Our Reality Can Beat Up Your Reality. Spreading False News Stories on Iran

Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda for Trolls, by Trolls

Global Research, June 17, 2019

Twitter has declared victory over disinformation, deplatforming thousands of pro-Iranian Twitter accounts this week to coincide with US Secretary of State “Rapture Mike” Pompeo’s evidence-free declaration that Iran had attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. But the mass deletion is merely an effort to distract from the implosion of two anti-Iran troll campaigns dedicated to smearing pro-peace Americans, both tacitly Twitter-approved. And there’s plenty more where those came from. As US media and politicians continues to hyperventilate about Russian bots, who’s the real troll-master?

Pompeo was out front with the blame hours after the attack, absent a shred of proof beyond unspecified “intelligence” and a few other dubious incidents in the Middle East that the US has previously pinned on Iran (also absent a shred of proof). But even mainstream media has initially been reluctant to take his word for it, mostly because the narrative is so improbable – Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe was in Tehran when it happened, promising to make the “utmost effort” to de-escalate tensions, when, as if on cue, one Japanese ship and another carrying Japanese cargo were hit? What are the odds?

When even CNN acknowledged that the attack “doesn’t appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region,” and Bloomberg admitted “Iran has little to gain” from blowing up the ships of its esteemed guest, Pompeo clearly understood another route of influence was required. Who better to call in for reinforcements than Twitter, which has demonstrated time and again its willingness to serve the US’ preferred narrative with mass deplatformings? 4,779 accounts believed to be “associated or backed by Iran” were removed – less than an hour after Pompeo’s declaration of Iranian guilt – for nothing more than tweeting “global news content, often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state.” This was deemed “platform manipulation,” and therefore unacceptable.

One troll down, thousands more to go

Tweeting with an angle that benefits the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the American state, however, is perfectly acceptable – at least, it wasn’t Twitter that brought the “Iran Disinformation Project” crashing to a halt earlier this month. The State Department officially ended its @IranDisinfo influence operation after the social media initiative, ostensibly created to “counter Iranian propaganda,” went rogue, smearing any and all critics of Trump’s hawkish Iran policy as paid operatives of the Iranian government. Human rights activists, students, journalists, academics, even insufficiently-militant American propagandists at RFE/RL, Voice of America and other US-funded outlets were attacked by @IranDisinfo – all on the US taxpayer’s dime.

Congress only learned of the project in a closed-door hearing on Monday, when the State Department confessed the troll campaign had taken $1.5 million in taxpayers’ money to attack those same taxpayers – all in the name of promoting “freedom of expression and free access to information.” The group contracted to operate Iran Disinfo, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, is run by an Iranian immigrant and claims to focus on strengthening “civil society” and “democracy” back home, though its work is almost exclusively US-focused and its connections with pro-war think tanks like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have alarmed congressional staffers.

“What rules are in place to prevent state-funded organization from smearing American citizens? If there wasn’t public outcry, would the Administration have suspended funding for Iran Disinfo?” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) tweeted after the mea culpa meeting. While the State Department was long barred from directing government-funded propaganda at its own citizens, that rule was quietly repealed in 2013 with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, which gave its narrative-spinners free reign to run influence operations at home. And while the Pentagon is technically forbidden from running psychological operations (“psy-ops”) against American citizens, that rule goes out the window in case of “domestic emergencies” – and the domestic emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush days after the September 11 terror attacks remains in effect, 18 years later.

Trump’s favorite anti-Iran troll

Nor was the State Department’s trolling operation the only anti-Iran psy-op to be unmasked in recent weeks. Heshmat Alavi, an anti-Iranian columnist promoted by the Trump administration and published in Forbes, the Hill, and several other outlets, was exposed by the Intercept as a propaganda construct operated by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian exile group often called a cult that has only recently lobbied its way off the US’ terror list. The MEK is notorious for buying the endorsement of American political figures, and national security adviser John Bolton, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are among those who have spoken at its events.

Heshmat Alavi’s stories were used to sell Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal to the Washington Post and other more reputable outlets, as well as to promote the MEK as a “main Iranian opposition group” and viable option for post-regime-change leadership of Iran – even though it is very much fringe and hated by the majority of Iranians for fighting on the side of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Indeed, Alavi’s relentless advocacy for the MEK may have scared off a few of the sites that initially published his work.

None of the editors who’d published Alavi’s work had ever spoken to him and none could provide the Intercept with any evidence that he was not, in fact, “a persona run by a team of people from the political wing of the MEK.” Defectors confirmed that Alavi is a small part of a massive US-directed propaganda campaign.

“We were always active in making false news stories to spread to the foreign press and in Iran,” a Canadian MEK defector told the Intercept, describing a comprehensive online propaganda operation run out of the group’s former base in Iraq that sought to control the narrative about Iran on Facebook and Twitter. Alavi may be gone, his account quietly suspended by Twitter in the wake of the Intercept’s unmasking and his stories pulled from Forbes and the Diplomat, but there are more where he came from. The Intercept delivered Twitter all the evidence they needed to take down the MEK’s trolling network, a swamp of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in which Alavi was a prominent node, but the social network sat on its hands.

Friends funding fiends

Add to this toxic US-approved stew the Israeli astroturf operation Act.IL, which in 2018 took $1.1 million from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to troll Americans critical of Israeli policies, including its hostility toward Iran. Initially founded to combat the Iran nuclear deal, the Ministry’s mission has pivoted to combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for which it receives significant US funding (Israeli Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi admitted in 2012 that American taxpayers contribute more to the country’s defense budget than Israeli taxpayers). Act.IL boasts it has gotten Americans fired from their jobs, and the app encourages users to accuse American students and journalists who support BDS of antisemitism, mass-report their posts, and otherwise engage in what would be called “coordinated inauthentic behavior” if any other country did it.

Act.IL is by no means the only Israeli trolling campaign aimed at American eyeballs, either. Psy-Group, the Israeli private intelligence company that infamously pitched a social media influence operation to the Trump campaign, ran a multi-pronged online smear operation to influence a local election in California in 2017 and has pitched dozens more. The Israel on Campus Coalition attacks pro-Palestinian student activists and professors through coordinated social media campaigns, while The Israel Project operates a network of Facebook groups whose admitted purpose is to smuggle pro-Israeli propaganda into users’ newsfeeds by concealing it among bland inspirational messages.

Such clear-cut deception by state-sponsored actors is a blatant violation of Facebook’s policies as they’ve been applied to other users, but the site claims the Israeli groups are kosher. Yet of the pro-Iran accounts deleted by Twitter, one “set” included 248 accounts “engaged with discussions related to Israel specifically” – these were shut down for nothing more than their country of origin, even as inauthentic accounts run by Israel were given carte-blanche to spew propaganda. Twitter and Facebook don’t mind being weaponized in the propaganda wars, as long as they’re working for the “right” side.

As 21st century wars are fought more and more in the informational sphere, the brightly-colored propaganda posters of the previous century have been replaced with relatively sophisticated social media influence operations. What Pompeo can’t accomplish by lying to the American public, the State Department will attempt to achieve through the slow and steady drip of disinformation.

US politicians, meanwhile, remain so fixated on the “Russian trolls stole the election!” narrative they’ve been flogging for the last three years that the Senate last week unanimously passed a bill to restrict entry to any foreign national convicted of “election meddling,” a toothless piece of legislative virtue-signaling that reveals their utter disconnection from reality. It’s more than a little ironic that they’d embrace and even pay for foreign meddling as long as they believe the trolls are working for them.

As Friedrich Nietzsche said,

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Or a troll.

*

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This article was originally published in abbreviated form on RT.

Helen Buyniski‘s work has been published at RT, Ghion Journal, Progressive Radio Network, and Veterans Today, among other outlets. A journalist and photographer based in New York City, Helen has a BA in Journalism from New School University and also studied at Columbia University and New York University. Find more of her work at http://www.helenofdestroy.com and http://medium.com/@helen.buyniski, or follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author

The Saker interviews Aram Mirzaei on Iran

The Saker

June 13, 2019

The Saker interviews Aram Mirzaei on Iran

[This interview was made for the Unz Review]

Introduction by the Saker:

For a while now we have been lucky enough to have a wonderful Iranian member of the Saker community writing analyses for the Saker Blog: Aram Mirzaei has brought a wealth of expertise and priceless insights into Iran and everything Iran-related. Clearly, after the DPRK, Syria and Venezuela – Iran is now the target of Trump’s ignorant hubris and threats and it is therefore extremely important to debunk of AngloZionist propaganda about Iran and its role and actions in the Middle-East. This interview with Aram Mirzaei is just the first step of a major effort by the Saker community to report more often about Iran. Expect much more in the near future. In the meantime, I will let Aram introduce himself and then reply to my questions.

The Saker

——-

My name is Aram Mirzaei, I’m 30 years old and live somewhere in Europe. Originally, I hail from western Iran, a place that is deeply rooted in my heart. Ever since my teenage years, I’ve had a passion for history and politics, a trait I inherited from my mother who was an Iranian revolutionary. Naturally, this passion made me choose to study political science all the way up to my Master’s degree. Having supported my country against foreign threats my entire adult life, I became an activist for the Resistance Axis when the Syrian War broke out in 2011 and have combined my passion for writing and politics, to contribute to the propaganda fight that runs in parallel with the fighting on the ground. Thus, I have endulged myself in anything related to Iran, in an effort to have a complete understanding of the land that I was born in and where my forefathers once dwelled in. Aside from these interests, I also love philosophy, sociology, religion, football (soccer) and trading, with a specific focus on crypto currencies.

The Saker: Please explain what an “Islamic Republic” is and how it is different from any other republic? What makes the Iranian political system unique? How democratic (vs theocratic) is it? Do you consider Iran to be a democratic country (in the sense that the will of the people is the highest, sovereign, authority)?

Aram Mirzaei: These are very relevant questions as this issue is something most outsiders have a hard time understanding. Growing up in the West, I myself had a hard time understanding this system until I read Imam Khomeini’s manifesto: Islamic Governance – rule of the jurisprudence.  Here, Khomeini offers a very unique viewpoint and insight into his ideas of a modern Islamic form of government. Khomeini views the Western democratic system as a foreign way of governance, not suited for Muslim countries, while he also correctly identifies the deep flaws within the contemporary Islamic forms of governance, that they are outdated monarchies prone to corruption and decadence.

Simply put, Khomeini offers a compromise between Western Democracy and Islamic Sharia law. To understand this form of government, one must understand the background of Shia Islamic scholarship and the theological debate regarding Islamic government. As many already know, modern Twelver Shia faith rest on the pillar of the Occultation, the belief that the messianic figure, also known as Mahdi, who in Shia theology is the last (Twelfth) infallible male descendant (Imam) of the prophet Mohammad, was born but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice and peace. In this time of post-Occultation the theory of Velayat-e Faqih (Rule of the Jurisprudence), holds that Islam shall give a Faqih (Islamic jurist) custodianship over the people, in the absence of the Hidden Imam.

The doctrine of Velayat-e Faqih has been an issue that has divided the Shia Islamic scholars between the ideas of a so called Limited Guardianship and an Absolute Guardianship of the jurisprudence. Traditionally, Limited Guardianship has been the dominant interpretation where Mujtahids (Islamic scholars) have left secular power to the monarchs while the Ulema’s (clerical class) role has been limited to non-litigious affairs. This interpretation holds that the Ulema should only assume an advisory role to the monarch who is responsible for the task of protecting the country. For centuries, especially during the time of the Safavid Shahs, Iran was ruled this way, with the Ulema assuming an advisory role in the royal court of the Shahs. Only during the Pahlavi dynasty of the 20th century did this begin to change as Reza Shah Pahlavi, initiated radical secular changes to the Iranian society as a whole.

The idea of Absolute Guardianship hails from the belief that collective affairs fall under the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist. Before Khomeini, there had been a few scholars arguing for Absolute Guardianship, yet none of them gained the amount of influence as Khomeini did. He presented the concept as necessary to protect and preserve Islam during the Occultation of the Imam. According to Khomeini, a society should be governed by those who are the most knowledgeable about Islamic law, this is his main argument in what an Islamic Government actually is. In his manifesto, Khomeini argues that monarchy is un-Islamic. In a true Islamic state, those holding government posts should have knowledge of Sharia, as well as having intelligence and administrative ability. Thus the monarchy becomes redundant in such a governing system, paving the way for a Republic to take its place instead. Specifically Khomeini argued that the un-Islamic government “though it may be made up of elected representatives does not truly belong to the people” in the case of Muslim countries.

Where Shia Mujtahids have tended to remain outside the active political sphere, Khomeini argues that leading Mujtahids also have inherited the Prophet’s political authority by explicating several ahadiths of the Shia Imams. An example is his analysis of a saying attributed to the first Imam, Ali who in addressing a judge said:

The seat you are occupying is filled by someone who is a prophet, the legatee of a prophet, or else a sinful wretch.”

Khomeini reasons that the term judges must refer to trained fuqaha (jurists) as they are “by definition learned in matters pertaining to the function of judge” , and since trained jurists are neither sinful wretches nor prophets, by process of elimination “we deduce from the tradition quoted above that the fuqaha are the legatees.” He explains that legatees of the prophet have the same power to command Muslims as the Prophet Muhammad and (in Shia belief) the Imams. Thus, the saying, `The seat you are occupying is filled by someone who is a prophet, the legatee of a prophet, or else a sinful wretch,` demonstrates that Islamic jurists have the power to rule Muslims.

According to the constitution of Iran, an Islamic republic is defined as a state ruled by the Fuqaha. In accordance with Qur’an and on the basis of two principles of the trusteeship and the permanent Imamate (bloodline of the Prophet), it is counted as a function of the jurists. Also it is explained that only the jurists that are upright, pious and committed experts on Islam are entitled to rule . Also those who are informed of the demands of the times and known as God-fearing, brave and qualified for leadership. In addition they must hold the religious office of Marja (the highest rank in the Shia clerical establishment) and be permitted to deliver independent judgments on general principles (fatwas). The Marja has only the right to rule the Islamic Republic for as long as the Twelfth and final Imam remains in Occultation.

In this sense, the Islamic Republic of Iran is unique in comparison to other so called “Islamic Republics” such as Pakistan and Afghanistan as they are governed by secular constitutions and are only Islamic Republics by name rather than in practice.
In both theory and practice, the Velayat-e Faqih differs radically from any other form of government, both Western and Eastern models.

Whether or not this system can be considered “democratic” is really a subjective matter. I personally dont like the contemporary opinions on what constitutes a democracy as they are very much formed and dictated by Western ideas and standards. The generally accepted tools of measurement on democracy in the world follow liberal democratic criteria formulated by liberal thinkers and scholars. This narrows down countries into liberal democracies, so called true democracies and non-liberal democracies, also known as “flawed democracies” in their world view.

As I mentioned earlier, the Islamic Republic is a compromise between Western democracy and Islamic theocracy, which makes it hard to compare to the western notion on what constitutes a democracy, and since there aren’t any other Islamic Republics to compare it to, it makes it even more difficult to measure how democratic it is. But let’s begin by stating the obvious, the Islamic Republic is a republic, which means that the state belongs to the people and not a ruler. The Supreme Leader, or Rahbar Enghelab (Revolutionary Leader) is not a monarch and the title is not hereditary.

Lawmakers are directly elected by the people, as is the President as well. The Iranian elections are considered not “free and fair” by western standards due to the vetting process by the unelected Guardian council, but this is where the theocratic nature of the Islamic Republic becomes prevalent, as the vetting process is important for the elimination of anti-Islamic elements in the government. Another point of confusion is the role of the Supreme Leader, a role that many outsiders have misunderstood. The truth is that while the President rules the government and politics of the country, the Supreme Leader’s role is one of oversight. Think of the Supreme Leader as the U.S Supreme Court, where the Supreme Leader has a duty to uphold the Islamic Republic’s core values, much like the Supreme Court in the U.S upholds the constitution.

The Supreme Leader is chosen by the elected institution called the Assembly of Experts, which is tasked with overseeing the performance and activities of the Supreme Leader. The Assembly of Experts also has the power to impeach a Supreme Leader if needed, thus not even the Supreme Leader is untouchable. The Supreme Leader in turn then elects the members of the Guardian Council who are responsible for the vetting I mentioned above. So you can see that the Islamic Republic is a system filled with checks and balances between elected and unelected institutions.

The Saker: Wikipedia (hardly a trustworthy source) has this picture of the Iranian government structure: 

 

Is it correct?

Aram Mirzaei: I would say that this depiction of the Iranian government structure is not exactly inaccurate, but it also fails to offer a comprehensive picture of the checks and balance system that plays a huge part in Iranian politics. This depiction focuses a lot on who is elected and who is not, instead of focusing on the different branches of government and their roles. Let me explain: The Supreme Leader as mentioned above is a superintendent, who oversees the Executive and Judiciary branch, while he also acts as commander of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic. The Supreme Leader in turn is appointed by the directly elected Assembly of Experts which is made up of 88 Mujtahids, and as I mentioned before, the Assembly of Experts has the power to remove him if necessary.

The Parliament and the President are directly elected by the people. While the President chooses his cabinet, the Parliament is responsible with electing 6 out of 12 members of the powerful Guardian Council, these 6 members are nominated by the Head of the Judiciary, who in turn is appointed by the Supreme Leader. These 6 members are non-clerical jurists while the other 6 members appointed by the Supreme Leader are faqihs.

The Guardian Council, acts as an upper consultative assembly. It is charged with interpreting the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, supervising elections of, and approving of candidates to, the Assembly of Experts, the President and the Parliament. Any laws made by the parliament must be approved by the Guardian Council.

The Expediency council is an advisory assembly set up in 1988 to act as an intermediary between the Parliament and Guardian Council whenever conflicts occur. It is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader.

The Saker: The western media always loves to think in terms of “hardliners” and “liberals” in each country they don’t control. To what degree are these categories applicable to Iran?

Aram Mirzaei: The terms as you say, is a way for the Western media to simplify the different categories of political movements in Iran. I would rather say that a better way of dividing the political spectrum in Iran is to say that there are Reformists and Conservatives. While the term “conservative” is difficult to apply on Iranian society, the existence of a conservative movement, or as they prefer to be called, Principalists, is a reality. The Iranian political spectrum can somewhat loosely be defined as a division between the Islamic left (Reformists) and the Islamic right (Principalists).

The Iranian Principalist bloc of today emerged as a response to the rising power of the reformist movement, headed by known figures such as former Iranian President and cleric Mohammad Khatami and to some extent former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the richest people in the country.   Iranian principalism however dates further back in history. It roots back to the early 20th century with the constitutional revolution, which demonstrated the power of the clerical class as the Qajar dynasty was disposed by Reza Khan (later Reza Shah Pahlavi), a man who clashed many times with the clergy.  The Shah had initiated a set of reforms aimed at modernizing the country. Along with this modernization effort the Women’s Awakening movement gained strength. This movement sought the elimination of the traditional Iranian chador from Iranian society. This movement was backed by the Shah who sought inspiration from western clothing for his society. The religious establishment were fiercely opposed to this and organized protests against obligatory Western dressing in Mashhad, resulting in the Shah ordering his soldiers to shoot at the crowds protesting.

The policies of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the son and successor of Reza Shah Pahlavi, further sowed division between the clergy and the royal court. The young Shah’s role in the 1953 coup against the democratically elected Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Mossadeq, the failed “white revolution” which only served to further accelerate his unpopularity. Once more the clergy assumed the position of anti-imperialists in the Iranian political spectrum, arguing that the Shah was a dictator put in place by a non-Muslim Western power, the United States. As witnessed several times before, the clergy and the powerful merchant class, the Bazariis played a crucial role in forming the Iranian political landscape, this was also the case in 1979 when the clergy and the merchants came together to overthrow the monarchy.

The Islamic revolution in Iran brought about a total change to the political landscape of Iran as Iranian politics was now contained within an Islamic framework, free from foreign meddling, imperialism and dependency.  This is the platform which the modern Principalist movement still use in their political campaigns.

Principalism focuses on broad conservative principles: loyalty to Islam and the Revolution, obedience to the Supreme Leader, and devotion to the principle of Velayat-e Faqih.

This set of principles implicitly endorses the status quo and the current power structure. It is also a response to the reformist parties’ emphasis on change: free elections, freedom of the press and assembly and individual rights, and, implicitly, curbs on the almost unlimited power of the Supreme Leader, and limits on the authority of the Guardian Council to disqualify candidates for elective office.

The Principalists include dozens of small cliques and political organizations each centred around a limited number of politicians, activists, clerics, and members of parliament and state institutions.

The conservatism of these groups varies too. They fall generally into four categories:

  • Traditional conservatives may stand firm on social issues, such as Islamic dress for women and bans on gender mixing. But they are more open to possible reconciliation with centrist reformers, albeit with many caveats.
  • Another group of new conservatives cares less about social issues, but they are closely aligned with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military-security nexus whose influence has grown markedly in recent years.
  • A third conservative wing is closely allied to the bazaar merchants, importers, and shopkeepers.
  • A fourth branch, championed by former Ahmadinejad supporters, is populist in temperament and intent.

In their drive for unity, almost all the conservative politicians now label themselves “Osul-garayan”, or “Principalists.”

The reformist era of Iran is generally accepted to have occurred between the years 1997-2005, during President Khatami’s two terms in office.

Khatami and his allies were the remnants of the Islamic left faction, hardliners who from 1979 to 1989 were the driving force behind many of the Islamic Republic’s signature policies. Domestically this included violently eliminating the political opposition to the Islamic Republic, enforcing strict Islamic morality through revolutionary committees and nationalizing Iran’s economy. They were behind the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and were instrumental to the founding of Hezbollah in Lebanon. In the first decade of the newly found Islamic Republic they had been strongly backed by the Vali-e Faqih or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and governed through the Executive under then Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi (1981-1989).

Between 1988 to 1991, with the end Iran-Iraq War, the fall of the Soviet Union and the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, political stabilization of the state through social change, the Islamic left’s fortunes rapidly declined. Firstly the end of the war put an end to the state of emergency under which the Islamic left exercised their influence. Secondly, the collapse of the Soviet Union delegitimized the statist economy which had been used to govern the Iranian economy in the first decade of the Islamic Republic. Thirdly, the passing of Ayatollah Khomeini, the staunch backer of the Islamic left was a huge blow to their political power.

Their rivals, the Islamic right faction, capitalized on this by selecting their own Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the new Supreme Leader and Rafsanjani as president, eliminating the Premiership from the constitution, veto-ing Islamic left election candidates through the Guardian Council, purging them from unelected state institutions, and more. Having been eliminated from the system, the Islamic left entered a period of retreat in which it reassessed its place in the Islamic Republic. They emerged from this process “reformed”, the namesake of their faction.

After having lost their standing in the Islamic Republic’s powerful non-elected institutions, the newly formed Reformists under Mohammad Khatami regained political power by appealing to Iran’s restless segments of society yearning for change, and channel popular frustration through elected institutions.

In an interview with the Rah-e No newspaper in 1998, Reformist theoretician Saeed Hajjarian characterized this strategy for achieving their goals as “pressure from below, negotiations from above.” The barren political landscape in Iran during the 1997 presidential election, including the lackluster Islamic right candidate Nateq Nouri, and the tacit support of Rafsanjani who by this time had distanced himself from Khamenei and the Islamic right, resulted in a landslide victory for Khatami.

The initial shock of Khatami’s electoral victory did not faze the Islamic right who rallied under the banner of “preserving the principles of the revolution”, thus rebranding themselves as the Principalists.

The reformists won the Majlis elections of 2000, and Khatami was re-elected in 2001, the Principalists however were able to effectively block them through institutional obstructionism. In the 2004 Majlis elections, many prominent Reformist politicians were deemed unfit to stand for office by the powerful Guardian Council, an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic. This strategy crippled the pillars of Reformist theoretician Hajjarians strategy of “negotiating from above”, by excluding them from political institutions.

While the first incarnation of Hajjarian’s “pressure from below, negotiations from above” had failed, it was reinvented by the 2009 election campaign and its aftermath. By conducting an electrifying electoral campaign and using social media, Reformists would use the deep discontent that had built up during Ahmadinejad’s four years in office among certain segments of the population, and bring “pressure from below” by mobilizing this group onto the streets.

This gave Reformists a new weapon to wield against Principalists in case of perceived electoral irregularities, using popular pressure to overturn the election results, elect Mousavi as president and thus restore their ability to “negotiate from above”.

On June 12th, they used this weapon when the election results were announced in favor of the incumbent Ahmadinejad. While there were no actual evidence that proves electoral fraud, the widespread perception among certain segments of the Iranian population took to the streets en masse. This was made possible through the heavy use of social media by the Reformists. The Green movement, once more gave birth to Hajjarians “pressure from below, negotiations from above”.

It did however not take long until the “pressure from below” resulted in severe consequences for the Reformists as their movement most resembles the color revolutions of former Soviet bloc countries such as Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. In color revolutions one faction within a regime creates “pressure from below” by mobilizing popular energy and channelling it into “negotiating from above” and improves its own position in the regime, usually in the context of allegations of electoral fraud. While this strategy was successful up to a point in the semi-authoritarian former Soviet bloc, in Iran the Principalist faction and IRGC rapidly mobilized to crush the uprising. Through the act of applying popular pressure on the IRI, the Reformists had crossed a ‘red-line’ and from this point were effectively purged from the system, once again destroying their ability to “negotiate from above”.

The Saker: It is often said that the IRGC and the Basij are the Iranian “hardliners”.  Is that true?  What is their real political influence?

Aram Mirzaei: Well, it is true that the IRGC and the Basij are connected to the so called “hardliners” or rather the conservative bloc. This is because The Pasdaran was from its inception an ideologically driven force that recruited heavily from the faithful supporters of the revolution’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In Iran, it is known even today that the most devout and faithful supporters of the Islamic Republic are those that join the IRGC and the Basij volunteer forces. Furthermore, most of the conservative bloc’s candidates for parliament and the presidency are former IRGC members and veterans of the Iran-Iraq war. As the veteran commander of the IRGC once said: “Unlike the army […] the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps is in charge of safeguarding the revolution and its gains […]. we in the Revolutionary Guards give primary importance to the ideological and political dimensions more than the military ones.

For a deeper insight into the IRGC, I would recommend you read my extensive article on the IRGC and the Basij here.

The Saker: In the West, the IRGC and, especially, the Quds force are considered as evil “terrorists”.  How are they seen in Iran?

Aram Mirzaei: It really depends on who you’re asking. There are those that would answer that the IRGC are the saviours of the Islamic Republic, especially considering their role in defending the country against Saddam Hussein’s invasion in 1980. On the other hand, there are also those who despise the IRGC and the Basij due to their staunch loyalty to the Islamic Republic and their efforts to eradicate deviant elements of the daily political life. After all, the Islamic Republic made great efforts during the 1980’s to eliminate all opposing movements aiming at establishing alternative systems in Iran, such as communists, liberals and separatists. Needless to say, the IRGC and the Basij are very unpopular among most Iranian ex-pats and Sunni minorities such as Kurds and Baluchis, as both of these ethnic groups have relatively large separatist sentiments among their populations.

The Saker: what are the various political forces/currents/movements in Iran today?  Can you please list them, the main people who represent these forces, and what they political views/goals are?

Aram Mirzaei: As mentioned above, the current divide in the Iranian political spectrum is between the Reformists and the Principalists. There are however a lot of fringe movements both inside and outside the country, with different goals and views. These range from islamists, to separatists, to monarchists and “liberals”.

I’ve written before about the different separatist groups in Iran and their foreign backers. Mostly these can be found among the Sunni minorities of Western and Eastern Iran, but also among the Arab minority in Khuzestan who are fuelled and backed by the Gulf states in their anti-Iranian campaigns.

Furthermore, there are terrorist groups such as the so called “People’s Mujahideen” (MEK), lead by Maryam Rajavi, the wife of the late Massoud Rajavi. The MEK is said to be driven by some mix of Islamic and Socialist ideology, something that they themselves deny. The U.S government claims that their ideology is a mix of Marxism, Islamism and feminism, but no one can really know for sure. What however can be said for certain is that the MEK’s main aim is to overthrow the Islamic Republic, despite having helped overthrowing the U.S backed Pahlavi regime and ever since the early days of the revolution. They have ever since changed many of their stances in pursuit of ideological opportunism, such examples include the shift in their anti-Zionist position to becoming “allies of Israel”.

Since the Revolution, the MEK has also engaged in a lot of terrorist attacks, having killed an estimated 16 000 Iranians over the years. Key figures of the Islamic Republic have also been targeted such as Army Commander Ali Sayad Shirazi, Asadollah Lajevardi, director of Iran’s prison system, former President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, former Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar and former Chief of Justice Mohammad Beheshti. In 1981, they failed to assassinate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei but left him permanently disfigured, losing use of his right arm. Recent assassinations include targeting Iranian Nuclear scientists at the behest of Zionist orders.

Ever since their failed invasion of Iran in 1988, the MEK has remained in exile in Iraq and nowadays in Albania where they continue to operate against the Islamic Republic.

Other fringe groups are also the Communists, which used to be the second largest movement during the revolution after the Islamists. The Communists had a lot of members and mobilized themselves during the early days of the revolution, offering an alternative to the Islamic Republic. I don’t think I need to explain what the Communists were seeking to establish, but they failed mainly due to their own shortcomings rather than the animosity they faced from the Islamists. Yes, it is true that the Islamic Republic went to lengths to eradicate these Communist movements, but their greatest enemy was their own division where the largest parties split into several splinter factions due to internal disagreement between Maoists and Stalinists. The Communists were mostly destroyed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, along with most other Communist movements across the world and remain today a very small group of ex-pats who pose little to no threat to the Islamic Republic.

Lastly, there are the Monarchists. They mostly went into exile during the revolution, opting to pack up their wealth and moving to the U.S along with the Royal family. They continue to support the so called “heir” to the throne, Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, the son of the late Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to re-establish the monarchy, albeit with some minor “changes” to it. In their own words, they aim to establish a constitutional monarchy where the Shah is supposed to remain only a figurehead much like the European monarchies. Ironically, this is the same promise his father made to Iran before reneging on his promises and ruling the country with an iron fist. The Monarchists often align themselves with the MEK in their attempts to discredit the Islamic Republic, and often jump at any chance to do so. Just take a quick look at Twitter if you don’t believe me!

The Saker: Islam can come in very conservative and in very progressive “modes”.  It seems to me that thinkers like Ali Shariati or even Sayyid Qutb would represent a more progressive version of Islam, especially in social, economic and political terms.  Is this correct?  Who are the main thinkers, besides Ayatollah Khomeini, who influenced the Islamic Revolution and who are the most influential thinkers in Iran today?

Aram Mirzaei: I would argue that Shariati was a Socialist Muslim thinker who tried to blend Shiism with a revolutionary fervour. He referred to his ideas as Red Shiism in contrast to what he perceived as black Shiism, the same kind that was prevalent during the Safavid Shahs and the Qajar dynasty. Black Shiism in this sense can be compared to the Limited Guardianship of the Jurisprudence as explained above. Shariati played a much larger role in the Islamic Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic than he is credited for. He suggested that the role of government was to guide society in the best possible manner rather than manage it in the best possible way. He believed that the most learned members of the Ulema should play a leadership role in guiding society because they best understand how to administer an Islamic value system based on the teachings of the Prophets of God and the 12 Shia Twelver Imams. He also argued that the role of the Ulema was to guide society in accordance with Islamic values to advance human beings towards reaching their highest potential—not to provide the hedonistic desires of individuals as in the West.

At the same time Shariati was very critical of the contemporary Ulema and defended the Marxists. “Our mosques, the revolutionary left and our preachers,” he declared, “work for the benefit of the deprived people and against the lavish and lush… Our clerics who teach jurisprudence and issue fatwas are right-wingers, capitalist, and conservative; simply our fiqh is at the service of capitalism.” Despite this criticism of the Ulema, even today, many in the Islamic Republic, such as Khamenei praise Shariati for his influences.

Another main influencer of the Islamic Revolution was the late Ayatollah Beheshti who served as Chief of Justice before his assassination in 1981. Beheshti was known to be the second in command of the Revolution, after Ayatollah Khomeini, and had it not been for his early death, he would most likely have been the one who succeeded him as Supreme Leader. Beheshti is also known to have been a mentor figure for several prominent politicians in the Islamic Republic, such as current President Hassan Rouhani, former President Mohammad Khatami, Ali Akbar Velayati, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Ali Fallahian, and Mostafa Pourmohammadi. Following the Revolution, he was part of the original Council of Revolution and played an important role in the formation of the Islamic Republic’s economy, promoting cooperative companies known as Ta’avoni. Instead of competition, in Ta’avoni companies there is no mediation between producer and consumer. He also asserted that in such as companies, rights belong to humans rather than stocks.

The Saker: Tehran is the political capital of Iran.  Qom is often considered the spiritual capital of Iran.  Is that so?  If so, how much influence/power does Qom have as compared to Tehran?

Aram Mirzaei: Yes, this is true, but one must also remember that the Mujtahids, both the ones in the Assembly of Experts and the ones in the Guardian Council, including the office of Supreme Leader are all educated in Qom. Thus Qom holds a significant influence over Tehran’s policies. One should not see these two cities as rivals as Qom mostly provides Tehran religious legitimacy. In this sense Qom holds a lot of power over Tehran as a centre of religious learning, offering guidance to Tehran’s policies. This was however not always the case as Qom stood as a major rival to Tehran during the pre-revolutionary times. Ayatollah Khomeini for example led his opposition to the Monarchy from Qom where his seminars played a major role in mobilizing the Ulema to unite under his banner.

The Saker: Which are the officially “protected” religions of Iran and what is their status today?  Would you say that these religions enjoy all the freedoms they need?  What is the state’s view of these non-Islamic religions?

Aram Mirzaei: Iran is home to many different religions and faiths, all of which have a long history in Iran. Iran is home to almost 300 000 Armenian Christians of the Armenian Apostolic Church and 20 000 Assyrian Christians, some 10 000 Jews and some 60 000 Zoroastrians.

The officially recognized religions in Iran, aside from Islam of course, include Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. These religious minorities are protected by law and constitution, thus they are also entitled to hold parliamentary seats and have the right to exercise their faiths. Two seats are reserved for Christians in parliament, the largest minority faith, while Jews and Zoroastrians are allocated one seat each.

Christianity in Iran dates back to the early years of the faith, pre-dating Islam. During the era of the two great Persian Empires, Armenia used to be an important part of Iran, as such it has always been a minority religion relative to the majority state religions (Zoroastrianism before the Islamic conquest, Sunni Islam in the Middle Ages and Shia Islam in modern times), though it had a much larger representation in the past than it does today. Currently there are at least 600 churches in the country, mostly found in northwestern Iran and the Tehran region.

Jews have lived in Iran since the ancient times of the Persian Empires, and used to number about 50 000 citizens in Iran, many of which have today emigrated to Israel. Still some 10 000 Jews remain in Iran today and enjoy the same freedoms as Christians and Zoroastrians do. Ayatollah Khomeini even met with the Jewish community upon his return from exile in Paris, when heads of the community arranged to meet him in Qom. At one point he said:

“In the holy Quran, Moses, salutations upon him and all his kin, has been mentioned more than any other prophet. Prophet Moses was a mere shepherd when he stood up to the might of pharaoh and destroyed him. Moses, the Speaker-to-Allah, represented pharaoh’s slaves, the downtrodden, the mostazafeen (oppressed) of his time.”

At the end of the discussion Khomeini declared, “We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking Zionists” and issued a fatwa decreeing that the Jews were to be protected.

Zoroastrianism is the native religion of Iran and was the state religion of the two Persian Empires long before Islam was introduced. Even today, Zoroastrianism plays an important part in modern Iranian culture, as can be seen with the continued celebrations of the Iranian new year Nowruz. Low birth rates have affected the Zoroastrian community in Iran as their numbers have been on the decline for some time now. In 2013, they did however make headlines when Sepanta Niknam was elected to the city council of Yazd (a major stronghold of the Zoroastrian community) and became the first Zoroastrian councillor in Iran.

The Saker: is there a big generational gap in Iran, especially in terms of politics?  How would you compare the views/goals/beliefs of young Iranians vs the older generation?

Aram Mirzaei: There is a debate today on whether or not there is a big generational gap in Iran. I would definitely argue that there is, as the difference between the older, revolutionary generation and the modern youth in Iran is pretty prevalent. Let us not forget that the Revolutionary generation grew up in much harsher conditions, in a very backward Iran that lacked infrastructure, education and many of the freedoms that the younger generation enjoy today. Furthermore, they never experienced the eight year long war with Iraq, thus they don’t remember the sacrifices that the Revolutionary generation had to make in order to save this country. Another point that should be made is the introduction of modern technologies in Iran. This has given the younger generation access to Western culture and influences, something that is much more of a threat to the Islamic Republic’s survival than any U.S threat of military action in my opinion. Ayatollah Khamenei often speaks about what he calls cultural warfare, or rather poisoning of the mind. I tend to agree with his analysis as many young people in Iran today have taken much of the decadent Western influences at heart and yearn for the Western lifestyle, something that I have witnessed myself whenever I’ve returned back to Iran. Comparing the Revolutionary generation, where politics played a major role in everyone’s lives, with the post-revolutionary generation who remains rather apolitical and care much less about the political lives of their parents, I can clearly see a pattern where passive Western values have gained a foothold in the minds of the younger generation. Whenever I’m in Iran, I often notice that the older generation often partake in political discussions whereas the younger generations prefer to occupy themselves with trivial matters.

The state does recognize this and for this reason it has done its utmost to counter this terrible influence, hence why social media outlets such as Youtube and Facebook are from time to time banned in Iran. This lack of interests in politics has also dumbed down the youth in Iran who often fail to see that the suffering economy and hardships in the country are mostly to be blamed on U.S sanctions and economic terrorism by the Zionist Empire. Rather many tend to believe in the MEK’s Twitter lies that all of Iran’s money is going to fighting “freedom loving rebels” in Syria and “terrorizing the peaceful nation of Israel”, hence why the rioters and protesters earlier this year directed a lot of their chants against Syria and Palestine in an effort to vent their frustration towards rising prices on commodity and fuel instead of actually seeing the correlation between Washington’s reintroduction of sanctions and the failing economy of the Islamic Republic.

 

السعودية برعاية ترامب تموّل أعداء العرب الأوروبيين

مايو 6, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

في مفاجأة للكثيرين، من المراقبين الإعلاميين والسياسيين في أوروبا، فاز حزب يميني اسباني متطرف ومعادٍ للعرب والمسلمين والمهاجرين ولعضوية اسبانيا في الاتحاد الأوروبي، واسمه حزب صوت الشعب Vox ، فاز هذا الحزب بـ 24 مقعداً في البرلمان الإسباني الجديد، أيّ ما نسبته 26.10 من أصوات الناخبين، وذلك بتاريخ 28 نيسان 2019.

وكان هذا الحزب قد تأسّس بتاريخ 17 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2013، من قبل أحد أعضاء حزب الشعب الإسباني المحافظ آنذاك، وهو الييخو فيدال قادراس، والذي كان عضواً في البرلمان الأوروبي ونائباً لرئيسه في ذلك الوقت.

كما كان هذا البرلماني الأوروبي، الإسباني الجنسية، صديقاً لمنظمة مجاهدي خلق الإيرانية ويلتقي زعماءها باستمرار ويشارك في معظم نشاطاتها. وقد قامت هذه المنظمة بإطلاق حملة جمع تبرّعات لهذا الحزب الجديد يوم تمّ تسجيله رسمياً، كحزب سياسي في مدريد وذلك بتاريخ 17 كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2013، حيث بدأ أنصار هذه المنظمة في أوروبا والولايات المتحدة بتحويل تبرّعات بشكل فردي، تراوحت قيمة التحويل الواحد منها بين ستين دولاراً وخمسة وثلاثين ألف دولار. وقد وصل إجمالي ما تمّ تحويله الى حسابات هذا الحزب آنذاك إلى تسعمائة واثنين وسبعين الف يورو.

هذا ما اعترف به مؤسّس الحزب، الييخو فيدال قادراس، لصحيفة «إلباييس» الإسبانية والذي تمّ نشره فيها قبل أيّام.

كما انّ منسق شؤون مكافحة الاٍرهاب في الخارجية الأميركية، السفير دانييل بنجامين، قد كتب مقالاً في مجلة «بوليتيكو ماغازين» الأميركية بتاريخ 23 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2016، قال فيه انّ مجاهدي خلق قد استقطبت العديد من الساسة والنواب الأميركيين لصالحها، مثل جون بولتون مستشار الرئيس ترامب حالياً لشؤون الأمن القومي، ورئيس بلدية نيويورك السابق رودي جولياني، ورئيس مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي السابق لويس فريه وقائمة طويلة غيرهم، حيث كانت تدفع عشرين ألف دولار مكافأة لكلّ مشاركة لأيّ منهم في نشاطات المنظمة المختلفة.

وهو بكلامه هذا يشير بكلّ وضوح الى انّ منظمة مجاهدي خلق لا تملك كلّ هذه الإمكانيات المادية لتمويل كلّ هذه النشاطات.

الأمر الذي أكدته مجلة «فورين بوليسي» الأميركيه، على موقعها الالكتروني بتاريخ 27 نيسان 2019، عندما نقلت عن المنشق عن منظمة مجاهدي خلق، والمسؤول الأمني السابق فيها، مسعود خوداباندي، قوله إنه ذهب إلى الرياض، أوائل تسعينيات القرن الماضي، وتسلّم من ضباط مخابرات سعوديين، عندما كان تركي الفيصل رئيساً لجهاز المخابرات السعودي، ثلاثة شاحنات مليئة بسبائك الذهب والتي قمت بنقلها الى الأردن وبيع الذهب هناك لصالح منظمة مجاهدي خلق.

وهو ما أكده للمجلس المنشق الإيراني الآخر عن منظمة مجاهدي خلق، عضو القيادة حسن حيراني، الذي أعلن انشقاقه عام 2018، حيث قال لـ «فورين بوليسي»، في معرض ردّه على سؤال لها حول مصادر الأموال التي تبرّعت بها مجاهدي خلق للحزب اليميني الإسباني مؤخراً، ولغيره من الأحزاب والمنظمات اليمينية الأوروبية، التي يشرف على تشغيلها وتحريكها ضابط البحرية الاميركية السابق، ستيف بانون، والذي عيّنه ترامب كبير مستشاريه الاستراتيجيين سنة 2017، قال حسن حيراني مجيباً:

انها بلا أدنى شك السعودية. فمنظمة مجاهدي خلق ليست إلا أداة تنفيذية بينما المموّل الحقيقي لكلّ هذه الأحزاب والتنظيمات هو السعودية.

بينما قال مدير مكافحة الإرهاب السابق في الخارجية الأميركية، السفير دانييل بنجامين، مجيباً على نفس السؤال: البعض يقول إنّ دول الخليج هي من يقف خلف الدعم الذي يقدّم باسم منظمة مجاهدي خلق.

علماً انّ ستيف بانون هذا كان قد التقى مسؤولي حزب صوت الشعب اليميني الإسباني المتطرف، المسمّى صوت الشعب Vox ، عدة مرات في واشنطن وفي عواصم أوروبية عدة. إضافة إلى انه كان يعمل على مساعدة هذا الحزب لتحقيق انتصاره في الانتخابات الإسبانية، التي جرت قبل أيّام وحصل فيها هذا الحزب على 24 مقعداً في البرلمان الإسباني، وذلك حسب ما جاء في مقال للكاتب بابلو باردو نشر يوم 27 نيسان 2019 على موقع مجلة «فورين بوليسي» الأميركية.

العلامة الفارقة في كلّ ما تقدّم هو انّ السعودية مستعدّة لصرف مالها في ايّ ساحة تريدها واشنطن وعلى أيد أقذر التنظيمات الإرهابية، المهمّ أنها ترضي ترامب وتناكف طهران…!

وبعد ذلك فليكن الطوفان…!

لكن السحر سينقلب على الساحر مهما طال الزمان…!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Hate Fest In Warsaw

By Eric Margolis

February 16, 2019 “Information Clearing House” -Warsaw, Poland is not a fun place to visit in darkest February, but that is where the US just staged an anti-Iranian jamboree of 60 client states that brought derision and scorn from Europeans and much of the Mideast.

The point of this cynical exercise was to lay the diplomatic groundwork for an anti-Iranian coalition to act as a fig-leaf for an upcoming attack on Iran planned by President Donald Trump and his close ally, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

The real question is who is calling the shots in bleak Warsaw, Trump or Bibi Netanyahu? It seems to many that the Israeli tail is again wagging the American dog.

This is thanks to the power of America’s born-again evangelicals, hoodwinked into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow a key part of the Second Coming of Christ.

A Fox News poll this week finds that a quarter of these credulous folks believe that God actually summoned Donald Trump to become president. This may even be more than the number of Americans who believe that Elvis is still alive. More proof that the Republicans have pretty much become a theological party.

The three horseman of the hard right Republican Apocalypse, Vice president Mike Pence, Insecurity advisor John Bolton, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo (who reportedly keeps an open bible on his desk) joined their voices to the Warsaw jamboree to excoriate Iran for being a ‘sponsor of terrorism,’ and a danger to world peace and stability.

The never understated Bibi Netanyahu, whose nation has at least 100 nuclear weapons, claimed Iran, which has no nukes and feeble armed forces, was planning a ‘second Holocaust’ for Israel.

An over-excited Netanyahu even tweeted that the Warsaw meeting was preparing for `war with Iran.’ He was forced to retract his tweet. But he did get to sit next to the delegate from war-torn Yemen, a stooge put into place by the Saudis and Emiratis whose aggression against Yemen has so far cost hundreds of thousands of lives, mass starvation and epidemics.

This week a newly energized US House of Representatives voted for an end to their nation’s support for the Saudi-led war in the Mideast’s poorest nation. The Senate, still controlled by Republican Crusaders, will be likely to vote down the sensible House proposal.

Another participant at Warsaw was the largest Arab nation, Egypt. This nation just extended the rule of its military dictator, Field Marshall al-Sisi, to 2034. It was Sisi, backed by Saudi money, who overthrew Egypt’s first democratic government in history, killing and jailing thousands.

In a slap in the face to Washington, Europe’s leaders, France, Germany and the European Union government, either refused to attend the Warsaw hate-fest against Iran or sent low-level paper-passers.

Ironically, while Trump’s people were fulminating against Iranian ‘terrorism,’ it was Iran that was the victim of terrorist attacks. An attack from a Pakistan-based Sunni Jaish al-Adl extremist group linked to the CIA killed 27 soldiers and wounded a similar number. Iran has been the target of constant attacks since its 1979 revolution by groups linked to the US, and from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other US regional vassals.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is even a long-term lobbyist for the hyper-violent Marxist Iranian extremist group, the MEK which was even branded a ‘terrorist group’ by the US government.

The Warsaw jamboree was also supposed to set the stage for Trump’s much ballyhooed Mideast ‘peace’ plan. Run by son-in-law Jared Kushner, the full plan is expected to be released in April, right after Israeli elections. It will likely consist of trying to buy off Palestinian land claims with US taxpayer money and some cash from the Saudis. America’s Arab client states in the region will all provide polite applause.

The Warsaw jamboree produced no evident results and left the US even more isolated than before. Europe is moving ahead with a financial mechanism to permit trade with Iran that circumvents US sanctions. US intelligence itself reports that Iran is not working in nuclear weapons. Europe wants to trade with Iran.

America’s anti-Iran campaign has just suffered another blow. This after Washington badly damaged relations with China and Canada over the arrest of the daughter in Vancouver of the founder of Huawei over charges it traded with Iran. Most non-Americans view this as an outrage. But the later-day Crusaders around Trump don’t seem to care that they are damaging America’s reputation and making a mess of its foreign policy.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. ericmargolis.com

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

Mir-Salim: Iran’s Defense System One of Best Achievements

By Nour Rida

Tehran – Commemorating the 40th victory of the Islamic Revolution, al-Ahed news interviewed Vice-president of the Islamic Coalition Party Council Seyed Mostafa Mir-Salim, who was active during the revolution and had served as police chief following the revolution. He was proposed by then president Abulhassan Banisadr in July 1980 as a candidate for prime minister. He filled different posts during his career years and was also former minister of culture and guidance. Mir-Salim was also named as Islamic Coalition Party’s nominee for Iranian presidential election, 2017 in December 2016. He launched his campaign in April 2017.

Mr. Mir-Salim told al-Ahed news

“The Islamic revolution passed through several stages before arriving to its victory. We can say that the inception point came with the movement of Ayatollah Khomeini, especially in the year 1963 when he stood up to the oppressive Shah regime which led eventually to the events of 15 Khordad.”

The demonstrations of June 5, 1963, known as 15th of Khordad Uprising, were the public protest against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his strong remarks on Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ‘Israel’ and the United States. The protestors were harshly suppressed but the event marked the vitality and power of the opposition against Pahlavi dynasty and the support Iranian nation had for their religious and political figure, Ayatollah Khomeini, who 15 years later led the Islamic Revolution to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“The uprising in 1963, during which many Iranians lost their lives, was one of the main events that culminated in the Islamic Revolution some 15 years later,” he noted.

The politician continued

“Then, the period of intense repression and suppression of the struggle continued until 1974. During that year, the nature of dissension of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization MEK was revealed, and the fighters of the Islamic revolution eliminated themselves from the existence of these hypocrites. The Shah regime’s humiliation of the people and their beliefs and its neglect to their needs and principles prompted the people to continue their popular uprising.”

As Mir-Salim pointed out, the negligence of the regime and its offenses towards Imam Khomeini flared the sparks of anger across the different cities such as Qom, Tabriz, Yazd and other cities.

“The leadership of Imam Khomeini who was in exile at that time brought the people together, and on as the events continued and many were martyred, the victory saw light on the 22 of Bahman (February) 1979. It was a soon and unexpected popular victory owing to the strong faith, popular will and the wise leadership of Imam Khomeini.”

During that time, Mir-Salim was already member of the Islamic Coalition Party. However, he emphasized that

“during the early days of the revolution, no political party was officially active due to the violence and suppression of the regime Shah. However, after the Islamic revolution, political parties started to take shape, one of which is the Islamic coalition party.”

The party is a pivotal organization within Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader and is considered a lay ally of the influential Combatant Clergy Association.

Asking him about what memories he holds from those days he said “I have bitter and sweet memories of that time. One of the shortest sweet memories that is still alive in my mind and heart is once when I was taking part in the rallies on the way to Azadi square. Suddenly, someone pats my shoulder from the back and says from behind “Sir, the speeches you gave were not futile, the revolution did triumph!” He was one of my committed students.”

As for progress and development that was realized since the days of the Islamic revolution, the vice-president says these are abundant.

“However I will mention what I believe was one of those achievements of which we should be very appreciative. I believe that Iran’s capability to defend itself since the very beginning of the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an important attainment that helped all Iranians achieve independence and liberty in face of arrogance and oppression. It also helped establish an independent and religious democratic system, thanks to the guidance of Imam Khomeini and help of God. We must be thankful to see Iran’s successful defense system which allowed Iran to stand in the face of aggression during the imposed war, and this has made the US very furious to an extent it has used different methods and means to prevent the Islamic Republic from being self-sufficient and ready to confront any attack.”

The White Helmets Ride Again

White-Helmets-Terrorists-600x337.jpg

By Philip Geraldi
Source

I am often asked to explain why countries like Iran appear to be so aggressive, involving themselves in foreign wars and seeking to create alliances that they know will provoke the worst and most paranoid responses from some of their neighbors. My response is invariably that perceptions of threat depend very much on which side of the fence you are standing on. Saudi Arabia and Israel might well perceive Iranian actions as aggressive given the fact that all three countries are competing for dominance in the same region, but Iran, which is surrounded by powerful enemies, could equally explain its activity as defensive, seeking to create a belt of allies that can be called upon if needed if a real shooting war breaks out.

The United States and Israel are, of course, masters at seeing everything as a threat, justifying doing whatever is deemed necessary to defend against what are perceived to be enemies. They even exercise extraterritoriality, with Washington claiming a right to go after certain categories of “terrorists” in countries with which it is not at war, most particularly Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Israel does likewise in its attacks on Lebanon and Syria. Both Tel Aviv and Washington have regularly crossed the line drawn by international legal authorities in terms of what constitutes initiating a “just” or “legal” war, i.e. an imminent threat to use force by a hostile power. Neither Israel nor the United States has really been threatened by an enemy or enemies in the past seventy years, so the definition of threat has been expanded to include after-the-fact as with 9/11 and potential as in the case of Israel and Iran.

The “which side of the fence” formulation has also had some interesting spin-offs in terms of how so-called non-state players that use violence are perceived and portrayed. Nearly all widely accepted definitions of terrorism include language that condemns the “use of politically motivated violence against non-combatants to provoke a state of terror.”

It is quite easy to identify some groups that are unambiguously “terrorist.” Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) and its various affiliates fit the definition perfectly, but even in that case there is some ambiguity by those state actors who are ostensibly pledged to eradicate terrorists. There have been credible claims that the United States has been protecting the last enclaves of ISIS in order to maintain its “right” to stay in Syria, allegedly based on the stated objective of completely destroying the group before withdrawal. As long as ISIS is still around in Syria, Washington will have an admittedly illegal justification for doing likewise.

There are two notable groups that should be universally condemned as terrorists but are not for political reasons. They are the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), Iranian dissidents that are based in Paris and Washington, and the so-called White Helmets who have been active in Syria. MEK is particularly liked by Israel and its friends inside the Beltway because it retains resources inside Iran that enable it to carry out assassinations and sabotage, and if it is only Iranians that are dying, that’s okay.

MEK has been on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997. Its inclusion derives from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s and from its record of violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. The group was driven out of Iran, denied refuge in France, and eventually armed and given a military base by Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. Saddam used the group to carry out terrorist acts inside Iran. MEK is widely regarded as a cult headed by a husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members were required to be celibate and there are reports that they are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership. One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.” Like many other terrorist groups MEK has a political wing that operates openly referred to as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is based in Paris, and another front organization called Executive Action which operates in Washington.

MEK was regarded as a terrorist group until 2012, when it was taken off the Special Designation list by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was removed because multi-million dollar contracts with Washington lobbying firms experienced at “working” congress backed up by handsome speaking fees had induced many prominent Americans to join the chorus supporting NCRI. Prior to 2012, speaking fees for the group started at $15,000 and went up from there. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reported more than $150,000 in honoraria. Rudy Giuliani has been paid generously for years at $20,000 per appearance for brief, twenty-minute speeches. Bear in mind that MEK was a listed terrorist group at the time and accepting money from it to promote its interests should have constituted material support of terrorism.

The group’s well-connected friends have included prominent neocons like current National Security Advisor John Bolton and ex-CIA Directors James Woolsey, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss as well as former Generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, Wesley Clark, and Hugh Shelton. Traditional conservatives close to the Trump Administration like Newt Gingrich, Fran Townsend and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao are also fans of NCRI. Townsend in particular, as a self-proclaimed national security specialist, has appeared on television to denounce Iran, calling its actions “acts of war” without indicating that she has received money from an opposition group.

MEK’s formula for success in removing itself from the terrorism lift involved paying its way through a corrupt political system. More interesting perhaps is the tale of the White Helmets, who have just been given the 2019 Elie Wiesel Award by the National Holocaust Museum, with the citation “These volunteer rescue workers have saved lives on all sides of the conflict in Syria. Their motto is ‘To save one life is to save all of humanity.’”

The White Helmets have been praised by those who hate the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria and want to see it removed because of its role as a leading element in the propaganda campaign that seeks to instigate violence or use fabricated information to depict the Damascus government as guilty of slaughtering its own citizens. The propaganda is intended to terrorize the civilian population, which is part of the definition of terrorism.

Favorable media coverage derives from the documentary The White Helmets, which was produced by the group itself and tells a very convincing tale promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short last year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, describing the government in Damascus in purely negative terms.

Recently, with the Syrian Army closing in on the last White Helmet affiliates still operating in the country, the Israeli government, assisted by the United States, staged an emergency humanitarian evacuation of the group’s members and their families to Israel and then on to Jordan. It was described in a BBC article that included “The IDF said they had ‘completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families’, saying there was an ‘immediate threat to their lives.’ The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel was an exceptional humanitarian gesture. Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades. Despite the intervention, the IDF said that ‘Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict.’”

All of the Israeli assertions are nonsense, including its claimed “humanitarianism” and “non-intervention” in the Syrian war, where it has been bombing almost daily. The carefully edited scenes of heroism under fire that have been filmed and released worldwide conceal the White Helmets’ relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of “rebel” opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground.

The White Helmets travelled to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of “eyewitness” news regarding what was going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go, all part of a broader largely successful “rebel” effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians, an effort that has led to several attacks on government forces and facilities by the U.S. military. This is precisely the propaganda that has been supported both by Tel Aviv and Washington.

Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities, to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group’s jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow “mujahideen” and “soldiers of the revolution.”

So, the National Holocaust Museum, which is taxpayer funded, has given an apparently prestigious award to a terrorist group, something which could have been discerned with even a little fact checking. And the museum also might have been sensitive to how the White Helmets have been used in support of Israeli propaganda vis-à-vis Syria. Perhaps, while they are at it, the museum’s board just might also want to check out Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named. Wiesel, who was a chronicler of Jewish victimhood while persistently refusing to acknowledge what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, notoriously mixed fact and fiction in his best-selling holocaust memoir Night. Ironically, the award and recipient are well matched in this case as mixing fact and fiction is what both Elie Wiesel and the White Helmets are all about.

 

Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

On September 22nd there was a terrible terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz which killed 25 innocent people and wounded 70 other people. This was universally reported in the West as having occurred at a “military parade”, when it was actually a parade to commemorate the 1980 start of the Western-backed, Western-funded, Western-armed invasion which used Iraq to try to destroy the democratic 1979 Iranian Revolution.

But none of those accurate adjectives can be said in the West…no, no, no – it was just a no-reason-needed military parade, as if Iran was a warmongering nation prepping its fanatical people for imperialist adventures. (Iran has not invaded a country in well-over 200 years.)

The timing of the attack was obviously (though not primarily) a way to divert the world’s attention from the deadliest conflict of the last quarter of the 20th century. Instead of talking about what disaster and death was heaped on Iran from 1980-1988, it was Iranian “militarism” which was discussed and not anyone else’s.

But ho-hum, more misreporting on Iran. In other news: the sun rose this morning. This is just life for all socialist-inspired democratic revolutions – Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, etc., have all had their sufferings ignored, their mistakes amplified and their successes denied. To even raise this point makes one an unthinking “apologist”, an Islamofascist, a totalitarian commie, blah blah blah.

This is the front cover art for the book One Woman’s War: Da (Mother) written by Seyedeh Azam Hosseini. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to Mazda Publishers.

The tragic event, and the subsequent false histories of the Western media, makes this an appropriate time to bring up what has become the most important literary reference for Iranians regarding the war – a book called Da. “Da” means mother in Kurdish, and not in Farsi. The book was written by a woman whose Iraqi Kurdish family had emigrated to Iran when she was a child.

How could the definitive account on the Iranian view of the Iran-Iraq War have been written by an Iraqi Kurd, and a female to boot?!

You would think Iranians hate Iraqis; you are certain that Iran hates women; and you assume that Iran has a war against the Kurds, just like Iraq, Turkey and Syria. If you assume everyone follows the dictates of capitalism’s identity politics, you likely would predict that this book is a litany of accusations and compiled hatreds towards Iran.

If you assume all these things it’s because you fail to realize that Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution was inspired by socialism, which demands a citizen and a government loudly banish racism from the public sphere. Much like this stoned surfer-dude American idiot who wrote an article titled Whoa. The Soviet Union Got Racial Equality Right Before America?, you are way, way, WAY off. (And when did America get racial equality “right”?)

For a comparison: Can anyone imagine that France’s definitive account on the Algerian War for Independence would come from a non-White? Their most famous work on Algeria is The Stranger by Albert Camus, who was an isolated-from-Algerians pied noir whose refusal to condemn French oppression was selfishly defined by the fact that he cared more for his mother’s comfort than a million dead Algerians. Heaven forbid that Madame Camus would have to relocate back to France, even if that meant ending a war and a 132-year occupation.… Camus’ view of morality is 100% rooted in Western capitalism individualism, after all, which is the reason its popularity still endures today.

But Iran had no problem making Da a huge best-seller despite the author’s Iraqi Kurdish roots; and, somehow, Iranian men took time out of their daily oppression of women to find out their thoughts and feelings on past experiences. The 700-page account of the war was read by everyone, including President Rohani.

The book is a memoir of Seyyedeh (indicating lineage from Prophet Mohammad) Zahra Hoseyni, a teenager who was living with her extremely poor but tight-knit family on the border city of Khorramshahr. The city was the first to be sneak-attacked by the Iraqis, and the massacres and devastation wrought there would be reflected by a Farsi pun on the city’s name: “City of Blood”.

A memoir of the last, worst traditional war in our modern times

The book is not an easy read, as Hoseyni recounts one tragedy after another.

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In short, for those attacked by Iraq the war was one day from hell after another, with each one worse than the next. Hunger, thirst, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, the nightmares of screaming planes, repeatedly watching people go insane with the pain of mourning, every weary pause only giving rise to recent tragic memories, the constant filth and lack of clean water a bombarded people must deal with, actual nightmares when sleep does come, the perpetual sound of war which then makes silent pauses totally strange, and the constant, constant guilt of being alive combined with the knowledge that death from a shell could come at any moment.

So much of the book is something like a horror hallucination of the first few weeks of an unexpected, undeserved war, combined with a recounting of the vast citizen efforts to fight back.

Each according to their abilities, of course: Hoseyni is an young lioness fighting for the cubs of the Iranian nation and Khorramshahr. She accepts responsibility after responsibility, and even refuses to back down to proud & protective Iranian men in her insistence on going to the front to help amid the bullets and bombs. She volunteers as a corpse-washer, which turned out to be a never-ending job, and which is certainly a job few would want. Her beloved father and brother die at the front, but still she endures and gives, gives, gives. Everyone is looking at her and seeing a person with an iron sense of justice, duty and faith.

What I suggest makes this memoir so compelling and successful is that, in Hoseyni’s retelling, she remembers not only that every day was a living hell but that every moment within every day was a living hell. Hoseyni repeatedly talks about the constant abyss of mourning and horror opening up inside her at every moment; seemingly dozens of times a day she is assaulted by an event/tragedy/memory/feeling which could send a normal person to a hospital for weeks of recovery and therapy. It is unlikely that a memoir by a male would admit the incredibly sad emotions which any human would go through in Hoseyni’s situation.

And yet Hoseyni appeared to all as indomitable (even after she is wounded at the front). She simply said a prayer of “Ya Hossain” and rushed towards another difficult task nobody else wanted. She was the model defender of the nation – indeed, Iran’s war “Mother” is not even a “true” Iranian, in non-socialist logic — but the book reveals that she was able to live this ideal even though her feelings were the absolute opposite of proud glory.

Saying a prayer before a difficult task can go a very long way, but it’s this juxtaposition of a public persona of revolutionary steel combined with total inner crumbling which makes the book so compelling. How she could do what she did – when she could not even bring herself to eat, nor sleep, nor mourn day after day after day – is astounding and an inspiration to anyone sanctioned by injustice.

For those who are not just uninterested in religion but who also actively detest religion, I’m sorry to objectively report that a huge part of her strength came from her religious faith – she and her family were pious people who took their title of “Seyed” as a serious injunction to be moral examples. However, the family was also extremely politically aware and active – these were true revolutionaries; they were also so poor as to come from the “correct” class to qualify as a revolutionary, although such prejudices represent antiquated notions about who can or cannot be a socialist.

There is much to learn from the war memoirs from World War I, II, or the Holocaust, but Da is exceptional in that it is from our modern times. When she recounts her rage and disbelief at BBC Radio’s totally misguided coverage of the war, we in 2018 share her shock at “fake news”.

Da should be essential reading to any war hawk advocating invasion in any foreign country which has had a socialist-inspired revolution, because you will be facing a very unique type of people. Whether it be the USSR, China, Vietnam, Korea or Iran, these are societies which cannot be divided into tribes or identities, as they have achieved socialist cultural unity:

“I saw myself as a tree with deep roots, resisting being pulled from the ground. How could I allow myself to be uprooted? Although born in Basra, I felt no attachment to the place. I loved Iran…my love for Khorramshahr overwhelmed all reason and logic.”

The Western capitalist and anti-multicultural societies of continental Europe cannot imagine that an immigrant is capable of ever feeling this way, and thus many there want immigrants expelled or at least segregated.

But the old tricks of divide and conquer, Balkanisation or the political segregation of Lebanonization will not work in socialist-inspired nations. The author recounts how Saddam Hussein tried exactly that – telling Iranian Arabs to join their Arab brother – but only the most reactionary fell for such a stupid worldview.

Hoseyni talks about the MKO/MEK terrorist group (and I am only talking about them because Western nations and their propaganda outlets keep pushing them back into the spotlight): stealing corpses to inflate their body counts for propaganda purposes, attacking people who disagreed with them at public debates, working as spies for Iraq and giving them coordinates of places to bomb, attacking ardent revolutionaries and then literally rubbing salt or pepper in their wounds out of sadism. The idea that the MKO isn’t detested by 100% of Iranians, and that they have a zero percent chance of ever being rehabilitated – much less being democratically elected into power – is totally, totally absurd to Iranians. Again, why would anyone even talk about them anymore? Oh yes, because they are propped by the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

She also talks about what an exceptionally politically-open society Iran was in the early days of the Revolution, and few non-Iranians know that much of this remains true today. Parliament was open to anyone to come observe and even shout disruptions, Khomeini held public audiences for two hours twice a week and received anyone and everyone, elected representatives were easily accessible and lived the common, poor lives of a nation under war. All of this is in stark contrast to the leaders of seemingly every Arab nation not named “Algeria”, and it also shows the democratic bonafides, the more-than-majority support, of the Iranian Islamic Revolution: you can shudder at the word “Islamic” all you want, but the revolution was democratic in the truest sense of the word and no matter in what country that word is uttered.

Western culture is full of ‘war porn’, but Iran is not titillated by such things

“The fall of Khorramshahr and the things I had experienced in the past weeks had made me more aware of how people suffered.”

Such are the types of wisdoms Hoseyni tosses off, but there is no doubt that they are not false cliches for her, nor for millions of other Iranians.

It reminds me of a major problem with America and the West: they are so war-crazy, and yet everything they know about it – to anyone under 85 – is totally fictitious, video-game-like nonsense.

The American view of war is truly one constant cliche, where glory appears to be a feeling to run after but which Hoseyni proves it is actually the result of living through unwanted horrors and tragedies.

It’s true that the younger generation of Iranians has little memory of the sacrifices, bombardments and war rationing, but the way Iran and the US remember their war martyrs is so very different.

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Can you name one famous American solider who died in Iraq or Afghanistan? All I can think of is Pat Tillman, and that’s only because he was also an American football player (and who was killed by friendly fire). However, Iran is full of portraits and memorials to dead soldiers and even dead teenagers…one cannot even make a comparison of the psychological/emotional/human gravity of war in the minds of the average Iranian versus the average American.

My point is that, for all their fighting, ever since Vietnam Americans have essentially been hero-worshipping an empty solider’s uniform. Unless we are talking about rural Americans from their lower class, most Americans really have no personal/psychological connection to actual war, unlike Iranians.

Such people, like the 4-F Trump, grow enraged at taking anyone knee during the National Anthem to protest the undeniable mass incarceration/mass murder/mass oppression of an ethnic minority, but there is no truly human element present – their honouring is phony and faceless.

Say what you will about Iran, but you cannot say that.

Furthermore, Iranian martyrdom – where death is assured – is far, far different from the power-trip fantasies and motivations of the American solider and the American chickenhawk playing Call of Duty video games.

For Iran war is not a glory, but a horror, and whatever sacrifices the nation must make due to the Western Cold war…at least it is better than the Hot War. Befuddled Western “analysts” of Iran cannot imagine this type of logic playing such a large part in Iranian policymaking because they have zero experiences and comprehension of any war which is not just on a two-dimensional screen.

Iran fights in places like Syria, Iraq an Afghanistan because their allies, cousins and cultural-cousins are being attacked, and also because justice itself is being attacked; America fights wars because it seems like fun, because they have such neat toys to play with, and they fight without gallantry and without esteem from the locals they claim to be “fighting with”. America massacres and plunders; Iran’s forces are far closer to Mao’s Long March injunction that soldiers should not take even a pin from locals they were trying to liberate from fascism.

Image result for Ahvaz Terror Attack,

Thirty years after the end of Iran’s “War of Sacred Defense” Iran’s “military parades” are attacked, but the world still doesn’t really comprehend exactly what the West is attacking in Iran. Da is an unsparing account of a civilian Islamic socialist revolutionary in wartime – reading this memoir would certainly help Westerners understand what they remain up against as they keep trying to implode Iran’s socialist-inspired democracy.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Iran Unwavering On Eliminating Regional Terrorism

Marwa Osman

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced on October 1, 2018 that it launched a rocket attack targeting terrorist headquarters in the east of the Euphrates in Syria in response to the attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22.

The IRGC declared in a statement on its official website «Saba News» that they “targeted the headquarters of the leaders, who committed the crime of terrorism against Ahvaz city, in the east of the Euphrates” minutes before the ballistic missiles land.  The missiles, fired at 02:00 am on Monday [22:30 GMT on Sunday], were launched from Kermanshah province, western Iran.

The missiles targeted the masterminds of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] on the eastern banks of the Euphrates north of Albu-Kamal in eastern Syria.  The district is one of the last remaining positions of Daesh.  The BBC reported later on Monday that a “Syrian opposition group” confirmed it had received reports of violent explosions at dawn in territory controlled by Daesh.  The group said it believed missiles had hit the headquarters of Daesh in the Hajin area.  It is estimated that there were between 1,500 and 2,000 Daesh members in the area.  Sean Ryan, the spokesperson for the US occupation forces in Syria, confirmed the strike but said no US forces “were in danger.”

The Iranian strike east of the Euphrates was confirmed Monday by Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, in an email to Military Times, who called it “reckless” and “escalatory.”  “While no Coalition forces were harmed, we are still assessing the strike, and given the complex nature of the battle space, such strikes potentially jeopardize the forces who are actively fighting ISIS in Syria,” Robertson told Military Times while stressing, “firing any missiles through uncoordinated airspace is a threat to civil and military aviation.”  Robertson seems to have forgotten the US missiles that passed over Lebanon to strike Damascus and the danger they posed on civilian lives only because they were fired by the US.

Furthermore, Monday’s strike was the second missile attack by Iran in a month, and came as tensions rise ahead of renewed US sanctions targeting Tehran’s oil industry that will take effect in early November.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the IRGC’s aerospace division told Tasnim news agency “terrorists used bullets in Ahvaz,” and “we answered them with missiles.”

A Video released by Iran showed the missiles reaching skyward in the dead of night.  The IRGC scripted the bombardment as it had with the September 8 attack on terrorist groups in northern Iraq.  During that ballistic retaliatory attack, the IRGC used seven Fateh 110 missiles and fired them near Tabriz.  Kermanshah is 200 km south of that launch location.

These missiles represent a new achievement for Tehran, with new technical features.  The IRGC chose the Zulfiqar and Qiam ballistic missiles to target terrorists in Syria, which had been used last year in June to target ISIS terrorists in Deir Ezzor province.

Head of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri announced, “It was necessary to fight the terrorists involved in this operation and teach them a lesson and avenge the blood of the martyrs as promised by the leader of the revolution.”  Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri made his statement as he met with reporters on the sidelines of his visit to a skills training exhibition.  Bagheri also pointed out that “Iranian drones passed the airspace of a country or two and flew the terrorists’ sites in Syria and carried out successful raids.”

Iranian media published pictures and video clips of the rockets, which passed nearly 570 kilometers to reach their targets in Syria, as well as a short video showing unmanned aerial vehicles targeting the terrorists’ sites.

Iran, Syria, Iraq coordination

To fire the missiles over Iraqi airspace, Iran should have definitely coordinated with Baghdad. This leaves us to believe that the US Coalition occupation forces operating in Iraq and Syria should also have been notified via Baghdad, but a statement from their spokesman said they received “no notice.”  The target of the missiles in the eastern Euphrates area would have been close to US occupation forces and the forces they have been training to fight against the Syrian Arab Army. The US has repeatedly called them the “Syrian Defense Forces” but all intelligence reports from Syria, Russia, Iran, and Iraq have reiterated that these forces are none other than ISIS terrorists who put the Daesh flag down, shaved their beards, and joined the forces loyal to the US to get arms and money.

The attack shows Iran’s reach throughout the region and that Iran is willing to strike wherever a threat resides and knows that air defense systems in Iraq and those by the Coalition occupation forces in eastern Syria will not interdict it.

Activating the Quartet

As the Iranian missiles hit direct terrorist targets in the eastern part of the Euphrates, members of the quartet to exchange security information against Daesh, which includes Iran, Russia, Iraq and Syria, have confirmed in Baghdad that the committee’s activities will be strengthened and increased in the face of terrorism.  During the meeting in Baghdad, which was attended by Iranian, Russian and Syrian ambassadors to Baghdad and Major General Osman al-Ghanmi, the chief of staff of Iraq, member states of the Quartet agreed on “the need to strengthen the activity of this committee to achieve the final victory”.

At the beginning of the meeting, Maj. Gen. Saad al-Alaq, director of military intelligence in Iraq, described the role of this committee in combating in Iraq and Syria as “very effective and successful.”  For his part, Brigadier General Maradiyan, the Iranian military attaché in Baghdad, referred to the “fatal blows that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missile unit has made to the terrorist positions in eastern Euphrates in the Syrian territories.”

Iran Firm on Fighting Terrorism

It is clear now that Iran is determined to continue cooperation with the regional axis of resistance states until the elimination of terrorism, which has recently been threatening its own Iranian citizens back home.

The ballistic missile strike comes in the wake of Iran’s statements at the United Nations General Assembly that the US is isolated and that Iran is the responsible player working with the international community.  Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made it clear while in New York that the US administration was engaged in “destructive unilateralism” and that the US was a “rogue administration” with a “commitment to destabilizing the international system.”

As the US and its regional Gulf allies increase their warmongering rhetoric against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the IRGC has been trying to downplay the US’s instability in the Middle East by coordinating its efforts with Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.  The US, which is used to receiving little to no pushback for the massacres it directly or indirectly created across the Middle East, can expect to start receiving hard resistance this time.

The international community as always finds it difficult to condemn the illegal US presence in Iraq and Syria and its support for blood sucking Wahhabi regimes in the gulf while secretly fighting Al Saud’s war in Yemen causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and irreversible destruction.  However, the increasing efforts of allies in the axis of resistance alongside their regional Russian partner has shown effectiveness and steadfastness in eliminating the threat of terrorism supported by the US and funded by their puppet regional gulf states.  You see, there is no need for the international community to condemn or denounce the continuous US terrorism in the region under the pretext of spreading “democracy.”  The regional anti-colonial and anti-Zionist players have set their minds to apply the real notion of democracy by collectively implementing their right to self-determination and their own path of choice in the face of the American war machine that has taken more than enough lives of our own across the region.

The IRGC’s retaliatory attack yesterday is a larger message than that of the ballistic missile strike.  It shows that Iran can target the “Israeli” occupation forces in Palestine, the US bases in the region or the warmongering Al Saud when the time comes.  It is just practicing by using its missiles on ISIS first.

Source: Al-Ahed

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – OCTOBER 2, 2018: IRAN CARRIES OUT MISSILE, DRONE STRIKES ON ISIS IN EUPHRATES VALLEY

South Front

Early on October 1, the Aerospace Division of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) carried out a ballistic missile strike on ISIS targets in Syria’s Euphrates Valley. The IRGC launched at least six ballistic missiles, which, according to the IRGC, killed and injured a large number of terrorists in the area near al-Bukamal.

The Iranian media added that the missiles employed belonged to the Qiam and Zolfaghar families. One of the missiles shown by the media bore the slogans “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Al Saud” and the phrase “kill the friends of Satan”.

Following the missile strikes, the IRGC employed at least seven unmanned combat aerial vehicles to further pound what it described as the HQs and gatherings of the “mercenaries of global arrogance”. The UCAVs, which were used, seem to be the Thunderbolt type, which was developed thanks to a reverse-engineering of the US-made RQ-170 UAV.

The October 1 strike was described as a response to the terrorist attack, which had targeted a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22. At least 25 people were killed and 65 others were injured in the attack claimed by ISIS. However, the Iranian leadership has gradually accused the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE of being, at least indirectly, behind the attack.

Commenting on the missile strike, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri stated that it was just the first stage of the response to the Ahvaz attack vowing that “there will be other stages of revenge as well.”

It’s interesting to note that the Iranian attack took place close to the area, from which ISIS had allegedly been cleared by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF kicked off its advance on ISIS positions in the Hajin pocket about 3 weeks ago. However, so far, the SDF has achieved only limited gains in the area, even according to its own statements.

On October 1, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will continue to fight terrorism in Syria. “The fight against terrorist organizations in Syria goes on, and we should continue this fight,” he stated that Moscow’s position on “the illegitimate presence of foreign troops and foreign armed forces in Syria” remains clear.

Meanwhile, additional details appeared on the shape of the upgraded Syrian air defense system after the delivery of S-300. Viktor Bondarev, the chairman of the Russian parliament’s upper house Defense and Security Committee stated that the air defense system will be fully centralized. This would allow coordination between Syrian and Russian means and facilities in the war-torn country to be increased.

 

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Iran Expediency Council Sec on Ahvaz Attack Response: This Was a Flick, Actual Blow on the Way

Local Editor

Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council of the System, Mohsen Rezaei described the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missile strike at terrorist headquarters on Monday as a ‘flick’ adding that the actual blow is yet to come.

In a Monday post on his Twitter account, Rezaei, who formerly led the IRGC, praised the missile strike on Twitter.

He wrote that the IRGC missile strike at headquarters of terrorists who were responsible for the Ahvaz terror attack was a mere a “flick” to these perpetrators, adding that the main and actual strike is on the way.

The IRGC fired six ground-to-ground missiles to terrorist headquarters in Syria’s eastern Euphrates on early hours of Monday, killing and injuring dozens of terrorists.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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TERRORIST ATTACK IN AHVAZ HAS US-‘ISRAELI’-SAUDI-EMIRATI SIGNATURE

by Jonathan Azaziah – What an absolute horror in Iran’s Ahvaz. As veterans of the Iranian Armed Forces, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Basij and their families were gathered for a parade marking the 38-year anniversary of the start of the Imposed War led by the tyrant Saddam Hussein, gunmen dressed in Iranian military garb opened fire on the attendees with reckless abandon. They didn’t care who they hit. And the total casualty count shows–with at least 29 martyrs, including women, children, disabled vets and journalists, and more than 70 wounded. The whole thing felt very… and we do mean VERY… ‘Israeli’. And it didn’t take long for the usurping Zionist entity and all its regional cronies to rear their ugly heads. The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA) claimed responsibility for the cowardly, murderous attack, as did Al-Ahwaz Arab Popular Democratic Front (APDF), a wing of ASMLA.

The leader of ASMLA is Habib Jabour, who openly and proudly flaunts his relationship with the House of Saud. Al-Arabiya–or as it should be called, Al-Ibriyya–is the literal stenographer of all ASMLA and APDF propaganda and praised the attack both online and on air. So did the hideously sectarian channel Al-Wesal TV–an Arabic-Urdu-Farsi platform infamous for declaring that its main objective is to discuss “the accords and speeches of the turbaned Shi’ites and scholars, exposing them and uncovering their falsehoods”— which covered the Ahvaz horror as a “heroic effort to liberate an ‘occupied’ region from Iran”. Indeed, the delusional terrorists say Iran is another ‘Israel’ and Ahvaz is another Palestine and when they’re done “liberating” Ahvaz from the “occupiers”, they will then offer their support to the Palestinian struggle. A classical Takfiri-esque perspective: Kill anyone and everyone before you wage Jihad against the Zio-Imperialists–who just so happen to be funding, arming and training you. Should also be noted that Fatah and APDF have close ties, which is, in and itself, a damning proof of the ‘Israeli’ nexus as Mahmoud Abbas is of course a ZOGer–a real stooge to end all stooges.

The Zionist hands are further exposed by the fact that nearly all of the leaders of the ASMLA and the APDF are based in Australia, which has played a major role in destabilizing Syria and whose intelligence services are overrun with Mossadniks, as well as the Netherlands, a historic partner of the usurping Zionist entity, home of a massive Judaic-bankrolled Islamophobia industry headed by Zionist Jew hatemonger Geert Wilders, a provider of attack dogs used by IOF against Palestinian civilians, and, up until about two seconds ago, a top funder of the ‘Israeli’-Sorosite-partnered White Helmets. Moreover, the neocon-run Bush regime, through both the CIA and JSOC, ramped up major support to Ahvazi separatist gangs, the ASMLA included, with the specific purpose of attacking, weakening and destabilizing the IRGC. Verily, Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said in no uncertain terms that the murderers were trained by ‘Israel’ and Amreeka in two Persian Gulf countries. One is Saudi Arabia. And the other is the UAE’s Abu Dhabi sheikhdom.

In fact, the Emiratis aren’t even trying to hide it. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent UAE intellectual routinely quoted in mainstream press outlets and a senior “royal” advisor to the criminal Nahyan clan, blatantly declared on Twitter, “Taking the battle into the depths of Iran is an option that has already been declared and will increase even further in the future.” This is an echo of what Saudi “Crown Prince” and butcher of Yemen Muhammad Bin Salman said last year, “We will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran.” The Saudi and Emirati collaborators are so far gone in their services to the Empire that there just isn’t anywhere else to go. They’ve made their beds… With Shlomo… And they enjoy their own stench after coming up from laying down with “chosenite” mutts.

World Zionism operatives, from the artificial Jewish regime as well as its lobbying apparatuses, have been vociferously campaigning for separating Ahvaz from Iran for years. Rape enthusiast, Aman agent and war criminal Mordechai Kedar engaged in some obscene, quintessential Jewish projectionism with his piece, “Iran is an Artificial Country”, praising the ASMLA and salivating over Ahvaz’s oil. Mark Langfan, the head of Americans for a Safe ‘Israel’ (AFSI), picked up on this theme and ran with it in his “Free Arab Shia from their Iranian slavemasters” drivel in Arutz Sheva. It’s essentially become a preeminent talking point of Organized Jewish Interests.

And lest we forget that Ahvaz was a center of Jewish commercial activity throughout the Middle Ages as well as one of the first hotbeds for Zionist activity inside Iran. Simply put, the Ahvazi separatists and the Jews are thick as thieves. Make no mistake, any ethno-nationalism or communal-nationalism expressed inside Iran’s borders is Jewish at the root. Full-stop. Whether it’s in Balochistan with Jundallah and Baloch separatist groups or in Kurdistan with PJAK,Mossad is present. Busting up Iran into statelets has always been a Zionist imperative, from Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy For ‘Israel’ In The 1980s” to the Saban Center’s “Which Path To Persia?”, which, by the way, also salutes Ahvazi terrorists.

Most despicable of all is that the whole of the Zionist media from Reuters to AFP, the Times of ‘Israel’ to BBC, Al-Jazeera (aka Al-Khanzeera) to CBS, CNN to the Wall Street Journal, did not call the Ahvaz carnage a terrorist attack nor refer to the ASMLA and the APDF as terrorists. It’s an unabashed dehumanization technique that has been employed against the Islamic Republic by the US ZOG and ‘Israel’ from the moment that Imam Khomeini (R.A.) brought down the Shah. But ask yourselves this: Wouldn’t a like-similar attack on the CIA be terrorism? Even though the CIA has toppled over 100 governments since its founding between election rigging, assassinations and coups. Even though the CIA backs head-chopping Takfiris, death squads of all types and dictators worldwide. It’s still terrorism, no?

Because what about the secretaries and the janitors, the paper-pushers and the food delivery workers, the receptionists and particularly the analysts opposed to US interventionism. In other words, the innocent people. This is above and beyond the fact that God forbid any such attack occurs, we’d have to look at ‘Israel’ in a false flag scenario. Ultimately, terrorism is terrorism. And a mass shooting that leaves elderly disabled people who had fought for their country in defense of independence as well as 6-year old children liquidated… Can’t be called anything but. The Jewish-controlled corporate press doesn’t want you to see photos of Shouhada like hero Hossein Monjazi (R.A.), who was being honored in the parade, and little Taha (R.A.), that’s why it prevents its usual spheres of (dis)information-dissemination from showing such images and in alternative spheres, such as social media, it blocks, suspends, deletes and shadow-bans to halt counter-narratives from festering. Like the @IranTactical account on Twitter that was 86ed as the Ahvaz chaos was unfolding.

 

Speaking of ‘Israeli’ false flags, it is telling that Saeed Ghasseminejad, the resident “Iranian” native informant and Shabbos Goy extraordinaire over at the FDD–the Talpiot-linked, ‘Israeli’-infested 3rd incarnation of PNAC–actually had the gall to say that the IRGC, which has lost many a good man to the mercenaries of the ASMLA and the APDF, was working with these groups to slaughter their own and portray the Iranian government as a victim before the upcoming UN General Assembly extravaganza. Fallacious, felonious and filthy! This is reminiscent of Russian-Jewish gazillionaire Boris Berezovsky (L.A.) and the Jewish neocons of the Bush White House accusing Vladimir Putin of plotting the attacks on Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk in the infamous “Apartment Bombings”. Zion’s think-tank-industrial-complex has ZERO issue invoking the concept of false flags when it needs to smear enemy states and use their dead as hasbara props for an ongoing soft war campaign. When the REAL perpetrator of false flags comes up however, i.e. ‘Israel’, especially when it comes to the Zionist granddaddy of them all, 9/11, everyone who promotes such truth turns into an “anti-Semite”, a “conspiracy theorist” or a “Nazi”.

It’s more than pornographic and yet another proof of the Empire’s shameless execution of the Ahvaz attack that the House of Rothschild’s errand boy Rudy Giuliani, an anti-Iranian regime change fanatic as well as a key Gentile agent of Zion’s terrorism on September 11th, 2001, was frothing at the mouth about the US leading the overthrow of the Islamic Revolution all before the blood of the Ahvaz martyrs was even dry; before the casualty count had even been tallied up properly. His speech was sponsored by another terrorist group, the Zionist-aligned MEK, which has been bathing in the plasma of Iranian civilians for nearly four decades. And this is, without a doubt, the US-‘Israeli’-Saudi-Emirati end goal: Toppling Wilayet al-Faqih and replacing it with a pliable regime led by goons like ASMLA and the MEK that will serve Shlomo ad infinitum.

Sadness aside for a moment over this terrible crime, perhaps it is fitting that it happened in the midst of Sacred Defense Week–a sign that ALLAH (SWT) is the Best Planner of All. Because just as Saddam Hussein failed to put out the candles of Khomeiniism when he began his aggression on the Jewish Imperium’s behalf 38 years ago, so too will Washington, “Tel Aviv”, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. They can drop monies and weapons to whatever gaggle of degenerates they like. The Islamic Revolution has not come this far to crumble at the hands of mere weakling terrorists that target babies, women and men in wheelchairs.

 

As Imam Khamenei said to a group of foreign cultural activists last month, “Do not worry at all about our situation. Nobody can do a damn thing against the Islamic Revolution. Be certain of that. There isn’t any doubt about it. Inform everyone of this truth!” We recite Al-Fatiha over and over again for the martyrs. We send Striking Star Salutes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, its military-intelligence organs, its people, its leadership and its thinkers during this most blessed time when Iranians commemorate fighting off the whole world to maintain what Imam Khomeini (R.A.) helped bring to fruition. And we pray for the punishment of the perpetrators–both local and global. May they feast on the Zaqqum’s fruit forever.

IRGC to Saudi, UAE: Don’t Cross Our Red Lines!

September 28, 2018

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deputy commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami has warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi not to cross Tehran’s “red lines.”

“If you cross our red lines, we will surely cross yours. You know the storm the Iranian nation can create,” Salami said in a speech during Friday prayers, as cited by Reuters.

“Stop creating plots and tensions. You are not invincible. You are sitting in a glass house and cannot tolerate the revenge of the Iranian nation…We have shown self-restraint,” Salami added.

The deputy commander also said that the United States has to “stop supporting the terrorists,” warning that Washington would “pay the price” if it didn’t.

Salami’s remarks come on the heels of comments by Iranian Supreme Leader, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei accusing Saudi Arabia and the UAE of financing the perpetrators of Saturday’s terror attack in Ahvaz, which killed at least 25 people and injured over 60 others.

Imam Khamenei described the attacks as “a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States,” adding that the goal of such terrorism was “to create insecurity in our dear country.”

Source: Agencies

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Ahvaz Terrorist Attack Exposes US’s New Chapter of Regime Change Wars

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A terrorist attack shook the southwestern city of Ahvaz in the Islamic Republic of Iran on Saturday September 22 morning of during a military parade in commemoration of the anniversary of the war with Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1980s. 

A group of terrorists opened fire at the soldiers in the military parade and the crowd, which included women and children where at least 25 people were killed and 55 others wounded according to IRNA news agency.
According to Tasnim new agency, the terrorist group infiltrated the back position of the military parade and from that position fired shots at the ceremony.

The terrorists could not penetrate the ceremony but fired from a distance, where they initially targeted the memorial platform where high profile attendees were sitting and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, fleeing after they opened fire.

Ali Hussein Zadeh, assistant of the head of political affairs in Khuzestan province, told Tasnim news agency that four terrorists carried out the attack, adding “the number of martyrs is increasing and the condition of some of the wounded is critical”.

Meanwhile, the Iranian FARS news agency quoted an informed source as saying that two terrorists were killed and another wounded while a fourth was arrested by security forces during the terrorist attack in the city of Ahvaz.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the terrorists who carried out the Ahvaz terrorist attack on Saturday had received support from neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf, stressing that those involved in the terrorist attack will not escape punishment and that Iran’s retaliation will be crushing.

Rouhani said in a speech on Sunday that he would leave Tehran for New York to participate in the UN General Assembly, saying Iran will not go easy on the Ahvaz’s crime, pointing out that the US administration is behind these young mercenaries.  “We know who committed the crime of Ahvaz and who is behind them, and we will respond to the crime in accordance with the laws and interests of the country”, Rouhani reiterated.

As the word governments condemned this act of terror against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US administration and its regional gulf puppet KSA and UAE kept silent. This muffled stance was in divergence to that of other nations, which offered their sympathies to the victims and condemnation of the attack, with several ambassadors in Tehran writing personal messages, while leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Bashar Assad released official statements.

US, MEK and Ahwazia Coordination

The aggressors are a terrorist organization backed by Washington and Tel Aviv and funded by Saudi Arabia under the name of “Ahwazia”, an extremist ethnic terrorist organization that claims to defend the rights of Arab Iranians.  Iranian researcher Dr. Mohamed Sadiq al-Husseini wrote that according to Iranian intelligence sources revealed that the terrorist attack of Ahvaz city was conducted in coordination between the “People’s Mojahedin Organization” of Iran or the “Mojahedin-e Khalq” [MEK] and the “Ahwazia” an Arab-Iranian separatist group with alleged connections to Saudi Arabia, also known as the “Ahvaz National Resistance”.

This link would directly put the US on top of the list of suspects who most probably have incited these terrorist attacks against Iran.

Keeping in mind that that the MEK, an Iranian cult of highly suspicious funding which is beloved by Trump insiders like John Bolton and Rudolph Giuliani for its extremely vocal pro-regime change agenda, was removed from the US State Department’s list of designated terrorist organizations by none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.  After its extensive lobbying campaign in Washington in 2012, Hillary Clinton de-listed the Iranian dissident MEK, from the State Department’s terror list.

The delisting happened despite NBC News’ report that the MEK has been murdering Iranian nuclear scientists in broad daylight.  The report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem cited US officials who said MEK members teamed up with “Israelis” to attach small magnetic bombs to the exterior of scientists’ cars before detonating them.  As a result, five nuclear scientists since 2007 have been killed so far. But apparently the State Department did not buy that report, as they told “The Washington Post” in September 2012 that the group has “renounced violence and turned over its weapons to US forces.”

In the current US administration, there are even much more aggressive support for the MEK represented by none other than the warmongering John Bolton. Bolton has also long backed the cult-like terrorist group despite the fact that the MEK has been held responsible for the murder of multiple American military personnel, a kidnapping attempt of a US Ambassador, and other violent attacks in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The MEK was based in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein, who provided arms, financial assistance, and political support.  In 1997, it was among the first groups cited on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations.

However, as it was removed from that list by Hillary Clinton in 2012, Bolton has since spoke at an MEK rally in 2017, for the eighth time, in Paris.  Other speakers at MEK rallies have reportedly been paid tens of thousands of dollars for their appearances.

US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about supporting the Iranian people has always been void, but promoting someone with Bolton’s views and connections to the highest level of government shows just how devious that rhetoric is. Whenever Bolton talks about supporting “the Iranian opposition,” these cultists are the people he’s talking about.  When he talks about regime change in Iran, he thinks these are the people should take over.

To date, no American MEK booster has risen as high in the government, but now the group will have an admirer advising the controversial US president on a daily basis.

Al-Saud Pay MEK’s Terrorism Bill

According to Dr. Mohamed Sadiq al-Husseini, an intelligence source specialized in Iranian affairs revealed to him the following details concerning the terrorist attack that took place on Saturday morning in Ahvaz:

  • The elements carrying out the armed terrorist attack on the military parade were trained in a Saudi camp southeast of Riyadh specialized for training members of the People’s Mujahideen MEK and other Iranian opposition groups.
  • The training is conducted by Jordanian and Saudi officers under the supervision of US Central Intelligence generals and “Israeli” generals.
  • All camp operations and needs are funded through the Saudi Ministry of Defense.  The funding includes the transfer of Iranian elements from European countries, especially from Albania to the Saudi run camp.
  • CIA and Mossad elements manage operational tasks, such as moving terrorists and weapons into Iran through commercial companies and non-governmental organizations located in Iraq’s Al-Basra city.
  • The CIA and Mossad assets in Al-Basra have nothing to do with training and their responsibilities are limited to logistics.

Recently, Beirut based Al-Manar TV channel revealed reports that training for the elements of the MEK is taking place in Western countries, “Israel” and in special camps inside Saudi Arabia, and terrorist cells are being moved to incite acts of terrorism against Iran through demonstrations and protests funded by intelligence agencies in those western countries.  According to these reports, leaders of MEK have met several times with “Israeli” security officials inside and outside “Israel”.

US officials, including the current national security adviser, have no illusions about the MEK’s disingenuous propaganda lines about seeking democracy or enjoying support inside Iran.  They know very well how despised the MEK is in that country.  Unlike other Iranian opposition groups, however, the MEK can mount military operations.  Its members are experienced in sabotage, assassinations, and terrorism, as well as in guerrilla and conventional warfare.

Hence, they possess qualities that are extremely useful for the US’s strategic objective to cause either regime change (by invasion) or regime collapse (by destabilization).

In other words, for Washington’s anti-Iran neocons, the MEK is not needed to replace the current government and Supreme leader in Iran; it just needs to assist its desired collapse with Saudi funding.  After all the losses incurred by the US foreign policy in the middle east due to incompetent regional allies, the US’s wishful thinking that ensuing chaos would weaken Iran and shift the regional balance of power toward US allies like “Israel” and Saudi Arabia, will only trigger a wave of more losses that will accelerate the demise of the US puppet regimes in the region.

By Marwa Osman
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The Ahvaz Terror Attack: Will Iran Give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi Demands?

Ahvaz_Terror_Attack_4070b

Violence.  On September 22, 2018, “unknown” terrorists opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, near the Iraqi frontier.  The march past marked the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, in which the U.S. was deeply involved.  The supposed terrorists, some say from the “Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz”, shot at the soldiers from behind reviewing stands, killing at least 25 and wounding at least 53.  The perpetrators were disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces.

This savage attack did not spring, like Venus, from the sea foam.

Where Did It Come From?  It built on regional discontent.  The Arab minority there, submerged in a dominant Persian state, has long been unhappy with its lot.  They’ve compared themselves to the Palestinians but claiming their situation is worse.  Additionally, the British have been promoting “semi-independence” for the area.  And, the Ahwazis have, in the past, appealed to the U.S. for help.

Mostafa Koshcheshm, a Tehran-based political commentator and journalist, told Al Jazeera… [the]Ahwazi separatist movement, …has been “nurtured, supported, and trained by Saudi Arabia”.

“It’s been operating for the past several years, they are looking to cut off and separate Iran’s energy-rich province of Khuzestan from Iran, which is exactly what Saddam Hussein wanted to do,” [he said].  “They call themselves Arab nationalists but we know they have very intimate ties to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq,” he said, referring to an Iranian exiled dissident group accused of killing thousands of Iranian civilians and officials.

The assault came at a time of renewed American, Israeli, and Saudi hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Besides the war of words against Iran for having non-existent nuclear weapons and short-range “inter-continental ballistic missiles”, there is the war of sanctions.

Is Something Different?  In May 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and announced the unilateral imposition of new and extensive restrictions on Iran’s economy.  In Trump’s view, Iran was not in observance of the JCPOA.  The multilateral agreement, following years of negotiations, had imposed rigid controls on Iranian enrichment of uranium.  It also subjected the country to intrusive international inspection.  All the other participants in the JCPOA, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed that Iran is and has been in full compliance with all the terms of the accord.  (Apartheid Israel, of course, has uncounted chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but is not subject to anything like the JCPOA.)

Responding to Trump’s attacks on its economy, Iran took the United States to the International Criminal Court in August 2018, alleging “the sanctions were in breach of a bilateral accord struck in 1955.”  This set off “The Donald’s” national security advisor John Bolton.  He fumed:  “The International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests.”

Who Dunnit?  Now, suddenly, just a month later, in September, mirabile dictu, there is an armed attack on Iranian government forces.  Without specifying which group, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif correctly laid the blame on outsiders, saying “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz.”  Zarif further noted that Saudi Arabia had been funding the group which seemingly carried out the attack.

Outsiders were certainly involved. The Saudis have been stoking tensions in the area, alleging that Iran, its rival for regional dominance, has been supporting “terrorists” here, there, and everywhere. (But, it’s been the Saudis who have been waging a savage war of aggression against Yemen, the neighbor to the south.  And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been financing extremist groups in Syria while cozying up to Israel which has been using that benighted country as a shooting gallery.)

Who else might be involved?  Certainly the United States of America, constantly touting the evils of Iran, while demanding “regime change” there.  And just as assuredly Israel, a loud voice raving about the alleged dangers of Iran (which hasn’t invaded another country in the last two centuries).  What of the United Kingdom?  Didn’t its Secret Intelligence Service help the U.S. overthrow the legitimate government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953?  Wouldn’t Merrie Olde Englande like another bite of the apple–and aid its “ally” Donald J. Trump and all the Zionists opposing Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the opposition Labour Party?

Right now, only the “usual suspects” know for sure.  And they will likely be silent unless and until they manage to overthrow another Iranian government.

Will That Work?  Maybe not.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that he and his countrymen will not submit to economic and psychological pressure from abroad.  Iran, he asserted, will never abandon its missile and defense capabilities in the face of U.S. coercion.  Blasting the U.S. for trashing the JCPOA, Rouhani went on to emphasize that his country is not interfering in other nations in the region.  Continuing, the Iranian president noted that, instead, his state is protecting other lands in the area from aggression.  Ultimately, Rouhani said, Donald Trump will fail in his efforts just as Saddam Hussein failed in his eight years of warfare against the Islamic Republic.

Can We Understand Anything?  What are we to make of all this?  Is the Ahvaz attack a one-off event or a continuation of past grievances the Arab community there has sometimes violently expressed?  Is this a new stage in American/Israeli/British efforts at “regime change” in Iran, one complementary to sanctions?  Or is it what President Rouhani called it, psychological pressure?  That is, is it a demonstration of outside power, an explicit display of “we can reach anywhere into your country and do anything we want” unless you give in to us?

In this author’s view, Rouhani is right. It is emotional stress, to be added to the sanctions’ economic strain, in the hope that Iran will give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi demands.

Source

Rouhani: Perpetrators of Ahvaz Crime Backed by Some Gulf States

Source

September 23, 2018

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (archive)

President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that Iran is clearly aware who was behind the September 22 terrorist attack in Ahvaz and will not give up the right to follow up the case.

“Those who are the so-called advocates of human rights have to be accountable for the attack,” Rouhani told reporters Sunday morning, prior to his departure to New York, where he is to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly, which officially opened on September 18.

Terrorists who perpetrated the crime in Ahvaz are backed by some Gulf States, he said, stressing that those implicated in the attack will never escape punishment.

At least 25 were killed and more than 60 were injured on Saturday in the southwestern city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province when several unknown gunmen opened fire aimlessly to the crowd watching a military parade staged on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of an eight-year imposed war against Iran.

Children who were to go to school were killed in the attack, President Rouhani adding, “Iran, undoubtedly, will not give up [following up] the crime.”

“The terrorists disguised as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire at the authorities and people from behind the stand during the parade,’ Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati told reporters hours after the terrorist attack.

The self-proclaimed Saudi-affiliated Al-Ahwaz terrorist group claimed the responsibility for the attack.

On Saturday, the Iranian President said the Islamic Republic will give a “crushing” response to the slightest threat against the country.

“Those who are providing these terrorists with propaganda and intelligence support must be held accountable,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian media.

SourceIranian media

 

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‘Saudis gave MKO gold, Rolex watches worth hundreds of millions of dollars’

Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud (L) greets Maryam Rajavi, chief of the MKO terror group during a gathering in Paris in July 2016. Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud (L) greets Maryam Rajavi, chief of the MKO terror group during a gathering in Paris in July 2016.

An ex-member of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) has shed light on Saudi Arabia’s financial support for the anti-Iran terror group, explaining how the Riyadh regime funneled, in one instance, gold bars and other valuables worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the notorious outfit.

Massoud Khodabandeh, a former high-ranking MKO element, made the revelations in an interview with Jordanian news website al-Bawaba released on Tuesday.

He said officials of the Saudi spy agency, formerly led by Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, gave the MKO three tons of solid gold, at least four suitcases of custom Rolex watches as well as fabric covering the Ka’aba, Islam’s holiest shrine.

Khodabandeh personally oversaw the transfer.

Gold and other valuable commodities, he added, were later sold in black markets in the Jordanian capital, Amman, via Saudi-linked businessmen and the money went to offshore accounts linked to the MKO.

Khodabandeh also noted that he had himself smuggled three truckloads of gold bars from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad with the help of two Iraqi and two Saudi representatives.

Each truck held about a ton of gold, “making the shipment’s contemporary worth almost $200 million.”

“After a few days I arranged for it to go to Amman to be sold,” he said. “We knew a few businessmen who could do this for us and move the money to offshore accounts.”

The ex-MKO member further unveiled that some of the money the organization received from its dealings was allocated to the purchase of military vehicles.

Through the Saudi-linked businessmen in Amman, he said, the MKO “bought large fleets of Toyota semi-military vehicles and many other logistical needs.”

Khodabandeh also stressed that in addition to regular payments from former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the MKO also received sums from Iraqi oil exports to Britain.

He explained that after the fall of Saddam, Prince Turki became the terror outfit’s main supporter.

“I would say that after the fall of Saddam, the MKO which was then being run by Massoud [Rajavi] under the patronage of Saddam, changed to the organization run by Maryam [Rajavi] under the patronage of Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud,” he said.

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community. Its members fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq, where it enjoyed Saddam’s backing.

The MKO has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades.

Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.

In 2012, the US State Department removed the MKO from its list of designated terrorist organizations.

A few years ago, MKO members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former US military base in Baghdad, and later sent to Albania.

Elsewhere, the al-Bawaba report said that the US had paid $20 million to the UN Refugee Agency to transfer thousands of MKO terrorists from Iraq to Albania, and had even given Tirana funds to build a military-style facility for the group.

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Iranians respond to MEK (terrorist) troll farm: #YouAreBots

Iranians Respond to MEK Troll Farm: #youarebots

Anyone who has been active on Twitter and tweeted about Iran in the past year can attest that the online debate over events in the country has taken a dramatic turn for the hostile.

Many Iran observers are perplexed by the sharp increase in vitriol spewed at journalists and analysts. Some speculate that regime-change advocates were encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s electoral victory and are seizing their chance to influence the online debate about Iran while there is a sympathetic ear in the White House. Others felt that the nationwide protests in January were a turning point in the Islamic Republic and that the public discourse had moved on from Reformism and into much starker choices. However, an investigative report by Al Jazeera has shed light on a third reason for the spike in Twitter activity: what many Iran observers had suspected from the outset, a Twitter troll factory meant to influence the already contentious debate over Iran.

According to the Al Jazeera report, the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) has set up a center at its headquarters in Albania, where 1,000-1,500 “online soldiers” are instructed to promote hashtags in support of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Two former MEK members told Al Jazeera that they would receive specific daily orders on what to highlight regarding Iran and also which specific Iran analysts to attack on social media, often sharing the White House’s critical messages against Iran and amplifying their tweets via bots.

In response to the report, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted to Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, “Hello @Jack. Twitter has shuttered accounts of real Iranians, incl TV presenters & students, for supposedly being part of an ‘influence op’. How about looking at actual bots in Tirana used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda spewed out of DC? #YouAreBots

In August, Twitter claimed to have closed 284 accounts originating in Iran for “engaging in coordinated manipulation.” One popular account from inside Iran that was shut down then belonged to SeyedMousavi7, who shortly afterward released a video through friends saying that he is a university student and had only sought to present a different narrative of Iran. Another belonged to Iran’s English-language news channel Press TV journalist Waqar Rizvi. A Sept. 17 special Etemaad report described the apparent discrepancy in Twitter’s actions as “strictness with Iran, silence in the face of fake anti-Iranian accounts.”

Iranian lawmaker Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi also tweeted to Dorsey, “You suspended my official account as MP of Iran for my violation of not determined twitter rules, but why you have not blocked bots of MEK in Tirana, a group that killed 17000 Iranian people, used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda? #YouAreBots” The figure is a reference to a bombing campaign by the MEK after losing a power struggle with members of the Islamic Republican Party after the 1979 revolution.

Meanwhile, there has been some criticism of Zarif’s call for Twitter to shut down the reported MEK accounts. Britain-based Manoto, an outlet broadly viewed as sympathetic to the monarchist camp, told its viewers that the foreign minister “described [all] opponents of the Islamic Republic as bots.”

Other social media users also brought up one irony of the Twitter battle: that the microblogging platform, with which the foreign minister, the president and the supreme leader all have either verified accounts or unofficial accounts that are run through their offices, is still officially blocked in Iran.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/iran-mek-twitter-troll-farm-al-jazeera-zarif-criticism-jack.html#ixzz5RWuw55qO

The Trump administration and Iran

Like President Reagan, President Trump seems to be anti-Iranian. But perhaps this is only in appearance. While the former drew up a secret alliance with Imam Khomeiny, the latter may be dealing with ex-President Ahmadinejad in the same way. This is Thierry Meyssan’s heterodox theory.

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Mike Pompeo announces the creation of the « Iran Action Group »

On 16 August 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of the « Iran Action Group » tasked with coordinating US policies after their withdrawal from the 5+1 nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) [1].

This announcement was made as President Trump decided to postpone sine die the implementation of his plan for the Middle East (The Deal of the Century). But nothing can change in Palestine without the support of Iran.

Let’s remember, by the way, that Barack Obama’s JCPoA Treaty was not conceived only to guarantee that Iran is not making nuclear weapons. This was only the pretext. Its true aim was to prevent Iran from having access to high-level scientists and developing state of the art techniques [2]. Incidentally, the agreement forced Iran to close several faculties.

According to the US Democratic opposition, the Trump administration is reprising the neo-conservative policy of régime change, as indicated by the choice of the date of the announcement – the 65th anniversary of the Anglo -US coup d’etat against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. However, although « Operation Ajax » of 1953 did indeed inspire the neo-conservatives, it occurred years before their movement was born, and has no connection with them. Besides which, the neo-conservatives served not only the Republican Party, but also the Democrats.

During his electoral campaign and for his first few days in the White House, Donald Trump continually stigmatised the globalist thinking of the neo-conservatives, and swore that the United States would no longer seek to change the régimes of foreign countries by force. As for the Secretary of State, he claimed that the coincidence of dates was simply fortuitous.

The people known as « neo-conservatives » form a group of Trotskyist intellectuals (thus opposed to the concept of nation-states), militants of Social Democrats USA, which worked with the CIA and MI6 to fight the Soviet Union. They were associated with Ronald Reagan’s power structure, then followed through all the US political mutations, remaining in power under Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama. Today they conserve the control of a common Intelligence agency connected with the « Five Eyes » (Australia, Canada, New-Zealand, UK, USA) – the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) [3]. Partisans of the « World Revolution », they have popularised the idea of « democratising » régimes by way of « Colour Revolutions », or directly by means of war.

In 2006, they created the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group within the Bush Junior administration. It was directed by Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney. At first, they were housed with the Secretariat of Defense, then transferred to the Vice-President’s offices. The group had five sections.
- The transfer of weapons to Iran and Syria from Bahreïn, the United Arab Emirates and Oman ;
- The support for the Trotskyists and their allies, in Iran (the Peoples’ Mujaheddin) and Syria (Riad al-Türk, Georges Sabra and Michel Kilo) ;
- The surveillance of Iranian and Syrian bank networks ;
- The infiltration of pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian groups in the « Greater Middle East » ;
- The penetration of the medias in the region in order to broadcast US propaganda.

In 2007, this group was officially disbanded. In reality, it was absorbed by an even more secret structure tasked with the strategy for global democracy (Global Democracy Strategy). This unit, under the command of neo-conservative Elliott Abrams (who was involved in the « Iran-Contras affair »), and James Jeffrey, spread this sort of work to other regions of the world.

نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪Elliott Abrams‬‏

It is this Group which supervised the planning for the war against Syria.

When the new President had a long meeting with Abrams at the White House, the US Press, which is violently anti-Trump, presented him as the first possible Secretary of State for the Trump administration. It obviously came to nothing.

However, the fact that ambassador James Jeffrey has just been nominated as a special representative for Syria makes the accusation that the Trump administration was attempting to resuscitate this strategy more credible.

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Special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, takes the oath before Mike Pompeo

Jeffrey is a career « diplomat ». He organised the application of the Dayton agreements in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was on post in Kuwaït during the Iraqi invasion. In 2004, under the orders of John Negroponte, he supervised the transition from the Coalition Provisional Authority (which was a private company [4]) to the post-Saddam Hussein Iraqi government. Then he joined Condolleezza Rice’s cabinet in Washington, and participated in the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was one of the theorists for US military redeployment in Iraq (the Surge), implemented by General Petraeus. He was also the assistant of National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley during the war in Georgia, then Bush Junior’s ambassador in Turkey and Obama’s ambassador in Iraq.

If we look a little closer, we may note that his entire career since the collapse of the USSR has been centred around Iran, but not necessarily in opposition to it. For example, during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran fought alongside Saudi Arabia under the orders of the Pentagon. On the other hand, in Iraq, Jeffrey opposed the influence of Teheran. But when Georgia attacked South Ossetia and Abkhasia, he did not defend President Saakachvili, since he knew that he had rented two airports to Israël to facilitate an attack on Iran.

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Brian Hook

Mike Pompeo named Brian Hook as the head of the Iran Action Group. He is an interventionist who was the assistant for Condoleezza Rice, working with international organisations. Until now, he was tasked with elaborating strategies for the State Department.

According to Pompeo, the aim of this new group is not to change the régime, but to force Iran to change its politics. This strategy appears while the Islamic Republic is navigating a major economic and political crisis. While the clergy (doubly represented by the Cheikh President and by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution) is clinging to power, there are demonstrations against it all over the country. Contrary to the image we were presented in the West, Ayatollah Khomeiny’s revolution was not clerical, but anti-imperialist. The protests can therefore either lead to a change of the régime, or to the continuation of the Khomeinist Revolution, but without the clergy. It is this second option which is represented by ex-President Ahmadinejad (today under house arrest) and his ex-Vice-Ppresident Baghaie (imprisoned for 15 years and held incommunicado).

On 21 May last, before the Heritage Foundation, Mike Pompeo presented his 12 objectives for Iran [5]. At first glance, this seemed to be a long list of demands which are impossible to satisfy. However, when we look closer, points 1 to 3 relative to the nuclear question do not go as far as the JCPoA. Point 4 concerning ballistic missiles is unacceptable. Points 5 to 12 aim to convince Iran to give up the idea of exporting its revolution by force of arms.

On 15 August, in other words, on the day before Pompeo’s announcement, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recognised that he had been in error when he allowed Cheikh Hassan Rohani’s team to negotiate the JCPoA agreement with the Obama administration [6]. Note that the Supreme Leader had authorised these negotiations before Rohani’s election, and that he – and the eviction of Ahmadinejad’s movement – had been part of the preparatory discussions.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who makes a distinction between the policies of Presidents Obama and Trump, wrote to the new President just after his election [7]. He demonstrated that he shared Donald Trump’s analysis of the Obama-Clinton global system and its painful consequences for the rest of the world and also for the citizens of the United States.

When the demonstrations began in December 2017, the Rohani government accused Ahmadinejad of being responsible. In March 2018, the ex-President clinched his break with the Supreme Leader by revealing that Khamenei’s office had misappropriated 80 billion rials belonging to humanitarian and religious foundations [8]. Two weeks before Pompeo’s announcement, although he was under house arrest, he called for the resignation of President Rohani [9].

Everything therefore points to the idea that although the Obama administration supported Rohani, Trump’s administration supports Ahmadinejad’s party. Just as when President Carter and his advisor Brzeziński launched «Operation Eagle Claw » against the Revolution, while President Reagan supported Imam Khomeiny (October Surprise).

In other words, the White House could be quite comfortable with a return to power of Ahmadinejad’s party, on the condition that Iran agrees to export its Revolution only by the debate of ideas.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

The author lived in Iran for six months. He advised President Ahmadinejad during his speech before the UNO in 2010.

[1] “Remarks on the Creation of the Iran Action Group”, by Michael R. Pompeo; “Briefing on the Creation of the Iran Action Group”, by Brian Hooks, State Department, August 16, 2018.

[2] “Who’s afraid of Iran’s civilian nuclear programme?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 27 July 2010.

[3] “The networks of “democratic” interference”, “NED, the Legal Window of the CIA”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Оdnako(Russia) , Voltaire Network, 22 January 2004 and 16 August 2016.

[4] “Who Rules Iraq?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 13 May 2004.

[5] “Mike Pompeo at The Heritage Foundation”, by Mike Pompeo, Voltaire Network, 21 May 2018.

[6] “The Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution Rectifies his Views”, Voltaire Network, 18 August 2018.

[7] “Letter by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Donald Trump”, by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Voltaire Network, 26 February 2017.

[8] “Ahmadinejad accuses Ayatollah Khamenei of embezzling funds”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 24 March 2018.

[9] “Iran: Former President Ahmadineyad exhorts President Rohani to resign”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 10 August 2018

لجنة براين هوك أو تفعيل الحروب الأميركية ضدّ إيران

أغسطس 20, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

قد يعتقد الكثيرون انّ الحروب الأميركية الفعلية، ضدّ الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، قد بدأت بانسحاب الولايات المتحدة من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، أواسط شهر أيار 2018 الذي أعلنه الرئيس الأميركي ترامب في البيت الأبيض..

وكان ترامب قد انسحب من الاتفاق بتنسيق كامل وتفصيلي مع قادة جماعات الضغط اليهودية في الولايات المتحدة اللوبيات وممثل هذه اللوبيات في القاعدة العسكرية الأميركية في فلسطين المحتلة، بنيامين نتن ياهو.

هذا الانسحاب الذي برره الرئيس ترامب بعدم توازن الاتفاق وبرغبته في تعديل بنوده كي يضمن عدم قيام إيران بتصنيع سلاح نووي في المستقبل….

ثم أضاف الى هذه البنود بنوداً جديدة في ما بعد تمحورت حول:

ما يُسمّى زيادة النفوذ الإيراني في الشرق الأوسط.

النشاط الإيراني المزعزع لاستقرار الدول العربية.

دعم الاٍرهاب والمنظمات الإرهابية في العالم العربي.

ما يعني أن المشكلة لا تكمن في ضمان منع إيران من امتلاك السلاح النووي وإنما في موضوع آخر هو:

ضمان أمن القاعدة العسكرية الاستعمارية الأميركية المقامة على أرض فلسطين المحتلة والمسماة «إسرائيل».

هذه القاعدة، الى جانب عشرات القواعد الأميركية المقامة في مشيخات الخليج والسعودية وتركيا وبعض مناطق شمال شرق سورية المحتلة من قبل الجيش الأميركي، هي التي عملت ولا زالت تعمل على زعزعة الاستقرار في كل العالم العربي ومنذ أكثر من سبعين عاماً، وليست إيران التي تقوم بهذا العمل…!

وبما أن الشيء بالشيء يُذكَر فلا بد من التذكير بأن الولايات المتحدة هي التي تتدخل في الشأن الإيراني الداخلي وتعمل على زعزعته وإثارة الصدامات فيه بكل أشكالها داخل المجتمع الإيراني.

الجدير ذكره هنا أن هذا التصرف العدواني والمنافي للقانون الدولي، يعتبر من المحرمات المفروضة على أي دولة بشكل عام التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لأية دولة أخرى يعتبر على أميركا خاصة خروجاً فظّاً وغير مبرر، ومداناً، على اتفاق الجزائر الشهير بين الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، والموقع بين البلدين بتاريخ 19/1/1981 في الجزائر العاصمة، والذي أطلق عليه آنذاك اسم:

إعلان الجزائر، والذي أنهى أزمة احتجاز الرهائن في السفارة الأميركية في طهران، والذي تضمن العديد من البنود نورد أهمها:

1 – تمتنع الولايات المتحدة عن التدخل السياسي والعسكري في شؤون إيران الداخلية.

2 – تقوم الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بإلغاء تجميد الأموال الإيرانية الموقعة في البنوك الأميركية كما تقوم كذلك بإلغاء العقوبات التجارية والاقتصادية المفروضة على إيران.

3 – يلتزم البلدان بإنهاء النزاعات القائمة بين الحكومتين وكذلك بين مواطني البلدين عبر احالة هذه النزاعات الى التحكيم الدولي، وبالتحديد الى محكمة مطالب إيران والولايات المتحدة، التي أنشئت بموجب هذا الاتفاق إعلان الجزائر .

4 – تؤكد الولايات المتحدة أن قرارات المحاكم الأميركية، بشأن تحويل أية ممتلكات للشاه السابق، سوف تكون غير خاضعة لأنظمة الحصانة السيادية التي تمنع محاكمة أو مصادرة أملاك او تحويل ملكية املاك شخص

سيادي كالملك او الرئيس…. وان قرارات هذه المحاكم سوف يتم تنفيذها.

5 – تدفع الديون الإيرانية المستحقة آنذاك للمؤسسات الأميركية.

ولكن الولايات المتحدة، وعوضاً عن أن تلتزم ببنود هذا الاتفاق، نكثت بوعودها جميعاً ولَم تنفذ أياً من بنود هذا الاتفاق، لا بل واصلت التآمر على إيران والعمل، وبكل الوسائل، على إسقاط الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران.

الى أن وصل بها الامر الى تشريع تدخلها العدواني في شؤون الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية وذلك عبر إنشاء ما سُمّي: مجموعة سورية وإيران للسياسة والعمليات Iran Syria Policy And Operation Group واختصارها ISOG. وذلك في شهر آذار 2006.

حيث ترأس هذه اللجنة، مناوبة، ابنة نائب الرئيس الأميركي آنذاك، ديك تشيني، واسمها إليزابيث تشيني، نقول مناوبة مع ايليوت ابراهامز. وهو من قادة اللوبي اليهودي في الولايات المتحدة، وكانت تضم ممثلين عن البيت الأبيض والخارجية والمخابرات المركزية ووزارة الخزانة الأميركية.

هذه اللجنة التي جمّد نشاطها، من الناحية العملية، بعد وصول باراك اوباما الى الرئاسة الأميركية تم نفخ الروح في شبيهتها يوم الخميس 16/8/2018 بإعلان وزير الخارجية الأميركي، جورج بومبيو، الذي أعاد شرعنة التدخل الأميركي السافر في الشؤون الداخلية للجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران وذلك بإعلانه تشكيل ما سماه:

مجموعة عمل إيران Iran Action Group

وسمى بريان هوك / Brian Hook / رئيساً لهذه اللجنة ومبعوث واشنطن الخاص لإيران أي لشؤون إيران / Special representative Form Iran.

علماً أن هذا الشخص من الجناح المتطرف في الخارجية الأميركية وعمل مستشاراً لجون بولتون، أثناء الفتره التي كان فيها ممثلا للولايات المتحدة الأميركية في مجلس الأمن الدولي، كما انه من أصحاب نظرية ان إيران هي مصدر العنف والقلاقل في الشرق الأوسط، كما أعلن في تصريحات صحافية يوم الخميس 16 آب الحالي.

وهذه التصريحات تؤكد أن المهمات الحقيقية لهذه اللجنة تختلف عن تلك التي أعلن عنها مايك بومبيو يوم الخميس نفسه حين قال:

إدارة ومراجعة وتنسيق كافة نشاطات وزارة الخارجية الأميركية المتعلقة بإيران.

حثّ الدول الصديقة للولايات المتحدة على الالتزام بالعقوبات الأميركية ضد إيران.

وهنا لا بد من التأكيد على أن تصريحات بريان هوك، رئيس لجنة «التخريب» في إيران، تؤكد ما لدى مصدر دبلوماسي أمني، من إحدى الدول الأوروبية العظمى، من معلومات حول مهمات هذه اللجنة، حيث أكد المصدر على ما يلي:

أ- أن أعضاء هذه اللجنة وتفاصيل عملها ستبقى سرية وهو أمر يدلل على انها ستقوم بمهام سرية وليس بمهام دبلوماسية شفافة ومعلنة.

ب- تم تشكيل مجموعات عمل متعددة ستكون الذراع الميداني لهذه اللجنة. وهذه المجموعات هي:

مجموعة العمل العسكري. ومهمتها نقل وايصال السلاح الى داخل إيران.

مجموعة نشر الديموقراطية. ومهمتها نقل الأموال الى مجموعات تنشط في هذا المجال داخل إيران.

مجموعة الاقتصاد والتنمية. ومهمتها مراقبة الأنشطة

والعمليات المالية الإيرانية.

مجموعة العلاقات الخاصة. ومهمتها إجراء دراسات معمقة لعلاقة إيران مع كل من: اليمن / العراق، / سورية / لبنان / وأية منظمات «إرهابية» أخرى المعني هي فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزه .

ج – تشير مهمات مجموعات العمل التي ستديرها هذه اللجنة الى ان الهدف هو:

التحضير لإثارة موجة من الاضطرابات الداخلية، بما يشبه الثورات المخملية، في إيران على المدى القصير والمتوسط، أي خلال بقية عام 2018 والعام المقبل 2019، وذلك من خلال زيادة الضغط الاقتصادي على الدولة الإيرانية كما على المواطنين الإيرانيين بهدف تحريكهم ضد الدولة.

استغلال فترة الاضطرابات الداخلية للتحضير لمرحلة التحرك العسكري ضد الدولة الإيرانية، عبر مجموعات داخلية مرتبطة بالمشروع الأميركي، والتي سيتم تدريب أفرادها

في السعودية وجنوب اليمن.

د – أن تمويل نشاط هذه اللجنة وكافة مجموعات العمل المتفرعة عنها سيتم عبر صندوق سعودي خاص يدعون أنه لتمويل محاربة الاٍرهاب وهو الصندوق الذي دفعوا منه مئة مليون دولار يوم 17/8/2018 لتمويل مجموعات مسلحة في محافظة الرقة السورية والتي تمّ تدريبها في قواعد الجيش الأميركي في شمال شرق سورية على أيدي ضباط أميركيين وبريطانيين وفرنسيين وأردنيين .

وهذا ما أكده، من الناحية العملية، مبعوث السلام الأميركي السابق الى الشرق الأوسط، اليهودي الصهيوني دينيس روس، في تصريح له نشرته وكالة رويترز، مساء يوم 16/8/2018، قال فيه:

إن السؤال الحقيقي هو عما إذا كانت السياسة الأميركية تجاه إيران ستقتصر على كونها سجالاً كلامياً عنيفاً وعقوبات ام انها ستصبح شيئاً أكثر من ذلك لوقف نشاطات إيران التي تهدد الاستقرار في كل من اليمن والعراق وسورية؟

إذن، فإن مهمة هذه اللجنة لا تقتصر على تنسيق نشاطات الخارجية الأميركية المعادية لإيران، وانما تشمل العمل الميداني والتحريضي، الداخلي والخارجي، لتصعيد التدخل الأميركي في الشؤون الإيرانية، وذلك كما يتضح من تساؤلات هذا الكاهن الصهيوني الذي خبر الشرق الأوسط جيداً.

ويمكرون ويمكر الله والله خير الماكرين.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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August 09, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog‘Martyrdom and Martyrdom’ & martyrdom: understanding Iran

“We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossain, you better ask.” – Iranian Major General and Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, July 27, 2018

That injunction for education was in response to US President Donald Trump’s threatening “all-caps tweet” to Iran. The exchange provides a rather timely news peg for this article, and it also confirms its necessity; this article relates the importance of Imam Hossain in modern Iranian society.

Despite the good advice, I doubt Trump will ask anyone about Imam Hossain, and it appears certain he lacks the intellectual stamina for “such a long” article.

The previous part of this series – ‘Cultural’ & ‘Permanent Revolution’ in Iranian Revolutionary Shi’ism – is rather necessary reading in order to understand this part…unless one is already familiar with the life and death of Imam Ali, is aware of the foundation of the Sunni-Shia intellectual schism, and also has (at least) an areligious historical perspective on the political situation of the early Islamic era immediately following the death of Prophet Mohammad. Hossain immediately followed Ali, his father, so such background knowledge will help one to fully grasp the historical-cultural-political-religious links presented here.

In this previous segments of this 11-part series I have mainly discussed facts: Why the World Socialist Web Site’s 3-part series claiming that “Islamic Socialism is a sham” is false and blind; how the centrally-planned economy of the Shahs paved the way for the socialist-inspired economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran; why “privatisation” in Iran is a misleading misnomer; and a 4-part sub-series on the Basij, a much-misunderstood institution which actually reflects the attempt of revolutionary Shi’ism to redistribute wealth and power to the poorer classes & to solidify support for Iran’s unique structure and culture.

While the goal of this series is to show how Iran is the ignored success story of socialism, it is also to shed light on the Western blackout of honest, accurate & balanced discussion on modern Iran. Therefore, I thought that discussions of Imams Ali and Hossain should have gone first, as they are the major motivating force of modern Iran…but that would have immediately turned off the receptivity towards learning new perspectives on Iran among the often anti-religion Western leftists. Therefore, I have saved these two religious-philosophical & cultural discussions for the end, because I wanted my discussion of Iran’s unique creations to be factual & structural and not philosophical. We can’t argue the clear facts which prove Iran’s socialism – not anymore.

But Iran’s (now totally-clear) socialist policies cannot be explained or understood solely by an intellectual lens of “socialism” – “socialism” does not fully explain the unique creation of the Basij, the unique creation of the post of Supreme Leader, the unique creation of the bonyads or state charity cooperatives to help run 10-15% of the economyetc. For full comprehension, religious-cultural knowledge must be added.

Because Iran is a unique (revolutionary) country, this means they have implemented policies which truly have no parallel. It also means the reasons for such policies are often not accepted by others, and even more rarely understood. The WSWS refuses to add in this component of “religion” – thus, their series could only falsely claim that Iran’s revolution was seemingly totally inspired by the Iranian Communist Tudeh Party, in a rather selective rewriting of history which aimed to marginalise the role of religion in Iran.

All of these unique (revolutionary) polices, structures and ideas can indeed be explained by socialism because they are socialist…but something crucial will still be lacking; one cannot fully understand them without clarifying additional philosophical, cultural and religious tenets which run deeper in Iran than the obviously vitally nourishing economic-democratic ideas of 19th-21st century socialism.

Is this more new scholarship linking Iran and socialism? Possibly, but links have already been made for many decades

The previous part drew the parallel – and quite likely for the first time ever – between Imam Ali’s failed “Cultural Revolution”, after the original political Revolution of Islam, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Similarly, I cannot report finding internet links between Imam Hossain and the Trotskyist theory of “Permanent Revolution”, either.

However, I am not here to take credit. While I feel that Ali / China link was perhaps not able to be made in the heyday of the Iranian Revolution – as it is quite possible the true aims / goals / results of the Chinese Cultural Revolution were not known – the link between Hossain and “Permanent Revolution” was quite clearly obvious.

I contend that if I can’t find a record of this historical parallel being explicitly made there are clear reasons why:

The internet does not include the the cassette tapes, mosque lectures and fragile mimeographs which were the method of political communication in 1970s Iran.

Perhaps most Iranian thinkers wanted to give more credit to Islamic revolutionary figures, who were more relatable to the average Iranian.

The Revolution of 1979 was intensely patriotic: A repeated claim was that Iran already contained all it needed to have a modern, revolutionary, just society – holding up non-Iranian figures hurts that claim. And it’s not as if Trotsky, Mao or other foreigners were going to sue Iranians for using their ideas without attribution….

Iranian socialists were discredited-by-association in the 1980s by the horrific, detested, traitorous, totally illegitimate, most definitely NOT socialist cult known as the Mujahideen Khalq Organisation (known as the MKO or MEK, or People’s Mujahideen in English). Their unthinkable actions – stealing corpses to inflate body counts for propaganda purposes, fighting alongside Saddam, massacring Kurds, assassinating Iranian scientists, thousands of other terrorist acts, etc. – likely caused many to step away from proudly espousing the socialist intellectual lens which was so prevalent in the 1970s. It is mind-boggling to me that intelligent Western leftists ask me about the MKO as if they are some sort of viable leftist option in Iran…but it’s a big world, filled with too many insane cults – on the left, right and centre – to keep track of. The unforgivable MKO has also been gallingly whitewashed in the West by hundreds of millions of dollars from the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and France (where they are now headquartered). Support for the MKO on the part of West repeatedly sends the Iranian government into an absolute tizzy, and rightly so – it is proof of the West’s appalling and murderous intentions against Iran (as if more proof was needed….).

I will quote extensively, as in the previous part, from seminal Iranian Islamic revolutionary thinker Ali Shariati – I think readers will see for themselves how very clearly he adapted some key Trotskyist ideals in his modern portrayal of Imam Hossain. Whether Shariati admitted it or not, “Permanent Revolution” is all over his ideas, slogans, analyses, etc.

I can verify from personal discussions with older, politically active that (duh!) Trotsky was indeed one of the key figures on their minds in the 1970s and beyond.

But I am only a journalist reporting what I have found: the explicit link is not found, but I am both a poor journalist and poor researcher. I do not seriously expect Iranians to tell me that Imam Ali-Mao links were widely made, but I do expect them to tell me Imam Hossain – Trotsky links were.

Regardless, credit for linking Ali / China & Hossain / Trotsky – plus another $0.50 – will only get me a cup of coffee, as the saying goes (at least it did prior to inflation); the main thing is to understand modern Iran in order to promote human brotherhood.

The huge misunderstanding on ‘martyrdom’ between Iran and the West

It is often said that “self-sacrifice” and “martyrdom” are the main principles of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and Iranian society today…but this fact is of almost of no value to Westerners, because in 2018 there is a fundamental misunderstanding between the West and Iran on what “martyrdom” means and is.

Two parties cannot create mutual understanding if definitions of words are totally different. This article aims to rectify that.

But to do that, it is necessary for non-Muslims to learn about Imam Hossain, the grandson of Mohammad, the son of Imam Ali, and the 3rd Shia Caliph but who was not a Caliph for Sunni because Hossain was cheated out of it by Muawiyah, founder of the Umayyad dynasty and the 6th Sunni Caliph (this last statement is a universal historical consensus and not solely a Shia one – this was all explained in the previous part of this series).

In short: in 680 AD Imam Hossain (spelled Husayn or Hussein or Hossain in Arabic) marched off to certain death at Karbala, Iraq, rather than sanction the government of the Umayyad dynasty, which Imam Hossain and his father perceived as insufficiently Islamic and insufficiently revolutionary. This martyrdom has inspired a feeling of “Permanent Revolution” within Shia Iranians.

Many anti-religion leftists falsely assume this martyrdom was solely the result of a dispute on religious doctrine – I suppose it was, but I am 100% certain it was an intensely political act as well. Nobody is forcing anyone to accept the religious aspect – Islam can never be forced – and this means that non-Muslims can view Ali and Hossain in a purely political, areligious, historical context. But the widespread failure to do this has had huge consequences in modern political analysis.

The yearly pilgrimages to Karbala, Iraq, to commemorate Hossain are among the largest peaceful gatherings in human history. Even though 10-20 million people attend, they are totally ignored by Western media. That’s a pity, because even though “God is dead” to Western culture, the Arba’een pilgrimages shows how very, very, very living it is to Shia. Like that or not – this galvanising power cannot be ignored. As Soleimani said to Trump: “you better ask” about Hossain.

As I explained in the previous article, the Revolution of Islam was a sweeping & immediate political revolution as well as a revolution in religious thought and practice. This duality cannot be argued in the slightest, nor is there a single reason why they should be contradictory. Therefore, socio-cultural-historical parallels abound with other the great political revolutions in human history.

Non-Muslims and Westerners have much to glean politically from the Revolution of Islam, if they can only set aside their anti-religion bigotry. Again: one can examine the early Islamic age from an areligious perspective because it was a political & social revolution, unlike Christianity after the life or the death of Jesus son of Mary.

Regardless, the political structures and daily life in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2018 cannot be understood without grasping the importance of Imam Hossain in our collective unconscious. Unlike Jesus in the secular West, Hossain is a constant, universal presence in Iran (and for the many non-Shia, as well), and a perpetual reminder of the need for moral political action.

The second, failed generation of Islamic revolutionaries

As the previous article described, to many Iranian thinkers like Ali Shariati, after Prophet Mohammad’s death Islam was literally hijacked by slackening revolutionaries who forgot the socio-political message of Mohammad in order to create the imperialist Umayyad empire.

In 656 Imam Ali became Caliph and tried to stop this ideological and religious slackening, and thus represents, in modern terms, the Cultural Revolution in the Revolution of Islam, just as China had a Cultural Revolution years after their Chinese Communist Revolution (or quite similar to how Iran had the world’s only other official Cultural Revolution, from 1980-83).

But, in 661 Ali is assassinated. Ali’s son Imam Hassan becomes the Caliph (the 5th to Sunnis, the 2nd to Shia) but he has inherited a shattered administration. He is forced to abdicate to the politically & militarily powerful governor of largely Christian Damascus, Muawiyah, who is declared Caliph. The wishes of Mohammad are denied, the bloodline of Mohammad is broken, and the officially-secular & imperialist Umayyad dynasty is founded.

Imam Hassan, daughter of Mohammad’s daughter Fatima and Imam Ali, retires to Medina and dies in 670. After Ali’s death Umayyad clerics spent 60+ years making state-ordered ritual curses of Ali during public prayers, so Hassan was clearly in a very weak position. When he dies he is even denied burial next to his grandfather, Prophet Mohammad, and his relatives in Medina. I quote from Ali Shariati’s Martyrdom and Martyrdom:

“Imam Hassan, the manifestation of loneliness and isolation in Islamic Society, even in the Medina of the Prophet, clearly shows how the Truth-seeking party in Islam is utterly shattered. The new force of revolution completely overwhelms everyone and everything and conquers in every domain. Now it is Hossain’s turn.”

That “new force” is those who split off to create Sunni Islam, which is why the Shia Shariati continues, unequivocally:

“Hossain inherits the Islamic movement. He is the inheritor of a movement which Mohammed has launched, Ali has continued and in whose defence Hassan makes the last defence. Now there is nothing left for Hossain to inherit: no army, no weapons, no wealth, no power, no force, not even an organized following. Nothing at all. ”

Not only does the first two sentences of that paragraph name nearly all the males in my family, but it should emphatically make clear the historical-ideological view of Shia Islam, and how it obviously sharply differs from Sunnis.

The post-Mohammad era: When Shi’ism was truly an underground & political movement

Just as I wondered if Mao had any idea of Imam Ali’s message of Cultural Revolution, I wonder if Lenin had any idea of what Hossain stood for? I rather doubt it, but I’m certain the he, too, would have approved.

To paraphrase Shariati, who is paraphrasing Lenin: Hossain and the very few true revolutionaries are aware that the revolution is being compromised, and are asking – “What should be done?”

Certainly, there were no lack of ideas of appeasement being flung at Hossain: fatalism (God wishes it this way), are you so innocent that you can rectify the whole community, jihad is not the only path to God, asceticism is so personally pleasing, don’t oppose a Damascus which is spreading Islam, people judge by what they see so Islam must show a rich face to the Byzantine Romans and Persians to win them over, many temples and churches have been replaced by mosques, Islam is gaining in importance, Muslims are getting the top jobs, don’t cause trouble when there is Holy War against Christians in Europe and Zoroastrians in Iran, opposing those aristocrats is unrealistic and combative, we must win over our own aristocrats, do not mix earthly matters with heavenly ones, etc.

It all adds up to a call of: support the ruling system, and end your idealistic, permanent revolution.

This is something rejected by revolutionary Shi’ism, because the results of such a choice are clear:

Sixty years have passed since the migration of the Prophet. Everything earned by the Revolution has been destroyed. All of the successes earned a century before have been abolished. The Book brought by the Prophet is placed on the spears of the Umayyad (literally, during their first war against Imam Ali). The culture and ideas which Islam had developed through jihad, struggle and efforts in the hearts and minds of the people became a means for explaining the Umayyads rule.

Yes. In these black times the ignorance of aristocracy is being revived. Power is being dressed in piety and sacredness. The desires for liberty and equality created by Islam in the hearts of those sacrificed for power or policy are breaking down. Tribal (sectarian) ignorance has replaced the humanitarian revolution.

Jihad has become the means for massacre. Religious taxes are a means of public plunder. Prayer is a means of deceiving the public. Unity has been covered with the mass of profanity. Islam has become a chain of surrendering.

Nations are being taken into slavery as before.”

Obviously, Marxist- and socialist-inspired condemnations abound, as is the desire for modern revolution.

It is perhaps natural that when the Iranian Shia Shariati focuses on the 50-year period between the death Mohammad until the martyrdom of Hossain – from 632 until 680 – he is intensely critical of the lack of political revolutionary commitment on the part of the entire second revolutionary generation except for what is a very real “Shiite Resistance Movement”, which is truly an underground political phenomenon.

Imam Hossain answers Lenin’s question

In 680 the Caliph Muawiyah dies. Muawiyah’s betrayal of the House of Mohammad culminated in the handing of the caliphate to his son, Yazid. This ended the consultative and democratic caliphate and inaugurated monarchy and the Umayyad dynasty.

Yazid would go on to commit terrible atrocities at the Battle of Al-Harrah, which led to the looting of Medina by the Syrian army in 683, and then even an unthinkable siege of Mecca, leading to the burning of the Kabaa. The siege only ended when Yazid died from falling off his horse. These acts obviously damaged Umayyad authority among the People and strengthened the argument of the early Shia.

By 750 the Iranian-Iraqi Abbasid Revolution would kick the Umayyads out of the entire Middle East, while the Great Berber Revolt had kicked them out of the Maghreb just a few years prior. West and East Africa were not yet Muslim at this time.

The ethnic (Arab) elitists but religiously-tolerant Umayyads only found fertile soil in Europe, ruling Spain for several centuries. The Abbasid Caliphate would rule Islam for five centuries, replacing the feudal Arab Caliphate with a multi-ethnic, religiously tolerant Islamic Golden Age that lasted until the Mongol Invasion in 1258. The Mamluks of Egypt fought off the Mongols, thus sparing not just the Maghreb but all of Africa, and also allowing the Abbasids to re-center the Caliphate (religiously, but not politically) until the Ottoman conquest in 1517.

Thus a truly “Muslim World” – one in which unity is based only on Islam and not Arab ethnicity & Islam – does not begin until after the Umayyads. Shia obviously feel that Imam Ali and Imam Hossain perceived this sooner than anyone.

Shariati describes the view of Hossain back in 680: Hossain surely foresaw the crumbling of the Umayyad’s legitimacy – due to an obvious slackening of revolutionary integrity, the corruption of revolutionary ideals and culture, and the renunciation of political & social involvement;

“Imam Hossain, as a responsible leader, sees that if he remains silent, Islam will change into a religion of the government. Islam will be changed into a military-economic power and nothing more. Islam will become as other regimes and powers.

He is alone, unarmed. Opposing him is one of the most savage empires of the world which is being covered over by the fairest and most deceiving cover of piety, sacredness and unity which the ruling power possesses. He is alone. He is a lonely man who is responsible to this school of thought.

Whoever is more aware is more responsible, and who is more aware than Imam Hossain? What is his responsibility? He is responsible to fight against the elimination of the truth, the destruction of the rights of the people, annihilation of all of the values, abolition of all of the memories of the Revolution, destruction of the message of the Revolution, and to protect the most beloved of cultures and the faith of the people, for their destruction is the aim of the most filthy enemies of the people. They want to once again create the unknown, mysterious deaths, exiles, putting people in chains; the worshipping of pleasure, discriminations, the gathering of wealth; the selling of human values, faith, honor, creating new religious foolishness, racism, new aristocracy, new ignorance and a new polytheism.”

It’s a powerful historical analysis, and one which combines modern, socialist-inspired political thought with Abrahamic morality. The Shah had obviously re-created these evils, but it’s clear that just toppling a tyrant is no guarantee of revolution.

It should thus be clear how Iranian Revolutionary Shi’ism was created, how it was shaped by the lenses of socialism, and why it galvanised mullahs and masses far more than the Tudeh Party ever did.

But Hossain was totally weakened and could not depose the powers in Damascus. Therefore, he used his one weapon – his certain, aware death at Karbala.

The death of Imam Hossain – the birth of ‘living artists’ in the future

Hossain, then in Mecca, was invited by the people of Kufa, Iraq, (the future first seat of the Abbasid Caliphate 70 years later, showing they maintained their revolutionary zeal & culture ) to be their leader. Kufans had come around after 20 years of rule by Muawiyah. Hossain accepts.

However, Hossain gets word that Yazid’s troops were killing his sympathisers and blocking the gates – going to Kufa thus means certain death, given Hossain’s lack of power and resources.

Imam Hossain had two choices: go to Medina and swear allegiance to the new Umayyad dynasty, or march to the certain death at Kufa. Sanctioning imperialism is never Islamic, nor a modern revolution. Seventy kilometres from the Kufa gate Hossain’s band of family and loyal companions, 72 people, chose to fight the Battle of Karbala.

“He leaves Mecca to reply to the question, ‘How?’… (to) all those who can see, feel, understand and thus suffered and felt themselves responsible, who are thus looking for a revolution, (and) are then asking “What should be done?”

Clearly, the aware death of Hossain was selected by revolutionary Shi’ism as a direct answer to the title of Lenin’s famous pamphlet, which he took from a Russian book from 1863 which called for socialist self-sacrifice (martyrdom, to Iranians).

I quote Shariati at some length, because I cannot decide what should be omitted, and also because Western readers must drastically re-orient their conception of the word “martyrdom” if they want to understand the Shia and Iranian version (and the version very close to Sunni Muslims, as well.)

“The great teacher of martyrdom has now arisen in order to teach those who consider jihad to relate only to those who have the ability, and victory to be only in conquering. Martyrdom is not a loss, it is a choice. A choice where by the warrior sacrifices himself on the threshold of the temple of freedom and the altar of love, and is victorious.

Hossain, the heir of Adam, who gives life to the children of mankind, and the successor of the great prophets, who taught mankind ‘how to live’, has now come to teach mankind ‘how to die’.

Hossain teaches that ‘black death’ is the miserable fate of a humbled people who accept scorn in order to remain alive. For death chooses those who are not brave enough to choose martyrdom. Death chooses them!

The word shahid, martyr, contains the highest form of what I am saying. It means being present; bearing witness; one who bears witness. It also means that which is sensible and perceptible; the one whom all turn towards. Finally it means model, pattern, example.

Martyrdom: to arise and bear witness in our culture and in our religion is not a bloody and accidental happening. In other religions and tribal histories, martyrdom is the sacrificing of the heroes who are killed in the battles of the enemy. It is considered to be a sorrowful accident, full of misery. Those who are killed in this way are called martyrs and their death is called martyrdom.

But in our culture, martyrdom is not a death which is imposed by an enemy upon our warriors. It is a death which is desired by our warrior, selected with all of the awareness, logic, reasoning, intelligence, understanding, consciousness and alertness that a human being has.

Look at Hossain. He releases his life, leaves his town and arises in order to die because he has no other means for his struggle to condemn and disgrace his enemy. He selects this in order to render aside the deceiving curtains which covered the ugly faces of the ruling power. If he cannot defeat the enemy in this way, at least he can disgrace them. If he cannot conquer the ruling power, he can at least condemn it by injecting new blood and the belief of jihad into the dead bodies of the second-generation of the Revolution revealed to the Prophet.

Quite a passage – far from being a tragedy or a screaming kamikaze pilot hopped up on speed, Iranian martyrdom is based on intelligent and sensitive awareness. It is obviously highly political, and contains an urgent and progressive (anti-reactionary) political message.

In summary, in our culture – contrary to other schools where it is considered to be an accident, an involvement, a death imposed upon a hero, a tragedy – (it) is a grade, a level, a rank. It is not a means but is a goal itself. It is originality. It is a completion. It is a lift. It itself is midway to the highest peak of humanity and it is a culture.”

This is the “martyrdom” which is imbued in Iranian culture. How imbued is it? Iranians hear the word multiple times daily in the common greeting between two friends or even two strangers: “Gorban-e-shoma” (“I will be your martyr”). Many Iranians will say that I am over-exaggerating the literal importance of this phrase, but that IS the literal translation. To me, commonplace linguistic phrases reveal a culture’s true soul; but it is true that nobody is really promising immediate martyrdom on the other’s behalf.

(I always thought this Farsi phrase grew out of Koran 4:86 – “Answer a greeting in kinder words than those said to you in their greeting, or at least as kind. God keeps account of all things.” What could be a kinder greeting to a total stranger than promising to die for them?)

However, only the thick-headed would imagine Iranian martyrdom to be only concerned with death – such a society would quickly empty itself of inhabitants.

Martyrdom is also the constant little sacrifices of one’s individual well-being for the sake of society, and in much, much less drastic forms than death. Martyrdom essentially exists in order to activate the “living artist” who improves society by moving beyond mere individualism.

Martyrdom and Martyrdom and ANOTHER Martyrdom

“In European countries the word ‘martyr’ stems from ‘mortal’ which means ‘death’ or ‘to die’. One of the basic principles in Islam and in particular in Shiite culture, however, is ‘sacrifice and bear witness’. So instead of martrydom, i.e. death, it essentially means ‘life’, ‘evidence’, ‘testify’, ‘certify’.”

Martyrdom is, of course, one of the central messages of Jesus to Christians…but not as significantly to Muslims, however: the Koran explicitly rejects the idea that God could allow a messenger and prophet of God to be killed in such a way. Indeed, for Islam Jesus was not killed on the cross – it was only made to appear that way by God. In Islam faith always wins over evil, therefore the death of Jesus on the cross is illogical – how could Jesus’ executioners have won?

That is a complicated issue, but bringing it up helps us clarify the roots of the difference in the meaning of “martyrdom” to Muslims and Westerners. It also helps illuminate why the martyrdom of Imam Hossain is so important in Islam – he is essentially the primary Abrahamic martyr to Muslims.

But I think Shariati rather significantly misunderstands “martyrdom” as defined in the West. Although he is correct that they view it in a far more negative fashion than in Islam, I think Shariati’s view is wrong by failing to include two key points:

Firstly, Shariati does not acknowledge that – for Christians themselves – there is also a positive message of Jesus’ martyrdom: which is, that the key is to emulate Jesus when it comes to his martyrdom.

However, I believe that West European Christians (not East European) have proven incapable of grasping this positive message. Therefore, the point is moot for the Western half of the continent.

Secondly, Shariati did not grasp that many West Europeans mistakenly appear to think that because Jesus died for our sins, Jesus thus ended the need for more martyrdom. This quite significantly compounds the disagreeableness of “martyrdom” to Westerners.

Indeed, “martyr” is a term used only to disparage in Western European cultures. The only time one hears it in English is in the phrase “Don’t be a martyr”. The word and concept are similarly totally absent in French.

The word “martyr” is never even used to describe who has died unjustly (the primary view in Sunni cultures) – not for a Palestinian protester killed by Zionists, nor a Jew killed in the Holocaust.

For the West, I believe that martyrdom has evolved to mean “an unnecessary exaggeration of suffering” – as though you are pretentiously claiming that you are doing something on the level of Jesus Christ. When it comes to martyrdom in the West the message is unambiguous: don’t do it at any time. As I am aware of the Iranian version and its elevation of martyrdom, I always found this cultural difference quite, quite surprising.

I think the negative Western view reveals two flaws, as martyrdom is clearly a positive thing: a fundamental cultural indifference to unjust suffering, at least when compared with Muslim and Iranian culture, and also a distaste for suffering on behalf of any cause. The latter observation is caused by the rampant individualism of the capitalist West: anyone suffering for a cause necessarily and annoyingly reminds them of their fundamentally self-centred lives – thus their society discourages it.

There is also rampant nihilism in the West, which is not at all the same as religious fatalism, and which is yet another cause of their distaste for martyrdom: if all is pointless, why die for anything? Martyrdom is thus negatively associated with a needless death, when for Sunni Muslims martyrdom is associated with an unjust death, and for Shia it is associated with a selfless death.

Thus Westerners view “martyrdom” as both a needless death as well as a negative, self-aggrandising act, while Sunnis view it positively but primarily as an act of injustice, whereas Shia & Iranians view martyrdom as a necessary, positive way to effectuate social change. Therefore, we really are talking about “Martyrdom and Martyrdom and Martyrdom”.

Martyrdom to Iranians is thus actually the equivalent of English “altruism”.

But, just like martyrdom, altruism conflicts with Western capitalist-imperialist ideology, as it is the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

We should thus not be surprised that “altruism” is a word which almost never heard in Western daily discourse, nor in their political discourse.

Therefore, even prior to Basij teenagers being forced into wartime self-sacrifice by Western aggression, “martyr” was something with negative connotations for Westerners and positive connotations for Iranians.

The Western denigration of martyrdom forces the denigration of Iranian revolutionary Shi’ism

This Iranian conception of “martyrdom” should explain much in the first 8 parts of this series, no?

Why wage revolution against the Shah for decades? Why sit in opposition to East and West? Why be so uncaring of Western public opinion? Why be so stridently revolutionary? Why condemn Israel when it only reaps trouble? Why give 15% of the economy to charity foundations? Why create the Basij? Why refuse to participate in the dominant neoliberal ideology of global imperialist capitalism?

I cannot see the Iranians agreeing to continue to suffer while Tehran continues to finance foreign movements like Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthis in Yemen,” Jean-François Seznec, professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, told France24 media just yesterday. You can’t see it, really, Mr. Hotshot professor? I can, because I understand the Iranian conception of “martyrdom” – you clearly are another clueless academic.

(And I know that polls show that all of these non-Iranian revolutionary movements – as well as in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere – are massively supported in a democratic majority in Iran).

Martyrdom – in the unique Iranian definition, of course – is a large part of the answer to all those questions I just posed. Whatever the West wants to hide, forget or put a smiling capitalist-imperialist face on – Iran chooses martyrdom, or would like to.

So we must relearn what Iran means by “martyrdom” – they are talking about “Iranian Shia martyrdom”. The right terms in English are really: self-sacrifice, altruism, social justice.

These desires explain why 10-25 million Iranians have joined the Basij – for the overwhelmingly majority it is essentially just a social hobby which encourages (moderate, dull) self-sacrifice for societal betterment. You do get some social and monetary benefits, which are especially of importance to the lower class, but for many Basiji it also fills this emotional need that “I need to martyr some of myself and my time for others”. This emotional need exists exactly the same in the West, but it does not exist in the same intensity, nor does it exist in a government-supported form.

The West, with their different definition of “martyrdom”, and in combination with their hatred of socialism & Islamic democracy, wants people to believe that Iranian “martrydom” is all wild-eyed death when it it is 99.9% the mere provision of some rather mundane civil service / community improvement instead of watching TV. Iranian are not THAT great at being martyrs!

Yet the West hears “martyr” and assumes the worst about those who support Iranian revolutionary Shi’ism,

For an example, I return to the book on the Basij I reviewed in this series, Captive Society, by Saied Golkar. It is the only book ever written about the Basij in the West, but it is clearly a book which is against the Basij.

Golkar is discussing the WSBO – the Women’s Society Basij Organization, which is the main Basij group for women.

“The ideal family, which is promoted by the WSBO, is called the Islamic Revolutionary family or ‘family of holy defense’. The Islamic revolutionary family has specific features, according to WSBO head Minoo Aslani. The family is the place of modesty and chastity, where women take moral care of their family members. It is a place where women encourage charitable and spiritual affairs among their children and husbands, and where women should speak about religion and the Islamic Revolution.”

To many this is a happy, typical, politically-modern home concerned with moral social conduct. For Westerners and those who oppose modern Iran – this is some sort of horror, because the government should never get involved with these types of values, as they are purely personal (and thus should vary extremely wildly, apparently).

Golkar thus descends into fear-mongering, and surely finds plenty of receptive minds in the West: Golkar refers to a scholar which labelled this kind of family a “martyropath family”. He believes that Basij women are being brainwashed into training a “martyropath,” or a person who is enchanted by death and wants to die to preserve Iran.

To me the only “-path” of any sort here is Golkar, for so obviously trying to portray Basij families as fascist psychopaths. It is incredible that this supposedly-objective scholar is trying to portray a “martyropath” as a credible description of an average Basiji.

But this is what people always do with Iran – they portray them as insane, death-loving, religious fundamentalists instead of human beings.

No Iranian woman (who does not belong in a mental institution) trains their child for martyrdom – they only train their children to be altruistic and selfless. There should be no doubt that in probably every single case of martyrdom known to man, it was ultimately done against the mother’s wishes (and a father’s). I am not a parent myself, but I think any parent would immediately agree with that.

As has been reported for the case of martyrs in Iran during the Iraq war: to choose a martyr’s death is a lonely and individual decision, and families did their best to stop it. However, this does not mean that – after the deed was done – families did not also see the glory in the death of defending their community, family, nation; this is no different than in any other nation with any of their soldiers.

The reality is this: Basiji women are merely being encouraged to be modern revolutionaries, and that is what is frightening to the counter-revolutionary West.

Just as there is a downside to the West’s “never martyrdom” approach, there is a downside to Shia Iran’s “martyrdom please” approach as well. For example, missing a couple meals during Ramadan does not make one the world’s greatest Muslim martyr. It is quite easy for Iranians to puff themselves up as great Muslims and revolutionaries because they have mentally accumulated 10 million insignificant instances of where they put the needs of someone else first, i.e., simply done the right thing. If any culture could break their own arms from patting themselves on their own backs, it is Iran.

However, a society full of martyrs is certainly far, far more desirable than a society full of self-serving individualists, no? This is essentially the point to take away from this article, I think.

The message of Imam Hossain remains a political beacon

The willful ignorance of the revolutionary, unique and socialist-inspired structures of revolutionary Shi’ism which created Iranian Islamic Socialism is only dangerous for Westerners: they are the ones who are misled about the nature of modern Iran; they are the ones who have such a terrified, “Muslim martyropaths will get me” worldview; they are the ones who are deluded by the paranoia that it is Iran which is targeting them and not the other way around; and they are the ones whose societies are worsened by the failure to transplant some of Iran’s unique solutions to modern problems in their own country; I could go on and on listing such problems.

It should be now quite clear that Iranians have re-intepreted the martyrdom of Imam Hossain to coincide with something quite similar to the Trotskyist socialist concept of “permanent revolution”.

We should see how something like the Basij – whether one approves of them or not, and I am officially neutral on their value – clearly was originally created to try and incarnate this idea of Perpetual Revolution for which Trotsky (and Lenin and other socialists) had different yet very similar notions. By constantly recruiting new members, training them in modern revolutionary Shi’ism and granting them affirmative action spots in the universities and government, it is clear that they are an effort to constantly refresh the Islamic Revolution and to constantly reshape Iranian culture in favor of Iranian Islamic Socialism. Again, I merely condense here the objective conclusions proven in my 4-part sub-series on the Basij and do not judge nor promote.

Obviously, revolutionary Shi’ism did not sprout overnight, nor did it need a war to make its values widespread; it has all existed in Iran for some time, yet it was the Islamic Republic of Iran which made these the officially-sanctioned values of the government for the first time ever.

Hopefully people will realize that Iranian “martyrdom” and its “permanent revolution” is something which is based both on ancient sources of unimpeachable morality as well as the unimpeachable modern political ideas of democratic progress and economic equality. The slogans of 1979 – “Every place is Karbala!” and “The martyr is the heart of human history! – reflect this reality.

“Every place is Petrograd” and “The revolutionary is the heart of human history” could have been taken from Trotsky.

Agree with Iranians or not, modern Iran is indeed revolutionary, and thus quite in keeping with its ideological heroes – Prophet Mohammad, Imam Ali, Imam Hossain, Lenin, Mao, Trotsky, Castro, Algeria and others. It is clear who deserves top billing; it’s amazing that Western leftists still do not even know the cast of main characters…but that is out of ignorance or willful blindness.

I hope these articles have also shown that one need not be an Iranian nor a Muslim to accept that the Iranian Revolution is proof that Islam can be a progressive revolutionary force once again. One also does not have to be a Muslim to see that socialism will not advance globally without first accepting those facts.

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This is the 9th article in an 11-part series which explains the economics, history, religion and culture of Iran’s Revolutionary Shi’ism, which produced modern Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

The WSWS, Irans economy, the Basij & Revolutionary Shiism: an 11-part series

How Iran Got Economically Socialist, and then Islamic Socialist

What privatisation in Iran? or Definitely not THAT privatisation

Parallels between Irans Basij and the Chinese Communist Party

Irans Basij: The reason why land or civil war inside Iran is impossible

A leftist analysis of Irans Basij – likely the first ever in the West

Irans Basij: Restructuring society and/or class warfare

Cultural’ Permanent Revolution’ in Iranian Revolutionary Shiism

‘Martyrdom and Martyrdom’ & martyrdom: understanding Iran

‘The Death of Yazdgerd’: The greatest political movie ever explains Iran’s revolution (available with English subtitles for free on Youtube here)

Iran détente after Trump’s JCPOA pull out? We can wait 2 more years, or 6, or…

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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