September 24, 2017

Iran Watch – November 9, 2007

[spoiler title=”The Bush-Sarkozy Agenda for Iran?”]
by Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney and Raymond Tanter
Human Events
11/07/2007
In 1776, Benjamin Franklin went to Paris as America’s first ambassador to gain support for American independence. Franklin convinced Paris to recognize U.S. independence and concluded an alliance. Scholar Leo Lemay wrote: “There is no doubt that America would not have won the Revolutionary War without France’s financial and military aid and that Franklin was almost entirely responsible for obtaining that aid.”

Now Washington again needs Paris during the maiden voyage of Nicolas Sarkozy to America as president. Sarkozy’s visit can advance the cause of American-French relations as the sojourn of Benjamin Franklin.

On the Bush-Sarkozy agenda is policy on Iran. But Washington cannot solve a growing crisis with Iran on its own and needs assistance from Paris to fashion a transatlantic policy. The European Union (EU) maintains leverage over Iran in trade, credits, and investment. EU member states constitute Iran’s main trading partner, with a 35% total market share; the EU supplies 44% of Iran’s total imports.

Both presidents agree that with the bomb, an Iranian regime driven by aggressive Islamist ideology would create an unprecedented international crisis. So far, however, Iran’s nuclear clock ticks faster than stalled Western diplomacy.

Consistent with the Sarkozy position that, “Iran represents the most important problem on the international scene,” on October 25, Washington blacklisted the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its affiliates because of its tasks: save the clerical regime from its opposition, export terrorism and radical Islamism, suppress the Iranian people, and produce nuclear weapons.

Absent a third UN Security Council resolution, France suggested EU members willing to implement sanctions should not wait for others. If the EU, led by Paris, would impose Washington-like sanctions on Tehran, it would make the regime feel pressure of a unified West.

And to reinforce the diplomatic front, Paris and Washington should look to the Iranian street. Major anti-government demonstrations in protest of gasoline rationing in June indicate that Iran is rife with disenchantment and ripe for coercive diplomacy.

Given growing Iranian instability, consider three options: multilateral diplomacy, unilateral military action, and empowerment of the Iranian people. Empowerment would reinforce diplomacy and make military action unnecessary.

Because Tehran has failed to respond to the diplomatic option, EU emphasis on diplomacy is likely to lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, something the United States will not allow. The more Europe stresses a failing diplomatic option, the more Washington moves toward the military option, which Europe correctly wants to avoid.

On August 27, President Sarkozy said that increasing sanctions while holding out the possibility of dialogue with Iran was the only policy “that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”

For Sarkozy’s coercive diplomacy to work requires the West gain leverage over Tehran by empowering the Iranian people. Empowerment requires an organized resistance movement in the lead not Western-styled regime change, as in the 1953 UK-USA overthrow of the elected government of Iran. The role the Iranian opposition can play is crucial in an Iranian solution to the dilemma of an Iranian bomb or bombing Iran.

The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) are Iranian opposition groups that threaten survival of the extremist regime in Tehran. A study of regime statements by the Iran Policy Committee finds that Tehran pays attention to the MEK 350% more than all other groups combined.

A 16-month review by the United States in July 2004 found no basis to charge members of the MEK in Iraq with violations of American laws, though the group is listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Interviews by officials from State and FBI did not produce any basis to indict MEK members. In July 2004, General Geoffrey Miller, then deputy commander in Iraq, announced MEK members as protected persons by the United States, under the Fourth Geneva Convention, providing them new rights.

So, President Bush and President Sarkozy: TAKE THE MEK OFF THE USA AND EU TERRORIST LISTS!

And because the NCRI is not on the EU list, Paris should convince Washington to remove that group from its list. Washington is considering whether to remove these groups from its terrorist lists; hence, Sarkozy has an opportunity to help Bush move in the direction the White House is already moving. Now is the time to reinforce unilateral American sanctions against Tehran with a common western approach, led by Paris and Washington, to empower the Iranian people via their opposition groups.

Ambassador Benjamin Franklin would be proud to see President Sarkozy advancing the cause of American-French relations, reinforcing diplomacy, and preventing war by empowering the Iranian people to oppose the unelected clerical regime. Such a move would be consistent with the Benjamin Franklin dictum, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

Retired Lt. Gen. McInerney is a Fox News Military Analysts and co-author of Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror (Regnery Publishing, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company). ———————- —————————- Professor Raymond Tanter is a former senior staffer of the National Security Council in the Reagan- Bush Administration and is President of Iran Policy Committee. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”One-on-one with Iran’s opposition”]

By John Hughes / November 7, 2007

Provo, Utah
The head of the Iranian opposition group in exile that supplied early intelligence on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has engineered a clever disinformation campaign to convince foreign experts that Iran is eight to 10 years away from developing a nuclear bomb. But in fact, she says, the regime is less than two years away from producing such a weapon, as part of its plan to “create an Iranian empire” in the Middle East.

In a wide-ranging weekend telephone conversation from her base of exile in Paris, Maryam Rajavi told me that Mr. Ahmadinejad has purged between 40 and 50 senior military officers who are in disagreement with his plans. She also explained that the resignation of Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, followed dispute between Mr. Larijani and Ahmadinejad over “incentives” Larijani had been prepared to offer his interlocutors in the West.

Ms. Rajavi heads the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), whose military arm is the People’s Mujahideen of Iran. The Mujahideen are listed as a terrorist organization by the US for its violent tactics. (The group allegedly supported the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979.) But in a bizarre twist, some 3,800 Mujahideen fighters who later conducted operations against the Iranian regime from Iraqi territory during the reign of Saddam Hussein are currently being held in benign custody in Iraq by US forces as “protected” persons. The current Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is attempting to prosecute or deport them. Rajavi says this is at the behest of Iran.

Both the NCRI and the People’s Mujahideen claim to have substantial underground support in Iran. Though the information of exiled groups about events in their tyrannized homelands has come under acute scrutiny since Iraqi exiles produced questionable data about events in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the NCRI is credited by US sources with accurately identifying clandestine Iranian nuclear facilities early on.

By interesting coincidence, The Times (London) recently cited Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa as the first Arab leader to directly accuse Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons. “While they don’t have the bomb yet, they are developing it, or the capability for it,” The Times quotes the crown prince as saying, adding that this is the first time one of Iran’s Gulf neighbors has “effectively accused [Iran] of lying about its nuclear programme.”

In her weekend conversation, Rajavi was adamant that “military intervention” in Iran by the US or others is not desirable. However, she praised the Bush administration for its recent branding of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. The IRGC, she said, holds key positions in government, dominates much of the economy, controls the nuclear program, and has a major role in drug trafficking. The US government’s action against it, she says, is a “clear testament and an indispensable prelude to democratic change in Iran.”

Her own program for change in Iran is a combination of accelerated sanctions and political pressure from without and upheaval arising from discontent within. Getting rid of her own organization’s “terrorist” label, she argues, would help energize internal critics of the regime. She says support for this is growing among both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. She is heartened by recent efforts of British parliamentarians to persuade the European Union to lift restrictions on Iranian opposition groups and blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Guards, she says, are responsible for the torture and execution of many Iranians and are the “center of all the disasters” of the Iranian people. They are also key to Iran’s military role in Iraq. According to Rajavi, they use the “Ramezan” garrison and four tactical bases near the Iran-Iraq border to send arms and explosives to Iraq. NCRI has exposed three factories in a very secure area in Tehran that are making roadside bombs to send to Iraq, she adds.

In a previous conversation with Rajavi a little more than two years ago, she spoke in Persian, translated into English through an interpreter. On this occasion she spoke in heavily accented English. “I studied English in high school,” she said, “but I have been practicing it more.” She also speaks French.

As we began our conversation, she reminded me that “everything I warned you about two years ago about Ahmadinejad has come true. He has declared war [on his perceived enemies].”

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Revolutionary Guards Corps and its role in international terrorism”] Revolutionary Guards Corps and Repression in Iran

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was primarily established to suppress democratic forces in Iran. IRGC involvement in some of the Iranian regime’s repressive organs is summarized below.

IRGC in the Ministry of Intelligence

Since its inception in 1984, the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has had a central role in internal repression and directing and supporting external terrorist activities. The IRGC forms the backbone of the Ministry:

1. Ninety percent of MOIS personnel were recruited from the IRGC by Mohammad Mohammadi- Rayshahri, the first Intelligence Minister.

2. Key posts at the directorate level, along with MOIS provincial directors are mainly occupied by IRGC members. Appointments at the Ministry are made by these individuals.

IRGC in Police Force

1. Since the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979, the newly formed Revolutionary Committees replaced urban police force whose main task was the suppression of freedoms. Members of these committees were low level members of the IRGC.
2. During Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s presidency (1989-1997), the urban police force and the Gendarmerie merged with the Revolutionary Committees to form the new State Security Forces (SSF) as proposed by the then Interior Minister Abdullah Nouri. In other words, the official suppressive force in Iran was formed from members of IRGC.
3. From the outset, the chief of the SSF has always been a brigadier general from the IRGC. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Interpol puts Iranians on wanted list”] WEDNESDAY, 07 NOVEMBER 2007
The Associated Press

By JAMEY KEATEN

Associated Press Writer

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) – Interpol put five Iranians and a Lebanese man on its most-wanted list Wednesday in connection with a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center in Argentina.

Iranian delegates said the annual Interpol general assembly in Morocco voted 78-14, with 26 abstentions, to issue wanted notices for the six suspects.

“We have achieved something that we have been hoping for for a long time,” said Alberto Nisman, the chief Argentine prosecutor in the case.

Argentine prosecutors alleged that Iranian officials orchestrated the bombing in Buenos Aires – Argentina’s worst terror attack – and entrusted the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah with carrying it out.

No one has been convicted in Argentina in connection with the blast, in which a van stuffed with explosives leveled the seven-story Jewish center and shook Argentina’s 200,000-strong Jewish community.

The Interpol vote became embroiled in Iran’s broader tensions with the West, which stem in part from suspicions that Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Iranian envoys had strongly objected to the wanted notices, accusing Israel and the United States of turning the international police agency into a political tool.

The six wanted notices are for former Iranian intelligence chief Ali Fallahian; Mohsen Rabbani, former cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires; former diplomat Ahmad Reza Asghari; Mohsen Rezaei, former leader of the elite Revolutionary Guards; Ahmad Vahidi, a general in the Revolutionary Guards; and Hezbollah militant Imad Moughnieh, one of the world’s most sought-after terror suspects.

Moughnieh, whose whereabouts are unknown, is wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s, and suicide attacks on the U.S. Embassy and a Marine base in Lebanon that killed more than 260 Americans.

The Interpol decision would not force countries to arrest or extradite the suspects.

Nisman said the wanted notices would be put in place immediately.

He rejected Iranian claims that the vote was political, saying: “this is a police matter.”

“We don’t have anything against the government of Iran or the people of Iran,” he said.

In March, Interpol’s executive committee backed Argentina’s request to put out red notices for the six. Iran objected, which sent the issue to a general assembly vote.

In Marrakech, Iranian delegates lobbied counterparts, mainly from African and Asian countries, by handing out dossiers written in several languages and explaining their case.

Among their arguments: Argentina’s investigation was flawed, if not corrupt; some witnesses cited in that investigation were themselves wanted by Interpol; Iran quickly condemned the bombings; a bilateral resolution would be better.

Mohammad Ali Pakshir, a legal adviser in Iran’s delegation, claimed that the United States and Israel “want Interpol to issue the red notices to be able to tell the world ‘Look, they are terrorists.”‘

Delegates from the United States, Argentina and Israel declined comment before the vote, with some saying they did not want to be drawn into Iran’s accusations about politicizing the issue.

View Source Here [/spoiler]