Iran’s ‘Moderate’ President Appoints Justice Minister Linked With Torture, Mass Executions

The Federalist

Who is Iran’s Alireza Avayi? Now Iran’s justice minister, he is also among those involved in imprisoning, torturing, and executing Iranians in the past 39 years.

It appears the “moderate reformist” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed Avayi to replace the defamed Mostafa Pourmohammadi and continue his crackdown policy in the face of an uprising nation.

Avayi’s recent speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council disgraced this world body and resulted in numerous protests. His appointment calls for a deep look into this individual’s past.

Prior to the clerical regime’s rule, a UNESCO institution was established in the city of Dezful to fight illiteracy and support children. It was later renamed the “Teachers’ Club.” Following the 1979 revolution, like many other centers the UNESCO building was used as a prison where young dissidents were held, tortured, and killed. In the early 1980s, the “UNESCO prison” had four rooms filled with 350 inmates.

As the regime escalated its crackdown, this facility saw the construction of six quarantine rooms, along with 40 other wards and cells. More cells were made available in newly constructed basement to prevent inmates from hearing the screams of those under torture.During the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners, in which most of the victims were members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), Avayi was promoted to the Death Commission in Dezful. Shocking stories of Dezful’s “UNESCO Prison” remained hidden for years until Mohammad Reza Ashough, a former inmate able to escape this jail, shed light on its atrocities.

Based on Ashoogh’s reports, the Death Commission in charge of the UNESCO prison consisted of Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi, a cleric; Shamsedin Kazemi, an interrogator; Alireza Avayi, a public prosecutor; and an Intelligence Ministry representative, along with Hardavane, the prison warden, and a number of guards.

From 1981 to 1983, nearly all executions were carried out in the prison courtyard, where prisoners were tied to trees and executed by firing squads. Ashough’s reports indicate teenagers such as Abdulreza Zanguyee, 15, Hamid Asekh, 15, and Gholamreza Golalzadeh, 16, were among those executed.

The mass grave of political prisoners executed in Ahvaz, found in a barren land located three kilometres from this city’s Behesht Abad cemetery, is yet another crime on Avayi’s report card. A dirt road from this cemetery was used by the families of the executed political prisoners to visit this site.

The land used to be full of date trees. Those executed in the years of 1982 and 1983 are said to be buried in this area, and this trend continued until the 1988 massacre when all victims in Ahvaz were mass buried at this site. At the time, Ahvaz judiciary officials immediately made arrangements for the mass graves to be covered by cement, aiming to prevent any possible discovery of the victims’ bodies.

As the Tehran Province judiciary chief in 2009, Avayi played an important role in launching kangaroo courts seeking death sentences and long prison terms for those arrested during the nationwide uprising.

On 9 July 2009, the police arrested a large number of protesters outside Tehran University. Under orders of Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s public prosecutor, and his deputies Hassan Zare Dehnavi and Ali Akbar Heidari-Far, they were transferred to the Kahrizak detention center. Three of these individuals, Mohsen Rouholamini, Amir Javadifar, and Mohammad Kamrani were murdered under torture.

Exactly a year later, in an interview with Keyhan daily, known as the mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Avayi emphasized the method used in Kahrizak dossier was “correct.”

From 10 October 2011 to this day, the European Union has blacklisted Avayi for his effective role in the crackdown imposed on the Iranian people. The EU statement describes Avayi as responsible for arbitrary arrests, violating detainees’ rights, increasing the number of executions, and other human rights violations.

Despite all this, the “moderate reformist” Rouhani appointed Avayi as chairman of the President’s Special Inspector’s Office in 2016 and Minister of Justice in 2017. Instead of an invitation to speak at the UNHRC in Geneva, Avayi must face justice for his role in the Iranian regime’s ongoing crimes.

According to Agence France Press, “As Avaie arrived in Switzerland Monday, a Swiss lawyer filed a complaint on behalf of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, asking the Swiss attorney general to prosecute the Iranian minister for crimes against humanity.”

This is a litmus test for the European Union to live up to its initial blacklisting and take on meaningful measures for Tehran to pay for its human rights violations. Only then can the EU claim to be standing alongside the Iranian people’s will for a better future.

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ANALYSIS: Understanding Washington’s fast-evolving Iran policy

On the doorstep of US President Donald Trump’s first National Security Strategy speech, the administration launched an unprecedented campaign of pinpointing the crosshairs on the epicenter of all extremism causing havoc across the Middle East: Iran.

This comes following a Wall Street Journal article explaining how in the post-ISIS world Washington will begin pinpointing its focus and resources on the larger and more dangerous threat posed by Tehran.

‘Hard look’

The Trump administration has made it clear that a wide array of destructive policies adopted by Tehran have become unacceptable, a clear indication of the end of Iran’s years of windblown successes, thanks mainly to eight years of the Obama’s unbridled appeasement policy and strategic mistakes of previous administrations.

Described as a “first” by Reuters, last Thursday US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley displayed a detailed exhibition of Iranian equipment used to arm Yemen’s Houthi militias – long known to be backed by Iran – and thus, to destabilize the region, especially its archrival, Saudi Arabia.

“We are not just focused on the nuclear program,” Haley said during a press conference at a US Department of Defense hangar where the Iranian equipment were placed before the media. “We’re also taking a hard look at Iran’s ballistic missile program, its arms exports, and its support for terrorists, proxy fighters and dictators.”

Iran can also be described as the facilitator, and maybe even the godfather, of a slate of malign practices rendering suffering across the Arabian Peninsula, leading to the Levant and eastward to Central Asia.

“It’s hard to find a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it,” Haley continued, adding how this regime is “fanning the flames” of conflict.

It is worth reminding that for decades the US State Department has considered Iran the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. We may actually be on the verge of meaningful and long overdue measures against Tehran on this very important and vital subject.

A different Iraq

US policy shifting also faces major decisions regarding the path forward in Iraq, as the three year war against ISIS group begins to wind down and Washington seeks to roll back Tehran’s influence over Baghdad. Disputes between the central government and the Kurdish region, parallel to the May general elections in which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seeks reelection, are important subjects for all parties involved.

“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” said Douglas Silliman, the US Ambassador to Iraq, while voicing how Washington is encouraged over recent efforts made by Baghdad to establish stronger ties with Riyadh and Amman.

This adds to Tehran’s troubles in Mesopotamia, as there are signs of growing rifts among its allies in Iraq’s Shiite majority. A stereotype mentality would suggest Iran is seeking the return of Nouri al-Maliki, a former prime minister considered by many as extremely loyal to Tehran.

Maliki, however, would need the unified support of Iraq’s Shiite community. Troubling Iran’s intentions is how various influential figures, such as Muqtada Sadr, have established close ties with Riyadh or signaled their own objectives.

Hadi al-Amiri, commander of Iraq’s largest Shiite paramilitary group, the so-called Badr Organization, called on his fighters on Thursday to begin taking orders from the national military and end their ties with the group’s political wing.

This move, parallel to unconfirmed reports of orders for the group’s fighters to withdraw from cities they currently control, paves the path for Amiri to take part in the upcoming May 12th parliamentary elections.

Back in July, Ammar al-Hakim, a politician known for his links to Iran, withdrew from the Tehran-backed Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq to launch a new party, the National Wisdom Movement. Al-Hakim has claimed to seek Sunni support for his new initiative.

July was the same month of Sadr’s Saudi and UAE visit, and he also raised eyebrows by calling for the controversial Popular Mobilization Forces to dismantle and integrate into the country’s armed forces.

Reports also indicate that Sadr intends to establish a political alliance with Abadi, the al-Wataniya slate of Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi and the Civil Democratic Alliance before May’s elections. Raising concerns for Iran is the fact that all these parties have called for political reforms in Iraq.

Necessary deterrence

With the US military effort against ISIS decreasing in necessity, the Trump administration is also weighing the future of its Syria campaign, with Iran on their mind. Having recently announced the presence of more than 2,000 American forces stationed currently in Syria, the new goal for these units is a highly debated subject.

As we remember the drastic experience of Obama’s premature pull-out of Iraq and the resulting consequences that paved the path for the rise of ISIS, US Defense Secretary James Mattis has indicated American troops have no intention of leaving the Levant in the foreseeable future.

It is vital to ensure ISIS is prevented the ability to morph into a dangerous new entity with the potential of raising new threats in this already hostile region. Furthermore, rest assured Washington is taking into considerable consideration the presence of Iranian proxies across the Levant, and how the stationing of US troops on the ground acts as a major deterrence element against Tehran’s treacherous initiatives.

Times have changed

Advocates of engagement vis-à-vis Iran are accusing the Trump administration of trailing the path of launching a war with Iran. Their intentions are far from preventing the US from entering a new war, but to protect Tehran from any strong measures, including international sanctions that target the regime and actually benefit the people by weakening the ruling system.

This piece is not a call for war with Iran, and there is a logic that needs understanding for those concerned about Iran responding violently to a US policy shift. Tehran’s support for militias in Iraq back in the 2000s enjoyed the support of two key elements:

1. A completely unified Iranian regime with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acting as the puppet of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

2. Billions in revenue rendered by skyrocketing oil prices soaring up to nearly $140 a barrel in June 2008.

This is not the case today, as Iranian politics is a scene of unprecedented internal quarrels described locally as “dogfights,” and the lowered price of oil and increasing sanctions leveled against Tehran are disrupting the regime’s efforts, seeking to maximize its regional bellicosity.

‘Global threat’

As emphasized by Ambassador Haley, it is high time for the international community to take decisive action, such as crippling sanctions targeting the regime and its belligerent institutions, to finally bring an end to what has become “a global threat.”

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, known for blowing the whistle on Tehran’s clandestine nuclear program, indicates how a “firm policy hinges on the following practical measures:

– Evicting the IRGC and its proxy militias from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan, and preventing the transfer of Iran’s weaponry and troops to these countries;

– Imposing comprehensive sanctions on Iran and the IRGC, especially preventing their access to the global banking system;

– Referring Iran’s human rights violations dossier, particularly the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, to The International Criminal Court, and placing the regime’s senior officials responsible for these crimes before justice;

– Imposing previous UNSC resolutions covering Iran’s nuclear weapons program, banning uranium enrichment, and launching unconditional inspections into the regime’s military and non-military sites.”

Human Rights: Iran’s Ultimate Vulnerability

Developments in the Middle East have placed the spotlight once again on Iran and its hegemonic temptations. This goes parallel to calls from parties such as France and Germany, whom Iran previously counted on in the face of U.S. pressures, demanding Tehran reel in its ballistic missile program and support for proxy groups across the region.

While all such measures are necessary and deserve escalation, Tehran’s human rights violations demand even more attention. This is the one issue that both shivers fear in the ruling regime and provides direct support for the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom, democracy and all the other values embraced by today’s 21st century world.

As the world marks International Human Rights Day on December 10th, we are also well into the first year of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s second term.

Dubbed as a “moderate” figure in Iran’s politics, with many arguing otherwise, the scene witnessed in Iran during his tenure has been far from it. Over 3,500 executions are merely the first stain of an atrocious report card of human rights violations.

new report by Iran Human Rights Monitoring reviewing the plight of human rights in Iran during the course of 2017 sheds light on a reality the regime strives to cloak from the world.

Mrs. Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, in a semi-annual report referred to the absence of an independent judiciary in Iran. Improving the country’s human rights situation hinges on reforming the judiciary, she added.

Amnesty International in its 2016-2017 report indicated how, aside from China, Iran is host to 55 percent of all the world’s executions.

In June Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei used the term “fire at will” in a speech, leading to an increase in repressive measures and flagrant human rights violations.

This includes a 22 percent increase in the number of arrests, 25 percent increase in women executions, the execution of four juveniles, and a surge in inhumane and humiliating punishments, according to the Iran-HRM report.

Iran has witnessed 520 executions from the beginning of 2017 to the end of November, while only 91 such cases have been reported by the regime’s official news agencies. 28 of these were public hangings and five cases involved political prisoners.

The systematic murder of porters by state security forces in Iran’s border regions, counting to 84 such cases so far in 2017, raised a stir in social networks and even international media outlets.

Bent under the weight of their loads — smuggled cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, and even home appliances — the mules are a common sight in Iran’s western border regions.

The report also sheds light on the atrocious conditions in Iran’s prisons, as severe crackdown measures have rendered jails packed with inmates. This has led to poor hygiene conditions, low quality food and many other dilemmas for the prisoners.

Iran’s jails are also home to at least 640 political prisoners, an issue Tehran refuses to recognize or provide any information about. These individuals are constantly tortured and placed under inhumane pressures, as more than 56 are victim to mental and psychological tortures.

One such hideous practice has been chaining inmates to a courtyard pole, seen carried out in Ardebil Prison, northwest Iran, according to the report.

Iran is also known to resort to inhumane measures resembling the Middle Ages. Five limb amputations, 32 lashings and more than 105 humiliating public parading of prisoners have been registered from January to November 2017.

Ruled by a regime founded on pillars of crackdown, Iran has long been criticized for its lack of press freedoms; more than 30 journalists and 18 bloggers are currently behind bars across the country. At least five journalists are banned from any such activities and dozens of others are serving heavy sentences.

In its April statement Reporters Without Borders ranked Iran as 165th among 180 countries on its index of press freedoms, adding the country ruled by Tehran’s regime is considered one of the world’s largest prisons for journalists.

After imposing censorship for decades and keeping the Iranian people cut off from the outside world, the regime ruling Iran understands the power of the internet and social media, in particular.

Women-in-an-internet-cafe-in-Iran.-specials.dw_.com_
Women in an internet cafe in Iran. (specials.dw.com)

While Iran cannot afford to completely cut off the internet, the mere fact that nearly 40 million Iranians are online daily is literally a time bomb for Tehran. The regime has gone the limits to ban and filter numerous websites and platforms, especially Telegram, considered to be very popular in Iran due to the privacy and security provides to its users.

Iranian officials have publicly announced the filtering of around 16,000 to 20,000 Telegram channels, went as far as blocking any live video streaming on Instagram and filtered Twitter.

Religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, specifically Christians and Baha’is, are experiencing similar restrictions, parallel to not being recognized by Iran’s ruling extremists and systematically placed under pressure from state officials and authorities. The UN Special Rapporteur in her report referred to the harassment of religious and ethnic minorities, specifically holding the IRGC responsible for arresting minority members.

For the first time the UN Special Rapporteur’s report refers to the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, consisting mostly of members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

A panel of prominent American politicians participated in a recent discussion in Washington, DC, unveiling a new book published by the U.S. Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main coalition consisting of the PMOI and other Iranian dissident groups.

U.S. President Donald Trump has twice expressed the American people’s solidarity with their Iranian brethren, signaling a stark contrast in policy with his predecessor who failed to stand alongside the Iranian people during their 2009 uprising.

Sanctions and a variety of restricting measures targeting Tehran’s nuclear drive, ballistic missile program, and support for terrorism and proxy groups are very necessary, and should increase. Parallel to such actions, measures targeting Iran’s senior officials and the entities behind human rights violations must be placed on agenda by the international community.

New Light On Iran’s Human Rights Violations

Two of the major crises the international community is currently engaged with are terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Iran, in particular, is negatively involved in both fields, being known as the central banker of international terrorism, and suspicious for its own controversial nuclear program at home parallel to its nuclear/missile collaboration with North Korea.

As these subjects are of significant importance and deserve even more attributed attention, what must not go neglected is the fact that Iran is taking advantage of such circumstances to continue an equally important campaign of belligerence against its own people. The scope of human rights violations carried out by Tehran is continuously on the rise, with the ruling regime interpreting the mentioned international crises as windows of opportunity to extend its domestic crackdown.

And yet, a promising report issued from the United Nations has shed very necessary light on a specific dossier Iran has gone the limits throughout the past three decades to cloak. In 1988 the Iranian regime carried out an atrocious massacre sending tens of thousands of political prisoners to the gallows. Unfortunately, the world has until recently remained silent in this regard.

Twenty nine years after the atrocious carnage, Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, issued a report on September 2nd for the first time referring to the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

This document, coupled with a note by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and presented to the UN General Assembly, has for the first time specifically attributed a number of articles to the 1988 massacre. Thousands of men, women and juveniles were sent to the gallows, and buried in mass, unmarked graves, all according to a fatwa, or decree, issued by the deceased Iranian regime founder Ayatollah Khomeini.

Raising the stakes to a level Tehran has sought to avoid through the years, this damning UN report has called for an independent and thorough inquiry into these crimes to unearth the truth of the atrocities carried out in the summer of 1988.

Activists and the Iranian Diaspora have for 29 years focused their measures on presenting evidence of the killings. This has finally been acknowledged in this UN report.

“Between July and August 1988, thousands of political prisoners, men, women and teen-agers, were reportedly executed pursuant to a fatwa issued by the then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. A three-man commission was reportedly created with a view to determining who should be executed. The bodies of the victims were reportedly buried in unmarked graves and their families never informed of their whereabouts. These events, known as the 1988 massacres, have never been officially acknowledged. In January 1989, the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, expressed concern over the “global denial” of the executions and called on Iranian authorities to conduct an investigation. Such an investigation has yet to be undertaken.”

The atrocities, of such grave nature, rendered a major rift amongst the regime’s leadership and highest authorities. The late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, then Khomeini’s designated successor, expressed his opposition to the killings and the massacre came back to haunt a presidential hopeful in the most recent such election held back in May.

“In August 2016, an audio recording of a meeting held in 1988 between high-level State officials and clerics was published. The recording revealed the names of the officials who had carried out and defended the executions, including the current Minister of Justice, a current high court judge, and the head of one of the largest religious foundations in the country and candidate in the May presidential elections. Following the publication of the audio recording, some clerical authorities and the chief of the judiciary admitted that the executions had taken place and, in some instances, defended them.”

The mentioned “head of one of the largest religious foundations” is none other than conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, said to be groomed by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to replace the incumbent Hassan Rouhani as president. Khamenei, battling with cancer, sought this as a launching pad in Raisi’s rise to succeed him as the regime’s leader.

However, a nationwide campaign led by the network of PMOI/MEK-associated activists inside Iran exposed Raisi’s past and raised immense emotions and opposition amongst the Iranian population. This development left Khamenei no choice but to place his blueprints aside and allow another term for Rouhani as his regime’s president.

The UN report also refers to Raisi’s candidacy in May’s election.

“During the period of candidate registration, a total of 1,636 individuals, including 137 women, submitted their names as candidates for president. However, in April, the Guardian Council, a body of six clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader that oversees the electoral process and vets the candidates, announced that the candidatures of only six men (0.37 per cent of the applicants) had been approved. Among them was Ebrahim Raisi, who reportedly had served on a committee that had ordered the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.”

The 1988 massacre victims’ families have throughout these years desperately sought to find the final resting places of their loved ones. All have been provided next to no information by the regime’s authorities and left to search and grieve amongst the dozens of mass graves sites checkered across the country.

“In March, families who visited a mass grave located in the city of Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province, where up to 170 political prisoners are believed to be buried, reportedly discovered that the previously flat area had been covered with soil to create a raised mound over the grave. In mid-May, bulldozers were reportedly seen working on a construction project directly alongside the mass grave site at Ahvaz, located on a barren piece of land 3 km east of Behesht Abad Cemetery, where the remains of at least 44 people killed during the summer of 1988 are believed to be located. The plan is reportedly to ultimately raze the concrete block marking the grave site and build a “green space” or commercial development over the site.”

After decades of endless efforts by Tehran to keep a lid on the 1988 massacre, this UN reports demands dignity for the victims and their families.

“Over the years, a high number of reports have been issued about the [1988] massacres. If the number of persons who disappeared and were executed can be disputed, overwhelming evidence shows that thousands of persons were summarily killed. Recently, these killings have been acknowledged by some at the highest levels of the State. The families of the victims have a right to know the truth about these events and the fate of their loved ones without risking reprisal. They have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.”

The Iranian regime has considered the international community turning its back on this crime against humanity as a green light to continue its rampage of domestic crackdown and human rights violations.

The so-called “moderate” Rouhani has a dismal report card of over 3,000 executions during his first tenure, over 100 executions in July and at least 55 such cases in the month of August, according to reports.

The regime also has no tolerance for even the slightest protest by political prisoners in its own jails. Nearly two dozen such inmates in Raja’i Shahr (Gohardasht) prison of Karaj, a town west of Tehran, are continuing their hunger strike for well over a month. They are protesting their illegal transfer to a section of the facility placed under 24/7 audio and visual surveillance, even in bathrooms and showers.

As Iran’s other bellicosity have rightfully raised international concerns in recent years, it is vital to understand that human rights violations are this regime’s chink in the armor. No matter what their position, all ranks and files of the Iranian regime involved in the 1988 massacre must be held accountable in an international tribunal and face justice.

All the President’s Men: Iran’s Cabinet Candidates

Vahid Salemi/AP

While humans lack the ability to see into the future, we do possess the power to analyze our world to predict what the future has in store for us. The result of Iran’s so-called presidential election back in May rendered a second term for the incumbent Hassan Rouhani. During Iran’s short election season, lasting no less than a month, the mullahs’ cunningly downgraded crackdown measures, decreasing executions and increasing social freedoms to lure the general public into polling stations.

Nevertheless, the all-male slate of cabinet candidates presented by Rouhani to the parliament for approval provides a dark insight of what awaits the Iranian people and the international community. To make a long story short, these are names consisting of former Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) members, hostage takers, executioners, torturers and thieves.

This is a signal of Iran fuelling a future of further wars, crackdown, massacres, exporting terrorism and fundamentalism, and killing sprees targeting the region’s nations.

While Iran apologists and the appeasement camp misled the international community to naively describe Rouhani as a smiling “moderate,” his first term rendered over 3,000 executions and went mostly neglected. Knowing the Obama administration desperately needed a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement, Rouhani and the mullahs saw a green light to press the gas pedal on executions.

After deactivating the gallows shortly for the May elections, the mullahs returned to their true nature and resorted to over 100 executions in July alone. This consists of an average of at least one execution every eight hours.

This should be a wake-up call for European states that have banned executions altogether, and yet are willing to signature lucrative economic deals with Tehran, such as Airbus, Total and Renault.

Rouhani’s list of cabinet candidates has raised quite a stir. After providing a variety of promises during his election campaign, he failed to present even a single female minister candidate. Only under a wave of protests and pressures did Rouhani give in to naming three female vice presidents, providing nothing more than symbolic roles.

There are also reports indicating Rouhani ran through his candidates in close coordination with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This goes against Iranian political norms — Khamenei is known to have a say in a number of specific candidates, including the key ministers of defense, foreign affairs and intelligence.

Anger mounted during his first term over Rouhani’s ironic decision to appoint Mostafa Pourmohammadi as his justice minister. Pourmohammadi is known for his direct role in the notorious 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters members of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

And while Pourmohammadi is set aside in Rouhani’s second term cabinet, his replacement, Alireza Avaie, is adding insult to injury. Avaie also played a leading role in the 1988 massacre in Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran. The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held a press conference in September unveiling Avaie’s involvement in executions of Younesco Prison in the city of Dezful. The majority of Iran’s Arab community are resident in the country’s southwest regions.

Other names in Rouhani’s cabinet indicate a bleak second term riddled with crackdown measures and going back on all election season promises.

Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi is appointed to serve as the new minister of communications and information technology. This is an individual who entered the mullahs’ hated Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) at the age of 21, becoming involved in interrogations, torture and censorship in his early days.

During the 2009 uprising Jahromi was appointed as the MOIS Director of Surveillance. He is known to have expanded this department and his appointment is seen as Rouhani’s attempt to confront the PMOI/MEK’s increasing popularity amongst Iran’s population through social media networks. Iran is known to have a young and very active social media population of over 40 million users.

Amir Hatami is set to become Iran’s new defense minister. Joining the ultraconservative and repressive IRGC Bassij paramilitaries at the age of 12, Hatami is known for his active and enthusiastic participation in the regime’s crackdown and killing campaigns. He is amongst the Bassij members tasked to join Iran’s classic army and quickly rose the ranks to provide the mullahs the influence they sought in this force. Hatami also played an important role in identifying, arresting and eliminating any army member showing even the slightest sign of patriotic devotion and acting against the mullahs’ interests.

Habibollah Beetaraf, Rouhani’s candidate for the new labor minister, was amongst the so-called “college students” who stormed the US Embassy back in 1979 and took 52 American diplomats hostage. He was one of the first IRGC members and participated in literally herding teenagers and even small children into minefields during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

Iran’s industry, mines and trade will be managed by Mohammad Shariatmadari, famous for actively playing a part in the regime’s crackdown and plundering. He is heavily involved in managing Khamenei’s conglomerate, known as the “Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam” – Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, controlling a large percentage of the regime’s economic empire. $95 billion is this massive entity’s estimated capital.

This lineup provides a dark glimpse into what the future will bring for the Iranian people and neighboring nations. For example, following July’s execution spree, the mullahs’ regime reportedly sent 13 individuals to the gallows on August 10th alone.

This atrocity included 11 hangings in a mass killing in the city of Birjand, eastern Iran; one execution in a small town in northern Iran; and the horrific execution of 20-year-old Alireza Tajiki, arrested at the age of 15 at the time of his alleged crime.

Amnesty International demanding Tehran halt this hanging fell on deaf ears and Iran’s mullahs once again proved their sinister cruelty and lack of respect for any humane values and international laws.

Rouhani’s second term will bring nothing but additional economic and social devastation, parallel to political crackdown, destructive meddling across the region and continuing Iran’s ballistic missile/nuclear drives. Rouhani neither has the will nor intention to bring about any meaningful change in this regime’s foundations, infrastructure, nature or approach.

What else is expected from an individual who for 40 years has actively participated in the regime’s oppression and warmongering. Rouhani was the first Iranian regime official to call for public executions to teach the Iranian people a lesson.

Despite claims otherwise, Rouhani is part and parcel of the mullahs’ establishment, and he, too, seeks to maintain this system intact and in power. Hence, the international community needs to understand no change will emerge from this medieval, reactionary-minded regime.

The Iranian people and their organized opposition finally deserve the support and recognition they have been deprived of for the past four decades.

ANALYSIS: Unveiling the secrets of Iran’s 1988 massacre

Ali Fallahian, Iran’s intelligence minister during the tenure of Rafsanjani’s presidency back in the early 90s, is a name most notoriously known for his role in a series of chain murders across the country that saw the elimination of many dissidents.

Fallahian has recently been heard making shocking revelations in reference to mass executions, especially targeting members and supporter of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

A German court raised charges against Fallahian for his direct involvement in the September 1992 assassination of Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin. In 2007, Interpol placed Fallahian on its most wanted list for his role in the 1994 bombing the AMIA in Buenos Aires Jewish center that left 85 killed.

The 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK members and supporters, has in the past year inside Iran become a major issue for the general public, especially the younger generation who are beginning to demand answers.

Fallhian’s remarks, aired in a recent interview, have caused quite a stir in social media inside Iran and amongst Iranian communities living abroad. In this interview, Fallahian sheds light on his role in the Iranian regime’s die-hard enmity against the MEK as the only opposition truly threatening their rule.

Q: “Can we blame only the MEK for taking up arms, or did we also make mistakes… for example, attack their gatherings, pressure their members and supporters…?”
Fallahian: “They had such an analysis. [Iranian opposition leader Massoud] Rajavi had maybe written 36 articles against armed conflicts.” (Khazar website – July 18) This is Fallahian acknowledging the fact that the MEK had sought to continue their peaceful political activities. The mullahs’ regime, however, dispatched their forces to attack, arrest, torture and kill MEK members. Fallahian moves on to discuss the 1988 mass executions across Iran.

Q: “Did the Intelligence Ministry suggest the 1988 executions to [Iranian regime founder Ruhollah] Khomeini?”
Fallahian: “Khomeini himself ordered it… saying the ruling for all moharebs [term used for MEK members, meaning enemies of God] is execution. There were discussions in this regard back then. Mr. Mousavi Tabrizi believed there was no need for prosecution, arguing prosecuting those who are at war with us has no meaning. Others believed those arrested should be prosecuted… however, [Khomeini] constantly emphasized to beware they don’t slip out of your hands… [Khomeini] would always say be careful in this regard… how? For example, if there was a confusion about someone being a murderer or not, execution would not be the first option of punishment. However, about the MEK [Khomeini] would say an opposite approach is needed. I know them, he would say, they must not slip away and their rulings are execution. This was his constant ruling, before and after the 1988 issue…

“… there are discussions and some are asking why were those sentenced to prison terms again condemned to death? First of all, keep in mind their rulings are execution, even if a judge hadn’t ruled for an execution, he had violated the law… If an armed mohareb was arrested, his/her ruling would be execution, even if he/she hadn’t killed anyone… the ruling for a hypocrite (another term used for MEK members) and mohareb is execution. This was [Khomeini’s] fatwa. There was no discussion in this regard. In 1988… the discussion reached the point that all of them must be executed, even those not sentenced to death. [Khomeini] would ask why have you still kept them alive.”

It is worth noting that the Iranian opposition has for the past year launched a justice movement shedding light on the 1988 massacre both inside Iran and across the globe. These efforts went into full gear weeks prior to Iran’s May 19th presidential election, forcing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to sack his plans of engineering election results as he desired.

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, known to be Khamenei’s preferred candidate to replace the incumbent Hassan Rouhani as president, suffered a major defeat due to revelations of his role in the 1988 massacre. Raisi was a member of the notorious four-man “Death Commission” appointed by Khomeini himself to facilitate and hasten the execution process.

Q: “Raisi was in the commission. Who were the other members?”
Fallahian, however, refrains from naming other Death Commission members and begins discussing the process which political prisoners were executed and the summer 1988 massacre. He placed all the blame on Khomeini, emphasizing he had issued the execution and massacre ruling long before.”

Fallhian: “Yes, the poor guy [referring to Raisi] insisted he hadn’t issued the ruling, the ruling was issued in advance… but no one would listen, and they would also think the executed were innocent… if we hadn’t killed them there would be no country today. These are not my words, they are the words of [Khomeini]…”

The reporter seeks to make a reference to a groundbreaking sound file unveiled last September of Khomeini’s then successor, the late Hossein Ali Montazeri, in which he sheds light on unknown aspects of the 1988 massacre.

Q: “What was Mr. Montazeri’s mistake?”
Fallahian: “He came in disagreement with [Khomeini]… [He] believed history would judge these executions against us and Islam. He would say it would be better to refrain, as when the enemy begins to write, they won’t cite us harshly. However, [Khomeini] ordered to carry out your religious duty and don’t wait for history’s judgement.”

Q: “Were all those executed arrested while armed?”
Fallahian: “No, not all of them were involved in the armed revolt. However, many of them were living in team houses. We would go there and find only one or two weapons, or arrest them on the street without any arms.”

Q: “So how were they linked to the armed revolt?”
Fallahian: “Well, they were part of the organization.”

Q: “Wasn’t it necessary for each individual to have taken up arms to be convicted of being a mohareb?”
Fallahian: “No, when someone is a member of an armed current, the individual being armed or not, their ruling is mohareb.”

Q: “Even if they are arrested with a newspaper?”
Here the interviewer is referring to the fact that many MEK members and supporters were arrested, and eventually executed, for the mere fact of having a pro-MEK newspaper at their possession.
Fallahian: “Yes. They were part of that organization and were operational. Now, its possible someone would merely buy bread for those living in ‘team houses’, another would, for example, procure other necessary items. They were all involved.”
On a side note, Fallahian referred to the extensive MOIS role in dispatching its spies abroad under various pretexts.

“… we do not dispatch an intelligence officer, let’s say to Germany, the US or Russia, and there he would say, ‘well, I am from the Ministry of Intelligence, please provide me your information.’ (They would do it) under the cover of business or media jobs. Many journalists are intelligence agents … A journalist is not paid well, so he needs to work with an intelligence service.”

Revelations and shocking remarks about the 1988 massacre are made by numerous senior Iranian officials recently. What has made these figures acknowledge the nature of the mullahs’ regime of carrying out such massacres and mass murders?

This has been the true, yet unfortunately cloaked, nature of the mullahs ruling Iran. Nearly three decades after that horrific summer of 1988, the efforts placed by the Iranian opposition through its vast network of brave activists inside the country and abroad have forced the mullahs to literally confess to their role in these killings.

It is now high time for the international community to demand a fact-finding mission, and bring to justice all perpetrators of the 1988 massacre and all the atrocious human rights violations throughout the past 38 years.

Iran regime change is in the making

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed in a recent Congressional hearing that the U.S. should literally “work towards support of those elements inside Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government,” signaling the overhaul needed in Washington’s Iran policy.

From Tehran’s point of view this was, of course, a completely unpleasant surprise, as the Trump administration unexpectedly placed its weight behind those seeking true and democratic change.

Considering escalating public dissent and growing rifts in Iran’s senior hierarchy, the international community should brace for a major impact in developments centered on Iran.

Before and after the May 19th presidential “election,” Iran’s powder keg society witnessed a major outbreak of protests, especially by investors placing their savings in institutions linked to the state and/or the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The vast network associated with the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has for a year now focused its widespread effort inside the country on raising awareness, especially amongst the younger generation, about the true nature of this regime’s 38-year report card.

One very troubling dossier was the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in dozens of prisons throughout Iran. Perpetrators of that horrendous purging enjoy high rank in today’s regime. Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is ironically the minister of justice in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet.

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, known to be the favored candidate of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the May race, along with being groomed to succeed the ill Khamenei in the regime’s ultimate leadership post. Both Pour-Mohammadi and Raisi were leading members of the four-man “Death Commission” presiding over the mass executions.

Activities and revelations made by the PMOI/MEK network inside Iran exposed those involved in the 1988 massacre. This turn of events placed Khamenei before a major decision of enforcing his candidate as president and risking a major uprising even more powerful than that of 2009, or succumb to another term of Rouhani as his regime’s president.

Rest assured that despite promising to realize freedoms, Rouhani in his second term neither bears the intention nor will to realize anything even remotely similar to reforms.

Parallel to these developments are unprecedented divides amongst senior officials in Tehran. On a number of occasions Khamenei and his faction have indirectly issued threats against Rouhani, even comparing his fate to that of the Iranian regime’s first president back in the 1980s, who was impeached.

When IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani lashed out at those targeting the Guards, it was considered by many to be aimed at Rouhani.

“In the Islamic Republic, we’re all responsible towards martyrs, society, religion and our country. The biggest betrayal is to cast doubt toward the foundations of this system… none today must weaken the corps,” he said recently.

This is most probably a reference to Rouhani’s recent remarks against the IRGC through the elections process and after presidential campaign.

This dangerous dispute will also leave Khamenei incapable of grooming any successor to his throne or managing a smooth transitional process, set to become deadly for the mullahs’ already unclear future.

Couple all these dilemmas on Khamenei’s table with the growing turmoil in the Middle East as ISIS’ days are numbered. Attention among the international community is focusing on post-ISIS circumstances and the Trump administration is receiving further calls to weigh options blacklisting the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, and ultimately seeking regime change through supporting the Iranian opposition.

“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement, and appeasement is surrender. The only practical goal is to support a movement to free Iran. Any other goal will leave a dictatorship finding ways to get around any agreement and to lie about everything,” said Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, at a recent Iranian opposition rally near Paris. Gingrich is known for his very close relations with President Trump.

Such an initiative also enjoys vast regional support, voiced also recently by a prominent Saudi figure.

“The Iranian people are the first victims of [the mullahs’] dictatorship,” said former Saudi intelligence chief Turki Faisal. “Your effort in challenging this regime is legitimate and your resistance for the liberation of the Iranian people of all ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turks and Fars of the mullahs’ evil, as [Iranian opposition leader Maryam] Rajavi said, is a legitimate struggle.”

Even a brief glance at ongoing developments emerging domestically and abroad for Iran, provides convincing evidence that regime change is absolutely in the making in Tehran.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/07/iran_regime_change_is_in_the_making.html#ixzz4mhivuhfY
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Iran opposition convention pioneers call for regime change

A massive gathering of the Iranian Diaspora in a vast convention hall north of Paris voiced their compatriots’ demands for regime change in Tehran. The colossal and energetic event, staged annually by opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by its President Maryam Rajavi, brought together hundreds of former US, European and Middle Eastern officials and dignitaries.

Saturday’s rally was headlined by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi calling on the international community to acknowledge the Council as the legitimate voice and representative of the Iranian people, abandon once and for all the appeasement policy and adopt a firm strategy of standing alongside the Iranian people’s true demand of regime change.

American dignitaries representing both sides of aisle, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Governor Ed Rendell and a slate of many other political and military officials also added their voice.

“You, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. #FreeIran,” said Mayor Giuliani.

“This is a regime which thinks it’s justice to kill 30,000 people. This is a regime which thinks it’s justice to have an election where no one is allowed to run. This is a regime which threatens all of its dissidents, all of its critics with jail at best and death at worst,” said former US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

“The capital since 1979 of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism has been in Tehran under this extremist regime, and that is why it’s got to go,” said Senator Joseph Lieberman.

“We must avoid allowing the regime in Tehran to achieve its long sought objective of an arc of control from Iran through the Baghdad government in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon,” said Ambassador John Bolton, former US envoy to the United Nations.

Decidedly vitriolic statements were also made by the high profile American delegation of influential figures. This significant slate of names issued a statement prior to Saturday’s convention emphasizing, “We believe that change is within reach, not only because the regime is becoming engulfed in crisis, but also because there is a large and growing movement organizing for positive change. A viable organization capable of ending the nightmare of religious dictatorship by establishing freedom and democracy, tolerance, and gender equality has steadily gained visibility, popular support and international recognition.”

A significant statement was the presence of a key Arab World figure, especially considering conditions simmering currently between Iran and its Middle East neighbors.

“The Iranian people are the first victims of Khomeini’s dictatorship,” said Turki Faisal, former Saudi ambassador in the United States and United Kingdom. “Your effort in challenging this regime is legitimate and your resistance for the liberation of the Iranian people of all ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turks and Fars of the mullahs’ evil, as Mrs. Rajavi said, is a legitimate struggle.”

A large Arab delegation consisting of many former and current officials from more than a dozen countries also placed their weight behind the NCRI’s platform to bring about change in Iran.

The Iranian opposition leader delivered the keynote speech of the event.

“Our people want a constitution based on freedom, democracy and equality. The time has come for the international community to heed the demands of the people of Iran,” she said.

Rajavi also referred to the wide range of extensive activities carried out inside Iran by the vast network of supporters affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the leading member of the NCRI coalition, emphasizing how the exiled opposition is very much linked to the restive powder keg society inside the country.

“The overthrow of the religious dictatorship is possible and within reach because of the regime’s inabilities, including its inability to contain the country’s economic disintegration and environmental disasters, the inability to provide for the most rudimentary needs of our oppressed people,” Rajavi added.

On a different note, the NCRI President said it is high time to make Tehran understand its crimes will no longer go unanswered.

“Khamenei and other leaders of the regime must face justice for violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, particularly the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, and for their war crimes in the region,” she said.

As the Trump administration continues to weigh its comprehensive policy on Iran, Rajavi called for sweeping sanctions targeting Iran’s belligerence, the blacklisting of the Revolutionary Guards, and supporting the Iranian people and their organized opposition in their quest for regime change.

“The mullahs’ time is up and the time has come to march forward,” she underscored. “This has also been stated in the American Declaration of Independence where it says, ‘whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of’ the people’s rights, ‘it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government’ of their liking.”

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Iran’s Road Ahead Signals International Isolation

With the presidential election set aside, what is the road ahead for Iran, domestically and abroad? Is Iran seeking to establish relations with the international community, especially the United States? Is this regime interested in engaging the world, and is this why President Hassan Rouhani was granted a second term?

“There are those who are concerned a state and its people should have global relations, and I completely agree,” said Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on May 27th.

“Iran has no restrictions in cooperating with large US oil companies,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bizhan Namdar Zangane to reporters on the sidelines of a recent OPEC meeting.

Many may consider such words as a new window of opportunity in Iran, falling for the same deceptive tactics used by this regime for nearly four decades. We should not go down this path and play into Iran’s hands. Those familiar with the true nature of this regime understand these are signals of weakness, desperation, fear and begging.

US President Donald Trump recently ended a 9 day foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe. Time and again, in Riyadh, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, Brussels and Italy he resorted to strong remarks against Iran, accusing it of terrorism and evil, highlighting the regime’s destabilizing role, its use of militias and meddling in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, flagrant human rights violations and the fact that the Iranian people are the main victims of this regime. Trump also highlighted how the US intends to work with all nations in the region against Tehran’s meddling.

And in response, Khamenei delivered four speeches with his fledgling camp of followers expecting strong remarks from their “Death to America” flag-holder.

Yet with Obama gone and a far different US president in the White House, Khamenei has not dared resort to his old practices. Again, another sign of weakness. His silence is not merely a reflection of Trump’s visit to the region, but a canvas of the new balance of power in the Middle East and beyond as the new American leader is overhauling previous foreign policy doctrines after failing to deliver.

Khamenei has every right to be concerned. The US Treasury Department has been busy issuing three new rounds of sanctions and various blueprints are also discussed in Congress, rendering a number of bills. Interestingly, Khamenei has refused to say a word in response, not even accusing the US of failing to fulfill its nuclear deal.

Furthermore, the new US sanctions may have only been imposed on 40 or 50 companies, and there are voices heard describing such measures as merely kicking the can down the road. Yet there is significance in the details:

  • These sanctions have broadened the spectrum beyond Iran’s ballistic missile program and targeted the regime’s human rights violations. This includes sanctioning the Prisons Organization and blacklisting Sohram Suleimani, the brother of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani. For those familiar with this regime, the human rights dossier is this regime’s Achilles heel.
  • The IRGC is being specifically targeted, parallel to its affiliated companies, and paving the path for its ultimate blacklisting.
  • Congress has begun focusing on non-nuclear sanctions on Iran. With the Obama obstacle set aside, there is real perspective of such plans being adopted.

This includes the very sensitive 1988 massacre dossier in Iran where the mullahs sent over 30,000 political prisoners to the gallows in the span of a single summer. The House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul introduced such an initiative, enjoying co-sponsorship of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce, Ranking Member Eliot Engel and Rules Committee Chair Rep. Peter Sessions.

The House resolution “condemns the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and [calls] for justice for the victims.”

Such measures become so utterly significant when they enjoy bipartisan support, as seen in the new Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adopted with 18 of 21 votes in favor. This bill targets Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorism, human rights and the IRGC. If passed by the Senate the bill obligates the US government to impose new sanctions against active individuals and entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Another similar measure directly targets the IRGC and if adopted this will render the first sanctions directly targeting this entity. The only previous such measure dates back to 2007 when the US blacklisted the IRGC Quds Force.

The truth is Iran’s election façade has come to an end with Khamenei failing to unify his regime. The entire regime apparatus suffered a blow, as rifts are rampaging across the board amongst its ranks and file. Iran is also faced with a new international coalition and the most noteworthy regional isolation.

There are no signs of change as in early May, Khamenei admitted, “a change of behavior is no different from regime change.”

All this is recipe for disaster as Tehran faces a very difficult road ahead. This is also considered a window of opportunity for the Iranian people to finally enjoy the long overdue support of the international community in their quest for freedom and democracy.

How Is Iran’s Hassan Rouhani A Moderate?

Following the May 19th presidential “election” in Iran and the incumbent Hassan Rouhani reaching a second term, there was an outpouring of Western mainstream media describing him as a moderate again.

As described by the National Review, Iran’s sham election was nothing but “a ridiculous farce. In reality, an anti-American jihadist beat a slightly-worse anti-American jihadist.”

Rouhani was the first Iranian regime official in the early days after the mullahs’ hijacking of the 1979 revolution who openly called for public executions.

He Is #Rouhani is he a #MODERATE?!!!
watch & share 2 others know him#humanrights #executions #humanity #UK #Terrorism#IranElections2017 pic.twitter.com/R5mjOgwCdB

— Shawn HarrisⓂ️ (@HarrisShawn5) May 23, 2017

During Rouhani’s first tenure (owing it to the ultraconservative Guardian Council, a 12-cleric body appointed directly and indirectly by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, that vets candidates of all elections in Iran), the regime in Iran:

  • sent over 3,000 to the gallows and escalated domestic crackdown,
  • increased its export of terrorism through Shiite proxies across the Middle East,
  • boosted the Levant dictator Bashar Assad in his massacring and displacing millions of innocent Syrians,
  • supported the IRGC in test launching a significant number of ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and harassing US Navy vessels in international waters,
  • went as far as increasing Tehran’s support for the Afghan Taliban, according to the The Washington Post,
  • and made having dual nationality a threat, as experienced by too many hostages.

And Rouhani has actually become very useful for the ruling hardliners in Iran.

“For hard-liners and their affiliates — including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry — Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives,” as explained Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council.

For this regime the selection of Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric renowned for his three decade role in the judiciary and being involved in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners across Iran, would have raised tensions domestically and with the international community.

Desperate to maintain the nuclear deal intact and to prevent any possible snapback of UN Security Council sanctions, Khamenei and his regime succumbed to blueprint a second term for Rouhani.

In fact, Rouhani allows the entire so-called “hardliners” in this regime, including the IRGC and its extraterritorial Quds Force, to seek their interests, such as expanding their hegemonic reach across the region, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Reports also indicate Iran has unveiled a new underground missile factory, another asset of the IRGC.

In March 2014, Iran unveiled what appeared to be tunnel storage for Qiam ballistic missiles.

Aviation Week

In March 2014, Iran unveiled what appeared to be tunnel storage for Qiam ballistic missiles.

The Iranian regime’s lobbies and apologists in the West dubbed Rouhani as a “moderate” while he was busy negotiating to release billions of frozen assets in order to fuel Iran’s military demands and fund its influence also in Bahrain, the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. The unfortunate attacks targeting innocent civilians in Manchester and Coptic Christians in Egypt should make those dubbing Rouhani as a moderate think twice, considering he is the president of a regime described as the leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Rouhani goes on to depict himself as a “moderate” good cop to seek legitimacy, as the world considers the IRGC as the “hardliner” bad cops. Under whose tenure has the IRGC and Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani expanded their reach to Syria and Yemen?

On the other side of the spectrum, however, is the fierce criticism raised against the election in its entirety, described by Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), as a “sham.”

Tehran will most possibly press the gas pedal in its belligerency during Rouhani’s second term, as seen vividly in his latest remarks pledging Iran will continue its Middle East warmongering, adding their boots are on the ground in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and fought against terrorism in the region.

“Iran has and will support these through its diplomats and military advisors,” he said according to an NCRI statement.

Unfortunately, the West’s decades of appeasement, dating back to the years of Chamberlain and Hitler prior to World War II, has led to the word “moderate” to now include even dictators willing to be just a notch more reasonable than a ruthless entity. In this case, leaving the world to choose between a deceptive-smiling Rouhani and the notorious IRGC.

When Westerners think of “moderates” they begin their comparison process against faces in their own countries. Even “conservatives” in many European countries are against a single execution, but this “moderate” Rouhani in Iran is very much for it. In fact, 2 per day is his report card over the past four years. The regime has already executed ten individuals in the first days of Rouhani’s second tenure, reports indicate.

And the Iranian people inside the country have voiced their opinion about Rouhani being a “moderate”. Defying all odds and accepting the risk of arrest and possible execution even, dissident activists took to the streets in unprecedented numbers in the past months and put up large posters, placards and even graffiti to voice their true vote of “regime change” and describing Rouhani not as a moderate, but as a “demagogue” and “king of executions.”

Rajavi, long presenting a 10-point-plan for a free Iran of tomorrow, delivered her input in this regard:

“In this light, portraying him as a moderate figure bears no color. Those who adhere to this notion must be challenged by asking them to make him unveil the true number of victims of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and details of their cases, respect human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of political parties, and freedom of political prisoners and pull out from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.”

While the argument is often made of this and that being beyond the powers of Iran’s president, and former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami referred to the president’s role as that of a tea boy, it begs the question then as to how moderation is to take place.