Opposition convention provides ‘the alternative’ solutions for Iran

Al Arabiya

The Iranian Diaspora held a massive rally on Saturday in Paris where a long slate of international political figures from both sides of the Atlantic, the Middle East and beyond joined a huge crowd to voice their support for regime change in Iran.

The rally was spearheaded by the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its pillar member, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavidelivered a speech highlighting how the Iranian regime is engulfed in unprecedented internal crises with protests mushrooming out of control across Iran.

On the very day of this convention, videos on social media showed intense clashes and skirmishes between protesters demanding drinking water and authorities opening fire on demonstrators in the city of Khorramshahr in southwest Iran. Up to four protesters were reportedly killed.

On an international scale, the clerics are witnessing an end to the appeasement policy in the US with Barack Obama no longer in office. This has left the Iranian regime vulnerable without their safeguard shield, especially after US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Iran nuclear deal and sanctions are returning at a pace very alarming for Tehran.

“The overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice; requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberation army,” Rajavi said, emphasizing on the unique characteristic her movement enjoys, and others claiming to support regime change lack.

Global voice

“This government is about to collapse, and this is the time to turn on the pressure,” said Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump advisor and attorney, at the rally.

He went on to express his support of Trump reinstalling sanctions on Iran and emphasize, “Trump doesn’t turn his back on freedom fighters.” This sending a clear message to the brave protesters inside Iran seeking to realize regime change.

Saturday’s podium also witnessed former US House Speaker and informal Trump adviser Newt Gingrich, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former US ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, five British MPs, a former French prime minister and former foreign minister.

Speculations are growing of Trump seeking to force the Iranian regime into a new round of negotiations based on his terms, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placing 12 highly costing demands before Tehran. Speakers on Saturday were also heard voicing different opinions.

Maryam Rajavi delivers a speech during their gathering in Villepinte on June 30, 2018. (Reuters)

 

“Our goal is very simple. It’s not to start negotiating. Our goal is to have a free and democratic Iran that respects the rights of every individual,” Gingrich said.

“Today, you have an administration which understand reality, which is determined to stop the dictatorship, which is increasing the sanctions, and which I predict every single month will get tougher and tougher,” he added.

Former Senator Robert Torricelli, an influential voice from the Democratic Party, indicated how the position on Iran’s regime is a completely bipartisan matter in the US.

Salman al-Ansari, founder and President of the Saudi American Public Relations Committee, also voiced his support for the Iranian people’s struggle.

Looking forward

With Iran suffering from escalating poverty, unemployment, shanty dwelling, severe water shortage and environmental crises, the regime’s future seems further bleak under this mountain of calamities.

As internal political disputes increase and with knowledge regarding this regime’s nature of plundering the country’s wealth, it has become quite obvious the days of these clerical rulers are numbered.

The Iranian people have the right to regain their sovereignty after this current regime hijacked the 1979 revolution and open the gates of hell to this country, and the entire Middle East throughout the past 40 years.

Adding insult to injury for the Iranian people, this regime has benefitted from decades of appeasement by western governments seeking their own economic interests. The Iranian opposition have alongside the people of this country been the main victims of this policy.

Today, however, with the Iranian people rising for their rights throughout the country, and the mullahs no longer having the support they enjoyed during the Obama years, the end of their rule, and freedom and democracy being established in this country is becoming an ever more realistic scenario.

Following the regime’s inevitable downfall, the first order of duty will be transferring power to the people. NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, known for her well-supported ten-point plan for Iran’s future, underscored yet again on this necessity for a free and democratic Iran of tomorrow.

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Iran exiles demand regime change as nuclear deadline looms

The international community is literally hanging in the balance over the upcoming May 12th Iran nuclear deal deadline. Advocates of the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), continue to claim anything but the deal will lead to a new war in the Middle East.

The Iranian people, however, represented by thousands of exiles taking part in Saturday’s “Iran Freedom Convention” in Washington, DC, voiced their demand for regime change in their home country. Their call is coupled with significant support provided by a long slate of American dignitaries and elite Members of Congress.

This is the beginning of even more turbulent weeks and months for the Iranian regime.

Strong voices

The event was hosted by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, a group supportive of the 2017-2018 protests and advocating regime change to realize freedom and democracy in Iran.

“The people of Iran are calling on the international community, in particular the West, to support their uprising for the overthrow of the Iranian regime,” said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi in a message to the rally.

As President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Rajavi is a known voice of the Iranian people’s four-decade struggle against the ruling regime that many accuse of hijacking the 1979 revolution and now wreaking havoc inside the country and abroad.

“Since the JCPOA was forged, the Iranian Resistance stressed that the nuclear deal had provided ‘unwarranted concessions’ to the regime and any agreement must take into account Tehran’s meddling in the Middle East,” she explained, adding “the experience of the past three years has confirmed that the mullahs took advantage of the concessions in the JCPOA to suppress the people of Iran and massacre the people of Syria.”

Former New York City mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani delivered a speech at the gathering to place his support behind for regime change, saying the American President is “as committed to regime change as we are.”

“I truly believe that we will have one of these conventions in Tehran… Protests are now all over Iran. 142 cities and growing… We have a real chance of escalating these protests,” he explained.

And in his remarks to reporters Giuliani explained regime change in Iran is “the only way to peace in the Middle East” and “more important than an Israeli-Palestinian deal.”

Giuliani also referred to his recent visit to Tirana, the capital of Albania, home to members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main entity member of the NCRI, praising their determination and calling for supporting their ongoing cause.

“Now that they don’t have to be worried about being slaughtered by the Iranians and the Iraqis, who have become a satellite of Iran, they can do a lot of productive things. They’ve now speeded up dramatically our ability to bring freedom to Iran,” he said.

And on the JCPOA’s future, Giuliani, known for his blatant stance against the accord, took a piece of paper in his hands and pretended to rip it apart.

Bipartisan initiative

Former US ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson also attended the event and signaled how NCRI supporters enjoy bipartisan backing amongst America’s political elite.

“The Iranian people want regime change… We are here to recognize there is a legitimate opposition, right here. The National Council of Resistance of Iran,” Richardson said his speech.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle also sent messages of solidarity and underscored their ongoing support for the Iranian people’s struggle against the oppressive regime.

“Your message as well as of those in Iran is a message of peace. You want democracy in Iran, not war or repression,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), debunking all claims raised by Iranian regime apologists against Tehran’s sole organized opposition that delivers a platform for Iran’s future.

“Know that you have friends and supporters in the US Congress, willing to work toward peace and stability in Iran,” says Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior figure amongst US Democrats.

“You are here and you continue to be the voice of Iranian people, together with the people marching in Iran,” said Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) in her message, proving yet again how Tehran’s rulers do not enjoy popular support and the Iranian opposition in-exile is the true representative of the restive Iranian populace.

This major development, covered widely by the US media, comes as Congress continues to weigh a slate of different measures aimed at escalating pressures on Iran’s conglomerate of belligerencies, including its ballistic missiles program, meddling and support for terrorism in other countries, and a completely unnecessary nuclear program.

Turbulent week

Only days are left to the JCPOA deadline and all parties are preparing for a new era of Washington pulling out of a deal Trump views as highly flawed.

Europe is understandably striving to safeguard the accord while also adopting measures aimed at preserving its economic interests come the day the US pulls out of the JCPOA. It would be highly unlikely, and safe to say illogical, for Europe to stand alongside the Iranian regime and go against the US

As heated discussions continue and many in the anti-JCPOA camp demanding a return of crippling sanctions, Rajavi goes one step further and delivers a complimentary solution that will further cause major alarm soundings in Tehran:

“Recognizing the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the clerical regime.”

Close Trump Ally Calls For Iran Regime Change Policy

Forbes

At a time when Iran is experiencing unprecedented political, economic and social turmoil with protesters across the country demanding sweeping changes, the international scene is looking even more bleak for Tehran.

The Trump administration is undergoing a major reshuffling, with analysts believing Iran is becoming a significant focal point. The core understanding pivots around the mentality that there no longer remains any doubt that Iran poses the main threat to peace and security in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his top diplomat. Further reports indicate former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton might become the new National Security Advisor to the President.

These developments follow a recent speech with Trump pinpointing Iran as being behind all the region’s ongoing dilemmas, analogous to the President’s annual statement marking the Persian holiday of Nowruz to lash out at Tehran and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) with unprecedented sharp-tongued language.

This is coming about as the clock ticks towards the May 12 deadline that President Trump has set for the final fate of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. As this momentum builds up Tehran’s concerns, Rudy Giuliani, the acclaimed New York mayor during 9/11 and now Trump’s cybersecurity advisor, paid a visit to Albania, home to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The occasion was the Iranian New Year, “Nowruz,” meaning a new day, on Tuesday.

“America’s Mayor” on Sunday met with Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the coalition best known for blowing the whistle on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program back in 2002.

And on Tuesday, Giuliani spoke before several thousand PMOI/MEK members, emphasizing how the MEK plays such a crucial role in ongoing protests.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei describes them as the main domestic element behind the unrest and President Hassan Rouhani called on his French counterpart to restrict the PMOI/MEK in France, Giuliani added.

“These and similar cases indicate the massive and growing social base of the MEK inside the country,” he continued.

He did not mince his words for the ayatollahs, saying they would end up in hell. And as far as Iran policy is concerned, he was quite unequivocal: The right policy on Iran is to seek a regime change.

Giuliani’s remarks in a way jibe with the President Trump’s Nowruz message:

“The history of Nowruz is rooted in Iran, where for millennia a proud nation has overcome great challenges by the strength of its culture and the resilience of its people. Today, the Iranian people face another challenge: rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people.

“Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three.

“Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights. They long for a springtime of hope, and the United States stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world and have a responsible and accountable government that truly serves their nation’s interests.”

Giuliani comes with a history of tough language on Iran’s regime and supporting the cause of regime change. He has spoken proudly in the NCRI’s annual Paris gatherings along with hundreds of other dignitaries from across the globe and a large crowd of the Iranian Diaspora signaling the movement’s social base.

Pandeli Majko, Senior Minister of State and former Prime Minister of Albania; Elona Gjebrea, Secretary of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee; and Fatmir Mediu, leader of the Republican Party of Albania and former Minister of Defense also took part and addressed the gathering.

Rajavi’s speech echoed an upbeat message.

“Last year ended with the season of uprising, and the coming year can and must be turned into a year full of uprisings. And this is going to be an uprising until victory,” she said.

“Khamenei had to admit that the force inciting protests in Iran is PMOI/MEK… and prepared for it since months before,” Rajavi continued.

“When the people of Iran have the option of a free and democratic government based on the separation of religion and state, and based on justice and equality, why should they have to be content with a reactionary, decadent and inhumane regime?”

As European officials remain concerned about their future interests, Rajavi pointed out, “Europe’s long-overdue focus on the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s regional warmongering and its ballistic missile program is of course a positive step. Further steps are needed, including the expulsion of the regime from the region, shutting down its missile and uranium enrichment programs, and blocking its access to the international banking system.”

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi address large Nowruz gathering of PMOI/MEK members (NCRI)

There is no doubt of Iran being in the in the headlines in the months to come, already signaling a rapid shift in momentum against the ayatollahs.

That explains the heightening anxiety among senior regime officials to a point where on March 11, IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Khamenei’s main concerns includes the persistence of domestic unrest and the IRGC’s internal situation.

The new mood also renders from the Iranian opposition’s unprecedented optimism that the long-sought regime change by the Iranian people is very well within reach.

Nowruz is in fact heralding a truly new day for Iran.

As President Trump emphasizes in his Nowruz message, “May the Iranian people soon enjoy a new day of peace, prosperity and joy.”

We Should Listen Closely To Iran

As the world continues to debate the recent Iranian outburst of protests, its “lack of leadership” as they claim, and the road ahead, there is no doubt in the minds of senior Iranian regime officials over who led, and continues to lead, this latest uprising that continues to rattle the very pillars of the mullahs’ rule.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made his thoughts crystal clear.

“The incidents were organized” and carried out by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), he said although using a different term. “The [MEK] had prepared for this months ago” and “the [MEK’s] media outlets had called for it.”

The MEK is best known for first blowing the whistle on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program back in 2002 and raising awareness over the possible military dimension (PMD) of this drive, a subject awaiting full clarification as we speak.

Interesting is how Khamenei’s remarks, however, mirror those of influential American figures.

“The resistance is making a difference,” said Newt Gingrich, former House of Representatives Speaker and an individual very close to U.S. President Donald Trump, at a “Regime change in Iran” meeting held recently by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, the sole significant Iranian opposition coalition. The MEK is a member of this umbrella group.

Maryam Rajavi and Newt Gingrich are meeting on January 19, 2018 in the office of NCRI, Auvers sur Oise, north of Paris, France. They support the uprising of the Iranian people for regime change. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“The MEK is making a difference. I have no doubt that, in the long run, you are on the right side of history. The resistance is knitting together both in the country and in the world a tremendous force that is sustaining the right to believe that you can be free,” Gingrich added while joined by former Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli.

Their participation marks bipartisan support the NCRI and MEK enjoy in Washington, considered rare these days.

“This is the beginning of a revolution. A regime that stays in power by killing its people has a numbered life. When Rouhani called French President Macron and asked him to clamp down on the MEK it made one thing clear: This is not a revolution without a leader. The leader is sitting here,” Senator Torricelli, in reference to NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.

“I agree with Khamenei on nothing except one thing: he is putting responsibility on the MEK and the PMOI and blaming Mrs. Rajavi. He is right about it. This has been organized for years, network has been created, by never compromising with the regime, never being part of it. The MEK and Mrs. Rajavi have kept credibility… So in identifying the MEK and Mrs. Rajavi, he is right because the MEK and the entire international community that supports it, we are all coming for Khamenei to end this nightmare,” he added.

Iran’s history of uprisings and the 1979 revolution specifically have witnessed their ups and downs. The current movement is undergoing a similar phase today and any argument that this round of protests have come to an end are baseless.

“The uprising showed that Iranian society is in an explosive state, simmering with discontent,” Rajavi said in her speech. “It showed that the regime is much weaker than perceived. It showed that the billions of windfall dollars from the nuclear deal did nothing to cure the regime’s instability. And finally, the uprising showed that the people of Iran detest both regime factions and want it overthrown in its entirety.”

Invited by numerous parliamentary groups, Rajavi continued her efforts on Wednesday in the European Parliament by calling on the Green Continent to break its dangerous silence in the face of ongoing protests in Iran and the regime resorting to numerous crackdown measures.

Khamenei understands the Iranian opposition’s threat and wastes no time in pinpointing the main sources of his regime’s concerns that is fueling and guiding the recent unrests. For decades West-based pro-Iranian regime lobby have also gone the distance in expressing their utmost abhorrence, especially in regards to the MEK.

A lobelog.com piece – later republished by the iran-interling.org, a site reportedly ran by known agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence to demonize the Iranian opposition– reads that rallies staged abroad recently in solidarity with Iranian protesters are “organized by a fringe, cult-like group,” referring to the MEK.

In this resort to yellow journalism, the piece fails to mention the fact that no other Iranian coalition or group was able to hold such organized rallies، and refuses to discuss the NCRI campaign calling for international action to pressure Tehran into releasing all political prisoners, especially the recently detained 8,000+ protesters.

The mere fact that such voices literally blow their horns in this regard not only raises eyebrows, it places us before this question of why?

The answer is simple. Iran’s regime is facing a major impasse, feeling the growing pressures of internal dissent and international isolation.

In response to Trump’s 120-day ultimatum to improve the Iran nuclear deal after waiving sanctions for “the last time,” France, Germany and the United Kingdom are discussing measures targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and meddling in countries across the Middle East.

More than ever before, the Iranian people have shown their readiness for democratic change. The time has come for those governments that are pursuing appeasement policies with the Iranian regime to take a new approach.Washington and Europe should lead the global community into providing support for the Iranian people and recognizing the Iranian opposition NCRI in its call for regime change and the election of a representative government.

The Iranian people have spoken and continue to prove their legitimate demand for regime change to welcome a democratic and secular republic. Those countries continuing their appeasement vis-à-vis Tehran should set aside unreliable short-term benefits and begin thinking about their long-term interests.

The French “Pascal Coquis” recently wrote in an editorial piece describing the recent protests as a “volcano.”

“When it erupts, it can no longer be contained. The intensity of the fire may decrease, yet it will continue to erupt. Forever.”

Khamenei has genuine concerns over the NCRI, being the largest Iranian opposition coalition enjoying sweeping support on both sides of the Atlantic and having rooted connections to a vast network of supporters inside the country. This has provided the necessary tools for the NCRI to become the leading force of regime change with a clear blueprint for a democratic future for Iran.

On this highly imperative subject, we should actually listen to Khamenei’s words.

Iran’s Earthquake Victims Suffer As Government Spends Billions On Terrorism

They say a news event has a three-day lifespan. The regime in Tehran is counting on such a theory to have the international community move on after the recent earthquake that shook western Iran. Each passing day further reveals the scope of this vast catastrophe.

“More than 1,000 people have lost their lives,” Iranian MP Ahmad Safari said to the official ILNA news agency 72 hours after the quake. “I went to a village where they said they pulled 20 corpses from under the rubble. They were not even counted in the death toll. 70 people died just in one alley of the town of Sarpol-e Zahab. Another 250 were killed in the Mehr housing complex.”

Experts advised the government of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-13) to build 25,000 homes under the Mehr blueprint. Ahmadinejad, however, ordered the construction of 1.5 million such units, raising questions of possible negligence in construction and lack of proper supervision.

“Just as opposed to the practices of the clerical regime, now is the time to show solidarity. Assisting and saving the victims of the earthquake is a sacred national duty,” she said.

The incoming statistics of this recent quake are devastating.

“There are still people stranded in villages where 90 percent of the homes are left destroyed. No official has visited these areas. The locals, along with their children, are forced to sleep the nights in their farm fields without any shelter,” a reported wired by the semi-official ISNA news agency reads.

Instead of focusing measures to rush aid for the victims, Iran’s regime imposed martial law in Sarpol-e Zahab, the epicenter of the earthquake.

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A picture taken on November 15, 2017 shows an Iranian woman gesturing next to the rubble of her home in Kouik village near to Sarpol-e Zahab, two days after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Iran’s western Kermanshah province near the border with Iraq, leaving hundreds killed and thousands homeless. Iranian authorities scramble to help tens of thousands of people left homeless by a major quake on the border with Iraq that killed more than 400 people as anger mounts among residents at what they see as a slow response. / ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Was such a catastrophe preventable? Is Iran the only country prone to earthquakes?

Japan has a history of earthquakes and thanks to technological advances we no longer witness skyrocketing number of casualties and damages.

Australia also experienced a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday that resulted in tsunami warnings. No casualties or major damages were reported.

Preventing quake damage is nothing out of the ordinary or impossible. A truly popular government allocating the necessary manpower, means and budget can do the job. Here is exactly where the problem lies in Iran.

On August 13th members of the Iran’s parliament unanimously adopted a 16-article bill providing around $600 million to further develop Iran’s ballistic missile program and additionally fund the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), especially the extraterritorial unit known as the Quds Force.

Iran’s five military entities enjoy a budget of $13.5 billion for the current Persian calendar year (March 2017 to March 2018), of which $7.4 billion belongs to the IRGC. This is a 24 percent increase from the last calendar year.

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The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, on September 22,2017 in Tehran. Rouhani vowed that Iran would boost its ballistic missile capabilities despite criticism from the United States and also France. / STR/AFP/Getty Images

It is worth noting that the Iranian regime has a nearly $7 billion budget deficit, equaling to nearly half of its military budget.

Proper now would be to evaluate the money sent by the Iranian regime to Lebanon. There is actually no figure of Tehran’s financial support for the Lebanese Hezbollah.

While recent reports have placed this value at over $800 million, back in 2011 Al Arabiya Farsi shed further light in this regard.

“Hezbollah used to receive $350 million each year from Iran. In addition to Hezbollah’s own activities, this budget was used to provide for members’ salaries, the families of killed Hezbollah members, various projects in southern Lebanon and Beqaa, and bribing Lebanese political figures to back Hezbollah.”

One such $400 million construction project in Lebanon, including parkswas paid for completely by Iran. All the while millions in Iran remain under poor living conditions.

“As long as there is money in Iran, we will have money,” said Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, making it crystal clear how the terrorist-designated group’s entire budget is bankrolled by Tehran.

Parallel to Lebanon, Iran is known for its belligerence in SyriaIraqYemen and beyond.

Deprived of this budget, 40 percent of the Iranian people are living in complete poverty. 13 million homeless in city outskirt slums. 14 million literally cannot pay for their daily meals.

State-affiliated websites in Iran report nearly 20,000 homes were completely destroyed in the recent quake. Whereas in Japan, simple homes made with a budget of $10,000 each, have proven to be earthquake-resistant.

If we take into consideration just the abovementioned $600 million, Iran’s government could have provided 60,000 such homes for victims of the past three major quakes across the country.

This includes 20,000 in Kermanshah province, the site of the recent quake designated as the most powerful in 2017 so far; another 20,000 for the victims of the 2012 East Azerbaijan quake in northeast Iran; and 20,000 more for the victims of the 2003 Bam quake that left tens of thousands of innocent people killed.

This is all aside from sitting on an ocean of 125 billion barrels of oil, 227 trillion cubic meters of gas and a daily revenue of $200 million from exporting oil.

The point is the solutions are out there. Iran, however, is ruled by a regime that could care less about its populace. For those sitting in Tehran, this is a recipe for disaster.

Mohammad Biranvand, another member of Iran’s parliament said, “Do you know that the people now trust athletes and celebrities more than they trust government institutions? All this indicates that the earthquake of distrust will be far more destructive than the recent earthquake.”