Iran Presidential Election Denounced Widely By Active Dissidents

May 19th is the date for Iran’s theocratic definition of a “presidential election,” setting the stage for a major showdown pitting the camp of hardliners rallying behind conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi against the so-called “moderate/reformists” placing their support for the incumbent Hassan Rouhani. The mullahs’ regime can’t boast about being a democracy, ranked 154th out of 167 countries in a worldwide democracy index amassed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Standing out in Iran’s 2017 presidential election season, however, is the massive turnout of brave activists across the country making the call for a nationwide polls boycott on Friday. The Iranian regime has attempted to cloak the activities of its true opposition, seen across the country these days, from the eyes of international journalists and reporters. Despite the regime’s harsh reaction, arrests and eliminating any sign of opposition supporters, the scope of these measures have escalated tremendously and social media has provided the platform to spread the message amongst all Iranians, and to the outside world.

The Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its main member, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), have campaigned recently through their network inside the country.

The scope of their activists’ work, while braving the possibilities of detention, torture and most definitely execution, prove how Tehran’s mullahs lack any legitimacy amongst the populace.

Posters of Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi have been seen from bridges and overpasses in numerous major highways both in the Iranian capital and several other cities. Her pictures are also seen in public areas and outside headquarters of the repressive Revolutionary Guards paramilitary Bassij. The PMOI/MEK emblem is also seen on car windshields, distributed flyers and even T-shirts, accompanied with calls for regime change.

The cities of Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz and many others hosted such scenes carried out by the activists. Farsi slogans reading “No to executioner Ebrahim Raisi, No to Demagogue Hassan Rouhani, Our Vote Regime Change”, “My Vote Maryam Rajavi” and “Down with the mullahs’ regime, Down with Khamenei, Hail to Rajavi” were written on the pictures, according to PMOI/MEK activists and video files sent from inside Iran.

Even those behind bars in Iran, understanding fully well the consequences of any similar measures by their part, have risen to the occasion. A group of political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj (west of Tehran) issued a letter announcing their “boycott of this façade and demanding a free election under international supervision to establish a free society based on freedom and rule of people from all walks of life, without any gender, ethnic, religious or … discrimination based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

These activities have crossed a threshold for the regime, indicated much so in reactions from state media.

“The blind hearted MEK waiting in the wings. Beware! Putting up Maryam Rajavi’s poster under Tehran’s Sattar Khan Bridge today,” is the translation of a recent Farsi post in Paytakht (Capital) Magazine.

Rajavi recently voiced her views about this new round of presidential election in Iran, described by many as a game repeated by the regime every four years.

“The upcoming election sham, as it has always been the case, is just a ritual of dividing the power among the factions which make up the ruling religious tyranny. It does not enjoy any legitimacy among the people of Iran. The outcome, whatever it be, is rejected and disdained by the Iranian people and Resistance. In any case, the crisis-riddled clerical regime will emerge weaker and more vulnerable in the wake of this election ,” she said. Rajavi is officially the Paris-based NCRI’s President-elect.

Recent developments, and the Iranian regime’s reaction, are a clear suggestion of how the mullahs fear the potential of opposition groups far more than any military threat from a foreign state. This recent turn of events have acted as a wake-up call for both Iran’s elite in Tehran and their lobbyists in the West, who are left in despair, knowing there is no longer an appeasement drive to cling on.

This is the dawn of a new era in Iran.

ANALYSIS: Iran feeling US policy shift after Obama

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, known to lead a regime based on a mantra of “Death to America,” has been cautiously silent ever since US President Donald Trump took the helm in the White House.

With a recent medium-range ballistic missile test launch backfiring severely, both politically and substantially–the vessel exploded during reentry into Earth’s orbit–the regime leader, who has the final word on all national security and foreign affairs, is maintaining a low profile.

The new White House lashed back with a series of measures Tehran has not been used to, especially after enjoying eight years of the Obama administration’s highly flawed appeasement policy.

Tensions escalated last week following Iran’s missile test confirmation, triggering US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn using his first public appearance to lash back a staunch warning, placing Tehran “on notice.” Trump has been very active, to say the least, taking to Twitter and warning Iran about the high contrast between he and his predecessor. “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!

Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!

And his administration wasted no time before the weekend by slapping a new slate of economic sanctions targeting 25 Iranian individuals and entities involved in Iran’s missile program, while suggesting the possibility of more to come. “President Donald Trump’s press secretary suggested Friday afternoon that more sanctions, and even military action, could be on the way,” reports indicate.

Khamenei’s silence

And to add insult to injury, US Defense Secretary James Mattis, in his first foreign visit, labelled Iran as the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Despite Fridays traditionally providing a platform for senior Iranian officials to voice positions over foreign affairs and pump back the spirit lost among their dwindling social base, Khamenei remained silent. And this is a time where his Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary Basijis are in most need of his so-called guidance.

These are all signs of the Iranian regime establishment being caught off guard after trekking into uncharted Trump waters. With its ballistic missile Tehran was actually testing the new Trump administration. The mullahs are now highly regretting such a poorly calculated measure.

Interesting is the fact that the pro-appeasement camp is continuing their old tactics of warning how Iran may do this and that. “…terrorist attacks against Americans, attacks by Shiite militias against the thousands of American troops in Iraq, or pressure on the Iraqi government to deny the United States access to the bases where it trains Iraqi security forces,” wrote Philip Gordon in The New York Times. Gordon was Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region from 2013 to 2015.

After leaving the entire region in mayhem by handing Iraq over to Iran in a silver plate and cowardly failing to take any meaningful measure against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad after declaring a so-called chemical attack “red line”, any individual in any way even merely affiliated to the Obama Doctrine is not in any position to make any comment about how the new White House should blueprint its Middle East policy.

The golden era

Iran understands very well that the Obama “golden era”, as one figure close to former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani put it, is over. And the recent saga, from Tehran’s January 29th missile test to the sanctions imposed by the Trump White House on February 3rd, forecasts stormy weather conditions for the mullahs.

As the Trump administration weighs various measures vis-à-vis Iran, there are a few issues worth keeping in mind. The past 16 years have proven that foreign military intervention and an appeasement/engagement/rapprochement approach have failed miserably. And yet, there is a third option for the US to consider: standing alongside the Iranian people in their struggle to establish freedom and democracy in their country.

Considering its significant role in domestic crackdown, foreign military intervention and most significantly the involvement in Syria, and Iran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile drive, the first and very effective step forward in this roadmap is to blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

To this end, all deals and trade with IRGC-affiliated companies will be banned, as proposed by Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Welcoming the new US sanctions on Iran, the NCRI is an alliance of dissident organs, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), best known for first blowing the whistle on Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

After Obama turned its back on the Iranian people back in 2009 and sold them out to the mullahs’, the Trump administration placing the IRGC in its crosshairs sends a message to the Iranian people that this new administration stands shoulder to shoulder in their efforts to be free.

Trump Must Pressure Iran

Iran was involved in a long slate of aggressive measures up to the very doorsteps of President Donald Trump taking the helm in Washington. This concerning pattern of escalating extremism ironically increased following the Iran nuclear deal sealed between the P5+1 and Tehran, despite many in the West arguing such an accord would rein in the mullahs. And now, a new U.S. president has rightfully pinpointed “radical Islamic terrorists,” of which the root lies in Iran.

Further to the mullahs’ advantage was the Obama administration’s reluctance to adopt any serious stance against Iran running its Shiite extremist rampage across the region. Obama’s White House only imposed sanctions considered anything but harsh.

This paved the path for Iran to unleash its Shiite puppets and proxies throughout the region, cementing sectarian strife and as a result pushing more Sunni youth to join ISIS and other radicals.

Obama’s nuclear deal, with all its flaws made evidently clear, only placed speed bumps in Iran’s quest for the bomb. This came at the heavy price of America losing the trust of its regional allies, disheartening them also in their efforts against Iran-supported terrorism in their backyards.

President Donald Trump has rightfully pinpointed the root of all crises in the Middle East.

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” he said.

This is exactly where the Trump administration has an extraordinary opportunity to begin launching a widespread strategy vis-à-vis Tehran, targeting specifically the disease Iran is spreading: meddling across the region and fueling sectarian emotions.

While the international community was focused sealing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran used the opportunity to storm Syria and Iraq with Shiite militias dispatched from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and its own paramilitary forces, all commanded by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

While Obama continuously boasted the JCPOA campaign, Iran’s Middle East interference reached a point where 11 Arab states unprecedentedly voiced their rage by accusing Iran of supporting terrorism and completely disrupting the sheer Middle East fabric.

Iran’s atrocities had reached the point that even Secretary John Kerry’s State Department cited Tehran’s scope of “activities to destabilize the region” in designating Iran as the world’s state sponsor of terrorism.

President Trump and his team can easily take action by simply covering the numerous loopholes left by the Obama administration. U.N. travel bans on senior Iranian figures, including IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani. This individual is known to travel across the Middle East and literally wreak havoc by commanding Iran’s Shiite militias.

Iran has also taken advantage of Obama’s negligence — aiming to safeguard his previous Iran-JCPOA legacy — to pursue its ballistic missile ambitions and carry out major test launches. This has been in violation of U.N. Resolution 2231, and President Trump can easily begin holding Tehran accountable.

Iran came to the nuclear negotiations following continuous revelations made by Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance (NCRI) and under pressure from international sanctions. This policy has worked once and it can work again. President Trump and his team should care less about Iran’s remarks or reactions in threatening to “burn” the JCPOA.

Iran’s financial pipeline, established through a windfall of billions provided to Iran under the nuclear pact, should come to an end, and licenses revoked for Airbus and Boeing deals. Iran’s airlines are known to provide manpower and weapons to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Lebanese Hizb’allah.

These efforts only promote further killings and, as previously explained, instigate a Shiite-Sunni conflict across the Middle East. Iran is profiting from the existence of ISIS, using this phenomenon as a pretext to justify its presence in Iraq and Syria.

President Trump can also team up with Congress under a new bipartisan effort aiming to curb Iran’s destabilizing role in the region. A strong foundation can be found in the Preventing Destabilization of Iraq and Syria Act of 2016 aiming to mandate new sanctions against foreign states and terrorist organizations.

This initiative must include Iran, as the mullahs are known to “threaten the peace or stability of Iraq or Syria,” as the bill explains. U.S. allies can benefit extremely, especially the Gulf Sunnis that Obama sidelined in the past eight years.

“The regime in Tehran is the source of crisis in the region and killings in Syria; it has played the greatest role in the expansion and continuation of ISIS. Peace and tranquility in the region can only be achieved by evicting this regime from the region,” said NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.

The NCRI is an umbrella dissident group including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

And yet the nail in the coffin for the mullahs would be for the Trump administration to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people in their struggle to establish freedom and democracy. Nearly two dozen former senior U.S. government officials provided such a game-plan to President in a hand-delivered letter encouraging his administration to work with the NCRI.

Such initiatives send clear messages to Tehran about the unacceptable nature of its current involvement in the flashpoint Middle East. As President Trump takes actions to diminish Iran’s role across the region, especially from backing Assad, sectarian friction will diminish and all efforts can focus on ISIS.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/01/trump_must_pressure_iran.html#ixzz4XbuXARGf
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Analysis: The Iranian regime and evolution of ISIS

Support for international terrorism received a major boost the moment the mullahs hijacked Iran’s 1979 revolution. After a very short-lived period of a so-called open political atmosphere, their thugs organized in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and paramilitary Basij militia, launched a campaign of oppression, arrests, torture and executions targeting not only dissidents, but anyone daring to raise a voice.

Born was “the first ISIS” and through the past 38 years this entity has proven to be more ruthless than anything resembled today in ISIS. Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, sitting on the throne in Tehran, was determined to focus all power under his grip, unleashing his wrath against all Iranians.

As he established his crackdown apparatus, Khomeini began setting his sights abroad, imposing his hegemonic desires through a doctrine of suicide attacks. The IRGC began training numerous proxy groups to help spread the Khomeini’s terror under the pretext of Islam.

Khomeini’s “ISIS” in Iran, more than three decades before ISIS’s charge from Syria into northern Iraq, became the nesting ground for many fledgling groups now wreaking havoc across the Middle East, Europe and as far away as Argentina.

This is Khomeini’s ideology of “Islamic Revolution,” spreading his foul interpretation of a divine religion. He dreamed of a Shiite empire and to this end started targeting all potential countries beginning with Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and so forth.

Lethal campaign

Iran’s lethal campaign has resulted in death and destruction across the Middle East. Over a million killed and hundreds of billions lost in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Countless others killed and injured in the aftermath of the 2003 war in Iraq, which Iran used to covertly occupy this land and destroy the lives of so many. Not to mention half a million killed and over 11 million displaced from their homes in the Iran-backed inferno engulfing Syria.

All this has been parallel to Tehran’s spree of assassinations against dissidents exiled across Europe. Iranian intelligence service, using embassies across the Green Continent as safe houses to dispatch their killers, began eliminating exiled dissidents in a campaign dubbed as the “chain murders.”

While pursuing this onslaught, Khomeini’s successor, now Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has continuously maintained executions up at an atrocious rate. Understanding the threat of any day passing without at least one execution somewhere in Iran, even the so-called “moderate” President Hassan Rowhani has a report card of nearly 3,000 executions during his four year tenure.

Yet probably the most atrocious carnage of all launched was aimed at cleansing an entire generation by massacring over 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. Most of these victims were members and supporters of main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Iran also has no tolerance for freedom of speech as academics, bloggers and journalists are targeted and quelled by the regime’s crackdown apparatus. The West must come to realize this true nature of Iran’s regime.

The international community’s failure to adopt serious measures against the mullahs has encouraged Tehran to continue hangings and lethal meddling across the Middle East. This is Iran’s campaign of establishing a “Shiite Crescent,” again launched decades before any notion of Daesh and its onslaught in the Levant and Mesopotamia.

Thanks to the Obama administration, Iran received Iraq in a silver plate and enjoys significant influence over Assad with troops in Syria. This has also encouraged Tehran to look further. “The victory in Aleppo will pave the way for liberating Bahrain,” said IRGC General Hossein Salami.

Rest assured one day the world will come to realize how ISIS considered Khomeini, the founder of the first ever “ISIS,” as its mentor on how to spread their reign of terror. No wonder the Iranian people consider the current mullahs ruling Iran, all minions of Khomeini, the Godfathers of ISIS.

Is there a solution?

“The regime in Tehran is the source of crisis in the region and killings in Syria; it has played the greatest role in the expansion and continuation of ISIS. Peace and tranquility in the region can only be achieved by evicting this regime from the region,” said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group consisting of a long slate of various Iranian dissident groups, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The administration of Donald Trump, as advised in a hand-delivered letter written by 23 senior former American government officials, enjoys the opportunity to adopt a policy supporting the Iranian people’s call for regime change. This goes in line with President Trump’s first position against “radical Islamic terrorism,” terrifying the Iranian regime from top to bottom.

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” President Trump said.

The Iran opportunity before Donald Trump

Donald Trump Holds Meetings At Trump Tower
If the Trump administration seeks to make Iran more amenable to take meaningful measures, they can be reminded with reference to the NCRI that their days are numbered. (AFP)

By Heshmat Alavi
Friday, 20 January 2017

Obama’s doctrine has allowed Iran to launch a string of anti-American measures and remarks throughout the course of his two terms, and most recently refuse any renegotiation of the nuclear deal sealed between the P5+1 and Tehran.

In response, sources say President-elect Donald Trump has received a hand-delivered letter signed by 23 top former US officials urging the adoption of a new approach vis-à-vis the regime in Iran. The text calls on the incoming Trump administration to engage and actively work with the Iranian opposition, an opportunity neglected and set aside by previous administrations.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is an umbrella group of Iranian dissident groups, including mainly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), known to first blow the whistle on Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

The letter is signed by a colorful slate of bipartisan civil and military officials, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former senator Joe Lieberman, former attorney general Michael Mukasey and General Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, to name a few.

“President Obama expressed the hope that nuclear negotiations would induce Iran’s leaders to act with greater consideration of American interests. It is now clear that Iran’s leaders have shown no interest in reciprocating… Iran’s rulers have directly targeted US strategic interests, policies and principles, and those of our allies and friends in the Middle East…” the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Fox News, reads. “…to restore American influence and credibility in the world, the United States needs a revised policy,” the text adds.

Obama’s Iran doctrine

This prominent slate of influential American dignitaries has touched on a very right tone, calling for an overhaul of Obama’s Iran doctrine in its entirety. Ever since day one after hijacking the Iranian revolution back in 1979, the basic problem has been none other than the very mullahs’ regime sitting on the throne in Tehran.

While in this day and age many talk about terrorism and refer to ISIS and al-Qaeda, Tehran remains the true source of terrorism across the globe. The US State Department continues to designate this regime as a—if not the—leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran is the world’s central banker of international terrorism by funding Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah and a long slate of other extremist Shiite militia groups rampaging Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

This letter, signaling a significant gathering very rare in Washington politics for the past 8 years and beyond, is underscoring the fact that the unpopular regime in Iran is the source of a variety of dilemmas. The mullahs are maintaining their control over 80 million Iranians through the ruthless Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij Revomilitia and other security entities.

These oppressive entities showed their wrath in 2009 following the highly disputed reelection–read reselection of firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad–as the regime’s president and quelling any and all dissent. The Obama administration missed the opportunity and turned its back on the Iranian people then.

Days numbered?

There is an alternative to the mullahs’ regime in Iran. If the Trump administration seeks to make Iran more amenable to actually take meaningful measures, they can be reminded with reference to the NCRI that their days are numbered, and counting down fast.

It would represent a remarkable message to Tehran if the new administration in Washington made a direct call to NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, a progressive Muslim woman who has devoted her life to regime change in Iran based on a 10-point plan aiming to bring about freedom, democracy, human rights, gender-religious-ethnic equality and a non-nuclear Iran.

Such a policy is not only in the best interest of the United States, but the Middle East and all nations who have suffered from Iran’s mischievous meddling policies. Of course, the mullahs and their lobbies in the US will not be happy at all if President Trump or members of his administration establish direct contact with the NCRI.

However, this should signal Tehran’s soft spot to Washington, and make the Trump administration even more interested about what can be done to support Iran’s legitimate opposition.

Originally posted in Al Arabiya English

Who is the new commander of Iran’s paramilitary Basij forces?

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Gholamhossein Gheibparvar as the new commander. (AlArabiya)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Gholamhossein Gheibparvar as the new commander of the paramilitary Basij, a voluntary militia force operating under the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and tasked mainly with maintaining control and quelling any possible domestic dissent. This appointment was reportedly made based on the suggestion of IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari.

Former Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi has been appointed as the head of the IRGC unit for cultural and social affairs. Continue reading “Who is the new commander of Iran’s paramilitary Basij forces?”