What does Iran think about ongoing protests in Iraq?

It goes without saying that the regime in Iran is deeply concerned over the events unfolding in Iraq. This massive popular uprising has not been quelled despite a deadly crackdown that has rendered an overall death toll of nearly 250 in the past month along with several thousands injured.

The Iraqi people, however, are setting fire to offices and headquarters of groups and other entities affiliated to Iran. This includes centers involved in plundering the Iraqi people and corrupt ministries, all leading to calls for the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdil al-Mahdi to resign. Iran’s state TV is running various shows providing the regime’s analysis on Iraq. “The scope of this conspiracy is quite enormous,” one state-linked analyst said.

“The volume of these protests and the expansion of this movement, parallel to the behaviors witnessed in attacks targeting government centers, senior officials, private property, assassinating certain individuals, torching banks, storming and torching governors’ offices, provincial headquarters, ministries, stealing from banks and chants calling for the government to resign, the constitution to be revoked and the government to be annulled… What next? I believe these are far beyond legitimate demands… All these events are taking place between Baghdad and Basra (southern Iraq). All these events, deaths and injuries are between Baghdad and Basra. This means nine Shiite provinces. Do they want to launch a Shiite-Shiite war? It appears the scope of this conspiracy is massive,” the report said.

On Sunday, October 27, in another state TV program focusing on Iraq, concerns were voiced over the protesters’ targeting Iran-backed militia groups. “There are now voices heard among the people calling for the official Iraqi government to resign.

“Iraqi protesters initially called for improvements in public services, employment and a concentrated effort against corruption. As footage was posted online showing direct fire from unknown areas targeting the people, these mercenaries recently assassinated two senior members of the Asaeb movement… In this attack, after unidentified men shot Osam al-Aliyawi, they followed him and his brother, martyring them in a hospital,” the report adds.

It is worth noting that none of the claims raised by the Iranian regime state TV program have been proven and the very tone used is quite obvious. Phrases such as “mercenaries,” “movement” and “martyring” all indicate a certain language aiming to place the blame on demonstrators, while relieving the Iran-backed government and militia units involved in the crackdown of any responsibility.

Sa’dollah Zarei, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and a figure close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shed further light on Tehran’s concerns over its affiliated sites and groups being targeted central and southern Iraq. This clearly indicates the Iraqi people’s utter hatred of the IRGC Quds Force and its malign role in Iraq.

“Any event taking place anywhere can be inspirational for another area. It would be quite natural for us to say that Lebanon was inspired by Iraq, and Iraq can be inspired from another location. In Lebanon, we are witnessing a number of irregular signs. All in all, we may be witnessing this story for weeks and months to come,” he added.

“The situation in Iraq is very similar to the society in Lebanon. In these demonstrations we are witnessing attacks on various Shiite groups, meaning attacks on Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, their members being killed. Around 10 to 15 of them have been martyred. In recent development there was an attack targeting the al-Hekma party, their offices and various centers. They attacked Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) offices and all of a sudden we witness attacks targeting Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, and ten individuals being viciously murdered,” Zarei continued.

Interesting that Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, the al-Hekma and Hashd al-Shaabi groups are all funded, armed, trained and fully supported by Iran’s regime.

It is worth noting that the number provided by Zarei and the descriptions of these deaths cannot be confirmed. All in all, these remarks made by an IRGC member and heard from reports aired on state TV resemble the general state of escalating concern for Iran’s mullahs.

After years of investing billions in Iraq, the mullahs in Tehran are witnessing a loss of vital influence in this country. Iraq has for years been a significant route to bypass U.S. sanctions and losing influence in this country has the potential of having deep impact inside Iran, and especially Tehran.

The meaning of sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank

On Friday, September 20, the U.S. Treasury Department upgraded the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy targeting the regime in Iran by sanctioning the mullahs’ Central Bank. The regime’s National Development Fund and the Etemad Tejarate Pars, also sanctioned recently, have been used to cloak financial transfers for Iran’s Ministry of Defense Armed Forces Logistics’ military purchases.

These new measures are the U.S.’ first response to attacks targeting Saudi oil facilities on September 14. Despite the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen claiming responsibility, all signs and evidence indicate Iran’s regime playing a direct role in this attack and the use of Iranian weaponry, including cruise missiles and drones.

The latest sanctions are a continuation of a focus shift by the Treasury and State departments from the diplomatic quarrel over the 2015 nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – and nuclear sanctions, to a policy pinpointing on the regime’s official entities, support for global terrorism and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Back in April, the State Department designated the IRGC as “Foreign Terrorist Organization,” making any and all economic and logistical transactions with the IRGC sanctionable.

As Washington focuses on drying up Iran’s resources used to fund terrorism, the three latest entities slapped with sanctions provides a new stigma deterring any future financing initiatives with the Iranian regime.

Iran will most definitely use hidden overseas accounts to access newly sanctioned international accounts, allowing intelligence communities to gain more knowledge and render future actions to further deny Tehran of terror-supporting funds.

Furthermore, even though former Obama officials advise Iran’s regime to wait out U.S. President Donald Trump in hopes of a Democrat winning the 2020 elections, the latest round of sanctions will make reversing Trump’s Iran policy and returning to Obama-style engagement with Iran far more difficult, if not impossible.

In response to Washington’s new measures, Iran apologists and lobbyists, and those favoring Obama-style appeasement vis-à-vis Iran’s regime already have and will continue to argue that the U.S. administration has exhausted all sanctions options when it comes to Tehran’s regime. Experts on the other side of the aisle in this argument say there remains a long slate of measures available for the U.S. government to deny the mullahs’ regime the ability to overtly and covertly fund terrorist groups.

Those countries and voices claiming Iran was not behind the attacks on Saudi oil fields and new sanctions being meaningless are either unwilling to accept responsibility of any action, or merely apologist/lobbyists pushing Tehran’s narrative in mainstream media.

As a reminder, the Central Bank of Iran has been sanctioned especially for its role in financing terrorist groups, i.e. Hezbollah in Lebanon. Back in 2011, when Congress slapped sanctions on this bank, the multiple grounds stated were terrorism, money laundering and financing nuclear/missile development.

Parallel to his appeasement of Tehran’s regime, Obama classified these measures as a “nuclear sanction” to lift all sanctions from the Central Bank of Iran under the JCPOA framework. The latest measures, based specifically on terrorism, would make any decision to removing such sanctions as bending over backwards in the face of Iran’s unbridled and inarguable support for terrorism.

Alongside the Central Bank, these new sanctions also target Iran’s NDF, an entity Tehran has repeatedly diverted money from to specifically finance military operations.

In January 2018, media reports showed the regime authorizing $4 billion withdrawal from the NDF, allocating $2.5 billion to its defense sector, and the remainder to Iran’s state-run broadcaster – used to spread the regime’s propaganda – and various development projects. In January 2019, the Iranian regime authorized another $1.5 billion withdrawal to finance their military ambitions.

Senior Iranian officials are directing NDF’s decision, with a ten-member board of trustees including Iran’s president, attorney general and oil minister, along with the Central Bank governor. The Trump administration should make it crystal clear that their apparatus will target any entity in Iran involved in funding the mullahs’ bellicosity. The NDF board trustees and the executive board should also be sanctioned to cut off a vital regime lifeline.

Another talking point used by Iran pundits and apologists/lobbyists is the accusation of anyone supporting sanctions against Iran’s regime is “defending Saudi Arabia.” The new U.S. sanctions are, in fact, a clear response to a brash attack by the Iranian regime endangering global energy supplies.

Those sitting on the throne in Tehran and the IRGC only understand the language of force and firmness. Iran is carefully weighing the international community’s measures in response to its latest episode of malevolence and terrorism.

The facts are clear. Iran’s Central Bank and such entities fuel the regime’s terrorism using money that belongs to the Iranian people. As mentioned before, there is a wide range of measures that can add to the crippling effect of Trump’s maximum pressure. The more the mullahs are disabled, the more the Iranian people will be able to escalate their protests and ultimately bring an end to this ruthless regime.

How Iran’s mullahs facilitated the 1953 coup d’état

Let’s talk some history and how the regime ruling Iran manipulates facts. 66 years ago today, a coup d’état brought an end to Iran’s first democratically elected government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh. All “elections” since have been nothing but a farce and should actually be described as “selections.”

Why do I say the mullahs’ regime “manipulates” history? This is what Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted last year on this day.

“65 years ago today, the US overthrew the popularly elected democrat government of Dr. Mossadegh, restoring the dictatorship & subjugating Iranians for the next 25 years. Now an ‘Action Group’ dreams of doing the same through pressure, misinformation & demagoguery. Never again.”

Zarif sought to portray an image of Iran’s mullahs (currently ruling the country) as a party opposing the 1953 coup d’état backed by foreign intelligence services who actually enjoyed support from Iran’s then mullahs.

Here are a few facts. The first coup attempt failed on August 16 of 1953. On August 19, a second attempt was launched by a number of influential mullahs and corrupt army officers.

Scenes of the 1953 coup d’état in Iran

At 9:30 am of August 19, club-wielders supporting the ruling Shah began chanting slogans against Mosaddegh. At 10 am, the mob enjoyed the support of army tanks. This shows the role of the Shah’s corrupt army in the coup.

Simultaneously, the mob of club-wielders began attacking newspapers in support of Mosaddegh’s government. The “Bakhtar” newspaper belonged to Dr. Hossein Fatemi, Mosaddegh’s Foreign Minister.

Iran - August 19, 1953
The “Bakhtar” daily office attacked by a mob of club-wielders supporting the Shah and backed by the country’s mullahs – Iran – August 19, 1953

The mob went on to take over Tehran’s state radio building at 1:30 pm. The bloodiest attack targeted Mosaddegh’s home one hour later. The Shah’s supporters were seen parading dead bodies around the complex to instigate those inside the house. With bullets and tank shells barraging his home, Mosaddegh’s advisors begged him to leave the complex. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested by the mob.

The mob seen taking over Tehran’s state radio building (L) and parading dead bodies around Mosaddegh’s house – Iran – August 19, 1953

Abol-Ghasem Kashani, an influential mullah in Iran at the time who helped topple Mosaddegh and facilitated the Shah’s return to power.

Others have also been very suspicious of the mullahs’ role in the 1953 coup.

“The clergy had always been averse to the modernizing penchants of secular politicians such as Mossadeq and their quests for republican rule and liberalization. The mullahs much preferred the deference of the conservative, if vacillating, shah to the secular enterprise of Mossadeq. After the attempted coup, the esteemed men of religion in Qom gave their tacit endorsement to the speaker of Parliament, Ayatollah Kashani. Through their connections with the bazaar and their ability to galvanize the populace, they were instrumental in orchestrating the demonstrations that engulfed Tehran. Mossadeq was already isolated. As the street protests tilted toward the shah, the military stepped in and displaced Mossadeq,” according to an article written by Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Iran - Shah - Abol-Ghasem Kashani
An image said to be the Shah of Iran kissing Abol-Ghasem Kashani, an influential mullah, for facilitating his return to power following the 1953 coup

Unveiled document shows how the Shah of Iran paid a senior mullah and other operatives who carried out the coup against Mosaddegh’s government.

Among the documents provided by Ardeshir Zahedi, the Shah’s last Ambassador to the U.S., we see a hand-written note reading:

“800,000 rial to Kashani”

“200,000 rial to Shaban & his group”

(Note: This might have been written by Ardeshir’s father, Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi.)

Iran - Zahedi notes - Kashani - 1953 coup
Hand-written note reading: “800,000 rial to Kashani” and “200,000 rial to Shaban & his group”

There is more.

“[Kashani] then met several times with Fazlollah Zahedi, who had been approached by the British as a possiblecandidate for anti-Mosaddeq activity, and encouraged Zahedi to work against Mosaddeq.  U.S. officials received reports in this period that Kashani also met with Tudeh leaders, who agreed to help him replace Mosaddeq and work against U.S. influence in Iran.  Several other key members of the coalition also turned against Mosaddeq, including Hossein Makki, Abol Hassan Haerizadeh, and Mozaffar Baqa’i, who headed the pro-labor, anti-communist Toilers (Zahmatkeshan) Party.  U.S. officials were very alarmed by these events, viewing them as evidence that Mosaddeq was losing control over the situation.  They were especially concerned about the growing strength and independence of Kashani, who they believed was hostile to Western interests and more willing than Mosaddeq to tolerate the Tudeh,” wrote Mark J. Gasiorowski in his book, “The 1953 Coup d’État Against Mosaddeq.” Tudeh was a communist party in Iran supported by the then Soviet Union.

These facts prove Zarif’s hypocrisy of claiming to defend Mosaddegh while accusing the U.S. of misinformation and demagoguery. These are the same accusations raised by Iranians against the mullahs’ regime for 40 years now.

In conclusion, the 1953 coup d’état in Iran – facilitated by the mullahs in Iran – paved the path for another 25 years of dictatorship for the Iranian people under the Shah’s rule. In 1979, in another blow to the Iranian people, the mullahs hijacked the nation’s revolution, allowing the emergence of religious tyranny and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism that has been wreaking havoc in Iran and across the Middle East for the past four decades.

If the mullahs had not facilitated the 1953 coup d’état and the Shah’s return to power, democracy would have had the chance to flourish in Iran. This was never in the mullahs’ interest as they sought grounds to establish their own reign in Iran.

Therefore, the solution lies in the mullahs’ rule coming to an end through a democratic revolution. There is no need for a repeat of Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. Iranians just ask the international community, especially Europe, to not support Iran’s mullahs in any way and we will take care of the rest.

There’s no need for a single soldier to be sent to Iran, not a single bullet fired, nor a single dollar spent. The world should stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people in this struggle by ending all political and economic relations with the mullahs’ regime.

The deep impact of Zarif’s sanctioning

Remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a press conference on August 5, followed by remarks by the regime’s government spokesman Ali Rabie shed interesting light into the mullahs’ inner apparatus. Their words also raise interesting questions:

-Why are Iranian officials and state media going the distance in praising Zarif these days?

-What role does Zarif play in the mullahs’ regime?

-And why are Iranian officials making such a fuss about Zarif’s sanctioning?

Zarif’s main argument

Zarif is accusing the U.S. of not being honest: Washington claims to seek negotiations while they sanction both Zarif – the regime’s main negotiator – and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the figure who calls all the shots in Tehran.

On August 6, when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the Foreign Ministry and meets with senior officials, he refers to this very issue. “You say you want to negotiate. You know our constitution. We cannot enter negotiations without the Supreme Leader’s notice. Then why did you sanction Khamenei?”

In other words, both Zarif and Rouhani attempted to portray the U.S. as the party to blame for closing the path to talks.

Expiration date

It is interesting that on the one hand Khamenei describes any talks and negotiations as a “deadly poison,” while Rouhani uses the word “negotiations” a whopping 40 times in his recent remarks.

Of course, Rouhani does understand that any negotiations in the current circumstances, with the U.S. placing 12 conditions before Tehran, are tantamount to the mullahs’ digging their own graves. In fact, despite using the word negotiations 40 times in his remarks, Rouhani does not forget to emphasize to the U.S., “We have no negotiations with you!”

“You are aware of our constitution. You know that fundamental decisions are made by [Khamenei], including the subject of negotiations. You know that the Foreign Minister is the administrative arm in such talks. Therefore, when you sanction both figures, there’s no longer any room for negotiations,” he continued.

This praising of Zarif, alongside Zarif’s own remarks, are aimed at cloaking the undeniable reality that following Zarif’s sanctioning, the entire Iranian regime has received a significant blow and suffered an unprecedented setback. Not only is it now revealed that the U.S. has no hopes in this or that faction of the regime, sanctioning the foreign minister discredits the regime’s diplomatic apparatus across the globe.

As a result, Zarif’s expiration date has expired and if Khamenei has it in his power, he should think about replacing him as he is no longer useful for the regime. One can also argue Zarif could be counterproductive, a constantly being a reminder of sanctioned figure representing the mullahs’ regime.

The main crisis now engulfing the regime, however, is crippling economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. that are targeting the regime and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). What Tehran needs now is a lifeline from this economic suffocation and Zarif can no longer be of any use in this regard.

Internal turmoil

U.S. sanctions against the regime in Iran were reinstated in November of last year. Tehran was counting on eight oil sanctions exemptions and exporting 1.1 million barrels of oil per day to remain intact. This loophole was plugged in May of this year when all oil waivers were brought to an end. A short while later Iran’s exports dropped to 500,000 bpd, then to 300,000 bpd, and now reports indicate Iran’s vital oil exports have dwindled down to 100,000 bpd.

The status quo, parallel to a highly restive society, poses a very lethal threat to the mullahs’ regime. There is a high potential of a new uprising mirroring that of December 2017 / January 2018, when people in over 140 cities across Iran rose up against the entire regime apparatus. Experts inside Iran have said time and again that a repeat of such a scenario would be far more devastating for the ruling elite and the IRGC.

A short while ago Rouhani said the government employs around five million people. The country has 15 million workers and the government can only provide for a 20 percent raise in wages, he added. All the while, inflation at its lowest is calculated to be over 40 percent and food prices are witnessing an inflation of over 80 percent!

In such circumstances, the mullahs’ regime is facing an army of ordinary people suffering from poverty resulting from destructive policies implemented by the mullahs’ regime. To say it mildly, the Iranian society can be described as a powder keg with a very short and lighted fuse.

Dark shadow

While all media coverage maybe focused on Iran’s malign activities across the region, the main concern for the regime is none other than the Iranian people themselves. This is a force to be reckoned with and the mullahs understand very well the dark shadow of this ever-growing threat.

Zarif, with his smiles and devious language, is a pawn constantly used to gain time in the face of such escalating turmoil. The West had provided a desperately needed lifeline to the regime vis-à-vis their appeasement approach. This left the Iranian people, and Middle East nations, at the mullahs’ mercy for far too long.

The Trump administration, however, has set aside this harmful mentality and weak set of policies. The latest of such measures is sanctioning Zarif as the regime’s “chief apologist” and “terrorist enabler.”

At a first glance this maybe a hit at Zarif. Looking deeper, we realize the regime as a whole is in the cross hairs, leaving the mullahs extremely weakened. And the Iranian people posing a deadly threat to the entire regime apparatus.

Iran, fake news and U.S. sanctions – The truth of “medicine shortages”

A very common talking point parroted repeatedly by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and his network of apologists/lobbyists across the United Sanctions and Europe is that U.S. sanctions are to blame for a shortage of medicine in Iran.

Mohammad Nasiri of the Associated Press has recently published a piece in this regard, joining Tehran’s chorus of running fake news in mainstream media.

Nasiri claims, “… many are blaming President Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign for the staggering prices and shortages.” Of course, as common practice by all Tehran apologists/lobbyist, he fails to provide any source to back his usage of the word “many.”

Nasiri writes, “The nuclear deal had raised expectations of a better life for many Iranians, free of the chokehold of international sanctions.” And yet, one wonders why he refuses to explain the reasons behind Iran’s regime being the target of international sanctions. The same regime that is known as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism – and suffering from sanctions as a result – is also the main enemy of the Iranian people themselves. Nevertheless, Nasiri could care less and his main objective is to portray a dove image of Tehran’s mullahs.

Nasiri goes on to quote an Iranian minister (very reliable source!).

“Last week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said budget cuts because of the drop in crude exports have dramatically affected his department. The U.S. sanctions have targeted all classes of Iranians, he added.”

What Nasiri refuses to report are interesting comments made recently by a senior Hamas official visiting Iran, emphasizing how Iran’s regime, despite the sanctions, is ready to provide any aid to this terrorist group. Saleh al-Aruri described the recent Hamas delegation’s visit to Tehran as strategic and historic.

As Nasiri continues to parrot Zarif’s talking points, he also refuses to address the subject of vast and institutionalized corruption in Iran’s regime.

Just recently, the chief of staff of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in letter that one billion euros ($1.12 billion) in hard currency, allocated for importing medicines & essential goods, is unaccounted for, or has literally “disappeared.”

Again, Nasiri could care less.

The writer of this Associated Press piece further shows his loyalty to Zarif’s talking points by saying “the state provides health care for all.” If that is actually the case, why don’t Nasiri and AP address the subject of so many signs across the walls of Iran’s major cities put up by people offering to sell their kidneys and other body parts to pay off debts, many being medical debts?

iran-offers to sell kidneys and other body parts
Signs of people offering to sell their kidneys and other body parts are becoming quite normal in cities across Iran

Medicine is “out of reach for many in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to about $450,” Nasiri writes. Of course, the issue that he refuses to touch on is the question that why should a country of 80 million, with the world’s second largest natural gas and fourth largest crude oil reserves, be doing so poorly?

The answer is simple and Nasiri will not elaborate at all. Iran’s regime is known to spend billions of dollars propping the Assad war machine in Syria, Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, extremist militia groups in Iraq, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and the Houthis proxy forces in Yemen, among other such bad actors across the region and beyond.

FDD
Iran’s regime is known as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and described as the international central bank of terrorism.

Furthermore, Iran has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in pursuit of a completely unnecessary nuclear program – claiming to be civilian in nature – and constantly developing and proliferating ballistic missiles. Again, why would Iran’s mullahs, while rich in such vast amounts of energy deposits, go through all this hardship of international isolation for a “civilian” nuclear program? And leave the Iranian people deprived and now in lack of medicine, as Nasiri claims?

The answer again is simple. The regime ruling Iran cares nothing about the Iranian people and it is clearly seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. It is absolutely childish to claim Tehran’s regime does not seek nuclear weapons based on the a supposed fatwa (decree) issued by the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banning nuclear weapons. This regime has lied for forty years and not seeking nuclear weapons is among its utmost preposterous claims to this day.

Nasiri’s claims are pushed further by Iran’s main lobbyists in the U.S. This specifically includes Trita Parsi, founder of NIAC, the disgraced Tehran lobby group based in Washington, DC, and current NIAC President Jamal Abdi.

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Saman Tabasinejad of the Iranian Canadian Congress, NIAC’s sister lobby group in Canada, is another Tehran lobbyist retweeting Abdi’s tweet in this regard.

While Iran’s regime and its apologists/lobbyists claim US sanctions prevent the import of medicine into Iran, the mullahs’ own state-run outlets boast about the regime’s readiness to send medicine/medical equipment to Venezuela.

“The head of Food and Drug Administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FDA) says that Iran is ready to export medicine to Venezuela… Mehdi Pirsali expressed Iran’s readiness to export medicine, medical equipment, and transfer knowledge and technology to Venezuela within the framework of the previously signed memorandum of understanding,” according to Mehr news agency, known to be affiliated to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

In October, an Iranian official said, “200 tons of medicine & medical supplies will be sent to [Iraq], including 400 types of medicine and 80 types of medical equipment,” according to the regime’s officials IRNA news agency.

In August 2018, three months after the U.S. exited the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran’s apologists/lobbyists claim now prevents the import of medicine into Iran, the regime’s state-run ILNA news agency reported, “Iran exports $25 million of medicine & equipment to Iraq each year and has the capacity of up to $200 million.”

Iran’s Red Crescent has also it is “necessary” to provide Iranian Red Crescent aid to the people in Yemen. Therefore, Iran does have enough money for its own people’s medical needs. It just chooses to spend it elsewhere.

To make things even more interesting, Iran’s regime is allowing Shabnam Nematzadeh, the daughter of a regime insider, run an import/export pharmaceutical company. One report says, “… Shabnam Nematzadeh, the daughter of the former Mines and Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, was found to be hoarding a stock of medication worth 50 billion rials (approx. $500,000).”

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Iran’s regime is also ready and quite capable in providing medicine to Hezbollah terrorists.

“Let me be clear. For years, all of our necessities, from medicine to our missiles, all have been provided by Iran. Iran helps Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, resistance groups. Iran helped in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain …,” says Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

To conclude, such lies that U.S. sanctions are depriving the Iranian people access to medicine is nothing but fabrications of Tehran’s fake news/propaganda apparatus.

Moreover, why do reporters such as Mohammad Nasiri of AP resort to printing such lies? The answer is quite simple. If AP fails to publish such reports favorable of the mullahs ruling Iran, their man in Tehran, Nasiri, will be kicked out.

This is another reason why Fake News is the enemy of the people. The Associated Press is willing to publish lies and fake news to please the murderous mullahs’ regime in Tehran in order to have their “reporter” remain in Tehran.

Shame.

Iran deeply concerned over upcoming Arab conferences

Three fundamental domestic and global elements are placing the regime ruling Iran on the edge of a cliff. However, a conference of Arab countries scheduled for May 30 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has resulted in Tehran scrambling senior figures across the Middle East calling for talks and accelerating their tactic of deceptive measures. Resorting to these well-known maneuvers, Tehran is desperately attempting to prevent Arab countries from launching a firm policy vis-à-vis its apparatus.

Firstly, sanctions are beginning to bite. The U.S. bringing an end to oil sanctions waivers issued for China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey and imposing new sanctions on Tehran are beginning to suffocate the mullahs.

“The fact that an Iranian ship could not dock in foreign ports for 10 days to unload is unprecedented in Iranian history. The U.S. State Department is constantly in contact with that small country to not allow our ship to dock. This is unprecedented in the past 40 years. The fact that an oil tanker shipping Iran’s oil is followed by satellites during its entire voyage, registering its number, constantly knowing where it is, who is buying, who is selling… All this is unprecedented in the past 40 years,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 25.

Secondly, the presence of U.S. military forces in the region that has literally terrified the mullahs regime. Especially after enjoying eight years of unbridled appeasement from the Obama administration, senior officials in Tehran are understanding that their meddling and warmongering in the Middle East will no longer go unanswered.

During the past three decades, Tehran has never paid any price for its interference in regional countries, literally being the main benefactor of three wars in 1991, 2001 and 2003.

The 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq opened the gates of this country for Iran and the mullahs’ regime occupied Iraq at almost no cost, using this important country as a springboard for their continued meddling in Syria and other countries. Currently, Tehran is deeply concerned that this period of taking utter advantage of regional developments is coming to an end.

Thirdly, the active presence of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its cornerstone member, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), inside the country and abroad. The mullahs’ regime has been involved in launching massive apprehension campaigns, issuing execution verdicts for political prisoners, resorting to threats and installing fear among the society. However, these measures have not rendered any results and protests are increasing across Iran.

Looking forward, Arab delegates participating in the Mecca conference should adopt a firm position against the regime of Iran to deliver a strong response to Tehran’s recent measures. “No thank you, Mr. Javad Zarif, Iran’s proposal is unacceptable,” was the title of a piece published in the UAE’s Gulf News responding to Zarif’s ridiculous suggestion of signing a “non-aggression pact” with Iran’s neighbors. It is quite obvious that Tehran has been involved in aggressive measures against its neighbors for the past 40 years. Therefore, the mullahs are in no such position to seek the signing of a “non-aggression pact.”

Iran’s regime should not have the opportunity to resort to such tactics, thus gaining breathing room and further extending its lifespan. Tehran has a history of using such opportunities to once again relaunch its warmongering efforts and exporting terrorism across the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia will be hosting three important conferences of Arab and Islamic countries. Escalating tensions in the region and Iran’s threats are announced to be among the main subjects of discussion. The Saudi King has officially invited the Emir of Qatar to take part in the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit.

Following the May 30 conference, members of the Arab League will be holding a session and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will be convening. These three conferences being held in the final days of the month of Ramadan in the city of Mecca are aimed at establishing a large alliance against Iran, according to Agence France Presse. Increasing tension among the U.S. and Iran has led to concerns among regional countries over a possible military confrontation.

There are no reports about the possibility of Iran being invited or not to the OIC session.

While U.S. President Donald Trump has reiterated his willingness to talk with the regime ruling Iran, the mullahs view any talks with “The Great Satan” as a major step back from their 40-year long positions. Such a development will result in the regime weakening and losing its grip on the country with each passing day.

As a result, continuing its warmongering in the region and going back on the 2015 nuclear deal will result in further strong measures by the U.S. and most likely other countries across the globe. On the other hand, bending the knee to negotiations with the U.S. also comes with major calamities.

This predicament has left the mullahs’ regime in a lose-lose situation, with time running out fast as sanctions continue to bite. As a recent Wall Street Journal piece put it, “Amid Tensions, Iran’s Crude Buyers Jump Ship.”

Iran’s new line of defense

 

There is no doubt that tensions have been escalating between the United States and the regime ruling Iran. Tehran has a new line of defense – inside the United States – that has caught lesser attention and yet deserves a strong response.

It has been one year since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the highly flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal and began reinstalling sanctions lifted under this Obama-era framework.

As we speak, Iran’s vital oil industry – from which the mullahs obtain at least $50 billion in revenue annually – has been sanctioned and the administration is on track of zeroing Tehran’s exports. The regime is also under a long slate of further sanctions across the board, including financial, banking and the recently advanced measures signed into law by President Trump against Iran’s mining industry.

It has become common knowledge that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) – rightfully designated by the Trump administration as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO) – has control over a vast portion of the Iranian economy. As a result, much of the regime’s revenue earned from oil, mining and other sectors are being channeled by the IRGC for the mullahs’ malign activities, including:

  • funding the Bashar Assad dictatorship in its onslaught against the Syrian people that has left at least 500,000 people killed;
  • fueling terrorist groups across the Middle East such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Houthi militias in Yemen, Shiite proxies in Iraq, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and Afghan-Pakistani conscripts dispatched to prop up Assad’s killing machine;
  • developing and procuring ballistic missiles both inside the country providing such an arsenal to proxies across the region;
  • and last but not least, stubbornly pursuing a nuclear weapons program under the cover of
    “a civilian nuclear energy drive.”

Suffering a series of devastating blows, Iran has been retaliating by accusing the United States and its allies in the Middle East of seeking war. While such a response from Tehran is of no surprise, what is alarming, however, is the support the mullahs are enjoying from rivals of the Trump administration inside the United States.

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Senator Sanders is literally calling for a return to the Obama years and falling to the low of appeasing Tehran’s murderous mullahs. What he fails to take into consideration is the fact that such a policy will dangerously threaten U.S. national security.

Unfortunately, Senator Sanders has fallen to the low of parroting talking points used by Iran regime apologists/lobbyists.

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For those interested, this Twitter thread provides more details about Senator Sanders’ hypocrisy that is playing into the hands of Tehran’s ruling mullahs.

And we also have Matt Duss, Senator Sanders’ foreign policy advisor, rushing to the support of Iran’s regime and defending the mullahs’ desperate measures that are aimed at saving face.

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Duss is citing Vali Nasr, a known Iran regime apologist/lobbyist that goes around spreading the mullahs’ talking points in Western circles and media. This thread sheds light into Nasr and his mentality.

Another example in this line of thought is Senator Chris Murphy. One of his latest tweets is quite interesting.

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Such a mentality adopted by these American figures – who should be more concerned about the American people – has driven them into an utter state of hypocrisy.

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It is interesting how Sen. Murphy refuses to recall how the Obama-blessed 2015 nuclear deal allowed Iran to continue wreaking havoc across the Middle East and beyond. Of course, appeasing a dictator leads to such results. However, when the likes of Sen. Murphy choose to neglect such a harsh reality, it results into such low-level, childish remarks:

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Such an approach by Sen. Murphy should be of no surprise considering his attendance at sessions held by Iran’s lobby group in the U.S., the disgraced National Iranian American Council (NIAC), loathed by the Iranian Diaspora across the West.

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This thread provides more information on how Sen. Murphy has become a pawn of the mullahs’ regime.

Sen. Tim Kaine’s hatred of U.S. President Donald Trump is no secret. What is disappointing, however, is that Sen. Kaine would resort to any measure to attack President Trump. Even if it means rushing to the support of Iran’s mullahs by parroting claims raised by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his network of apologists/lobbyists scattered across the U.S. and Europe.

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When we are discussing blind hatred targeting President Trump, we cannot leave out Rep. Ilhan Omar who just couldn’t miss the opportunity.

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A question for Rep. Omar & all her colleagues: If you are talking about “war,” why not a single line of criticism against the mullahs’ regime of Iran that has been at war with the Iranian people, nations across the Middle East, and America for the four decades?

Of course not, as that would go against Omar’s personal interests.

Next in line is Rep. Barbara Lee who has no originality and nearly copied the very lines used by Zarif. To define her words, she is actually calling for a return to Obama’s weak foreign policy of bending backwards and providing even further billions to the mullahs’ regime.

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Iran’s latest move has been to end two measures of compliance under the 2015 nuclear agreement, commonly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran will no longer abide by two limitations:

  • Maintaining the production of low enriched uranium (3.67% for nuclear reactor fuel) to a cap of 300 kilograms and selling any excess amount abroad.
  • Maintaining the production of heavy water below 130 tons and storing any excess amount in Oman.

As of Wednesday, Iran will be producing unlimited amounts of low enriched uranium and heavy water, and keeping all excess amounts inside the country. Tehran went on to define a 60-day ultimatum for the remaining JCPOA to “live up to their obligations” and deliver the incentives promised to Iran under the nuclear deal: specifically purchasing oil form Iran and opening their financial networks to the mullahs’ regime.

It is quite interesting how these two specific actions were already sanctioned by the U.S. just days earlier.

“The United States acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power,” Reuters reported.

“The U.S. actions announced on Friday included an end to a sanctions waiver that allowed Iran to evade a 300-kg limit on the amount of low-enriched uranium it can store under the nuclear deal at its main nuclear facility of Natanz… the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship to Oman for storage heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 130-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal.”

Adding to Iran’s miseries, the European Union responded to Tehran’s threats on Thursday by rejecting any ultimatums issued by the mullahs’ regime. As a result, if Iran was counting on raising its tone level to drive a gap between Europe and the United States, they failed miserably. Additionally, it is worth noting that the Europeans are actually realizing the Iran threat and taking a stronger position than the abovementioned Members of the U.S. Congress.

Furthermore, isn’t it interesting that no one asks why Iran even needs a “civilian nuclear energy” program? The country is sitting on the world’s second largest natural gas and fourth largest crude oil reserves. Why on earth would you waste hundreds of billions of dollars on a nuclear program, confine many facilities deep into mountains and bring upon your country decades of political turmoil?

The answer is quite simple. In envy of North Korea, the mullahs’ regime seeks nuclear weapons in order to obtain security guarantees. Yet the likes of Ben Rhodes are suffering from a blind hatred towards President Trump, rendering a list of American figures playing into the mullahs’ hands and literally placing U.S. national security in grave danger.

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All voices providing life support to the regime in Iran are running a dangerous line of appeasement.

We should recall how former UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain believed in appeasing Hitler of Nazi Germany in an attempt to prevent war. The rest is history.

Is Khamenei merging the IRGC into Iran’s regular army?

Following the U.S. State Department’s unprecedented step of designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), there have reportedly been movements in the IRGC hierarchy, sources say. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has recently held a number of meetings with senior commanders of the IRGC and Iran’s regular army, along with Ali Akbar Veleyati, Khamenei’s senior international affairs advisor.

Kamal Kharazi, a former Iranian foreign minister, made the following remarks in a private meeting on the IRGC’s terrorist designation:

“The subject of new developments in the IRGC is nothing new and [Khamenei] has held a number of meetings with the IRGC and regular army hierarchy, issuing a numbers of orders on this matter. [Khamenei] has placed senior IRGC officers Vahid Haghanian, Hassani Sa’di (deputy of the IRGC-linked Khatam al-Anbia Headquarters), and General Ali Bagheri, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, in charge of implementing these instructions. However, this process was accelerated with the IRGC’s terrorist designation on April 8.”

Kharazi shed light on the history of this important issue in Iran.

“The ‘phase by phase merging’ of portions of the IRGC into the regular army is nothing new. [U.S. President Donald] Trump laid out a new U.S. strategy vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran in his speech on October 13, 2017, and placed the IRGC in the U.S. sanctions list… Khamenei held a meeting with senior IRGC and regular army commanders on October 22, 2017, forecasting that the IRGC sanctions are a prelude to the IRGC’s terrorist designation. Therefore, in that meeting a decision was made to gradually merge the IRGC into the regular army. Arrangements were made to merge a portion of the senior IRGC ranks – including colonels and higher commanders – into the regular army. This phase has been completed to a large extent,” he explained.

“Following the IRGC’s terrorist designation by the U.S., defections and disappointment have increased significantly among the IRGC files. One day after this announcement, the IRGC issued a call to all its forces stationed in provincial bases and the Basij Resistance units saying considering the people’s growing dilemmas following the recent floods, the possibility of popular protests and unrest in the coming two months is quite high, and the consequences go far beyond what was witnessed in the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 uprising,” Kharrazi continued.

That particular episode in Iran’s history of uprisings saw protests mushrooming in over 140 cities across the country and the regime eventually arrested over 8,000 dissidents.

Citing a senior official in the regimes Armed Forces Headquarters, Kharrazi added the number of retirement requests have increased at an alarming rate among senior IRGC ranks. Low morale among Basij members is becoming a grave concern, with a growing number of such individuals deserting their units and bases.

Confronting Iran’s influence in Syria is vital

While Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the regime ruling Iran, sought to garner attention and boast victory in Syria through the recent visit of Syrian regime dictator Bashar Assad to Tehran, developments in the Levant are actually  by far against the clerical regime’s interests.

U.S. President Donald Trump is now fully agreeing to maintaining a contingency in Syria – said to be 400 troops – in what appears to be a dual mission in the country’s northeast and the strategic al-Tanf base on the Syria-Jordan border.

Reporting on how his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin focused mainly on Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored how he and the Russian leader agreed on the need to remove all foreign forces that came into Syria.

Considering the fact that the Lebanese Hezbollah also plays a highly devastating role in Syria, the U.S. is seeking new sanctions against this terrorist group that was founded and continues to enjoy funding by Tehran.

All these measures are principally important, especially bearing in mind the fact that the regime in Iran seeks to establish an all Syrian militia in Syria, most likely a replica of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Basij paramilitary forces. Tehran was the main force behind the launching of the Hashd al-Shabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, in Iraq, who stand accused of fueling sectarian strife in the Mesopotamia.

And to add insult to injury, despite claims made by various Iranian regime officials, Russia is now confirming a decision to establish a “Syria Working Group” with Israel. Netanyahu has also been heard making remarks about launching a joint Israel-Russia working group to have all foreign forces leave Syria.

Tehran, sensing the need to save face in light of such developments, resorted to hasty comments to dampen the impact of this setback. Bahram Ghassemi, spokesperson for the Iranian regime’s Foreign Ministry, claimed Russia does not follow in line with Israel and claimed Tehran and Moscow enjoy “strong ties.” While the mullahs’ regime in Iran claim remarks made by Israeli officials have no impact on them, a Kremlin spokesperson confirmed a decision was made between Putin and Netanyahu to establish this working group soon.

The question now is how can the U.S. facilitate the pushing of Iran’s malign forces out of Syria?

Iran is already under tight U.S. sanctions. These measures should continue to especially deprive Tehran of finances used to fuel its regional agenda of wreaking havoc and continuous warmongering in Syria. As a reminder, Tehran insiders have been heard voicing the importance of maintaining influence in Syria for the sake of remaining in power back home.

Despite being long overdue, the United Kingdom recently designated all branches of the Lebanese Hezbollah – founded and funded by the regime in Iran – as a terrorist organization, putting an end to the separation between this group’s political and military segments.

The U.S. Treasury Department also sanctioned “Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba,” a radical Muslim militia group known to be loyal to Tehran and having around 10,000 fighters. The group leader, Akram Kaabi, is also blacklisted. These measures are necessary to chip the wings of Iran’s warmongering apparatus.

Tehran is known to be funding a conglomerate of extremist groups across the Middle East, parallel to billions provided annually to Assad in Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Houthis in Yemen and extremist militias in Iraq. Denying Iran access to the global financial system will deplete its treasury of the funds needed to continue this unbridled campaign of belligerence.

To put a nail in the coffin, Washington should designate Iran’s IRGC, the main force behind all these destructive activities, as a foreign terrorist organization. This can go parallel to a similar designation of the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), now more legitimate following a recent surge of Iran-backed terror plots and assassinations across Europe. Even the Europeans are sanctioning portions of the MOIS in response.

Ending Iran’s influence in Syria is pivotal to returning peace to the Middle East. Interestingly, this also weakens Tehran’s crackdown apparatus and renders direct support to the Iranian people in their ongoing struggle against the mullahs’ regime.

How to analyze the Zarif resignation façade in Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif returned to his post around 30 hours after his Instagram resignation post. During this entire charade, speculations were heard across the board about the motivation and true nature of this latest episode of escalating turmoil for the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

What is certain, however, is the fact that Zarif’s resignation indicates a new acceleration of crises for Tehran, especially in regards to international relations and on specific matters, including the 2015 nuclear deal and outstanding anti-money laundering/terrorism financing resolutions under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

With the Trump administration turning up the heat on Iran, international pressures and global/regional isolation are engulfing Tehran. State-run media outlets in Iran are also acknowledging these developments that are raising eyebrows and keeping senior decision-making officials awake at night.

“Another conclusion of [Zarif’s] resignation is the 2015 nuclear deal coming to an end… There are figures who are disappointedly concluding how Zarif’s resignation is tantamount to the complete failure of Hassan Rouhani’s government,” according to the state-run Fararu website.

A variety of analysis have also been circling in regards to Zarif’s resignation. However, lesser voices have pinpointed the root of the entire matter.

The failing “Hassan Rouhani project,” referring to the regime’s president, and deep internal crisis is a result of Tehran’s failure in preserving the nuclear deal, overcoming the impact of U.S. sanctions, and the regime’s dead-end in regards to FATF regulations.

This defeat began with the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 uprising, disrupting all of the regime’s apparatus, including its foreign policy agenda. The first example was witnessed in the U.S. withdrawing from the highly flawed 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rouhani laid it out clearly in his remarks on August 28, 2018, saying everything began on December 26, 2017, when protesters poured into the streets and chanted anti-regime slogans. This was followed with U.S. President Donald Trump withdrawing from the JCPOA, triggering the Iranian regime’s troubles, Rouhani added.

Rouhani’s Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri voiced even more concerns about the regime’s future.

“Super domestic challenges [ongoing protests] are impacting super global challenges, further intensifying these dilemmas,” he said.

The Javan daily, known to be affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), added to the tempo.

“Voices inside the country, and more abroad, are considering this truly low-class resignation as signs of deteriorating conditions for the [regime], and even called on the president of Iran to follow in line with his minister and resign himself!” the piece reads in part.

To add insult to injury for the clerical regime in Iran, 2018 was riddled with a number of foiled terror and assassination plots in Europe. In March, Albanian authorities arrested two operatives for plotting to bomb an opposition gathering, leading to the expulsion of the regime’s ambassador several months later.

In late June, another bombing plot targeting the annual Iranian opposition rally near Paris was foiled. Tens of thousands of people, along with hundreds of international dignitaries, including Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, were also attending the event.

Tehran also targeted dissidents in the Netherlands and Denmark, leading to unprecedented European Union sanctions against a branch of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence, parallel to expelling a number of diplomats.

These crises escalated even further during the Warsaw ministerial conference and a large rally held close to the site by supporters of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Giuliani delivered a speech emphasizing on the sole alternative for the Iranian regime, symbolized in NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.

NCRI supporters held another rally during the Munich Security Conference, signaling to the world the very source of Tehran’s main concerns. And Zarif, described as “charming” and a “moderate” by some, literally lost his temper in his remarks about the Iranian opposition.

Whatever the reasoning behind Zarif’s resignation, the big picture indicates a regime neck-deep in crises with no light at the end of the tunnel. International crises are escalating, with Washington intending to zero Tehran’s oil exports.

Zarif may have returned to his post. Yet this entire façade portrays a regime neck-deep in turmoil, both inside the country and abroad.