Archive for the ‘Iran – civil unrest’ category

Protests in Iran Undermine a Key Premise of the Nuclear Deal

January 13, 2018

– The Tower

Source: Protests in Iran Undermine a Key Premise of the Nuclear Deal

{As the clouds of the Obama legacy clear, a new light will shine upon the land. – LS}

When President Barack Obama was interviewed by The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg in 2015 about the soon to be agreed on nuclear deal with Iran, Goldberg pressed the president on the wisdom of trusting Iran to act rationally, he responded:

Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.

In essence, the president was arguing Iranian practices could be called “rational anti-Semitism” and would therefore not risk violating the deal because of the consequences.

Furthermore, when Goldberg asked if Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew’s assessment that more of the sanctions relief would be used to build up Iran’s economy and infrastructure than building up its military and proxies was a bit optimistic, Obama replied:

Then [Iranian President] Rouhani and, by extension, the supreme leader have made a series of commitments to improve the Iranian economy, and the expectations are outsized. You saw the reaction of people in the streets of Tehran after the signing of the agreement. Their expectations are that [the economy is] going to improve significantly. You have Iranian elites who are champing at the bit to start moving business and getting out from under the restraints that they’ve been under.

So not only was Obama arguing that Iran’s declared anti-Semitic intention was “rational,” which would ensure that it abided by the nuclear deal, but also that there would be political constraints limiting Iran’s regional aggression. Furthermore, he added that sanctions had, in fact, strengthened Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the military organization that not only attempts to spread Iran’s revolution abroad but also is behind the regime’s repression at home. Easing sanctions “may actually lessen” the means the IRGC developed to raise money while sanctions were in full force.

The protests against the regime in recent weeks, however, show how wrong Obama was in assessing the behavior of the Iranian regime.

Rather than being rational and spending the freed up billions on civilian infrastructure, Tehran used its windfall to raise a regional Shiite army, propped up Syria’s dictator Assad and sent ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The largess Iran provided to its proxies was not lost on the protesters.

Rather than weakening Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the IRGC, the nuclear deal strengthened both of them.

The regime says that it has arrested some 3,700 protesters and at least 22 have been reported killed.

It’s pretty clear that, contrary to Obama’s assertions, the nuclear deal has strengthened the hands of those who would put down the protests.

In its pursuit of regional hegemony, Iran has ignored the needs of its citizens at the expense of its grandiose ambitions, including the destruction of Israel. Certainly, from the standpoint of its own people, Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and the rest of the government have irrationally pursued its anti-Semitic goals.

There is, however, one way in which Iran’s post-nuclear deal behavior is rational: it knows what it can get away with in terms of the rest of the world.

In the Goldberg interview, Obama claimed, “we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have.”

In fact, the Obama administration did nothing of the sort. We know now that the Obama administration allowed the pace of the slaughter in Syria to increase, stopped the investigation into Hezbollah’s drug smuggling operations, and allowed numerous Iranians connected to the regime’s proliferation efforts to go free.

In August 2015, just after the nuclear deal was agreed to, IRGC-Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who is under an international travel ban, went to Moscow to enlist Russia’s support in supporting Assad. In the past two years, the Syrian army, backed by Russian planes and Iran-backed Shiite militias, have recaptured much of Syria, killing thousands in the process. Yet at the time, neither the United States nor any of its partners in the nuclear deal took any action against this blatant violation of international law.

Even now, the European Union invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks and everyone appeared to have a good time, despite the fact that he’s the face of a regime violently putting down dissent.

Iran is rational in this way: if it knows it will pay no significant cost for its aggression, its aggression will continue.

The challenge now is to change that equation and make Iran’s destabilizing behavior too costly for it to continue. The Justice Department’s recently announced team to investigate Hezbollah’s drug trafficking is an important step in the right direction. With the European Union besotted with the idea of doing commerce with the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, the U.S. may just have to stand alone and use its financial clout to bring Iran under control.

Iranian Officials Inconsistent in Describing Protestors’ Motives and Goals

December 30, 2017

Iranian Officials Inconsistent in Describing Protestors’ Motives and Goals, Iranian News Update, Edward Carney, December 30, 2017

Please see also, The First Anti-American President, the thrust of which is

Donald Trump is certainly the opposite of an anti-American president, and he has no affection for our enemies. He has enabled the Ukrainians to fight, perhaps effectively, against the Russians. So why can’t he enable the Iranians to fight against the ayatollahs?

In the Ukrainian case we’re talking about military weapons; in the Iranian conflict the weapons are political.

If the Iranians rose up against the regime when Obama entered the White House, you can be sure they are at least equally motivated to do it with Trump in office. There are many protests in Iran today, and the Khamenei/Rouhani regime has responded by executing half as many Iranians as in the past. We should relentlessly expose this mass murder, and we should publicize the ongoing protests.

The target audience for such exposes is the great mass of the population. Paradoxically, Iranians are better informed about events in Jerusalem and Washington than in Iranian Kurdistan, the southern oil regions, and cities like Mashad and Qom.

— DM)

[T]he protest against foreign intervention has taken on a life of its own, with activists chanting such slogans as “forget about Syria; focus on us” and “no Gaza, no Lebanon; I will give my life only for Iran.” Despite the prevalence of these sorts of messages in social media and public accounts of the demonstrations, Iranian officials continue to maintain that the regional military prestige of the Islamic Republic remains broadly popular. For instance, the Huffington Post quotes hardline cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda as claiming that only about 50 protestors had expressed regional concerns within a gathering of several hundred.

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On Friday, mass protests continued throughout Iran after having started the previous day in reaction to rising rates of inflation and other uncontrolled economic conditions that had contributed, for instance, to a doubling of the price of eggs in just one week’s time.

Deutsche Welle quotes one Iranian lawmaker as blaming these problems on “illegal financial institutions” that had been established under the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The closure of one such bank, called Mizan, reportedly had a particularly marked impact on Iran’s second most populous city, Mashhad, which has been the focal point of protests that spanned much of central and northern Iran as of Thursday.

The lawmaker’s account of the protests seemingly absolves the current government of responsibility for the conditions that are being protested by victims of a widening income gap in the Islamic Republic. But the DW article also points out that a major target of those protests has been current President Hassan Rouhani’s slow progress in following through on a promise to reimburse citizens whose investments were wiped out by the collapse of state-linked financial institutions.

 

At the same time, DW and various other outlets have highlighted a trend toward broader focus in those protests, targeting not just rising prices and not just financial indicators as a whole but also the Rouhani administration’s failure to uphold a wide variety of promises regarding domestic reform. Insofar as the abandonment of these promises represents closure of the political gap between Rouhani’s political allies and those of hardline authorities like Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the protests seemingly double as an expression of opposition to the clerical system as a whole.

Indeed, the BBC refers to the demonstrations as “anti-government” protests in its reporting on Friday, as well as identifying them as the most serious and widespread such gatherings since the 2009 Green Movement, which emerged out of protests against Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection. Those protests lasted for eight months and ended with a severe crackdown by government authorities, but many Iran watchers have observed that the resentments voiced by that movement continued to simmer under the surface in anticipation of another mass demonstration.

 

This is not to say that there have been no major protests in the ensuing year. Indeed, the National Council of Resistance of Iran has identified thousands in the past year alone. But these have tended to be more geographically confined than the current demonstrations, and many have been focused not on politics but on specific demands such as the payment of overdue wages.

The content of Thursday’s and Friday’s protests was evidently broad enough in scope that even some Iranian officials were compelled to acknowledge the “anti-government” nature of chants and slogans, even while downplaying the scope of their appeal. The Associated Press reports that the governor of Tehran, Mohsen Hamedani, had acknowledged the spread of the protests to the Iranian capital, yet insisted that the gathering involved fewer than 50 people, most of whom dispersed after being warned by police.

Hamedani added that those who remained were “temporarily” arrested, and these remarks seemed also to downplay the severity of the government’s response to what might be regarded as a serious threat to its legitimacy. However, social media posts from various cities depicted peaceful protests being met with tear gas and water cannons, and the crowds in each of those gatherings numbered in the hundreds or in the thousands. By the end of Thursday, there had been at least 52 arrests in Mashhad alone, according to the BBC.

This is not to say that there have been no major protests in the ensuing year. Indeed, the National Council of Resistance of Iran has identified thousands in the past year alone. But these have tended to be more geographically confined than the current demonstrations, and many have been focused not on politics but on specific demands such as the payment of overdue wages.

The content of Thursday’s and Friday’s protests was evidently broad enough in scope that even some Iranian officials were compelled to acknowledge the “anti-government” nature of chants and slogans, even while downplaying the scope of their appeal. The Associated Press reports that the governor of Tehran, Mohsen Hamedani, had acknowledged the spread of the protests to the Iranian capital, yet insisted that the gathering involved fewer than 50 people, most of whom dispersed after being warned by police.

Hamedani added that those who remained were “temporarily” arrested, and these remarks seemed also to downplay the severity of the government’s response to what might be regarded as a serious threat to its legitimacy. However, social media posts from various cities depicted peaceful protests being met with tear gas and water cannons, and the crowds in each of those gatherings numbered in the hundreds or in the thousands. By the end of Thursday, there had been at least 52 arrests in Mashhad alone, according to the BBC.

 

Political imprisonment is rampant in the Islamic Republic, and the BBC report also indicates that this was one of the topics that had been advanced by some protestors. But political focus of any given participant in the demonstrations might be different from those of any other, as evidenced by media reports identifying chants as targeting economic issues, political imprisonment, Iran’s paramilitary interventions in the surrounding region, and so on.

This latter topic is closely related to the economic issues that reportedly sparked the protests, since the Iranian government has spent billions of dollars in recent years on propping up the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, as well as on promoting the growth of the Houthi rebellion in Yemen and the various Shiite militias operating in Iraq. A recent editorial in Forbes points out that the new Iranian national budget, introduced by Rouhani in early December, includes the provision of 76 billion dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its foreign special operations Quds Force, at a time when tens of thousands of victims of a November earthquake are still awaiting basic shelter and government services.

 

But the protest against foreign intervention has taken on a life of its own, with activists chanting such slogans as “forget about Syria; focus on us” and “no Gaza, no Lebanon; I will give my life only for Iran.” Despite the prevalence of these sorts of messages in social media and public accounts of the demonstrations, Iranian officials continue to maintain that the regional military prestige of the Islamic Republic remains broadly popular. For instance, the Huffington Post quotes hardline cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda as claiming that only about 50 protestors had expressed regional concerns within a gathering of several hundred.

Interestingly, the same report also quotes Alamolhoda as advocating for an intensified crackdown on the protestors. In absence of this, he suggested, enemies of the regime would claim that the government had lost its “revolutionary base”. The Huffington Post indicates that Tehran security personnel have promised that any demonstrations in the capital would be “firmly dealt with”. This seems to be at odds with the Tehran governor’s commentary about temporary arrests and also with the initial reaction from Mashhad Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, whom the AP quoted as saying that security forces had shown “great tolerance”

 

Since that initial reaction, Iranian officials seem to have increasingly justified crackdowns through acceptance of the broader characterizations of the protests’ grievances and goals. Norouzian himself came to describe the protests as having been organized by “counter-revolutionaries”, according to DW. According to other sources, officials have also referred to the organizers as “hypocrites,” a term often applies to members of the leading Iranian opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

The PMOI has also been a driving force in a number of activist campaigns within the Islamic Republic, including the push for international attention and independent inquiry into the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners, which primarily targeted that same resistance organization. In a Huffington Post editorial on Friday, former US Ambassador Ken Blackwell sought to connect that massacre, which killed an estimated 30,000 people, to the current protests. He said that Thursday’s and Friday’s chants of “death to the dictator” emerged out of “a political climate punctuated by growing demands for justice for the regime’s massacre.”

But even if the initial economic focus of the latest protests had been voiced in isolation, there is an argument to be made that this also would constitute an expression of opposition to the continued rule of the clerical regime. In fact, this argument was made by historian Ellen Ward on Friday in an editorial published by Forbes. Ward observes that despite some officials’ efforts to blame the previous presidential administration for ongoing problems, it is really the underlying clerical system that is responsible for the economic future of the Iranian people.

This is to say that it is the clerical authorities, and not the elected branches of government, who establish and enforce policies with tremendous economic impact, including the interventionist foreign policy. Ward’s argument is reminiscent of the statement put out on Thursday by the PMOI’s parent coalition the National Council of Resistance of Iran. That statement quoted NCRI President Maryam Rajavi as saying that the economic prospects of the Iranian people cannot be expected to improve until the resistance movement has brought about the emergence of democratic governance in place of the theocratic dictatorship.

 

Iranian Protesters Hit the Streets Against President Rouhani, Ayatollah Khamenei

December 29, 2017

Iranian Protesters Hit the Streets Against President Rouhani, Ayatollah Khamenei, Jewish PressDavid Israel, December 29, 2017

(Please see also The First Anti-American President which, after a brief discussion on the Iran scam, suggests what President Trump should do to get the Iranian people to rebel. Here are the guts of it:

There are many protests in Iran today, and the Khamenei/Rouhani regime has responded by executing half as many Iranians as in the past. We should relentlessly expose this mass murder, and we should publicize the ongoing protests.

The target audience for such exposes is the great mass of the population. Paradoxically, Iranians are better informed about events in Jerusalem and Washington than in Iranian Kurdistan, the southern oil regions, and cities like Mashad and Qom.

All Iranians need this information, which shows them that they are not alone. The technology for such a campaign exists. It is the same as it was when we deployed it against the Soviet Union with such powerful consequences: our broadcasting network, starting with the Voice of America. Today, Farsi-language VOA is often a vehicle for anti-American polemics, since personnel is virtually unchanged from the Obama years. We need a thorough housecleaning, but there are few signs that our national security team understands its urgency.

— DM)

Thousands of Iranians in several major cities, including Mashhad, Neyshabur, Shahroud, and Yazd, rallied in the streets on Thursday against poverty, unemployment, and the rising cost of living. They carried signs with the slogans “Death to Rouhani, and Death to the Dictator,” the term “dictator” referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The protesters also denounced Iran’s promotion of violence around the Middle East.

The country is holding its breath in anticipation of events on Friday, the Muslim day of rest.

 People chant: “Akhoonds [Mullahs/ Shia clerics] be ashamed, and leave Iran”. Today when a Mullah popped up among crowd of people protesting financial corruptions of Islamic regime authorities in Mashhad, 2nd largest city of Iran
(Video at the link — DM)
 Journalist and author Babak Taghvaee tweeted on Thursday that when a Mullah (Shia cleric) popped up among crowd of people protesting financial corruption of Islamic regime authorities in Mashhad, the second largest city in Iran, people chanted, “Akhoonds (the Mullahs) be ashamed, and leave Iran.”

“Protesters in Iran chant ‘Reza Shah, Bless Your Soul’ – referring to Reza Shah the Great, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, the nemesis of the clerics, the modernizer of #Iran,” Taghvaee tweeted, adding, “People of Mashhad shout ‘Islamic revolution was our mistake’ during their protests against corrupted authorities of Iran Islamic regime today.”

According to Taghvaee, calls for peaceful rallies to protest poor living condition and the corruption of the regime can be found in Instagram. Not only in large cities of Iran such as Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz, but people in small towns also support people of Mashhad ahead of Friday’s rallies.

According to IranFocus.com, Thursday’s demonstrators pointed to the billions the regime has spent on the war to keep Assad in power, and chanted, “Leave Syria, think about us.”

President Rouhani expected the nuclear deal of 2015 to restore Iran’s economy, as most international sanctions were lifted. But those economic benefits did not trickle down to ordinary Iranians, who believe their desperate economic situation is the result of government corruption and mismanagement.

An estimated 3.2 million Iranians are unemployed, out of a population of 80 million, with unemployment rates rising to 12.4% in 2017.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei blamed President Trump for Iran’s economic woes. Trump refused to certify that Tehran is complying with its nuclear deal and warned he would eventually terminate the deal. Trump also promised a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as its spreading terrorism in the Middle East.

Taghvaee tweeted Thursday that Iranian Police completely suppressed the protests in Mashhad people at 4 PM local time. Almost 50 people are arrested and tens of others were slightly injured. No one died.

The First Anti-American President

December 29, 2017

The First Anti-American President, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, December 28, 2017

Donald Trump is certainly the opposite of an anti-American president, and he has no affection for our enemies. He has enabled the Ukrainians to fight, perhaps effectively, against the Russians. So why can’t he enable the Iranians to fight against the ayatollahs?

In the Ukrainian case we’re talking about military weapons; in the Iranian conflict the weapons are political. If the Iranians rose up against the regime when Obama entered the White House, you can be sure they are at least equally motivated to do it with Trump in office. There are many protests in Iran today, and the Khamenei/Rouhani regime has responded by executing half as many Iranians as in the past. We should relentlessly expose this mass murder, and we should publicize the ongoing protests.

The target audience for such exposes is the great mass of the population. Paradoxically, Iranians are better informed about events in Jerusalem and Washington than in Iranian Kurdistan, the southern oil regions, and cities like Mashad and Qom.

***************************************

Barack Obama will no doubt be chronicled, among other things, as the first anti-American president. No wonder; he’s the product of an educational system that has become increasingly radical and anti-American with each passing decade, and his mother was a stereotypical leftist anthropologist with a passion for the Third World.

The pattern is unmistakable. As Luis Fleischman notes, Obama wanted to make deals with our enemies, Iran being the most dramatic example. But just look at Latin America:

The Obama Administration tried to avoid confrontations with anyone it wanted to make a “historic deal” with. Most of these “historic deals” were intended to be made with enemies, as Obama desperately sought an agreement not only with Iran, but also with Cuba and reconciliation with Venezuela.

Thus, Obama failed to insist on the extradition of Venezuelan military and drug trafficker Hugo Carvajal from Aruba and the Syrian-born Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled from Colombia. Carvajal was the chief of Venezuelan military intelligence and Makled is one of the most notorious drug traffickers in the Western Hemisphere. Makled himself disclosed his own cooperation with scores of the highest officials within Chavez’s government — including Carvajal himself, with the chiefs of the Venezuelan army and navy, as well as with dozens of Venezuelan generals.

The Obama people did not want to know the details of Venezuela’s collusion with the drug Mafiosi. If you have followed the story of the obstruction of the DEA investigation of Hezbollah, you will recognize the pattern. Indeed, it is part of the story.

It is also part of a bigger story: What is Trump going to do about Iran? The rhetoric on Iran is great. Inspirational, even. But as even “Mad Dog” Mattis says, there’s, well, more rhetoric, along with some sanctions:

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Washington will deal with Iran through a “diplomatically-led effort,” a day after a top U.S. diplomat said Tehran was supplying weapons to the Huthi rebels in Yemen.

So we still don’t have an Iran policy worthy of the name, despite the welcome clarity the Trump people have brought to the subject. “Everywhere you find turmoil,” Mattis said following our UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s expose of Iran’s role in Yemen, “you find Iran’s hand in it.”

But then the secretary of Defense went on to embrace consciousness-raising.

Consciousness has long been suitably raised. There is no confusion about the nature of the Iranian regime or its intent to develop nuclear attack weapons or its savage repression of seventy-plus million people who would undoubtedly enter the ranks of the West if they could. But if we do not directly challenge the regime, no one else is going to do it.

Donald Trump is certainly the opposite of an anti-American president, and he has no affection for our enemies. He has enabled the Ukrainians to fight, perhaps effectively, against the Russians. So why can’t he enable the Iranians to fight against the ayatollahs?

In the Ukrainian case we’re talking about military weapons; in the Iranian conflict the weapons are political. If the Iranians rose up against the regime when Obama entered the White House, you can be sure they are at least equally motivated to do it with Trump in office. There are many protests in Iran today, and the Khamenei/Rouhani regime has responded by executing half as many Iranians as in the past. We should relentlessly expose this mass murder, and we should publicize the ongoing protests.

The target audience for such exposes is the great mass of the population. Paradoxically, Iranians are better informed about events in Jerusalem and Washington than in Iranian Kurdistan, the southern oil regions, and cities like Mashad and Qom.

All Iranians need this information, which shows them that they are not alone. The technology for such a campaign exists. It is the same as it was when we deployed it against the Soviet Union with such powerful consequences: our broadcasting network, starting with the Voice of America. Today, Farsi-language VOA is often a vehicle for anti-American polemics, since personnel is virtually unchanged from the Obama years. We need a thorough housecleaning, but there are few signs that our national security team understands its urgency.

Faster, please.

Ahmadinejad to Khamenei: There is Little Hope for Improvement in Regine’s Status

December 2, 2017

Ahmadinejad to Khamenei: There is Little Hope for Improvement in Regine’s Status, Iran News Update, Jazeh Miller, December 2, 2017

According to Ahmadinejad, “due to heavy economic, propaganda and emotional pressures as well as political and psychological ones, many people and families are subjected to serious harms and breakdown, and a bleak outlook has been formed in the minds of all people, the youth in particular. Considering the country’s current conditions, hope for a better future has reached bottom low.”

In another part of his letter, Ahmadinejad focuses on his conflict with regime’s judiciary, saying “irregular, unjustified, and unlawful insistence on sticking to personal and political stances and involving those viewpoints in judicial process while taking advantage of judicial power in political, personal, and family relations has stripped the judiciary of any chance to address and improve its status, avoid mistakes and injustice, attempt to resolve the country’s major problems and realize people’s rights.”

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Revealing his recent letter to the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian regime’s former president has given new dimensions to the power struggle between regime’s rival factions while describing the country’s awkward situation.

On Monday November 27, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed a letter he apparently wrote two weeks ago to Ali Khamenei.

The letter was released a few hours after regime judiciary’s spokesman ‘Mohseni Ejei’ referred to Ahmadinejad’s attacks on the judiciary, describing him as a ‘thug who talks big’.

Although Ahmadinejad’s letter gives detailed description about the country’s current conditions, but he doesn’t mention how much his government and policies are responsible for today’s situation.

“Due to authorities’ ignorance and effectiveness of enemies’ plans, such crises like unprecedented economic slowdown, liquidity, banking problems, unemployment, poverty, wide gap between the rich and poor and production fall have reached such a critical level that could at any moment hit the country and people with unpredictable and unmanageable consequences”, says Ahmadinejad.

According to Ahmadinejad, “due to heavy economic, propaganda and emotional pressures as well as political and psychological ones, many people and families are subjected to serious harms and breakdown, and a bleak outlook has been formed in the minds of all people, the youth in particular. Considering the country’s current conditions, hope for a better future has reached bottom low.”

In another part of his letter, Ahmadinejad focuses on his conflict with regime’s judiciary, saying “irregular, unjustified, and unlawful insistence on sticking to personal and political stances and involving those viewpoints in judicial process while taking advantage of judicial power in political, personal, and family relations has stripped the judiciary of any chance to address and improve its status, avoid mistakes and injustice, attempt to resolve the country’s major problems and realize people’s rights.”

Ahmadinejad says he’s against Larijani brothers and their dominance over the country’s (judicial and legislative) branches.

He then refers to judiciary’s performance as the source of public discontent in the country, saying “having 17 million judicial cases means that an overwhelming majority of Iranian families are somehow involved in lawsuits. It clearly and totally mirrors the country’s conditions and the performance of different entities, and yet by itself is a proof and a clear sign of the judiciary’s awkward situation, judicial officials’ incompetence and real problems in the branch. Public discontent towards the status of the country and judiciary is unprecedented, so much so that the majority of people are shouting against injustice and improper relations.”

Ahmadinejad’s fierce attack on the judiciary is despite the fact that the branch played a key role in oppressing the 2009 uprising during Ahmadinejad’s second term. Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad never questioned or criticized the judiciary’s record at the time, nor does he refer to it now. But only now that the branch, amid clashes between regime’s rival bands, has targeted Ahmadinejad and those around him, he has started criticizing.

Regime’s former president, who never seriously opposed limitations and violating individual and social freedoms, now writes “any kind of criticism, protest, or freedom of expression is harshly blocked for different excuses while a few groups and known families seek to exclusively take the power and major positions stemmed from people’s revolution, so they can consolidate the rule of factions and owners of wealth and power.”

Considering the escalation of conflicts between regime’s former president and judiciary over the past few weeks, the release of Ahmadinejad’s letter to Khamenei could lead to even more heated conflicts.

Domestic unrest: Iran’s worst nightmare

November 23, 2017

Domestic unrest: Iran’s worst nightmare, American Thinker, Keyvan Salami, November 23, 2017

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13th Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing them as the first victims of the regime’s atrocities.

“…we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.”

As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani’s hollow promises. A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime’s point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people’s demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

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The threats posed by Iran in the Middle East through its support for terrorism, extremism and Islamic fundamentalism are undeniable. Its continued backing of various militias has established for Tehran a so-called Shiite crescent across the region. Growing domestic unrest, especially after the recent quake that shook western Iran, is plaguing the regime and showing the international community Iran’s main chink in the armor.

This was also witnessed on October 29th as the regime launched a massive crackdown effort to prevent any gathering marking International Cyrus Day, in memory of an ancient Persian ruler known to be the author of the world’s first human rights charter.

Reports indicate that Iran deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij, and Intelligence Ministry members alongside hordes of plainclothes agents to prevent any possible gathering mirroring the 2016 scenario on this same day.

Iran also resorted to a media campaign inside the country and abroad, claiming to have quelled a plot by “foreign-based dissidents and currents opposing the establishment,” as explained in a leaflet distributed by state police warning against any rallies.

Further domestic unrest is witnessed in the growing number of protests by ordinary investors seeing their life savings in state-run institutes plundered. Protests are mushrooming in cities across the country, responded to by the regime with arrests and harsh measures against crowds whose numbers are growing with each rally.

The Iranian regime has usurped billions from ordinary people’s investments to fuel its wars across the region. After 38 years, this has left the Iranian populace suffering tremendously with no light at the end of the tunnel.

“The middle-class in Iran has been all but extinguished,” a report indicates, adding that a large majority of Iran’s 80-million populace currently lives in poverty. City walls across the country are being filled with offers of people willing to sell various body parts, such as kidneys for $2,000, to literally make ends meet.

Iran is also widely known for its practice of repressing ethnic and religious minorities, involving harsh persecution, cruel discrimination, and ongoing cultural and economic marginalization. Tehran’s regime also resorts to a higher level of human rights violations in issuing long prison terms, imposing torture, public hangings, and even mass executions.

Iran’s “moderate” Hassan Rouhani is known to have carried out over 3,100 executions during his tenure as the regime’s president.

Iran is forced to such measures, knowing clearly it lacks any social base. One such case was witnessed when Rouhani’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted about all Iranians being IRGC following the force’s blacklisting by Washington.

The response by Iranians mostly inside the country was a display of sheer defiance against the regime, and how people view the IRGC as an entity terrorizing not only nations throughout the Middle East, but also Iranians at home.

Developments across the globe in the past year or so have made Iranians realize times are changing. For eight years Iran’s regime fed off the engagement policy adopted by the Obama administration. This gave a green light to Tehran for domestic crackdowns and foreign meddling. While Obama turned his back on the Iranian people, especially during the 2009 uprisings, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has time and again voiced their support and solidarity with Iranian people.

On three different occasions, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has voiced the Iranian people’s desire for freedom.

“There are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government,” he said during his late October trip to India.

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13th Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing them as the first victims of the regime’s atrocities.

“…we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.”

As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani’s hollow promises. A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime’s point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people’s demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

New US Policy Confronts Iranian Regime, Opening up New Opportunities for Change

November 4, 2017

New US Policy Confronts Iranian Regime, Opening up New Opportunities for Change, Iran News Update, November 4, 2017

It appears that the only options left with Iranian authorities are confronting, retreating, or buying time until the end of the Trump presidency. Still, the regime must face the other factors at work against it, like the social disaffection within Iran towards the regime, and the recognition of the main opposition movements — the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) — by US and its allies in the region.

There is now an opportunity, with the current international situation, for the Iranian people and its main opposition movement (NCRI and PMOI), as well as for the people of Middle East and the whole world, for these factors that can lead to regime change and put an end to Iran’s destabilization activities in the Middle East.

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INU – Saudi Arabia and Egypt, important countries in the region, concerned about the destabilizing activities of the Iranian regime in the Arab world, have strongly welcomed the October 13th announcement by US President Trump his regarding his new policy against the destabilizing behavior of Iran in the Middle East, particularly its missile activities. The new policy emphasized making the Middl#$e East a region without weapons of mass destruction.

The Iranian opposition movement and its President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, is leading a campaign to isolate the regime in Tehran. It welcomes the new White House strategy that delegitimizes the Iranian regime. Rajavi called on Trump and the international community to work toward “the ultimate solution”, regime overthrow and the establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran.

By refusing to give approval to the nuclear deal, and designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the list of terrorist organizations, the new US policy is targeting at the heart of the Iranian regime. According to the Washington Post the strategy marks an important change in US policy on the Middle East: a shift from focusing on war against ISIS and towards the end of Iran’s expansionism in the region.

The steps taken by the White House to carry out this policy include the visit by US Secretary of State to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, imposition of sanctions on Hezbollah for being the military wing of IRGC in Lebanon, and sanctions on companies, financial institutions and individuals related to the regime’s ballistic missiles programs.

According to F. Mahmoudi, Kurdish-Iranian political and human rights activist, in his Al Arabiya article, “Therefore, there is no reason for any objection by European countries to the new White House policy. European states are only thinking of securing their financial and economic interests with Iran, as not only the political and military power of the Iranian regime but also economic control lie in the hands of the IRGC.”

Sanctions against the Iranian regime, IRGC and Hezbollah will put European companies and banks in serious danger if they deal with this regime and its affiliates.

Additionally, the sanctions and the terrorist designation of IRGC have put Hasan Rouhani, who earlier presented himself to the West as a moderate, in a position of fully supporting the IRGC.

Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, reacting to the new US strategy, defended the IRGC’s presence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and asked Europeans to stand strongly against Trump’s policy. However, it is believed that Europe will eventually choose the US instead of Iran and it will not sacrifice billion of dollars in trade benefits with the US. Additionally, Europe cannot accept the risk of Trump’s threat of leaving NATO.

It appears that the only options left with Iranian authorities are confronting, retreating, or buying time until the end of the Trump presidency. Still, the regime must face the other factors at work against it, like the social disaffection within Iran towards the regime, and the recognition of the main opposition movements — the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) — by US and its allies in the region.

There is now an opportunity, with the current international situation, for the Iranian people and its main opposition movement (NCRI and PMOI), as well as for the people of Middle East and the whole world, for these factors that can lead to regime change and put an end to Iran’s destabilization activities in the Middle East.