June 29, 2017

Iran Watch – August 24, 2007

[spoiler title=”Iran: A Third Option”] By: Shahab Sariri
Global Politician
Iranian cities have been the scene of widespread protests and clashes between a restive population and the Iranian regime’s State Security Forces (SSF). Students from Tehran’s Amir Kabir otherwise known as Polytechnic University, where Ahmadinejad’s pictures were burned earlier this year, have been staging sit-ins demanding the release of political prisoners. Across the country, other universities have followed suit and clashes with SSF have been widely reported. Over the past few months, teachers, laborers, and feminists have also staged their own protests, strikes, and sit-ins. The people of Iran have shaken the foundations of the mullah’s regime, risking there lives to make one thing clear: that they want democratic change and the end to the mullah’s regime.

Why now?

For nearly three decades the West has relentlessly pursued a policy of appeasement in a failed attempt to deal with the mullahs in Iran in exchange for lucrative yet short sighted economic interests. Today, due to the regime’s nuclear program and its extensive meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, and Afghanistan, there are signs that the world community is in the process of implementing a new policy towards the Iranian regime. To date, two resolutions have been passed by the United Nations Security Council, imposing sanctions on Iran’s mullahs. In Iraq, coalition forces have been actively working to counter the regime’s efforts to establish a sister theocracy based on Khomeini’s model.

These new measures have had positive repercussions in the Iranian streets.

In response to its internal crisis, the regime has stepped up public executions, arbitrary arrests, and increased its terrorist activities abroad in a hallow show of strength. Emboldened by international pressure however, the people of Iran have been unrelenting in their pursuit for democratic change. The shift in policy adopted in recent months aimed at countering the Iranian threat both at the U.N and in Iraq have been instrumental in encouraging the people of Iran. These overdue measures have proven that neither war nor appeasement is the answer in dealing with the mullahs in Tehran.

One reviewing the mainstream media is led to believe that there are only the two options in countering the Iranian threat. A third option, which entails reaching out to Iran’s organized democratic opposition as the catalyst for change, is neither politically expedient nor costly (as apposed to appeasement or war respectively) but offers the only effective and viable approach. The potential for bringing about a change in government resides with the Iranian people, indeed. Commenting on prior anti-government protests, a Tehran-based European diplomat explained, “The pent-up anger is still there, beneath the surface. But for it to seriously take off you need a catalyst, you need a cause, you need organization and leadership. It’s a big task,” he said. Such potential needs to be legitimized and mobilized.

Support for Iran’s largest, most organized, secular, and democratic opposition, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is instrumental in solving the Iran riddle. Last June, recognizing the value of Iranian resistance to their own security, 5.2 million Iraqi’s signed a declaration recognizing the MEK as the only barrier between them and the fundamentalists dispatched by Tehran. The MEK has proved its deep roots within Iranian society. It has exposed the regime’s terrorist networks in Iraq and around the world as well as details of the regime’s nuclear program. The MEK’s ability to mobilize and organize the masses has never been truthfully questioned.

Unfortunately, today the MEK sits on the State Department and EU’s list of foreign terrorist organizations due to outdated and failed appeasement policies. Martin Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State of Near Eastern Affairs at the time the MEK was blacklisted, told Newsweek on September 26, 2002, “… [There] was White House interest in opening up a dialogue with the Iranian government. At the time, President Khatami had recently been elected and was seen as a moderate. Top Administration officials saw cracking down on the MEK, which the Iranians had made clear they saw as a menace, as one way to do so.” The terror label against the MEK serves as a life line to the mullahs in Iran. In Europe, the EU Council of Ministers have chosen to flagrantly ignore the rule of law by refusing to remove the MEK from its terror list, as they were bound to do after a December 2006 ruling by the European Court of Justice annulling the EU’s decision to blacklist the organization.

History is our greatest teacher. Appeasement of expansionist regimes serves only as a precursor to wide-scale conflicts. The listing of the MEK as a terrorist group by the EU and the State Department is nothing more than a dangerous act of appeasement. Such policies fail to pacify a rouge regime which is hell bent on spreading its fundamentalist revolution throughout the Middle East.

Shahab Sariri is the Vice-President of the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates (ncpdaus.org). [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iranian group becoming America’s enemy in Iraq”] By Rowan Scarborough
The Examiner

WASHINGTON (Map, News) – Iran’s special warfare group is beginning to rival al Qaeda as America’s most deadly enemy in Iraq, organizing insurgent cells and inflicting casualties on U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.

One analyst estimates that more than 300 members of al Quds Force, the terrorist arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, are operating in southern Iraq. The Revolutionary Guards answer directly to Tehran’s ruling mullahs.

The intelligence about al Quds comes from an Iranian resistance group, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney told The Examiner.

“They have penetrated into the Tehran system,” McInerney said of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK). “Everything they have put out has always check out.” He said that despite new U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad, Quds operations inside Iraq are increasing, not decreasing. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iran’s hangmen work overtime to silence opposition”] By Con Coughlin12:01AM BST 24 Aug 200736 Comments

Stonings, hangings, floggings, purges. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might claim that United Nations sanctions can’t hurt his country, but that is not how it feels for Iran’s long-suffering population which now finds itself on the receiving end of one of the most brutal purges witnessed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The most visible manifestation of the new oppression sweeping Iran has been the wave of public executions and floggings carried out in Teheran and provincial capitals over recent weeks in a blatant attempt by the regime to intimidate political opponents. The official government line is that the punishments are part of its “Plan to Enforce Moral Behaviour”.

It’s the same kind of argument that was used immediately after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took control to purge the country of its prosperous, secular middle class and secure his hold on power. Now Mr Ahmadinejad is adopting similar tactics in a desperate attempt to keep his embattled regime in power.

Although Iran has one of the world’s highest execution rates, until recently most of the sentences were carried out within the confines of prisons such a Teheran’s notorious Evin complex. But this month diplomats at the Japanese and Australian embassies in the capital were alarmed to find the bodies of two convicted criminals hanging from cranes stationed directly outside their office windows. The location of the cranes, at a busy thoroughfare surrounded by office blocks, was chosen as much to remind the diplomatic community that Mr Ahmadinejad’s hardline regime was still very much in charge as to send a message to ordinary citizens.

For these public executions, together with the estimated 30 others that have taken place in other parts of the country, are nothing more than a brutal exercise in political, as opposed to religious, persecution. There have also been several public floggings carried out on men and women accused of flouting the strict morality laws. Many of the executions were shown live on Iranian television. The message the government wants to get across is clear: mess with us and this is what will happen to you. However much the authorities insist the sentences relate only to their campaign to improve public morals, Western diplomats in Teheran believe many of the victims have been singled out for their participation in the anti-government fuel riots that erupted in late June.

Those disturbances, in which an estimated third of the country’s petrol stations were destroyed by protesters angry at the introduction of fuel rationing (Iran, remember, boasts the world’s second largest oil reserves), can be seen as a direct consequence of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.
It was the first serious challenge the regime encountered since setting itself on a collision course with the West following Mr Ahmadinejad’s surprise election as president two years ago. So it is no coincidence that the past two months have seen a dramatic increase in the execution rate.

Far from being pressured into changing tack on Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Ahmadinejad’s regime remains determined to pursue the holy grail of uranium enrichment. It is even prepared to take extreme measures to silence domestic opposition, while at the same time placing loyal supporters of the regime under intense pressure to ensure the country’s nuclear programme is not unduly affected by the UN sanctions. In this respect, the deal agreed this week between Teheran and the United Nations-sponsored International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based organisation responsible for monitoring Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear programme, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The official line from Teheran is that it is now prepared to readmit teams of UN nuclear experts to its top secret nuclear facilities and help clear up a number of issues relating to the development programme. This includes determining what small traces of weapons-grade uranium were doing at a facility that the Iranians insist is part of their nuclear power programme, which does not require uranium to be enriched to such a high level. But many diplomats suspect this is just another Iranian ploy to string out the UN while pressing ahead with its nuclear ambitions.
Certainly there appears to have been no let-up in Iran’s quest to acquire sophisticated uranium enrichment technology irrespective of the effects of sanctions. According to reports recently received by Western security sources, Iran has been concentrating its efforts on acquiring tens of thousands of highly specialised magnets that are an important component in the successful operation of the gas centrifuges that are used for uranium enrichment. Until the imposition of the UN sanctions this year Teheran had been able to buy industrial magnets from European Union countries. Now they are having to buy them on the black market, and are making intensive efforts to acquire the equipment illegally from former Soviet republics and the Far East. It’s all crucial if the Iranians want to enrich uranium to a level that can be used for nuclear warheads.

The Iranians’ determination to get the magnets and other sophisticated industrial equipment has led Reza Tahmasebi, Iran’s minister of industries and mines who was given responsibility for acquiring the magnets, to tender his resignation. When it comes to Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Ahmadinejad clearly wants results, not excuses.
Mr Tahmasebi is just one of several prominent officials who have found themselves out of a job because of their failure to help Mr Ahmadinejad escape the more punitive affects of the UN economic sanctions.

The governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Ibrahim Shibani, is reported to have been relieved of his duties for failing to supervise adequately the return of Iranian overseas assets before they could be frozen, and dozens of other senior officials have lost their jobs as the regime seeks to tighten its grip over the entire apparatus of government.
None of which is good news for those who still cling to the notion that the international dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme can still be resolved by peaceful means.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iranian opposition could hold the key”] Aug 18 2007
by Our Correspondent, Western Mail

The carnage in Iraq continues to rage with no end in sight, despite attempts by the United States to curb the violence by increasing troop levels and engaging in direct talks with Iran. Ex-MP Win Griffiths gives his view of the situation.

THE rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq will not only impact on Iraqis, it would also have dire and strategic consequences for the entire Middle East. Iraq’s stability could not become a reality unless we explore the root causes of the current crisis, and act decisively and quickly to deal with them.

How did we end up in this situation in the first place? While our men and women in uniform sacrifice their lives, the Iranian regime, which is widely recognised as “the number one state sponsor of terrorism”, has been reaping all the benefits.

It is all too easy to point to the Sunni-Shiite rivalry as the root cause of Iraq’s troubles. But, that is only part of a much larger picture. An increasing number of Iraqis are now voicing concern about the “hidden occupation” of Iraq by Iran.

The dividing line in Iraq is between two rival political forces with diametrically opposed agendas for the future. On the one hand, there are independent, nationalist, and democratic parties. On the other hand, a pro-Iranian fundamentalist block has been mobilised against the nascent democratic process by perpetuating instability and violence. [/spoiler]