Appeasement of Iran Must End

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By Shahriar Kia

A tumultuous year lies ahead. With a new administration taking the helm in Washington, the French elections upcoming, then the sham “elections” in Iran, and unprecedented developments in the making in the Middle East and on the international stage.

2017 has begun with enormous concerns for the mullahs in Iran. With the death of former Iranian regime president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s establishment witnessed the fall of one of its two pillars.

To this end, Tehran’s religious dictatorship suffered a devastating blow and weakened in its entirety.

The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the most ruthless factions of his regime are trekking down the path of further contraction, advocating extremismsupporting terrorism, and pursuing their nuclear ambitions.

With the regime weakness bringing joy to the Iranian population, the mullahs are left terrified of a repeat of uprisings on the model of 2009. This is especially significant with crucial presidential “elections” coming in May.

The general public and even political prisoners are voicing their dissent like never before, especially thanks to social media. Families of regime victims are protesting, especially those whose loved ones perished amongst the 30,000 political prisoners massacred by the mullahs back in 1988. The people are demanding an end to ruthless executions and the regime’s existence.

The Iranian people, one year after the Iranian nuclear pact’s implementation, have gained nothing. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, however, has ironically benefited Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), allowing Iran to finance lethal ambitions in Syria and throughout the Middle East.

The world has come to realize that the mullahs, the IRGC, the Lebanese Hizb’allah and other Shiite militias have no such role of confronting extremism and Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). In fact, their goal has been to maintain Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in power.

They have the main source of distributing terrorism and instability across this flashpoint region. In fact, their presence in Syria guarantees the mullahs’ continued rule back home.

Khamenei recently said if they hadn’t fought in Syria, they “had not been confronted [in Syria], we should have stood against them in Tehran, Fars, Khorasan and Isfahan.”

In response to the latest Syrian ceasefire effort, Iran and its proxy elements are the sole parties seeking to sabotage the entire initiative. According to Syrian opposition leaders, Iran is the sole party seeking nothing but to maintain Assad in power at all costs.

No political solution is possible in the Levant as long as the IRGC and their Shiite militias are present in the country. Thus, if we seek peace in this land, the only serious path forward lies in expelling the mullahs from Syria. The main party in detriment from a ceasefire and eventual peace in Syria is none other than Tehran.

The Obama administration’s appeasement policy vis-à-vis Iran is the main reason behind the Syria tragedy and the mullahs’ dominance in this war. Iran counted on the West’s engagement approach to literally export its extremism under the banner of Islam.

The end of Obama’s tenure leaves little hope for the mullahs’ regime to act as they wish. This situation intensified ever since the occupation of Iraq back in 2003. Khamenei has been the main benefactor in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But such days are over.

Considering the failed rapprochement approach, a policy change is needed to end the Middle East crisis. Actions must be taken in the face of the IRGC’s terrorism and its destructive role in the region. Otherwise neither the Middle East nor the world, for that matter, will ever experience true peace and tranquility.

We cannot ally with one form of extremism to root out another. Extremism under the name of Islam, be it Sunni or Shiite, is no different in viciousness and none represent Islam. In fact, they are better described as forms of religious fascism.

Therefore, no government can promote an alliance with Tehran under the pretext of pursuing a security policy. Furthermore, we cannot neglect our principles for the mere sake of short-term economic gains and turn our backs on human rights and women’s rights violations in Iran.

Today’s Iran has an alternative with a democratic agenda based on respecting religious freedoms, universal suffrage, separation of church and state, and gender equality. The voice of this alternative should be heard, as proposed by nearly two dozen senior top U.S. officials in a hand-delivered letter to President Donald Trump.

This alternative is none other than the National Council of Resistance of Iran under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, who years ago presented her vision for a future Iran in a 10-point-plan.

The solution presented by the Iranian opposition can render a new era for the people of Iran, nations across the Middle East and beyond. We only need to remain loyal to our democratic values and principles.

Originally published in American Thinker

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK). He graduated from North Texas University. @shahriarkia

Trump administration should hold Iran accountable for executions

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

By Ali Safavi
Nearly a year after the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the ensuing fanfare regarding the possibility of an age of reform within a feeble theocracy, Tehran’s behavior has taken a turn for the worse. The most tangible evidence of this can be seen in its treatment of the Iranian people.  Continue reading “Trump administration should hold Iran accountable for executions”

The Need For A New Approach On Iran

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani presents to the parliament his budget for 2017-2018, on December 4, 2016, in Tehran. (ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

As the world recently marked International Human Rights Day, it should be known that the regime in Iran considers its deplorable human rights dossier as its main weakness.

For years the international community has been forced to believe in the existence of “moderates” and “hardliners” in Iran. Those advocating such a point of view have been calling for support of “moderates” to improve the human rights situation in this country.

This accord with Iran was presented as the beginning of a new era which would lead to respect for human rights in Iran and an end to the mullahs’ meddling in the region. That assumption has been at the heart of Western policy vis-à-vis Iran for decades.

However, a very close look is needed at the record of the last three or so years during the tenure of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, dubbed as a “moderate.” More have been executed under his watch than during the entire eight years of firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reign. Rouhani has never expressed any criticism regarding these executions and indeed he defends the death sentence as the rule of God.

Religious and ethnic minorities in Iran are suppressed more than ever before, and Iran has increased its participation in supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, especially massacring innocent people of Aleppo and other cities. The world has been watching in horror scenes of women and children victimized to horrendous Iran-backed bombings and shelling.
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However, western policymakers have been completely ignoring these realities. Horrendously, more trade and business deals have been advocated with the Iranian regime. Let us not forget that most of Iran’s economy is run by the Revolutionary Guards, not by ordinary Iranian businessmen.
Therefore, Western policy has actually encouraged the mullahs’ regime to continue their domestic crackdown and carry on atrocious crimes in Syria without any concern of being held accountable.
Just one example is the international community’s complete failure in responding to the mass executions in Iran. In particular, the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners back in the summer of 1988. Those responsible are still holding key government positions.

The current minister of justice in Rouhani’s cabinet was a member of the infamous “Death Commission” in charge of implementing that dreadful genocide. And he, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, has actually boasted of being proud of his role in sending thousands of political dissidents to the gallows.

This frankly shames today’s free world in the 21st century. It is totally unacceptable for the West to remain silent and continue business as usual with the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

Iran’s past and present atrocities, inside the country and outside its borders, need to be condemned as crimes against humanity. The West must place firm conditions on future relations with Iran and take serious actions against this regime. One good start was the adoption of the Iran Sanctions Act by the U.S. Congress, sending a strong message to Tehran that the tides are changing.

The West must also demand a stoppage of the execution of minors, justice for women and respect for human rights in general. The people of Iran expect it from the West to stand up for them. U.S. President Barack Obama failed to do so back in 2009 and the Iranian people have paid the price heavily ever since.
The West has unfortunately sided with the brutal dictator in Tehran, and this must come to an end by standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people and not ignoring their suffering.
Iran should not be viewed in a similar perspective as the Soviet Union, as there is no Yeltsin-type dove in Tehran. Unlike the Soviet Union, the regime in Iran has been misrepresenting and taking advantage of a very powerful religion to pursue its devious policies.
An anti-fundamentalist movement believing in a democratic and tolerant version of Islam, delivering a secular perspective of this religion that has been wrongly attributed to various extremist groups, is needed to respond to the current crisis. This will provide free futures for all nations across the Middle East.
The first step in this regard is referring Iran’s human rights violations dossier to the United Nations Security Council for review. This would deliver a blow to Iran the mullahs’ will fail to recover from.
Originally posted in Forbes

21 years imprisonment for revealing an audio clip about massacre in Iran

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By Heshmat Alavi
Ahmad Montazeri, son of the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (former deputy supreme leader and successor of Iranian regime founder mullah Ruhollah Khomeini) was tried in the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges, for publishing an audio clip of his father’s meeting with the notorious “Death Commission,” responsible for the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 in Iran. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison on charges of “measures against national security,” “publishing a classified audio clip” and “propaganda against the state.” At least six years of imprisonment will be imposed. Continue reading “21 years imprisonment for revealing an audio clip about massacre in Iran”

Hassan Rouhani: Iran’s Executioner

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Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani

Originally published in the American Thinker

As we begin to wind down to the end of Hassan Rouhani’s term as president of the regime in Iran, it is time to take a look back at the past four years. We all remember how the West joyfully welcomed his election — read selection — as a change of gear in Iran aimed at moderation. However, what the world witnessed ever since has been anything but. An atrocious rise in executions, continued public punishments and an escalating trend of oppression has been Rouhani’s report card during his tenure. With a new administration coming into town, Washington must make it crystal clear to Tehran that human rights violations will no longer be tolerated. Continue reading “Hassan Rouhani: Iran’s Executioner”