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The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

One Year Later: A Summary of Protests in Iran in 2018

The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

The photo symbolizes the December 2017 uprisings in Iran that has not stopped and has continued in forms of protests and strikes across the country.

December 28th marks the one year anniversary of the nationwide uprising that mobilized people from all walks of life to take to the streets in protest of Iran’s theocratic regime. The protests began in Mashhad on December 28, 2017, and spread to over 140 cities in every province in Iran over a two week period.

The initial protests were in response to the economic disaster facing the country. Poverty, corruption, inflation, and rising unemployment drove many Iranians into the streets to protests. But as the uprising grew in strength and numbers, the demonstrators began to protest the regime itself.

Protesters chanted, “Death to the dictator!”

“Death to [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!”

“Khamenei shame on you, let go of your rule!”

One year later, Iran is still the scene of daily protests and demonstrations against the authoritarian regime. The protesters have made it clear that they will not be satisfied until the ruling regime is toppled and democracy is restored to Iran.

The MEK has played a leading role in the protests taking place across Iran. As the movement to topple the mullahs’ regime has grown, the people have sought a viable alternative to the corrupt dictatorship that has destroyed Iran’s economy and environment, and that has oppressed its people for the past four decades. The MEK offers a democratic alternative that will restore freedom to Iran.

Iran News Wire summarized protest activity in Iran over the past year. The following is a summary of their report:

January

Recorded Protests: 643

Daily Average: 21

The uprising that began in December 2017 continued into January, and protests took an anti-regime turn in the month of January. Protesters set fire to Basij bases and tore down images of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

February

Recorded Protests: 596

Daily Average: 21

March

Recorded Protests: 422

Daily Average: 14

April

Recorded Protests: 452

Daily Average: 15

May

Recorded Protests: 1,093

Daily Average: 35

June

Recorded Protests: 475

Daily Protests: 16

 

In June, bazaar merchants in Tehran launched a large-scale strike in protest of the failing economy and rising prices. Protesters in Khoramshahr took to the streets to protest water scarcity.

Protests quickly turned to calls for regime change, with chants of “Death to the Dictator!”, “Death to Rouhani!”, “Death to Khamenei!”, and “Our enemy is right here, they lie when they say it’s the U.S.!”

Women played a key role during the protests in Khorramshahr and in Khuzestan in southwest Iran.

July

Recorded Protests and Strikes: 970 in cities and regions

Daily Average: 31

August

Recorded Protests: 133

Daily Average: 20

September

Recorded Protests: 1,367 in 293 cities, villages and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 46

Iran’s truck drivers began their nationwide organized strike in September.

October

Recorded Protests: 1,533 in 323 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 49

October saw the most protest activity in Iran in 2018. Truck drivers, teachers, and bazaar merchants all went on strike in October.

November

Recorded Protests: 911 in 171 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 30

Iranian truck drivers went on another round of strikes in November, as did Iran’s teachers.

The workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory workers in Shush and the Iran National Steel Group workers in Ahvaz also began striking in protest of months of unpaid wages. Their weeks-long strikes would attract international attention.

Head of Iranian Regime’s Judiciary Threatens Striking Workers

December

Recorded Protests: 273 as of December 21st

Daily Average: 9

Workers, credit union clients, retirees, students, and prisoners all protesters during the month of December.

The regime arrested a number of striking Ahvaz steelworkers and Haft Tappeh factory workers in an escalation of their previous attempts to suppress the strikes. Regime agents carried out a series of midnight raids on the houses of striking workers and arrested dozens of workers. Reports indicate that labor activist Esmail Bakhshi was tortured in prison.

Iranian truck drivers started their fifth round of strikes this month as well. Those numbers are not included in the report, which will be updated by Iran News Wire in January.

Staff Writer

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General James Jones, former U.S. National Security Adviser speaks at OIAC summit in New York

General James Jones Illustrates Bipartisan Support for a Tougher US Stance Against the Iranian Regime

General James Jones delivered a speech at the Iran Uprising Summit, held on September 22nd at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, calling for a tougher stance towards the clerical regime. The event, which took place at the end of September, was organized by the Iranian opposition and featured speakers from around the world.

Jones was President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser between 2009 and 2010 and helped form foreign policy under the Obama administration.

An “Existential Threat to Peace and Stability”

Jones began his speech with a damning assessment of the Iranian regime. He told the crowd that he believes the Iranian regime remains the globes biggest “existential threat to peace and stability”.

He described the regime’s behavior as “unrelenting” in its quest to “undermine our values, our freedom, and our prosperity”.

He criticized the regime’s human rights abuses and the manner in which it flaunts international law. Jones specifically referred to the regime’s attempts to undermine the Middle East peace process and its financing of terror and militia groups in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

The regime actively promotes Sharia-Sunni conflict in the Middle East, with the goal of “establishing a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut via Iraq and Syria”.

Jones asserted that the United States, along with its allies, “must do everything necessary to prevent these territorial ambitions from being realized”. He went on to warn of “grave” implications if the regime succeeds in its ambitions.

“The result will be more death and suffering, more destruction [of] the kind that the regime and its proxies have been inflicting across the region”, he said.

The MEK’s Sacrifices

Jones also referred to the heavy losses inflicted on the Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). He mentioned the attacks on Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf which left 140 dead, 7 abducted, and more than 1300 wounded refugees.

“We must no longer accept passivity and weakness in the face of this tyrannical regime,” he said, adding that one of his greatest regrets was that the United States did not act faster or more decisively in the wake of the regime attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty.

“The outrageous delay in coming to their aid resulted in an innocent loss of life”, he said, “frankly I regard that chapter as a glaring, and I hope atypical, failure in America’s leadership of the international human rights movement.”

Today’s Challenges

Jones was adamant that the challenges he describes are not things of the past. 1,900 MEK members are living in exile in Albania, but the Iranian regime still pursues them.

Jones described the arrest of regime agents in Albania this summer, who had nefarious designs against the MEK. “We must do what’s necessary to ensure the dissidents… are not made to become the subjects of the Iranian regime’s plots in Albania.”

The General also drew attention to the foiled terror plot in June, where the regime orchestrated an explosive attack against the MEK in Paris. It was foiled by Belgian authorities in the late stages.

A Bipartisan Issue

General Jones also alluded to the fact that there was general bipartisan support for a tougher stance against the Iranian regime. He cited the current National Security Adviser under President Trump, John Bolton, who, Jones said, “has remained steadfast in his support” for the Iranian opposition.

Bolton later thanked the General over Twitter for his “kind words and leadership on Iran”. Bolton, a staunch Republican, and Jones, a Democrat, personify the bipartisan agreement on the Iran issue in the US.

Protests in the Street

As evidence for a tougher Iran policy in the US, Jones went on the describe the domestic situation within Iran. He echoed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments, who described the protests as “the most enduring and forceful protests since 1979”.

Jones told the audience that the regime has imprisoned thousands of its own citizens, but he celebrated the “courage and passions” of the people who continued to demand their right to liberty.

He described the economic climate of rising inflation and a collapsing rial. “Some will point to the sanctions, old and new, as the culprit. But ladies and gentlemen the true culprit is the regime that rejects the international norms of behavior on which orderly relations, global trade, and economic engagement are based,” he said.

Jones defended Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. “Could Tehran really have been surprised given the lack of trust produced by its relentless reception, history of non-compliance and deadly support of terrorism?”, Jones asked.

In another gesture of bipartisan cooperation on Iran, Jones also praised Mike Pompeo’s economic sanctions.

Ten Point Plan

Finally, Jones drew attention to the MEK and Maryam Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan, describing them as “Jeffersonian principles that every freedom-loving member of the human race can embrace and every form of tyranny fears”.

He acknowledged the role of the United States and its allies in bringing Maryam Rajavi’s ten principles to fruition. He suggested that the US monitor the regime’s nuclear development program and prevent it from realizing its nuclear goals.

He also urged the United States to make progress on bringing peace to Syria to prevent Iran from using it as a proxy.

But the first step, Jones acknowledged, is to “support the Iranian people who hunger for democracy and a government worthy of their hopes and dreams.”

 

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Maryam Rajavi's speech in FreeIran Summit

Maryam Rajavi Urges European Leaders to Stop the Flow of Finances to the Iranian Regime

Maryam Rajavi's speech in FreeIran Summit

Maryam Rajavi addresses the Free Iran Summit in New York on September-2018

The leader of the Iranian opposition, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) urged European leaders to end their financial support for the Iranian regime.

Maryam Rajavi, the charismatic and influential leader of the Iranian opposition movement, addressed the Iran Uprising Summit in New York via a video link. The summit attracted more than 1,700 activists and MEK-supporters, eager to hear Maryam Rajavi and other prominent speakers including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“testing Western governments”

Ms. Rajavi took the opportunity to condemn recent human rights abuses from the Iranian regime. She said, “in committing these crimes, the mullahs are testing Western governments”. She went on to assert that should Western leaders respond to these tests with inaction, it will embolden the regime and “intensify the regime’s terrorist actions”.

She then urged governments in Europe to close their Iranian embassies. The failed terror attack in Paris this summer exposed an elaborate network of Iranian embassies secretly involved in the planning and execution of terror plots.

She also had a message for the United Nations Security Council, which will meet on September 26th to discuss the Iranian regime. Rajavi said, “I must recall the demands of the Iranian Resistance underscored many years ago. It is an urgent imperative that the Security Council addresses the flagrant violations of human rights in Iran, especially the torture and massacre of political prisoners, and the regime’s export of terrorism and warmongering in the Middle East region”.

Ending the Financial Flow

For Maryam Rajavi, the best way to end the regime’s torture and massacre is by cutting its financial lifelines.

The regular financial assistance from the West is funneled into the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Quds Forces. It enables these military groups to play an active role in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, fuelling unrest and violence in the Middle East.

A Message of Hope

The event opened with a tribute to John McCain. McCain was actively involved in rescuing the MEK members during the time they were in Camp Liberty in Iraq. Rudy Giuliani, in a heartfelt message, recounted a time when McCain admitted that he would not live to see a free Iran, but urged Giuliani to continue the fight and take his place.

In his speech, Giuliani also challenged the regime’s assertion that the MEK was an ineffective and feeble force in Iran. He asked the audience gathered in New York, “if you are so weak and ineffective, why are they constantly trying to kill you?”

The event brought Iranians and MEK supporters together from across the US and beyond. There were uplifting messages of hope, particularly from the young people in attendance.

A highlight of the summit was a 15-year-old girl who told the crowd, “I have never been to Iran, where my parents met. But one day I will visit a free Iran.” But first, Europe must cut the regime off.

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MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

American Reporter Visits MEK Camp in Albania

MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

MEK members during September Congress during which they elected their secretary general.

A report published in the Washington Times on September 19th sheds light on the lives of MEK members living in Albania. Reporter L.Todd Wood researched the article while traveling in Albania. Wood was invited to visit the new MEK camp that is being built outside of Tirana while in Albania and learned about the MEK and its members. His report separates fact from fiction and explores the kinds of people who join the MEK and their reasons for doing so.

The new MEK camp, named Ashraf 3, houses around 3,200 members of the Iranian opposition movement. The group built the camp after being forced out of their old home in Iraq by a series of attacks by the Iranian-backed government.

The Iranian government is extremely fearful of the MEK, as it sees the group as an existential threat. As a result of this fear, the regime has repeatedly carried out brutal and reckless acts against the MEK in a series of failed attempts to destroy the organization and all opposition to the mullahs’ rule. In June, an Iranian diplomat was arrested for planning a foiled terrorist attack on the Iranian resistance’s Free Iran gathering in Paris. In August, two Iranian intelligence agents were arrested in the United States and charged with spying on the MEK on behalf of the Iranian regime.

According to Wood, the Iranian regime has taken its demonization campaign against the MEK all the way to Albania, employing its intelligence agents to recruit former MEK members to spread propaganda against the group in an attempt to ruin the organization’s reputation within Albania.

Wood’s visit to Ashraf 3 took place against the backdrop of the regime’s hostile attacks against the MEK, as well as the popular uprising currently taking place in Iran, which is being organized by MEK resistance units; the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, which are exacerbating Iran’s escalating social and economic crises; and a regime that is teetering on the verge of collapse through its own corruption, incompetence, and mistreatment of its people.

Wood described his entrance to Ashraf 3 in terms of the security measures that were required to ensure the safety of camp residents. Any time he left the camp during his visit, two cars had to travel together. Local security services were employed to provide perimeter defense and to inspect all cars who entered the camp gates.

According to Wood, Ashraf 3 resembles a small city in various stages of construction. It has lodging, robust cooking facilities, assembly halls, a medical facility, and an administrative building. He said that the MEK has done a remarkable job in recreating their home in Iraq in such a short time, noting that the facilities were already very functional, if still somewhat barren.

Wood met the leaders of the camp and was immediately struck by their openness. The MEK has been the subject of a number of recent journalistic attacks by BBC Channel 4 and Al Jazeera, ending in a flyover of the camp by a drone owned by Channel 4. The false reports have left the MEK eager to set the record straight. Wood indicated that he would be willing to keep an open mind, and he received full and detailed answers to all of his questions. In some cases, additional members were brought in to provide more detail on a response. No subject was taboo during the two-day visit, and Wood left with positive feelings about the MEK and a commitment to come back and learn more about the organization.

Wood was interested in the members of Ashraf 3. He wanted to know who joined the MEK, who chose to live at Ashraf 3, and why they joined the organization. He found that most of the camp residents were older, as the children of MEK members were moved out of Iraq and sent to Europe and the U.S. over the last decade when Camp Ashraf and Liberty became the targets of missile attacks. There were, however, quite a few younger members, some of whom were part of the group of children who were evacuated from Iraq in 2009. These children grew up and joined the MEK as adults, following in their parents’ footsteps.

Wood interviewed approximately 50 MEK members during his stay at the camp, speaking to people both young and old about their experiences and what led them to join the organization. Some of the people he interviewed joined because their loved ones suffered violence at the hands of the regime. Others joined because the regime executed a loved one. Many became members because they couldn’t envision a future in Iran and chose to commit themselves to bring regime change for the generations to come.

Wood acknowledges that the MEK has been described as a cult, but he pushes back against this idea, saying instead that it is a “fanatically committed group of individuals who have given their lives for an idea: a free Iran.” He describes the members of the MEK as individuals who want a better life for their brothers and sisters in Iran. He said that this was especially prevalent amongst the young people at the camp, many of whom carried physical scars from their time at Camp Ashraf or Iran. Many of the MEK members Wood spoke to “had a deep sense of loss and pain from their dealings with the regime-murder, assault, deceit, torture. Their overriding principle was to prevent future generations of Iran from having to go through the same horrific experiences.”

Wood pointed out that the camp residents are mostly intellectuals and were very successful before joining the MEK. These are people who could have settled anywhere in the West and done well for themselves, but they chose to sacrifice everything to work toward a free Iran. Wood emphasized that everyone in the camp is singularly focused on freedom, that the idea of freedom permeates the camp itself. He spoke of the focus and determination of every member of the camp in completing their tasks. The members of Ashraf 3 have one goal—freedom—and they are determined to achieve it. Wood said that everyone he spoke to knew why they were fighting and why it was important that they do so.

Wood also referred to recent propaganda pieces published by the Iranian regime lobbies or paid agents saying: “Albania has nothing to fear from this group. I did not see any weapons or military training. They want to become good citizens of Albania and to build a life in the former communist country. In fact, it is the MEKwho has to be worried about violence. The regime has shown it will stop at nothing to destroy them. Iranian Ministry of Intelligence agents are active in Albania. They are the ones the Albanian public has to fear, not the people in the camp.”

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Infighting at Iranian regime's parliament

Shake Ups in Parliament Won’t Fix Corrupt Regime

Infighting at Iranian regime's parliament

The Iranian regime’s parliament infighting as a result of the growing discontent against the regime and its corrupt leaders.

A wave of impeachments is overtaking the Iranian regime’s parliament, as tensions among the regime leadership have reached a boiling point.

Minister of Work Ali Rabi-ee was dismissed three weeks ago. The Ministers of Industry and Education are set to be impeached on September 11th. Cabinet Minister Masoud Karbasian is going to be sacked by next month.

On August 28th, President Hassan Rouhani was summoned to Parliament to answer questions about Iran’s economy. Rouhani admitting the Iranian people’s discontent towards the regime said: “Economic issues are of determinative nature. However, what’s more important now is that many people have lost their faith in the future of our Islamic Republic and are doubting its power.” Rouhani’s visit to Parliament came after months of squabbling and power plays between parties.

Government officials in trying to put the blame on others have become increasingly willing to acknowledge that Iran’s problems stem from decades of corruption and mismanagement by the mullahs and not from the sanctions by the United States.

Member of Parliament Qasem Mirzaei Nikou said: “The fraudulent ways of money-making runs in all branches of the government. Their corruption is endless, much like a seven-headed dragon.”

The reality is that the impeachments will not solve Iran’s economic problems because the system is rotten to its core. Iranian regime’s economic policy is not based on the rule of law; it is based on greed and corruption. Even MPs agree that replacing the cabinet will not solve these problems.

On August 26th, Elias Hazrati another regime MP, commented on this issue: “We are in the month of August now. Sanctions won’t start until November, and its consequences won’t be revealed any earlier than the next 6 to 12 months. So, the current inflation of 19%, which is expected to go up to 40% by the end of the year, has clearly nothing to do with the United States”.”

Henchman, Mohammad Reza Badamchi another member of regime’s parliament, added: “In today’s society, one out of every six people is unemployed. In other words, close to 20 million of our youth, aged between 15 to 29 years old, have no jobs now.”

The cabinet, of course, only controls 50% of Iran’s economy. The other half is held by the Supreme Leader and the organizations under his power, primary the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliates.

Mahmoud Bahmani, another regime MP and the former head of the Central Bank, revealed last month: “A 2-year-worth of currency, accumulated from our exports, haven’t been returned to our country just yet. The bank accounts of the officials’ families are worth more than our currency held overseas. In March 2013, the liquidity rate was 435 thousand billion Toman, whereas today, it is more than 700 thousand billion Toman.”

Given the dire economic situation in Iran and the failure of regime officials to find effective solutions to address it, the Iranian people have grown more and more angry at the entire regime. Economic issues were the initial spark that led to the massive uprising that began in December of last year and continues today. People from all walks to life have taken to the streets, chanting, “Death to Khamenei!”

Khamenei you should be ashamed of yourself!”

Reformists, Hardliners, Game is Over!”

It has become clear that the people of Iran are tired of claims of reform. They are ready for regime change. Increasingly, protesters have looked toward the Iranian Resistance and the MEK for a viable alternative to the mullahs’ regime.

The regime faces many obstacles right now, but the largest and most insurmountable is the ongoing uprising taking place in the streets of Iran. The regime has been unable to suppress the protests, and it has been unable to kill off the opposition movement, despite attempted multiple terrorist attacks on the MEK this year.

Rouhani himself acknowledged the power of the protesters in a statement this year: “How did our country’s atmosphere suddenly change? It changed from December 26th, 2017; anyone who claims otherwise is only misleading people, in my opinion.”

The regime is fearful of its people because it knows the end is near. Overthrow is inevitable because the problems within the regime cannot be fixed. The people are angry, and the protesters cannot be suppressed. The regime should be afraid.

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MEK- Iran: Rouhani’s Answers Leave MPs Unsatisfied

Archive-Rouhani was called to the regime’s parliament to answer questions about the dire economic condition, the plunge of Rial, etc. As Iran protests grow across the country, the infighting among regime rivals expands

There have been signs that the Iranian regime has been dealing with instability within the leadership for some time. The Minister for Labour and the Economic Minister were both removed from their positions in recent weeks, and Rouhani appeared before MPs on August 28th to explain the country’s woeful economic situation.

Rouhani answered five questions on the economy. Four of the responses were unsatisfactory. Among the 82 MPs that witnessed the session, approximately 75% felt that his answers to questions on unemployment and inflation were not acceptable.

An Economy in Crisis

In the last six months, the rial has plummeted in value against the dollar. Its value is around half of that at the beginning of 2018. Poverty is creeping up, with many Iranians struggling for economic survival.

One-third of the population now live below the international poverty line based on regime sources, with one in ten living in conditions that amount to “absolute poverty” (the reality is a lot worse). Mohsen Hashemi, Chairman of Tehran’s Council, puts the blame squarely at the regime’s doorstep. He said the mullah’s “quick and careless formation of policies” has destroyed the economy.

A Web of Deceit

During the hearing with MPs, Rouhani spouted fabricated figures and statistics as he attempted to put a positive spin on his government’s five-year tenure. Rather than acknowledge his government’s failings, he instead blamed the economic crisis on the perceptions of the Iranian people.

“All of a sudden, people’s perception of Iran’s future changed, and this is a major problem”, he said. “Banking irregularities and the economic boom and the currency prices are all important issues, but they all pale in relation to the issue of public trust and hope”, he added.

Rouhani pinpointed the uprisings in December and January, as the moment that the current economic crisis began. “Suddenly the circumstances in the country changed”, he said.

President Rouhani also blamed his counterpart in the United States, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA on the 2017/2018 uprisings. He said that the “domestic turbulence and international threats frightened the people”.

Playing Down Reports of Factional Infighting

Finally, Rouhani attempted to dispel rumors of infighting within the regime leadership. Previously he had criticised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of extensive smuggling, accusing the organization of smuggling billions of dollars across international borders. However, during questioning, Rouhani praised the IRGC for its role in preventing smuggling.

In refusing to give an accurate representation of his government’s role in creating the economic crisis and performing a U-turn on smuggling accusations within the IRGC, Rouhani demonstrated to the people of Iran that he has no interest in offering solutions to the country’s worsening economic situation. His answers demonstrate a leader burying his head in the sand to avoid the harsh realities of the situation, more concerned with smoothing over factionalism within his own government than improving the lives of the population.

The economic crisis ravaging the Iranian population looks set to worsen before it gets better. But one thing is certain: As seen in slogans of protesters in recent protests across Iran, shouting “Death to the Dictator” they well know that it is the entirety of the regime that is responsible for the corruption and mismanagement of the economy and that the only solution to the problem is regime change in Iran.

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Iran Protests in Kazerun

An Interview with Hanif Jazayeri: The Iranian People Have Spoken Loud and Clear

Recent Protests Mark a New Era for Iran’s Opposition

Recent Protests Mark a New Era for Iran’s Opposition

On the 6th of August, as US sanctions affecting the purchase of dollars, metals, and car and plane parts were re-imposed on Iran, an interview with Hanif Jazayeri was broadcast across major American cities. Listeners in Las Vegas, Baltimore, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh could tune in to hear the Iranian news editor discuss the latest wave of economic sanctions and their effect on the already unstable clerical regime.

The United States announced its latest wave of sanctions, which will target the Iranian oil industry, the backbone of the Iranian economy; however, the EU and Russia have already voiced their opposition to the sanctions. They announced they would prefer to salvage the crumbling JCPOA agreement.

A New Breed of Protest

Hanif opened the interview by fielding a question on the changing nature of the Iranian protest movement. He said, “the Iranian people have spoken loud and clear”, “they are blaming the regime for their economic hardship”. In the wake of the JCPOA, the Iranian regime unlocked billions of dollars in aid packages, but the people saw none of the benefits.

“They have noticed this,” said Hanif, “and that is actually because all the money has been spent in Syria, to prop up the dictator there, to fund terrorist groups in the region, for the domestic suppression apparatus of the regime, and the rest of it has lined the pockets of the mullahs and their families.”

Following this blatant abuse of power and mismanagement of resources, the Iranian people have taken to the streets in their thousands to express their frustration at the mullahs’ regime. The people want an end to the regime.

The International Community

Hanif went on to mention the Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi’s appeal to the international community to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and exclude the current regime from the international banking system. Only the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is benefitting from oil exports at present.

Hanif Jazayeri has played an active role himself in drumming up international support for the Iranian protest movement. He has been collecting footage from protestors in Iran and publishing them across social media to raise international awareness for the struggle of the Iranian people.

However, many within the international community have expressed reluctance and hesitation at the idea of reintroducing sanctions. A common argument against Maryam Rajavi’s proposal of sanctioning the Iranian oil industry is that it would further hurt the already struggling Iranian population.

Hanif attempted to dispel this common misconception. He cited the slogans adopted among the protestors which state, “our enemy is right here, they are lying when they say it is America”.

The people of Iran have suffered under the Iranian regime both when economic sanctions have been imposed, and after the sanctions were lifted. They saw no benefit from the lifting of the sanctions, their standard of living did not improve. Therefore, the lifting of the sanctions empowered the regime. It gave the Iranian regime more money to spend on suppressing the people.

Will Sanctions Empower Hardliners?

In response to Hanif’s argument, the interviewer countered that economic sanctions could empower the hardliners within Iran. They could be interpreted as “economic bullying” and allow the more extreme elements in Rouhani’s regime to portray Iran as a victim and being unfairly punished by the American government.

In reality, there are not hardliners and moderates within the Iranian regime. They are all hardliners. Rouhani himself has threatened to disrupt passage through the Strait of Hormuz if oil sanctions are imposed on Iran. His regime continues to arrest and execute political dissidents. There are no “hardliners” and “moderates”, only the regime in all its brutality.

Again, Hanif pointed to the slogans of the protestors to illustrate the point. The demonstrations across Iran have featured slogans stating, “no to hardliners, no to moderates”.

More than half of the country is in poverty and has been so for nearly forty years. For Iranians, the situation deteriorated after the sanctions were lifted. The regime received a financial windfall, which only gave them more resources to use in their routine abuse and repression of the Iranian people. “In the last two years, for example, the economic situation has spiraled downwards”, said Hanif.

Finally, Hanif Jazayeri saluted the brave protestors turning out across Iran, risking imprisonment and death in their determination to make their voices heard.

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Commemoration of 30,000 MEK supporters executed during 1988 massacre of Political prisoners

Regime Change is the Only Way to Bring an End to Iran’s Human Rights Abuses

Commemoration of 30,000 MEK supporters executed during 1988 massacre of Political prisoners

Members of MEK raise photos of some of the fallen heroes and heroins of MEK, for standing to the criminal regime in Iran

The Iranian regime has systematically abused the population to maintain its grip on power. In May 2018 alone, Human Rights organizations have documented 16 executions, five flogging sentences, 17 murders, the beating of protesters, the destruction of homes, and the forceful cutting off of a young girl’s hair for improper veiling.

The United Nations (UN), the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), and other human rights groups have collected extensive evidence of widespread human rights abuses under the mullahs’ regime. With no end to the atrocities insight and minimal assistance from the international community, the MEK has outlined its own plan to end the routine human rights abuses.

Crisis Point

The current situation is approaching a crisis point. As the protest movement in Iran intensifies, and the opposition groups get stronger, the regime becomes more repressive and violent. The more Rouhani feels his grip waning, the more violent and aggressive he becomes.

Iran now leads the world rankings in both the number of executions per capita and in the number of child executions per capita. For those that are spared the gallows, their fate is no better. There are more than 74 different forms of torture employed in Iranian prisons.

Under President Rouhani, the situation has deteriorated. Under the brutal regime of the mullahs, more than 120,000 activists mainly supporters of the MEK have been executed. Since Rouhani ascended to the presidency in 2015, over 3,200 people have been executed on various charges, in order to intimidate the public.

A Muted Response from the International Community

The response from the international community has done little to alleviate the plight of the Iranian people. The US introduced its latest round of sanctions at the end of May. However, economic sanctions have been employed in the past, to little effect.

The time for words and economic sanctions is over. Neither has proven effective in improving the human rights situation in Iran. The only way to protect the Iranian population from the bloodlust and barbarism of the mullahs is through regime change.

A Democratic Future for Iran

Understandably, the international community has been reluctant to endorse regime change. Governments fear that an Iran without the regime would quickly descend into chaos and anarchy. When Western governments had a hand in regime change in Libya and Iraq, the outcome left the countries in a chaotic spiral.

However, Iran is not like Iraq and Libya. Iran already has a viable democratic opposition government waiting to fill the power vacuum left behind by the regime. President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi, already enjoys support both at home in Iran and from the international community and Western governments.

The NCRI’s ten-point plan is a comprehensive roadmap to a democratic Iran. It includes a detailed outline for the establishment of a peaceful, non-nuclear Iran with a secular government, universal suffrage, and an independent judiciary.

The international community must act now. The rampant executions, murders, beatings, and intimidations must end. The only way to put Iran on the path to peace, democracy, and economic freedom is through regime change. The MEK and the Iranian people need international allies in their struggle for a brighter future. It is time for Western governments to step up and be those allies.

Staff Writer

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NCRI the democratic alternative to Iran's dictatorship

NCRI Envisions Alternative to Iranian Regime

NCRI the democratic alternative to Iran's dictatorship

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) the only viable alternative to the religious tyranny ruling Iran.

On May 15, 2018, ncri-iran.org published an editorial advocating for an alternative to the oppressive regime in Iran. Since the editorial was published, protests across Iran have continued unabated, and several events have occurred in the international community with regard to Iran that has further destabilized the regime. On June 30th, the Iranian opposition will hold its annual grand gathering, where it will address the issues discussed in the NCRI’s editorial, which we will revisit here.

In its editorial, the NCRI argued that Western policy on Iran often excludes the will of the Iranian people. For a policy to be effective, it is crucial to take into account events on the ground in Iran.

In December of 2017, a wave of protests began in Iran that shook both the ruling the regime and the world at large. People in over 140 cities across Iran took to the streets to reject the theocratic regime. The people chanted “Death to Khamenei and Rouhani!” and reformists, hardliners, the game is over!” leaving no doubt that they would accept nothing less than regime change. Governments and those who considered themselves experts on Iran were surprised to find that the core of the protesters were the same people whom they had assumed to be the strongest supporters of the regime. The entire country rose up to demand a change in regime.

 

On June 30, 2018, Iranians from all over the world will gather in Paris for the opposition’s annual gathering, which this year is titled Free Iran; The Alternative.” The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants, with each Iranian representing dozens, of not hundreds or thousands of people inside Iran who are currently protesting for change. The people of Iran have received word of the event through social media, and messages of support have poured in from all corners of civil society. According to the NCRI editorial, [t]he people of Iran see the June 30 event as the echo of their own cry for freedom.”

In past years, this annual event has drawn as many as 100,000 participants. This year’s gathering is unique, given the ongoing uprising and international developments affecting Iran. According to the NCRI, this year’s gathering “heralds the dawn of freedom for the people of Iran and an end to the nightmare of the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and instability in the region.”

 

At the 2017 gathering, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), of which the MEK is the largest member, said that “regime change in Iran is necessary and within reach.” Many so-called experts were skeptical of her message at the time, but recent events have proven her words to be true. According to the NCRI, this year’s message is short but precise: “Iran has a democratic alternative – thus, setting aside the misguided notion, advocated by the Iranian regime’s lobby, that regime change would lead to chaos.”

 

The NCRI believes that the West has ignored the will of the Iranian people for far too long. Their editorial states:

 

“The mullahs’ regime cannot exist without suppression at home and export of terrorism abroad. Silence regarding the criminal mullahs, let alone wittingly or unwittingly empowering those responsible for, and the perpetrators of, the massacre of the Iranian nation, will only embolden the religious dictatorship’s warmongering, export of fundamentalism and terrorism. The end of religious dictatorship in Iran is a requisite for regional peace, democracy, security, and stability. This is the only way to end war and crisis in the region and avert a larger war.

The alternative to the mullahs’ regime is a free Iran, governed by the rule of law. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran in which women can be treated as equals, including in political leadership. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran where the there is no compulsory veil or compulsion to religion. The NCRI and the MEK believe in an Iran where all national and religious ethnicities can live and work together in harmony to rebuild the country from the ashes left by the ruinous clerical regime.

 

The Free Iran event is also unique in that is a rare opportunity for unity in an era of partisanship on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the NCRI’s editorial:

 

“[D]dignitaries, politicians and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will join each other to support the Iranian people in their dream and desire for a free and democratic Iran. Americans and Europeans, Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Christian Democrats, as well as Social Democrats and Socialists, will address the rally along with representatives of Iranian communities.”

 

The NCRI believes that the unity of the people in attendance at the rally, the bond between the millions of people protesting in the streets of Iran, and the diversity of political support for the opposition moment “will show that there exists within the organized opposition the capacity to lead the protests in Iran to ultimate regime change.” The regime’s Supreme Leader has already expressed concern about the MEK’s role in organizing the uprising in Iran, going as far as to unsuccessfully demand that French President Emmanuel Macron take action against MEK members in France. He and the regime fear the momentum of the popular uprising.

 

Last year’s gathering was attended by more than 500 dignitaries from all over the world, including former Prime Ministers, government officials, and Members of Parliament. Attendees included Bernard Kouchner, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs; Rita Suessmuth, the former President of Germany’s Bundestag; and the former U.K. Minister of Northern Ireland, as well as Ambassador John Bolton, Senator Joe Lieberman, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Ed Rendell, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The Free Iran gathering will take place on June 30th and will present an alternative to the Iranian regime. More information about the event may be found here.

 

 

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Iranian diaspora will gather to support Iran Protests

MEK –  People of Iran Are Deprived of Freedom in all Areas of Life

Iranian diaspora will gather to support Iran Protests

Iranians in Europe and America, will gather in Paris this June to show support for Iran Protests

In Iran, the concept of freedom does not exist. The regime has imposed its standards of behavior, preventing the exercise of free will or choice among its people, stifling their ability to live in freedom.

The Iranian regime is particularly repressive with respect to religious expression. Laws and regulations in Iran are based on an extremist interpretation of Islam and Sharia law. The people of Iran are forced to conform to extremism, not secular law. Iranian law says that any non-Muslim who encourages a Muslim to convert to another religion should be sentenced to death. This effectively makes the free expression of religion punishable by death.

Iran, which is responsible for fully half of the world’s executions, unfairly uses the death penalty to punish non-Muslims in other situations as well. If a victim of a crime is a Muslim, but the perpetrator is not, the perpetrator may be sentenced to death.

The Iranian regime controls its citizens by preventing them from choosing their religion. Muslims in Iran are prohibited from converting to other religions or from renouncing Islam. Anyone who is born into a Muslim community in Iran must remain a Muslim forever. The right to choose one’s faith is nonexistent.

Many members of religious minorities in Iran have been imprisoned for their beliefs. Charges against these people have ranged from “corruption on earth” to “insulting Islam.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), of which the MEK is the largest member, has long stood in opposition to the regime’s treatment of religious minorities and sought to draw attention to their plight. The NCRI and MEK have also sought to clarify that the regime’s interpretation of the  Islamic faith runs counter to the true values of peace and sharing promoted by religion.

The idea that anyone would be prohibited from choosing and following their own spiritual path seems bizarre and abhorrent to those living in a free society, but this is a fact of life in Iran. Freedom of religion is absent in a country where women are not permitted to attend sporting events and are forced to abide by a rigid dress code. Freedom does not exist in a country where minorities are persecuted and those who dare to protest against the regime are shot in the streets.

The clerical regime who rules Iran uses these restrictions to suppress and control the people and maintain its power. These restrictions fly in the face of basic human rights, but despite the pleas of human rights activists, nothing has changed.

The annual Free Iran rally in Paris on June 30th will provide an opportunity for the NCRI to discuss ways to use the resistance movement to help the Iranian people achieve freedom. The rally will affirm the support of the NCRI and MEK for the people of Iran in their desire for regime change.

In the absence of any capacity for reform in the velayat-e-Faqih(the rule of the divine over an entire nation)’s dictatorship, the people of Iran have made it clear that regime change is the only path forward. The regime has systematically oppressed its people for four decades and shows no signs of stopping. The pattern of corruption, brutality, exportation of terrorism, and suppression is beyond reform. The MEK stands firmly behind the people of Iran in their quest for regime change.

Staff Writer

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