Posted tagged ‘Regime change’

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

November 4, 2017

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myths We Die By

September 25, 2017

Myths We Die By, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, September 24, 2017

In this Aug. 14, 2017, photo distributed Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledges a welcome from the military officers during his visit to Korean People’s Army’s Strategic Forces in North Korea. The Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that Kim during an inspection of the KPA’s Strategic Forces praised the military for drawing up a “close and careful” plan. Kim said he will give order for the missile test if the United States continues its “extremely dangerous actions” on the Korean Peninsula. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

[N]one of the top policy makers sees the enemy alliance as a global threat. They think case-by-case, trying to devise separate “solutions” for each enemy.

I think they are wrong in both instances. I think Kim, Khamenei and Maduro, along with Putin and Assad, are right to fear their own people. And I am convinced that revolution is more likely to advance our interests than are military surges or economic sanctions.


It’s now two weeks since we learned that British intelligence has concluded that the North Koreans couldn’t have developed their nuclear weapons all by themselves. According to the Telegraph, “North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they’re not doing it entirely in a vacuum,” said one government minister. The two main suspects, according to the Brits, are the Iranians and the Russians.

This is not exactly breaking news. For years, I have written about the Nork/Iranian joint nuclear venture, and a long version of the story written by Gordon Changappeared in 2015, suggesting that Iran had outsourced part of its nuclear program to Pyongyang:

The relationship between the two regimes has been long-lasting. Hundreds of North Koreans have worked at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran. There were so many nuclear and missile scientists, specialists, and technicians that they took over their own coastal resort there, according to Henry Sokolski, the proliferation maven, writing in 2003.

That’s fourteen years ago. The Iran/Nork collusion is similar to an Iran/China arrangement; there are oil-producing areas of Iran under complete Chinese control.

In other words, we’re talking about an international alliance of enemies of America. Iranian and Russian assistance to the Norks’ nuclear project are a big part of that alliance, as is Russian military action, most dramatically on the Middle Eastern battlefield. As Andrew Tabler tells us in suitably ominous tones, Russian-led and -supplied forces, in conjunction with Iranian forces and proxies, just crossed the Euphrates, bringing the enemy alliance closer to conflict with our guys:

In addition, the crossing brings Iran one step closer to its stated goal of creating a land bridge between Iraq and Syria, giving the Islamic Republic another avenue through which to place troops and weapons on the borders of U.S. allies. Tehran has steadily worked toward that goal even as Israel reached a de-escalation agreement in southwestern Syria designed to keep Hezbollah and other Iranian-supported militias a few kilometers away from the Golan Heights frontier.

Remember that the Russians entered the Syrian battlefield after the Iranians begged them for help. Without Russian air power and ground forces, Iran would likely have lost, Assad would have fallen, and the Middle East would be less threatening to our interests than it is today.

Those of a certain age may recall that President George W. Bush delivered a State of the Union address after 9/11, in which he spoke of an “Axis of Evil” comprised of Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and North Korea. Many were baffled at the Norks’ inclusion. Was it an effort at ethnic balance, or what? But we now see that W. was right; North Korea has been deeply involved in the enemy alliance all along.

Iraq has dropped out, although it is increasingly beholden to Tehran. It may yet return to full status in the Evil Axis. And, as President Trump duly noted in his UN speech, there’s also Venezuela, here in our own hemisphere.

The president did well, I thought, to stress that Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela all brutally oppress their own people, whom the Iranian, Korean and Venezuelan tyrants mortally fear. Indeed, Trump was just one small logical step away from the proper strategic conclusion: since those enemies of ours fear their own people almost as much as they fear American military power, we should actively, publicly, and creatively support the internal opposition in all three countries.

But although Trump’s words certainly point in that direction, he has neither called for us and our allies to support internal opposition, nor has he come right out and called for regime change. Why not?

First of all, because his top three national security officials—Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—oppose such a policy. They are more inclined to look for either a military “solution” or to impose crushing sanctions.

Second, none of the top policy makers sees the enemy alliance as a global threat. They think case-by-case, trying to devise separate “solutions” for each enemy.

I think they are wrong in both instances. I think Kim, Khamenei and Maduro, along with Putin and Assad, are right to fear their own people. And I am convinced that revolution is more likely to advance our interests than are military surges or economic sanctions.

Trump has promised to announce a new Middle East (mostly Iran) policy shortly. Some smart people think he’s going to call for support to the oppressed people. I would be thrilled if that happened, but doubt it will.

Hold your breath.

Qatar – the end of the road?

June 9, 2017

Qatar – the end of the road? Israel National News, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, June 9, 2017

(Please see also, Qatar, Trump and Double Games. — DM)

The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.

In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.  Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.

The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: “Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah” and “The Emir of  Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation” as well as “Qatar destabilizes our regime,” as well  as ” Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt,” and “Qatar is giving aid to  the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen.”

Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera‘s site: “Qatar refused to meet Trump’s financial demands.” This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump.   The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump’s noticeably grim face in Riyadh.

Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar. Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as  Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Al Jazeera‘s media strategy is determined by Qatar’s Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.

Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera‘s offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks

The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to  al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.

Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar’s support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its  terror infrastructure.

Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to “buy” organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.

Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera‘s reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.

The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory.  It is harder to block al Jazeera‘s satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump’s speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS.

Sorry, but I do not buy that story. Declarations about third parties (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) are ordinarily not the reason a public dispute erupts between Iranian monarchs. In my opinion, the reason for blocking the al Jazeera site in Saudi Arabia is a photograph posted on the al Jazeera site while Trump was in Riyadh.

This photo shows King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia awarding the Gold Decoration, the highest honor of the Saudi monarchy, to Donald Trump, but that is not the reason it was posted on al Jazeera. The reason has to do with the woman appearing in it and standing between Suleiman and Trump. I do not know what her name is, but she accompanied Trump during his entire stay in Riyadh standing just behind him and carrying a briefcase. Perhaps she is an interpreter. She is carrying a briefcase filled with important documents that have to be with Trump all the time in one picture as he, of course, would not be seen carrying a briefcase and standing be[hind her].

What is interesting about this woman is that she spent the entire time in the royal palace with her hair uncovered, like Melania Trump, the First Lady, did, even though women with uncovered hair are not to be seen in Saudi Arabia. In the palace, women are also not allowed to b e seen in the company of men. Al Jazeera posted this photo intentionally, in order to embarrass the king who granted Trump an award even though he was accompanied by women who, like those in the picture, who do not cover their hair. That photo of the king was the last straw and the Saudis blocked al Jazeera.

Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.

Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in  Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.

As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: “What star could make Donald Trump the president?” This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar’s own relations with the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar’s membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir’s al-Thani clan.

The next few days will decide Qatar’s future. There  is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, ending cooperation with Iran and above all, listening to what the Saudi “Big Brother” says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.

There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera’s  policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis.  No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world’s joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.

Iran Regime Fears Recurrence of the 2009 Uprising After Its May Elections

April 25, 2017

Iran Regime Fears Recurrence of the 2009 Uprising After Its May Elections, Iran Focus, April 24, 2017

The Iranian Regime is scared of civilian protests because they know that their grip on power is waning; the international community must stand with the Resistance and support the NCRI if they ever want to see democratic elections in Iran.


London, 24 Apr – As their sham Presidential Elections draw ever closer, it becomes clearer and clear that the Iranian Regime is worried about potential uprisings from its oppressed people; similar to the Green revolution which followed the 2009 election.

The Supreme Leader of the Iranian Regime, Ali Khamenei, recently met with military commanders to express his security concerns.

He said: “The security is very important for a country. The Armed Forces play a significant role in this as well, they provide the security of the country with their power. This is one of the important issues.”

He released a statement on his website in which he accused any potential protesters of being enemies of the state.

However, he failed to note that these potential uprisings will be the result of growing inequality between Regime leaders and the Iranian people and the Regime’s brutal treatment of the oppressed and underprivileged.

Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Attorney-General of the regime, expressed his fears of an uprising and stated that the Regime couldn’t allow anything like the 2009 uprising to happen again.

He said: “It is our responsibility to ensure the security of [the] election and deal with criminals and those who intend to disrupt the elections, and we will not abandon any effort.”

Democratic governments are not afraid of protests; they understand that political opponents should be allowed to field candidates in elections and protest against decisions by that government.

The Iranian Regime is not just undemocratic; it is terrified of its own people and their democratic party, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which serves as a government in exile. That’s why it cracks down so severely on any opposition movement.

Hossein Zolfaghari, the Chairman of the Security Committee, has threatened that those who protest the results of the sham election will be dealt with firmly, but given the Regime’s record on dealing with political opponents, this could well mean torture or executions.

The Regime is so scared of their own people, that they have even produced a security handbook specifically to deal with any uprisings that may occur.

Zolfaghari said: “The handbook consists of the necessary precautions for areas prone to security risks. Additionally, the instructions related to security issues have been sent to all provinces. 40 helicopters support the provincial election staffs and all security institutions of the country including the Ministry of Intelligence, the Intelligence Protection Organization of the IRGC, and the Intelligence Organization of the Disciplinary Force are also active.”

The Iranian Regime is scared of civilian protests because they know that their grip on power is waning; the international community must stand with the Resistance and support the NCRI if they ever want to see democratic elections in Iran.

Iran Will Not Cancel The JCPOA – Because It Grants Iran Nuclear State Status And Is A Western Guarantee For The Regime’s Survival

April 7, 2017

Iran Will Not Cancel The JCPOA – Because It Grants Iran Nuclear State Status And Is A Western Guarantee For The Regime’s Survival, MEMRIA. Savyon and Yigal Carmon* April 6, 2017

(Cf. The Real War in ‘Syria’ and the Strategy for Long-Term Victory. — DM)


The JCPOA grants the Iranian regime two historic achievements – the status of a nuclear state and immunity against a Western attack due to its nuclear development. This is effectively a Western guarantee of the Islamic Republic regime’s survival. These achievements cannot be cancelled unless the agreement itself is declared invalid.

Iranian spokesmen have stressed that even if President Trump’s administration cancels the agreement, the agreement cannot be cancelled – because Iran, in its prescience, involved the EU and the UN in backing the agreement. Even if the U.S. alone were to cancel the agreement, it would still remain in force – that is, Iran’s status as a nuclear state would remain.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani stressed, for example, at a November 11, 2016 cabinet meeting, the day after Trump was elected president, that there was no way to cancel the agreement. He said: “Iran’s wisdom in the nuclear agreement was in the fact that it had the JCPOA approved as a UN Security Council resolution, and not as a [bilateral] agreement with a particular country or administration. Therefore, it will not be changed by any decision by a particular administration.”[1]

Following the JCPOA’s Implementation Day, in January 2016, and even previously, Iranian regime officials repeatedly warned that if the U.S. violated the agreement, and especially if more sanctions were leveled against Iran, Iran would cancel the agreement and revert to the status quo that existed before the agreement, and would even advance beyond it?

For example, an October 21, 2015 letter of guidelines from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to President Rohani constituting “conditional approval” for the agreement stated: “Throughout the eight-year period, any imposition of sanctions at any level and under any pretext (including repetitive and reiterated pretexts of terrorism and human rights) on the part of any of the countries party to the agreement will constitute a violation of the JCPOA and the [Iranian] government would be obligated to take the necessary action as per Clause 3 of the Majlis resolution and stop the activities mandated by the JCPOA.”[2]

Iran Is Changing Its Policy – From Threats To Cancel The Agreement To Threats Of A Parallel Response

However, after the U.S. leveled additional sanctions against Iran, during both the Obama and Trump administrations, it became clear[3] that Iran was not going to implement its threats. Instead, Iran presented a new formula that does not obligate it to abrogate the agreement, as it previously threatened. The new formula determined that the Iranian regime would respond to any U.S. violation of the agreement with its own parallel violation.

Indeed, on March 26, 2017, after the U.S. State Department’s March 24, 2017 announcement of new sanctions against companies and individuals connected to Iran’s missile program, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced counter-sanctions against 15 U.S. companies. Additionally, in response to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, currently under consideration in the U.S. administration and the U.S. Senate designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, Majlis National Security Committee chairman Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi announced, on March 25, 2017, that the committee would present to the Majlis a plan to designate the CIA and U.S. Armed Forces as terrorist organizations, to be carried out after the March 21 Iranian Norouz holiday.[4]

On April 3, 2017, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reiterated: “If the moment comes that the Americans are not implementing the JCPOA, our reversion [to the pre-JCPOA situation] will be very swift, and we will arrive at even more than what we once had… We have enough guarantees for the day when the [Iranian] regime decides and feels that the level of America’s breaking of its promises is so high that we must revert to the pre-JCPOA [situation]. But it does not appear to me that this will happen.” [5]

It should be noted that in his threats about the possibility of Iran’s reversion to the status quo that existed prior to the agreement, Zarif does not set out any red line or specific condition whose violation will oblige Iran to cancel the agreement. Instead, he states that Iran will act “when it feels” that the U.S. is ratcheting up its level of violations against Iran. Furthermore, Zarif adds that such a situation, in his assessment, will not occur.

Iran’s backing down from its previous threats and warnings regarding the JCPOA’s continuing validity even if the U.S. cancels it is testimony to the agreement’s historic importance for the Iranian regime. In our assessment, Iran will not cancel the agreement even if the U.S. continues to level sanctions against the country, even if it is involved in military action against Iranian interests. Iran will not cancel an agreement that endows it with nuclear-state status and that constitutes a guarantee of the regime’s survival and provides immunity from a Western attack aimed at regime change. These historic achievements for Iran were granted to it by the Obama administration by means of the JCPOA.

Needless to say, the threat to revert to the pre-JCPOA situation is in itself an empty threat, because if the regime does this, it will bring itself back to a situation defined by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as “a two-month [nuclear] breakout time.”[6] By doing so, it will bring closer the risk of attack by the West.

The JCPOA – A Tool To Ensure The Survival Of The Iranian Regime

The Iranian regime is clinging to the JCPOA because this agreement guarantees its survival. President Obama promoted the Iranian regime from the status of a “defendant state”, subject to Security Council sanctions for its nuclear program, to the status of a legitimate nuclear state that can negotiate with the rest of the world powers over upgrading its nuclear activity.

The existential threat that led Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to revive Iran’s nuclear project in 2002, (after the founder of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, stopped the country’s Shah-era nuclear project), was the threat to the regime’s survival. The regime was under threat both from being attacked directly by the West, with the aim of bringing about regime change, and indirectly by mobilizing opposition elements at home, which the regime labeled “fitna” – such as the fitna – i.e. civil unrest – following the 2009 presidential election, which it suppressed. For this reason, Khamenei, during the negotiations for the JCPOA, demanded that the U.S. stop the American broadcasts in Farsi to Iran, suspend its political and economic support for Iranian opposition groups, and stop criticizing Iranian censorship of the Internet – all three demands pertain to regime survival (see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 837, Khamenei’s Aim at the Nuclear Talks – Securing the Survival of His Regime, May 15, 2012).

With the JCPOA, Khamenei gained a double achievement, assuring both the survival of his regime and Iran’s membership in the nuclear club. The Iranian regime’s original aim in pursuing the JCPOA was to guarantee the survival of the regime in the face of all the possible threats, from within and without – and was not intended to obtain massive economic aid nor to bring Iran into the Western economy in order to ease its people’s economic distress – which Khamenei intends to do with the “resistance economy,” the main thrust of which is self-reliance and rejection of economic cooperation with the West and foreign investment in Iran.

Iran’s nuclear status, promised to Khamenei by the Obama administration in the agreement that is backed by Europe, allows him to both continue to repress the Iranian people and to continue exporting the Iranian Revolution in the region.

*A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iranian Media Project; Yigal Carmon is President of MEMRI.


[1] ISNA (Iran), November 9, 2016.

[2] MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1196, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Letter Of Guidelines To President Rohani On JCPOA Sets Nine Conditions Nullifying Original Agreement Announced July 14, 2015, October 22, 2015.

[3] Tasnim (Iran), March 26, 2017.

[4] IRIB (Iran), March 25, 2017.

[5] Farsnews (Iran), April 3, 2017.


Iran’s Bluster Is Just Fear of Trump — and Revolution

February 10, 2017

Iran’s Bluster Is Just Fear of Trump — and Revolution, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, February 10, 2017

he-not-heavy-he-my-brotherIranians march while carrying various portraits of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the late pro-U.S. Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

They’re chanting “Death to America” in Tehran again, on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution of 1979. And they are stomping on big posters of The Donald.

Iranian leaders are warning the United States that tough talk and threats are pointless; that Iran is so powerful they will pursue their revolutionary mission no matter what we do or say, that their efforts are blessed by Allah.

But it’s all bluster — and the Iranian people know it.

The rent-a-crowds, which have a high proportion of military men, are not really prepared to directly challenge the United States. The marches, chants, and posters are not so much for our consumption as for that of their own citizens, most of whom are disgusted with the failed regime and yearn for a return to the Western world. The regime fears that, sooner or later, the tens of millions who detest Khamenei, Rouhani, et al., will flood the streets as they recently did on the occasion of the funeral of Hashemi Rafsanjani, chanting anti-regime and anti-Russian slogans.

Today’s “festivities” are designed to keep the Iranian people in their oppressed places — and mass hangings and torture underline their real targets.

The regime is intensely worried that the Trump team is preparing serious action. The mullahs know that if America moves, most Iranians will try to bring down the regime.

As luck would have it, another Persian anniversary arrives next month: Nowruz, the Persian new year, whose origins lie in the country’s Zoroastrian past. The radical Muslims who rule the Islamic Republic have always disliked these celebrations — the most famous of which features jumping through bonfires — and it is likely that there is a vast Zoroastrian underground in the country.

This would be a great occasion for Trump, Tillerson, Pence, Mattis, Flynn, and Pompeo to call for a free Iran. Something like this:

We Americans embrace those brave Iranians who are fighting to be free. We are common victims of the tyrants around Khamenei.

The Tehran regime constantly preaches “Death to America,” and they have made good on this slogan, killing hundreds of American soldiers, taking scores of American hostages, harassing our naval forces in the Persian Gulf, and supporting terrorism worldwide.

We support the Iranian people in their legitimate efforts to freely design a modern constitution, remove the theocratic tyrants, and rejoin the Western world.

Revolutionary Donald? If he can do it here, he can do it there, too.

Humor+ | Laugh. It’s the Best Medicine. Then get serious again.

February 11, 2016

Laugh. It’s the Best Medicine. Then get serious again. Dan Miller’s Blog, February 11, 2016

(The views expressed in this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Obama and Hillary are evil and some Republican candidates are bad. Stay mad, but laugh occasionally because it’s refreshing. Then, let’s take America back.

Sometimes life is hard.

Yeah, but wouldn’t it be terrible if everything always happened just as we want it to?

This is pretty much how government really works. They just aren’t this good as telling us.

Jimmy Buffett manages to offend just about everyone while being funny as he does it. That’s good!

It’s about time for a drink.


OK, it’s time to get serious again.

Obama said, “You didn’t build that.” Yes we did; He didn’t, and He keeps trying to tear her down and to rebuild her in His own image.

Now she’s ours. We intend to keep her and to make her as productive, strong and hopeful as she once was. Xenophobic? Damn right.

We can take her back. Will we? You betcha!

Israel’s biggest fears are materializing

September 27, 2015

Israel’s biggest fears are materializing, Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, September 27, 2015

144334028328300476a_bThe Munich moment is upon us. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif at U.N. headquarters on Saturday | Photo credit: AP

Washington is reaching out to Russia, which is openly helping Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is working in conjunction with Iran, which in turn supports Hezbollah. Now Europe is prepared to talk to Assad, but what about us, for heaven’s sake?

Two years ago to the day, in September 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry compared Bashar Assad to Adolf Hitler, after the Syrian dictator once again used chemical weapons against his own people. “This is our Munich moment,” Kerry said at the time.

As far as the Americans were concerned, Assad had crossed a line. In those days (more like in those hours, actually), Washington briefly believed that a failure to respond to Assad’s actions would send a dangerous message to Iran regarding its nuclear ambitions.

“Will [Iran] remember that the Assad regime was stopped from those weapons’ current or future use, or will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?” Kerry asked at the time. History and retrospect have turned what may have been Kerry’s greatest speech into remarks entirely detached from reality.

The United States did not attack, Assad is still in power, and an ominous nuclear deal has been signed with Iran. It is no wonder that there is a new kind of atmosphere in the region, under American auspices. There are no more good guys and bad guys; everyone is a partner. And thanks to this new reality, Assad now has a renewed license to rule, after having received a license to kill.

Washington is reaching out to Russia, which is openly helping Assad in Syria, who is working in conjunction with Iran, which in turn supports Hezbollah. Europe (Angela Merkel), in the meantime, startled by its refugee crisis, is already prepared to talk with Assad; the same Assad who was compared to Hitler only two years ago. But what about us, for heaven’s sake?

Regretfully, Israel’s biggest fears are now materializing. Instead of being the architects and shaping a new reality in the Middle East, Washington is falling into line with the existing reality. Russia, Syria and Iran are enjoying the consequent vacuum. When the cat is away, the mice will play. Now, all of a sudden, even Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is letting himself go on television, beaming with joy. Aside from the 75 tanks Damascus is giving him, he now sees his two patrons (Damascus and Tehran) become partners with the West, without having to change one bit.

There is no diplomatic vacuum

The latest developments in Syria are not encouraging: Assad’s first target, with Russia’s help, is expected to be the Nusra Front rebel group, which not only threatens Assad but is also a bitter enemy of the Islamic State group. In other words, somewhat paradoxically, Islamic State could initially benefit from the Russian intervention in Syria.

And one final word about Iran’s rapprochement with the international community: We have been told repeatedly that this was only about the nuclear deal, but in reality we can see cooperation between the U.S. and Iran in Iraq and in the war against Islamic State. We can also see American-Iranian dialogue regarding Syria’s future, and on Saturday night we learned of a gigantic deal worth upwards of $21 billion between Iran and Russia. This time I am forced to agree with Secretary Kerry: This really does look like a Munich moment.

The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby

September 15, 2015

The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby, Daily Beast, Alex Shirazi, September 15, 2015

(The National Iranian American Council is the voice of the Iranian regime. It found great favor with the Obama administration while becoming a significant part of it. — DM)

How one enterprising Iranian expat family and its allies successfully pushed for U.S.-Iran rapprochement—and now stands to make a fortune from sanctions relief.

When the world’s major powers struck a deal over Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna in July, it represented a victory not just for the Islamic Republic, which has now been granted international legitimacy as a nuclear threshold state, but also for a small but increasingly influential lobby in America, one which has long sought rapprochement between Washington and Tehran and now seeks to leverage a successfully concluded nuclear deal as a means to that end.

This Iran lobby, publicly represented by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has become a staunch institutional ally of the White House selling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is known. But while NIAC has done the heavy-lifting—the ad-buying, the leafleting, and Congressional meet-and-greets, all designed to sell lawmakers on the Iran deal—its political efforts also underwrite the economic interests of one very well connected but low-profile Iranian family, the Namazis, who played a key role as intellectual architects of NIAC.

Little known to the American press, the Namazis have rarely acted as spokespersons for their own cause. In fact, attempts to reach various members of the family for comment on this story were met with increasing levels of hostility and threats of legal action. Yet in many ways, the Namazi clan is the perfect embodiment of Iranian power politics, at least as it has played out among the Iranian diaspora. Those close to the Namazis say that they are savvy financial operators rather than ideologues, eager to do business with the West and enjoy all of its political freedoms and perquisites, and yet ever mindful that they’re straddling the delicate fault-line between cashing in with a theocratic dictatorship and being frozen out entirely. They have stayed on the right side of international law if not always on the right side of prevailing political interests in the Islamic Republic.

Nor did they begin their rise to prominence as supporters of the Islamic Revolution. Mohammad Bagher Namazi, also known as Baquer Namazi, is the patriarch of the family and formerly the governor under the Shah of the oil-rich Iranian province of Khuzestan. Despite his relationship with the ancien régime, Baquer Namazi was not persecuted by the Khomeinists after they seized power in 1979, and he and his family were allowed to emigrate in 1983 to the United States. There he raised two well-educated and Americanized sons, Babak and Siamak, while his niece, Pari Namazi, married Bijan Khajehpour, another Iranian expatriate.

The 1980s were the years of the fiery-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran’s ferocious war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iranian-backed terrorism in Lebanon included the bombing of the U.S. embassy and the Marine barracks there, while Iranian “hit teams” hunted down and murdered opponents of the regime in exile. Iran’s Hezbollah clients kidnapped Europeans and Americans, and in the Irangate scandal the Reagan administration was exposed trading weapons systems for hostages. Afterward it effectively went to war against Iran on the waters of the Gulf, and in the process blew an Iranian civilian airliner out of the sky. There seemed no possibility of improved relations between Washington and the theocracy in Tehran. But after the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988 and Khomeini died in 1989, new possibilities for rapprochement—and huge deals for international companies—started to emerge.


Doing serious business in Iran has always required some measure of political protection. The Islamic Republic is a web of rival economic interests. Broadly speaking, the three largest are those tied through various semi-clandestine fronts to  Khomeini’s successor as “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; those linked to the regime’s praetorian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC); and those associated with Iran’s president, who may hold the most conspicuous position in the country’s political life, but whose official powers are limited. Typically, to get things moving in the mire of Iran’s notorious bureaucracy, businesses have to have connections in one or more of these groups.

From 1989 to 1997, the president of Iran was Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, known as “the Shark,” an Iranian reference to a beardless man. He was also famous for getting rid of his rivals and political competitors one by one, like a great white shark. In addition, Rafsanjani had a reputation for corruption and taking advantage of power.

In this environment of increased willingness to do business with the West, the stage was set for a return of the Namazis. In 1993, Pari Namazi and her husband Bijan Khajehpour founded a company in Tehran called Atieh Bahar Consulting (AB). It offered a range of legal and industrial services to foreign enterprises, most importantly the access it provided to the regime, and the advice it dispensed on how best to navigate the vagaries of the regime’s entrenched factions and competitive interests.

At the time, it looked like Iran might even be opening up to big American-based oil companies, then unencumbered by any sanctions regime on the Islamic Republic. But after an announcement in 1995 that Iran had given Conoco a contract to develop an offshore gas field, and an uproar in the U.S.  Congress, the Clinton administration imposed unilateral sanctions and barred U.S. companies from doing business there.

Eventually Siamak Namazi, who had worked from 1994 to 1996 at Iran’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, also joined AB. So did his brother Babak, a lawyer. And the AB client list just kept growing. Plenty of companies based outside the U.S. were more than happy to do business in Iran once they had the right connections. As Siamak eventually told Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper, “If oil companies want to operate in the Iranian market they need to link up with a local partner, and this is where we step in and help them to find the right partner.”

With the surprise election of the “reformist” presidential candidate Mohammad Khatami in 1997, political and economic enthusiasm for better Iranian relations with the West grew dramatically. Meanwhile the “pragmatist” Rafsanjani took other powerful positions in the regime. In those optimistic times, AB’s non-American clients—free from any sanctions regime—included the German engineering giant Siemens; major oil companies BP, Statoil, and Shell; car companies Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Chrysler, and Honda; telecom giants MTN, Nokia, Alcatel; and international banks such as HSBC.

But the political winds were shifting. A nuclear cloud darkened the horizon, and the United States, slowly but surely, found ways to broaden the sanctions against Iran, forcing many international companies to dial back on their investments there or pull out altogether.

The Namazis, of course, had every reason to want to bring them back.


Atieh Bahar Consultancy had aligned itself with Rafsanjani’s faction early on by forging an especially close relationship with Rafsanjani’s influential son, Mehdi.

From 1993 to 2005, Mehdi Hashemi was employed at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the state-owned entity that controls almost all oil and gas production in a country that has the world’s largest gas reserves and third-largest oil reserves.

But Mehdi Hashemi brought some serious problems to the relationship. In 2004, Norway’s Statoil was caught paying bribes to a prominent Iranian official using the company Horton Investment, an entity run by a close Mehdi Hashemi confidant as intermediary. Hashemi would later be imprisoned for his complicity in the bribery, along with two other charges, and ordered to pay a total of $10.4 million; $5.2 million of the bribe money, plus an additional $5.2 million in fines. Abbas Yazdanpanah Yazdi, meanwhile, was allegedly kidnapped in the UAE in 2013 and has since “disappeared.”

The scandal came just as the elder Rafsanjani was plotting a presidential comeback in the 2005 elections, and it gave substance to the rumors of corruption that always swirled around him and his son. (Mehdi Hashemi denied the Statoil bribery allegation and said it was designed to hurt his father’s reputation.) He managed to make it into the second and final round, but finally lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who staked out a position as a “clean” populist who would give money to the poor and who didn’t give a damn about foreign business interests.

After Ahmadinejad came into office, the nuclear cloud grew much darker.

In 2003, the United States had led the invasion and occupation of neighboring Iraq, eliminating Iran’s old enemy Saddam Hussein in order to be sure that he had no weapons of mass destruction. And, as it turned out, by then he did not. A few months earlier in 2002, however, Israeli intelligence turned up evidence that Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, had developed a secret uranium enrichment operation at a site called Natanz. (The first public airing of this intelligence came from a militant Iranian dissident group that had been nurtured by Saddam Hussein.)

This did not distract from the march to war with Iraq, but a few months later Iran was declared in material breach of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and, under threat of heightened sanctions, a process of negotiations began between Iran and the European Union to limit the nascent enrichment program. At the time Iran had only 160 of the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium, and thousands would be required to get it to the point where it could produce fissile material for a bomb. U.S. intelligence estimates eventually concluded “with high confidence” that the Iranians also had a secret nuclear weapons program, in addition to enrichment, but shut it down in the fall of 2003.

When Ahmadinejad took over in 2005, he ditched all pretense of willingness to compromise over Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program, an intransigence that led Western countries to tighten sanctions, making foreign investment ever more difficult. And what was worse for AB and the Namazis, Ahmadinejad went after his political rivals, particularly the Rafsanjani faction, with a vengeance. Mehdi Hashemi, naturally, was a prominent target. Ahmadinejad barred him from conducting any business in relation to Iran’s oil and gas sector. Ten years later, the courts actually sentenced him to a collective 25 years—and 50 lashes—in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for all three charges against him including the Statoil corruption case. In reality, he will only serve 10 years.

AB needed to shore up some new alliances, and bide its time. Co-founder Bijan Khajehpour, worked for a leading Iranian politician named Hassan Rouhani who had served under the Khatami government as Iran’s nuclear negotiator. Rouhani also was the president of a think tank called the Center for Strategic Research (CSR). But relations with Iran in the middle of the last decade were almost as bleak as they had been after the 1979 hostage crisis and the grim terror and counter-terror campaigns of the 1980s.

By 2006, Iran, was in effect at war with the U.S. in Iraq. The Revolutionary Guards’ expeditionary Quds Force led by Qasem Soleimani had been training, financing, and arming Shia militias killing U.S. soldiers.

Moreover, the West was growing more alarmed about Iran’s nuclear program, which it seemed powerless to stop. Ahmadinejad had declared the resumption of uranium enrichment “irreversible” just as the country’s nuclear scientists had mastered the fuel cycle. He’d appointed conservative Ali Larijani as chief negotiator with the European Union (before Iran withdrew from talks altogether), and he said he’d “wipe [his] nose” on international sanctions.

A war with Iran, most likely started by Israel with the United States drawn in, began to seem possible, then probable, and almost inevitable. The International Atomic Energy Agency referred Iran to the UN Security Council for action forcing it to curtail its nuclear activities.

Out of this dark morass, the Namazis struggled to keep alive hopes of rapprochement and trade, while avoiding a war at all costs. And by then they had in place the architecture for convincing a war-weary U.S. policy establishment that not only was avoiding a military confrontation with Iran possible, but the Islamic Republic was really just a friend America had yet to make.


In November 1999, when Khatami was still president and, Siamak Namazi got together with a Swedish-Iranian expat named Trita Parsi at a conference in Cyprus. The conference, titled, “Dialogue and Action Between the People of Iran and America,” was convened jointly by the Centre for World Dialogue, a Cypriot non-governmental organization, and by Hamyaran, an Iranian non-governmental resource center for other NGOs, which was chaired by Mohammad Bagher Namazi, the family patriarch. Namazi fils and Parsi there presented an influential white paper (PDF), “Iran-Americans: The bridge between two nations,” which called for three steps to ameliorate U.S.-Iranian relations in advance of reconciliation:

1. Hold “seminars in lobbying for Iranian-American youth and intern opportunities in Washington DC.”

2. Increase “awareness amongst Iranian-Americans and Americans about the effects of sanctions, both at home and in Iran.”

3. End “the taboo of working for a new approach on Iran”—i.e., end the then two-decade-old U.S. policy of containment.

Namazi and Parsi wrote that “the fear of coming across as a lackey of the Iranian regime is still prohibiting many Iranian Americans from fully engaging in the debate on the future of Iran-U.S. relations.” The way around this, they submitted, was to mobilize the Iranian-American community and enlist “Americans of non-Iranian background” to lessen the adversarial posture of both nations.

The white paper led to the creation two years later, in 2001, of NIAC, a Washington, D.C.-based organization which Parsi founded and currently heads. During the formative period preceding NIAC’s launch, Parsi had sought advice and guidance from numerous sources, including and especially Mohammad Bagher, as was disclosed in documents (PDF) obtained during a defamation law suit brought by NIAC and Parsi against one of their most outspoken critics.

Parsi was extremely well-placed to front the Iran lobby. He had obtained a doctorate at Johns Hopkins on a subject intimately tied to the lobby’s central thesis—the relationship between Israel and Iran and how the former hindered the latter’s acceptance in the U.S. He even studied under Francis Fukuyama, a onetime neoconservative policy intellectual who abandoned his ideological comrades when the Iraq war went south. Finally, Parsi had gained valuable political experience on the Hill by working for Republican Congressman Bob Ney, a connection he has not included in his curriculum vitae and official website. (Ney went to jail in 2007 for accepting bribes from mega-lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s Native American casino clients.)

While serving as president of NIAC, Parsi also wrote intelligence briefings as an “affiliate analyst in Washington, D.C.” for AB, focusing on such topics as whether or not the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) would revive its anti-Iran campaigning on the eve of the Iraq war, or on efforts by the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MeK), the militant Iranian opposition group that exposed Natanz in 2002 would get itself de-listed as a terrorist entity by the U.S. State Department. Parsi was paid for his work for the consultancy, as disclosed by an email sent from Bijan Khajehpour to him, dated Sept. 22, 2002, an employment that Parsi did not mention when fulsomely praising Khajehpour in the Huffington Post as an ideal Iranian businessman.

Although it has only 5,000 dues-paying members, a mere one percent of the estimated 470,000 Iranian-Americans, NIAC’s network of activists and event attendees is said to extend into the tens of thousands. In June of this year, as the Iran deal looked likely, NIAC inaugurated an official “lobbying” arm called NIAC Action registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(4) organization, but for years, internally, the group has described its activities (PDF) as lobbying. NIAC Action is explicitly meant to counter the influence of AIPAC, which has spent millions to block the Iran deal’s passage in Congress by securing a veto-proof bipartisan majority of senators opposed to it—an effort that now appears close to failure.

Since its founding, NIAC has also proved a useful finishing school for rapprochement-minded Iranian-Americans, many of whom have either come from positions in U.S. government or graduated into them. Its current research director, for instance, is Reza Marashi, an Iranian-American dual national, who worked for Atieh Bahar until 2006 when he landed a  job at the U.S. government’s Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, which acts as a research center for the Pentagon. Marashi then went to work for the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. State Department as a desk officer overseeing Iran democracy and human rights programs.

Marashi is very outspoken on social media against any critics of NIAC’s agenda. Along with the rest of his organization’s staff, he has accused Jewish opponents of the Iran deal of being dual loyalists. “Shame on Chuck Schumer for putting #Israel’s interests ahead of America’s interests,” he tweeted after the New York senator’s decision to come out as the senior-most Democrat against the deal.

Given the obvious connection between NIAC and the Namazi family, Marashi makes no mention of his job at AB in his biography on NIAC’s official website. Nor did he respond to The Daily Beast’s repeated requests for comment on this story.

Perhaps NIAC’s most accomplished alum is Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who is now National Security Council Director for Iran in the Obama administration and therefore the top U.S. official for Iran policy, bringing together the various departments of government working on U.S. strategy toward the country. She is also, after the White House principals, one of the leading advisors to President Obama on Iran. No doubt owing to the sensitivity (and influence) of her government role, Nowrouzzadeh has maintained a low profile, but her work at NIAC is publicly available. She drafted one of the organization’s annual reports for 2002-2003 (PDF) and was referred to by Dokhi Fassihian, then executive director, as a “staff member” (DOC). The Obama administration insists that Nowrouzzadeh was only ever an intern with NIAC, and Nowrouzzadeh does not seem eager to play-up her affiliation with the group. According to her LinkedIn profile, she has worked at the State Department and the Department of Defense. The profile doesn’t mention NIAC at all.

Such inconspicuousness stands in notable contrast to how other Obama administration officials who emerged NIAC’s nemesis—the pro-Israel lobbying establishment—tend to invoke their past credentials as a means of establishing their diplomatic bona fides.

But then, Israel is a longtime and “sacrosanct” American ally, as Obama has stated. Iran, on the other hand, has been a pariah state where crowds are encouraged to chant “Death to America.”

On NIAC’s website, in its mailings and in media interviews, NIAC rarely criticizes the IRGC or the Quds Force, a U.S.-designated terrorist entity. Parsi characterizes the Iranian regime, of which the Quds Force is the main military enforcer, as a U.S. ally in the war against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.  But neither he nor NIAC has discussed the Quds Force’s military role in Syria where it plays a key role in targeting U.S.-backed rebels deemed the best bulwark against both Assad and the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS and, more broadly, organizing the savage defense of the Assad dynasty, for which several of the Quds Force’s personnel have been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

NIAC publicly opposes designating the IRGC as a whole as a terrorist entity because doing so would only conform to part of a pattern of failed sanctions, “further entrenching U.S.-Iran relations in a paradigm of enmity.”

Instead, campaigning against any U.S. sanctions on Iran has been the mainstay of NIAC’s endeavors, and this held even when the Obama administration thought sanctions the most effective way to bring the Iranians back to the negotiating table. NIAC has maintained (PDF) that sanctions have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

Parsi’s activism won him praise from the Iranian regime during the very dark days a decade ago. Former ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif, who is now the heavily spotlighted foreign minister, wrote to Parsi in 2006, “Your help is always welcome,” and, after catching part of a Parsi interview on the BBC the same year, Zarif called his performance “Great.”

In March 2006 (at the height of the covert Iranian war with the U.S. in Iraq), Parsi told a colleague not to worry about a trip to Tehran, “NIAC has a good name in Iran and your association with it will not harm you.” When the colleague was briefly questioned by the regime, then released, he reported back (PDF) to Parsi that he’d been told the reason he was let go was “that they knew NIAC had never done anything seriously bad against the Islamic Republic.”


In 2009, Sen. Mark Kirk called NIAC Iranian “Regime Sympathizers” (PDF), stating “they came to Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to cut off U.S. funding for democracy programs in Iran.” NIAC had sought to eliminate the Bush administration’s “Democracy Fund” for programs in Iran, which it saw as nothing more than a vehicle for attempted regime change. NIAC responded to Kirk by calling the $75 million fund a “brainchild” of the Bush administration’s “disastrous Middle East policy,” which aimed to finance Iranian NGOs seeking overthrow the government of Iran.

And NIAC does some name-calling of its own, calling organizations it doesn’t like (i.e., those too critical of the Islamic Republic) “neocon puppets,” and warmongers. Indeed, it has also tried to define the parameters of acceptable Iranian civil society groups (i.e., ones that never really undermined the regime) by partnership with Hamyaran, described by NIAC as an “NGO umbrella organization” (PDF). In reality, however, it was conceived as more of a governmental non-governmental organization and launched by those close to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami—its board member was Hossein Malek Afzali, a deputy minister in Khatami’s government). By NIAC’s own admission, the organizatiom (PDF) “operates independently, but with the implicit permission of the Iranian government.” (Emphasis added.) Hamyaran’s board of directors was also once chaired by Namazi paterfamilias Mohammed Bagher.

Hamyaran obtained support from the congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy—as did NIAC, which received Endowment funding in 2002, 2005, and 2006 in the collective amount of close to $200,000. NIACdescribed Hamyaran to the Endowment in 2004 as its “main partner in Iran.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, among those civil society groups selected for NIAC and Hamyaran’s “Digital Film Production Workshop Report,” a training program for Iranian activists to learn how to use digital media, were those described as having been “contracted by the Iranian government” or “worked closely with the Iranian government.”

As for NIAC, Carl Gershman, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy, told The Daily Beast, “We’re not supporting NIAC now and we have nothing to do with them.”

“Back then there were people arguing, ‘Try to get into Iran’ and we thought this was a way forward,” Gershman said. “We weren’t aware when these grants were made that NIAC were presenting themselves as a lobby. We didn’t know that. Our effort was to work with emerging space in Iran. We were trying something that might be a way to help people on the inside. But that quickly became unworkable; the grant didn’t work. Then NIAC showed itself as a lobby organization, so we have nothing to do with them anymore. Not every grant works out the way you want it to.” Asked if that meant that NED regretted working with NIAC , Gershman answered: “Yes, I think that’s true.”

At the same time it was taking U.S. taxpayer money, NIAC wanted to end U.S. government support for NGOs which categorically opposed the Islamic Republic. In April 2007, NIAC held a strategy meeting with international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW). The HRW representative was himself a former NIAC board member, Hadi Ghaemi, who had (PDF) worked for NIAC in Iran, and then served HRW from 2004 to 2008. During the meeting, according to an email sent by Parsi afterward, Ghaemi “noted that certain groups being funded by the state dept [sic] are covers for regime change and that we need to be careful. Many groups misrepresent themselves as wanting to improve human rights and democracy in Iran.” Ghaemi did not specify which groups. When The Daily Beast contacted Ghaemi via email, he replied that he could not confirm the meeting in question. He was unavailable for further comment after The Daily Beast showed him Parsi’s email asking if that refreshed his memory.


In 2008, NIAC made a strategic mistake, waging a not-so-quiet campaign against the Voice of America’s Persian service, a U.S. government-funded broadcast medium. Both NIAC and the Namazis were aggravated by the frequent appearances of Hassan Dai, an Arizona-based Iranian exile, who lambasted NIAC as a regime mouthpiece.

Siamak Namazi (PDF) called for Dai to be banned from VOA in February 2007. NIAC chief lobbyist Emily Blout petitioned (PDF) Congress in September 2007 for an “independent review” of VOA Persian. After Dai appeared again on VOA in 2009, Parsi (PDF) remarked that its hosting of a NIAC critic “won’t change until the VOA leadership changes.” He was right. Today the editor-in-chief of VOA Persian is Mohammad Manzarpour, a former employee of Atieh Bahar Consultancy.

But serious damage to NIAC’s reputation was done, and much of it was self-inflicted. In 2008, Parsi and NIAC had brought a defamation suit against Hassan Dai, alleging that he had made “numerous false and defamatory statements that characterize plaintiffs as agents of the Iranian government.” Parsi and NIAC lost the case in 2012, with the judge rejecting their self-portrayal as critics of Tehran. “That Parsi occasionally made statements reflecting a balanced, shared blame approach is not inconsistent with the idea that he was first and foremost an advocate for the regime,” U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates (PDF) wrote in his judgment. “After all, any moderately intelligent agent for the Iranian regime would not want to be seen as unremittingly pro-regime, given the regime’s reputation in the United States.”

Nor did NIAC do itself any favors in during the trial and on appeal. Three circuit judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals found its behavior (PDF) “dilatory, dishonest, and intransigent” and accused it of engaging in a “disturbing pattern of delay and intransigence. Seemingly at every turn, NIAC and Parsi deferred producing relevant documents, withheld them, or denied their existence altogether. Even worse, the Appellants also misrepresented to the District Court that they did not possess key documents [Dai] sought. Most troublingly, they flouted multiple court orders… A court without the authority to sanction conduct that so plainly abuses the judicial process cannot function.”

Unsurprisingly, then, NIAC and Parsi lost their appeal and were ordered to pay $183,480.09 in monetary sanctions in February 2015.

“NIAC and Parsi filed the lawsuit to break me under the financial burdens and silence other critics but they totally failed,” Dai told The Daily Beast. “The lawsuit, which lasted nearly seven years, showed the deceptive character of an organization that lobbies in favor of the mullahs’ theocratic regime but represents itself as a defender of peace.”


The fortunes of the entire Namazi clan waned after 2009, when a popular uprising against Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent re-election was met with murder, mass arrests, and torture.

Bijan Khajehpour was imprisoned because of the struggle raging in the regime between the Supreme Leader and the IRGC on one side, and the Rafsanjani camp on the other. And while praising the Obama administration for not speaking up on behalf of those who resisted the stealing of the 2009 election, the so-called Green Movement, on the grounds that doing so would have only given the regime an excuse to murder and torture more people, Parsi rushed to the defense of his friend and former employer Khajehpour, “who neither participated in the protests nor had any involvement with the opposition” but was instead a “self-made man” and “top-notch consultant drawing the attention of multinational and local firms to investment opportunities in the country.”

In The Huffington Post Parsi wrote as an acquaintance or friend of Khajehpour, nowhere disclosing his past business relationship writing reports for Atieh Bahar Consulting.

Khajehpour subsequently was released from prison and he and his wife, Pari Namazi, moved to Vienna.

Siamak Namazi also faced harassment after the 2009 election and the subsequent unrest. He left Iran for the United Arab Emirates and is currently the head of Strategic Planning at the UAE-based Crescent Petroleum, an oil and gas company based in Abu Dhabi.

Business in Iran was drying up. Ahmadinejad may have held onto power after he broke the Green Movement, but his drive toward nuclear “self-sufficiency” raised so many alarms that the Obama administration was able to persuade the four other members of the UN Security Council to impose draconian sanctions on the regime. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of assets were frozen, and international commerce ground toward a halt.

Then, in 2013, Khajehpour’s former employer Hassan Rouhani, the former nuclear negotiator, the Rafsanjani-style “pragmatist,” was elected Iran’s new president. The ever affable-seeming former UN ambassador, Javad Zarif, was appointed foreign minister. Suddenly the door looked like it was open wide to a new relationship with the West of just the sort the Iran Lobby had worked for so hard and for so long. Rouhani was avuncular, good-humored, and had made it his goal to open Iran for business, if only the nuclear issue could be dealt with.

By the time serious talks with Washington were opened, Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program had built almost 14,000 centrifuges, and Iran was within a year, by some estimates within months, of producing enough fissile material to build a bomb, at least in theory.

Although there was talk in Washington about compelling Iran to dismantle the whole program, there was never really any question of that, and the deal as finally signed merely buys time—pushing Iran’s possibility of producing a potential nuclear weapon back from months to as many as 15 years.

As these pieces fell into place in the age of Obama, Parsi and NIAC found themselves in the unlikely position of power brokers. One prominent faction of the Iranian regime—Rafsanjani’s—sees them as convenient conduits for disseminating a pro-Iranian line in U.S. politics, while the “hardline” Iranian security services have classified their activities as benign to the interests of the Islamic Republic.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, has adopted many of NIAC’s talking points. Both Parsi and Atieh International, one of the companies in the Atieh Group, were fixtures on the sidelines of the Geneva and Vienna negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. In fact, Atieh International held a joint briefing with NIAC at the Marriott in Vienna on June 29 to discuss a most pressing topic—renewed economic possibilities for the West once a deal was inked. The speakers were Bijan Khajehpour and Trita Parsi.

The Namazis’ alignment with Rafsanjani and Rouhani can now pay off. Because they were attacked so often and sometimes so viciously by “hard liners”—the very Iranian officials the Obama White House claims constitutes the only Iranian opposition to the nuclear deal—the Namazis and NIAC, the think tank and lobby they helped create, have gained great renewed credibility in the West, even promoting the idea that they can liberalize what remains by and large a fanatical theocracy and a fiercely competitive kleptocracy. At the same time, they can present themselves in today’s Iran as the best go-betweens with, well, with the not-so-Great Satan, who loves to listen to their advice.

— Alex Shirazi is a pseudonym for a well-known Iranian dissident who requested that The Daily Beast keep his identity concealed for fear of what might happen to his family in Iran in retaliation for this article.

Satire but not funny|Kim Jong-un has replaced John Boehner as Speaker of the House

September 11, 2015

Kim Jong-un has replaced John Boehner as Speaker of the House, Dan Miller’s Blog, September 11, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

We have met the enemy and it is us: we have become too tired to be effective and hence are becoming indifferent. The charade on Capitol Hill continues, and not only about the nuke “deal” with Iran. Will the carnival end before it’s too late, or will Obama continue to win?

The House speaker is elected by all House members, not just those of the majority party. He need not be a member of the House. Boehner having resigned because a serious medical condition often reduces him to tears, one group of Democrats nominated Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to replace him. However, due to her support for Hillary Clinton, she fell out of favor with the White House so another group of Democrats nominated Kim Jong-un at Obama’s request. To avoid the appearance of confrontation, Republicans offered no candidates. Kim won by seventeen votes, becoming the first non-US citizen to hold the office thus far this month.









Reporting for duty!


The current upset was precipitated by Republican members’ disagreements with Boehner and other party leaders about how best to deal with the catastrophic Iran nuke “deal” without unnecessarily offending the President. Kim Jong-un is expected to substitute his own brand of leadership for Boehner’s leadership through ambivalence.

A majority also deemed Kim the best qualified to negotiate with Dear Leader Obama on behalf of the House because, as the undisputed leader of a rogue nuclear nation himself, he should be able to pull not only Obama’s strings but also those of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Rogue Republic of Iran.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined comment on the situation beyond refusing to comment on whether Obama met privately with Kim to congratulate him. However, Obama is generally thought to have confirmed that He fully supports Kim’s way of governing his own Democratic Peoples’ Republic and — subject to the few pesky restraints still imposed by an antiquated Constitution that He has not yet found ways to sneak around — He does His best to emulate him. In that connection, Obama asked Kim for recommendations on antiaircraft guns to deal humanely with Jews and other traitors who oppose Him (Please see also, New York Times Launches Congress ‘Jew Tracker’ – Washington Free Beacon.)

Desiring to gain Obama’s total good will, Kim promised to have derogatory cartoons of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton painted on all future North Korean nukes and missiles just before they explode. In return, Obama promised to issue executive orders granting North Korea the permanent right to declassify any and all U.S. documents it sees fit pertaining to the security of the United States and to obtain copies, gratis, from the Government Printing Office.

House Speaker Kim Jong-un will next meet with Supreme Leader Khamenei in Tehran to make two common sense proposals, with which Khamenei is certain to agree:

First, Kim will propose that a group of highly regarded North Korean nuclear experts — under his personal guidance and supervision — conduct all nuke inspections in Iran and draw all conclusions concerning any past or present Iranian nuclear program based on them exclusively. Those conclusions will be drawn on behalf of, and in lieu of any conclusions drawn by, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, immediately endorsed this plan as “splendid and totally consistent with any and all IAEA – Iran “secret deals.”

Second, Kim will propose that Khamenei promise not to nuke anyone until all sanctions have been permanently eliminated, unless he really wants to.

Obama is thought to have agreed with every aspect of the Kim plan and to have directed Secretary Kerry to tell Khamenei that if he agrees all sanctions will be eliminated permanently, via executive decree, and hence even more expeditiously than previously expected. Due to a successful Senate filibuster yesterday, Obama can issue the executive decree very soon; Today — Friday, September 11th — is being considered seriously due to the obvious symbolism of the date.

H/t Freedom is just another word


The inevitable success of Kim’s mission will result in a win-win situation for nearly everyone, particularly the financially strapped IAEA, and the true Peace of Obama will prevail throughout all parts of the world that He considers worth saving. Remember — it’s all for the Children!

veto (1)Mushroom cloud



하원 의장 김정은 의 문 사랑하는 북미 친구 , 그것은 오바마 대통령 아래에서 당신의 인생 이 곧 Amerika 민주주의 인민 공화국 이 될 것입니다 무엇 에 미래의 삶을 위해 잘 준비 것을 진심으로 희망 합니다. 배리 와 나는 제출 된 것을 기쁘게 사람들을 위해 가능한 한 오랫동안 지배 구조 의 우리의 양식 에 서서히 적응 을 하기 때문에 전환이 원활 하게 하기 위해 함께 열심히하고 고통 일했다 .


Statement of House Speaker Kim Jong-un

My dear North American friends, it is my sincere hope that your life under President Obama has prepared you well for your future life in what will soon become the Democratic People’s Republic of Amerika. Barry [a.k.a. Barack] and I have worked long and hard together to acclimate you gradually to our transformed and transformational form of governance and hence to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible for those pleased to submit. Now, we will accelerate the progress.


It does not have to be that way. Here, in closing, are a few words from Daniel Greenfield.

We don’t have to give in to despair. If we do, we are lost. Lost the way that the left is lost. Lost the way that the Muslim world is lost.

We are not savages and feral children. We are the inheritors of a great civilization. It is still ours to lose. It is ours to keep if we understand its truths. [Emphasis added.]

We are not alone. A sense of isolation has been imposed on us as part of a culture war. The task of reconstructing our civilization and ending that isolation begins with our communication. We are the successors of revolutions of ideas. We need to do more than keep them alive. We must refresh them and renew them. And, most importantly, we must practice them.

We are not this culture. We are not our media. We are not our politicians. We are better than that.

We must win, but we must also remember what it is we hope to win. If we forget that, we lose. If we forget that, we will embrace dead end policies that cannot restore hope or bring victory.

What we have now is not a movement because we have not defined what it is we hope to win. We have built reactive movements to stave off despair. We must do better than that. We must not settle for striving to restore some idealized lost world. Instead we must dream big. We must think of the nation we want and of the civilization we want to live in and what it will take to build it.

Our enemies have set out big goals. We must set out bigger ones. We must become more than conservatives. If we remain conservatives, then all we will have is the America we live in now. And even if our children and grandchildren become conservatives, that is the culture and nation they will fight to conserve. We must become revolutionaries.

We must think in terms of the world we want. Not the world we have lost.

This is the America we live in now. But it doesn’t have to be.

It can be up to us, not to those who hate America and all for which she once stood.