Posted tagged ‘Iranian economy’

Trump Admin Halts Taxpayer-Funded Purchases of Iranian Nuclear Materials

November 29, 2017

Trump Admin Halts Taxpayer-Funded Purchases of Iranian Nuclear Materials, Washington Free Beacon , November 29, 2017

Getty Images

After leaving the door open to additional purchases, senior Trump administration officials confirmed to the Free Beacon on Wednesday that the U.S. government would no longer engage in these nuclear transactions with Iran, a major policy shift that sources say is part of an effort to crackdown on Iran’s access to U.S. funds.

Lawmakers and other insiders had viewed the $8.6 million payment to Iran as a scheme to give Iran access to U.S. currency as part of an incentive package aimed at keeping it in compliance with the nuclear deal. The former administration stonewalled several attempts by lawmakers to discern the full details of the transaction.

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The Trump administration has put a stop to U.S. purchases of nuclear materials from Iran, a policy that first began under the Obama administration in an attempt to ensure Iran remains in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Obama administration sparked controversy in Congress and the national security world when it announced in late 2016 that it would spend more than $8 million dollars to purchase Iranian heavy water, a nuclear byproduct, in a bid to keep the Islamic Republic in line with restrictions on these materials imposed under the nuclear agreement.

The Obama administration, in what lawmakers described as a “potentially illegal” taxpayer-funded transaction, paid at least $8.6 million to purchase 32 metric tons of heavy water from Iran. The nuclear byproduct can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, which is why restrictions were initially placed on Tehran’s stockpile.

The transaction occurred via an offshore third-party, according to U.S. officials, who made clear at the time that it would engage in further purchases if they were needed to help keep Iran in compliance with the nuclear deal.

After leaving the door open to additional purchases, senior Trump administration officials confirmed to the Free Beacon on Wednesday that the U.S. government would no longer engage in these nuclear transactions with Iran, a major policy shift that sources say is part of an effort to crackdown on Iran’s access to U.S. funds.

Lawmakers and other insiders had viewed the $8.6 million payment to Iran as a scheme to give Iran access to U.S. currency as part of an incentive package aimed at keeping it in compliance with the nuclear deal. The former administration stonewalled several attempts by lawmakers to discern the full details of the transaction.

Trump administration officials told the Free Beacon they have informed Iran that it is now solely responsible for maintaining compliance with the nuclear deal.

“No, the United States is not planning to purchase any Iranian heavy water,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson told the Free Beacon. “We have made it clear to Iran that it is their responsibility to remain under their heavy water limit in the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official title of the nuclear agreement.

A State Department official confirmed this shift in policy to the Free Beacon following a request for further information.

In May, House lawmakers approved a bill spearheaded by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), to outlaw all future purchases of Iranian heavy water by the United States. Democrats in the Senate opposed a similar measure due to concerns that it would conflict with U.S. efforts to preserve the nuclear agreement.

One source familiar with the administration’s thinking on the policy shift told the Free Beacon it is part of a larger effort to take a tougher line towards Iranian efforts to gain further access to cash assets.

“This is another place where the Trump administration is saying ‘no’ to Iranian extortion and blackmail,” said the source, a veteran Middle East policy expert who routinely works with congressional offices on the Iran issue.

“Iran was deliberately overproducing heavy water and then telling the U.S. ‘buy it from us or it’ll blow up the deal’,” the source said. “The Obama administration paid, effectively rewarding Iran for violating the nuclear deal. The Trump administration refused to let the Iranians hold the deal hostage.”

At the time the Obama administration was orchestrating the cash transaction, lawmakers were intentionally being kept in the dark, the Free Beacon first reported.

Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Free Beacon at the time that the former administration was seeking to subsidize Tehran’s nuclear program.

“The Obama administration’s deal with the Mullahs in Tehran to purchase heavy water demonstrates a disturbing, potentially illegal, willingness of the administration to subsidize Iran’s nuclear program,” Pompeo told the Free Beacon. “This purchase allows the Iranians to offload previously unsellable product and it destigmatizes the act of doing business in Iran.”

The purchase was “made without explanation as to how Iran will receive these funds or what steps the administration is taking to prevent what will almost certainly be U.S. taxpayer dollars from possibly being used to support terrorist activities, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, or Iran’s ballistic missile program,” Pompeo said at the time.

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.

Looted and lied to, Iran’s people are protesting

October 28, 2017

Looted and lied to, Iran’s people are protesting, American ThinkerHassan Mahmoudi, October 28, 2017

Ever since the Obama administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, commonly known as the Iran Deal, an influx of cash has rolled into the Iranian economy, and Tehran itself has grown emboldened in its oppression and terrorism. Sadly, its bad behavior has been ignored in the West, particularly in its press, even as its citizens have noticed. They have carried on a series of protests this week.

As President Trump outlined in his strategy, Iran’s offenses in this regard are not limited to its nuclear program. Ever since sanctions on Iran were lifted in 2016, Iran has invested in destabilizing many of its neighbors.

At home, Iran has adopted the policy of suppression and execution as its main domestic policy.

The Iranian people are frustrated with high unemployment, outlandish living costs, and the lack of public services. According to the report by the National Council of Iran Resistance, on Monday morning, Oct. 23, more than two thousand people, whose property was plundered by institutions affiliated with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the mullahs’ judiciary and other state agencies, rallied in front of the regime’s parliament.

Iran’s repressive police force, using batons, assaulted the demonstrators and beat them brutally. Then they tried to disperse the demonstration in which women played a very active role. But they were faced with the resistance of the people.

Protestors chanted: “Shame! Shame on the police force! ” and “Cannon, machine gun, tank no longer works,” and “Death to the dictator.” When the police arrested some people, especially women, and wanted to take them by force, people chanted “You are ISIS, you are ISIS, death to ISIS, let them go,” and “Police, shame on you, let our fellow citizens go.”

Some of the slogans were: “Death to Saif (head of the Central Bank),” “Shame on Rouhani,” “Larijani is apparently the judge but a thief’s accomplice,” “Theft is institutionalized, the hearts are full of hatred,” “For traveling to other countries, they have taken our money, ” “They had a budget deficit, but they have taken it from our money,” “Caspian Institute [a corrupt bank] has stolen, the government has supported it,” “Saif betrays, Parliament confirms,” ” I will not give up unless I get my rights,” and “Enough injustice!”

When a number of participants in the demonstration, including women, were attacked by police forces, other people on the scene joined and defended them. People chanted “I kill, I kill whoever killed my brother” while throwing rocks, wood and other objects at the police.

Subsequently, the police encircled the protesters so that they could not leave the surrounded area, but the people broke out of the siege and started marching towards the Baharestan square. The repressive forces tried to control the population by bringing a motorized unit, but the people continue their rally while throwing rocks towards them. A large number of people joined the protesters.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, hailed her courageous compatriots who staged demonstrations in Tehran. She welcomed the protests by Iranians whose savings have been plundered by institutions affiliated with the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with the complicity of government agencies under Rouhani and previous presidents.

She said, “The courageous chants in today’s demonstrations targeting the heads of the Judiciary and Executive Branch, as well as the suppressive State Security Force and intelligence forces, reflect the Iranian people’s desire for the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.”

Noting the chant “theft has become institutionalized under this regime,” Mrs. Rajavi added, “Institutionalized fraud along with institutionalized murder and belligerence constitute the pillars of the mullahs’ decadent regime. Ali Khamenei and his office hold the strings controlling all the depraved crimes taking place in the country. As long as this regime is in power, there will be no end to the astronomical embezzlement, poverty, unemployment and catastrophic economic conditions.”

Khamenei has attained enormous wealth by plundering the people of Iran, devastated by poverty to the extent that they sell their children or organs, and by suppressing Iran’s youth who demand freedom. He has amassed this wealth in giant financial conglomerates such as the Staff Implementing Khomeini’s Order, the Qods Razavi Foundation, the IRGC and Bassij cooperatives, and the Mostaz’afan Foundation. He has delegated the administration of these institutes to officials who were in charge of the massacre of political prisoners in 1988, as well as other ruthless officials.

Mrs. Rajavi called on all Iranians, especially the youth, to support their plundered and deprived countrymen and women protesting in demand of their rights, and to help them expand their protests.

 

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, specializing in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East. @hassan_mahmou1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter

July 27, 2017

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter, Iran News Update, July 27, 2017

(Please see also, US seeks to test Iran deal with its new inspections and The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince. Is a “peaceful transition”  possible? Even if it is not, we should support it. — DM)

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

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The following is an op-ed by former US National Security Council staff member Professor Raymond Tanter on Iran policy options for the United States. The article was published on The Hill website on Wednesday, July 26:

The time may be right for President Trump to consider and pursue regime change in Iran. Consider three quotes that provide a way of looking back to look forward:

President Obama in 2013 address to the United Nations:

“We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

On July 1, an event was held in Paris; there, I had conversations with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who explicitly called for regime change from within Iran by supporting Iranian oppositionists, in particular, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Ditto for other Trump allies, including John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration. On July 1, Bolton, said:

“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be … to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

The Way Forward

“Trump time” suggests a period of analysis of options as the President’s National Security Council reviews Iran policy. The review could present three options to Trump.

First, follow the Obama precedent of reassuring Tehran the United States will not challenge the rule of the unelected Ayatollahs. Trump and the Congress, however, are so strongly opposed to the Iranian regime, they are unlikely to countenance the Obama policy toward Iran, which Trump considers “appeasement.” Obama lost his bet that Iran would moderate its ballistic missile testing, state-supported international terrorism, and human rights violations. His nuclear deal was inconsistent with regime change from within, e.g., via a coalition of dissident groups.

Second, order preparations for the kind of coup d’état the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence service carried out in 1953, which overthrew a democratically-elected government in Iran. “All the Shah’s Men” describes how the coup occurred and the unintended negative consequences for Iranian perceptions of America for changing Iran’s government by covert action.

Indicative of this option is an editorial in The New York Times of July 18, which sounds the alarm that, “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

But regime change from within is more than just an American issue. It is a “people of Iran” issue and what they want; it is not about the U.S. military going to war with Iran, as the editorial suggests.

Third, support the pro-democracy coalition of dissidents, the NCRI, which is best able to mobilize other oppositionists into an even wider coalition. Also, there’s a new sheriff in town, President Trump, and he expressed a strong presence in his Riyadh address: Trump the deal-maker but one with core principles like “Drive them out.”

“Drive them out of your places of worship,” Trump said of extremists, “drive them out of your holy land. Drive them out of this earth.”

After the July 1 rally in Paris, Fox News reported the next day the president might defy the Iranian regime by signaling his willingness to look kindly on the resistance: “The Trump administration is potentially considering seeking a strategy to try to topple the regime.” The resistance, however, only needs American political and perhaps economic support to effect “regime change from within.”

Even if he does not go so far as to topple the regime, Trump could increase his leverage against the Ayatollahs by supporting the resistance, conditioned on its continued eschewing of terrorist tactics. Doing so is bound to weaken an already faltering regime. In this respect, the tide is turning against Tehran in favor of the opposition.

The Bottom Line

The Iranian resistance benefits from aligning with the United States because the resistance is firmly in the camp of civilized states and does not commit acts of barbarism. Hence, President Trump is more likely to reach out to the Iranian opposition during his review of Iran policy than did President Obama, who valued the nuclear deal with Tehran too much to jeopardize it by opening up to the resistance.

Dr. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan.

Iran: Several factors Cause Closure of Factories and Economic Crisis

April 28, 2017

Iran: Several factors Cause Closure of Factories and Economic Crisis, Iran News Update, April 27, 2017

Iran’s economy was collapsing and the JCPOA saved it. President Rouhani claims this as an achievement of his tenure.  Still, evaluations and analyses seem to show that industry and industrial corporations are in crisis within Iran.

Nasim, a news website in Iran, writes, “The closure of more than 30 famous brands and old established factories, such as Arj, Darougar, Azmayesh, Pars Electric, Isfahan polyacryle, IRANA tile, Tabriz Machine manufacturing, Iztech, Isaac bicycles, Varamin Sugar Factory, Swan Oil Factory, Ray Textiles and Iran wood, are only portion of the important country’s production companies that have pulled down their shutters during Rouhani’s presidency.

Nasim continues, “Rouhani is the one who had promised flourishing of the Iranian economy in 100 days. Not only has he not improved people’s living standards these past 4 years, but according to most economy activists and experts, the economy has reached an unprecedented recession in its years after the revolution. One of the results of his economic activities was an economic downturn and the closure of famous brands whose names are associated with the lives of all Iranians. Unofficial statistics indicate that closure of these brands have led about one million people being unemployed in past four years.”

Marketing and / or management weaknesses or quality issues  cause businesses to lose their market share, close or become bankrupt, to be replaced by new brands, usually if they don’t have a company like Toronto SEO and seelutions seo company helping them with their website this will happen. However, the situation in Iran is concerning because of the number of closures and the history of the brands, all of them  famous for quality and profitability. The closures were not due to better products being created in Iran, but rather that mass legal and illegal imports have replaced domestic production and caused the closure of factories.

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“Under the Iranian regime, when factories are shut down, it is forever and their workers are, without any support, placed out of work and their lives become endangered,” according to an article published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who also notes that “bankruptcy of this large number of industries and factories logically cannot be entirely the product of a period of 4 years. The destruction of so many industries is the result of a total economic policy of the country. It has nothing to do with the governing of this faction or that faction. Statistics, for example, indicate during Ahmadinejad’s presidency, 50-70% of the factories were shut down. The difference between Rouhani and others lay in the fact that he claims to have a key for solving these economic problems and claimed to have achieved economic growth and lowered inflation. Meanwhile, closures, bankruptcies, unemployment and people’s empty tables are there. Deceitfully, Rouhani claims that the economy has improved.”

Several causes may be cited for the closure of factories, in particular the oldest ones, but the NCRI cites  the following important factors:

• Transfer of factories to “so called” private sectors, but they are fundamentally not private sector. Instead, they are entities, such as Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which do nothing other than the plundering of properties and factories;

• Existence of State jobber gangs which import foreign goods with lower custom tariffs and putting domestic manufactured goods out of the market, the existence of vast and established smuggling, a lack of cash for the industries not affiliated with the government and lack of government support for domestic production, sabotage and purposely withholding needed raw materials at customs;

• Lack of factories’ raw materials, poverty and the weak public’s purchasing power resulted in the accumulation of goods in storage;

• Obtaining heavy taxes from factories and manufacturing shops and continued municipalities’ extortions and governmental organs of producers.

The economic problems in this regime aren’t ‘purely economic’. They are political, with roots that go back to the governing structures, like Rouhani’s, known for its prodigious salaries and a president who doubled the budget of IRGC.

The problem will intensify as long as this structure and governance exist, say the NCRI, adding that the future will see more factory closures, and perhaps, complete economic collapse in Iran.th

In Iran, A Nationwide Teachers’ Demonstration

March 13, 2017

In Iran, A Nationwide Teachers’ Demonstration, American ThinkerHassan Mahmoudi, March 13, 2017

Amid ballistic missile tests by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and continued economic and political isolation, Iran’s domestic unrest is escalating.

Simultaneous protests of thousands of angry teachers in more than 22 cities broke out in Iran on Thursday, March 9. The nationwide teachers’ demonstration took place in Tehran, Mashhad, Bojnourd, Ferdows, Torbat-heidaria, Mazandaran, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Marivan, Qorveh, Tabriz, Ardebil, Zanjan, Shiraz, Bushehr, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Kangan, Dehgolan, Lordegan, Ahwaz and Aligudarz.

The demonstrators held a sit-in in front of the local branch of the ministry of education buildings, calling for their demands to be met. They chanted slogans against suppression, repression and plundering policies of the ruling mullahs in Iran. They were holding placards that read:  ‘Detained Teachers Must be Freed,’  ‘NO to Prison,’ ‘Teachers’ future must be secured.’ See the photo at right.

According to Iranian Opposition (MEK) report, in Tehran, more than 1,000 teachers, as well as the families of political prisoners, and staff from the Ministry of Education demonstrated in front of the Iranian regime’s parliament, demanding proper jobs and security.  In today’s teachers gathering, one of the security force members of parliament tried to confiscate the smartphone of one of the protestors in a provocative manner, but he was pushed back by the protestors.

In what was an act of bravery for the teachers in Esfahan, they chanted: ‘Teachers are ready to die but wouldn’t be bullied by the government.’ The photo is below.

In Shiraz, the protesting teachers sat at a table with no food on it, in a symbol of their poor economic condition. The problem is so bad many are severely suffering from food insecurity. They said they are unable to feed themselves or their children with the meager wages and salaries they are getting. They had placards that read: ‘Teachers must rise to end the discrimination and a petty monthly salary.’

In some cities, the special anti-riot guards had surrounded the protesting teachers, but the protestors ignored the intimidation and continued with their protest for hours. Passersby hailed the protestors and paid sympathy and tributes to them as they signaled their hatred of the regime.

The security forces prevented any passerby from stopping in the street. The protestors were holding placards that read: ‘We will not rest until we get our rights.’

Teachers in Sanandaj demanded an end to the rising instances of torture and the high number of executions of the mullahs’ government.

In Kermanshah, in southwestern Iran, the presence of female teachers was remarkable in the streets of that city. The suppressive security forces were trying to prevent the demonstration but failed miserably. The protestors continued to protest there and had placards that read: ‘Discrimination and inequality must end.’ ‘We are crying out of poverty and frustrated of discrimination’,

In their final statement, the protestors condemned the exiles and expulsions of teachers for teaching and speaking out, and demanded the freedom of teachers, especially the freedom of Mr. Baghani who is a known teacher in Kermanshah.

In Ardebil, northwestern Iran, the protesting teachers were chanting: ‘Teachers are willing to die but not to submit to discrimination.’ They demanded unpaid wages and benefits.

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) roundup report of February 2017 on the teachers’ protests, there were 13 protests classified as cultural. Statistics for the month showed a slight increase from January.

Protests were over the lack of salary increases, lack of equalization of retirement wages and lack of formal employment. Also, a group of teachers published a text about the prosecution of Jafar Azim Zadeh. Teachers who retired in 2016 gathered in front of parliament to demand their 30-year employment bonus.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in her last statement regarding the teachers’ protest “hailed the noble teachers who have staged protest gatherings in various parts of the country to attain their lawful rights and to protest the oppressive and criminal measures by the mullahs’ regime. She called on the nation, especially the students and their parents and the youth throughout the country to support and express solidarity with teachers.

Rajavi said: In circumstances where the clerical regime spends most of the Iranian people’s wealth on suppression, export of terrorism, the massacre of peoples in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, the bottomless and anti-patriotic nuclear projects, or which funnels this wealth to the bank accounts of regime’s leaders and their families, the hard-working and noble teachers of the country that play the greatest role in building the future of Iran are living in poverty and face the most hardship in their lives.”

 

Tehran Relies on Propaganda to Make up For Misallocation of Funds to Foreign Conflicts

March 10, 2017

Tehran Relies on Propaganda to Make up For Misallocation of Funds to Foreign Conflicts, Iran News Update, March 10, 2017

(Please see also, Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists. — DM)

[R]ecently released intelligence strongly suggests that the supreme leader and hardline authorities like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bear a great deal of responsibility for the economic struggles of Iranian citizens, as a result of the systematic misappropriation both of budgetary funds and financial resources earned through Iran’s private sector. On Wednesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a panel discussion coinciding with the release of an e-book titled, The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.

In both the discussion and the document, the leading Iranian opposition group explained that a recent push toward widespread privatization of the Iranian economy has actually resulted in the private acquisition of more than half of the country’s gross domestic product by front companies and other affiliates of the IRGC and the supreme leader himself.

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On Friday, Reuters picked up on reporting in Iranian state media which noted that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had once again voiced criticism of President Hassan Rouhani’s handling of the nation’s economy following the nuclear agreement that went into effect at the beginning of last year. The supreme leader’s remarks appeared to specifically highlight the ongoing struggles of the Iranian people, who are experiencing poverty at a rate of at least nine percent and likely much higher.

“Of course the government has taken remarkable steps but if the resistance economy had been implemented fully and widely, we could witness a tangible difference in people’s lives,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. In previous months, he had already called for the renewal of his own “resistance economy” plan, which involves domestic development aimed at making the nation more capable of weather the storm of international economic sanctions, as distinguished from Rouhani’s plan of reaching out to Western powers in order to alleviate those sanctions.

Khamenei’s recommendations thus serve a dual purpose. In the first place, they further undermine the prospects for further rapprochement between the Islamic Republic and the West. And secondly, they defray blame for economic woes away from the supreme leader’s office and its hardline affiliates, putting it instead onto the Rouhani administration, which faces a contentious reelection bid in May.

But recently released intelligence strongly suggests that the supreme leader and hardline authorities like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bear a great deal of responsibility for the economic struggles of Iranian citizens, as a result of the systematic misappropriation both of budgetary funds and financial resources earned through Iran’s private sector. On Wednesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a panel discussion coinciding with the release of an e-book titled, The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.

In both the discussion and the document, the leading Iranian opposition group explained that a recent push toward widespread privatization of the Iranian economy has actually resulted in the private acquisition of more than half of the country’s gross domestic product by front companies and other affiliates of the IRGC and the supreme leader himself.

The Washington Times reported upon some of the findings presented in that document, emphasizing the fact that the regime is using these privately acquired assets to channel billions of dollars into regional terrorism, paramilitary activities, and weapons development. The article notes that the intelligence gathered by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran found that approximately 100 billion dollars was being spent annually just on salaries for militant fighters in the Syrian Civil War.

The Washington Times credits the NCRI with presenting a clear warning to Western businesses and policymakers. And the document itself says, “Foreign investors cannot in practical terms avoid entanglement by affiliation in the Iranian regime’s behavior, including its support for terrorism, continued aggressive policies towards regional countries, manufacture and testing of ballistic missiles, and systematic egregious human rights violations inside Iran.”

To critics of Iran’s clerical regime, this entanglement is worrying in its own right because of Tehran’s traditional behavior. And it is made more worrying by the fact that the above-mentioned ballistic missile program is being used alongside other types of weapons as a tool of explicit anti-Western propaganda.

This fact was highlighted once again on Friday when the Associated Press reported that General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace division, had boasted of the successful testing of another ballistic missile. The launch was aimed at naval targets and took place amidst three days of large-scale training exercises by the Iranian Navy, which is separate from the naval forces of the IRGC.

The IRGC conducted its own naval operations the previous week, and both demonstrations were accompanied by boastful rhetoric about readiness for war with proclaimed enemies including the United States. In a separate example of the same propaganda trends, Iran also premiered an animated film depicting a military officer modeled after IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani leading a small number of Iranian vessels in destroying a much larger American fleet.

In January, the IRGC conducted the test launch of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile barely a week after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. Such tests take place in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to refrain from work on weapons that could carry a nuclear warhead, but a half dozen other such launches had been carried out before Trump was inaugurated but after the conclusion of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.

The January incident was apparently the immediate impetus for a statement by the Trump administration putting Iran on notice over its provocative behavior. But various observers including US Navy officers have declared that that behavior remains unchanged, and that the IRGC continues to act unprofessionally and confrontationally in the region. Last weekend, for instance, several fast-attack vessels belonging to the IRGC positioned themselves about 600 yards away from a US Navy surveillance ship and three British vessels, compelling them to change course.

The AP reported on Friday that Iranian officials had since made exactly the opposite claim about the incident: that the American and British vessels had changed course specifically to approach the Iranian boats. But considering that this is at odds with the accounts of various other Iranian-initiated close-encounters, it seems to suggest an effort on Tehran’s part to justify its missile tests and defiant rhetoric, by suggesting that the US is the more aggressive party.

Assuming that this particular Iranian claim is indeed a deceptive one, it is certainly not the only one of its kind. The ongoing propaganda campaign also appears to involve an effort to present Iran as being much better positioned than it is for global conflict. This is suggested by the aforementioned film and the statements accompanying military demonstrations and missile tests. But the tendency is perhaps much more clearly on display in allegedly false Iranian claims of advanced weapons development.

The National Interest recently pointed to this phenomenon as it concerns the Qaher F-313 fighter jet, which is supposedly equivalent to an American F-35 stealth fighter, and which Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan claimed was ready for operational testing. In fact, independent analyses of photographs of the craft are broadly in agreement that it is merely a non-functional mockup, and a poorly structured one, at that.

Similar claims have been made about other Iranian weapons and equipment, including drones supposedly cloned from captured American technology. Other military hardware unveiled by the Iranian Army and the Revolutionary Guards has been shown to be little more than outmoded technology affixed with purely cosmetic upgrades. But to the extent that the regime is able to use its tightly controlled state media to present these so-called developments to a domestic audience, it may evoke a more war-ready image of Iran than is defensible in reality.

What’s more, this messaging dovetails with Supreme Leader Khamenei’s statements on the Iranian economy, insofar as it suggests Iran is capable of greater-than-expected domestic military development, while also concealing the fact that much of the country’s military allotment is being spent in foreign territory like Syria and Yemen instead of on advanced domestic development, whether military or civilian.