Reports are circulating in Iran, especially in Farsi-language social media posts, citing sources close to the members of Tehran’s City Council claiming Isa Sharifi, deputy mayor during the tenure of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, was secretly executed by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intelligence on charges of “espionage for an enemy state.” Ghalibaf, mayor of Tehran from 2005 to 2017, is a former ranking member of the IRGC command.
Sharifi was a senior military officer during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and Ghalibaf’s deputy in the IRGC Air Force. He also led the department in charge of reconstructing the IRGC Air Force.
His report card includes serving in the IRGC’s 14th Division, IRGC Department of Logistics and Ordnance, and State Police Department of Logistics.
As reports leaked of a massive case of embezzlement involving the Tehran Municipality, Sharifi – known as the “Tehran Municipality Black Box” – fled to Sweden under the pretext of seeking treatment for his daughter’s illness. Reports indicate he sought asylum in the Nordic country.
Back in September 2017, the IRGC Intelligence Organization, in cooperation with the regime’s State Police, carried out a plot luring Sharifi to Armenia where he was arrested and transferred back to Tehran.
In December 2017, mediation by Ghalibaf himself and the influence of Seyed Massoud Khamenei, the son of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, led to the release of Sharifi on a massive bail. The money was provided by a group of influential regime insiders called the “Isfahanis Group,” reports indicate.
All press and media outlets inside Iran described Sharifi’s crime as a major case of embezzlement. With a very suspicious dossier and after fleeing abroad, Sharifi was reportedly hired by a foreign intelligence agency as a spy.
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, deputy chair for Iran’s judiciary, made these remarks in a September 2017 press conference in regards to Sharifi’s apprehension.
“I have no details yet and if I did have any details I would not be able to provide any,” he said, raising even more suspicions on this entire portfolio.
On April 22 of this year, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeeli, spokesperson for Iran’s judiciary, added further controversy when asked about Sharifi. “Unfortunately, I don’t recall!” he replied.
IRGC intelligence had realized Sharif’s suspicious communications from back in February 2018. Using advanced surveillance technologies, they obtained information indicating Sharifi was exchanging intelligence about the IRGC missile and air force capabilities with his contacts. Sharifi was arrested immediately and held in a secret IRGC site. During his detention, three of his Sharifi’s contacts in the cities of Tehran, Bushehr and Jask were arrested.
In March 2019, following execution orders specifically issued for Sharifi, Tehran City Council member Mahmoud Mirlohi, informed of details regarding Sharifi’s dossier, made interesting remarks in an interview.
“Despite being a representative of the people, I have been banned from making certain remarks. Should we not be asking where is Isa Sharifi today?” he said.
Finally, this noticeable IRGC figure and former deputy mayor of Tehran, who served alongside a senior IRGC commander for 12 years and was described as the “Tehran Municipality Black Box,” was secretly sent to the gallows in the early morning hours of June 21.
A long list of Iranian state media have denied any reports of Sharifi’s secret execution. For Iranians, this only adds to their conviction of such an individual actually being secretly executed by the mullahs’ regime.
Reports over the secret execution of a senior IRGC member follows reports of an brigadier general and 122 other Guards members being arrested by the Intelligence Ministry on espionage charges.
As the United States continues its maximum pressure policy targeting the core of the mullahs’ regime and the IRGC, rifts are running deep in the mullahs’ apparatus. What makes Tehran utterly concerned is the undeniable reality that such circumstances leave the regime utterly vulnerable in the face of a new round of nationwide protests and uprisings similar to the December 2017/January 2018 scenario that engulfed over 140 cities throughout the country.
On June 9, The Intercept published an article by Murtaza Mohammad Hussain in which he claimed I, being an Iranian dissident/activist, am a “persona” and my Twitter account is managed by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main Iranian opposition group.
Following the publication, Iranian regime lobbyists abroad and Tehran’s trolls launched an orchestrated attack against me.
Although Iranians in exile and foreign dignitaries strongly supported me, Twitter temporarily suspended my account and reopened after gaining reassurance. As a result, the Iranian regime failed on an international stage in silencing my voice of exposing the mullahs’ crimes.
More than all parties and in an unbelievable capacity, Iranian regime officials – from its UK ambassador to its oppressive entities inside Iran – were cheering The Intercept article and the suspension of my Twitter account.
The Fars news agency, associated to Tehran’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), praised The Intercept as an “investigative platform.”
“This outlet unveiled a famous account and revealed it to be an anti-Iranian project run by the [MEK]. Twitter suspended this account.”
Prior to this, Twitter had deleted a network of 2,800 Iran-linked fake accounts on May 28.
Earlier this month, we removed more than 2,800 inauthentic accounts originating in Iran. These are the accounts that FireEye, a private security firm, reported on today. We were not provided with this report or its findings.
Two weeks later, nearly another 4,800 Tehran-associated accounts were also deleted, according to Reuters.
In the span of just two weeks, Twitter deleted more than 7,500 Iran-linked accounts. Some of these accounts played an active role in the campaign against me and other Iranian dissident activists.
However, the question is that why did this “investigative platform” (according to the IRGC’s Fars news agency) not write a single word about the 7,500 fake accounts, yet went the distance through a 3,000-word hit piece to claim my account is fake?
The disgraced Iran lobby group, NIAC, and its operative supporting Murtaza Hussain’s Intercept article is yet further proof of its fake nature and direct association to Tehran. The Intercept article provoked NIAC founder Trita Parsi to such an extent that he threatened to hold accountable credible U.S. outlets, that unlike The Intercept, are not in warm waters with Iran’s regime. Trita Parsi intends to silence the voice of all Iranian dissidents.
Who should be associated to this utter shame? Murtaza Hussain or Trita Parsi?
For those not informed, recently Iranians on Twitter once again voiced their widespread hatred vis-à-vis NIAC. In the past, there was the “#Shut_Up_NIAC” hashtag and now the “#NIACLobbies4Mullahs” was trending in powerful manner.
I have asked myself repeatedly about the objective of The Intercept article that is full of obvious lies, and how it was a completely orchestrated effort with the Iranian regime’s troll cyber army and known Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) agents.
Did they seek to force me to come forward and reveal my true name to have the Iranian regime target me, and my family and friends (especially in Iran)? Or was Tehran and The Intercept thinking Heshmat Alavi is an easy tool to target and victimize in order to deliver a blow to the PMOI/MEK? Maybe both.
It is interesting that neither the Iranian regime, nor its lobbyists in the West, nor The Intercept article, were ever able to debunk the facts and revelations placed forward by me through my Twitter account. Instead, they put all journalism standards aside and attempted to portray me as a “persona.”
If we take a close look at The Intercept’s sources, we realize that Murtaza Hussain “coincidentally” interviewed three known Iranian regime operatives: Hassan Heyrani, Reza Sadeghi and Massoud Khodabandeh!
A simple Google reveals that Hassan Heyrani – cited by The Intercept as a high-ranking MEK defector – actually requested MEK membership and was expelled by this organization on April 10, 2018, “due to intelligence and security concerns.”
Meet Hassan Heyrani,who proclaims to be MEK defector Facts: He was expelled by #MEK on April 10,2019 due to espionage &cooperation w/Iranian regime Upon expulsion he requests help from MEK & asks for forgiveness
A German court also rejected claims placed forward by Der Spiegel – citing Hassan Heyrani as their source – as baseless and lies.
An Iranian proverb goes, “Asked for an eye-witness, the fox offered his tail.”
“Collusion is suspected; or, one witness for his own benefit.”
Murtaza Hussain “coincidentally” cites two other Iranian regime operatives.
Reza Sadeghi was an MOIS operative who joined the PMOI/MEK from Canada and relocated to Camp Ashraf, the organization’s former main base in Iraq. Following his expulsion from the PMOI/MEK in 2005, he returned to Iran.
In March 2008, he received a passport from the MOIS and ordered to begin his anti-MEK activities. He returned to Iraq and was arrested by Iraqi police near Camp Ashraf.
Being expelled from the MEK back in 2005, how could Sadeghi have information about an issue relating to the years between 2014 – when I launched my Twitter account – and 2019?
The Intercept says Jebeli lives in Canada. Iranians in Canada have informed me he is so utterly disgraced that years ago he was accused of child abduction.
Massoud Khodabandeh is the third source cited by The Intercept. This individual is a known MOIS operative with a history of cooperating with Tehran going back to more than 20 years.
The Library of Congress issued a Pentagon-requested report describing Khodabandeh and his wife, Ann Singleton, as figures recruited by the MOIS in the 1990s who are now and have been involved in publishing fake news about the MEK.
Veteran Col. Wesley Martin, former Anti-terrorism/Force Protection Officer of all Coalition forces in Iraq, writes this about Khodabandeh – who describes himself as “director of Middle East Strategy Consultants,” which is nothing but a cloak:
“The Middle East Strategy Consultants seemed bogus from the onset and an investigation of its public records reveals it existed for a very short time before dissolving in 2013. The Huffington Post continues to name Masoud Khodabandeh as the entity’s director.
“It is worth noting that all websites used by Khodabandeh, such as mesconult.com, Iran-Interlink and khodabandeh.org are hosted by Ravand Cybertech, an entity run by the Iranian regime, as reported by Stand for Peace, a Jewish-Muslim interfaith organization.”
Due to Murtaza Hussain’s pro-Iranian regime approach, of course using historically disgraced “sources” with known pasts linked to Iran’s MOIS against Tehran’s dissidents is probably very satisfying and not shameful at all.
Especially since the Iranian regime used these very individuals to justify its foiled terrorist plots in 2018 in Albania and France against the MEK.
Murtaza Hussain is also active in Twitter promoting the Iranian regime’s talking points. He specifically describes Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, as a “moderate.”
Interesting how Murtaza Hussain never refers to this horrific reality that over 3,800 individuals have been executed to this day during the tenure of the “moderate” Rouhani.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rightfully said:
“Here in the West, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif are often held apart from the regime’s unwise terrorist and malign behavior. They are treated somehow differently… The West says: ‘Boy, if only [Rouhani and Zarif] could control Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Qasem Soleimani, then things would be great.’”
Iranians are very familiar with such methods. When dictators reach the end of their lifespan and become desperate, they always demonize their dissidents as fake or unreal. And there are always “reporters” who presell their dignity to repeat such ridiculous claims.
During the 2009 uprising in Iran, former Iranian regime president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the millions of protesters pouring into the streets as mere “riff-raff.”
People were heard chanting the next day in their demonstrations:
“Doktor-e Kapshen pareh, khashak ke pa nadare!”
(Doctor with a torn overcoat, riff-raff doesn’t walk!)
Forty years ago, during the last days of the Shah’s dictatorship, due to the imposed martial law people would go to their rooftops at nights to chant anti-regime slogans.
General Azhari, the Shah’s last prime minister, referred to these chants as cassette tapes and not real protesters.
In response, people demonstrating in the streets chanted:
“Azhari Goosaleh, Bazam migi navare? Navar ke pa nadareh!”
(Azhari, you [idiot], still think it’s tape? Tapes don’t walk!”)
The signs of a campaign that resulted in my Twitter account being suspended shows the organized and coordinated nature of an effort by the regime in Iran, its apologists/lobbyists in the West and supporters of the Tehran appeasement policy.
This, first and foremost, makes it clear that the Iranian regime – relying on execution, torture and crackdown to oppress the Iranian nation – is resorting to assassinations and political terror to silence all dissident voices abroad, especially on social media. This is parallel to the regime’s filtering of the internet and social media platforms inside Iran.
Many Iranians have contacted me, supporting my efforts and posted many tweets calling on Twitter to open my account and also shed light on the Iranian regime’s malign measures. These Iranians consider my voice as a source revealing the truth about Iran’s regime.
In these circumstances, revealing Tehran’s crackdown of its dissidents is of the utmost importance. That is exactly why I am continuing my efforts and will not back down or be silenced. I ask everyone in support of free speech and democracy to support the cause of the oppressed people of Iran.
Three fundamental domestic and global elements are placing the regime ruling Iran on the edge of a cliff. However, a conference of Arab countries scheduled for May 30 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has resulted in Tehran scrambling senior figures across the Middle East calling for talks and accelerating their tactic of deceptive measures. Resorting to these well-known maneuvers, Tehran is desperately attempting to prevent Arab countries from launching a firm policy vis-à-vis its apparatus.
Firstly, sanctions are beginning to bite. The U.S. bringing an end to oil sanctions waivers issued for China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey and imposing new sanctions on Tehran are beginning to suffocate the mullahs.
“The fact that an Iranian ship could not dock in foreign ports for 10 days to unload is unprecedented in Iranian history. The U.S. State Department is constantly in contact with that small country to not allow our ship to dock. This is unprecedented in the past 40 years. The fact that an oil tanker shipping Iran’s oil is followed by satellites during its entire voyage, registering its number, constantly knowing where it is, who is buying, who is selling… All this is unprecedented in the past 40 years,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 25.
Secondly, the presence of U.S. military forces in the region that has literally terrified the mullahs regime. Especially after enjoying eight years of unbridled appeasement from the Obama administration, senior officials in Tehran are understanding that their meddling and warmongering in the Middle East will no longer go unanswered.
During the past three decades, Tehran has never paid any price for its interference in regional countries, literally being the main benefactor of three wars in 1991, 2001 and 2003.
The 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq opened the gates of this country for Iran and the mullahs’ regime occupied Iraq at almost no cost, using this important country as a springboard for their continued meddling in Syria and other countries. Currently, Tehran is deeply concerned that this period of taking utter advantage of regional developments is coming to an end.
Thirdly, the active presence of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its cornerstone member, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), inside the country and abroad. The mullahs’ regime has been involved in launching massive apprehension campaigns, issuing execution verdicts for political prisoners, resorting to threats and installing fear among the society. However, these measures have not rendered any results and protests are increasing across Iran.
Looking forward, Arab delegates participating in the Mecca conference should adopt a firm position against the regime of Iran to deliver a strong response to Tehran’s recent measures. “No thank you, Mr. Javad Zarif, Iran’s proposal is unacceptable,” was the title of a piece published in the UAE’s Gulf News responding to Zarif’s ridiculous suggestion of signing a “non-aggression pact” with Iran’s neighbors. It is quite obvious that Tehran has been involved in aggressive measures against its neighbors for the past 40 years. Therefore, the mullahs are in no such position to seek the signing of a “non-aggression pact.”
Iran’s regime should not have the opportunity to resort to such tactics, thus gaining breathing room and further extending its lifespan. Tehran has a history of using such opportunities to once again relaunch its warmongering efforts and exporting terrorism across the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia will be hosting three important conferences of Arab and Islamic countries. Escalating tensions in the region and Iran’s threats are announced to be among the main subjects of discussion. The Saudi King has officially invited the Emir of Qatar to take part in the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit.
Following the May 30 conference, members of the Arab League will be holding a session and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will be convening. These three conferences being held in the final days of the month of Ramadan in the city of Mecca are aimed at establishing a large alliance against Iran, according to Agence France Presse. Increasing tension among the U.S. and Iran has led to concerns among regional countries over a possible military confrontation.
There are no reports about the possibility of Iran being invited or not to the OIC session.
While U.S. President Donald Trump has reiterated his willingness to talk with the regime ruling Iran, the mullahs view any talks with “The Great Satan” as a major step back from their 40-year long positions. Such a development will result in the regime weakening and losing its grip on the country with each passing day.
As a result, continuing its warmongering in the region and going back on the 2015 nuclear deal will result in further strong measures by the U.S. and most likely other countries across the globe. On the other hand, bending the knee to negotiations with the U.S. also comes with major calamities.
This predicament has left the mullahs’ regime in a lose-lose situation, with time running out fast as sanctions continue to bite. As a recent Wall Street Journal piece put it, “Amid Tensions, Iran’s Crude Buyers Jump Ship.”
On May 5, Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi, along with a number of his deputies, held a meeting with Major General Hossein Salami, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reports indicate. The meeting lasted over seven hours, according to sources.
The session, held at the request of regime’s Intelligence Minister, was also attended by his deputies in anti-terrorism affairs, international affairs, anti-espionage, social affairs and technical matters.
Along with Salami, the IRGC was also represented by head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, deputy in strategic intelligence, intelligence/operational deputy of the IRGC chief of staff, intelligence deputy of Fort Tharallah and head of the IRGC counterintelligence branch.
Fort Tharallah is considered one of the IRGC’s main sites and is missioned to monitor/control the security affairs of Tehran, capital of Iran, and other cities in the critical Tehran Province.
The Intelligence Ministry deputies placed forward before the IRGC delegation a large number of documents and evidence regarding a case of espionage inside the IRGC, along with a list of IRGC personnel. The list contained the names of an IRGC brigadier general along with 122 other senior IRGC officers involved in espionage against the Corps. Following extensive talks, IRGC chief Hossein Salami ordered the arrest of the 123 named IRGC officers.
On May 8, the IRGC-affilated Fars news agency reported:
“Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, issued an order appointing Saeed Soleimani as head of the IRGC Inspections Branch… In a farewell ceremony, appreciation and gratitude were extended to Brigadier General Rabie for his service in this post.”
Rabie is the brigadier general whose name topped the list of 123 senior IRGC officers presented by the regime’s Intelligence Ministry to the IRGC intelligence hierarchy. The IRGC Counterintelligence Branch immediately arrested Rabie following the abovementioned farewell ceremony.
The 122 senior IRGC officers, mainly consisting of the IRGC’s chain of command in the cities of Tehran, Ahvaz, Mashhad, Sari and Sanandaj, were arrested in simultaneous raids. Interrogations of the arrested IRGC officers began in the early hours following their apprehension.
It is worth noting that dozens of websites affiliated to Iran’s regime have run identical, word-by-word reports denying the arrest of 123 senior IRGC officers on espionage charges. This further proves the correct nature of these events and the regime’s desperate effort to deny all such matters.
Just recently, IRGC chief Hossein Salami appointed Hossein Taeb, a mullah, as head of IRGC intelligence. Taeb is accused by Iranian dissidents for being involved in the murder of three Iranian Christian priests and bombing a Muslim shrine in the city of Mashhad, both incidents taking place back in the 90s. The regime went on to blame opposition groups for these attacks, only for these accusations to be debunked down the road and all fingers again pointing at the mullahs’ regime.
Following the U.S. State Department’s unprecedented decision to designate the IRGC as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), the Corps has witnessed its former chief replaced with his deputy and now 123 senior officers arrested for espionage. More IRGC “reshuffling” and further tensions are expected as U.S. President Donald Trump continues his “maximum pressure” policy vis-à-vis the mullahs’ regime in Iran.
Last Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the regime will no longer abide by two obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Rouhani blamed the Europeans for “not living up to their promises.”
Q: What were the reactions?
The United States carried out two decisive measures literally ridiculing Tehran:
1) Dispatching the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group to the region to confront the mullahs’ threats.
2) Imposing a new series of sanctions targeting the Iranian regime’s metal industry, including the vital steel, aluminum, copper and iron branches.
Q: How about Europe?
Despite the fact that Iran announced a 60-day ultimatum for Europe, the EU humiliated Tehran by delivering a response in 24 hours through a strong-worded statement. Two specific issues were reiterated to the mullahs’ regime:
1) Europe will not accept any ultimatum.
2) Threatening to refer Iran’s nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council.
Furthermore, French President Emmanuel Macron, in a rare move, said the JCPOA is incomplete and must be completed by addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program and the regime’s destructive meddling across the region.
Q: What is the meaning of Europe’s position?
Not only has Europe refused to provide any incentives to Iran, in fact they have taken a serious step towards the U.S. position and distanced away from Tehran. Europe has effectively confirmed two of the U.S. 12 conditions from Iran (ballistic missiles and regional meddling) should be included in the JCPOA.
This has resulted in escalating rifts inside the mullahs’ regime.
Figures such as Ahmad Alamalhoda, representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the city of Mashhad, second largest city in Iran, are calling for a stronger tone and literally saying the regime should be ready for war.
On the other hand, those close to Rouhani’s faction are voicing deep concerns about the road ahead.
“If we don’t negotiate we will be inching closer to a military conflict,” according to the regime’s Arman daily. Other voices are going even further with the deep concerns.
“It is better to surrender to the pressures today. Next year we will have no card to play,” said Ehsan Khanduzi, a known Iranian regime pundit. In the next 12 months, the country’s economy will crumble completely. Social uprisings will boil over and we will be “sitting at the negotiating table with the [U.S.] government” with a far weaker hand, he further explained.
Q: Is all this the result of the U.S. dispatching military forces to the region?
One cannot deny the impact of these measures by Washington. However, the main reason lies elsewhere.
If we take into consideration the past 17 years, whenever the regime’s nuclear dossier becomes a topic of serious discussion we have witnessed a deepening of Tehran’s internal rifts. This specifically dates back to August 2002 when the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) blew the whistle on Iran’s secret nuclear weapons drive by disclosing top secret information on the locations of the previously unveiled Natanz uranium enrichment site and Arak heavy water facility. To this day, the NCRI has carried out more than 100 more revelations to open the world’s eyes to the mullahs’ drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
As a result, on three occasions we have witnessed former U.S. President George Bush and President Donald Trump emphasizing how America and the world were not informed of Iran’s nuclear program until the Iranian opposition shed light on this dossier.
Following the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, senior officials of the mullahs’ regime in Iran reached a conclusion that Tehran needs an element to guarantee their survival. This guarantee was sought in obtaining nuclear weapons and thus the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) was assigned to pursue the regime’s nuclear weapons drive.
Pakistan’s Abdulqader Khan and other former Soviet republic scientists were involved in the regime’s drive to obtain the ultimate weapon. However, as a result of the NCRI revelations, the guarantee sought by the mullahs’ regime has now literally transformed into a trap.
Furthermore, the U.S. State Department has recently designated the IRGC as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO).
Another question left unanswered by Iran’s regime and its pundits is that while sitting on world’s second largest natural gas and fourth largest proven crude oil reserves, what is the need for a nuclear program that has brought about such turmoil, endless crises and escalating international isolation? Could it be anything other than the regime’s desperate need to obtain nuclear weapons?
With the NCRI revelations, the mullahs have realized their nuclear weapon drive is now a noose tightening around their neck. Rouhani himself has described the current conditions under escalating U.S. sanctions as harsher than the Iran-Iraq War era of the 1980s.
In 2013, Iran had no choice but to give into sanctions and reach the 2015 nuclear agreement. Despite all its flaws, the JCPOA forced Iran to cut back on its nuclear weapons drive and Khamenei described it as an “utter setback” in March 2016.
As the NCRI continued its revelations, exposing Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorism and meddling across the Middle East, Washington withdrew from the JCPOA and placed forward 12 preconditions prior to any negotiations with Tehran. The mullahs’ regime has described these preconditions as “suicide in fear of death!”
Iranian Vice President Es’hagh Jahangiri recently said, “The wrong decision made by the White House (against Tehran) are based on biased reports provided by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).”
The PMOI/MEK is the main member of the NCRI coalition.
The current tsunamis witnessed in the region against Iran’s interests are the continuation of such a history of utter setbacks for Tehran.
The status quo for the mullahs’ regime has reached a point of escalating defections and Khamenei’s representatives in cities and towns across the country are saying, “People, don’t be afraid! Officials, don’t be afraid! The executive branch, don’t be afraid! The Majlis (parliament), don’t be afraid.”
There is no doubt that tensions have been escalating between the United States and the regime ruling Iran. Tehran has a new line of defense – inside the United States – that has caught lesser attention and yet deserves a strong response.
It has been one year since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the highly flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal and began reinstalling sanctions lifted under this Obama-era framework.
As we speak, Iran’s vital oil industry – from which the mullahs obtain at least $50 billion in revenue annually – has been sanctioned and the administration is on track of zeroing Tehran’s exports. The regime is also under a long slate of further sanctions across the board, including financial, banking and the recently advanced measures signed into law by President Trump against Iran’s mining industry.
It has become common knowledge that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) – rightfully designated by the Trump administration as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO) – has control over a vast portion of the Iranian economy. As a result, much of the regime’s revenue earned from oil, mining and other sectors are being channeled by the IRGC for the mullahs’ malign activities, including:
funding the Bashar Assad dictatorship in its onslaught against the Syrian people that has left at least 500,000 people killed;
fueling terrorist groups across the Middle East such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Houthi militias in Yemen, Shiite proxies in Iraq, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and Afghan-Pakistani conscripts dispatched to prop up Assad’s killing machine;
developing and procuring ballistic missiles both inside the country providing such an arsenal to proxies across the region;
and last but not least, stubbornly pursuing a nuclear weapons program under the cover of
“a civilian nuclear energy drive.”
Suffering a series of devastating blows, Iran has been retaliating by accusing the United States and its allies in the Middle East of seeking war. While such a response from Tehran is of no surprise, what is alarming, however, is the support the mullahs are enjoying from rivals of the Trump administration inside the United States.
Senator Sanders is literally calling for a return to the Obama years and falling to the low of appeasing Tehran’s murderous mullahs. What he fails to take into consideration is the fact that such a policy will dangerously threaten U.S. national security.
Unfortunately, Senator Sanders has fallen to the low of parroting talking points used by Iran regime apologists/lobbyists.
For those interested, this Twitter thread provides more details about Senator Sanders’ hypocrisy that is playing into the hands of Tehran’s ruling mullahs.
1) Let’s talk about another case of blind hatred towards U.S. President Donald Trump resulting in even American senators looking more like #Iran regime apologists/lobbyists parroting talking points provided by Tehran.@SenSanderspic.twitter.com/7oIUQ3HZUR
And we also have Matt Duss, Senator Sanders’ foreign policy advisor, rushing to the support of Iran’s regime and defending the mullahs’ desperate measures that are aimed at saving face.
Duss is citing Vali Nasr, a known Iran regime apologist/lobbyist that goes around spreading the mullahs’ talking points in Western circles and media. This thread sheds light into Nasr and his mentality.
Meet @AliVaez, a known #Iran apologist/lobbyist, complaining to #FakeNews@CNN about the US' "maximalist demands" from the mullahs who: -viciously violate Iranians' human rights -wreak havoc across the Middle East with terrorism -pursue ballistic missilespic.twitter.com/EQT3EKHbB7
Another example in this line of thought is Senator Chris Murphy. One of his latest tweets is quite interesting.
Such a mentality adopted by these American figures – who should be more concerned about the American people – has driven them into an utter state of hypocrisy.
It is interesting how Sen. Murphy refuses to recall how the Obama-blessed 2015 nuclear deal allowed Iran to continue wreaking havoc across the Middle East and beyond. Of course, appeasing a dictator leads to such results. However, when the likes of Sen. Murphy choose to neglect such a harsh reality, it results into such low-level, childish remarks:
Such an approach by Sen. Murphy should be of no surprise considering his attendance at sessions held by Iran’s lobby group in the U.S., the disgraced National Iranian American Council (NIAC), loathed by the Iranian Diaspora across the West.
This thread provides more information on how Sen. Murphy has become a pawn of the mullahs’ regime.
1) Let’s talk about Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT, an advocate of returning to Obama’s highly flawed 2015 #Iran nuclear deal.
For those who may not know, Tehran’s apologists/lobbyists in the U.S. have become quite fond of Sen. Murphy’s pro-mullah’s stances. pic.twitter.com/r6T65AjvXU
Sen. Tim Kaine’s hatred of U.S. President Donald Trump is no secret. What is disappointing, however, is that Sen. Kaine would resort to any measure to attack President Trump. Even if it means rushing to the support of Iran’s mullahs by parroting claims raised by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his network of apologists/lobbyists scattered across the U.S. and Europe.
When we are discussing blind hatred targeting President Trump, we cannot leave out Rep. Ilhan Omar who just couldn’t miss the opportunity.
A question for Rep. Omar & all her colleagues: If you are talking about “war,” why not a single line of criticism against the mullahs’ regime of Iran that has been at war with the Iranian people, nations across the Middle East, and America for the four decades?
Of course not, as that would go against Omar’s personal interests.
Next in line is Rep. Barbara Lee who has no originality and nearly copied the very lines used by Zarif. To define her words, she is actually calling for a return to Obama’s weak foreign policy of bending backwards and providing even further billions to the mullahs’ regime.
Iran’s latest move has been to end two measures of compliance under the 2015 nuclear agreement, commonly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran will no longer abide by two limitations:
Maintaining the production of low enriched uranium (3.67% for nuclear reactor fuel) to a cap of 300 kilograms and selling any excess amount abroad.
Maintaining the production of heavy water below 130 tons and storing any excess amount in Oman.
As of Wednesday, Iran will be producing unlimited amounts of low enriched uranium and heavy water, and keeping all excess amounts inside the country. Tehran went on to define a 60-day ultimatum for the remaining JCPOA to “live up to their obligations” and deliver the incentives promised to Iran under the nuclear deal: specifically purchasing oil form Iran and opening their financial networks to the mullahs’ regime.
It is quite interesting how these two specific actions were already sanctioned by the U.S. just days earlier.
“The United States acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power,” Reuters reported.
“The U.S. actions announced on Friday included an end to a sanctions waiver that allowed Iran to evade a 300-kg limit on the amount of low-enriched uranium it can store under the nuclear deal at its main nuclear facility of Natanz… the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship to Oman for storage heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 130-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal.”
Adding to Iran’s miseries, the European Union responded to Tehran’s threats on Thursday by rejecting any ultimatums issued by the mullahs’ regime. As a result, if Iran was counting on raising its tone level to drive a gap between Europe and the United States, they failed miserably. Additionally, it is worth noting that the Europeans are actually realizing the Iran threat and taking a stronger position than the abovementioned Members of the U.S. Congress.
Furthermore, isn’t it interesting that no one asks why Iran even needs a “civilian nuclear energy” program? The country is sitting on the world’s second largest natural gas and fourth largest crude oil reserves. Why on earth would you waste hundreds of billions of dollars on a nuclear program, confine many facilities deep into mountains and bring upon your country decades of political turmoil?
The answer is quite simple. In envy of North Korea, the mullahs’ regime seeks nuclear weapons in order to obtain security guarantees. Yet the likes of Ben Rhodes are suffering from a blind hatred towards President Trump, rendering a list of American figures playing into the mullahs’ hands and literally placing U.S. national security in grave danger.
All voices providing life support to the regime in Iran are running a dangerous line of appeasement.
We should recall how former UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain believed in appeasing Hitler of Nazi Germany in an attempt to prevent war. The rest is history.
A source in the Iraqi Parliament Security and Defense Committee shed light on various objectives pursued by the United States in dispatching its strategic F-35 fighter jets, according to Bahrain’s Al-Khaleej daily. The F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine and all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attacks and air-superiority missions.
Amer al-Faez, a member of the Iraqi Parliament and the Security and Defense Committee, claims targeting Iraqi sites with F-35 fighter jets – labeled by locals as the “Ghost” – sends a message that Washington has access to any target it wishes across Iraq.
These remarks by al-Faez were made following reports claiming U.S. fighter jets targeting Iraqi police positions in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Reports claimed the attack was the result of an error by U.S. forces in Iraq.
Sources in Iraq’s Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (aka Popular Mobilization Forces – PMF) are saying armed groups associated to these units are seeking new bases following the U.S. dispatching its F-35 fighter jets to the region. All the while, to prevent attacks by the advanced U.S. fighter jets, the PMF have been relocating their ammunition caches to previously unidentified locations.
“Dispatching ‘Ghost’ fighter jets to Iraq and their use in attacks targeting sites inside Iraq is considered as the U.S. flexing its muscles against Iran,” al-Fayez said, emphasizing the Americans have practically blueprinted plans to keep an eye on and continue observation/monitoring missions focusing on Iran from Iraqi soil.
Furthermore, Iraqi MP Abbas Sarut claimed missiles are ready to target the al-Taji airport located north of Baghdad. This is a clear reflection of the economic and military war between Washington and Tehran, he added.
“Armed militia groups that have been designated by Washington as terrorist groups may now be planning to target U.S. targets. This will increase tensions between the two sides and Iraq may become a conflict zone for these two competitors,” Sarut added.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry had previously reported government specialists discovering and neutralizing three ready-to-fire missiles aimed at the al-Taji airport. He provided no details about who was behind this failed attempt.
In other reports, Israeli intelligence sources are reporting Russia has begun pressuring Iran in Syria. The Russians have reportedly begun forcing the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) out of their military bases and returning advanced drones from Syria to Iran.
Reports are claiming unexpected measures being carried out by the Russians in recent days against Tehran’s interests in Syria. The Russians have ordered a number of IRGC bases to evacuate immediately without providing any warnings.
Analysts are saying this indicates the Russians will also prevent Syrian dictator Bashar Assad from handing the Latakia ports over to Iran. This strategic port has access Mediterranean waters and is located to the Russian base in Homaymim. Further reports indicate the Russians have forced IRGC-linked militia groups out of important various airbases across Syria. This goes against Russia’s past agreement of allowing Iran’s IRGC to have a presence in such sites.
The website also explained that Russia had also exerted pressure on Iran to remove its sophisticated drones from Syria, including the Saegheh (Thunderbolt), enjoying the ability to carry precision-guided and anti-tank guided missiles. This drone was built on the model of an American RQ-170 drone that Iran claimed to have shot down back in 2011.
Russia’s expulsion policy also includes the removal of Iran’s IRGC units from the Mazze military airport, located on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus; the Khalkhala Airbase in al-Suwaida Province near the Jordanian border; Beit Saham in the southeastern suburbs of Damascus overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; and the Tiyas airbase, known as T4, near the city of Homs.
Last year, Iran transferred a variety of armed drones to Syria, including the single-engine “Shaheed 129,” Mohajer-4 and Mohajer-6. These drones are able to carry missiles and bombs.
It appears that Russia and the U.S., along with Israel, have reached an agreement and are on the verge of ending Iran’s influence in Syria. Recent reports also Russia-associated forces clashing with Iran’s IRGC and IRGC-affiliated proxy groups from a number of Syrian regions. Furthermore, there is word of a trilateral agreement involving the U.S., Russia and Israel strengthening the initiative to force Iran out of Syria.
Ali Nasiri, a former brigadier general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), previously head of this entity’s counterintelligence apparatus, has reportedly fled from Iran.
Sources say an individual close to Hossein Taeb, head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, has shed light on an April 11 meeting held between senior intelligence ranks, during which a verbal dispute erupted between Taeb and Nasiri, leading to Nasiri prematurely leaving the meeting.
Afterwards, Nasiri reportedly refused to show up at work for two days. A follow-up investigation made indicated he has fled the country.
Sources say a probe launched by IRGC counterintelligence units reveals that Nasiri fled to a Persian Gulf country, requesting political asylum at the local U.S. embassy. Reports indicate Nasiri had in possession a large volume of documents recording the travels of senior IRGC commanders, intelligence personnel and operational units to foreign countries, all under the cover of diplomatic missions.
Nasiri was also previously in command of the IRGC’s “Hazrate Seyed al-Shohada” corps stationed in Tehran.
To this day, the IRGC Intelligence Organization and Counterintelligence Organization have gone the distance preventing the publication of such news reports in the media.
On April 13, the al-Mayadeen news network, associated to the Lebanese Hezbollah, posted a report about this matter on its website without providing any details. The report was taken off less than half an hour later.
The IRGC Counterintelligence Organization is a conglomerate missioned to provide flight security, security for government officials and figures, and foreign dignitaries during their visits to Iran.
The office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has appointed IRGC veteran Vahid Haghanian as their man in this case to coordinate the measures taken by the regime’s intelligence apparatus in this regard.
Nasiri’s fleeing from Iran has had an extremely negative impact among the hierarchy under his command. On April 19, the IRGC-associated Fars news agency referred to the fate of Nasiri without any further explanation.
“Under an order issued by Mohammad Ali Jafari, the [then] Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander-in-chief, Brigadier General Fat’ollah Jamiri has been appointed as commander of the IRGC Counterintelligence Organization.” This report made no mentioning of Nasiri.
The IRGC Counterintelligence Corps was established back in 1985.
No U.S. or Iranian official has shown any reaction to reports of Nasiri’s fleeing from Iran.
Following the U.S. State Department’s unprecedented step of designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), there have reportedly been movements in the IRGC hierarchy, sources say. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has recently held a number of meetings with senior commanders of the IRGC and Iran’s regular army, along with Ali Akbar Veleyati, Khamenei’s senior international affairs advisor.
Kamal Kharazi, a former Iranian foreign minister, made the following remarks in a private meeting on the IRGC’s terrorist designation:
“The subject of new developments in the IRGC is nothing new and [Khamenei] has held a number of meetings with the IRGC and regular army hierarchy, issuing a numbers of orders on this matter. [Khamenei] has placed senior IRGC officers Vahid Haghanian, Hassani Sa’di (deputy of the IRGC-linked Khatam al-Anbia Headquarters), and General Ali Bagheri, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, in charge of implementing these instructions. However, this process was accelerated with the IRGC’s terrorist designation on April 8.”
Kharazi shed light on the history of this important issue in Iran.
“The ‘phase by phase merging’ of portions of the IRGC into the regular army is nothing new. [U.S. President Donald] Trump laid out a new U.S. strategy vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran in his speech on October 13, 2017, and placed the IRGC in the U.S. sanctions list… Khamenei held a meeting with senior IRGC and regular army commanders on October 22, 2017, forecasting that the IRGC sanctions are a prelude to the IRGC’s terrorist designation. Therefore, in that meeting a decision was made to gradually merge the IRGC into the regular army. Arrangements were made to merge a portion of the senior IRGC ranks – including colonels and higher commanders – into the regular army. This phase has been completed to a large extent,” he explained.
“Following the IRGC’s terrorist designation by the U.S., defections and disappointment have increased significantly among the IRGC files. One day after this announcement, the IRGC issued a call to all its forces stationed in provincial bases and the Basij Resistance units saying considering the people’s growing dilemmas following the recent floods, the possibility of popular protests and unrest in the coming two months is quite high, and the consequences go far beyond what was witnessed in the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 uprising,” Kharrazi continued.
That particular episode in Iran’s history of uprisings saw protests mushrooming in over 140 cities across the country and the regime eventually arrested over 8,000 dissidents.
Citing a senior official in the regimes Armed Forces Headquarters, Kharrazi added the number of retirement requests have increased at an alarming rate among senior IRGC ranks. Low morale among Basij members is becoming a grave concern, with a growing number of such individuals deserting their units and bases.