July 24, 2017

Iran Watch – October 19, 2007

[spoiler title=”Time to bring Iran’s PMOI opposition in from the cold”]
Henry Jackson Think Tank Website
By Brian Binley MP
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, 11th October 2007

The Iranian regime brutalizes its own citizens through human rights abuses, operates an aggressive foreign policy towards its neighbouring states and is developing nuclear weapons as a strategic menace. All three of these aspects of its behaviour have recently been condemned by the international community.
The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) has been one of the organisations at the forefront of domestic opposition to the regime, and its supporters have suffered grievously at its hands because of it through death and torture. The Iranian regime has used its dislike of the PMOI as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the West, promising progress in matters of international concern in exchange for complicity in the silencing of the PMOI. This has led to the UK and EU listing the PMOI as a terrorist organisation to please Tehran.

The PMOI appealed this decision to the European Court of First Instance in December 2006, which found in its favour, stating that the PMOI had never committed any attacks against civilians, nor had it ever acted as aggressor. Indeed, the PMOI renounced all violent action against the regime in 2001 and has committed no acts of violence since.
Despite this, the European Council, led by Britian, has shamefully refused to reconsider its decision. This breach of the European Court judgement needs to be rectified and the appeasement of Tehran by Europe – which has delivered no results – abandoned.
We sit here today watching an unprecedented surge in human rights abuses being carried out by the Iranian regime. From the streets of Tehran to the cells of Iran’s notorious Evin prison, women, students, and children by the hundreds are being executed and tortured. Figures indicate that eight women in Iran currently are facing execution by stoning. The sight of people being hanged from cranes greeted workers at Germany’s embassy in Tehran as they opened their curtains one morning. No longer does Iran even pretend to hide its vile nature its message is clear to the world: this is democracy Tehran-style, and you can do nothing about it.

The same ideology that allows the Iranian regime to brutalise its own civilians in such a horrific manner forms the basis of Iran’s foreign policy, with the massacre of Coalition troops alongside thousands of Iraqi civilians at the forefront of this policy. These two international concerns stand alongside a third: Iran’s nuclear weapons programme with President Ahmedinejad at its helm.

Unease is growing worldwide on all three matters, with solutions needed in a matter of months, not years. In the last week alone, we have seen international condemnation of all Iranian behavior vis- a-vis all three issues. In the UN Human Rights Council, Canada took the lead in its unreserved condemnation of the regime for the recent spate of public executions and suppressive violence against women. On Capitol Hill in Washington, we heard from U.S. General Petraeus and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq that Iran’s terrorist activities in Iraq are continuing unabated, with the prospect of peace in Iraq a distant dream without the exclusion of the Tehran regime and its forces immediately from Iraq’s territory. On the nuclear front, we have seen further meetings between the permanent Security Council members plus Germany to search for a solution to the nuclear crisis.

However, in all three cases, the solution has been clear to many of us within the British parliament for a considerable amount of time. Our beliefs now have been echoed by many former and current generals of the U.S. military, that the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) must be supported as the democratic alternative to the theocratic rulers of Iran. Since the coming to power of the Khomeini regime in 1979, the PMOI has been at the forefront of those within the Iranian population who have been demanding freedom and democracy. The brave demands of those PMOI members and supporters has led to more than 120,000 of them being executed, with hundreds of thousands more having faced horrific torture in Iran’s prisons.

The PMOI&ampampampampamprsquos success and widespread support throughout Iran and the world has ultimately led to it being used as a bargaining chip with the Iranian regime whenever and wherever there are any discussions regarding any of the three international concerns I mentioned above. The PMOI in Iraq was bombed relentlessly for seven days during the recent Iraq war, leading to the deaths of fifty-two of its members. This shameful act of violence was committed even though the PMOI clearly had stated that it would play no part in the war. This was proved true beyond doubt when they did not even shoot one bullet in self-defense. This shameful act was committed in a vain attempt to make a deal with the Iranian regime for it to not interfere in Iraqi affairs. Four years on, and we see the results.

However, this process of abusing the Iranian regime’s democratic opposition culminated in its shameful listing as a terrorist organisation in the UK and EU. Time has passed and the records indicate that this decision was politically motivated in both the UK and EU. In the UK, Foreign Minister Jack Straw, on his own admission, listed the PMOI because of demands made of him from the Iranian regime. The pioneer of the policy of ‘constructive dialogue’ suppressed the democratic opposition in exile, as if its suppression in Iran had not sufficed.

In the EU, the same policy was pioneered by the UK, with AFP reporting in November 2004 that the EU3 had offered Tehran a deal by which, if the Iranian regime abided by its international obligations in relation to its nuclear weapons programme, the PMOI would continue to be listed as a terrorist organisation. I am sure that the British population that supported terrorism legislation in a belief of necessity would not appreciate it being abused in such an unwholesome manner.

The PMOI was so convinced that this terror listing had no legal justification that it took its case to the European Court of First Instance, and in December of last year, the Court found in its favour. The evidence was clear: the PMOI had never committed any attacks against civilians, nor had it ever acted as aggressor. However, most important of all, in 2001 the PMOI made a clear decision to end military activity, with no acts of violence having been committed since.

On the back of the ruling of the ECFI, pressure has grown across Europe from lawyers, human rights activists, and parliamentarians, all demanding the implementation of the judgment. However, the European Council, led by the UK, has breached the ruling, once again listing the PMOI. This is another continuation of the policy of ‘constructive dialogue’ – better known as appeasement.

The evidently just case of the PMOI has led 35 MPs and Lords from the UK Parliament to take unprecedented action against the UK government by appealing the unjust terror listing of the PMOI. We as parliamentarians want to support an organisation that cannot only bring democracy and freedom to the people of Iran and the Middle East, but an organisation that can lead the way in acting as the antithesis to the Islamic fundamentalism we fear on British public transport everyday. Our voices and those of millions of Iranians must be heard freely, and this only can be done with the immediate removal of the PMOI from the UK terror list. Democracy will not be silenced.

Brian Binley is the Member of British Parliament for Northampton South [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iran Nuclear Cartoon”] [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iran’s al Qaeda”] If the Revolutionary Guards aren’t terrorists, who is?

BY BRET STEPHENS
The Wall Street Journal

On the morning of July 18, 1994, a suicide bomber drove a van into the seven-story Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, murdering 85 people and seriously injuring 151 others. Last November, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral issued international arrest warrants for eight men–seven Iranians and one Lebanese–wanted in connection to the bombing. Among them are former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and three other men with one important point in common: All were, or are, senior officers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

That’s something both Democratic politicians and Bush administration policy makers might consider in their respective internal debates over whether the IRGC should officially be designated as a foreign terrorist organization. For the administration, which has been mulling the issue since at least August, a terrorist designation for the IRGC is one further way to penalize Iran unilaterally as efforts to obtain a third round of international sanctions stall at the U.N. Security Council. But the Russians, Chinese and some of the Europeans are said to fiercely oppose the move, in part because much of their business in Iran runs through IRGC-controlled enterprises.

As for the Democrats, fully half their Senate conference–including Hillary Clinton–voted last month in favor of a symbolic amendment to designate the IRGC a terrorist group, albeit after the original text had been stripped of its prescription to “combat, contain and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence” of Iran and its proxies in Iraq. Sen. Clinton defended her vote as a way “to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran.” But the rest of the Democratic presidential field took exception, with John Edwards insisting that “we cannot give this president an inch, not an inch.”

There certainly is plenty to say about what consequences might flow from an adverse finding of fact about the IRGC. But there is also the matter of the facts themselves. Following the ’94 bombing–which came just two years after the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires had been bombed, killing 22–the Clinton administration wasted little time fingering what it then believed was the likeliest suspect. “I am very distressed that some of our allies . . . do not recognize the full responsibility of Iran for Hezbollah attacks around the world,” said then Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

It also became quickly apparent that the two attacks had been coordinated through Iran’s embassy in Argentina. In 1998 an Iranian defector to the U.S. named Ahmad Rezai confirmed that “the attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was planned in Tehran.” He added that the decision to attack had been made by Mr. Rafsanjani and his top deputies (reportedly at an Aug. 14, 1993 meeting in the Iranian city of Mashad), and that the bombers had been trained for the mission in Lebanon by IRGC officers. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”US Military: Intercepted Afghan Weapons Came From Iran”] By VOA News

18 October 2007

The top commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan says weapons intercepted in the country last month originated in Iran.

U.S. Army General Dan McNeill said Thursday NATO forces stopped a convoy from Iran on September 5 in western Afghanistan. He said the convoy contained a number of advanced technology improvised explosive devices.

McNeill said it is hard to believe that a shipment of hi- tech explosives could have originated in Iran and come to Afghanistan without the knowledge of the Iranian military. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”U.S. Scrutinizes Iranian Revolutionary Guard”] The Bush administration is investigating the wide web of business connections undertaken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and is urging European and other countries to be on the lookout for concealed IRGC links to Iranian companies, a senior U.S. official tells U.S. News.

“We want to expose what the Revolutionary Guard is and what they’re doing,” says the official. “The economic part [of the guard] is huge and growing.” The guard is an elite, 125,000-man force assigned to protect Iran’s Islamic revolution. It maintains air, land, sea, intelligence, domestic patrol, and foreign operations units, the last of which is said to be deeply involved in funding, training, and supplying anti-U.S. Shiite militants in Iraq.

U.S. officials also believe the guard is involved in running a covert military dimension to Iran’s nuclear programs, supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militant groups in the West Bank and Gaza, and serving as a hard-line pillar of the Iranian government.

Deciphering the guard’s economic activities is a difficult process, the official said, adding, “It’s hard to tease out what’s going where and what’s the money supporting.” A key goal of exploring the guard’s activities is to be able to warn European and other countries about inadvertent business dealings with the guard, part of the administration’s strategy of squeezing the Iranian regime’s revenue streams and access to financing.

U.S. officials are cautioning others that “there’s a good chance the hidden hand behind it [business deals with Iran] is the Revolutionary Guard,” says the official. “There is an education component to this.” [/spoiler]