Posts Tagged ‘Tom Ridge’

General James Jones,Jeanne Sheehan,John Boozman,Lincoln Bloomfield,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI,Tom Ridge

Nowruz ceremony at the Senate building

US Senators Call for Increased MEK Support ahead of Nowruz 

Nowruz ceremony at the Senate building

Nowruz celebration held at the senate building in Washington D.C. Picture shows a few of the speakers at the ceremony, from left Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, General James Jones, Governor. Tom Ridge, and Senator Joe Lieberman, being welcomed by organizers of the gathering.

In an event ahead of the Persian New Year celebrations, US senators gathered in the John F. Kennedy Hall in Washington D.C. to participate in a discussion on Iranian human rights abuses and the future of democracy in Iran.

Senators from both sides of the political aisle came together with dignitaries to discuss the necessity of offering support for the Iranian pro-democracy opposition. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the leader of the Iranian opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, are the only viable democratic alternative to regime rule in the country. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for restoring democracy to the country following the fall of the clerical regime has drawn international support and attention.

The senators also discussed the regime’s ruthless demonization campaign and dissemination of misinformation in an attempt to turn public opinion against the influential opposition group.

Among those at the meeting calling for increased support for Ms Rajavi and the MEK were Senator Jeanne Sheehan of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Forces and Budget committees, John Boozman of the Subcommittee on Military Construction and the Veteran Affairs committee, Former National Security Advisor General James Jones, former Vice-Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, Governor Tom Ridge, and Lincoln Bloomfield, the former director of the State Department Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Think tank fellows, Middle East experts and a slew of reporters from mainstream media outlets were also in attendance.

Promoting Normalised Regional Relations

Jeanne Sheehan made the case for supporting the MEK to normalise Iran’s relations with other states in the region. The Iranian regime has systematically funneled weapons and finances to militia groups and terror cells across the Middle East.

Its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds Forces have been involved in the civil wars in Syria, the Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq. Its financial support for terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas have undermined regional security. Sheehan called for the peaceful coexistence with other nations in the Middle East.

When Senator Boozman took the floor, he highlighted the growing support and popularity of the MEK and the Iranian resistance as a major reason why the US government should lend its support to Ms. Rajavi and her opposition to the clerical regime.

For General James Jones, the regimes continued terrorist plots against the Iranian opposition abroad were a major factor in his decision to call for increased MEK support. In 2018, the regime coordinated terror attacks against MEK members in Albania, France, and the US. In one of the highest-profile attacks, a Belgian Iranian couple was arrested en-route to the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris with a car laden with explosives. More than 100,000 supporters attended the event. Had the plot been carried out, the loss of life could have been catastrophic.

Senator Lieberman highlighted the importance of lending US support to the opposition at this moment. He described how the regime is in decline. Factional infighting, US sanctions, and a growing internal protest movement within Iran are putting the regime under immense pressure. The cracks are appearing and the MEK is ready to fill the void when the regime buckles.

All the events speakers were unambiguous in the need for US support of the MEK. With the regime’s future in power becoming more uncertain by the day.

Staff writer

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#FreeIran2018,Human Rights,Iran Protests,MEK,MEK Network,PMOI,Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge

Former US Homeland Security Secretary: The EU “Must Take Steps to Underscore the Existing Regime’s Illegitimacy

 

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge, Rudy Guiliani and Representative Robert Pittenger greet Maryam Rajavi – leader of Iran opposition as she joins them at the annual gathering of the MEK in Paris-June 2015

Tom Ridge, the former US Homeland Security Secretary (2001-2003) reiterated the threat the Iranian regime poses to democracies and called for a coordinated strategy from the European Union (EU) in addressing the Iranian threat. In an article published in the National Interest on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, Ridge said:

“In January German authorities arrested an Afghan-German dual national for spying on behalf of the Iranian intelligence agency. The incident was far from the first, and only underscored the potential threat lurking behind each new revelation.”

There has been a surge in Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and intelligence operations over the last 13 months. In June, in what surmounted to one of the most high-profile plots, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in connection with a plot to bomb the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

In March, two regime agents were arrested in Albania after targeting the Iranian opposition group once again. The agents had been monitoring the MEK’s compound outside the Albanian capital of Tirana with the intention of carrying out a terror attack during the Persian New Year celebrations.

Targeting the heart of the Iranian opposition

The MEK has always been the target of the regime’s ire but this has surged since the nationwide protests that broke out in Iran in January 2018. The protests quickly spread to more than 140 towns and cities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The regime holds the MEK, a pro-democracy group, responsible. The MEK was instrumental in the protest’s organisation and communicated the plans with pro-democracy elements across Iran.

The MEK’s effectiveness and its central role in the Iranian opposition movement have made it a target for regime terror attacks. In addition to the Paris and Albania attacks, there have been assassination attempts, and murders carried out against MEK members.

A slow political response

Despite the Iranian regime’s numerous plots to kill and main MEK officials on European soil, the political backlash has been muted. France and Albania both expelled diplomats in the wake of the foiled plots, however, the EU has been reluctant to follow the US in adopting sanctions against the regime, rights Tom Ridge in his article.

The EU announced last month that it would introduce new sanctions targeting a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), but critics “do not believe they go nearly far enough,” Ridges writes.

“We know for a fact that there are ongoing conspiracies to spy on European entities and set the stage for further terrorist attacks,” Ridges asserts, “making it absolutely imperative for the EU and broader international community to address the issue.”

“Any solution must confront the Islamic Republic on multiple fronts,” he continued. The regime is forging closer bonds with extremist groups like the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. If it is sharing the information it has collected through spies in Europe and the US with these groups, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Desperate measures at home and abroad

In addition to the regime’s violent and aggressive activities abroad, it is intensifying its repressive and bloody policies at home.

Following nationwide protests, the regime has launched a crackdown against the political opposition within Iran. The regime has arrested thousands of protestors and executed political prisoners, but the protest movement shows no sign of losing its momentum.

Ridges argues that a coordinated strategy from the international community that attempts to modify the regime’s behavior both at home and abroad is the best way to reduce conflict and increase global stability.

When world leaders meet on February 13th and 14th in Warsaw, Ridges argues, they have the opportunity to construct a coordinated response to Iranian aggression. “The Warsaw summit could go a long way towards developing a coordinated strategy to contain Iran,” he says, “but no strategy would be complete unless it also reaches out to, and coordinates with, Iran’s organized domestic opposition;” the MEK.

Ridges concludes that the EU, “must take steps to underscore the existing regime’s illegitimacy. There is no better way to do that than standing behind the regime’s most active domestic opponents.”

Staff Writer

 

 

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