wages, high prices for spare parts (particularly replacement tires), corruption, high fees, and safety issues. The drivers are also demanding the release of their colleagues who were arrested in the previous strikes.

Iranian Truckers Launch Fourth Round of Strikes This Year

During the third round of strikes, the regime arrested over 200 striking drivers and threatened to execute 17 of the detained drivers. The strikes gained international attention from labor unions, including the Teamsters and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), who called the threat of executions a blatant violation of labor rights.

 

James P. Hoffa, the Teamsters General President, wrote a letter in support of the striking drivers on behalf of the Teamsters Union during the October strikes:

 

“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing 1.4 million transportation and supply chain workers in the United States and Canada, stands in solidarity with our Iranian brothers and sisters. We urge the government of Iran to listen to the grievances of striking Iranian truck drivers, address their just demands and recognize their internationally recognized rights to assembly, speech, freedom of association and collective bargaining.”

 

The Iranian regime has ignored the pleas of its truck drivers even as its roads have emptied. It has ignored four strikes and international outcry at its acts of brutality. Truck drivers make up a crucial part of Iran’s infrastructure, and they cannot be silenced. The country cannot function without truckers, and truckers cannot function within the corrupt regime. Something has to change.

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Increase in terrorist activities of the Iranian regime

All Eyes Are on Iran Following A Surge in Terror Activities

Increase in terrorist activities of the Iranian regime

Surge in the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities against MEK

On Monday, November 5th, the Washington Times ran a piece entitled “’Iran Doubles Down on Terror, Turmoil’ Against the West”. The piece, written by L. Todd Wood, highlighted the mounting danger the clerical regime poses to Western governments and their citizens.

Following the press conference held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the Iranian political opposition coalition which includes the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), on Friday, the international community has been buzzing with discussion over the increasing threat of the clerical regime.

Governments from across Europe and North America have turned their attention to the mullahs following the Danish government’s revelations in late October that it had foiled an Iranian state-sponsored plot to abduct and murder a dissident on its soil.

All Eyes on Iran

Wood writes, “many Americans are not aware of the extensive attempts at the violence that have happened in the recent past in the United States and Europe”, referring to the two Iranian regime agents arrested on US soil this summer and numerous foiled terror attacks in Europe.

The Danish Government Brands the Regime’s Foiled Terror Attack “Completely Unacceptable”

“Americans must become cognizant of the danger”, Wood urged. He argued this was essential for the neutralization of the Iranian threat. “Iran is the most significant existential threat currently facing America”, he wrote. With the public’s blessing, US politicians must face this threat in a forceful manner.

The NCRI Press Conference

In its press conference, the MEK and NCRI, outlined several strategies for confronting the regime’s international terror network.

Alireza Jafarzedah, a spokesperson for the Iranian opposition group, told those in attendance in Washington D.C. that European and US governments must close Iranian embassies on their soil and expel Iranian diplomats.

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

The Iranian regime’s planned terror attacks in Europe, including a failed car bomb attack planned in Paris, have demonstrated that Iranian embassies are thinly veiled hubs of international terror and espionage.

In the failed Paris attack, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat working at the Iranian embassy in Vienna, provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with the explosive material for use in the attack.

Jafarzedah called for an internationally coordinated and unified response to tackle the growing threat from Iran. In his mind, this means internationally coordinated and enforced sanctions aimed at crippling the Iranian regime’s exports and finances.

As the latest round of US sanctions takes effect, their impact remains to be seen. Several European governments remain determined to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal and have expressed their opposition to US sanctions.

This division will not stand. The regime’s recent spate of planned attacks has demonstrated that the regime has little regard for international law, the sovereignty of international governments, and the safety of their citizens.

Without a unified response from both Europe and the US, the regime can bypass sanctions and continue to orchestrate plots unimpeded. If one of these plots slips through the net and comes to fruition, the loss of life will be devastating, tragic, and utterly avoidable had the international community come together to neutralize the Iranian threat once and for all.

Staff Writer

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Monthly report by Iran HRM on Iranian regime's violations of Human Rights

22 Executed, 60 Flogged and 543 Politically-Motivated Arrests in the Month of October

Monthly report by Iran HRM on Iranian regime's violations of Human Rights

Photo Credit: Iran HRM: Iran Human Rights Monitor, Monthly Report for October 2018

On Saturday, November 3rd, Iran Human Rights Monitor published its monthly report of human rights violations taking place across Iran.

The report showcased the regime’s “dismal report card”, which featured 22 executions, among them a woman executed for a crime she allegedly committed aged 17.

The Persecution of the Iranian People

Iran Human Rights Monitor’s report indicated that the regime has continued its crackdown on the Ahvazi Arab population in Khuzestan province. Regime agents made numerous arrests in the month of October. Reports from MEK network inside Iran indicate that women and children were among those arrested.

Following October’s truck drivers’ strike, the regime arrested large numbers of protesting truck drivers across Iran’s provinces.

The nation’s environmental activists have also been the target of a sustained and bloody crackdown. In October, eight prominent activists were detained on charges of “sowing corruption on earth”. If convicted, the eight could face execution.

The regime has also targeted activists in more nefarious ways. Farshid Hakki was murdered near his home on October 17th.

Iran Human Rights Monitor called on the Iranian regime to release the activists unless it can “produce evidence to justify the charges against them and guarantee a fair trial”.

A String of Executions

The regime executed 22 Iranians in October. One of the most alarming cases was that of Zeinab Sekaanvand. She was hanged in Urmieh central prison in West Azerbaijan province for murdering her husband.

Sekaanvand was forced to marry her abusive husband aged just 15. She killed him in 2012, at aged 17. She was detained and tortured into providing a full confession. On October 2nd, she was hanged for her crime, aged 24.

The case drew criticism from international human rights organisations. Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, Phillip Luther, said, “her execution is profoundly unjust”, adding, “the fact that her death sentence followed a grossly unfair trial makes her execution more outrageous.”

Sekaanvand sought help several times from the authorities after her husband became violent. She also asserted that her brother-in-law had repeatedly raped her. Luther said, “instead of investigating these allegations… the authorities consistently ignored her and failed to provide her with any support as a victim of domestic and sexual violence”.

Brutal Punishments

In October, Iran Human Rights Monitor recorded 60 cases of flogging, including 15 workers at the HEPCO manufacturing company who received lashing sentences and jail time for striking over their unpaid wages. Among the 15 were labour representatives engaged in negotiations with their employers.

A graduate student named Pedram Pazireh received 74 lashings and a 7-year prison sentence for organising a ceremony to mark the country’s National Student Day.

A court in Arak also handed out lashings to 11 people arrested during the December and January protests. They faced a litany of charges including “disrupting the public order and peace by taking part in illegal rallies”.

Politically Motivated Arrests

Iran Human Rights Monitor recorded 543 politically motivated arrests across Iran in the month of October. There were also 11 arrests made on the religious and ethnic basis.

Many of these ethnic arrests were made against the Ahwazi Arab minority in Khuzestan following the attack on a military parade in Ahvaz. Amnesty International questioned the timing of the arrests and accused the regime of using the attack as an excuse to repress the Ahwazi population.

The regime also abducted and imprisoned Hashem Khastar, a leading advocate for teachers’ rights. Khastar disappeared from his family’s farm in north-eastern Iran. He was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Mashad, despite having no history of mental illness. His family has not been permitted to see him.

Khastar was not the only teachers’ advocate to face the regime’s repression. Four teachers were also arrested over their participation in a two-day sit-in protest. The head of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) secretariat, Mohammad Reza Ramezanzadeh, was also arrested following the protest.

Several other ITTA members were also arrested in Mashhad and Aligoudarz. Teachers across several Iranian cities were protesting poor living and working conditions.

Poor Prison Conditions

Iran Human Rights Monitor reported over 70 political prisoners went on hunger strike at Urmia prison following a brutal attack on inmates from the prison’s guards.

Prison guards beat inmates in ward 12, the ward which houses the regime’s political prisoners.

Elsewhere, prisoners who have been on hunger strike are suffering deteriorating health. Farhad Meysami went on hunger strike on August 1st. The women’s rights defender detained in Evin Prison has reportedly lost 18 kilograms despite being force-fed intravenously.

Prisoners housed in the women’s section of Evin Prison were denied their visiting rights. Three female political prisoners, Golrokh Iraee, Atena Daemi, and Maryam Akbari Monfared were unable to receive visitors for three weeks.

The regime agents reported that the visitation rights were withheld following a verbal altercation between the women and several prison guards. The women allegedly chanted protest slogans in the visitation hall.

The report shines further light on the appalling conduct and behavior of the regime’s agents. It underscores the extent that the regime is carrying out a systematic and brutal campaign of repression against the Iranian population.

Staff Writer

 

 

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