The Assassin’s Creed: Murder As Israeli State Policy

By Jeremy Salt

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“If our dreams for Zionism are not to end in the smoke of assassins’ pistols and our labor for its future to produce only a new set of gangsters worthy of Nazi Germany, many like myself will have to reconsider the position we have maintained for so long in the past.” — Winston Churchill, November, 1944, from his address to the House of Commons on the murder of Britain’s Resident Minister in the Middle East, Lord Moyne, by two members of the zionist terrrorist organization, Lehi. [1]
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Terror df757

Israel’s crimes against Iran in the past decade include the sabotage through the Stuxnet virus of the centrifuges in its nuclear development program,  the killing through missile attack of its militia members in Syria, the sabotage of its Natanz nuclear plant in July this year and the murder in recent years of five of its leading nuclear scientists,  most recently, a few days ago, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Each of these attacks would have been carried out at least with the approval of the US government, if not the active involvement at some level of both the US and its puppet Iranian terrorist organization, the MEK (Mujahedin e-Khalq). In reverse,  Israel would have been closely involved in the US assassination of  Qasim Suleimani in Iraq in January this year.  These murders might be state operations but are no different in their brazen nature,  their illegality and their brutality from hits organised by Mafia gangs.  In the case of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh,  a distinguished physicist,  he was apparently dragged from his car during the attack and finished off in the middle of the road.  The crime was so heinous that even voices usually hostile to Iran (including the New York Times and former CIA director John Brennan) were appalled.

Each of these attacks is a casus belli for war. Two can play at this game, which means that by these attacks, Israel is virtually inviting the assassination of its own political leaders and military commanders, or its senior representatives abroad. That Iran does not strike back, in the same way, is not necessarily a sign that it does not have the capacity to organise such retaliation.  Apart from the criminality and violations of international law that such actions represent,  Iran is never going to strike back at a time of Israel’s choosing.

Nevertheless, the government is under pressure from its own people to deal a devastating counter-blow, not necessarily against individuals but against Israeli infrastructure such as the port at Haifa.  Each of these provocations pushes Iran closer to the edge, as intended by Israel.  The repeated refusal of the government to respond is being criticised in Iran as a sign of weakness,  as the more Israel gets away with the more it will try to get away with. At the same time, even though Israel is responsible, an Iranian reprisal would trigger off a large-scale military response by Israel and full-scale war that no one in their right mind would want. It is a further sign of the moral void at their centre that Netanyahu and many of the fanatics around him do want such a war and are prepared to drop bombs on live nuclear reactors to achieve their aims

The general view seems to be that Israel did this so Biden would not be able to sign back on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement from which Trump withdrew the US in 2018. That may be so, but Netanyahu might have calculated that this latest savagery would be the final spark igniting the war he has wanted for years.  Either of these outcomes would suit him.

There are always parallels in history and for Israel’s attempts to provoke an open war with Iran, one parallel would be Israel’s attempts to draw Egypt’s President Gamal Abd al Nasser into war in 1967.  This was no ‘preemptive’ war but another war of choice.  1948 was the first, because only through war could the zionists seize  Palestine, at least most of it.  1967 was the second,  launched to destroy Egypt’s armed forces, to destroy Nasser’s Arab world leadership, and to occupy the rest of Palestine. 

It was strikingly successful. All Palestine ended up under occupation and the Egyptian military was shattered.  Nasir’s pan Arab leadership was not destroyed but gravely weakened by Egypt’s failure to see the war coming and defend itself.

Just as Israel has been trying to draw Iran into the open through the assassination of its scientists and the sabotage of its nuclear plants,  so in the year before the 1967 war it set out to draw Nasser into the open through provocations along the Syrian armistice line.  These took the form of incursions by armored tractors into the DMZ, triggering off shelling by the Syrian army and then air attacks by Israel.  

Although Israel was determined to destroy any Arab nationalist government and to destroy Arab nationalism itself, the main target of these provocations was Nasser.  He was the foremost Arab champion and Israel wanted him where it could get at him.  It knew that sooner or he would have to respond to its provocations on the Syrian front by taking action on the Egyptian front.

When Israel shot down six Syrian planes in April 1967, the ball started to roll.  Israeli politicians talked of going further than ever before, of teaching Syria a lesson, and even of invading Syria and occupying Damascus, 15 years ahead of its invasion of Lebanon and occupation of Beirut. 

By the second week of May, war was regarded as inevitable.  Nasser moved troops and tanks into Sinai and called for the withdrawal of the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) from the armistice line.  Although Israel was the aggressor in the 1956  war, UNEF forces were inside Egypt because Israel refused to accept them on its side of the armistice line, and as usual, it got its way. 

On May 22 Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, the entrance point to the Gulf of Aqaba, but without actually blocking them to Israeli shipping.  Under pressure,  however,  to stand up to the Israelis,  he had moved the final piece on the board that set the stage for war. 

Israel repeated the rhetoric of 1948.  İt was again being threatened with extermination and annihilation at the hands of an Arab ‘ring of steel.’ In fact,  it knew, and so did the CIA, that it would easily defeat any Arab army or combination of Arab armies.  Behind the panic deliberately set in motion among the Israeli population,  the generals could not wait to get going.   They vowed to be on the banks of the Suez Canal within a week. This was an opportunity  – one they had created – that Israel could not afford to miss. The military would deliver a knockout blow: according to Yigal Allon, “There is not the slightest doubt about the outcome of this war and each of its stages.”

And so it turned out to be.  On the Arab side, there is not the slightest doubt that Nasser did not want war. His threats were those of the Arab champion and his intended audience the Arab world,  but behind the scenes, he was looking for a way out of the crisis into which he had been maneuvered. An Egyptian delegation led by  Vice-President Zakaria Muhi Al-Din was due to fly into Washington on June 7 for talks to begin the following day on bringing the crisis to an end. On June 5, with the window of the opportunity for war about to close,  Israel attacked.

There is symmetry in all of these wars. Israel plays the role of the victim even while preparing to attack.  In 1948 Chaim Weizmann talked of extermination while assuring the Americans behind the scenes that the Arab armies counted for nothing. Israel’s arrogance was checked in the first week of the 1973 war, with humiliation at the hands of Hizbullah waiting in 2000 and 2006.  Yet if there is a learning curve Israel does not see it, an example of what long ago US Senator J. William Fulbright called the “arrogance of power.”

Israel applies the same tactics at the micro as well as the macro level.  On the West Bank and Gaza, it murders and massacres, and when there is a Palestinian response it has its rationale for more crushing blows.  On the West Bank, this usually takes the form of enlarging settlements or building new ones. 

From the Zionist point of view, this has been a good year.  Following the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain, the UAE has gone as far as blocking entry visas to the citizens of a dozen Muslim countries while allowing Israelis visa-free entry.  Talks in Saudi Arabia between Netanyahu and Muhammad bin Salman – apparently arranged without the knowledge of the king – open the way to the establishment of diplomatic relations, although for the time being this is not expected.  MBS can give Israel most of what it wants without needing to come into the open, and as the nominal custodian of the two holy places such a move would enrage Muslims around the world,  with explosive consequences possible at the time of the hajj.

Israel’s strategic advances also include the commercial,  military, and strategic relationship it is establishing in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece and the Greek government of southern Cyprus, which has already allowed Israeli military units to train on the island because of the similarity of the topography to southern Lebanon. Successfully playing off fears of Iran in the Gulf,  Israel plays off Greek rivalry with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.  

Able to attack from the very centre of the central Arab lands – occupied Palestine – Israel is now steadily moving into a position that will eventually enable it to threaten Arab states and Iran from the periphery, from the gulf in the southwest and from the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean.  It has pushed these doors open and on the basis of all its past behavior, it will keep pushing until it gets what it wants.

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has antecedents dating back to the barrel bomb murders in Palestinian markets in the 1930s, the assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo on November 6,  1944,  the blowing up of the King David Hotel in 1946, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948  and the massacres and destruction that have marked the zionist presence in the Middle East ever since.  Whether the enemy is a state, an organization, or an individual,  the enemy must be destroyed.   The standing refusal of the international ‘community’ to punish Israel for any of these crimes only encourages the zionist state to go still further.

Speaking to the House of Commons after the murder of Lord Moyne, Churchill, a strong advocate of Zionism all along,  remarked that “If there to be any hope of a peaceful and successful future for Zionism  these wicked activities must cease and those responsible for  them must be destroyed root and branch.” [2] These wicked activities have never ceased, those responsible for them have never been destroyed root and branch, the smoke of the assassins’ pistols now hangs over an entire region and Zionism has produced generations of criminals fully worthy of Nazi Germany.    

No state can endlessly endure Israel’s provocations. Iran and Hizbullah are playing the long game, compared to Netanyahu’s greed for instant satisfaction but at some point, there will be a limit to what they can endure and then there will be war,  possibly if not probably the most devastating in the modern history of the Middle East.  What will the international ‘community’ say then? It will be far too late to regret that it should have done something to stop Israel earlier.

Endnotes

[1] Catrina Stewart ‘Sir Winston Churchill: Zionist hero,’ Independent, November 3, 2012[2] ‘Palestine (Terrorist Activities) in the House of Commons at 12am on 17th November, 1944.’ theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=1944-11-17a.2242.1  For more on Commons debate on the murder of Lord Moyne,  see also api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1944/nov/07/assassination-of-lord-moyne#S5CV0404PO_19441107_HOC_294  Churchill assured the House that the Zionists had lost a good friend in Lord Moyne.  According to Yitzhak Shamir, however, one of the architects of the murder, and a terrorist who later became an Israeli Prime Minister (like Menahim  Begin), Moyne was an anti-semite who did not believe in a Jewish nation or a Jewish people.  See Joanna Seidel ‘Yitzhak Shamir: why we killed Lord Moyne,’ Times of Israel, July 5, 2012. 

The Trump Administration Barrels on a Warpath Towards Iran

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December 4, 2020

The assassination of Iran’s preeminent nuclear scientist is a shocking act of terrorism. And there is strong suspicion that Israeli agents were involved in this murderous act with top-level U.S. approval. The world is thus staring into the abyss of war.

This year has been bracketed with two audacious assassinations against the Iranian leadership. Earlier in January saw the murder of Major General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most senior military commander, by an American drone while he was traveling in an armed convoy from Iraq’s international airport on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Now the year ends with a second assassination after nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahkrizadeh was killed last week when his armed escort was attacked in a ferocious bomb and gun ambush near the Iranian capital, Tehran. Fahkrizadeh, like Soleimani, was a national hero. He was eulogized as the “father of Iran’s nuclear project”.

American President Donald Trump crowed about personally ordering the killing of Soleimani. While Trump and his administration have been reticent about the murder of Fahkrizadeh, there are strong reasons to conclude Washington’s complicity.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stated this week that Iranian authorities believe Israel was the perpetrator along with agents working on its behalf on the ground. The Israelis have not commented. For such an attack to be mounted against a senior Iranian figure the breach of security would have required sophisticated intelligence conducted at state level.

U.S. media reports cite anonymous senior Trump administration officials confirming that Israel carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh. It can be further surmised that Israel would have had at least U.S. approval if not more direct complicity such as from providing the necessary intelligence for executing the hit. Such collusion between the U.S. and Israel is a routine matter. Nearly a dozen Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated over the past decade involving the same modus operandi: U.S.-Israeli intelligence coordinating with Iran-based triggermen supplied by the American-backed terrorist group known as Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

This year has also seen a series of sabotage bombings at Iran’s nuclear industry sites. Again, for such operations to be conducted, and conducted successfully, would require state-level intelligence and resources.

All this is in the context of Trump ratcheting up his “maximum pressure” campaign which has comprised a hybrid of verbal threats of military assault against Iran, a tightening of already-crippling economic sanctions imposed on a nation badly afflicted with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a U.S. military force build-up in the Persian Gulf. Recently, a fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flew over Israel on the way to Qatar where the biggest American airbase in the Gulf is located, just south of Iran. This week the USS Nimitz, one of America’s lead strike-force supercarriers, entered the Gulf waters.

Only two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a more-than-usual jingoistic tour of the Middle East visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Top of his agenda was “deterring” Iran. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu had previously publicly named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist, as enemy number one.

Netanyahu has long been itching for a military offensive against Iran, one involving surgical air strikes on its nuclear sites. There is now the very real danger that Trump in his final fraught weeks in office may oblige the Israelis. The American president has reportedly given Pompeo carte blanche to aid and abet Israeli aggression towards Iran “as long as it doesn’t start World War III”. Trouble is, there is no way of containing such an escalation. What the Trump administration is doing is criminal and insane.

This week saw a particularly incendiary speech by Trump from the White House in which he again reiterated outlandish conspiracy theories whereby he lost the recent presidential election due to alleged “massive fraud” and cheating by Democrat rivals. Some of Trump’s aides are even urging him publicly to suspend the constitution, declare a state of martial law and re-run the election under military supervision. That is tantamount to Trump staging a coup d’état. There is thus no telling what this megalomaniac president is willing to do in order to thwart the scheduled event of his leaving the White House next month in the expected transition to a new administration under Joe Biden.

At the very least, it seems, Trump is hellbent on damaging relations with Iran so badly as to make it impossible for a Biden administration to return to diplomatic negotiations with Iran and possibly, as Biden as suggested, the U.S. returning to the international nuclear accord, which Trump abandoned in 2018.

Previously, Trump has threatened Iran with annihilation. We are dealing with an American president who has no scruples or moral compass. In his outrageously offended ego over electoral loss and perceived foul play by his domestic enemies, Trump is liable to go ballistic with recrimination. In the next four weeks, starting a war with Iran is therefore a most dangerous prospect. Criminal and insane bracket this year, along with assassinations.

حرب الاغتيالات المفتوحة من طهران إلى فلسطين

محمد صادق الحسيني

يقول الإمام علي عليه السلام:

“… فإذا نزلتم بعدو أو نزل بكم، فليكن معسكركم في قبل الاشراف، أو سفاح الجبال، أو أثناء الأنهار… واجعلوا لكم رقباء في صياصي الجبال، ومناكب الهضاب… واعلموا أنّ مقدّمة القوم عيونهم، وعيون المقدمة طلائعهم، وإياكم والتفرّق، فإذا نزلتم فأنزلوا جميعاً، وإذا ارتحلتم فارتحلوا جميعاً، وإذا غشيكم الليل فاجعلوا الرماح كفّة، ولا تذوقوا النوم إلا غراراً…”.

هي حرب الاغتيالات الجبانة إذن بديلاً عن حرب المواجهة الميدانية كما توقعناها وحذرنا منها…!

ولا بدّ لنا ان نحزم أمرنا ونستعدّ لها على كلّ المستويات وبكلّ ما أوتينا من قوة وحيلة.

نعم لقد أوذينا كثيراً في استشهاد عالم الفيزياء الأول في إيران البروفيسور محسن فخري زاده.

وبالمناسبة فهو صاحب إنجازات علمية مهمة جداً آخرها كما أعلنت الجهات الإيرانية كلّ الإنجازات المتعلقة بمواجهة وباء كورونا.

هو أيضاً رجل منظومة الدفاع الإيرانية المقتدرة ومساعد وزير الدفاع لشؤون البحث والتحقيق العلمي.

لكنه قطعاً هو ليس عبد القدير خان (إيران) صاحب القنبلة الباكستانية، كما يحاول العدو الصهيوني الإيحاء بذلك كذباً وزوراً بهدف اتهام إيران بالتسلح النووي..!

هل تتذكّرون عشرات الاغتيالات لعلماء عرب ومسلمين بينهم سوريون ومصريون وعراقيون وآخرهم عالم الفيزياء الفلسطيني فادي البطش!؟

هم يضربون في العلم والعلماء ولا عزاء لنا إلا الحكمة والحزم وشجاعة الإقدام في اللحظة التي تختار قيادتنا.

هو نال كلّ ما يريد في الدنيا والآخرة؛ هنيئاً له. ونحن خسرناه وهي ضربة مؤلمة لا ننكرها، لكن انْ فكّر أحد، أيّ أحد، بأنّ أيّ مشروع علمي قد توقف او سيتوقف في إيران باغتيال عالم هنا او هناك فهو واهم.

فكلّ بقعة من إيران مختبر للعلوم ومنظومة للدفاع.

عن الانتقام والردّ والإجراءات العقابية نترك الكلام لأصحاب العلاقة والمعنيين وفي مقدّمهم إمام المقاومة وسيدها الخراساني العظيم الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي ربان هذه السفينة، والذي يعرف تماماً كيف يدافع عن أبنائه ويحفظ لهم كراماتهم.

لكن الدرس البليغ الذي نستخلصه ولا بدّ أن نسجله هنا هو:

1

ـ أميركا كما ربيبتها الاسرائيلية عدو واحد لا يقبل القسمة على اثنين. وهما من خططا وأشرفا على عملية الاغتيال الجبانة هذه كما في عمليات اغتيال العلماء النوويين السابقة.

2

ـ الحوار والمفاوضات مع هذا العدو المتوحش حول المبادئ والسياسات العامة والإنجازات بكلّ مستوياتها سمّ قاتل. ومَن لم يتعلم الدرس بأنّ هؤلاء غير موثوقين كما يقول السيد القائد: إما أنه لا يعرف ألف باء السياسة أو لا يعرف ألف باء الغيرة والحياء.

3

ـ منذ الإنزال الاسرائيلي في أبو ظبي والذي سمّيناه بالإنزال خلف خطوط التاريخ والجغرافيا، قلنا إنها حالة إعلان حرب “إسرائيلية” استخبارية ضدّ إيران وليست مجرد تطبيع…!

وحسب اعتقادنا فإنّ التحقيقات حول الاغتيال اليوم ستؤكد ما نعتقده بانّ ابن سلمان ورهطه في بقايا قراصنة الساحل متورّطون في هذا العمل الإجرامي الجبان وغيره.

وذلك من خلال تدريب وتجهيز صغار العملاء من منظمة منافقي خلق ومثلهم من بائعي الضمير والوجدان ومرتزقة البترودولار.

4

ـ بالوثائق والمعلومات فإنّ كلّ أجهزة الأمم المتحدة من الصحة العالمية الى الطاقة الذرية، انما هي حسب العقيدة الأميركية أجهزة تابعة للجيش الأميركي.

تفصيل ذلك وماذا ينبغي علينا فعله أمر موكول لأصحاب الشأن وكل ذي عقل حصيف.

المعركة مفتوحة ولم تنته بعد، وبرنامج اغتيالاتهم لن يتوقف عند هذا الحدّ، وساحة عملهم ليست إيران فقط.

كلّ ساحات محور المقاومة مسرح متاح لعملياتهم.

قلنا ذلك من قبل، نعيد ونكرّره هنا… العدو يعمل ليل نهار محاولاً إيقاف دورتنا العلمية والدفاعية. وقياداتنا تعرف ذلك تماماً وهي على قدر الموقف. أُسود لا تهاب أحداً الا الله وثقتنا بها عالية جداً، والأمر لله من قبل ومن بعد.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist sparks a blame game in Tehran

Killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh prompts accusations of lax security and incompetence

Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (right) during a meeting with the Iranian supreme leader in Tehran (AFP)

By Rohollah Faghihi in Tehran

Published date: 28 November 2020 15:54 UTC

It was around 4:30pm in Tehran that reports emerged about the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top nuclear scientist, by an armed group suspected of links to Israel.

Fakhrizadeh, who wasn’t a publicly well-known figure, was a physics professor at University of Imam Hussein, the defence minister’s deputy and the head of the Research and Innovation Organisation for the ministry.

His death has been seen in some quarters as linked to the victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential elections. Biden has promised to return America to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has alarmed Israel and pro-Israel politicians in the US.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Iranian official told MEE: “It is obvious that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is striving to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, he wants to create an excuse for a US-led attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and on the other hand he wants to put an unremovable obstacle in the way of Iran-US de-escalation and Biden’s rejoining the [nuclear deal].

“The obstacle will be at least raising pressures on [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani’s administration by the emboldened hardliners and the establishment to decrease the level of cooperation with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and not to adopt a new posture towards the future administration of the US for detente.”

How was he assassinated?

According to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated Tasnim news agency, the attack occurred at 2:30pm, while Fakhrizadeh was in Aabsard county, close to Tehran. As his car was passing a pick-up truck, the truck exploded and a group of armed men opened fire on him, leading to his bodyguard being shot four times.

However, Fars, another IRGC-affiliated news agency, published a slightly different and likely more accurate account of the incident. At first, Fakhrizadeh’s car and two cars of his bodyguards were stopped as a group of men started constant shooting, and then a pick-up truck full of timber exploded in front of the car.

“After the explosion, the terrorists who had ambushed [them] began shooting at the car of the nuclear scientist from an unclear point,” reported Fars, adding that one of the bodyguards put his car in front of the gunmen to protect Fakhrizadeh, leading to his “martyrdom”.

Fakhrizadeh was soon taken to hospital, but his wounds proved fatal.

Iran’s state TV said that “based on unconfirmed reports,” one of the gunmen had been captured.

‘Remember that name’

According to General Amir Hatami, Iran’s defence minister, Fakhrizadeh was “in charge in the field of nuclear defence in the Ministry of Defence, and the issue of nuclear defence and his [ties] with nuclear scientists had made him famous as a [nuclear scientist]”.

He added that the use of “lasers in air defence or the detection of intruding aircraft by means other than radar” was also among his work. Fakhrizadeh, who was called “Mr Mohseni,” was also active in missile programmes too.

Hatami said a rapid Covid-19 test kit was produced under the supervision of Fakhrizadeh and claimed he was also successful in developing a coronavirus vaccine, which is in the first phase of human trials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (AFP)

While relatively little known within Iran, Fakhrizadeh had gained a reputation in foreign intelligence circles.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran has designed a nuclear payload on Shahab 3 missiles and was expanding its range for nuclear-capable missiles that could reach Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Moscow but were planning for a much further reach. He identified Fakhrizadeh as the head of the project and told his audience to “remember that name”.

In an interview with Kan TV in 2018, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert also warned that Fakhrizadeh would “have no immunity”.

Prior to this, in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya covered a summit of the exiled Mojehedin e-Khalq (MEK), a controversial opposition group once on the US terrorism list, at which the organisation claimed Fakhrizadeh was behind Iran’s project for producing a nuclear weapon.

Fereidoun Abbasi, an Iranian MP, said that Fakhrizadeh had survived a similar attack 12 years ago.

In recent years, five other top nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran. The latest assassination happened only a few days ahead of the anniversary of the killing of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari in 2010.

Criticisms of Iran’s security apparatus reaches its peak

While many in Iran believe that Israel was behind the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, on social media many Iranians slammed the security apparatus for its failure to protect their country’s nuclear scientists.

Some complained that the intelligence forces were wasting their time arresting innocent journalists and researchers while the real spies are wandering freely in Tehran.

“I’m more angry with the security apparatus, which is arresting university professors, lawyers and journalists while the wolves are committing assassination in broad daylight,” wrote Sharare Dehshiri, an Iranian user, on Twitter.

Another user under the name of “elsolito” tweeted: “The intelligence organisations must answer to the public about what are they doing exactly? What happened to all your claims of having intelligence monitoring?

“When you are searching for spies among environment activists, journalists and protesters, the result is today’s catastrophe, when the country’s [top people] get assassinated in the heart of the country in the broad daylight.”

Meanwhile, retired General Hossein Alai, a reform-minded figure and former commander of  the IRGC Naval force, called for a reassessment of the performance of the security apparatus.

“We should [study] what weakness there is in the structure of Iran’s security apparatus, which despite the possibility of assassinating people like Fakhrizadeh and providing bodyguards for them, the Israeli operation still succeeds,” argued Alai.

He emphasised that “the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by Israel indicates that the Israeli spy and operational circle is still active in Iran”.

Simultaneously, Hesam Ashena, a senior adviser to Iran’s president and a former top intelligence official, called for an “Integrated Intelligence and Security Command” and “synergy of abilities instead of low-yield competitions [between intelligence agencies of Iran]”.

Hardliners point at President Rouhani

Iran’s hardliners have accused President Hassan Rouhani of complicity in Fakhrizadeh’s death after his administration allowed Yukiya Amano, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to meet the slain scientist.

Javad Karimi Ghoddousi, an Iranian MP, tweeted: “Mr Rouhani, during your presidency over the executive branch, and with the insistence of the enemy and the emphasis of you, Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh met with Amano.”

However, Raja News, close to hardliners, denied the allegation brought up by Karimi Ghoddousi. Hassan Shojaie, another MP, claimed that Fakhrizadeh was asked by “pro-western” officials in Iran to meet Amano but the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, did not allow it.

In a report published on the hardline Mashregh News site in 2014, the IAEA had urged Iran to provide them a meeting with Fakhrizadeh.

Impeding diplomacy

“The reason for assassinating Fakhrizadeh wasn’t to impede Iran’s war potential, it was to impede diplomacy,” tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior US diplomat.

That seems to be working to some extent, as the hardliners have already raised pressure on the Iranian government. Hamid Rasai, a hardline activist and former MP, wrote that Rouhani’s administration was putting pressure on Iran’s state TV not to call Fakhrizadeh a nuclear scientist, as they see this assassination a “blow” to their “negotiation project” with US President-elect Joe Biden.

Moreover, Raja News argued that “it is not clear why the pro-West [administration of Rouhani] which is serving their last months, is still emphasising … the failed strategy of compromise”.

“What is clear is that the current strategy of the government has portrayed Iran as weak [in front of] enemies and have persuaded them to commit crimes against people of Iran.”

Iran is due to hold a presidential election next June. 

In the meantime, reformists and conservative newspapers have both called for retaliation.

Headlines used by Iran’s newspapers include: “Eye for an eye,” “If don’t hit them, we will get hit,” “Trap of tension,” and “The cowardly assassination of Fakhrizadeh”.

Prominent reformist and former political prisoner Mostafa Tajzade tweeted: “I unconditionally condemn the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Netanyahu is the first person accused in this crime and seemingly he has no goal other than lighting the fire of war and conflict and preserving the sanctions. Iran can and must expose and isolate the Israeli regime by mobilising global public opinion against state terrorism.”

What will Iran do?

In reaction to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a statement calling for investigation of “this crime” and firm prosecution of “its perpetrators and its commanders”.

The statement contained no vow of revenge, however, suggesting “strategic patience” was still the plan.

Hossein Kanaani-Moghaddam, a former IRGC commander who headed Iran’s forces in Lebanon for period in the 1980s, told MEE: “Iran’s reaction to this act of terrorism will be shown based on prudence and in the right time and place.”

He added: “Iran will not be influenced and affected by Zionists and will not fall in the trap of Zionists who want Iran to do something that would create a war.

Kanaani-Moghaddam emphasised: “Iran will take revenge from those who ordered this assassination in intelligence organizations of Israel and US.”

Meanwhile, Fereidoun Majlesi, a former Iranian diplomat in the US before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, believes that Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s joint efforts to prevent a de-escalation between Tehran and the incoming Biden administration will continue.

“It is crystal clear that Israel was behind this assassination as they seek to provoke Iran to give them an excuse for military attack or a full-scale war before the end of Trump’s presidency,” added Majlesi.

However, it seems Iran will continue its “restraint” policy, as Ali Rabie, the spokesperson for Iranian government, has stated that Iran will avenge the assassination, but “not in the game field the [enemy] has designated”.

Read more

Prominent Iranian physicist assassinated near Tehran

Friday, 27 November 2020 2:08 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 27 November 2020 9:10 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of martyred Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran.

The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh — who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the agency said.

The Defense Ministry’s media office said Fakhrizadeh “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his injuries.

Fars said 3-4 people were killed in the shooting, all of whom were said to be terrorists.

Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.

The photo shows a car that was targeted in a deadly shooting attack by terrorists in Absard city, near the Iranian capital of Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

‘Serious indications of Israeli role’

In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.

The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”

‘Harsh revenge awaits criminals’

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri blamed the “savage” attack on “terrorists tied to global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime.”

The assassination, he said, did deal a blow to Iran’s defense industry, but the enemies should know that “the path opened by the likes of Martyr Fakhrizadeh will never end.”

The photo shows the site of a terror attack, which targeted an Iranian scientist, in Absard city, north of the Iranian capital, Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaits the terror groups as well as all those who had a hand in the terror attack.

The commander assured the Iranian nation that the perpetrators of the terror attack will be pursued and brought to justice.

In a similar message, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami vowed a “harsh revenge and punishment” for those behind the act of terror.

The assassination of the Iranian scientist “was planned and run by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime,” the chief IRGC commander added.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said in a statement that an operation had been launched to identify the terrorist elements complicit in the “brutal crime,” pledging that the Islamic Republic will avenge the martyr’s blood.

In turn, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also reacted to Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom in a tweet, vowing a crushing response to the perpetrator.

“We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh like thunder and make them regret their deed,” he said.

“In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war,” said Dehqan in a reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s final days in office.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands by a screen with a purported image of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

‘The crime won’t block Iran path to scientific progress’

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi said the “big crime” was carried out by “traitorous elements linked to foreigners and international Zionism with the sinister goal of hindering the country’s scientific progress.”

Raeisi further praised the scientist’s role in speeding up Iran’s advancements in various scientific fields, including the nuclear industry, saying Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom will not block the country’s path forward.

He called on the country’s security and intelligence institutions in addition to relevant judicial bodies to do their utmost to arrest and serve justice to the criminals and mercenaries involved in the crime as soon as possible.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished 

By Elham Hashemi

Tehran – On 21 November 2020, The Times of ‘Israel’ said that the ‘Israeli’ regime along with the US are planning ‘covert ops’ against Iran as Trump’s term ends. Only six days later, prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack in Damavand area near the capital Tehran.

This crime comes as a desperate attempt to put more pressure on Tehran amid the constant US and allies attempts to hamper Iran from advancing in the different fields, including nuclear development for peaceful purposes. Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Fakhrizadeh had been targeted on Friday in an attack involving at least one explosion and shooting by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The media office of Iran’s Defense Ministry said Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research [SPND], “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his wounds and was announced as martyr. 

Commenting on the topic, political analyst and University of Tehran Professor, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi said “This assassination shows that western intelligence agencies and the terrorist organizations that they support such as the MEK along with the apartheid regime and the other regional actors are waging war against Iranian people.” 

He explained “It is interesting when one remembers that every time a terrorist is arrested, or a terrorist is executed or a spy is captured, Western media immediately say that these people are innocent, and that they are hostages; as if they have some sort of special knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Yet it is these very same spies and terrorists that accumulate knowledge and carryout murder and destruction.” 

“Nevertheless, this is an act of war, and the Iranians will make sure that its antagonists are punished as a result of the murder of this high ranking Iranian official,” Dr. Marandi noted. 

Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, vowed in his tweet a crushing response to the perpetrators.

The tweet read “We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, just like thunder and we will make them regret their deed. In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war.”

Also, Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said in a statement that “The assassins of martyr Fakhrizadeh will see a harsh revenge,” promising that they will be punished. He also assured that the path Farikhzadeh started will never stop. 

The political analyst pointed out that “It is ironic that when Western regimes claim that the Russians attempted to murder or assassinate an asset of theirs in the UK, the whole of NATO, Europe and North America is up in arms. But when an actual act of murder is carried out in Iran, Western media outlets gloat and try to show the victim as the guilty party rather than the terrorists and the regimes that stand behind those terrorists.”   

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by ‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and said, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Related

Reaffirming the Revolution: The Islamic Republic of Iran at 41

By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

Source

Qasem Soleimani in 2017 rally b3707

In number theory, 41 is a prime number meaning it is not divisible by any number except itself and one.  Similarly, the Islamic Revolution in Iran so far has been unique in its success and indivisible unity of purpose, despite numerous attempts at sabotage by external and internal actors.  At this prime age of 41, Iran is fully capable of charting an assertive leadership path to recapture the spirit and reaffirm the original goals of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, among which is the propagation of Islam to bring about social change for the welfare of all humanity.[2]

It is no minor accomplishment for the Islamic Republic of Iran to have maintained an independent geopolitical course for a period of forty one years in spite of the overwhelming diplomatic, economic and military pressure employed by the United States to force Tehran to cave in to the diktats of the Washington regime. Even before the erstwhile shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had fled the country on January 17, 1979, U.S. air force general Robert E. “Dutch” Huyser had arrived on January 3rd on a mission to test the waters for a rerun of the August 1953 coup, which had originally placed the U.S.-backed dictator in power in the first place.[3]

With the victory of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini (r) went on to found an Islamic Republic, whose constitution (Article 154) explicitly states that Iran “is concerned with the welfare of humanity as a whole and takes independence, liberty and sovereignty of justice and righteousness as the right of people in the world over.”  Imam Khomeini was very clear in his view that “Islam is revealed for mankind,” and, therefore, the revolution must be exported.[4] This concept, which raised fears of popular uprisings toppling the U.S.-abetted tyrants in the region and beyond, put the nascent Islamic Republic on a collision course with the Washington regime.  Among the despotic leaders shaken by Iran’s Islamic Revolution was the U.S.-supported Iraqi dictator, Saddam, who denounced Imam Khomeini and called upon Iranian Arabs to revolt.[5]

If external threats to the newly-established Islamic Republic weren’t enough, others arose internally. Massoumeh Ebtekar, who witnessed the revolution firsthand and is currently Vice President of Iran for Women and Family Affairs, recalled that “we were sure that foreign elements were actively involved in attempts to weaken and undermine the young republic.” To avert the suspected foreign plot to overthrow the Iranian government, a group of students, including now Vice President Ebtekar, decided to act, and on November 4, 1979 occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran and detained the staff.[6]  U.S. president Jimmy Carter responded ten days later by freezing US $12 billion’s worth of Iran’s assets in the U.S., and later banned all trade with and travel to Iran.[7] Also affected were Iranian assets in U.S. banks in Britain, much of which were in Bank of America’s London branch.[8]  The following year on April 7, the U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran, and has never reinstated them.[9]  If Carter had not allowed the deposed shah entry to the U.S., the embassy takeover most likely would not have occurred.[10]

Another internal threat, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), was openly unhappy over the constitution, which, according to them, did not address their demands.  After a humiliating defeat in the March and May 1980 parliamentary elections (no MeK candidates were elected),[11] the MeK became increasingly belligerent over their lack of position in the new government, directing their frustration ever more violently towards members of the Islamic Republic Party (IRP), which had won a decisive victory in the elections.  Despite the electoral defeat, the MeK openly backed Iran’s first president, Abolhassan Bani Sadr, however, following his removal from office for incompetency in June 1981, the MeK declared an armed struggle against the standing government. On June 28, 1981 and again on August 30, the MeK carried out terror bombing attacks against the IRP and government leaders.  In 1986, the MeK moved its operations to Iraq and aligned itself with Saddam, who backed the terrorist group until being ousted by the U.S. invasion in 2003. To date, the Washington regime views the MeK as a viable means by which to overthrow the legitimate government of Iran.[12]

Following the student takeover of the U.S. embassy, which was later shown to be a nerve center for CIA espionage in the region,[13] U.S. president Carter ordered a desperate mission on April 24, 1980 to invade Iran and free the hostages despite negotiations for their release still being in progress.[14] The so-called hostage crisis and the U.S. president’s failed interventionist response provided a perpetual pretext for Washington’s vehemently vindictive view against reestablishing any level of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The 444-day crisis, according to sworn testimony by Israeli intelligence agent Ari Ben-Menashe, was a joint effort by the CIA and Mossad to delay the release of the 52 hostages and thereby ensure an electoral victory for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 U.S. presidential race.[15]

In the midst of the post-revolutionary struggle to establish a fully functioning Islamic government, Iraqi dictator Saddam, with U.S. blessing, attacked the fledgling Islamic Republic on September 22, 1980, imposing a costly 8-year-long war that consumed some 60 to 70 percent of Iran’s national budget, not to mention the suffering of the Iranian people and their sacrifices in defense of Iran and Islam.[16]  The economic impact of the war on Iran itself was enormous with estimated direct costs in the range of US $600 billion and total cost of US $1 trillion.[17]  In the course of this U.S.-supported war, chemical agents were used extensively for the first time since the First World War, resulting in the deaths of some 4,700 Iranians in a single attack.  The U.S. also provided Saddam with biological agents such as anthrax and E. coli.[18]

Howard Teicher, director of political-military affairs for the U.S. National Security Council from 1982 to 1987, in an affidavit stated, “CIA Director [William] Casey personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war.” Teicher also testified that U.S. president Reagan had sent a secret message to Saddam advising him that “Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran.”  Teicher’s sworn testimony provides strong evidence that the U.S. intent was for Saddam to bomb Iranian cities, thereby unavoidably targeting civilians.[19]

Saddam followed Reagan’s advice to the letter by launching eleven SCUD B missiles at Tehran on February 29, 1988.  Over the next two weeks, more than 100 of Saddam’s missiles rained down upon the cities of Tehran, Qom and Isfahan along with bombing raids conducted against a total of 37 Iranian cities. Earlier in October 1987 and again in April 1988, the U.S. as part of its overt but undeclared war against the Islamic Republic, attacked Iranian ships and oil platforms under expanded rules of engagement.[20]  As a result of Washington’s designation of the Persian Gulf as essentially a free-fire zone for Iranian targets, the commander of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers, fired two missiles (after twenty-three failed attempts)[21] at what he claimed was a military target but in fact was Iran Air Flight 655 carrying 290 civilian passengers from Bandar Abbas to Dubai.  For downing the civilian airliner and killing all on board, Rogers was awarded the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious service” for this appalling atrocity.[22]

Yet in spite of the near universal support given by the U.S. and its western minions to Saddam, the people of Iran rose up to defend their newly liberated land in what were termed “human wave attacks” in the western press. Giving their lives selflessly in the cause of defending Islam and Iran, these martyrs, whose numbers reached to half a million,[23] struck fear in the black heart of Saddam and presented a conundrum to the materialistic west.  Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Rahbar explains that martyrdom, while clearly understood in the Islamic world, “is incomprehensible and even pointless in materialist and atheistic cultures.”[24]

The incomprehensibility to most westerners of the spiritual basis of Iran’s Islamic Revolution leads to some interesting “anti-explanations.”  Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Charles Kurzman wrote, “After the Iranian Revolution, those who had considered the upheaval unthinkable became preoccupied with understanding how they could have been so mistaken.” After pointing out the shortcomings of the various political, economic, cultural and other explanations, Kurzman notes, “The more I learned about the Iranian Revolution, the more theoretical anomalies I discovered.” Yet this author acknowledges that 55 percent of educated, middle-class Iranians and 71 percent of others he interviewed spoke of Islam as being involved in their decision to participate in the revolution.[25]

Apparently, for secular-leaning western scholars, Islam cannot be accepted as the basis for an explanation of a successful revolution. For example, even Iranian expatriate scholar Ervand Abrahamian blames the Islamic Revolution on “overwhelming pressures” in Iranian society due to the shah, who “was sitting on such a volcano, having alienated almost every sector of society.”[26]  Downplaying the role of Islam in Iran’s revolution, Iranian expatriate scholar Asef Bayat insists that there was a “strong secular tendency,” which peaked in the 1970s.  Bayat incredulously claims, “In Iran, an Islamic movement was in the making when it was interrupted by the Islamic revolution.”[27]  Other scholars date the origin of the Islamic movement in Iran to the tobacco crisis of 1890-1891, while Farhang Rejaee, a professor at the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam in Ottawa, Canada, points to the assassination of Nasr al-Din Shah in 1896.[28]

The current Islamic movement in Iran had begun on the 15th of Khordad, 1342 (June 5, 1963), predating the Islamic Revolution by some 15 years.  In a June 1979 speech marking the anniversary of the 15th of Khordad uprising, Imam Khomeini specifically referred to the Islamic movement and its creation in the mosque network.  “Who are they that wish to divert our Islamic movement from Islam?” asked the Imam. “It was the mosques that created this revolution,” he emphasized, adding. “It was the mosques that brought this [Islamic] movement into being.”[29]  Likewise refuting the theories of the western and westernized scholars, Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Rahbar explains, “The secret of success of the Islamic Revolution of Iran also is naught but this: valuing the high ideals of Islam and of the Islamic humanities.”  As to the failure of other revolutions, he blames “want of a sufficient depth in its spiritual dimension.”  Finally, he affirms, “The revolutionary experience of Iran should indeed become a model for others to emulate.”[30]

By basing economics and social change on the solid foundation of Islam, Iran has achieved greater progress in many areas, such as reducing poverty, improving health care, eliminating illiteracy, increasing access to education and expanding opportunities for women, than had been the case during the shah’s regime.   As a result, despite the unending U.S. hostility against Iran through ruthless imposed wars, covert and overt aggressions, punitive economic sanctions and continuous diplomatic isolation, the Islamic Republic has managed to amass an impressive list of accomplishments.  U.S. economic sanctions have had the effect of causing Iran to seek self-sufficiency in a number of areas, including weaponry and other military hardware, food production, steel, paper and paper products, cement, heavy industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment. In particular, the domestic production of armaments has helped to ensure the country’s independence and security, as has the highly developed military strategy of the “fast boat swarm” for naval defense in the Persian Gulf.[31]

Moreover, in the field of health care, Iran has made laudable strides, increasing life expectancy from 56 years in the 1970s to over 70, and reducing the infant mortality rate from 104 per 1,000 births to 25.[32]  The Islamic Republic has created, and continuously expanded, a system of hospitals and health clinics, concentrating on areas impacted by economic hardship.  The results have been sufficiently impressive for some universities and NGOs in the U.S. state of Mississippi to introduce Iranian-style health care into the impoverished areas of the Mississippi Delta region.[33] Rural areas also benefitted from the revolution in other ways besides access to health care.  By 2002, rural literacy had risen to 70 percent, each village had an average of two college graduates, and 99 percent of rural households had electricity. In 1976 only ten percent of the rural work force was employed in the industrial, construction and service sectors, whereas 51 percent was employed therein by 1996.[34] Land was redistributed among peasants, who formed numerous cooperatives, which assisted in raising prices for agricultural products.  Even the poorest of Iranians were able to have at least some level of access to modern consumer goods.[35]

“The biggest advances in the educational, professional and social standing of women in Iran’s history have come since the revolution,” wrote scholars Hillary Mann and Flynt Leverett.[36] After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, female literacy rates skyrocketed from 36 percent in 1976 to 74 percent in 1996, with urban women toping 82 percent.[37] Women were provided with the same educational opportunities as men, and were employed in both the public and private sectors.  Not only were women allowed to drive (unlike other “Islamic” countries), but also participated in political, commercial and civil activities, as well as in the security sector.  Health care in the Islamic Republic included women’s clinics, where progressive family planning and other services were available.[38]

“This united gathering which took place in Iran, and this great change which happened, must be taken as an example to be followed and never forgotten,” said Imam Khomeini (r) on 7th of Esfand 1359 (26 February 1981). [39] Despite that to date, no other Muslim-majority nation has yet to emulate successfully the revolutionary path taken by the valiant people of Iran, the paradigm remains as does the potential for Iran’s leadership to bring about a united Islamic Ummah.

“Death to the Islamic Republic” they chant now- and they call themselves Iranians

January 18, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

Nobody has escaped the news of the so called “popular demonstrations” in Iran during the recent days. Hundreds of thousands of articles, updates and tweets have been made on this matter, and many have talked about what the reasons behind these protests have been. Many videos show groups so called Iranians tearing down the pictures of Martyr Qassem Soleimani, while others chant “death to the Islamic Republic” and “death to Khamenei”. Thousands of such people have appeared across Iran and many of those Iranians outside of Iran cheer on them while the Empire takes every chance to attack Iran as these protests are used by the Western Media to wage psychological warfare on the Islamic Republic.

This marks a new stage in the audacity of dissent in the Islamic Republic. In order to understand what I’m talking about; we should take a trip back in history to recognize the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic has since the beginning of its existence had two mortal, existential enemies – the MEK cult and the Monarchists. For a while, the Communists were a force too to be reckoned, especially in the 1980’s.

The MEK cultists, advocating “Islamic Marxism”, seek to replace the Islamic Republic’s old and conservative policies with their “modern interpretation”. In their quest for power, they’ve committed heinous acts, such as terrorism and treason, to the point where even the US, Canada and the European Union, enemies of Iran, had listed them as a terrorist organization. They have since lifted the designation and have been grooming them into becoming a “viable opposition group”.

After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic had managed to drive away or execute most Monarchists and many of their supporters went into exile in the West, mostly the US, where they continued their opposition. With most of Iran’s wealth taken away by the monarchists in exile, the Islamic Republic defended by a group of ill-trained and poorly equipped group of men calling themselves “Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution”, fought against internal and external enemies during most of the 1980’s. The invading Iraqi Army, Communist guerrilla groups, MEK cultists armed by the Saddam regime, and separatist groups were fought vigilantly during the entire war with neighboring Iraq.

One by one, they were defeated and driven out of the country, into exile and the Islamic Republic won the battle for its survival. The communists were all but destroyed and driven into exile and the once powerful Tudeh party was split into several factions. The war ended when the MEK terrorist group were defeated in 1988, after they had been armed by the Saddam regime and launched an invasion into their own country. Saddam, who had been armed and supported by Western countries, including the US, was driven back from Iranian land and the war with Iraq resulted with a status quo ante bellum, and over a million dead Iranians. With the MEK driven back into Iraq, the Islamic Republic had survived this tremendous test and stood its ground and yet many more challenges stood in its way in the coming years. Only a year after the end of the war, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini passed away, leaving what many believed would be a vacuum for his successor to fill. The morning after Khomeini’s death, on June 4, 1989, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was elected as the new Leader of the Islamic Revolution despite not belonging to the rank of Marja (Grand Ayatollah), as required by the constitution, although this requirement was later removed through amendments to the constitution.

Throughout Khamenei’s rule, several rounds of rather large and widespread protests have struck Iran. The first significant one occurred in 1999, when students in Tehran protested against the closure of a reformist newspaper. The next challenge was the 2009 presidential elections and the aftermath of widespread protests due to the alleged election fraud in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president for a second term. Both of these incidents were marked by violence and disaffection among the protesters, yet they never chanted against the Islamic Republic, they never rioted and attacked security forces in the ways that we have seen recently. In both of those protests, the protestors were pro-reformist and chanted in support for ex-president Mohammad Khatami and the presidential candidate of the 2008 elections – Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Yes, the 2009 protests were foreign backed, but not in the same obvious ways that we see today. For the first time in November 2019, I witnessed slogans calling for the death of Khamenei and outright regime change. The heinous act of tearing down Martyr Qassem Soleimani’s show these people’s absolute contempt for the Islamic Republic, but it also shows something else: that they are not protesting due to poor living standards or lack of freedom. It would make absolutely no sense to tear down the poster of Martyr Soleimani if they were poor or feeling oppressed since Martyr Soleimani’s struggle was mainly conducted abroad in an effort to liberate the region from the hands of tyrants. In fact, Iranians have Martyr Soleimani and the Quds Force to thank for their own safety from terrorism, as Imam Khamenei once said: “If we were not fighting Daesh in Aleppo or Mosul, we would be fighting them in the streets of Kermanshah and Tehran.”

If poverty was an issue, then the government reform to the gas subsidies should be welcomed by the poor since that money will now go to the poorest families in Iran. Yet the same “protestors” instead turned to rioting and set fire on banks and government buildings, rather strange isn’t it?

One should also take note of some curious things this time around. We all know that Iran announced that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner. On that same day, small anti-government began to spring up in Tehran, mainly led by university students, chanting “death to the liars”, the only problem is that nobody lied. Iran admitted to have accidentally downed that plane. Yes. it took a few days, because there had to be an investigation first before drawing any conclusions, despite whatever evidence other countries supposedly had. It’s not like these countries, allies of the Terrorist Empire, haven’t lied and pinned incidents on Iran before…

In any case, the media have been very anxious for this news. Barely any mention on the Yellow vests and the violent protests in Chile, instead they focus on a couple of thousands of protestors, with rather shady agendas, compared to the 25 million Iranians that mourned for Qassem Soleimani, and portray it as if three poster-tearing “free Iranians” represent the true Iranian sentiment for Martyr Soleimani.

Interestingly, the calls for foreign intervention among these protestors and their supporters abroad is on the rise. The so called protestors and their Twitter fans also deliberately spread videos of these “proud Iranians” who refused to step on the US and Israeli flags, as a way to bait US public support for “American help” while chanting that “the US and Israel aren’t our enemies, our enemy is right here”. There is no question as to who and what these so-called protestors represent. On some videos one can hear pro-Monarchist and pro-MEK chants. MEK communiques such as their social media platforms are filled with active propaganda and calls for regime change. Threats are constantly issued to the Islamic Republic along with instructions and encouragement to attack security forces and military bases. These people openly stand with the Terrorist Empire against their own country – and they dare to call themselves Iranians.

The Monarchists, MEK and the Terrorist Empire want people to believe that Monarchist Iran was a modern and prosperous country. In truth, Iran was a country in decline during the monarchy era, starting from the era of the Qajar dynasty in the late 1700s to the early 1900s, and continuing with the Pahlavi era to 1979. It was a country were up until 1978, 60% of the population were illiterate, where large parts of the population lived without electricity or running water, and a large majority of the country’s oil belonged to foreign powers, with a leader who had come to power through a foreign backed coup. Only the Islamic Republic has successfully ended 200 years of humiliation in the face of foreigners. Only the Islamic Republic can defend Iran from US colonialism. Only the Islamic Republic can lead the region into a rebellion with the aim of kicking the US out of West Asia. They have done more for Iran than any king has since the fall of the Great Safavid dynasty. True Iranian Patriots would wish for an independent Iran where she has retained her culture, instead of having switched it out for Western culture.

This is the Islamic Awakening. For the first time in more than a century, the Islamic world can regain its long lost honor and free itself from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism. But only with the Islamic Republic..

IF IRAN FALLS, ISIS MAY RISE AGAIN نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

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As disorder deepens in Iran amid widespread protests, fears are rising that the fall of Iran’s revolutionary Shiite Islamic Republic could lead to disaster in the region and the re-emergence of an even greater foe of the United States—the Islamic State militant group known as ISIS.

Violent protests sparked by a cut in gas subsidies continue to erupt across Iran, fueled further by a forceful crackdown on protesters from the government. The unrest, coupled with crippling U.S. sanctions and costly campaigns across the Middle East, has incensed those fighting for regime change from within the country, opening an opportunity for Iran’s enemies both at home and abroad to capitalize on this discord and vulnerability.

“Different groups hostile to the Iranian government, including ISIS, separatists or other ones, have and will take advantage of any unrest in the country,” Abas Aslani, a visiting scholar at the Istanbul-based Center for Middle East Strategic Studies and editor-in-chief of the Iran Front Page outlet, told Newsweek.

“They could find a way in this situation to bring more damage to the country,” he added. “This will not be limited to the groups, but also some foreign countries inside and outside the region will also use the opportunity for weakening or changing the regime in Iran and bring instability to the country.”

Iran has remained steadfast in the face of its foes foreign and domestic, and few expect the full demise of the government. But even those inside and outside Iran who support the rallies that continue day and night against the clerics running the nation fear the chaos alone could foster conditions for ISIS to breed.

“Any collapse or weakening of a state in the region is likely to fuel into more instability in the region,” Aslani told Newsweek. “This is also a concern of even opponents in Iran, in so that they are not sure in the case of the collapse of the current system in the country who will replace them and how the situation will be.”

iran protest isis daesh tehran embassy
An Iranian woman holds a cardboard cutout representing an ISIS member in chains, during a demonstration outside the former U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis. On November 4, 1979, less than nine months after the toppling of Iran’s once-CIA-reinstalled shah, students overran the embassy complex to demand the United States hand over the ousted ruler after he was admitted to a U.S. hospital.ATTA KENARE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

To Iran, the fight against ISIS has always been an existential one. Just as the Pentagon began coordinating its own involvement in June 2014, Iran had begun mobilizing mostly Shiite Muslim militias in both Iraq and Syria to beat back lightning gains made by the Sunni Muslim insurgents that reveled in the slaughter of those deemed to be outside of their ultraconservative ideology.

This proved vital in turning the tide against the jihadis, who have been largely defeated in recent years.

“Iran was critical in providing logistical and advisory support to Iraqi paramilitary forces who battled ISIS in Iraq, particularly during the early days of the campaign,” Rodger Shanahan, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute’s West Asia Program and former director of the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre, told Newsweek.

As for Syria, where ISIS spread amid an ongoing civil war, Shanahan said Iran’s support for President Bashar al-Assad “also meant that it has contributed to the anti-ISIS campaign, although it is fair to say that that was by no means the aim of their support for Assad and the targeting of ISIS has been sporadic at best.”

In fighting ISIS abroad, Iran managed to help dismantle the jihadis and broaden the Islamic Republic’s own support network of partnered forces also hostile to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Establishing this so-called Axis of Resistance proved a major strategic victory, but it came at a steep price.

These campaigns cost Iran capital, both human and financial, and strict U.S. sanctions have choked up Tehran’s access to disposable income. Although the Iranian government is believed to still have access to considerable wealth to run its operations, the dual effects of a U.S.-imposed trade siege and domestic mismanagement have made life more difficult for everyday Iranians unable to take advantage of the economic reforms promised by President Hassan Rouhani.

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Iranians gather around a charred police station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in the central city of Isfahan, November 17. Iran responded to violent protests with an internet blackout and a swift crackdown that continues to result in bloodshed, with some members of security forces among those killed.AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Rouhani administration’s decision to cut fuel subsidies last month and ultimately transition to a welfare-based system had actually been in the works for some time and was supported by the International Monetary Fund. Still, the sudden shift was seismic for Iranians accustomed to cheap fuel and people have taken to the streets to protest in massive numbers.

The government’s reaction on the ground was swift and, against who officials claimed were rioters, deadly.

Amnesty International has estimated that more than 200 Iranians have been killed during the unrest and Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, placed the casualties at “many hundreds, perhaps over a thousand”—a figure far higher than other estimates provided by human rights monitors. No conclusive count exists and the Iranian government has disputed these numbers.

Those groups are “the biggest non-state threat to Iran today,” Ariane Tabatabai, an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, told Newsweek. The most volatile border areas are Sistan-Baluchistan, Khuzestan and Kurdistan. Watchers worry that any escalation of insurgencies in these parts could propel Iran toward the sectarian strife seen in Syria.

“That’s part of what’s deterring many Iranians from outright pushing for regime collapse: The lessons of Syria loom large,” she added.

Insurgencies were waged by separatist Arab, Baluch and Kurdish militias for decades before ISIS, Al-Qaeda or even the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the pro-West shah, who long-enjoyed the CIA maintaining his rule. The Islamic Republic has managed to keep these restive communities in line, but deadly attacks persist, such as a February bus bombing that killed up to 27 members of the Revolutionary Guard.

The operation was claimed by Jaish ul-Adl, which along with fellow Sunni Islamist group Ansar Al-Furqan, has taken advantage of previous periods of unrest in an attempt to undermine the Iranian government. ISIS, notorious for its ability to build bridges across continents, has actively sought to exploit these national struggles as it does in countries as far away as the Philippines.

The group’s reach within Iran remains fairly insignificant, Tabatabai added. She explained, however, that “ISIS has mostly focused its efforts in the areas with significant Kurdish and Arab minority populations—because these are populations that have been historically neglected if not repressed by the central authority.”

While eradicating adversarial forces and projecting its own influence abroad were integral motivations for Tehran’s entrance into the fight against ISIS, so was disrupting any potential nexus between the influential jihadi group and other opponents of Iran within the country itself. Shanahan told Newsweek that from the beginning, “Iran was concerned at the threat ISIS posed to Iranian territory, and the possibility of support for low-level insurgencies amongst Arab and Baluch Sunni groups inside Iran.”

Even with limited success in its infiltration, ISIS managed to strike at the heart of the Islamic Republic in June 2017 when several Sunni Kurdish militants aligned with the group staged twin attacks on the Iranian parliament and the shrine to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, killing 18 people.

An attack last September at a Revolutionary Guard parade in Ahvaz commemorating the Iran-Iraq War—during which Saddam Hussein, too, tried to foster Arab separatism in Khuzestan—killed two dozen people, half of them soldiers, and was claimed by both ISIS and Ahvazi Arab separatists.

In response, Iran launched Zulfiqar and Qiam missiles that flew hundreds of miles across Iraq and into the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, an ISIS stronghold at the time assaulted by two rival campaigns led by the Syrian government and the U.S.-backed, majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces. The unprecedented strike was seen not only as a message to ISIS, but as a testament of Iran’s missile prowess directed toward its top three national foes.

us, iran, protests, mike, pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks alongside a photograph of demonstrations in Iran as he holds a press conference at the State Department in Washington, November 26. In a message addressed to protesters, Pompeo said: “The United States hears you. We support you and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle for a brighter future for your people and for your great nation.”SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Iran has often blamed the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia for fomenting discord within the country in an attempt to overthrow a government they view as destabilizing to the region. No conclusive evidence of such a conspiracy regarding the current demonstrations has emerged, although top Washington figures—such as former national security adviser John Bolton, a devout war hawk—have openly courted opposition forces like Ahvazi Arab separatists and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

All three experts interviewed by Newsweek said they believed the collapse of the Iranian government was unlikely in the near future, despite the “maximum pressure” campaign by the U.S. against it. Even for Washington, this may not necessarily be a bad thing: It has repeatedly learned that an enemy government’s loss of control often had far-reaching repercussions in the form of mass refugee flows, the formation of new, more powerful enemies, and costly military interventions to fight them.

The fall of Iran—a nation whose population is higher than all three of those war-torn nations combined—would likely have even more devastating side effects and give ISIS and other underground forces new room to operate.

For now, the threat of ISIS appears to be under control. But worsening economic woes resulting from U.S. restrictions and political infighting among Iran’s own hard-liners and moderates ensure the militant group will continue to root for, if not actively seek out, Iran’s capitulation.

نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

توم أوكونور

من المرجح أن يكون لسقوط إيران آثار جانبية مدمرة أكثر، وهذا سيمنح داعش والقوات المتطرفة الأخرى مساحة جديدة للعمل.

“نيوزويك” تحذر: إذا سقطت إيران، سيصعد داعش مجدداً

رأت مجلة “نيوزويك” الأميركية أنه مع تزايد الفوضى في إيران وسط احتجاجات واسعة النطاق، تتصاعد المخاوف من أن سقوط الجمهورية الإسلامية الشيعية الثورية في إيران يمكن أن يؤدي إلى كارثة في المنطقة وظهور عدو أكبر للولايات المتحدة هو تنظيم “داعش”.

وقالت المجلة إن الاحتجاجات العنيفة الناجمة عن خفض الدعم عن الوقود لا تزال تندلع في جميع أنحاء إيران، مما زاد من حدة القمع القوي للمتظاهرين من الحكومة. وأدت الاضطرابات، إلى جانب العقوبات الأميركية المشددة والحملات المكلفة في جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط، إلى إثارة غضب أولئك الذين يقاتلون من أجل تغيير النظام من داخل البلاد، مما أتاح الفرصة لأعداء إيران في الداخل والخارج للاستفادة من هذا الخلاف والضعف.

وقال عباس أصلاني ، باحث زائر في مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية في الشرق الأوسط ومقره إسطنبول لـ”نيوزويك”: “هناك مجموعات مختلفة معادية للحكومة الإيرانية، بما في ذلك داعش والانفصاليون أو غيرها، وستستفيد من أي اضطرابات في البلاد”. وأضاف “يمكنهم إيجاد طريقة في هذا الموقف لإحداث مزيد من الضرر للبلاد. لن يقتصر هذا على المجموعات، ولكن أيضاً ستستغل بعض الدول الأجنبية داخل المنطقة وخارجها الفرصة لإضعاف النظام أو تغييره في إيران وجلب عدم الاستقرار إلى البلاد”.

ورأت المجلة الأميركية أن إيران بقيت صامدة في وجه خصومها الأجانب والمحليين، ويتوقع القليلون الزوال الكامل للحكومة. لكن حتى أولئك داخل وخارج إيران الذين يدعمون المسيرات التي تستمر ليلاً ونهاراً ضد رجال الدين الذين يديرون البلاد يخشون من أن الفوضى وحدها يمكن أن تعزز الظروف لنمو “داعش”.

وقال أصلاني لنيوزويك: “أي انهيار أو إضعاف دولة في المنطقة من المرجح أن يؤدي إلى مزيد من عدم الاستقرار في المنطقة. هذا مصدر قلق حتى للمعارضين في إيران، حتى أنهم غير متأكدين في حالة انهيار النظام الحالي في البلد من الذي سيحل محله وكيف سيكون الوضع”.

وأضافت “نيوزيويك” أنه بالنسبة لإيران، كانت المعركة ضد “داعش” دائماً وجودية. وكما بدأ البنتاغون في تنسيق مشاركته في حزيران / يونيو 2014، بدأت إيران في حشد الميليشيات التي يغلب على سكانها الشيعة في كل من العراق وسوريا للرد على المكاسب السريعة التي حققها المتمردون “الجهاديون السنة” الذين قاموا بذبح أولئك الذين يُعتبر أنهم خارج نطاقهم أيديولوجيتهم فائقة التشدد.

وقال رودجر شاناهان، وهو زميل باحث في برنامج غرب آسيا التابع لمعهد لوي ومدير سابق لمركز دراسات الحرب البرية في الجيش الأسترالي، قال لمجلة نيوزويك:

“ثبت أن هذا أمر حيوي في قلب المد ضد الجهاديين، الذين هُزموا إلى حد كبير في السنوات الأخيرة. لقد كان لإيران دور حاسم في تقديم الدعم اللوجستي والاستشاري للقوات شبه العسكرية العراقية التي حاربت داعش في العراق، خاصة خلال الأيام الأولى للحملة”.

أما بالنسبة لسوريا، حيث انتشر داعش وسط حرب أهلية متواصلة، قال شاناهان إن دعم إيران للرئيس بشار الأسد “عنى أيضاً أنها ساهم في الحملة ضد داعش، رغم أنه من الإنصاف القول إن هذا لم يكن بأي حال من الأحوال هدف دعمهم للأسد وكان استهداف داعش متقطعاً في أحسن الأحوال “.

وقالت “نيوزويك” إنه في قتال “داعش” في الخارج، تمكنت إيران من المساعدة في تفكيك الجهاديين وتوسيع شبكة دعم “الجمهورية الإسلامية” للقوات الشريكة المعادية لـ”إسرائيل” والسعودية والولايات المتحدة. وقد أثبت إنشاء ما يسمى محور المقاومة هذا انتصاراً استراتيجياً كبيراً، لكنه جاء بسعر عالٍ.

فقد كلفت هذه الحملات رأس المال الإيراني، البشري والمالي، وفرضت عقوبات أميركية صارمة على وصول طهران إلى عائداتها المتاحة. ورغم أنه يُعتقد أن الحكومة الإيرانية لا تزال لديها إمكانية الوصول إلى ثروة كبيرة لإدارة عملياتها، إلا أن الآثار المزدوجة المتمثلة في الحصار التجاري الذي تفرضه الولايات المتحدة وسوء الإدارة الداخلية جعلتا الحياة أكثر صعوبة بالنسبة للإيرانيين العاديين غير القادرين على الاستفادة من الإصلاحات الاقتصادية التي وعد بها الرئيس حسن روحاني.

وتنقل المجلة عن أريان طباطبائي، وهي عالمة سياسية مشاركة في مؤسسة راند وكبيرة الباحثين المشاركين في كلية الشؤون الدولية والعامة في جامعة كولومبيا، قولها إن هذه المجموعات المتمردة هي “أكبر تهديد من غير الدول لإيران اليوم”. فأكثر المناطق الحدودية اضطراباً هي سيستان – بلوشستان، وخوزستان وكردستان. ويشعر المراقبون بالقلق من أن أي تصعيد لحركات التمرد في هذه الأجزاء يمكن أن يدفع إيران نحو الصراع الطائفي الذي شوهد في سوريا. وأضافت “هذا جزء مما يردع الكثير من الإيرانيين عن الدفع الصريح من أجل انهيار النظام: دروس سوريا تلوح في الأفق”.

وقد شنت التمردات من قبل الميليشيات العربية الانفصالية والبلوشية والكردية لعقود من الزمن قبل ظهور تنظيمي داعش والقاعدة أو حتى قبل الثورة الإسلامية في إيران عام 1979 التي أطاحت بالشاه الموالي للغرب ، الذي كان يتمتع لفترة طويلة بدعم وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية (سي آي إيه)، التي حافظت على حكمه. تمكنت “الجمهورية الإسلامية” من الحفاظ على هذه المجتمعات المضطربة في خطها، لكن الهجمات المميتة لا تزال قائمة، مثل تفجير حافلة في فبراير / شباط الماضي الذي أسفر عن مقتل ما يصل إلى 27 من أعضاء “حرس الثورة الإسلامية”.

وقد تم تبني هذه العملية من قبل “جيش العدل”، الذي استفاد مع زملائه من جماعة “أنصار الفرقان” الأصولية في فترات سابقة من الاضطرابات في محاولة لتقويض الحكومة الإيرانية. لقد سعى “داعش”، الذي اشتهر بقدرته على بناء الجسور عبر القارات، بنشاط إلى استغلال هذه الصراعات الوطنية كما يفعل في بلدان بعيدة مثل الفلبين.

ورأت طباطبائي أن وصول “داعش” داخل إيران لا يزال ضئيلاً إلى حد ما. وأوضحت، مع ذلك، أن “داعش ركز معظم جهوده في المناطق التي تضم عدداً كبيراً من الأقليات الكردية والعربية – لأن هؤلاء هم  (على الأقل) السكان الذين تم إهمالهم تاريخياً، هذا إذا لم تقمعهم السلطة المركزية”.

وفي حين أن القضاء على قوات الخصوم وتوقع نفوذها في الخارج كانا بمثابة دافعين أساسيين لدخول طهران في الحرب ضد “داعش”، فقد كان ذلك يعطل أي صلة محتملة بين هذه الجماعة الجهادية المؤثرة والمعارضين الآخرين لإيران داخل الدولة نفسها. وقال شاناهان لـ”نيوزويك” إنه منذ البداية “كانت إيران قلقة من التهديد الذي يشكله تنظيم داعش على الأراضي الإيرانية، وإمكانية دعم التمردات المنخفضة المستوى بين الجماعات العربية والسنية البلوشية داخل إيران”.

وأضاف شاناهان: “لديهم دعم محدود داخل إيران لكنهم قد يسعون إلى استغلال تركيز الأجهزة الأمنية على الاحتجاجات للقيام ببعض الأعمال التكتيكية المحلية”، مشيراً إلى أن التظاهرات الحالية كانت “حول استياء الإيرانيين من النظام ككل، مع رفع دعم الوقود كحافز، ولا يتعلق الأمر بحقوق الأقليات”.

وعلى الرغم من النجاح المحدود في تسلله، تمكن “داعش” من ضرب قلب “الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية” في حزيران / يونيو 2017 عندما قام العديد من المسلحين الأكراد الذين انضموا إلى الجماعة بهجمات مزدوجة على البرلمان الإيراني وضريح الراحل آية الله روح الله الخميني، مما أسفر عن مقتل 18 شخصاً. فقد أسفر هجوم في أيلول / سبتمبر الماضي على عرض لـ”حرس الثورة” في الأهواز في ذكرى إحياء ذكرى الحرب العراقية-الإيرانية – التي حاول خلالها صدام حسين كذلك تعزيز الانفصالية العربية في خوزستان – عن مقتل عشرين شخصاً، نصفهم من الجنود، وتبنى كل من “داعش” والانفصاليون العرب المسؤولية عنه.

ورداً على ذلك، أطلقت إيران صواريخ “ذو الفقار” التي طارت مئات الأميال عبر العراق إلى محافظة دير الزور في شرق سوريا، وهي كانت معقلاً لـ”داعش” في ذلك الوقت حيث تمت مهاجمتها من قبل حملتين متنافستين بقيادة الحكومة السورية و”قوات سوريا الديمقراطية” ذات الأغلبية الكردية المدعومة من الولايات المتحدة. لم ينظر إلى الضربة غير المسبوقة كرسالة إلى “داعش” فحسب، بل كدليل على براعة الصواريخ الإيرانية الموجهة نحو خصومها الوطنيين الثلاثة الذين يأتون في أول القائمة.

وكثيراً ما ألقت إيران باللوم على الولايات المتحدة و”إسرائيل” والسعودية لإثارة الفتنة داخل البلاد في محاولة للإطاحة بحكومة يتهمونها بأنها تزعزع الاستقرار في المنطقة. لم يظهر أي دليل قاطع على مثل هذه المؤامرة فيما يتعلق بالتظاهرات الحالية، على الرغم من أن شخصيات بارزة في واشنطن – مثل مستشار الأمن القومي السابق جون بولتون، أحد صقور الحرب المتدينين – قد جنّد قوات المعارضة علناً مثل الانفصاليين العرب الأهوازيين ومنظمة “مجاهدي خلق” الإيرانية.

حتى عام 2012، كانت منظمة “مجاهدي خلق” منظمة إرهابية معينة من قبل الولايات المتحدة، وهو ما يمثل الخطوط الواضحة التي حددت منذ فترة طويلة سياسات واشنطن في الشرق الأوسط. في قتال داعش، شاركت الولايات المتحدة مع وحدات حماية الشعب (YPG) ، وهي مجموعة كردية سورية يُنظر إليها على نطاق واسع على أنها مرتبطة بحزب العمال الكردستاني المحظور، وعلى الرغم من أن ترامب قد تبنى موقفاً متشدداً ضد إيران، فإن البنتاغون قد أُجبر على مواصلة التعاون غير المباشر على الأقل مع قوات “الحشد الشعبي” العراقية، وهي مظلة لميليشيات تضم “كتائب حزب الله” المحظورة، المدعومة من إيران، من بين مجموعات أخرى.

وقال الخبراء الثلاثة الذين قابلتهم “نيوزويك” إنهم يعتقدون أن انهيار الحكومة الإيرانية أمر غير مرجح في المستقبل القريب، على الرغم من “أقصى ضغط” التي قامت بها الولايات المتحدة ضدها. حتى بالنسبة لواشنطن، قد لا يكون هذا شيئاً ضرورياً: فقد علمت مراراً أن فقدان سيطرة حكومة العدو في كثير من الأحيان كانت له تداعيات بعيدة المدى في شكل تدفقات كبيرة للاجئين، وتشكيل أعداء جدد أكثر قوة، وتدخلات عسكرية مكلفة لمحاربتهم.

وختمت “نيوزويك” أن من المرجح أن تكون لسقوط إيران – وهي دولة يزيد عدد سكانها عن الدول الثلاث التي مزقتها الحرب مجتمعة – آثار جانبية مدمرة أكثر وسيمنح داعش والقوات السرية الأخرى مساحة جديدة للعمل.

ففي الوقت الحالي، يبدو أن تهديد تنظيم “داعش” تحت السيطرة. لكن تفاقم المشاكل الاقتصادية الناجمة عن القيود الأميركية والاقتتال السياسي بين المتشددين والمتطرفين في إيران سيشجع المجموعة المتشددة على السعي بنشاط لاستسلام إيران.

ترجمة: هيثم مزاحم – الميادين نت

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

The Empire strikes back – US incited unrest in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran is Washington’s revenge against the Islamic Republic

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

The Empire strikes back – US incited unrest in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran is Washington’s revenge against the Islamic Republic

Since October,riots and unrest have wrecked havoc across Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. Iraq has suffered the worst as reports suggest over 300 people have been killed in the riots. In Lebanon, the US and its vassals have been busy hijacking the people’s grievances over the massive corruption among government officials. Followers of US puppets Samir Geagea and Saad Hariri have been blocking roads in an attempt to shut down the country, and to provoke a response from Hezbollah, thus setting the stage for a new civil war. In Iran, protests over gas price hikes have been hijacked by US backed MEK terrorists and Royalists loyal to the son of the late Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, with acts of violence and thuggery as they have burned down bank offices and government buildings. Luckily, in Iran these rioters and terrorists were dealt with swiftly and decisively, with over 1000 arrests being made within days after the so called “protests” began.

To some of us, these riots were expected as the Zionist axis have made these threats since several years back. Two years ago, the eccentric psychopath Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman threatened to incite riots and violence inside the Islamic Republic. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia,” he said, without elaborating on policies. “Instead, we will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”

Another reason for expecting the current chaos can be found in Syria and Yemen. Only fools would believe that Washington really would just pack their bags and leave Syria without seeking revenge for the humiliation they suffered after their defeat. It’s never that easy with the Zionist Empire. So they pull out of Syria and strike back with force against the Islamic Republic’s allies across the entire region, in an attempt to break the alliance between these countries. In Yemen, Washington suffered humiliation after the Houthis destroyed half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production within hours, effectively proving that the US Patriot Missile Defence system is useless.

Washington’s hand can be found in all three of these countries who have been targeted. In Iran, the initial protests were genuine, this is a fact that even the government admitted immediately. Reducing petrol subsidies on the cheapest fuel in the region has been an issue on Iran’s political agenda for years, one that became more urgent after Washington exited the JCPOA last year and imposed sanctions on Iran again. This move was necessary, and the money saved will go to the poor and needy. Western commentators immediately spinned it into “anti-regime protests”. Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings institution declared that “Iranian protesters strike at the heart of the regime’s legitimacy,” France 24 asked if is this “a new Iranian revolution?” And multiple other western media outlets slammed Iran’s “brutal crackdown” against its people, with false reports ranging from 100 to 2000 “killed by security forces”. Even though the Internet was disabled for nearly a week, somehow videos and pictures made their way to Twitter accounts of notorious anti-Iran commentators and “analysts”. All over the cyber space, so called expat Iranians, supporters of the Washington backed MEK terrorists ran rampant with massive propaganda campaigns. Hundreds of thousands of anti-Iran tweets exploded on Twitter as so called analysts, “think tanks”, media personalities, “activists” and politicians spewed lies on top of lies. And they wonder why the Islamic Republic shut down the internet?

Washington overtly offered its support to the rioters with the ever more despicable Mike Pompeo even taking to Twitter where he asked “Iranian protestors” to send him pictures and videos of the “regime’s crimes”. A few days later, Washington sanctioned the Islamic Republic’s minister of information for the Internet blackout.

Seeing as they couldn’t intimidate Iran into submission through threats of imminent war, they placed their hopes on subversion and internal attacks. Yet again they failed because they have failed to understand the Islamic Republic for over 40 years now. This country is NOT like most other country, it is not like Bolivia where Army chiefs openly backed by Washington easily could just topple the government. It is exactly for this reason that the IRGC was created. If the Iranian Army would ever attempt a coup, the IRGC, who is much more powerful than the army would immediately crush them.
In Lebanon, Washington exposed itself and its complicity in the riots when former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltmann said that ‘the demonstrations and the reactions to them by Lebanese leaders and institutions, fortunately, coincide with US interests.’ Wherever Washington “supports” protests and riots, it can be concluded that they have a hand in it. The protests in Lebanon are a bit more complicated than the rather obvious ones in Iran and Iraq.

The closure of the main roads and the deliberate inaction of the Lebanese army forces due to US pressure is not surprising. The main roads being closed have been carefully selected. They have closed the roads linking southern Lebanon to Beirut and linking Baalbek and the road to Damascus with the capital Beirut. These areas are mainly inhabited and used by Shia. The roads are being blocked mainly in certain sectarian areas controlled by supporters of the caretaker Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Druze ally Walid Jumbblat. The closure of other roads in the Christian dominated Dbayeh and in Tripoli by followers of the Zionist and war criminal Samir Geagea, leader of the notorious “Lebanese Forces”, are to divert attention from the main aim: challenging Hezbollah.
The goal is to force Hezbollah into the streets to confront the culprits that are blocking roads. Hezbollah is aware of this and is trying to avoid responding to provocations.
The aim is not to see Hezbollah defeated by the initial clashes; the firepower, training and military organisation of Hezbollah cannot be defeated by enthusiastic mercenaries and locals. The aim is to deprive Hezbollah of its legitimacy and pay a heavy price for its “unforgivable” victories in Syria and Iraq and its support to the Palestinians and the Yemeni.
Despite what is being claimed about Lebanon’s economy, the country’s financial problems are not the primary issue. Their debt (around 35 billion dollars) is in line with what Saudi Arabia is bleeding every year in their tragic war of terror on Yemen.
Sectarian elements and foreign intervention are managing to divert attention from the real national demands that have been overwhelming the Lebanese since decades. The foreign intervention is not relying on the justified demands of protestors in its confrontation with Hezbollah. It is relying on sectarian Lebanese who want to contribute to the fall of Hezbollah from the inside. This is not surprising because Lebanon is a platform where the US, EU, and Saudis are strongly present and active against the Resistance Axis.

In Iraq, the Zionist Axis has continued on the same theme, grasping for a geopolitical angle: protests in neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq are being cast as a regional insurrection against Iranian influence. Zionist Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the hawkish think-tank “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” shamefully claimed that the people of not only Lebanon and Iraq, but also the people of Iran, are “actively demanding their countries back from the occupying Islamic Republic”. In other words, he claims that the Islamic Republic is occupying its own country. This is the level that they stoop to.

Yet some elements among the protestors in Iraq have been attacking and torching Iranian consulates. Why is that? How will torching the Iranian consulates in Najaf and Karbala save them from poverty and disenfranchisement? Who are these people, claiming that Iran is at fault for Iraq’s misery? Have they suffered from a memory loss over what has happened these past 16 years? Who sanctioned Iraq, resulting in the death of half a million Iraqi children? Who claimed that it was all worth it on national TV? Who invaded Iraq and humiliated the country, occupied it for 8 years and stole their resources? Who dropped depleted uranium on Iraqi cities, causing children even today to be born disfigured and mutated? Who unleashed Daesh on Iraq? And most importantly, who stepped in immediately to save Iraq when Washington’s dogs were at the gates of Baghdad in the summer of 2014? It is here that it becomes clear that the Saudis and Americans are directing these thugs to attack Iran inside Iraq. Fortunately, in Iraq they have been exposed as well. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned the incident in strongest terms, saying the attack had been perpetrated “by strangers … distant from the reality of demonstrations taking place in a number of Iraqi cities.”

“We believe that its purpose is clear; to harm the historical relations between Iraq and Iran and countries of the world whose missions are in Iraq,” it said in a statement.

The ministry further warned against “the entry of persons who want to divert the demonstrations with the right demands from the seriousness of legal discipline and its proper course. The consulate in Najaf has been exposed to clear evidence of their agendas that are distant from the national demands; we stress the need to secure missions and not to expose those working in them.”
Iraq’s top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani has warned that enemies of Iraq and affiliated groups in the country are plotting to create internal strife and bring the country back to the “era of dictatorship”, an apparent reference to the former rule of Saddam Hussein.

Addressing worshippers during Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala, the Grand Ayatollah urged protesters to prevent attacks on people and their property and distance themselves from those committing such acts.

“It is imperative on peaceful demonstrators that they separate their ranks from non-peaceful individuals and cooperate on shunning saboteurs – whoever they are – and not allow them to abuse peaceful protests to damage and attack the property of citizens,” a representative of Ayatollah Sistani said as he delivered the top cleric’s sermon.
“The enemies and their levers, in order to achieve their malicious goals, plan to spread chaos and plunge the country into internal strife and then return it to dictatorship, so everyone must work together to take away this opportunity from them,” he added.
A few months ago, the Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Akhbar reported that Iraqi security sources have uncovered a plan seeking to install a military strongman favoured by the US by creating a power vacuum in the country.

The clear pattern seen in both Lebanon and Iraq is that this major plot is targeting the Islamic Republic.
Iran defeated the mainstream international community when it helped prevent the fall of the government in Damascus after years of war. It has effectively supported Hezbollah and the Palestinians against Israel, it has stood by Iraq and prevented terrorism from fully taking control of the country. Iran has also supported the defence of Yemen against Saudi Arabia’s pathetic and criminal war. These moves have created a lot of enemies for Iran, and they are all hell-bent on revenge for years of humiliation and failure.

This is the most important hour for the Resistance Axis, it must survive this plot, otherwise the entire region will burn and fall into Zionist hands.

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.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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.”

Why the United States Has Not Won a Real War Since 1945

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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If anyone is still wondering why the United States has not won a real war since 1945, I offer up the example of retired U.S. Army Colonel Wes Martin, who writes for Town Hall and reportedly also has appeared as an expert commentator on FoxTown Hall is a purveyor of a certain type of “American conservatism.” It was founded by the Heritage Foundation on the principle that the United States is ordained by God as uber alles. Though it features many good writers and even genuine conservatives it occasionally goes off the rails. Its latest incarnation features an article entitled “Obama-loving country music star Tim McGraw partners with terror-sponsoring communists.”

Colonel Martin’s bio includes his service as the Senior Antiterrorism Officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq and Commander of Camp Ashraf, which is where the military arm of the Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group was camped while Saddam Hussein was still in power. MEK, consisting of Iranian dissidents, was being used by Saddam to carry out low-intensity warfare against Iran. It was placed under American military protection after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

Martin’s latest foray in Mullah-bashing is a December 10th article entitled “Iran’s Continuing Misinformation Campaign.” It is a defense of MEK, which he describes as a victim of Iranian propaganda. Martin frames his argument around a critique of a November 9th report entitled “Terrorists, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy?  The wild, wild story of the MEK” that appeared in The Guardian, but, in reality, most of his piece is about himself.  The Guardianarticle, written by Arron Merat, provides an in-depth analysis of MEK, how it developed, and what it is doing today. It does, to be sure, come down on the side of MEK being both a cult and a terror organization, which is what Martin disputes.

Martin’s article, like all of his pieces appearing on Town Hall, is nearly unreadable. It includes gems like “The Iranian dissidents have a primary target of the ayatollahs misinformation campaign” and also “This was the first time in U.S. history, and perhaps world history, where one country was invaded and with it came the entrapment of a large military force dedicated to the removal of a third of the country’s leadership.” I’m sure Colonel Martin actually meant something in those two sentences but I am at a loss to figure out what it might be.

Martin reports that MEK first came on to his “radar” in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces, which is part of his problem, which might be described as seeing what one wants to see. He conducted “an assessment on the MEK and determined they were not a threat.” But other evidence, which Martin should have considered, suggests that MEK was not just a group of Iranian dissidents. A study prepared by the Rand Corporation for the U.S. government conducted interviews at Camp Ashraf and concluded that there were present “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”

MEK made the transition from terrorist group to “champions of Iranian democracy” by virtue of intensive lobbying of Iran haters. The Guardian article also describes how “A stupendously long list of American politicians from both parties were paid hefty fees to speak at events in favor of the MEK, including Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA. John Bolton, who has made multiple appearances at events supporting the MEK, is estimated to have received upwards of $180,000. According to financial disclosure forms, Bolton was paid $40,000 for a single appearance at the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2017.”

It apparently never occurred to Martin that the group had a whole lot of history before he appeared on the scene and it began buying American politicians. It may not have been an active threat in 2003, when confronted by overwhelming U.S. military force, but it sure was anti-American back in the 1970s, to include the assassination of at least six U.S. Air Force officers and civilian defense contractors. The ambush in which two air force officers were murdered by MEK was reenacted for each incoming class at the Central Intelligence Agency training center in the late 1970s to illustrate just how a terrorist attack on a moving vehicle might take place.

Colonel Martin is inevitably a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, mentioning in passing that “Unfortunately, the State Department policy under the Obama administration was intent on appeasing the Iran regime.” It is an assertion for which there is scant evidence apart from Obama’s clearly expressed reasonable desire to negotiate an end to any possible Iranian nuclear weapons program. In fact, Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed the group from the State Department terror list in 2012, and then arranged for its relocation to a safe site in Albania, where it still resides.

In another article on “evil” Iran, obviously an obsession with Martin, he states that “The fundamentalists in Tehran were almost overthrown during the vast national uprisings of 2009 (predating the Arab Spring). While former President Obama and former Secretary Clinton stayed silent, in favor of their nuclear deal with the regime…” Martin is dead wrong that the regime was almost overthrown. It was never threatened. And, of course, it would have been difficult for Obama to have remained silent in 2009 over the “nuclear deal” which was not signed until 2015.

Martin also has problems with the Guardian article’s assertion that MEK derives from an “Islamist-Marxist” ideology. He observes “In other words, the MEK is composed of God-fearing atheists.  He needs to pick one or the other, because Islam and Marxism do not mix.” Actually Marxism, as a primarily social and economic framework, is not necessarily anti-religious, particularly when religion inspires the workers as part of the class struggle. Political Marxism and religious zealotry can coexist. The communist Tudeh Party of pre-revolutionary Iran was reportedly full of Islamists. And MEK does indeed have both Marxist and Islamic roots. It helped to overthrow the Shah in 1979 through cooperation with the religious parties but then turned against the clerics after they had succeeded in assuming control of the revolution.

Martin also completely ignores MEK’s anti-American, anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist roots. It began as a radicalized student group in Iran in the 1970s that attacked U.S. businesses and was viscerally opposed to the United States presence. The Guardian article describes how one of its songs went “Death to America by blood and bonfire on the lips of every Muslim is the cry of the Iranian people. May America be annihilated.”

Colonel Martin saves his best for last as he fulminates “Iran, the number one nation-state exporter of terrorism, is also the number one exporter of propaganda. Iran’s MOIS [Ministry of Intelligence and Security] will fight the truth with lies, deceit, and manipulation of facts.  MOIS expends great effort to neutralize the MEK as the primarily threat to the Iranian regime.”

That Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism is often asserted by folks like Colonel Martin and John Bolton but rarely elaborated on, particularly given the fact that the United States operates worldwide with intelligence officers, spec ops and drones that kill lots of people on a regular basis without any declarations of war. Who has Iran killed lately? And when it comes to propaganda, no one does it better or more aggressively that the U.S. and Israel, even if no one believes any of it anymore.

What it comes down to is that people like Colonel Wes Martin, unfortunately proliferating in the U.S. government, hate Iran for a whole lot of reasons that have nothing to do with national security. Israel and its lobby are certainly an element as is the need for enemies to feed the paranoia that drives and funds the military industrial complex. Martin reveals his ignorance when he objects to what he believes to be Iranian government efforts to “neutralize the MEK as the primarily (sic) threat to the Iranian regime.” That claim is complete nonsense. MEK worked with Saddam Hussein to kill Iranians, just as it earlier killed Americans. It is hated in Iran and has little support inside the country. It is a terrorist group, currently being used by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to assassinate and otherwise kill still more Iranians. This is why luminaries like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and Colonel Martin love it, not because it is poised to bring democracy to Iran.

The White Helmets Ride Again

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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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