Posted tagged ‘Khamenei’

The Revolutionary Guard’s long shadow over Iran’s presidential election

May 19, 2017

The Revolutionary Guard’s long shadow over Iran’s presidential election, Long War Journal, May 19, 2017

Iranians head to the polls today to choose between “bad and worse” in yet another unfair-and-unfree presidential election. The primary challenger, Ebrahim Raisi – who is considered a frontrunner to succeed Khamenei – has received the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the protector of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution who have long cast a dark shadow over the country.

The Guard’s political interference has at times been so blatant that incumbent President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday publicly called on it not to meddle. During the final debate last week, Rouhani criticized the Guards for mobilizing support for Raisi.

Some in the West point to this as proof that Rouhani is the “lesser of two evils,” yet the political effect of this difference is minimal:  Rouhani cannot overcome the Guards and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on matters of foreign and security policy—to the extent that he even has differences with them. Rouhani’s feud with the corps goes back to the Iran-Iraq War and is less politically convulsive than can sometimes appear to outside observers.

Since 1989, the Revolutionary Guards’ intervention in Iranian politics and commerce has expanded dramatically under the watch of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has relied on the corps to consolidate his power.

While Rouhani has installed more intelligence ministry than Guard veterans in his cabinet, the corps overshadows all other security and military institutions.

Khamenei and the Guards exercise formal and informal means to check the elected branches. The corps’ decision-making hierarchy is dominated by a tightly-knit network of Iran-Iraq War (1980 – 1988) veterans loyal to the supreme leader. During the reform era (1997 – 2005), Khamenei and the Guards curtailed the agenda of former President Mohammad Khatami and purged reformists from the parliament.

As a partly conscript military organization, however, the 150,000-strong Guard Corps somewhat mirrors society, though more so the pro-regime base since Iranians who don’t support the regime often prefer to enlist in the regular army.  The Revolutionary Guards purged their ranks after the massive demonstrations following the 2009 presidential election: many officers and the rank-and-file refused to attack protesters.  Senior commanders have become more careful about vetting officers.  Khamenei-picked clerical commissars enforce ideological conformity and the corps’ Counter Intelligence Organization, souped up after 2009, roots out dissent.

Factionalism among the Guards, however, remains. For instance, former senior commander and parliamentarian, Mansour Haghighatpour, told a pro-reform newspaper the Guards foiled his re-election bid in the northwestern district of Ardebil last year because he voted for the 2015 nuclear accord.

The Revolutionary Guard has promoted Raisi before he announced his presidential run. Raisi, who owes his power to the supreme leader, has long been close to Iran’s security services. After Khamenei last year appointed Raisi the trustee of Iran’s wealthiest endowment, the Reza Holy Precinct, top Guard commanders visited him in Mashhad.  Media affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard then began promoting Raisi with the senior title of “Ayatollah.” That indicated Raisi was being groomed for the higher office of supreme leader, which nominally requires the senior clerical rank (the media has now returned to calling Raisi a mid-ranking cleric).

Even before the withdrawal of Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran and a former senior Guard commander, from the presidential campaign, Raisi generated the most buzz in hardline circles. Prominent Guard theoretician Hassan Abbasi even claims there’s a “strange” aura to Raisi’s campaign rallies. Photos of guardsmen in Syria declaring their support for Raisi are now commonplace in Iranian social media.  The corps’ weekly Sobh-e Sadegh’s latest edition all but endorses Raisi without naming him directly.

Some in Khamenei’s close circle successfully pushed Raisi to run for president even though he’d initially refused. Cleric Ali Panahian, head of the pro-Khamenei think tank Ammar Base, told a militant seminary audience in Qom this month that Raisi consented to run with reservations.  Panahian viewed Raisi as “one of the sources of support” for the Islamic Republic regardless of “the result of the election.”  Panahian has dubbed Raisi the “seyyed of the dispossessed” (“seyyed” is an honorific given to descendants of the Prophet Muhammad).

The Guard Corps has also directly mobilized supporters for Raisi’s campaign rallies.  A reporter who attended Raisi’s Tehran campaign rally this week said the vast majority of attendees were members of the Basij – an all-volunteer, paramilitary organization that falls under the corps’ command. Eyewitnesses outside the campaign rally videotaped men on motorcycles and more than a dozen buses – hallmarks of the Guard’s mobilization.

The Revolutionary Guards might try to tip the results in Raisi’s favor. Polls by their media seem to predict a Raisi victory. The Guard Corps has attempted to station forces at Tehran’s ballot stations on election day, drawing a protest of a senior official from the interior ministry, which counts the votes and is under the control of Rouhani.  Iranian parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi this week warned about the spread of undercover security agents in Tehran, some of whom vowed to crush the “green sedition,” referring to the 2009 Green Movement. The Guard may want to rig the results by a few points to avoid the mistake of declaring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a large margin, which instantly led to widespread suspicions of fraud and massive demonstrations.

Rouhani’s supporters may well accuse the corps and the supreme leader of fraud if Raisi wins. Rouhani has been leading the polls and the public expects high turnout of the reformist base, which could only benefit Rouhani. The president has loudly and repeatedly warned against the Guards’ meddling in this election.

For his part, Khamenei has not overtly expressed his preference for president but has criticized Rouhani throughout the campaign, and has vowed to “slap in the face” anyone who “wishes to disrupt security.” He obviously fears a repetition of 2009 that rocked the regime to its core.

Whatever the result of the election, the Guard Corps will remain the most powerful network in the country.   A Raisi presidency would be beholden.  A Rouhani victory, however, cannot roll back the Guards’ influence.  The Islamic Republic’s history leaves no doubt that republican institutions are incapable of overcoming the unelected powers of the supreme leader and his praetorians, who perceive reform as an existential threat.  The prospect for gradual, peaceful reform within the Islamic Republic is bleak.

Why Iran’s supreme leader fears gender equality

April 1, 2017

Why Iran’s supreme leader fears gender equality, American ThinkerHassan Mahmoudi, April 1, 2017

(Many Western “feminists” complain about their abject misery and don “pussy hats” to make their points. They ignore the far worse situations of their sisters in Islamist regimes such as the Islamist Republic of Iran, while proclaiming the benefits of Islamist fundamentalism. — DM) 

The mullahs of Iran and their fundamentalist disciples are not only the enemy of the people of Iran, but also the enemies of all Middle East nations and the entire world.

In particular, in so far as it concerns women, fundamentalism targets and jeopardizes all the achievements that women have made to date.

Therefore, confronting the Iranian regime should be the immediate goal of women’s struggle all over the world. Women’s international sisterhood and solidarity demands that they support the fight against the fundamentalist regime of Iran.


For the ayatollahs, women’s rights are a matter of puppetry, with yes-women parroting whatever the mullahs’ line for the day is. For Iran’s real women’s rights champions, the picture is very different. They can demonstrate why the ayatollahs are terrified of equality.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in his address to the nation on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, claimed that gender equality is a “Zionist plot” aiming to corrupt the role of women in society. He told a meeting of religious speakers in Tehran that Iranians should resist feminist ideas last March 20.

Khamenei claimed that men and women are equal in the “ascendance of spiritual positions, the power of leadership, and the capability to lead humankind.”

For Khamenei, the occasion of Nowruz, or any national celebration or religious holiday, is nothing but a cynical means of safeguarding his dictatorship. So of course he can make preposterous claims as he did above. In ayatollah-ruled Iran, women’s rights are not about empowering women but just another way to lie to society about state policies. Nothing explains it better than to use the maxim of Adolf Hitler, who said: Make the lie big. Make it simple. Keep saying it, and eventually people will believe it. The ayatollahs use this maxim. But the people in Iran and especially women have never believed his words.

In other contexts, the ayatollah has sung a different tune.

Khamenei said: “the effort to establish equality between men and women was “one of the biggest intellectual mistakes” of the Western world.”

Grotesquely enough, Khamenei has quislings in state women’s groups who echo his sentiment, expressing approval.

One is Minou Aslani, head of the Women’s Basij organization in Iran, affiliated with the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which cracks down on women for any sign of independence. It has called the promotion of gender equality illegal and demanded that the country’s powerful judiciary take action against people who speak out against such state-sponsored discrimination, according to the semiofficial Mehr news agency. On Dec. 06, 2016, she condemned efforts to increase the number of women in parliament. Pushing for greater female participation threatens to “distort” the identity of Iran’s women, she said.

Her ‘thinking’ couldn’t be less like those of normal women’s rights activists operating under great pressure in Iran. In a roundtable discussion called Women in Leadership, the Experience of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the President-elect of National Council of Resistance of Iran expressed the authentic reality. I have permission to reprint her thinking in full and share it now:

The Iranian women’s struggle for freedom and equality has lasted one-and-a-half centuries. Iranian and Western historians who have studied the developments of the past 150 years in Iran have clearly attested to this reality.

Over this span of time, we have seen vanguard women who rose up and proved their competence in various arenas despite the reigning culture and policies of tyranny and misogyny. This phenomenon was most significantly demonstrated in women’s courageous participation in the anti-dictatorial struggles over this period.

Women’s struggle is essentially the best and most comprehensive indicator of progress in a given society. How can we measure the advances of a society towards real progress and development? The answer is to the extent it endeavors to achieve freedom and equality.

In the absence of gender equality, any political, economic or social progress would be ineffective, fleeting, or reversible.

From this vantage point, the uprisings which led to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah in Iran marked a major leap forward through women’s remarkable and extensive participation in street demonstrations. This new phenomenon unveiled the Iranian people’s widespread desire for progress. At the same time, it revealed a shocking contradiction:

One the one hand, the ruling regime quickly adopted regressive and despotic policies and caused appalling backwardness. On the other hand, the Iranian society was broadly seeking freedom and democracy, and sought to make social progress and advancements.

Such contradiction led in the first step to a major clash. The barbarity and savagery of the new regime drenched the Iranian revolution in blood.

The Role of Women in the Iranian Resistance

Women’s active participation in confrontation with the mullahs’ religious fascism formed the corner stone and foundation of resistance against the regime.

Quantitatively, women’s participation in this struggle was extensive since the outset. Qualitatively, they were brave, efficient and selfless.

Tens of thousands of women were tortured or executed in the struggle against the ruling fundamentalist regime. These events were particularly transpiring in the 1980s.

If women did not have powerful motivations, and if they had not set their sights on a bright and magnificent horizon, they would have definitely been intimidated by the merciless tortures and massacres that were unprecedented in our contemporary history. But, instead, the clampdown made them even more determined and resolute.

Women’s role rapidly became more pronounced in the post-revolution developments in Iran. They became the pivotal force of the movement.

Today, women hold key and leadership positions in the resistance movement. They make up more than 50 percent of the members of the Resistance’s parliament-in-exile.

The guiding principles of women’s role in the Iranian Resistance can be summarized as the following:

First, the struggle of the women of this movement for equality has been deeply intertwined and connected to the broader struggle for freedom in Iran. Therefore, it has targeted the ruling dictatorship, which is a religious tyranny, while combating its forced religious edicts, misogyny and inhumane discriminations.

Second, they have waged a foundational struggle against objectification of women while defying the gender-based ideology that forms the central tenet of inequality.

Third, women have recognized their mission and mandate in leading this movement while discovering and subsequently implementing in practice the fact that the hegemonic role of women in this perseverance provides a liberating force and propeller.

Fourth, the pioneering women have linked their struggle to the efforts and struggle of the resistant and equality-seeking men of the movement. They see it as an important part of their responsibilities to support the men of the movement in the struggle against inequality and against patriarchal thinking and culture.

The Emergence of Islamic Fundamentalism

Iranian women have gained many valuable experiences in their struggle against the ruling religious tyranny, which is the source of Islamic fundamentalism.

A cursory review of the history of the origins of fundamentalism and its essence will aid us in explaining this point more clearly.

Since the late 18th century and early 19th century, in the geographical region that hosts most of the Islamic countries – extending from North Africa to the Caucuses, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean – under the shadow of major political, social and technological developments in the world, the people engaged in struggles to change their destiny. They sought to gain freedom, independence, rule of the law, as well as economic and social progress. Why did this wave wash over Islamic countries?

In such a setting, several destructive factors set the groundwork for the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism. Ignorance, lack of education and backwardness are, of course, some of the contributing factors. Additionally, however, one can mention the interventions and mistakes committed by western governments in these countries, whose catastrophic effects, including invasions and the displacement of peoples and destruction of national social institutions of the countries of the region produced deep antipathy and a sense of resentment toward western countries. This fact has been verified today by quite a few western thinkers and even politicians.

Western governments gave support to dictatorial regimes and thus destroyed the middle class, produced an uneven economic and social growth, and eliminated nationalist parties and freedom-loving movements in these countries.

The Defining Impact of the Iranian Regime

The ascendance to power of Khomeini and his allies in exceptional and unique historical circumstances marked the exact moment when Islamic fundamentalism as we know it entered the global stage. This was a horrendous power-thirsty and profoundly misogynous force founded on religious discrimination. It instituted its backward sharia laws as a mechanism to establish a religious tyranny, and became a model of governance for fundamentalist groups.

In reality, dictatorships like the previous regime of Iran were too weak and corrupt to be able to stand against the waves of people who demanded freedom and particularly against the power of women and youths.

So, instead, religious fundamentalists undertook the mission to crack down on and suppress them.

The Essence of Fundamentalism

At its core, what does Islamic fundamentalism want to oppose or stand against? Is it the world of Islam lining up against the West or in particular against Christianity and Judaism?

The answer is NO. The truth is that the real dispute is not between Islam and Christianity, Islam and the West, or Shiites and Sunnis. It is, rather, a confrontation between freedom and subjugation, and between equality and injustice.

Islamic fundamentalism, in essence, represents a backlash against the overwhelming tendency of the peoples of the region, especially women and youth, towards freedom, democracy and equality.

Enmity against Women

It should now be clear why fundamentalism focuses its wrath and violence against women more than anyone else. It is because women’s emancipation was the central theme of the demands of the enormous tide of people who sought a new order, freedom and equality.

Women emerged as a new force in the 1979 revolution in Iran and played a remarkable role.

For this reason, the role of women rapidly evolved and became more prominent in the course of the developments after the revolution, turning into the pivotal force of movement and struggle.
They were in the frontlines of resistance in torture chambers; they were in the front lines of demonstrations during the 2009 uprising; and they were in the front lines of the command structure in the National Liberation Army of Iran.

In contrast to this, enmity to women lies at the heart of Islamic fundamentalism and suppression of women is the central component for the suppression of the entire society.

Why did the mullahs need to revive the laws of past millennia in the final years of the 20th Century?

Why did they commit such inconceivable crimes under the name of Islam?

The answer is because they faced a widespread and general desire that could only be confronted and contained by naked oppression.

The Iranian regime innovated most of the cruelties and evil crimes that were later

The Iranian Resistance and its vanguard women launched their fight against a regime which not only was the enemy of the people of Iran but the main threat to the entire Middle East.

We have been warning since three decades ago that Islamic fundamentalism is a global threat.

Over the past 15 years, this threat has emerged in the form of terrorism and conflicts in the Middle East.

Today, we can see that European capitals have not remained immune from terrorist crimes carried out by fundamentalists. Wherever fundamentalists guided by the mullahs enter the scene, their terrorism and destruction quickly begins.

In conclusion, I would like to underscore the imperative and necessity for the entire world to confront this ominous phenomenon.

The mullahs of Iran and their fundamentalist disciples are not only the enemy of the people of Iran, but also the enemies of all Middle East nations and the entire world.

In particular, in so far as it concerns women, fundamentalism targets and jeopardizes all the achievements that women have made to date.

Therefore, confronting the Iranian regime should be the immediate goal of women’s struggle all over the world. Women’s international sisterhood and solidarity demands that they support the fight against the fundamentalist regime of Iran.

Iran’s Elections: A Breaking Crisis?

April 1, 2017

Iran’s Elections: A Breaking Crisis? American ThinkerShahriar Kia, April 1, 2017

(If and to the extent that this analysis is correct, we should provide clandestine assistance to the Iranian resistance, both in and outside Iran. In view of the hostility between the current Iranian regime and the Arab League, it might well be willing to do its part. — DM)

The 12th presidential election in Iran will be held on May 19th. These polls are taking place at a time when the regime in Tehran, and especially Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, are facing three distinct crises.

a)  Khamenei, suffering from prostate cancer, sees his days as numbered and must designate a successor. From March 2015 he has held various sessions with senior regime and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) officials for this very purpose. Khamenei insists that his successor be clarified prior to his death.

b)  A major policy overhaul in Washington following the end of Obama’s tenure. This has terrified Iran and placed this regime in intense isolation on the international stage and across the region in the face of Arab and Islamic countries.

c)  The presidential election crisis in May.

Khamenei, witnessing his establishment coming to its knees during the 2009 uprisings, is extremely concerned about a repeat scenario. In such circumstances, the possibility of his entire regime crumbling at the hands of a revolting population is very serious and even likely. Khamenei is weighing how to properly engineer the elections while not providing any pretext for popular upheaval.

In contrast to the viewpoints of various parties in the West, the rifts inside Khamenei’s faction and those supporting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani does not arise from a difference between two so-called “moderate” and/or “hardline” mentalities. The fact is that the sham election is a dispute over two solutions aimed at safeguarding and maintaining a religious dictatorship in power, furthering their expansionism and ambitions.

Both factions, including Khamenei and the current formerly represented by the influential Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, believe in resorting to a domestic crackdown, obtaining nuclear weapons, meddling in the internal affairs of other countries such as Iraq and Syria, and using instability and terrorism leverage as a tool to pursue their foreign policy. The only difference is how to advance in their goal to realize these objectives. Therefore, when we are talking about two factions, we must not mistakenly compare the Iranian regime with today’s advanced democracies.

Khamenei is considered very weak due to the current crises his regime is facing. In contrast to last year, when he constantly lashed out at Rouhani for the deal sealed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and similar initiatives sought for other purposes, Khamenei refused to mention Iran’s current political crises. Furthermore, following the major U.S,-Iran policy change, Khamenei has set aside his stereotype threats against the U.S. and maintained a state of hesitancy in his remarks.

Khamenei and Election Engineering

Candidates for Iran’s presidential elections will register from April 11th to the 16th. The ultraconservative Guardian Council, a 12-man body directly and indirectly appointed by Khamenei himself, will weigh the candidates’ qualifications from April 17th to the 27th. The elections are scheduled for May 19th.

Iran’s presidential elections always feature a large number of candidates. However, the main candidates from the two main factions must receive Khamenei’s explicit or implicit approval.

“Rouhani’s candidacy was confirmed after gaining the approval of the establishment’s senior officials,” according to the Ebtekar daily.

By establishing the “Popular Party of Revolutionary Forces” and the membership of the same individuals who elevated firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president from the ballot boxes back in 2005, Khamenei has revealed signs of how he has engineered the upcoming elections.

In his “Nowruz” message marking the Iranian calendar New Year, Khamenei came to admit his role in the results of the 2009 presidential election.

“I entered the 2009 [presidential election] and stood firm,” he said. In his remarks, Khamenei warned about the May election by stipulating, “I will stand firm and intervene.”

It is worth noting the IRGC command, and especially Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani, are seeking the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, who is also considered one of Khamenei’s options as his successor. Khamenei has yet to reach a final decision over Reisi’s candidacy in the May elections. If he registers as a candidate and fails to become president, his chances of succeeding Khamenei will be severely undermined. And if Khamenei seeks to select Reisi as the next president at all costs, he faces the severe possibility of instigating nationwide uprisings.

What is the Forecast?

Naturally, due to the numerous different elements facing Khamenei and his regime’s factions, forecasting even the near future is quite a challenging task. However, there are three different scenarios facing Khamenei:

1) Eliminating Rouhani and selecting a candidate meeting his standards, and that of the IRGC.

2) Rouhani is severely weakened after losing Rafsanjani, considered a major pillar in the regime’s apparatus. He will be reappointed as president on the condition of succumbing to the hegemony of Khamenei and the IRGC.

3) Rouhani views Khamenei weak in the balance of power and stands as a major opponent against his faction.

Of course, Khamenei prefers to realize the first scenario. If concerns of nationwide uprisings cancel this possibility, he will give in to the second scenario.

Although Rouhani is in favor of the third scenario, considering the society’s powder keg conditions and losing the support of Rafsanjani, such a turn of events would be considered dangerous for both the regime’s factions. This outcome can bring an end to the public’s fear of the regime’s domestic crackdown machine and ignite a new nationwide uprising. This is a red line for both of Iran’s factions.

Those supporting Khamenei, and especially the IRGC, seek to eliminate Rouhani from these elections. However, Khamenei cannot take very bold measures and officially oppose Rouhani’s candidacy. When confirming Rouhani’s candidacy, Khamenei asked him to hold coordinating meetings with Sulemani and IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari. This request brings us closer to the second scenario.

However, the Iranian people and their organized opposition, symbolized in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), consider such elections under the mullahs’ regime as baseless and demand free and fair elections held under the United Nations auspices. Such polls are only possible through regime change in Iran and establishing a democratic system.

Designating Women as ‘Means of Pleasure’ A Zionist Plot: Leader

March 19, 2017

Designating Women as ‘Means of Pleasure’ A Zionist Plot: Leader, Tasnim News Agency, March 19, 2017

(Keep them barefoot and pregnant. Thus spake feminist leader Khamenei. Please see also, ‘You Are Europe’s Future’: Erdogan Tells Turks in Europe Have Five Kids, Not Three.– DM)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said labeling women as “goods and tool of pleasure” in the West is possibly a Zionist plot aimed at destroying the human society.

Hazrat Fatimah’s character and conduct, as a true leader and also an exemplary spouse and mother, provides a “perfect role model for Muslim women”, the Leader said on Sunday addressing panegyrists on Prophet’s Household on the occasion of birthday anniversary of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA), the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

With a grandeur and stature beyond human’s understanding and imagination, yet one of Hazrat Zahra’s roles was being a “mother, wife and housewife”, he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei further said some unaware deceived people humiliate housewives, while it means raising humans and producing the highest product in the universe, i.e. the human being.

“Designating women as goods and means of pleasure in the western world, most probably, is among Zionists’ plots to destroy human community,” the Leader stressed.

Imam Khamenei has repeatedly in various occasions attached great importance to the status of women in society and family.

Back in 2011, the Leader said in a speech that the Islamic system must do more to fully revive the genuine, Islamic status of women.

Ayatollah Khamenei said problems of the world today stemmed largely from the west’s wrong attitude towards the status of women in society and family and that the wrong attitude has triggered a crisis.

The west has established an unfair equation in society under which the men are the beneficiary and the women are the benefit, and based on the equation, the women must act in such ways as to satisfy the beneficiary, he said, adding, “This is the most immense oppression ever against women”.

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.


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.


Iran’s Leader Urges Palestinians to Launch Violent Uprising

February 21, 2017

Iran’s Leader Urges Palestinians to Launch Violent Uprising, Investigative Project on Terrorism, February 21, 2017

Khamenei Associate Mehdi Taeb: ‘The Jews… Are The Only Ones Who Need Weapons Of Mass Destruction In Order To Rule The World – Because There Are 1.4 Billion Muslims And None Of Them Agree To Jewish Supremacy’

January 27, 2017

Khamenei Associate Mehdi Taeb: ‘The Jews… Are The Only Ones Who Need Weapons Of Mass Destruction In Order To Rule The World – Because There Are 1.4 Billion Muslims And None Of Them Agree To Jewish Supremacy’, MEMRI, January 27, 2017

In speeches and lectures that have been uploaded to the Internet in the past year, Mehdi Taeb, who directs the Ammar Strategic Base that advises Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has expressed antisemitic views. In his statements, Taeb has claimed that the Jews aim to control the world and therefore are obligated to kill anyone who is not willing to accept this control, particularly Muslims. He reiterated the antisemitic canard about the Jews controlling the global economy and the media, and stated that they hatch plots and sow division, strife and wars, especially among Muslims, in addition to creating and taking advantage of terrorism worldwide so as to ensure their global dominance. The Jews, he implied, even have power over God Himself. He urged his audience to awaken and act against the Jews, as instructed in the Koran, and to remove the cancerous growth of Israel, as commanded by the father of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

This report will focus on two of Taeb’s speeches, a 2011 audio recording[1] and a 2014 video,[2] that in the past few months have been posted online several times. The 2011 recording is part of a series of lectures by Taeb, and the 2014 clip is from a Friday sermon in which he referred to a video of statements by an Israeli rabbi with bogus Farsi subtitles added as “proof” of anti-Shi’ite Jewish plots and terrorist actions aimed at preventing the Mahdi – the Hidden Imam, who is the Shi’ite Messiah – from coming to save the world from the Jews.

6759aMehdi Taeb (image:

Taeb In “Know Your Enemy” Lectures: “No One In The World Wants To Control It As Badly As The Jew, Who Says ‘Either Be My Servant Or Be Destroyed'”

In an hour-long audio recording dated September 23, 2011, which was part of a lecture series titled “Know Your Enemy,” Taeb explained why the Koran warned about the Jews and their global role. The Jews, he said, have special capabilities and they are using them to take over the world. To this end, the Jews have divided the world’s population into three categories: themselves, destined to control the world; another group, destined to serve the Jews; and a third group, comprising those who oppose Jewish rule, and which the Jews are working to exterminate. The Jews need atom bombs and weapons of mass destruction to destroy those who oppose them – that is, 1.4 billion Muslims – and they did not establish the State of Israel before conducting a nuclear test.

“He added that the Jews were keeping the Mahdi from arriving, saying: “The Koran speaks much of the Jews, and often warns about them… Surat Al-Maida [the fifth Surah of the Koran]… states that the Jews are your worst enemy… This surah says that you will ultimately realize this, whether you like it or not, but that if you are willing [to understand] and to avoid [falling for the Jewish deceit], then you will be saved. However, if you are remiss and are not willing [to understand], then one day they [the Jews] will awaken you. In the end, being remiss regarding [the Jews] will also bring about [your] awakening… but after you awaken, you will find yourselves in a grave already dug [for you] by the Jews… Why does the Koran warn so about the Jews? Why is it said that the world is a pawn in the hands of the Jews? … The reason the Koran warns so about the Jews is because they have [special] capabilities, and are the most hostile to us [Muslims, more so than] others. The Jews also know how to attack better than anyone else. They are No. 1 in four ways, and that is why Islam states that we must confront them…

“The Jews want the entire world [for themselves], saying ‘the whole world belongs to us’ and ‘God gave it to us and He cannot take it back.’ If you think about the Star of David, you will realize that the Jews want… to take over the world in three stages: The first stage is Jerusalem… the second stage is from the Nile to the Euphrates, and the third stage is the whole world. The Star of David has six points. This symbol is meant to shine in the [Jewish] Temple [in Jerusalem]. Its two upper lines symbolize [the territory] from the Nile to the Euphrates, [and once they control that] then the six points of the Star of David will spread across the world and connect up with each other… in controlling the whole world.

“They have divided humanity into three categories… The first class is the Jews, who are supposed to conquer the world… and as long as they do not take over the entire world, God’s hands are tied… The second class is those who are not descendants of Jacob, but who agree that the Jews are the first class… These people are entitled to live, but must serve the Children of Israel… The third class is those who are not Children of Israel and who do not agree to the supremacy of the Children of Israel, and reject their rule… The Talmud [of the Jews] states that such people should be killed as cheaply as possible – [that is], if you can kill them with a rock, don’t kill him with a sword, because that will dull the blade…

“According to this, under the global Jewish regime, the Muslims need to be killed… Who needs an atom bomb? … The Jews! They are the only ones who need weapons of mass destruction in order to control the world, because there are 1.4 billion Muslims and none of them agree to Jewish supremacy… In order to control the world, the Jews must kill 1.4 billion Muslims… and therefore need atom bombs… Until the Jews carried out an atomic bomb test, they did not establish the State of Israel… No one in the world wants to control it as badly as the Jew, who says ‘Either be my servant or be destroyed’… For 3,000 years, the Jews have been preparing the ground for this. Today, the world’s wealth is in Jewish hands… The world hates the Americans because of their relationship with the Zionists…

“The Imam [Khomeini] once said that the Jews say Iran purchased weapons from Israel – because [the Jews] know how lowly they are, and how they are hated, and know that anyone with a connection to Israel will be hated as well. They want Iran to be hated, so they say that it purchased weapons from Israel…

“America is not severing ties with Israel because 80% of American wealth belongs to Israel… Wherever there is fire and fighting in the world, such as in India and Pakistan, the reason for it should be investigated among the Jews. The same goes for Africa…

“Because three years ago Jacques Chirac supported Hizbullah, the Jews are causing chaos in France, so as to make trouble for him… If you Muslims want the Imam Mahdi to arrive, you must remove this stumbling block [to his arrival] – that is, the Jews… In order to control the world, the Jews create chaos…That is why it is said that the world is a pawn in the hands of the Jews…

“In order for you Muslims to attain world domination, you must remove this cancerous growth… That is why the Imam Khomeini said that Israel should be removed from the map of the world…

“The Koran said that the Jews must pay the jizya [poll tax], must deliver it with both hands, and must also present themselves [to the Muslim authorities] every week – because if you leave the Jews alone, they will scheme.”

Taeb On Video Of Israeli Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak And “The Jewish Deceit”: “This Is The First Time A Clip Of A Jewish Rabbi In A Jewish Synagogue Was Leaked… He Says That [The Jews] Should Do Something So That They [The Shi’ites] Cannot Bring Their Imam Mahdi”

A video dated July 18, 2014 and posted online several times in recent months shows Taeb giving a Friday sermon in which he refers to a July 8, 2014 video of Israeli rabbi Amnon Yitzhak giving a speech to a Jewish audience. Although in the video the rabbi is discussing the biblical story of Abraham’s hospitality to three visitors in Chapter 18 of Genesis, the Farsi subtitles show him talking about Jewish plans to sow divisions among the Shi’ites so as to delay the arrival of the Mahdi. Taeb says that the rabbi’s statements prove that a Jewish trick is preventing the arrival of the Mahdi.

Following are Taeb’s statements to his audience of worshippers about what he claims the rabbi is saying:

“The Koran states that the worst hostility towards the [Muslim] believers comes from the Jews… That is, if the Imam Mahdi cannot arrive, it is because of them. ‘Go break his [the Jew’s] hands’…

“This is the first time a clip of a Jewish rabbi in a Jewish synagogue has been leaked. He gives a speech, and [in it] says that [the Jews] should do something so that they [the Shi’ites] are not able to bring their Imam Mahdi [because the Jews fear]… that if their Imam Mahdi arrives, he will dismantle our entire [Jewish] enterprise…

“[This rabbi says:] We [Jews] created Sarkhi[3] so that [the Shi’ites] would be preoccupied. We promote world soccer, so do something in order for them [the Shi’ites] to be preoccupied with soccer, sports, and the like. Do something so that they fail and turn on each other…

“This [speech by the rabbi] reveals that they [the Jews] created ISIS so that we are preoccupied with each other and so that the coming of the Imam Mahdi will be delayed. These are the explicit statements by that Jewish rabbi.”

To watch the video, click the player below. For the translation of the Farsi subtitles, see Appendix A; for a translation of Amnon Yitzhak’s actual statements in the relevant segment, see Appendix B.

(Video at the link — DM)

APPENDIX A: Translation Of Farsi Subtitles Added To July 8, 2014 Clip Of Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak

“It is absolutely necessary to distance the Shi’a in Iraq from extremist elements, as well as from thoughts of assisting their co-religionists [elsewhere], as well as from the faith written in their books, and from their Imam Mahdi who [is supposed] to fight us – so that they [the Shi’ites] cannot help him [the Mahdi] in the end times.

“Therefore, a source [of religious guidance] must be created, in order to divert them [the Shi’ites] from their religion and faith, and keep them preoccupied with games, and lead them in the direction of sporting events. [Exploiting] their love of soccer is very important right now.

“Mahmud Al-Sarkhi, our agent in Iraq, whose projects we generally rely on – after Mahmoud Al-Sarkhi was assassinated, his brother became our agent, and we made him a mirror image of his brother. And his stupid friends confirmed that he was [indeed Sarkhi] himself, after we trained him, and now he attacks everyone to create division.

“I ask you to log onto Facebook, spread his words and attacks, and become his disciples.”

APPENDIX B: Translation Of Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak’s Statements

“It’s possible to enjoy this world and live a good and happy life, even in materialistic terms, but with blessings. You can eat delicious food and say a blessing over it, drink a delicious beverage and say a blessing over it. You can have fun, dance and celebrate – but always with a blessing, while [following the] religious commandments. Everything, even the most material things, can be [used as a chance to follow the] religious commandments. When our father Abraham hosted [the three visitors], he stood there, 99 years old, in the heat of the day, after his circumcision. It was the third day after the circumcision, which is the most painful. To make him go back into his tent [God] made the sun come out [and shine hot], but [Abraham] did not go back in. He sees three Arabians, who were [really] angels, approaching him. They looked like heathen Arabians to him, [yet] he invited into his home. He ran over to his cattle, slaughtered [a calf], did everything to be hospitable. He showed them charity, that is the Jewish [way]. What did he feed them? Three tongues of oxen in mustard. He took tongues from three oxen. [He could have] taken one tongue and divided it into three, because it is large, [but] no, he was 100% charitable. You know what was happening at the time? When those Arabians arrived, the Lord was with [Abraham]. ‘The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent.'”


[1], September 23, 2011; translation starts at 26:00.

[2], July 18, 2014.

[3] Apparently a reference to Mahmud Al-Hasani al-Sarkhi, an Iraqi Shia cleric in Iraq whose followers attacked the Iranian consulate in Basra in protest over criticism of their leader that was broadcast on Iranian television.