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ISIS BEGINS:
                                    A Novel of the Iraq War

From our archives

The Assassination Files:
 Secret documents from the Serial Murder trials, translated by MPG

Regime accuses FDI Director of conducting the "Green Orchestra" during 2009 protests


Read the record of the Islamic Republic's use of torture from the Akbar Mohammadi trial

More documents from the Akbar Mohammadi case

March 2017 State Department Human Rights Report (for 2016)

October 2016 UN Human Rights Report

October 2015 UN Human Rights Report

2015 UN Human Rights report

2014 UN Human Rights report

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Read about Iran's involvement in the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks that killed 4 Americans in Benghazi.

The Shadowy Iranian Spy Chief Who Helped Plan Benghazi

FDI Archives:




The Standards for the June 2013 election in Iran can be found here

Iranians are uniting behind a demand for truly free and fair elections. Download the complete study on the Criteria for Free and Fair Elections by the Inter-Parliamentary Union here

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From Democracy to Dictatorship is available
in English or in Persian


 




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Highlights from 2010:

Nov. 17: FDI joins Larry Klayman and Freedom Watch to examine policy options for the incoming 112th Congress toward Iran.

From left to right: FDMI President Kenneth R. Timmerman, FDI Advisory board member Reza Kahlili, Larry Klayman (speaking), FDI advisory board member R. James Woolsey

FDI briefs incoming House intelligence committee member Rep. Michele Bachmann on Iran.

(l-to-r: FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman, FDI Sec/Treasury Bill Nojay, Rep. Bachmann, FDI Advisory board member R. James Woolsey)

e

August 12, 2018: Court is Bousheir sentences Christian converts to prison. A Christian couple was sentenced earlier this month to one year in prison for "propagating against the Islamic Republic in favour of Christianity," a new human rights organization, Article 18, announced. Article 18 says it is dedicated to supporting the rights of Iran's Christian minority, especially converts from Islam, who have no legal rights under the Islamic regime's constitution.


July 24, 2018: VOA Farsi wants to go 24/7. But freedom-fighters, beware. The Ahwazi Human Rights Organization rightly pointed out the outrageous bias of VOA Farsi in their translation of Secretary Pompeo's 7/22 speech on Iran. Secretary Pompeo expressed concern over the arrest of hundreds of Ahwazi Arabs and said, "It's why the regime arrests hundreds of Ahwazi's, members of Iran's minority Arab community, when they speak out to demand respect for their language and for their basic beliefs."


But watch this. The Persian interpreter of VOA deliberately mis-interpreted the phrase, translating Ahwazis as "Azhari," and then failed to translate "Iran's minority Arab community." Radio Farda similarly omitted mention of Pompeo's comments on the arrest of Ahwazi. For more, read the AHRO press release.


July 23, 2018: President Trump to Islamic State of Iran: Watch out. IN an early morning tweet in response to Rouhani's threat to shut down the STrait of Hormuz, President Trump warned, "Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before." FDI President Kenneth Timmerman calls it, the new Trump Doctrine in this oped at FrontPage mag.

July 22, 2018: SecState Pompeo wows Iranian-American audience. In another landmark speech, this time at the Ronald Reagan library in California, Pompeo shows that he "gets it" on Iran. For the first, time, we have a leader at the very top of government who understands there can be no changing the behavior of the regime without changing the regime itself. Read the full speech here.
Apparently in response to Pompeo's speech, Iranian unicorn Hassan Rouhani threatens to shut down international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and warned the U.S., "Do not play with the lion's tale; you will regret it forever."


July 21, 2018: Regime steps up sentencing of student protestors.
Regime authorities have handed down steep prison sentences to a number of students caught up in protests over the past six months, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. Students have been hit with jail terms of between two years and eight years, including a two year travel ban and ban on social media activities following their release.

July 16, 2018: The Coalition of Iranian Democrats holds its second session. CID met over the weekend in Cologne, Germany. Spearheaded by the Iranian Democratic Front, which has representatives in Germany and inside Iran, it included a broad spectrum of organizations representing Iran's broadly diverse ethnic population, Kurds, Balouch, Azeris, Lurs and others. According to a feature in Al Arabiya, "
The Council believes that no single party, or organization, can single-handedly claim they are able to topple the regime. They announced solidarity and willingness to cooperate with all the Iranian opposition groups from the entire spectrum left to right."


Another group aiming to assemble primarily exiled Iranians, the Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups, met in Washington in June. CIOG has been endorsed by retired Lt. General Richard V. Secord of Iran-contra fame, and is backed by the oddly-named Institute for an Open Society in the Middle East which, despite the George Soros monikor, proclaims on its Facebook "About" page that "the World supports The Middle East [sic], and Donald Trump's presidency." On its homepage, it prominently features Reza Pahlavi. While the conference was apparently well-funded, with participants from overseas flown over and lodged at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, it was far less representative than the CID meeting in Cologne. Participants at the meeting tell FDI it was mainly a collection of monarchists, "some of them so old they needed help standing up," and perennial mischief-maker Amir-Abbas Fakhravar (See also these reports from Aug. 27 and Aug. 12, 2012). Many participants walked out in protest when Kurdish and Ahwazi activists spoke about the need to recognize the rights of all Iranian citizens.

May 21, 2018: SecState Pompeo to Tehran: stop spreading terror, or else. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's landmark speech on Monday to the Heritage Foundation set out U.S. policy for the post-JCPOA period. "No more," he said. "No more wealth creation for Iranian kleptocrats. No more acceptance of missiles landing in Riyadh and in the Golan Heights. No more cost-free expansions of Iranian power. No more."

Pompeo listed no fewer than 12 U.S. demands of the Tehran regime. They are worth listing here, since these are the benchmark demands for evaluating the new policy of the Trump administration.

  1. First, Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
  2. Second, Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor.
  3. Third, Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
  4. Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
  5. Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges.
  6. Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  7. Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.
  8. Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.
  9. Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.
  10. Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders.
  11. Iran, too, must end the IRG Qods Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners around the world.
  12. And too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are U.S. allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive – and destructive cyberattacks.

The list "is pretty long," Pompeo acknowledged, "but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements. The length of the list is simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran. We didn't create the list, they did."


Read the full speech here.


May 20, 2018: New videos of violent regime crack-down against peaceful protestors in Kazeroun. Our friends at the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center have done an amazing job, pulling together graphic evidence of the regime's murderous assault on peaceful protesters over the past three days. Please look at their report, "This is not Gaza, this is Iran!"


May 17, 2018: Pro-Tehran lobbyist resigns from his lobbying group. Trita Parsi says farewell. But his sudden departure raises questions. Just a coincidence, or FBI bust? Go here for the latest on Parsi and his outrageous, anti-American activities; and view FDI's special NIAC Resources page.

May 15, 2018: Treasury reimposes sanctions on Bank Markazi (the central bank). And this, as Bank Markazi is going bankrupt inside Iran for years of insider lending at annual rates of 26%

May 14, 2018: Former Sec/State John Kerry caught in the act in Paris. In addition to his very public meetings to oppose the official policy of the United States of America in Italy and elsewhere (arguably a violation of the Logan Act, if anyone actually cares), Kerry was caught lunching just across the street from the George V hotel in Paris with former Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazzi. Photos are here.

May 10, 2018: Israel gives Iran a lesson in strategic deterrence. From FoxNews opinion.

May 8, 2018:Attempted assassination of Iranian dissident in New York.
If
confirmed, it's the first such attack in the U.S. since 1981. From Frontpage mag.

- President Trump ends the Iran deal and reimposes U.S. sanctions.
Read the details from the White House here and here.


May 4, 2018:
The Iran Deal is Dead: Iran killed it. 
From FoxNews opinion.

April 24, 2018: State Must Demand Iran Free Hostages, Congress says.
A bipartisan letter sent to Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan today requested detailed information on efforts by the Trump Administration to secure the release of six U.S. hostages currently held by Iran. The letter, spear-headed by California Democrat Ted W. Lieu, was signed by Republicans Mike McCaul of Texas, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and 43 other members of Congress. "The United States has a moral responsibility to devote resources to these hostages and make their return a priority," the letter states.


March 21, 2018: Bernie Sides with Iran's Mullahs.
The Senate today debated a motion introduced by Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders that would force the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Yemen, where they have been helping Saudi Arabia in its proxy war with Iran. As FDI CEO Kenneth Timmerman wrote in today's Frontpage mag: "The surprising support the resolution won from 44 U.S. Senators handed a big win to Iran, which is engaged in a hot war with Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula. It was a huge slap in the face to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who was meeting with President Trump in the White House as the Senate debated the motion on the floor. It also showed the extreme damage recent scandals involving NSA snooping and political bias at the FBI have done to the credibility of the United States government." If successful, Timmerman went on, the Sanders-Lee resolution "would put the dysfunction U.S. Senate in charge of U.S. foreign and military policy." Read the full story here.

March 19, 2018: President Trump on Nowruz. In a strongly worded and emotion appeal on Nowruz, President Trump recalled Darius the Great, who "asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) represents all three."


President Trump went on: "First, the IRGC is not Iranian in name or deed. It is a hostile army that brutalizes and steals from the Iranian people to fund terrorism aboad... Second, the IRGC's corruption and mismanagement have exacerbated the effects of an on-going drought and created an ecological crisis. Unregulated dam constructon under its companies like Khatam al-Anbia has dried rivers and lakes and helped create unprecedented dust storms that threat Iranians' jobs and lives. Third, deceit has become official state policy. The IRGC employs propaganda and censorship to hide the factg that the Iranian regime plunders Iran's wealth and abuses its people."


President Trump's message was starkly different from those issued by his predecessor, who once pointedly claimed that Iran's unelected clerical dictator expressed the will of the Iranian people. This year's historic message also shows that the President has swept his administration from the last vestiges of the Rex Tillerson accomodationists, including State Department Iran desk officer and NIAC infiltrator Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who was fired at the same time as Tillerson.


Nowrouzzadeh was caught out for penning several anti-Trump articles - apparently vetted by Tillerson appointees! - which she signed as a State Department employee. We applaud the president for firing both her and Tillerson.


Read the President's full Nowruz statement here.


Feb. 19, 2018: Police clash with dervishes in Tehran; at least 3 police dead. Dervishes of the Gonabadi denomination clashed with security forces in front of a police station in northern Tehran today to demand the release of arrested Sufis, Reuters and BBC Persian are reporting. Cellphone videos show a bus driving in a formation of police charging protestors in full riot gear. Regime officials have acknowledged that three policemen died in the clashes. YouTube video of the clashes is available here and here.


Feb 11, 2018: Reza Pahlavi says regime supporters have infiltrated US-government funded Voice of America and Radio Farda.
In a Skype interview with an Iranian exile television station in London, the oldest son of the former Shah accused pro-regime "moderates" and "reformers" of slanting the coverage of U.S. government Persian-language media in favor of the regime. Speaking with former VOA host Bijan Farhoodi, Pahlavi said that VOA and Radio Farda needed to be purged of such persons, because the Iranian people want to get rid of the regime and not reform it.
"The main issue with these outlets is the infiltration of reformists in their ranks [who] try to perpetuate the reformist discourse, which helps the regime stay in power," Pahlavi said. "There needs to be a complete purge of these reformist elements in these outlets, because the Iranian people have called the legitimacy of the entire theocratic system into question and are no longer interested in reforming it," he added.

Pahlavi's comments set off a twitterstorm in farsi and in English, many of them using the hashtag #ReformBBG.

Jan. 25, 2018: "#Where_Is_She?" The woman who took off her headscarf and waved it atop a stick like a white flag on the first day of the Iran protests on Dec. 27 has reportedly been arrested a second time and has since disappeared in Iran's Islamic Gulag. Amnesty International, citing three eyewitnesses, believes she was taken to a detention center in Tehran known as Kalantari 148 on December 27. According to human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, the woman was "initially released after her arrest but was subsequently detained again," and is currently facing criminal charges. According to Soutoudeh, the woman is 31 years old and has a 19-month old infant. Social media users: Tweet #Where_Is_She? to demand her release.

Jan. 20, 2018: Timmerman on #IranProtests#. Listen to FDI President & CEO Kenneth R. Timmerman with John Loeffler on the Steele on Steele radio show today. Timmerman calls the Iran protests the biggest and most significant since 1979.

Jan. 17, 2018: The Internet imperative.

A lead editorial in today's Wall Street journal picks up demands we have been hearing for the past two weeks from Iranian activists that the U.S. government can provide real assistance to pro-freedom activists by providing unjammable free Internet service.


Jan. 11, 2018: FDI at the European Parliament.
FDI President and CEO Kenneth R. Timmerman with current and former leaders of PJAK at the European Parliament for a conference on Iran's minorities and #IranProtests. 


Jan. 10, 2018: More than 420 arrested; protests hit half of Iran.
Iran Human Rights activists today published a report listing 420 persons arrested during the first seven days of the protests. They also published a breakdown of where the protests occured.

Jan. 9, 2018 - Day 13 of #IranProtests

- Khamenei goes to Qom seeking support from traditional clergy, but reportedly finds no one to back a government crackdown on protests.

Jan. 8, 2018 - Day 12 of #IranProtests

- Hundreds of videos of renewed protests all across Iran circulate on Twitter, despite regime claims that protests are dying down.

- Large protests in Ahwaz (Khuzestan) on Monday night
- In this brief video, students ordered by the regime to chant pro-regime slogans, instead chant "death to bassijis."
- Here, an Iran-Iraq war veteran, Mostafa Debashizadeh, explains why he is burning his bassij card and the regime is doomed.
- Another student activist, Soheil Aqazadeh, dies in Evin prison, "suicided" by his jailors; this after #TheyKilledSina Ghanbari, aged 23.
- General strike in Urmia, in northwestern Iran.


Jan. 7, 2018: Day 11 of #IranProtests
- The People's Fedaii Guerillas claim that Ahmadinejad was detained by regime security agents on the 2nd day of the protests, and remains in some form of custody today. Mojtaba Khamenei, son of ayatollah Khamenei, is negotiating with him to obtain the resignation of Majlis speaker Ali Larijani.
- VOA's pro-regime bias attracts a wider attention, with BBG Watch criticizing VOA for posting a "victory statement" by the Iranian regime "with a Pravda-like top VOA headline."
 

Jan. 6, 2018: Day 10 of #IranProtests.
- Protests spread to more than 79 cities across Iran.
This Radio Farda video is from Mahshahr (h/t Farnaz Fassihi).
- Iran's "Reformists" show their true colors: they are with the regime, not the pro-freedom movement.

- In lock step with regime propaganda, Voice of America declared the Iran protests "waning" three days ago, and in a shameful display,  now headline paid crowds of government employees "rallying" in support of the regime. when pro-regime protests of government employees took to the streets in Tehran. Reformists


Jan. 5, 2018: Day 9 of #IranProtests.
- Owner of AhmadNews webchannel, Roohollah Zam, tells Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty he is not linked to any political group in Iran, but seeks to "serve the Iranian people's interests" against the regime.


- At the United Nations Security Council, Russia and France joined the Iranian regime representative in blasting the U.S. for interfering in Iran's domestic affairs. Meanwhile, U.S. officials including Nikki Haley and SecState Rex Tillerson broaden the Trump administration support for the rights of the protestors.

Jan. 3, 2018: Day 7 of #IranProtests.
- Long-time friend of FDI, Iman Foroutan, reveals for the first time how the Iran protests are being coordinated. This ground-breaking story should be circulated widely. A former senior regime official, codenamed "Behrouz," explains to the New Iran the underground command structure of the movement. Most importantly, he notes that movement leaders have understood that they must use nonviolence and civil disobedience, since the regime has a monopoly on violence. This is key for preventing Iran from descending into a Syria-style civil war. FDI is proud to be an early support and member of The New Iran.
- FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman in Frontpagemag.com: "The US doesn't have to lose the information war on Iran." The Voice of America has been worse than inadequate in its coverage of the Iran protest movement. President Trump urgently needs to fire VOA leadership and replace them with his own team
- Watch the amazing press conference of U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley (hint: you won't find the link on VOA...)


Jan. 2, 2018: Day 6 of #IranProtests.

- The Internet messaging service Telegram has shut down a key channel, AmadNews, used by protestors. #ShameOnYou, Pavel Durov. Read the full report from Politico.

- Voice of America shamelessly parrots Iranian regime propaganda, while relegating President Trump's tweet in support of #IranProtests to graph 16 of a lead story. VOA coverage just keeps getting worse and worse, despite some catchup on social media. #ShameOnYou, @VOANews.
- FDI President & CEO Kenneth R. Timmerman has sent a memo to the White House and to key leaders in Congress on why VOA coverage needs to change, and how to accomplish this. READ THE MEMO (pdf document).


- We are told that a group of former and current VOA broadcasters met with a top NSC official at the White House last week to protest the firing of Mandarin service journalists. At the last minute, two members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors board arrived. One of them read from a draft BBG strategy document that "VOA news must always be unbiased." (This is not, by the way, what the VOA Charter says). Thankfully, the NSC staffer shut down the BBG board member saying that VOA news should be biased - in favor of democracy.

Dec. 31, 2017: Day 4 of #IranProtests.

Protests spread throughout Iranian Kurdistan, Ahwaz, Balouchestan, and elsewhere. This is not 2009. Also: President Trump weighs in again over the weekend over twitter, while former Obama officials call for U.S. to keep quiet in the face of regime killing. Disgraceful! (graphic below courtesy of HRNA, h/t Salman al-Ansari. Video updates available here:


Dec. 30, 2017: The Regime strikes back.

Regime security officials met on Saturday morning, the third day of nation-wide protests, and issued orders to suppress the uprising, according to Mansour Osanloo, the former head of the Tehran bus-driver's union. In an interview with FDI Executive Director Kenneth R. Timmerman, Osanloo said riot-control police were using rubber bullets and water cannons with scalding water in unsuccessful attempts to disperse some 5,000 protestors at Tehran University, as they started to move toward the Supreme Leader's compound. The protestors chanted slogans calling on Khamenei to leave Iran, and for an end to the Islamic Republic, he added. The BBC Persian service has been leading the way in posting verified videos of the protests, but the Voice of America is slowing catching up.


Dec. 29. 2017: #IranProtests explode on Twitter.
The second day of nation-wide anti-regime protests has been propelled by on-scene Twitter videos reposted and spread by Iranians overseas.  This is a huge development. Protestors are chanting "Death to the Dictator," and anti-clerical slogans. In Kermanshah, in northwestern Iran, riot police have cracked down on protestors, but in other cities they have stood by and observed. Will freedom-loving countries come out in support of the people of Iran? Stay tuned!


More here, here, and here.


Dec. 20, 2017: UN human rights experts call on Iran to annul death sentence.
Four experts with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement today calling on Iran to rescind the death sentence a kangaroo court handed down on Swedish-Iranian academic and disaster medicine expert, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. The experts signing the statement included the current UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Pakistani human rights advocate, Ms. Asma Jahangir. 


Dr. Djalali was arrested in April 2016 during a visit to Iran and held for ten months without charge, when he was repeatedly "threatened with torture and other forms of ill-treatment," the statement read. In January 2017, he was taken before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran without a lawyer, and informed he was being accused of "espionage."


Since then, the Iranian regime has fabricated charges that Dr. Djalali was spying for Mossad against Iranian nuclear scientist, and forced him recently into what appeared to be a drug-induced confession aired on Iranian state television earlier this week (see photo). According to Djalali's wife in Sweden, Vida Mehran-nia, the forced confession came after he wrote her from prison that he had been arrested for "refusing to spy for the [Iranian] intelligence ministry."

"I don't understand why they insist on accusig him of spying for Israel," she said. "I think they aired this [his videotaped 'confession'] after Ahmadreza's letter was publishing stating that he was arrested because he did not agree to cooperate with Iran's intelligence ministry."

FDI joins the United Nations OHCHR, Amnesty International, and other human rights organizations, in calling on the Iranian regime to FREE DR. DJALALI, yet another innocent pawn in the hands of cynical intelligence operatives seeking to put pressure on Iranian expatriates and their host governments.

Dec. 15, 2017: Nikki Haley Blasts Iran for Missile Exports to Houthis. 

In a dramatic press conference held at Andrews Air Force base on Thursday, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused Iran of violating its commitments under UN Security Council resolution 2231, the instrument that officializes the deadly “Iran deal” known as the JCPOA. Standing in front of a giant piece of fuselage from an Iranian Qiam missile shot down by Saudi Arabia as it was hurtling toward the Riyadh civilian airport recently, Haley said, “Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK, or the airports in Paris, London, or Berlin. That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s what Iran is actively supporting.”

 

Iran delivered Qiam missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have launched it repeatedly against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia. “What is most revealing about this missile is what’s not here,” Haley said. “It is the large stabilizer fins that are typically present on these kinds of missiles. The Iranian Qiam missile is the only known short range ballistic missile in the world that lacks such stabilizer fins and includes nine valves that you will see running along the length of the missile. Those valves are essentially Iranian missile fingerprints.”

 

Haley invited reporters to walk around an array of parts from the Qiam missile, including pumps bearing the tell-tale stamp of Shahid Bagheri Industires, the Iranian manufacturer (see photo at right).


The full text of her remarks is here.

 

A Pentagon spokesperson, Laura Seal, provided more detail about three other Iranian weapons systems captured by the Saudis from Houthi rebels: an anti-tank guided missile, the Toophan; the Qasef-1 armed attack drone; and the guidance system from an Iranian Shark-33 boat. 

“This is an explosive-laden, unmanned boat used in an attack the Saudi Arabian frigate HMS al Madinah,” Seal said.


The Department of Defense has made additional videos and images of the captured Iranian weapons available here.

 

Dec. 12, 2017: Quds Force Commander Dares U.S. and Israel to Act. Quds Force commander Qassem Suleymani has been acting with increasing brazenness in recent weeks, ever since he established a new command headquarters just inside the Syrian border with Iraq at Abu Kamal. Earlier this month, he dispatched Iraqi Shiite militia chief Qais-al-Khazali on a tour of Syria and Lebanon, to demonstrate the opening of Iran’s long-sought “land bridge” across Iraqi territory through Syria and Lebanon to Israel’s northern borders. (See photo, left)

 

Khazali was detained by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2007 for his role in murdering American soldiers but was subsequently released by Prime Minister Malaki at the insistence of Suleymani.

 

Khazali traveled in an armed convoy on open roads during daylight hours, accompanied by Hezbollah troops. He visited Damascus, then Beirut, where he met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Then he accompanied Hezbollah militiamen to their positions along the Israeli border, even filming a portion of his tour and broadcasting it in Iraq.  According to the Israeli-based Debkafile, Suleymani sees Khazali’s trip as the first step toward sending some 15,000 Iraqi Shiite fighters to positions facing Israel’s northern borders.


Khazali more frequently appears in militia uniform than in clerical garb these days (see photo, right).

 

In a second brazen move, Suleymani ordered Hamas military leader Marwan Issa on Monday to begin a new wave of missile attacks against Israel, purposefully using an open phone line to deliver the message. “The Iranians wanted the Israeli and Egyptian intelligence agencies eavesdropping on incoming and outgoing phone calls to and from Gaza to hear Soleimani pledge full Iranian support for any military action conducted against Israel,” according to the Debkafile.


Suleymani continues to travel outside of Iran in defiance of a UN travel ban, reaffirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, that forbids him and other Quds Force leaders from leaving Iran.

 

Dec. 7, 2017: Student Day marked by anti-Rouhani protests.  On the anniversary of Iranian Student Day and a hundred days into his second term in office, President Hasan Rouhani has yet to fulfill many of the promises he made to university students during his 2013 election campaign, such as relaxing restrictions on university students who express dissent. Student Day is the anniversary of the murder of three university students at Tehran University on December 7, 1953 by police. Every year during “Student Day” week, university students hold demonstrations, as well as conferences attended by influential speakers.

According to the website Jame’e Farda, in the month of October alone, at least 150 doctoral students were either deprived of continuing their education or expelled due to their student activities or political views. Now, after five years, university students are openly criticizing the Rouhani administration at protests across the country for the lack of substantial change on university campuses. Some of the slogans chanted by the students were; "[We] won't be silenced despite threats and summoning of students," "forced labor before graduation, unemployment after education," "students are suppressed all across Iran from north to south," "girls' dormitories are prisons," and "free education is our right, forcible tuition is neither justice nor legal." Students at Shahid Beheshti, and Allameh Tabatabaei universities protested tuition hikes among other practical issues. In social media posts, students can be seen taking part in a celebration with Bandari music and dancing at Najafabad University in Esfehan. (link below)


Dec. 1, 2017: Iranian freedom activists call for investigation of Ahmed Mola assassination. More than 100 Iranian pro-freedom activists and writers have called on the Dutch government to launch an official investigation into the assassination of Ahwazi activist Ahmad Mola, who was gunned down in the Hague on Nov. 8. They also questioned why the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) was the only opposition group not to have condemned Mola's murder, a hinting that others than the Iranian regime may have been responsible for the gangland-style killing.

Nov. 14, 2017: Alleged Quds Force officer claims he assassinated Iranian dissident in Holland. An opposition internet site known for having excellent sources within the IRGC, Amad News, quoted an unnamed IRGC intelligence officer who claimed he had murdered Iranian dissident, Ahmad Mola in Holland. Mola was gunned down at point blank range in front of his house in Holland, and was a known Ahwazi Arab activist. If true, this is only the second regime assassination of a dissident in Europe since the end of the Mykonos killings in 1997. (In April 2017, Saeed Karimian, owner of Dubai-based GEM TV, was murdered in Istanbul, also apparently by regime agents).



Aug. 7, 2017: Turkey colludes with Iran--again. Can anyone doubt Turkish President Erdogan's true colors when he threatens an Iranian journalist, living as a political refugee in Turkey, with expulsion to Iran? At every turn, Erdogan opposes freedom and embraces dictators, from his alliance with Qatar, to his backing of ISIS, to his collusion with the Islamic State of Iran. FDI appeals to freedom-lovers everywhere to support this brave women and her struggle for freedom.


May 21, 2017: Thank-you for your help,
in particular to our activists in Houston and the Los Angeles and Orange County area. Read the article by Adam Kredo at the Free Beacon, "Iranian regime agents operating polling stations across the United States," on FDI efforts to get the federal government to enforce the law.


May 18, 2017 - COMPLETE ELECTION POLLING STATION LIST NOW AVAILABLE. Download here and contact your local authorities to SHUT THEM DOWN.  [NOTE: Fearing demonstrations by the opposition and action by U.S. authorities has led the regime to delay posting addresses for Los Angeles, Orange County, CA, and Houston, TX.


Read: FDI President Kenneth Timmerman's article on the "Iran Election Farce" at FrontPage magazine.


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May 11, 2017: The New Iran joins effort to shut down illegal polls with letter to AG Jeff Sessions.


TAKE ACTION---TAKE ACTION

SIGN THE PETITION AT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

 
May 10, 2017: Pro-Democracy Groups call on Trump Administration to shut down illegal polls.


Joint Statement from FDI and ISICRC:

A broad array of Iranian opposition groups and leaders have called on Iranians to boycott the upcoming May 19 presidential [s]elections, in which candidates previously selected by the regime are engaging in a state-sponsored masquerade of democracy. 

 

In a transparent attempt to bolster the legitimacy of these sham elections, the Iranian regime has announced that it will open 56 polling places across the United States where Iranian citizens can vote, 17 of which have been identified.

 

Today, we asked President Donald J. Trump to shut down these illegal polling places and to take “take all appropriate legal action against those involved in renting, providing, manning or otherwise servicing these facilities" under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

 

In our letter to the President, we noted that 13 CFR 560.512 prohibits Iranian diplomats in the U.S. from carrying out real estate transactions and requires that any financial transactions conducted for official business be run through an account specifically licensed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

 

“To our knowledge, OFAC has not licensed any Iranian-government controlled account to be used to rent these 16 facilities, making all transactions relating to these facilities illegal,” we wrote.

 
Therefore, we are asking the administration to freeze all bank accounts used to rent facilities as illegal polling stations, and to deem all individuals involved in renting or providing such facilities as "agents of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran" and freeze their assets under IEEPA.

The laws of the Islamic Republic require that representatives of the Guardians Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supervise overseas balloting locations. But U.S. law requires Iranian diplomats in the United States to apply to the State Department for permits to travel beyond a 25-mile radius from their diplomatic post. 

 

In our letter to Secretary Tillerson, we asked him to confirm that no State Department permits have been issued to Iranian diplomats to travel beyond the 25-mile radius from their diplomatic posts in Washington, DC and New York, in order to man these polling places.

 

“In the event permits were granted by holdover employees from the previous administration, we would ask that you discipline them appropriately for actions contrary to the interests of the United States and contrary to the policies of this administration,” we wrote.

 

We appended to our letters a listing of the sixteen addresses identified by the Islamic Republic Interests section. (A 17th polling station is to be set up in the Interests section and would thus appear to be legal).

 

As we were preparing our letters to the President and to the Secretary of State, the Islamic regime Interests section removed those addresses, and placed “pins” for an additional 32 polling station locations identified in our appendix, ultimately releasing a table of 56 cities where polling stations would be established.

 

“This practice is consistent with behavior by the Interests Section in 2009, when fear of demonstrations and other action against the balloting by opposition groups in the United States led it to mask specific polling addresses until just hours before they opened,” we wrote.

 

“We thank you in advance for looking into this matter and feel confidant that millions of Iranians who reject the tyranny of the Islamic regime are looking up to you with hope that you will support their quest for freedom,” the letters concluded.


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Cross-posted at ISICRC.org

Note: This file was updated on 5/11/2017 to reflect changes on the Iranian interests section website, and to add references to IEEPA.


Appendices:

 

Letter from FDI and ISICRC to President Trump

Letter from FDI and ISICRC to Secretary Tillerson

Illegal Iranian Regime Balloting Locations in the United States – May 9, 2017 list


March 31, 2017: Activists call on President Trump to appoint FDI President as head of U.S. international media.
More than 170 Iranian human rights activists, broadcasters, and former political prisoners have signed a joint letter urging President Trump to appoint Kenneth R. Timmerman as Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. government agency that manages the Voice of America and America's surrogate media.
"Mr. Timmerman has an illustrious career of more than 30 years as an investigative journalist, broadcast personality, author, and human rights advocate. His experience with the Voice of America and the “freedom radios” of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty goes back decades.," the activists wrote.


The letter describes the "deformation" of America's freedom broadcasts in recent years, with particular dysfunction apparent at the Voice of America's Persian Service and Radio Farda, the Iranian "freedom" radio headquartered with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. "U.S. international broadcasting desperately needs reform. Mr. Timmerman is the right person for the job," the activists write. View the complete letter here.

March 26, 2017: Iran Central Bank reeling from Luxembourg court decision. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI, aka Bank Markazi), is reeling after a Luxembourg court agreed on March 22 to uphold a freeze on accounts worth $1.6 billion it held with the Clearstream clearing house. The freeze resulted from court proceedings filed by attorneys representing victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, who had won two separate judgments totaling more than $10 billion in damages from a U.S. District court. In a letter to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg on March 2, posted on line by the NY Times, lawyers for the plaintiffs detailed the extraordinary measures Bank Markazi had taken in conjunction with Clearstream to shield its assets from U.S. courts. "Clearstream's business methods have led to accusations that it facilitates money laundering and other financial crimes for its clients," the lawyers wrote. The judgments are known as Havlish v. Islamic Republic of Iran, and Hogland v. Islamic Republic of Iran.


March 23, 2017: Congress introduces new Iran sanctions.
Bipartisan coalitions in the House and the Senate today introduced new legislation to expand sanctions on the Islamic State of Iran for its continued development of destabilizing ballistic missiles. The legislation comes in the wake of multiple Iranian ballistic missile tests, seen by members as violations of UN Security Council resolutions. “The new administration took a positive step last month when it responded swiftly to an Iranian missile test with sanctions targeting 25 individuals and entities involved in this dangerous program.  More, however, must be done.  That’s why this bill takes a proactive approach," said Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


March 6, 2017: State Department releases 2016 human rights report. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the annual human rights report, which in previous years has been delayed for political reasons, with a long section detailing Iran's ongoing violations of international human rights standards. This year's reports includes accounts of the execution of 20 Iranian Kurds in Rajai Shahr prison on Aug. 2, 2016, on charges of "enmity towards God," and extrajudicial killings of "unarmed Kurdish smugglers or border couriers" in regions bordering Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.


Feb. 28, 2017: The Crimes of Qassem Suleymani.
FDI Director says Quds Force commander has "more American blood on his hands than any terrorist" after Osama Bin Laden. "It's time [the United States] shut him down for good." From today's Washington Times.


Feb. 22, 2017: Iranian-American political prisoner now a "hostage," regime says.
Gholamreza "Robin" Shahini, a U.S. citizen detained in Iran since May 2016, has gone on a hunger strike in Evin prison for the past six days, after his guards confiscated a notebook he had been keeping and said that he would be treated as a "hostage." Family members in contact through intermediaries with Shahini believe he has been transferred to a different prison and is now being held in solitary confinement. As we reported last year (see Aug. 13, 2016 entry), the State Department under John Kerry refused to work for Shahini's release, after paying $1.7 billion to the Iranian regime for earlier hostages.


Feb. 20, 2017: FDI Director on Radio Israel:
The era of America's capitulation to Islamic Iran is over. In a sweeping thirty-minute interview, Radio Israel Persian Service director Menashe Amir asked FDI Director Kenneth Timmerman what changes he expected to see in U.S. policy toward Iran with the incoming Trump administration. Timmerman said he believed those changes would be sweeping, and would range from stepped up military pressure (not capitulating to Iranian provocations), to support for the pro-freedom movement through public diplomacy and a revitalized Voice of America Persian service and other broadcasting. Listen to the complete interview, in English and in Persian, here:

Feb. 20, 2017: Iranian Dissidents Demand Investigation into Islamic Regime's Secret U.S. Lobbying Network. A group of 100 prominent Iranian dissidents are demanding a Congressional investigation into Iranian regime penetration of the Voice of America's Persian service, the Free Beacon reported today. The dissidents wrote U.S. lawmakers to denounce infiltration of VOA by the National Iranian American Council, NIAC, a pro-Tehran lobbying group whose founders run an influential consulting firm in Iran called Atieh Bahar that introduces Western companies to Iranian markets. The complete letter with the list of signatories is here.

Feb. 18, 2017:  Gold star widow, Iraq vet, denounce Iranian regime crimes against US. In a stunning 4-minute video from the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center, a wounded American warrior asks why the Iranian regime was killing Americans in Iraq and a gold star widow asks why the United States government rewarded her husband's killers. A MUST SEE.



Feb. 10, 2017: The World's Biggest Islamic State turns 38 - let's make this year it's last. On Friday, the Islamic “Republic” of Iran celebrated its 38th birthday by busing hundreds of thousands of Iranians to mosques and public squares to chant “Death to America.” Americans should care about this ill-fated anniversary because the Tehran regime continues to kill American troops on the battlefields of Iraq and Aghanistan. As many as 1500 U.S. soldiers were killed by Iranian operatives using Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) in Iraq alone. Here is the testimony of a gold star wife, who lost her husband to an Iranian bomb in 2007, as presented by the newly-created Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center.
 


In his column on the Islamic State of Iran anniversary, scholar Michael Ledeen claimed that the latest regime bluster against the Trump administration's threats to "put Iran on notice" showed that "the regime is intensely worried that the Trump[ team is preparing serious action."

Feb. 9, 2017: Support building to put IRGC on State Department terrorism list. Senator Cory Booker (R, Co) has joined the growing ranks in Congress who favor the State Department designating the IRGC as a state-sponsor of terrorism. Such a step would entail a significant increase in U.S. sanctions against the IRGC, as well as secondary sanctions against foreign companies doing business.


At a Feb. 6, conference in Washington, DC, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Mark Dubovitz, revealed that FDD had compiled an open source data base of over 850 IRGC entities and front companies that could be hit with new sanctions.


Feb. 3, 2017: Putting Iran on Notice - when uncertainty is our friend. FDI's CEO, Kenneth R. Timmerman, spells out the type of measures the Trump administration might adopt to intensify pressure on the Iranian regime. These include: stepped up Persian-language broadcasting, banning Iranian diplomats from international travel, military steps to curtain IRGC-QF expansion into Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, and more.


Jan. 14, 2017: Dual-nationals go on hunger strike in Evin Prison. The Islamic state of Iran has stepped up its campaign to arrest dual-nationals visiting Iran, and terrified family members back home have only reluctantly come out of the shadow to speak of their plight. Lebanese-born U.S. green card holder Nizar Zakka was arrested on September 18, 2015, after being lured to Iran with an invitation from an Iranian vice president to address a conference on sustainable development. One year later, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Since December 8, he has been on hunger strike to protest the regime's refusal to allow him consular visits from the Lebanese embassy.

Swedish resident Ahmadreza Jalali, right, an expert in emergency disaster medicine, also visited Iran on an official invitation. He was supposed to address a conference at Tehran university. Instead, intelligence ministry agents arrested him on April 24, 2016. “With each individual grabbed and locked up, without even the pretense of due process, the Iranian Judiciary’s disregard for the rule of law becomes more blatant” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. These arrests of Iranian dual-nationals amounted to "hostage taking," he added. Jalali went on hunger strike on Christmas Day to protest his arrest.


Jan. 8, 2017: Rafsanjani dies of heart attack; Khamenei loses cover.
Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani died today of a heart attack at the age of 82. A central figure in the Islamic Republic hierarchy since its inception, Rafsanjani tricked every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan into believing he was a "moderate," somehow opposed to the "hard-liners" in charge of the regime's affairs. In fact, Rafsanjani operated at the core of the regime and supported its doctrine of absolute clerical rule and its terrorist operations, from the taking of U.S. hostages in Lebanon to the bombing of U.S. servicemen in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, including Iran's support for al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot.


Rafsanjani was indicted in Argentina for his role in the AMIA bombing that killed 86 Argentinean Jews in 1994, and was also cited in the 1996 Mykonos murders in Germany for his role in directing "hit squads" that assassinated Iranian opposition leaders living overseas. He was also named as a defendant in Havlish v. Islamic Republic of Iran, litigation brought by family members of 9/11 victims against the Iranian regime that led to a $6 billion judgment against the regime and against Rafsanjani personally.


Rafsanjani invited nuclear scientists to return from exile in the mid-1980s and is widely viewed as the "father" of Iran's covert nuclear weapons program, having famously declared his belief that Iran could destroy Israel with a single nuclear weapon. ("The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while the same against Iran would only cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable," he said in a sermon at Tehran University on Dec. 14, 2001).


The wily pseudo-moderate provided cover to Khamenei and other "hard-liners" by offering them a life-line to the West, and is widely credited with having pushed hard for the Iran deal with the United States and the EU-3.


Nevertheless, in recent years his power has been challenged by the IRGC, which arrested his own children (since released) and protege's, including members of Atieh Bahar, a consulting company established by Iranians in the United States with the goal of helping foreign companies do business in Iran.


Rafsanjani's reach continues to be on display in the United States, where his sympathizers include the editor of Voice of America's Persian News Network, Mohammad Manzarpour. When Rafsanjani's death was announced, Manzarpour changed his Facebook page to a well-known Koranic verse used to express sympathy for someone who has just died.

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Jan. 5, 2017: Conservative Leaders Join FDI in calling for Iran Asset Recovery plan.
In a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released today, prominent conservative leaders sketched out a plan to step up pressure on the Islamic state in Iran through legislation that would allow Iranians whose property was confiscated by the Islamic regime to pursue restitution or compensation through U.S. courts or other means.


The letter, spearheaded by FDI, recalled Congressional action against previous totalitarian regimes, in particular, the 1996 Helms-Burton Act which penalized foreign companies trafficking in property stolen from Cuba nationals by Castro.


Many Iranian-Americans have tried to sue the Islamic regime in Tehran to recover their stolen assets, but have failed in U.S. courts and in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague. A successful Iran Assets Recovery Plan must include Iranians who became U.S. citizens after their assets were seized
.


• Read the Support Letter sent by FDI to Rep. Royce here.


• Read FDI  President & CEO Kenneth Timmerman's column at The Hill on the Asset Recovery Plan here.


Jan. 4, 2017: Dissident Ayatollah released on medical leave. Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemini-Boroujerdi, jailed since 2006 for challenging the doctrine of absolute clerical rule at the core of the Islamic state in Iran, was released today to seek medical treatment, after posting bail of 300 million toman (approximately $100,000).


Regime thugs stormed Boroujerdi's compound in October 2006, ransacking his house and arresting him and many family members and supporters. Sentenced to ten years in prison by the Special Court of the Clergy, he should have been released last year. Extensive torture and a failure by prison authorities to provide him with medical treatment have caused serious injuries, including heart problems and such severe back pain he has not been able to walk for months. FDI and other human rights groups repeatedly have called for Boroujerdi's release.


Dec. 16, 2016: After Aleppo, IRGC leaders vow to intervene in Bahrain, Yemen.
After the massacre of Aleppo, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps leaders are vowing to overthrow the Emir of Bahrain and take over Yemen. "The victory in Aleppo will pave the way for liberating Bahrain,” deputy IRGC commander Hossein Salameh told IRNA. He added, “the people of Bahrain will achieve their wishes, the Yemeni people will be delighted, and the residents of Mosul will taste victory. These are all divine promises." For anyone who thinks the Iranian regime was intending to stop with its support for Syria's Assad, think again: they believe they are on a roll, and that the United States "will do nothing," as Ayatollah Khomeini liked to say. Under Obama, the U.S. government has done nothing except engage in elaborate hand-wringing. As these IRGC statements show, weakness is provocative when dealing with totalitarians.

The IRGC's mission is spelled out in the preamble of the Islamic Republic of Iran constitution, under the heading "An Ideological Army."

"The Army of the Islamic Republic  and the Corps of Guards of the Revolution (IRGC) ...will be responsible not only for the guarding and preserving the frontiers,  but also with the task of the ideological mission of jihad in God's path, that is fighting for extending the sovereignty of God's Law throughout the world (this is in accordance with the Koranic verse "Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and strings of horses, striking fear into the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them" [8:60]).

The Koranic inscription comes from the Chapter of War Booty (al Anfaal), and is a well-known incitement to Holy War against the non-Muslims.

Dec. 12, 2016: Persian News Nightmare: America's 'Voice' has been transformed into the Voice of Tehran. It's time to shut it down. In a column in today's Washington Times, FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman argues that Iranian regime agents have so thoroughly penetrated the Voice of America's Persian News Network that it can no longer be saved. "It’s time to shut it down and save the taxpayers some money and our nation from public embarrassment," he wrote.


Nov. 21, 2016: British-Iranian dual-national jailed while on Iran visit at "breaking point," family says.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe  a project manager with Thomson Reuters Foundation jailed while on a visit to Iran in April, has reached the "breaking point" after a five-day hunger strike. Her Iranian family was summoned to Evin Prison last Friday for an "emergency visit," and were shocked at her dramatically weakened state, her British husband told The Guardian. Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliff is just one of a growing number of dual nationals arrested, jailed and tortured by the Islamic State of Iran on allegations of formenting a color revolution among Iranian youth.


Richard Ratcliff, her husband, told The Daily Mail that he believed she was being used as a "bargaining chip" over Iranian claims it was stiffed on a £500 million tank deal to buy British Centurion tanks under the Shah.


Nov. 19, 2016: Three Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for taking communion wine. The Islamic State of Iran continues to intimidate, jail, and torture Christians, especially former Muslim believers who have joined the rapidly growing house church movement in Iran. The latest victims, Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayaee, and Mohammed Reza Omidi, have been sentenced to 80 lashes after they were arrested in May taking communion at a church gathering in Rasht.


Nov. 17, 2016: Pro-Tehran lobby vows to fight Trump agenda.
In an email to supporters, Tehran's chief lackey in the United States, Trita Parsi, warned of a "nightmare scenario" becoming reality under President-Elect Donald Trump. Parsi decried the President-Elect's opposition to the failed Iran nuclear deal, and claimed the Trump team planned to initiate a "Muslim registry," a false claim fabricated out of whole cloth by the New York Times that was immediately debunked by a transition spokesperson. In his alarmist email, Parsi called on supporters to donate to his organization, which a federal judge determined was a lobbying front for the Iranian regime.


The transition team reportedly is considering re-instating a visa system for non-citizen aliens from certain countries modeled on the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) that the George W. Bush administration put into effect shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Persistent attacks from the ACLU and Muslim Brotherhood front organizations such as CAIR eventually led the Department of Homeland Security to scrap NSEERS in 2011.

Nov. 16, 2016: Iranian nationalists send support letter to President Elect Trump. A group of Iranian nationalists have sent a letter of support to President-Elect Trump, congratulating him on his election and encouraging him to focus on the plight of the Iranian people. "As you are aware, under President Obama’s terms in office, the struggles of the Iranian freedom movement, the plight of the ethnic and religious minority and Afghan refugees were all ignored," they wrote. "The Iranian people need moral support to be able to move towards regime change." Read the full letter here.

Nov.  10, 2016: Just say no... to doing business with Iran. In a powerful oped, retired Staff Sgt. Robert Bartlett, whose skull was split open by an Iranian-produced Explosively-Formed-Penetrator (EFP) while he was on patrol in Iraq, argues that U.S. companies should reject Iranian overtures to do business with a regime that is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Sgt. Bartlett is a founding member of United Against Nuclear Iran's Veterans Advisory Council. "Over the years, Iran has been responsible for killing more than 1,000 U.S. service members," according to a statement by UANI as part of its latest campaign to convince U.S. companies to shun business opportunities in Iran.

Oct. 30, 2016: Iranians protest regime at King Cyrus tomb. Thousands of Iranians gathered outside the tomb of King Cyrus in Pasargadae on Friday, Oct. 28, to celebrate the birth of the Iranian king who freed the Jews in 539 BC. "Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father," they chanted.


Fearing a massive anti-regime protest, the IRGC sealed off the city two days before the rally, but were not successful at preventing a large crowd from gathering outside the tomb and chanting anti-regime slogans, including the name of the son of the former Shah, Reza Pahlavi.  Cyrus is held dear by Iranians not just as the symbol of past greatness, but also for the principles of tolerance and respect for human rights enshrined in the Cyrus cylinder, now housed in the British Museum.


Oct. 19, 2016: UN Rapporteur releases latest human rights report. Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, whom the Iranian regime is trying to force out as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, has released his latest periodic report, which remains critical of the regime for mistreatment of its citizens. You can download the full report as a PDF here, or visit Dr. Shaheed's website for more.


Oct. 3, 2016: Those family ties...
Fatimeh Mugniheh (left), daughter of former Hezbollah military leader Imad Mugniyeh, and her "friend," Zeynab Suleymani, daughter of Quds Force leader Qassem Suleymani, take in a film in Tehran. (Original Twitter pic here). Mugniyeh was known to have taken an Iranian wife and spoke fluent Farsi in addition to Dari, linguistic skills that helped him during many missions to Afghanistan for Suleymani's Quds Force, where he helped al Qaeda plot the 9/11 attacks. Mugniyeh's involvement in the 9/11 plot was first revealed on pages 240-241 of the 9/11 Commission report, which described his presence on multiple flights from Damascus and Riyadh to Tehran between October 2000 and February 2001, conveying future hijackers to their Iranian handlers. Families of 9/11 victims won a $6 billion judgment against the Iranian regime in a U.S. federal court because of Iran's material support to the 9/11 plot.

 
Bill Nojay 1956-2016

FDI Statement on the death of board member Bill Nojay:

“The pro-freedom movement in Iran has lost a great champion.”

 

Sept. 14, 2016 IFDI) - The FDI Board and supporters of a secular, free Iran were shocked to learn of the death of board member Bill Nojay, who was found dead of a gunshot wound at his family’s cemetery plot in Pittsfield, New York on Friday.

 

FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman spoke with Nojay just days before his death. “We were embarking on a new project, and Bill was enthusastic and upbeat,” Timmerman said.

 

Nojay was elected to the New York State legislature in 2012, and won his primary for re-election on September 13, four days after his death.


"Bill devoted a huge amount of his time to serve others, without a thought to any reward,” Timmerman said. “I am honored to have served with him on the board of FDI in the service of freedom.”

 

Nojay worked with FDI to promote the cause of victims of the Iranian government, individuals whose loved ones were murdered, or people subjected to extrajudicial detention and torture.

 

“We were working with more than 200 victims of Iranian state ter0n U.S. courts because they were not U.S. citizens at the time the crimes against them were committed,” Timmerman said.

 

“Many of these individuals have contacted me since learning of Bill’s death to express their dismay and sadness at the loss of such a stalwart champion of freedom,” Timmerman added.


In 2007, Nojay joined Timmerman at a 3-day effort in Paris, known as Solidarity Iran,to build a broad coalition among diverse Iranian opposition groups. “Bill was always generous to volunteer his time and his skills to help Iranians in need,” Timmerman said.

 

“The pro-freedom movement in Iran has lost a great champion.”

[Photos: Bill Nojay and  FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman at the 2007 Solidarity Iran conference in Paris. Bottom: Timmerman, Nojay, Rep. Michelle Bachman, and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, at the National Press Club, 2013.

 

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Aug. 26, 2016: Iranian regime seeks to eliminate independent UN human rights reporting.

After its success in forcing the resignation of Ahmed Shaheed, the trail-blazing UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, the Islamic regime in Iran is now hoping it can count on U.S. help to elect a lackey to succeed him.

 

But that may be easier said than done.

 

Dr. Shaheed has issued scathing reports on the systematic human rights violations by the Iranian regime, focusing international attention on the persecution of women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the political opposition.

His focus on the regime’s human rights record got him banned from Iran just months after he took office in August 2011. Despite multiple requests since that time, the regime has never allowed him to visit or Iran. Dr. Shaheed was re-elected to his sixth one year term in March 2016.

 

FDI sources believe that the Iranian regime only succeeded in getting Dr. Shaheed removed from his position because of active assistance of Secretary of State John Kerry. “For Secretary Kerry, human rights issues were among the first things to be sacrificed… to facilitate the normalization of relations with the Iranian ayatollahs,” one opposition activist said.

 

“For several years, this administration has black-listed those Iranians and Iranian-Americans – and Americans, too – who opposed the Islamic Republic, not only from access to American policy makers, but from all the media it controlled, in particular the Voice of America,” the activist added.

 

Human rights advocates and at least two U.S. elected officials have been promoting Roozbeh Farahanipour, who came to the United States as a political refugee in 1999, as a replacement for Dr. Shaheed.

 

Mr. Farahanipour, who runs a business in Los Angeles and was recently re-elected to his fourth term on the Westwood Neighborhood Council, advocates for a “secular republic” to replace the Islamic regime in Iran. He tells FDI that he would continue the work of Dr. Shaheed to expose the barbaric practices that the Islamic Republic considers to be “normal” expressions of Islamic Sharia law.

 

In his letter of support to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, California State Senator Joel Anderson commended Mr. Farahanipour for his “unyielding commitment to raising awareness of the injustices that plague his home country and his ability to overcome immense opposition and retaliation in the battle for Iranian human rights.”

 

In a parallel letter, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R, Fl) identified Farahanipour as “an invaluable advisor on all issues regarding the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and commended him as “an international leader in the Iranian cultural renaissance movement.”

 

Farahanipour has won support from a broad cross-section of Iranian diaspora leaders who agree with him and Dr. Shaheed that universal standards should govern the United Nations effort to monitor human rights practices in Iran, not separate Sharia-law standards.

 

“I majored in Sharia law as a law student in Tehran, and it’s clear that Islamic law and human rights can never be bedfellows,” he told FDI.

 

Dr. Shaheed most recently aroused the ire of the Iranian regime for criticizing laws that created two new categories of offensives unknown in other countries: “Mohareb” (literally, one who fights against God), and “Mofsed fel-arz” (“corruptor on earth.”). Both are punishable by death in today’s Iran and have been used as excuses to execute thousands of political prisoners over the past 37 years.

 

In a July 12, 2016 statement to a hard-line website, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, chairman of the Iranian regime’s “Human Rights High Command,” dismissed Dr. Shaheed’s criticism by saying, “What business of yours are these things? These issues are solely the concerns of our laws.”

 

After enumerating several Islamic punishments enshrined in current Iranian law, Larijani concluded: “Before anything else, Ahmed Shaheed must understand the laws of Islam…”

 

Speaking to a pro-Rouhani website, Larijani’s deputy for international arffairs, Kazem Gharib-abadi, was more explicit. “One of our tasks at the Human Rights High Command is to influence and reform [Western] human rights documents, because Islamic Human Rights must be recognized and must be reflected in [international] human rights documents.”

 

In recent discussions with the European Union, the Iranian regime has insisted that the next Special Rapporteur come from a Muslim country and have a good knowledge of Sharia law, informed sources tell FDI.

 

Three candidates in addition to Farahanipour fit that bill: the former head of Pakistan’s Human Rights commission, Ms. Asma Jilani Jahangir, a fierce opponent of Islamic blasphemy laws; Sudanese lawyer Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, who authored a 2012 study on human rights law as it applied to the Dharfur conflict; and Turkish women’s rights advocate Yakin Erturk, who was the UN Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women from 2003-2009 and more recently called the Iranian regime’s war on women a “bloody stain” on its human rights record.

 

The pro-Tehran lobbying group NIAC has been promoting American Neil Nicks, director of Human Rights Promotion at Human Rights First, an organization that seeks to make the human rights of LGBT people “a foreign policy priority of the U.S. government. Hicks previously worked as a researcher for the Middle East Department of Amnesty nternational in London, and before that, as a project officer at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

 

The Human Rights Council is expected to meet during the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly in New York and elect on a new rapporteur for Iran sometime between September 13 and September 25. Permalink.



Aug. 13, 2016: Hard-line publication claims visiting American was opposition James Bond. Why was yet another American taken hostage in Iran? Hard-liners predictably claim he was a U.S. spy--and now are saying he's an agent of the exiled opposition.Gholamreza "Robin" Shahini (Permalink)

Gholamreza "Robin" Shahini traveled to Iran this May to visit his family in the northern city of Gorgan after graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in international security and conflict resolution. He had gone back to school after years of running a pizza shop, and was 46 years old when IRGC goons burst into his mother's home, presented a search warrant, and took him into custody.

For two weeks, his girlfriend in the United States, who was in contact with his family in Iran, had no news what had happened to him. The search warrant presented to Reza's sister accused him of unspecified "crimes against the state." The LA Times cited a friend who speculated on Facebook that he might have been detained because of online comments criticizing the human rights record of the Islamic regime.

The Iranian regime continues to arrest U.S.-Iranian dual nationals despite the hostage swap and ransom payment last January. Shahini is the third U.S.-citizen currently held in Iran. The regime has also arrested Canadian and British citizens in recent months.

Secretary of Sate John Kerry and his spokesperson, John Kirby,  apparently just wish Shahini would go away. Both have refused to answer questions from reporters. The State Department did not return several calls by FDI asking for comment.

"All I hear from Secretary Kerry is 'human rights, human rights,' and yet when an American citizen is taken hostage in Iran, what do they do? Nothing," Shahini's girlfriend told FDI.

Shahini's arrest was first reported on July 21. Three days later, former intelligence minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i, now spokesman for the Judiciary, confirmed his arrest.

But it wasn't until last Wednesday (Aug. 10) that his lawyer was allowed to visit him, after he had a medical emergency. "Robin has severe asthma and they took away his medication," his girlfriend said. "I sent all that information to the lawyer. He is allergic to cigarette smoke. So then they put him in the place in the jail where all the criminals go to smoke!"

Shahini told his lawyer that his interrogators were accusing him of being a spy for the United States.

A hard-line Iranian internet publication published on Friday two photographs of Shahini, apparently taken from his laptop, which had been seized by the authorities. The first shows him shaking hands with former president Abolhassan Banisadr in Banisadr's residence in Versailles, France. The second shows him at a conference table to Reza Pahlav, son of the former shah.

The article claims that Reza was "commissioned by the National Council to reconcile Bani Sadr to the Pahlavis." The article also claimed that Reza traveled to Iran at the request of the U.S. intelligence services "on a mission from the U.S. government... to create chaos in the country."

The full name of Reza Pahlavi's organization is the Iran National Council for Free Elections. It promotes reconcillation and cooperation among all democratic factions of the Iranian opposition, as does FDI.

Neither Banisadr nor Reza Pahlavi has confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, and Shahini's girlfriend told FDI that he had never been a supporter of either politician. But a 2009 trip to Iran during the Green Movement protests "was a turning point for Robin" and made him more aware of the human rights situation inside Iran.

The regime has been on an execution spree in recent weeks, on some days killing as many as five political prisoners, many of them Kurds, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

In an ominous development, Shahini's family say he has been placed in the Quarantine ward in isolation from other prisoners. Families of other political prisoners note that they have been called to visit their loved ones in the isolation ward shortly before they were executed.
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Aug. 6, 2016: Iran executes former nuclear scientist - Clinton email tie?

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Five years into a ten year jail sentence for espionage, former nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri was executed on Saturday by hanging and his body returned to his family.

 Shahram Amiri

Amiri “disappeared” while making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in 2009. The Iranian regime accused the United States of kidnapping him because he was engaged in sensitive nuclear research. Later, Mr. Amiri surfaced in the United States, and published reports said he was paid $5 million by the U.S. government for providing information on Iran’s nuclear program.

In July 2010, Mr. Amiri had remorse, after several emotional phone calls with his five-year old son, who he had left behind in Iran. He traveled from Arizona to the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, DC, asking to be taking back to Iran.
 
Those events led to crudely-coded email exchanges between Jake Sullivan and his boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that were released in July 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
“The gentleman you have talked to Bill Burns about has apparently gone to his country’s Interests Section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure,” Sullivan wrote in an email to Mrs. Clinton private email server on July 12, 2010. “This could lead to problematic news stories in the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted.”
 
This is the type of email exchange, containing classified information, that Mrs. Clinton’s aides never should have communicated over an unclassified system, giving rise to the charge by FBI Director Comey that Mrs. Clinton had been “reckless” in her handling of classified material.
 
So reckless, in fact, that now someone clearly referred to in her emails is dead, executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
 
“Something dramatic happened that caused the regime to execute Shahram Amiri on Saturday, half-way through his ten-year sentence for espionage,” said Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian human rights activist who has been nominated to become the next United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran.
 
Did the release of the Hillary Clinton emails provide the Iranian regime with some proof it had previously lacked that Shahram Amiri was a U.S. spy? If so, it shows once again the reckless disregard of Mrs. Clinton and her aides for protecting U.S. national security - and indeed, the lives of individuals who had a secret relationship to the U.S. government.

For more background on Amiri's initial defection to the United States, see our July 20, 2010 blogpost.
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Aug. 5, 2016: Iranian state television showed footage Iran shows US ransom moneyof ransom payment. Donald Trump got into hot water last week when he claimed he had seen television footage of the $400 million cash payment to Iran made by the United States government in January. While he subsequently said he had been mistaken, and had seen U.S. TV footage of the aircraft carrying the hostages arriving in Geneva,  he may have been right to begun with.


Iranian state TV included pictures of the palettes with shrink-wrapped cash in a documentary called "Rules of the Game" it aired on February 15. "A narrator, speaking in Persian, describes a money-for-hostages transaction over video clips of a plane on an airport tarmac in the dead of night and a photo of a giant shipping pallet stacked with what appear to be banknotes," The Guardian newspaper reported.


Yesterday, Pastor Saeed Abedini, one of the three U.S. hostages who was released on January 17, told Fox News that his captors told him they were waiting for another plane to arrive before letting his plane take off.


July 27, 2016: Iran arrests another dual-national.  The Islamic state of Iran has stepped up arrests of visiting dual-nationals, apparently in an effort to reassert the regime's authority over a population increasingly critical over ongoing corruption scandals. The latest victim, Iranian-American Reza "Robin" Shahini, had never been politically active but nevertheless erased several years of Facebook posts so not to provide the regime with any reason for arresting him. It didn't work. He now joins a growing number of expat Iranians languishing in Evin prison. So much for the "kinder, gentler" face of the regime under Rouhani and the nuclear deal.


Meanwhile, the corruption scandals inside Iran continue to generate unrest, as does the regime's recruitment of young Afghan men to fight Iran's battles in Syria. Iranians are increasingly furious as more details of the payslip scandal emerge, showing that grossly-incompetent employees at a state insurance earn phenomenal salaries, because of political ties to Rouhani-regime insiders.


July 21, 2016: Saudi FM blasts Iranian consul for Iran-al Qaeda ties.
In a remarkable exchange Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir demolished a senior Iranian diplomat for Iran's ongoing ties to al Qaeda. Today's forum, sponsored by the Belgian foreign ministry and hosted by the Egmont Institute, took place a day after the United States Treasury designated three additional al Qaeda members as global terrorists, two of them working from Iran. (For more on the Treasury designations, see here and here). In response to a harangue by the Iranian diplomat that Iran couldn't possibly be sponsoring al Qaeda because of their sectarian differences, al-Jubeir calmly expounded a series of facts, starting with Iran's sponsorship of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, and leading up to the 2003 Riyadh bombings and beyond. "The order to blow up three housing compounds in Riyadh, in 2003, was made by Saef al Adel, Al Qaeda's chief of operations, while he was in Iran. We have the phone conversation on tape. We didn't make this up," he said. "Ronald Reagan used to say, facts are stubborn things, They are stubborn. Because you can't get around them."


Saudi Arabia has captured Iranian agents on its soil, and has seized explosives Iran attempted to smuggle into Saudi Arabia for additional terrorist attacks. But Saudi wasn't the only target, he noted. "Iranian agents have been linked to terrorist attacks in Europe, to terrorist attacks in South America. We didn't make this up. This is the world. This is evidence." This remarkable six minute exchange is worth viewing in its entirety.


May 13, 2016: Mullahs re-arrest Christian pastor and his wife.
Iranian pastor Yousef Nakerkhani and his
                          wife Tina, prisoners of Christ in Iran.Yousef Naderkani, who was arrested in 2009 and condemned to death for apostasy for renouncing Islam, was rearrested on Friday along with his wife, Tina Pasandide Nakarkhani and three members of their house church. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, they were interrogated for several hours but ultimately released later in the day. The status of the other detainees remains unclear.


Pastor Youssef was acquitted of the apostasy charge and released from jail in September 2012, after refusing to recant his Christian faith. He was rearrested a first time on Christmas Day 2012 and held for more than two weeks.


"The continued harrassment of Christians by the Islamic regime authorities in Iran because of their religion shows once again that this regime does not respect the most fundamental human and civil rights of its own citizens," said FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman. "Western governments would do better to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its egregious human rights violations and its ongoing support for international terrorism, rather than seek illusive profits by doing business in Iran."


May 1, 2016: First Labor Day labor protests in 8 years; tens of thousands take to the street.
Tens of thousands of workers marched through the streets of Tehran on Friday, the first Labor Day protest in eight years. Bahar News reported that close to 10,000 workers demonstrated against the Rouhani government in front of the state-affiliated Workers House and then made their way toward Palestine square. Protesters held posters demanding insurance for construction workers, job security in the workplace, and a ban on hiring foreign workers. The protests were led by Hassan Sadeghi, head of the state-sanctioned Union of Veterans of the Labor Community, and included leaders and members of the Asalooyeh Guild, a newly-formed "unofficial" union.



Comments from readers thanking the website for reporting on the protests received over 500 likes.More photos from the protests are here.

Labor activist Mansour Osanloo, the former head of the Tehran Bus Driver's Union who fled Iran three years ago and now lives in the United States, told FDI that labor unrest has spread to Iran Khodro, the largest auto maker in the country. "The Sepah Pasdaran owns the petrochemical industry and the car plants, through Khotam ol-anbia," Osanloo said. "These people are not qualified. They are not managers. They have stolen so much from these companies they can no longer pay the workers. The whole system is corrupt."

Over the past year, labor unrest has spread through the oil industry in Khouzestan and into Iranian Kurdistan, Osanloo said. "Without sanctions relief, the regime was in big trouble. Don't give them the money!" Osanloo said.


April 27, 2016: Iran Oil Exports soar, but Leader blasts U.S. for failed sanction relief.
The latest figures, released by Reuters today, show a 50% leap in Iranian oil exports in March to its primary Asian markets, China, South Korea, Japan and India. Oil shipments reached 1.56 million b/d, up from 1 million b/d for March 2015. The most notable increase was India, which had stopped importing Iranian oil because of its inability to find a payment mechanism.


Despite the dramatic upsurge in Iranian oil exports, regime leaders in Tehran said the U.S. was not doing enough to provide sanctions relief promised under the nuclear agreement. Both Khamenei and Rouhani blasted the United States in separate statements for the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows victims of Iranian state terror attacks in Beirut and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia to collect some $2 billion frozen in U.S. accounts held beneficially for the Iranian Central Bank. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif went even further, calling a recent decision by a U.S. court that Iran must pay damages for its role in the 9/11 attacks "the height of absurdity." Until now, the Iranian regime has simply ignored U.S. lawsuits stemming from its terrorist activities, resulting in a string of default judgments against Iran that allow plaintiffs to freeze and potentially seize  assets.


April 15, 2016: Dissident ayatollah escapes alleged assassination attempt.
Dissident ayatollah Kasemeini-Borujerdi, who has been jailed since 2006 for his refusal to accept the doctrine of absolute clerical rule, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Evin prison, according to his European representative Maryam Moazen. Citing reports from inside Evin, Mrs. Moazen told FDI that Iranian regime intelligence agents gave Borujerdi poisoned food that caused "severe pains, in particular in his legs," and affected his eyesight. The attempted food poisoning occured on April 7, following 440 days of solitary confinement, and was not the first assassination attempt against the dissident ayatollah while in prison. It also came at the end of Borujerdi's 11 year sentence. He was scheduled to be released earlier this month but continues to be held in Evin, where the Special Court for the clergy is now attempting to file a new case against him for "heresy," Mrs. Moazen said.

March 30, 2016: U.S. and allies say Iran missile-launches violate UN resolution. In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the U.S. and its European allies blasted Iran for recent ballistic missile tests "in defiance" the UN Security Council resolution that ratified last year's nuclear deal. UNSC Resolution 2231 called on Iran to "refrain" from testing ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons. The letter stated that Iran had achieved that key capability with its improved Qadr missiles, test-fired on March 9. The Qadr-F reportedly had a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles), and the Qadr-H had a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles), bringing not just Israel but targets in Europe within range.


March 23, 2016: State Department confirms additional payments to Iran.
In a startling announcement that Secretary Kerry somehow forgot when he was promoting the Iran nuclear deal, the State Department continues to negotiate with Iran disputes going back to the 1979 hostage crisis, and foresees making additional payments to Iran beyond the $1.7 billion ransom payment in January. The news emerged in a letter from the State Department in response to an inquiry from Rep. Mike Pomeo, R-KS, that Pompeo's office released today. The letter noted that the January payment liquidated a $400 million Trust Fund on deposit with the U.S. Treasury from Iran for Foreign Military Sales purchases in the United States, plus interest, but that "fact-intensive claims" involving "over 1,000 separate contracts between Iran and the United States" remain outstanding and are now the subject of new negotiations. The letter is here (pdf file).


March 21, 2016: DIA document shows Iran's involvement in Benghazi.
The Iranian Connection to the Benghazi attacks is finally coming to light, from today's Washington Times. An analysis of the involvement of the IRGC Quds Force in the attacks was ordered by then DIA Director LTG Michael Flynn. While the results remain classified, Gen. Flynn has confirmed that he issued the tasking order for an all source review of what the defense intelligence community knew about the Iranian presence in Benghazi and involvement in the attacks. View the original DIA document here [pdf document]


March 19, 2016: U.S. arrests Babak Zanjani crony in Miami; unseals federal indictment. Reza Zarrab, 33, was arrested on charges of money-laundering and sanction violations, and flown over the weekend to New York. A sealed indictment, handed down in July 2015, was released that detailed the allegations against Zarrab, which included laundering over $130 million of Iranian oil. You can read the unsealed indictment here [pdf document].

March 6, 2016: Ajad's sanctions-buster-in-chief condemned for fraud: The official media in Iran says that Babak Zanjani, who has boasted of laundering billions of dollars of oil sales through Western sanctions regimes, has been condemned to death. We'll see. More likely is that he hasn't turned over the keys to his overseas empire to his handlers, who now sing for Rouhani....

March 2, 2016: Bin Laden says Iran is "our main artery for funds..." In a dramatic new revelation, so far under the radar of the national media, the Director of National Intelligence has released a letter from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to a follower, admonishing him for threatening to attack Iran. The letter was among a cache of documents seized during the 2011 raid by Seal Team 6 that killed Bin Laden and was posted yesterday to the DNI website. In the letter, Bin Laden reveals that Iran "is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages." Read more at The Tower.


March 1, 2016: American terror victims to collect $9.4 million from Iran.
In a landmark victory after years of litigation, U.S. victims of Iranian state-sponsored terror attacks have won the right to collect $9.4 million from a long-frozen asset in California belonging to the Iranian regime.

Feb. 24, 2016: Regime Vice-president reveals execution of village's "entire male population": Shahindokht Molaverdi, vice president for Women and and Family affairs, revealed that regime agents had executed the entire male population of a population in Sistan-va-Baluchestan province, on allegations of drug trafficking. "Society is responsible for the families of those executed," she told the Mehr news agency.


Feb. 11, 2016: Today the 1st Islamic State Celebrates its Anniversary. ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is the late-comer to the world of Islamic-inspired murder and mayhem. The regime that invented the genre will celebrate its 37th anniversary on Feb. 11. It’s official name: the Islamic Republic of Iran. Read more from FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman's column in today's Frontpage magazine.


Feb. 10, 2016: Boroujerdi supporters appeal to Congress.
Supporters of jailed dissident Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi have sent an an empassioned letter to Reps. Pompeo, Zeldin, and LoBiondo, who are seeking to travel to Iran to monitor the upcoming "elections." In the letter, they note that Boroujerdi, who was jailed along with thousands of supporters in 2006, is one of the longest suffering political prisoners in Iran. "His crime: advocating the separation of religion and state and defending democracy and freedom," they write. Boroujerdi's health has "reached a precarious state, because of diseases caused by constant beatings and other forms of torture over the past ten years," they added. And yet, the regime continues to deny him medical treatment.


Boroujerdi has particularly angered the regime because as a cleric, he was expected to support the velayat-e faghih, absolute clerical rule. In fact, there are so many clerics who reject the clerical dictatorship that the regime has established a Special Court of the Clergy to punish them. Boroujerdi's supporters asked the three Republicans to visit Boroujerdi in prison, and if possible to bring a physician with them. Read the letter.


Feb. 5, 2016: Conservative Republicans want to visit Iran.
Three conservative members of Congress, Reps Mike Pompeo, Lee Zeldin, and Frank LoBiondo, have sent a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei and IRGC Commander Gen. MOhammad Ali Jafari, asking for visas so they could come to Iran to observe the upcoming Majlis elections on Feb. 26 and meet with IRGC leaders. Pomeo said the three Republicans asked to meet the head of Iran's nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, whom the Iranians have kept off-limits to international weapons inspectors, and with Iranian-American hostage Siamak Nemazi. They also wanted information on the missing former FBI agent, Robert Levinson.

" If Iran is truly a partner in peace, as President Obama and Secretary Kerry claim, then Iranian leaders should have no problem granting our visas and arranging the requested agenda.  I look forward to receiving a timely response from Iran,” said Pompeo, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “Americans deserve credible, first-hand confirmation of what present-day reality is in Iran, regarding the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, status of American hostages and foreign policy objectives of Iranian leaders,” Zeldin added. The full text of the letter is here.


Jan. 29, 2016: Italy veils statutes to please Rouhani.
The Italian government shrouded nude Roman statutes when Islamic Republic president Rouhani came to town on his shopping spree this week, apparently to "spare" him embarrassment. While Rouhani reportedly did not ask for the veiling, he said, "I thank you for this." The Iranian women's group, My Stealthy Freedom, criticized Italian media and female politicians who went along with this expression of dhimmitude: "This censorship reminds us of the way the Iranian regime has been forcing millions of women in Iran to cover up. The politicians of our country, regardless of whether a woman is Muslim or not, force women in Iran to cover up and their justification is, ‘You, as a woman, should be shrouded in front of my eyes in order not to provoke me’. This way of thinking is completely unacceptable.” The Persian Facebook link is here.


Jan. 17, 2016: Welcome to the Banana Republic.
Read FDI President Ken Timmerman's take on the hostage for prisoner swap at Frontpage magazine. 


Jan. 16, 2016: U.S. Gives Iran a Clean Nuclear Bill of Health, Lifts Sanctions, Swaps Hostages.
In sweeping moves that gave the lie to repeated assertions by Secretary of State John Kerry that there would be no “comprehensive” deal with Iran, the United States on Saturday announced its acceptance of IAEA assertions that Iran had complied with the JCPOA, lifted sanctions on more than 400 Iranian government entities and individuals, and swapped U.S. citizens held hostage by Iran for Iranian nationals convicted of violating U.S. export control laws.

 

There was so much news that the media has had a hard time keeping up. An overall guide by the Treasury Department of sanctions relief can be found here.  The list of Iranian government entities removed from sanctions is here. A profile of seven of the Iranians released by the U.S. in exchange for U.S. hostages in Tehran is here. 

 

While FDI welcomes the release by Iran of U.S. citizens it had taken hostage, we deplore the cynical and misguided trade of Iranian nationals who were arrested and convicted for violating U.S. export control laws. There can be no equivalence, moral or otherwise, between hostages, seized for purely political purposes, and individuals who broke the law and were afforded due process under a democratic system of laws.

 

The consequences of the lifting of U.S. sanctions will be felt far and wide. One group of Americans may pay an extraordinarily high price for the misguided and dangerous U.S. opening to the Islamic Republic of Iran: victims of Iranian state-sponsored terrorist attacks.


Under sanctions relief, Treasury has removed sanctions and asset blocks on the property of Assa Corp and Assa Ltd. These front companies were created in 1989 to disguise the 40% ownership interest of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli in a Manhattan skyscraper located at 650 Fifth avenue that continues to be the subject of litigation between terror-victim claimants and the Alavi Foundation, which federal prosecutors allege to be an Iranian government entity. In November, the 2nd Circuit court of appeals chastened U.S. prosecutors for mishandling the case against Alavi, and is expected to send the case back to the District court for trial. Meanwhile, Assa Corp, which was never the subject of a final judgment in the lower court, may simply move for dismissal of the charges against it, effectively putting its 40% share of the $800 million building beyond the reach of the terror victim creditors.

 

Jan. 14, 2016: Iran gloats over captured U.S. sailors. Senior Iranian officials gloated over the way their government put captured U.S. sailors on public display. In initial photographs and video footage released by State media, the 10 U.S. sailors were seen with their hands over their heads, making them appear like prisoners of war. “This is a sign of our might,” said deputy foreign minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi, a senior member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team. Despite the fact the sailors were seized on Tuesday, apparently in international waters off the coast of Kuwait, President Obama failed to even mention them during his State of the Union speech that night. Iran agtreed to release them the next day after “the Americans humbly admitted our might and power,” IRGC deputy commander Hossein Salami boasted to the Iranian media.

 

IRGC naval commander, Ali Fadavi, revealed that the carrier USS Truman “showed unprofessional moves for 50 minutes after the detention of the trespassers,” presumably meaning that the Truman tried to challenge the Iranian ships that had seized control of the two U.S. coastal patrol boats. ““The US and France’s aircraft carriers were within our range and if they had continued their unprofessional moves, they would have been afflicted with such a catastrophe that they had never experienced all throughout the history,” Fadavi boasted.

 

Jan. 11, 2016: Iran tops world with 1084 executions in 2015. The Boroumand Foundation estimates that Iran executed 1084 people in 2015, the highest number in more than 25 years and the highest per capita execution rate in the world. A detailed listing of 964 of those executed can be found at the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. So much for the "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani, whose primary goal has been to pull the wool down over the eyes of the West.

In his October 2015 update, UN Human Rights Rapporteur Dr. Ahmad Shaheed noted the increased execution rate (click here for a summary; here for the whole report).

The Guardian in London published striking photographs (left) by Sadegh Souri of juvenile girls on death row in Iranian jails. Under Islamic law, girls convicted of serious crimes as juveniles and sentenced to death remain in jail until they turn 18, when the death sentences are carried out.

Jan. 4, 2016: Saudi paper reveals al Qaeda asked ISIS not to attack Iran. Al Sharq al Awsat reveals that ISIS spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, attacked al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri because of his ties to Iran. In a message titled, "Iran's Heavy Debt to al-Qaeda," he revealed that ISIS "did not strike the Shiites in Iran since its inception... pursuant to al Qaeda's order to maintain its interests and lines of supply in Iran."

Dec. 23, 2015: Prisoner of faith, Pastor Farshid Fathi, released after 5 years. Jailed during MOIS raids that targeted Christian leaders on Dec. 26, 2010, Pastor Farshid was held for more than 15 months in Evin prison without trial before he was brought before a Revolutionary court in Tehran. He was eventually sentenced to six-years for "action against national security," cooperating with foreign organizations," and "evangelism," and moved to Ward 350 in Evin. Pastor Farshid's letters to his family and to the faithful have been shared through social media around the world.
 
“We are deeply grateful for your faithful prayers for Farshid while he has been in prison,” Elam Ministries, whose mission is to help expand the church in the Iran region, said in a statement. “We would like to request that you continue praying for Farshid today and in the coming weeks. Please pray especially for protection, his family and his adjustment to life outside prison." In a lead editorial on his release, the Wall Street Journal-Europe noted that "evangelical Christianity is exploding in Iran today, with conversion estimates ranging from 300,000 to half a million."

While FDI is grateful that Pastor Farshid can now join his family, we have no illusions that his release, cynically timed around the Christmas holidays, portends any change of heart of the Iranian regime. The explosion of the house church movement, including inside the Revolutionary Guards, prompted former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad early in his presidency to vow he would "stop Christianity" in Iran. FDI has heard anecdotal evidence suggesting that as many as 2 million former Muslim believers have embraced Jesus in Iran. We fully expect that the regime will continue to arrest house church leaders and persecute former Muslim believers. Thus, your continued vigilence, prayers, and actions on behalf of political prisoners in Iran is needed now more than ever.

Dec. 21, 2015: Sec/State John Kerry pledges to override visa restrictions.
In a letter to Islamic Republic foreign minister Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry pledged to use a presidential waiver to override a provision in the new Omnibus budget package that requires Europeans who have visited Iran to apply for U.S. visas. Zarif recently told a pro-Tehran interviewer that the visa requirement would "violate" the nuclear agreement (JCPOA). Before the digital ink was even dry on the interview, Kerry fired off his letter, saying that the US intended to lift all sanctions on Implementation Day, as required by the non-binding JCPOA.
• Iran hacks US power grid.
An Associated Press investigation has found evidence that Iranian cyber attackers have penetrated US power plants and downloaded "Mission Critical" engineering drawings that experts say could be used to knock out power to millions of homes. In an apparently related incident, Iranian hackers penetrated the computer control system of a small dam less than 20 miles from New York City in 2013, "sparking concerns that reached to the White House," the Wall Street Journal reported. Iranian hackers are also believed to have hacked major U.S. banks, and a much larger dam in Oregon.
 
Dec. 15, 2015: Under intense US pressure, IAEA closes Iran investigation. Despite the report from IAEA director Yukio Amano finding that Iran had not fully cooperated with the IAEA regarding the past military dimensions (PMD) of Iran's nuclear program, the Agency's Board voted to close the nuclear file so the JCPOA could go ahead. Iranian officials, not surprisingly, heralded the cave-in by the IAEA Board as a "huge achievement" (Salehi). FM Zarif said the Board's move "officially cancelled the Board of Governors' 12 previous resolutions relating to Iran's nuclear program."

Dec. 7, 2015: New Tehran mural slanders U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima.
More from President Obama's new "friends" in Tehran, a gigantic street caricature of the famous Iwo Jima memorial in Washington. The intent is clear: to poison the mind of ordinary Iranians to the brave soldiers carrying our flag and wearing our uniform.

This is, of course, the same regime that murdered 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut in October 1983 and boasted about chasing America from Lebanon with its tail between its legs.

Dec. 1, 2015: Regime hangs Iranian-American.
A human rights group has disclosed that the regime executed an Iranian-American reportedly wanted for murdering another Iranian citizen in California. The State Department confirmed that it learned of the death sentence on October 28, and asked the Swiss embassy in Tehran to request a stay of execution, without success. The executed man, Hamid Samiee, was sentenced by Branch 71 of Tehran's Criminal court and hung in Rajaj Shahr prison in Karaj on Wednesday, November 4. The Washington Free Beacon confirmed the execution today with the Department of State.

Nov. 30, 2015: Obama with 1979 hostage-taker at Paris climate summit; disgraceful.
President Obama appeared with the former spokesperson for the 1979 "student" hostage-takers, now a member of the Islamic regime in Tehran, on stage with world leaders at the Paris "climate change" summit. This short video, compiled by an FDI supporter, identifies Masoumeh Ebtekar and replays portion of an interview she gave a US TV station during the hostage crisis, when she stated that she could put a gun to the head of the hostages and kill them. Her son is currently studying in the United States.

Nov. 20, 2015: Family members of Serial Murder Victims accuse:
Family members of Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar and other victims of the 1998 serial murders accuse the regime of continuing to cover-up the truth about the murder of their loved ones. In a joint statement, they said there had been "no judiciary examination of the murders, or if there was, it was derailed." Instead, the regime followed with "cover-ups, corruption, threats, and crackdown" on those who tried to expose the truth, such as journalist Akbar Ganji, who was murdered after he had been jailed for six years for writing an expose of the serial murders.

Oct. 28, 2015: Rafsanjani admits to pursuing nuclear weapons, calls on Khamenei to respect JCPOA.
In an extensive interview with a Persian-language website called Iran's Nuclear Hope, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reveals that the Islamic regime actively pursued nuclear weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, and received help from Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qader Khan. (FDI founder and CEO Kenneth Timmerman first revealed the Iran-Pakistan connection, and the agreement Rafsanjani's government signed with A.Q. Khan in 1987, and was nominated for the Nobel peace prize in 2006 because of this and subsequent investigative work on Iran's then-secret nuclear weapons program).

In the interview, Rafanjani reveals that all of Iran's plutonium research and infrastructure was for "military purposes," and that he had intended to build the original Arak heavy water plant at Alamut in Qazvin province, where Iran had other clandestine nuclear weapons-related facilities that the IAEA tried unsuccessfully to inspect in February 1992. "[W]hen we started the [nuclear] work, we were at war, and we wanted to have such an option for the day our enemies wanted to use nuclear weapons. This was [our] state of mind, but things never become serious," Rafsanjani said.

He also openly criticized Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for jinning up hostility to the JCPOA in the Majles and imposing nine new conditions the West must meet before Iran would carry out its obligations under the JCPOA. ""Eighty to 90 percent of the people agree to the process of the JCPOA, and want to get out [of the nuclear dossier]," he said.

Rafsanjani underscored the fact that Iran stands to benefit enormously under the deal, gaining access to "cutting-edge technology" that the Western powers have committed to provide to convert the plutonium reactor Arak facility to non-plutonium fuel. "[T]his is an advancement for us." He also revealed that international sanctions have done tremendous damage to Iran's economy and threatened to spark a revolt against the regime, which was saved in the nick of time by the JCPOA. H/t MEMRI for the excellent English translation. The original Persian is here.

Oct. 27, 2015: Regime arrests NIAC co-founder. In a twist that shows the supremacy of supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the regime has arrested Siamak Nemazi, the co-founder of the pro-regime U.S. lobbying organization, NIAC. According to Hassan Dai, who won a significant libel lawsuit NIAC brought against him for identifying them as the "Iran lobby" in the United States, Nemazi was arrested because he and NIAC consistently “lobbied in favor of a faction of the regime,” which upset the Mullahs because it would only be acceptable to “lobby for the whole regime.”

Also today, the regime sentenced a former member of Parliament, Esmail Gerami Moghaddam, to six years in prison. Moghaddam was arrested in July 2015 when he returned from six years of doctoral studies abroad, and is a former spokesman of the Etemad Melli Party of former Green movement leader, reformist mullah Mehdi Karroubi. Prosecutors also sentenced poets Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi to 10 years in prison plus 99 lashes for "shaking hands with someone of the opposite sex."

Iran is on track to execute more than 1,000 people this year, a record that UN special Rapporteur for Human rights in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, called "an unprecedented assault on the right to life."

Oct. 21, 2015: State television unveals underground "missile city."
In an unusual move, Iranian state television broadcast footage of an inspection tour by IRGC Brig. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, of a what purported to be a vast underground storage site for Shahb-3 missiles. The state TV report, which shows the IRGC general passing troops in review in front of a long line of Shahab-3 missiles on mobile launchers, does not identify the location of the storage depot, but suggests that it is just one of many such depots that the IRGC have built in recent years. Gen. Hajizadeh is best known for publicly rejecting Western attempts to require Iran to allow inspection of its military sites under the JCPOA, saying that such demands would receive "a response with lead."

The broadcast report came a week after Iran announced it had test-fired a new medium-range missile, the Emad, which Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan said was "the first ballistic missile developed by Iran that can be precision-guided until it reaches its target." Western analysts have estimated that it can carry a terminally-guided nuclear warhead weighing 750 kilograms to targets 1,700 kilometers (1,100 miles) away. However, the fact that Iran would develop a liquid-fueled successor to the Shahab-3, rather than more solid-fuel missiles, suggests to some analysts that the financial bite of international sanctions also reached the IRGC missile corps, causing them to focus on less expensive liquid-fuel missiles, which take much longer to prepare for launch than solid fuel rockets. Full video of the inspection tour is here, with more stills and the Persian language IRINN report here.


Oct. 14, 2015: Iran "testing U.S. resolve" with missile test.
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce (R, CA), wrote President Obama today, warning that Iran's recent launch of a precision-guided long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead was "testing United States resolve in the wake of the nuclear agreement." Calling the test "destabilizing," Royce said it must be met with "immediate action, both unilaterally and at the UN Security Council, to make clear that Iran remains prohibited from developing this dangerous technology."

Sept. 23, 2015: IRGC intelligence unit steps up arrests.
The IRGC's own intelligence unit, which falls under direct control of the Supreme Leader and not the government of President Hassan Rouhani, has stepped up arrests since Rouhani took office, according to reformist activist Ali Afshari. The IRGC Protection and Intelligence Directorate has focused recently on monitoring anti-regime bloggers and has arrested more than 100 bloggers and internet activists since Rouhani took office. They are also believed to have been behind the arrest of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was recently sentenced to six years in prison for espionage.

Sept. 10, 2015: Speaker Boehner changes course on Iran deal.
In a statement released this afternoon, Speaker Boehner announced a change of course in how the House will pursue its review of the JCPOA. After the closed door Republican conference meeting yesterday, opponents of the deal, led by the Chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, Rep. Pete Roskam of Illinois, convinced Boehner to take action this week to "make clear President Obama did not submit all the required documents" to Congress under the Corker-Cardin bill, and prohibit the President from "lifting, suspending, or modifying sanctions on Iran." On Thursday afternoon took the first of these steps by passing a resolution contending that the White House had not submitted all the necessary documents to trigger the 60-day review process. Follow-on are expected on Friday in the House, and next week in the U.S. Senate. More from The Hill.

Sept. 9, 2015: Thousands gather in Washington, DC for #NoIranDeal rally.
Headlining Wednesday's rally at the foot of the Capitol Building were presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz. Also appearing were Mark Levin, Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin, TV host and author Glen Beck (photo, right), and many others. Citizens United president David Bossie called on Speaker Boeher and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to kill the deal. Former VP candidate Sarah Palin explained that the Obama White House was in violation of the Corker-Cardin bill because it failed to submit all the documents and side agreements, including the IAEA inspection protocols. (Andy McCarthy spelled out this argument in a detailed column on Sept. 5 in the National Review.)
 
Sept. 8, 2015: Four killed in PJAK/IRGC clashes.
State-run IRNA reported clashes between PJAK and the IRGC in West Azerbaijan province on Tuesday during which two PJAK fighters and two IRGC soldiers were killed. The latest incident followed an another attack a week earlier in Kermanshah, in which PJAK fighters killed a Revolutionary guard soldier. So far, PJAK has not commented on the clashes. But the Party leadership issued a warning on August 26, following the execution in prison of PJAK activist Bêhrûz Alxanî, that it would conduct retaliatory attacks. Indeed, PJAK regularly "punishes" the IRGC when its activists are jailed or murdered, in keeping with the "retribution" doctrine of the YRK, its defense force.

Sept. 7, 2015: Ayatollah Sistani versus Qassem Suleymani.
In a letter to Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Khamenei, the Iraqi religious chief blasts Suleymani for blatant interference in domestic Iraqi politics. This follows the heated exchange between Suleymani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ten days ago, where al-Abadi forcibly ejected Suleymani from a parliamentary meeting.

Sept. 4, 2015: Sen. Cardin comes out against the Iran deal.
In an oped in the Washington Post, Cardin (D, MD) explained why he was voting against the deal and outlined new legislation he intends to introduce that would clarify and impose clear limits on the JCPOA.

Aug. 18, 2015: Sen. Menendez comes out against the Iran deal. In a speech at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Sen. Bob Menendez, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, came out against the Iran deal, citing the need for Democrats to act according to JFK's Profiles in Courage, not the party line. Other key Democrats, including Menendez's successor as SFRC chairman, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, have not yet announced their position on the deal.

Aug. 17, 2015: White House pressing former flag officers and left-wing rabbis to support Iran deal.

• The flag officers' letter was outed by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who declined to sign on.
• Blogger Jerome Gordon noted that the letter signed by 340 rabbis was authored by a little known Socialist group known as Amienu, who have a long history of supporting the Iranian regime as well as the "Israeli version of the Occupy Movement."
• Subsequent to his original post, ZOA issued a news release revealing that the President of Ameinu, Kenneth Bob, was also Treasurer of J Street, a left-wing group financed in part by George Soros, while the majority of the signatories were members of the "J Street Rabbinic Cabinet." J Street works hand in glove with NIAC, the Iranian regime's de facto lobbying arm in the United States, the press release said.


Aug. 14, 2015: Iranian dissidents oppose Iran deal.
A coalition of Iranian former political prisoners and human rights activists has issued an open letter opposing the Iran nuclear agreement. "We represent a diverse array of Iranians who hope to warn the world of the dangear of this regime regardless of how many centrifuges spin in Iran," the letter states. The group blasted "Western apologists and appeasers of Iranian theocracy" who have been trying to jin up support for the deal, saying they "do no favors to the Iranian people." Warning that the deal will fill the regime's coffers with up to $150 billion in frozen assets, they warned: "When the Iranian regime no longer fears its epople, then the world will no longer have a reason to fear the Iranian regime." Among the signatories were noted former political prisoners Ahmad Batebi, Roozbeh Farahanipour, and Afshin Afshin-Jam, writers, journalists, and supporters of jailed dissident Ayatollah Kazemi-Boroujerdi. Read the full text of the letter.

Aug. 13, 2015: FDI President calls out Rep. Chris Van Hollen for supporting Iran deal.
In an oped appearing in the Washington Examiner, Kenneth Timmerman noted that Van Hollen's leap to support the deal showed once again that the Maryland Democrat puts party before country.

Aug. 3, 2015: Iran fabricates Wikileaks cable in effort to smear UN Human Rights rapporteur; regime surrogate in the U.S. flogs nuclear deal.
On the front pages of regime controlled websites, MOIS is pushing its latest disinformation campaign to discredit Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the extraordinarily effective UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, by forging fake Wikileaks cables claiming Dr. Shaheed was operating as a paid stooge for the Saudi government and had never-ever found a single political prisoner in Iran's many secret prisons and declared jails!

On the nuclear front, the regime has already filed its first formal complaint alleging that the United States is in material breech of the JCPOA, most likely in an effort to lay the groundwork for future, more serious claims that will allow Iran to exploit the "escape clause" built into the nuclear deal, at a moment most advantageous to its political and military ambitions.

Iranian intelligence agencies are working over to push/sabotage the nuclear deal with the United States and its partners, and to ensure there is no domestic fallout from advocates of releasing political prisoners and the jailed leaders of the 2009 Green Movement protests. In an excellent insider's account of MOIS strategy and tactics, Iran analyst Fariba Davoodi Mohajer dissects the modus operandus of MOIS, its successful efforts to infiltrate and direct opposition organizations, its use of psychological warfare.

For anyone who thought the Iranian regime has no supporters to conduct its propaganda and misinformation campaigns in the United States, check out the Sunday New York Times, which includes a full page ad in savor of the nuclear deal sponsored by NIAC, which has been flogging sanctions relief for years.

FDI calls on its supporters to call their Senators and Representatives to oppose the nuclear deal and to make a special call to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY), who is said to be sitting on the fence. Schumer's Washington, DC main office line: (202) 224-6542. For additional office locations in New York, click here.

July 31, 2015: California State Senator Joel Anderson: sanctions remain in place
. In separate letters sent today to the heads of the California Public Employees Pension Fund and the state teachers pension fund, California state Senator Joel Anderson noted there was "nothing in the JCPOA which would necessite any changes in state policy" regarding the divestment legislation he authored and which is now state law. Following on the heels of a similar finding by the City of Los Angeles attorney (July 23, below), these moves highlight the illegality of the JCPOA as it infringes on state and local laws and regulations.

July 24, 2015:
Kerry hints the U.S. would defend Iran against Israeli cyber-attack. In a disturbing reply to questions from Senator Marco Rubio (R, Fla) at the July 23 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry hinted that the U.S. might counter its ally Israel if Israel attempted a cyber-attack or sabotage against Iran's nuclear facilities or infrastructure.

The question came in relation to Annex III of the agreement, which pledges the P5+1 (including the U.S.) to "strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage." Kerry initially tried to blow away concerns expressed by Sen. Rubio that this could mean it would deter an Israeli cyberattack, then contradicted himself, saying "we just have to wait until we get until that point" to decide what to do. H/t Jerry Gordon at the New English Review.

July 23, 2015: Los Angeles says sanctions will remain in place. In a slap in the face to Secretary of State Kerry and the White House, the City Attorney for Los Angeles confirmed in a letter this week that sanctions legislation he co-authored in the State Legislature in 2010 would remain in place until repealed by the U.S. Congress or the state legislature. The legislation bans the state, cities, and counties from contracting with businesses invested in Iran's energy sector, thus forcing those businesses to chose between investing in Iran or doing business in California, a powerful tool that has been adopted in numerous states and jurisdictions around the country.

The letter from Michael N. Feuer came in response to questions from citizens and activists, including Roozbeh Farahanipour, who was elected president of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce this March. Farahanipour pointed out that the nuclear deal (JCPOA) will remove sanctions against Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which has been responsible for some of the most egregious terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime. "What will be the world’s response to the IRGC’s first international terrorist action after sanction relief?” Farahanipour told a local reporter.

July 20, 2015: Stop Nuclear Iran rally in New York.

FDI has joined a broad coalition of U.S. organizations that has called for a massive rally this Wednesday, July 22, at 5:30 PM at Times Square in New York. The disastrous Vienna agreement enables the Islamic regime in Tehran to expand its reign of terror both at home and abroad, better armed, better funded, and with fewer constraints than before.

Additional rallies against a nuclear Iran will be held in Toronto (in front of the U.S. consulate, 1:30 pm on July 22), in Phoenix, AZ at 6:30 pm, and at the Westwood Federa
l building in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 26, from 2-4 pm.

Bring your voices, your noisemakers, your friends and family....

July 15, 2015: Iran deal enhances regime, disregards people.

 

Statement from FDI President & CEO Kenneth R. Timmerman:


The nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is a bad deal for the Iranian people, and for the people of the region. Unverifiable at its core, it virtually guarantees a nuclear arms race with Pakistan helping Sunni allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and possibly Turkey and Egypt, to counter the growing power of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It enables the regime to continue enriching itself and its elites through hundreds of front companies and black market oil traders, selling the people’s resources without accountability. As President Hassan Rouhani said in his speech yesterday, "our prayers have been answered." He hastened to add, so have the prayers of Hamas and Hezbollah, who will see their annual paychecks from Tehran increase.


Worse, under this agreement, apparently drafted in Tehran, the United States agrees to lift sanctions on a host of murderers, including notorious former Qods Force commander Qassem Suleymani, IRGC commander Rahim Yahya Safavi, IRGC intel chief Morteza Rezai, al Qaeda-enabler Gen. Moh. Baqr Zolqadr, as well as missile and nuclear procurement agencies and the IRGC itself.


This agreement makes a mockery of American democracy, by putting the onus on Congress if it "interferes" with the dictates of an executive branch it repeatedly warned and passed legislation to limit. It remains baffling what prompted the U.S. administration to throw away a winning hand, built up judiciously since 2005 with international support, in exchange for total capitulation to a nuclear-capable, expansionist Sharia regime in Iran.


Read Timmerman's more detailed analysis of the agreement at the Daily Caller.

June 25, 2015. Human Rights group blasts Canadian opposition leader.

Elections matter. Often they also matter for people who live far away from those who vote.

A Canadian human rights group blasted the leader of Canada's Liberal Party, the Hon. Justin Trudeau, for telling Canadian television that if his party comes to power in the next elections, they planned to end Canada's bombing mission in Iraq and would restore diplomatic relations with Iran. “It is very disappointing and disturbing that Justin Trudeau is speaking in the interest of murderers, criminals and human rights violatorsrather than innocent civilians and freedom fighters,” said Ardeshir Zarezadeh, director of the International Center for Human Rights in Canada and former Iranian political prisoner. “Extremists appreciate such positions of politicians.”

June 5, 2015: Iran continues to develop missiles, nukes.
A long-delayed Pentagon report on Iran's military capabilities was finally delivered to Congress this week. It concluded that Iran "continues to develop technological capabilities that also could be applicable to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missile development," a one-page summary states. The report, apparently withheld so not to disrupt the P5+1 nuclear negotiations, also found that Iran was expanding its capability of denying access to the Strait of Hormuz by "quietly fielding increasingly lethal symmetric and asymmetric weapons systems, including more advanced naval mines, small but capable submarines, coastal defense cruise missile batteries, attack craft, and anti-ship ballistic missiles. The report came as Iran also expanded its direct military intervention in both Iraq and Syria.

May 31, 2015: Nazanin Afshin-jan outs Canadian Muslim groups for honoring Khomeini.

Canadian human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-jan
called on Canadians to protest a "celebration" of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, scheduled for this afternoon in Toronto. "There should be a day of mourning rather than a celebration on his anniversary," she said. "If you were aware that a group of people were celebrating the acts committed by ISIS would you come out in protest? Please come out to demonstrate against this tyrant that has caused so much pain anguish and unrest for so many people." Read the full text of her comments here.

The "celebration" of Khomeini, one week before the anniversary of his death in 1989, was sponsored by the Muslim Community of the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] and is being held at the Islamic Society of York Region.

May 29, 2015: IAEA finds that Iran expands nuclear material production, despite JPOA. In its latest report, the IAEA found that Iran has slightly increased the production of uranium hexafluoride gas, and now has a stockpile of 8,714.7 kg of U-235 enriched up to 5%, enough to make several warheads with additional enrichment.

May 13, 2015: Protests spread in Iranian Kurdistan.
Protests in and around Mahabad, the regional capital of Iranian Kurdistan, began on May 7 after a local Kurdish woman either jumped or was pushed from a upper window of the four-star Tara hotel, apparently to escape being raped by an MOIS agent. Over the past week, the protests have spread, and the regime has arrested more than 400 people in a heavy security crackdown. Now local Kurdish groups are calling for a general strike throughout the Kurdish region.

    • America's forgotten hostages.
As the Obama administration continues to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, they forget the plight of American hostages in Iran. And it's not only the best-known among them that they forget, but a whole category of U.S. green card holders, U.S. persons, who have been tortured, murdered, or driven to commit suicide, such as journalist Siamak Pourzand. Read FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman's column in Frontpage mag.

April 4, 2015:"Historic" nuclear deal looks different from Washington and Tehran.
After a last minute play by Iranian negotiators to buy more time, the P5+1 and Iran reached a "historic" agreement in Iran that will lift international sanctions on Iran in exchange for some limits on the nuclear program. But just how solid are the achievements that the U.S. and its partners are claiming? According to Amir Taheri, in its Persian description of the deal, the Iranian regime is claiming that it has accept few if any limits on its program, while the U.S. State Department issued a lengthy statement, spelling out detail after detail of the commitments it claimed Iran had made.

Meanwhile, a former top aide to Islamic Republic president Hassan Rouhani, who defected to Switzerland during the talks, revealed that the U.S. negotiating team was carrying Tehran's water, rather than fighting to defend and promote American interests. "
The US negotiating team are mainly [in Lausanne] to speak on Iranís behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal," Amir Hossein Motaghi told an opposition TV network in London. Essentially, as FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman wrote in Frontpage magazine, "what Motaghi said is that Secretary Kerry is working as an agent of Iran and has been arm-twisting reluctant allies, such as the French, into accepting what they know is a bad deal."

March 16, 2015: Hassan Rouhani, executioner-in-chief.
Every day, another hanging - or rather, at least two, according to a new report released by Iran Human Rights and Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (Together Against the Death Penalty). In the 18 months since Rouhani took over as president, the Islamic Republic authorities have executed at least 1193 people, or two per day - higher than at any time in the past eighteen years. As FDI found when we started to monitor executions in Iran 20 years ago, only a portion of the executions are carried out publicly; today, less than 10%. Most of the "secret" executions were carried out inside prisons. Those executed included juvenile offenders, women, former Muslim believers, and large numbers of Kurds and other ethnic minorities. Download the full report here.

As Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting his Iranian counter-part (and long-time personal friend) Javad Sharif in Switzerland, the United Nations Rapporteur for Human Rights, Dr. Ahmad Shaheed, in Iran released his annual report on widespread human rights abuses in Iran. Once again, the Iranian regime swept aside Dr. Shaheed's requests to visit Iran to investigate human rights cases. Thirty-six human rights organizations urged the UN Human Rights Council to renew Dr. Shaheed's mandate.

Meanwhile, a Kurdish human rights group released its report on the indiscriminate murder of porters at Iran's borders, hunted down by Iranian border guards and IRGC units and not reported in any statistics. When the Iranian regime reports at all on such incidents, they refer to them as "skirmishes" with "smugglers."

In Tehran, as activist Banafsheh Zand reports, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official warned that Iranians living abroad "would face serious problems should they enter into Iran."

March 15, 2015:
Prominent Iranian Dissident Blasts Obama From Jail

Heshmat Tabarzadi, a prominent Iranian prisoner of conscience jailed for leading protests against the regime, has smuggled a letter for President Obama to human rights activist Manda Ervin of the Alliance of Iranian Women, who made it available to FDI.

In the letter, he revealed that he is being held in a cell with American pastor Saeed Abedini in Rajai-Shahr prison outside Karaj, in the Tehran suburbs.

Chastising the American president about his failure to intercede on Abedini's behalf, Tabarzadi writes: "I heard that you met with his wife and children, and that his son, little Jacob, asked you to help release his father for his birthday. But we have not heard you demand the release of the hostage Abedini from the tyrant Khamenei."

The Iranian regime accused Tabarzadi of being one of the ring-leaders behind the student uprising of July 1999, and initially sentenced him to nine years in prison. Tabarzadi was released before the end of his sentence, after spending two years in solitary confinement in Evin Prison in Tehran, on condition he refrain from public statements. He broke his silence after the mass demonstrations against the regime in 2009, and was arrested again on December 27, 2009 and sentenced to another eight years in jail.

The letter, which Mrs. Ervin translated and sent by registered mail to the White House, called on President Obama to maintain sanctions on Iran and to help the pro-freedom movement. "A large majority of the Iranian people are opposed to the Islamic regime," said Ervin, who has testified before Congressional committees on human rights issues and the oppression of women in Iran.

So far, the White House has not responded to the letter.

"You claim that the only choice that you have is either to make a deal with Khamenei -- which I believe means surrender -- or war… Mr. President; we Iranian people submit to you and the people of the world that there is another way.  Please sanction and weaken the illegal regime of Khamenei, and empower the people to overthrow this tyranny," Tabarzadi wrote.

FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman said the letter shows that the pro-freedom movement in Iran is "alive and well, and is not fooled by the sham nuclear negotiations underway with the West."

The full next of the letter is available here.

Permalink with additional resources.

March 14, 2015: White House replies to Sen. Corker.
After Javad Sharif revealed that Iran expects the U.S. to press the UN Security Council to revoke sanctions, Sen. Corker sent a letter to the White House asking for clarification (see below). White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough sent a detailed reply, confirming the need for UN action, and further revealing that the White House intended to lift sanctions on Iran by using "waivers" built into existing U.S. legislation, rather than asking Congress to act. McDonough sent the letter on Saturday night - guaranteeing that the story wouldn't hit the Sunday talk shows and would be "old news" by Monday. (Full text of the letter here).

Full text of Sen. Corker's Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (S.615).

March 13, 2015: Nuclear deal appears closer.
Despite all the hubbub about the letter signed by 47 Republican Senators,  schooling Iran's leaders on the U.S. constitution and the separation of powers, the U.S. and Iran danced closer to a nuclear deal this week.

In Tehran, Foreign Minister Javad Sharif expressed victory in the talks, saying Tehran had come out "the winner."

At the United Nations in New York, the United States and other Security Council members states began discussing a resolution that would lift all UN sanctions on Iran.

While Secretary of State Kerry still refuses to reveal details of a prospective deal to Congress, FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman points out in a column this morning that his Iranian counterpart, Javad Sharif, happily disclosed secrets in Tehran -- in English, to boot.

Iran's goals in the negotiations remain clear: 1) relief from U.S. and international sanctions on oil exports and financial transactions, 2) maintaining its nuclear infrastructure, and 3) acceptance by the international community of its "right" to enrich uranium, despite five UN Security Council resolutions acknowledging that Iran has violated its commitments under the Nonproliferation Treaty, acts which automatically exclude Iran from any of the rights of non-nuclear states under the Treaty. As Timmerman concluded in his column, whether such a deal will prevent or even delay a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East "is anyone's guess."


March 3, 2015: After historic speech by PM Netanyahu to Congress, US Senate to demand oversight of Iran negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) said after today's speech by Netanyahu to a Joint Meeting of Congress that the Senate would take up the bi-partisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (S-615) next week. The bill to review the P5+1 negotiations with Iran was introduced jointly by Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his Democrat counterpart (and predecessor as SFRC chair), Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey. President Obama has said he would veto the bill. View FDI President's tweets on the Netanyahu speech @kentimmerman

• Even the Washington Post thinks the Obama administration "needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu's arguments." In a lead editorial, the Post blasts the administration for essentially just trying to shout Netabyahu down, rather than seriously confront his case against a nuclear deal that in his words would "pave the way" to an Iranian bomb.

Jan. 22, 2015: State Department #2 says U.S. has no intention of stopping Iran nuclear program.
The former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez (D, NJ), blasted Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken yesterday over the administration's positions on Iran's nuclear program. In a blistering exchange, Mendenez accused Blinken and the administration for failing to take any steps to eliminate Iran's nuclear program and using "talking points that come straight out of Tehran."

“[I]sn’t it true that even the deal that you are striving towards is not to eliminate any Iranian [nuclear] breakout capability, but to constrain the time in which you’ll get the notice of such breakout capability?” Menendez asked Blinken. “Is that a fair statement, yes or no?”

“Yes, it is,” Blinken responded.

Blinken was confirmed in party line vote on Dec. 16, 2014, after Senator John McCain had vowed to block his nomination over statements Blinken had made praising Iraq as stable and secure as the U.S. prepared to end its military presence.

Meanwhile, more details emerge of the U.S. concessions to Iran, including unilateral lifting of economic sanctions, without any Iranian counter-part. This comes after President Obama vowed to veto new Iran sanctions legislation, and called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to directly lobby U.S. Senators last week to vote block a sanctions vote.

Jan. 21, 2015: More on Nisman death:
Claudia Rossett reports in Forbes that Nisman had been warning for years that Iran's terrorist penetration of Latin America wasn't limited to Argentina, and that his superiorsbanned him in 2013 from testifying befor the U.S. Congress on Iranian terror networks in the Western hemisphere. (h/t Banafsheh Zand)

- FDI Director Kenneth Timmerman's recollection of Nisman in FrontPage magazine.

Jan. 20, 2015: Jan. 20, 2015: FDI, Public Enemy #1.
It’s not the first tim
e, but today's article in the IRGC-controlled Mashregh News website, FDI once again makes the hit parade of IRGC enemies in the West.

The article repeats oft-cited claims that FDI is spearheading a U.S. government effort to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran, and was reproduced verbatim in more than a dozen regime-controlled websites, most of them controlled by the IRGC or MOIS.

But in a break with previous such attacks, this one contained a special twist, blasting FDI for opposing (and exposing) the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and its founder, Swedish-Iranian national, Trita Parsi. The author praised NIAC and Parsi for opposing regime change in Iran, supporting negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, and more generally for defending the Islamic Republic in the United States.

The author claimed that a recent poll showed that 96% of Iranian-Americans saw Parsi as a "lobbyist" for the Islamic Republic.

The timing of this latest broadside against FDI is worth noting. On Sunday morning, helicopters Israeli reportedly killed a Hezbollah operational team in Syria that included Jihad Mugniyeh, son of the former Hezbollah military commander.

The elder Mugniyeh was identified by Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman as the logistics coordinator of the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and the July 1994 truck bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center that killed 86 people.

Half a world away, Nisman himself was found dead in his apartment that same night, an alleged suicide.

FDI CEO and president Kenneth R. Timmerman had been an expert witness in the AMIA case and was cited by Nisman in his 2006 i
ndictment more than a dozen times. Timmerman was also instrumental in laying out the elder Mugniyeh's involvement in recruiting the al Qaeda terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks on America.

A side note on the picture of Timmerman that appears in the Mashregh News broadside: it was grabbed from a video taken at a campaign event at the B'nai Israel synagogue in Maryland in October 2012—but from a portion of the video that the campaign never posted online!

Stay tuned for more as this story develops. Permalink


Jan. 17, 2015: Standing up for press freedom... in Iran.
Blogger Banafsheh Zand reminds us that journalists in Iran continue to face persecution, arrest, and torture from the regime. Where is the outrage from the West?

Jan. 16, 2015: Kerry-Zarif meet in Paris.
After talks in Geneva on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart take their traveling circus to Paris for the second time this week on Friday, as the pro-Tehran lobby once again peddled the fanciful notion that the regime is divided over making concessions to the West - so therefore Washington should be making all the concessions!

Jan. 15, 2015: White House calls nuclear deal separate from hostage negotiations.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that the U.S. could conclude a nuclear agreement with Islamic Republic, even as the regime continues to hold American citizens hostage.


Jan. 14, 2015: U.S. negotiating goals shrink.
Former Asst Secretary of State Robert Einhorn argues in an insider's account of the nuclear negotiations that the U.S. goal has shrunk so very small that the best we can hope for is an agreement that delays the time Iran would need to produce weapons-grade uranium from 4-6 weeks to 10-12 months.

January 6, 2015: FDI Director in Frontpage mag:
What do Iranian defectors, the Iranian opposition, and the underground house church all have in common? The CIA has mishandled or misunderstood them all. Read Ken Timmerman's column, Carrying His Cross to Elam.

Jan. 3, 2015: Iranian American pastor begins 3rd year of prison sentence.
Pastor Saeed Abedini, arrested during a visit to Iran in September 2012 was sentenced in January 2013 to eight years in jail because of his faith. American supporters have called on believers to join in a vigil of prayer and fasting to call for his release.

Nov. 22, 2014: A bad nuclear deal in the offing.
Secretary of State Kerry and others continue to say that no deal is better than a bad deal with Iran, but do they really mean it?

Criticism is mounting among Democrats as well as Republicans of the entire negotiation process, let alone any potential “deal” with the Islamic Republic. 17 Democrats signed onto the bi-partisan Mendendez-Kirk “Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Bill” last December, before the White House came down on them like a ton of bricks. Among other things, the bill would have held the White House and the State Department to their repeated pledges to “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program by explicitly denying Iran’s “right” to enrichment (a “right” the Islamic Republic forefeited when the United Nations Security Council condemned them in 2005 and 2006 for cheating on the Non-Proliferation Treaty).

Last Wednesday, 43 of the 45 Republicans in the U.S. Senate wrote to President Obama, demanding that the President bring any agreement before the Senate for approval.

And at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Thursday, Nov. 20, Democrat Ted Deutch of Florida led the charge, saying that any deal “must cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon,” including the dismantling of its centrifuge program and the Arak heavy water reactor, and full transparency on Iran’s Past Military activities.

Iranian regime negotiators, parliamentarians and other commentators have explicitly rejected all of these restrictions, claiming that the only issue on the table is lifting U.S. and international economic sanctions.

It is our view that the regime’s nuclear program will spark a regional nuclear arms race and endangers the security of ordinary Iranians and should be entirely dismantled.


Nov. 19, 2014: Mobile billboard campaign in Washington, DC.

A coalition of Iranian human rights groups and Justice Through Music launched a mobile billboard campaign in the U.S. capitol on Wednesday, to bring attention to stepped up repression of women inside Iran. The execution last month of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 26-year old woman accused of stabbing to death a former intelligence ministry official who was raping her, has generated worldwide indignation, as have a spate of acid-throwing attacks against unveiled women in Iranian streets.

Click here for more photos from the billboard campaign:




Nov. 13, 2014: Voice of America TV now promoted by Iranian state media!
Members of Congress might think that taxpayer funding for th
e Voice of America's Persian language service is aimed at providing Iranians an alternative to the propaganda they receive daily from the state run media. But some VOA shows have become favorites of the Iranian regime itself.

Such is the case of "Ofogh" (Horizon), a news show hosted by Siamak Dehghanpour. In this photo, taken at the booth of the official Fars News booth at this week's Media fair in Tehran, Dehghanpour can be seen on the set of "Ofogh" with the VOA logo in both Farsi and English behind him. Dehghanpour apparently was so proud of being accepted by the state-run media in Iran that he posted the photo on Ofogh's Facebook page.

In the comments section below, a viewer using the screen name Al Noori called him, "Voice of Ayatollah in VOA." Sara Safiri commented that it was "no surprise" to see Dehghanpour featured at the Tehran media fair since he already boasted of taking part in a closed door dinner in New York this September during the United Nations General Assembly hosted by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that gathered regime supporters in the United States.


Nov. 7, 2014: Ira
nian activist honored as "hero" by California Senate. California State Senator Joel Anderson (R, El Cajon) took the unprecedented step of honoring Iranian activist Roozbeh Farahanipour as a "California Hero" in a ceremony in his district office today. California Senate Concurrent Resolution 97, authored by Sen. Anderson, officially declares September as "California Heroes Month," and Farahanipour was one of the first nominees. "You have set yourself apart by showing concern for others in need, and take action to help others without expectation of reward," Sen. Anderson said. Farahanipour, a leader of the 1999 student uprising in Tehran who came to the United States in 2002 after he was released from an Iranian prison, has become a local watchdog in Los Angeles in exposing Islamic Republic agents. (For a larger photo of the certificate, click here).

Oct. 10, 2014: New satellite photos confirm Parchin explosion.
An analysis of before and after satellite photographs by the Institute for Science and International Security concludes that two buildings were destroyed and four others damaged in the events that reportedly occurred on October 5. The photographs also showed trucks present at the site of the damage that appeared to be either fire trucks or debris haulers. Some sources are claiming that a “foreign power” sabotaged the site, and that Iran may have ordered Hezbollah to make a reprisal attack against Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa farms area near the Golan.
Hat-tip to Jerry Gordon at The Iconoclast.


Oct. 8, 2014: Pro-regime activists try to sway Westwood Council.
In a display of force that shocked the Americans present, Hezbollah-style thugs invaded the hearing chambers of the Westwood Neighborhood Council tonight, in an effort to get the Council to rescind its resolutions banning Islamic regime signs in Westwood. Local attorney Guita Tahmesseb had emailed and phoned Council chairman Jerry Brown and other members, claiming that the resolutions were “discriminatory against the Iranian community,” despite the fact that the resolutions were introduced by the Council’s only Iranian-American member. Despite pressure in the room from bearded pro-regime activists, Council members reaffirmed the resolutions when it came time to vote.

Oct. 6, 2014: Explosion at Parchin.
A powerful explosion rocked Iran's oldest military production plant at Parchin on Sunday night, killing at least two workers, Reuters reported, citing Iranian government media sources. The ensuing fire could be seen nine miles away.

Parchin is a sprawling military facility that includes the oldest gunpowder plant in the Middle East and today is suspected by the IAEA of havin
g been used for secret nuclear weapons tests. Built initially by Nazi Germany, it was expanded and modernized in the 1970s by SNPE of France to make a wide variety of explosives and solid missile propellants. Israel's minister of intelligence, Yuval Steinitz, recently reiterated longstanding claims by the IAEA that Iran had tested internal neutron initiators at Parchin in 2000-2001. These polonium-beryllium devices have no other purpose than to trigger a nuclear weapon.

The Washington,DC-based Institute for Science and International Security, ISIS, has been tracking construction and concealment activities at Parchin for many years using commercial satellite imagery.


Oct. 5, 2014: Three Christian converts arrested in Iran.  Security officers raided the home of a Christian actor in Esfahan on Sept. 27, arresting him and two other recent converts to Christianity. Shahran Gaedi, 27, was arrested and released already earlier this year, reportedly because of his involvement in the “Iranian Jesus Film Project.”

Oct. 1, 2014: Former Deputy CIA Director turns blind eye to Iranian involvement in Benghazi attacks.
In a recent speech in Florida, former deputy CIA director Mike Morell denied that Iranian government operatives or Hezbollah operatives were on the ground in Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks that cost the lives of four Americans. FDI director Kenneth R. Timmerman's latest book, Dark Forces: the Truth About What Happened in Benghazi, details Iran's on-the-ground involvement in the uprising against Qaddafi and in the attacks.

On his website, Timmerman offers additional information on the Iranian involvement, including photographs of the Iranian Red Crescent team allegedly "kidnapped" in Benghazi on July 31, 2012 as part of an elaborate intelligence ruse by the Quds Force aimed at tricking the CIA into thinking the threat to the U.S. compounds in Benghazi were over. According to Timmerman's account, the Iranian regime was seeking to drive the Americans out of Libya and thrust that nation into chaos, two goals that have been met.

Timmerman reports on Morell's recent speech, his Iran denial, and Senator Lindsay Graham's own accusations against Morell in the October edition of the New English Review.

Since leaving government, Morell has gone to work for Beacon Global Strategies, a recently established consulting firm jointly owned by several Hillary Clinton confidants, including her "enforcer," Philippe Reines.

Timmerman was interviewed on the book, Morell, and the U.S.-sanctioned arms smuggling operation being run out of Benghazi on the John Bates "Middle East Round Up" on Sept. 16, which the New English Review has transcribed.

Also today:
Read Ryan Mauro's excellent article on sanctioned Iranian businesses that continue to operate in Los Angeles.
 
Former DIA analyst Dr. Lawrence Franklin writes on the efforts of "Iranian-American patriot" Roozbeh Farahanipour to drive the IRI out of Westwood.

And from Roozbeh, FDI has learned that at least one Westwood business, worried by the possibility of law enforcement action against him for sanctions violations, has changed his Farsi-language sign so it no longer offers his services on behalf of the non-existent Iranian "embassy" in Washington, DC.


Sept. 29, 2014: "New Iran" opposition group reveals that IRI killed nuclear scientist.
The sister of Iranian nuclear scientist Dr. Ardeshire Hosseinpour, who was murdered in 2007, now claims he was murdered by the regime for refusing to cooperate with the nuclear weapons program. In video conference calls with the California-based opposition group, The New Iran, Mahboobeh Hosseinpour said her brother was contacted by three special agents of the regime's Defense ministry "with a direct message" from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who was seeking Dr. Hosseinpour's help. When Dr. Hosseinpour turned down repeated offers, including a senior rank in the IRGC and part ownership of several factories as perks, regime thugs assassinated him, Mahboobeh told the Media Line, in a call arranged by Dr. Iman Foroutan of New Iran.

Sept. 26, 2014: "Moderate" Rouhani says jailing American pastor for his faith shows Iran's "fairness and justice."
Regime president Hassan Rouhani once again showed his spots in an interview with CNN's Christian Amanpour on the 2nd anniversary of the jailing of visiting American pastor, Saeed Abedini. In a rambling response to her question on prisoners of faith and political prisoners, Rouhani said they had all received a fair trial and received adequate legal representation. But as Jordan Sekulow points out, Pastor Saeed "wasn’t made aware of the charges brought against him until a week before trial.  He was not allowed to meet with his attorney until 24 hours before trial.  He and his attorney were barred from attending the second day of his trial as evidence was brought against him with no opportunity to defend himself.  That's not Justice.  That's not fairness," Sekulow wrote.

Sept. 25, 2014: Westwood Neighborhood Council vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In an interview with FrontPage magazine, Roozbeh Farahanipour explains the significance of the recent motions passed by the Westwood Neighborhood Council to limit the IRI presence in Los Angeles. "Westwood was once the safe-haven of Iranian refugees fleeing the Islamic Republic…Sadly, however, drizzled in-between those seeking safety and a better life, are businesspeople and other individuals closely-tied to the ruling regime back in Tehran, sent here with an agenda, a goal and a mission." Breaking their strangle hold on the community was his goal in passing resolutions to enforce U.S. sanctions in Westwood, Farahanipour said.

In a separate article with the Jewish Journal, reporter Karmel Melamed interviewed local businesses and activists about the Council resolutions.

Sept. 11, 2014: Westwood Neighborhood Council passes resolutions banning IRI business in Los Angeles. In a historic move, the Westwood Neighborhood Council, an elected body in a heavily Iranian-American neighborhood of Los Angeles, voted 17-1 last night to approve two resolutions banning local businesses from deceptive activities in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The resolutions were the result of an investigation by Council member Roozbeh Farahanipour, a pro-freedom activist involved in organizing the 1999 student protests in Iran, who found that local businesses were advertising visa, passport, and notarial services on behalf of the Iranian regime. (Click images).

Farahanipour presented photographs of storefront signs advertising Iran Air, which is banned from doing business in the United States because of its ties to terrorism. He also showed photographs of signs that appeared innocuous in English, but which in Farsi advertised services in violation of U.S. sanctions.

"This is a great victory for the pro-freedom movement," Farahanipour told FDI. "Westwood is the heart of the Iranian community in the United States, and in recent years the opposition has not been very active. This shows that the opposition is still alive and well in Westwood."

In the first resolution, aimed at enforcing U.S. sanctions on Iran, noted that Iranian "service" bureaux in Westwood used same word "Khatamaat" as al Qaeda used in the 1980s and 1990s when it was recruiting jihadis to its cause in Afghanistan. It also called on Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz to review Farahanipour’s evidence and to presaent a plan within 30 days "to safeguard the neighborhood against possible terrorist infiltration and illegal economic activities." (Read the full motion here).

The second resolution gave Westwood neighborhood businesses three weeks notice to remove "illeg
al signs, street banners, symbols and advertisements" promoting relations or business with the Islamic Republic of Iran "and its related institutions and companies."

Most significantly, the resolution also banned the display of the flag of the Islamic Republic, as well as advertisements for Iran Air, and accused some local businesses of "benefiting financially by conducting illegal business with the IRI, facilitating its presence in Westwood and establishing an atmosphere of fear among Iranian Americans in our area." (Read the full motion here).

California State Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) flew in from Sacramento to speak in support of the resolutions at Wednesday’s hearing.

"Roozbeh is right to be outraged that in a post 9/11 America, any local business would advertise themselves as agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we all should be outraged, too," Anderson said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran is a well-recognized sponsor of terrorism around the world."

In his presentation to the Council, Farahanipour cited recent statements by David Cohen, Undersecretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, warning businesses that selective sanctions relief under the Joint Program of Action with the Iranian regime is not an invitation by the U.S. government suggesting that Iran is "open for business."

He also presented a broad selection of photos of local shopfronts advertizing travel, shipping, and other services with Iran. (Farahanipour’s Powerpoint is available here).



April 9, 2014: Extraordinary admissions from former director of Iran's nuclear agency: we hid information from IAEA.
Fereydoon Abbasi headed Iran's Atomic Energy Agency under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In an astonishing interview with the Iranian daily Khorassan, he revealed that Iran hid design information it was required to provide to the IAEA on the Arak heavy water reactor because Western intelligence agencies were using that information to sabotage Iran's nuclear programs.

For example, he explained, if Iran reported that a certain pump had not yet reached Iran, Western intelligence agencies would "search the globe for companies that make the pump, and pressure them.
They would pressure that country or company not to transfer the parts or equipment to Iran, or would allow them to do so [only] after sabotaging [the parts]... For instance, if it was an electronic system, they would infect it with a virus, or plant explosives in it, or even alter the type of components, in order to paralyze [Iran's] system.
    Question: All these events [actually] happened?
    Abbasi: Everything I said happened..." Read the full intervi
ew at MEMRI.

March 31, 2014: Former hostage says U.S. should deny visa to hostage-taker 'ambassador.' Barry Rosen, one of the 54 U.S. embassy personnel held hostage for 444 days in Tehran by Iranian "students" from 1979-1981, urged the State Department to deny a visa to President Rouhani's pick to become the Islamic Republic's top diplomat in the U.S. Allowing Hamid Aboutalebi to become the regime's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York would be "an outrage" and a "disgrace," Rosen told FoxNews.

Update April 7: State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, after dodging questions on Aboutalebi, said the State Department found his nomination "extremely troubling" and had "raised our concerns" with Tehran.

March 15, 2014: UN human rights rapporteur says little change under Rouhani. Ahmed Shadeed releases his annual report, blasting Rouhani for taking only "baby steps" to improve the human rights in Iran, while regime forces continue are actively "working to suppress the rights of the people." Predictably, the regime still won't allow Shadeed or any of his staff visit Iran.

Shadeed admirably lists the names and alleged "offenses" of hundreds of political prisoners in Iranian jails, including Baha'is and Christians persecuted for their faith, human rights advocates, political activists, and Ethnic minorities. Download the full report.


March 14, 2014: Former U.S. intelligence officer says Kerry may be compromised.
A former Iran analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency is asking tough questions about Secretary of State John Kerry's relationship to his Iranian counter-part, Javad Sharif, as rumors fly that Sharif's son was the best man at the wedding of Kerry's daughter to an Iranian national. Larry Franklin also questions why Kerry did not disclose his daughter's recent  marriage to an Iranian until after he was confirmed by the Senate as Sec/State. Read the full story.

Jan. 14, 2014: Hassan Rouhani, nuclear cheat.
Now it’s official: for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, the nuclear deal struck with the West in Geneva in November was just an excuse to get sanctions relief, and Iran has no intention of scaling back its nuclear ambitions. ”Our relationship w/the world is based on Iranian nation’s interests,” Rouhani tweeted on Jan. 14. “In Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.”

The Islamic Republic’s “moderate” clerical president expanded on what he meant by the West’s “surrender” in a speech in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan today. “The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and peace-loving Iranian nation,' he said (with translation by the Associated Press). 'It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program.'"


The Iranian side has a very different view on what they agreed to in Geneva than does Secretary of State John Kerry. Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi revealed that the two sides would be bound by a 30-page “non-paper,” which bore all the hallmarks of a secret side agreement – something the State Department was quick to deny.

Araqchi was crystal clear that Iran believes the deal means the continuation of all Iranian nuclear research programs and facilities. “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,” he told the Iranian Students News Agency on Monday. “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue."

Rouhani publicly gloated over fooling the West in his last nuclear negotiation when he ran for president last year. In a televised interview, he explained in detail how he tricked the EU-3 negotiators in talks from 2003 to 2005. Instead of shutting down or even slowing its nuclear development, Rouhani boasted that centrifuge production actually increased, and Iran managed to finalize its Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, all the while pretending it has "suspended" its enrichment program. without the conversion plant (often known as the "hex" plant, since that's where Iran transforms uranium yellowcake into Uranium hexafluoride for gaseous enrichment), there could be no enrichment. Permalink.

Jan. 5, 2014: Heshmatollah Tabarzadi
sent back to prison. Former student leader and human rights activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi has been ordered to return to prison, effective Jan. 6, after a year-long "furlough." In a letter explaining his reason for returning to jail, Tabarzadi said his temporary release was continent upon his silence, but that "the situation of the people and my country is such that I could no longer keep quiet." He blasted so-called pro-freedom activists who have embraced the new government of mullah Hassan Rouhani. With his forced return to prison, "These hypocrites can no longer claim to the international community that after the emergence of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran's human rights situation has improved," he wrote. h/t Banafhsheh Zand.

Jan. 2, 2014: Assyrian church in Iran pressured to close doors to Farsi-speaking Christians.
The Iranian regime, working through Quislings in the Assyrian community, has forced St. Peter's Church in Tehran to ban Farsi-speaking Christians from attending worship services, Mohabat News reports. As happens regularly where Christians are a tiny minority in Muslm lands, the Iranian regime appears to have used its "pet Christian," Assyrian Majles member Yonatan Betkolia, to enforce this ban, aimed at identifying and persecuting former Muslims who have come to Jesus. Betkolia has family members living in the United States, and is well known within the Assyrian community as the Secretary General of Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA). "He will do whatever the Iranian regime orders him to do," a prominent Assyrian activist told FDI. 

Jan. 1, 2014:Anti-Israel Lobby Teams up with NIAC to oppose Iran sanctions.
Anti-Israel conservatives, including the National Interest, are making common cause with NIAC and the Obama White House to oppose the latest Iran sanctions legislation being pitched by a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators led by Democrats Menendez (NJ) and Chuck Schummer (NY), and Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois. They argue that the latest sanctions are being driven by the pro-Israel lobby and have essentially “out-sourced” America’s decisions of war or peace to Israel.

While this is a meretricious argument on its face (the U.S. Congress decides questions of war and peace, when it decides to assert its Constitutional authority), it reveals the panic that has gripped the pro-Tehran lobby over the new sanctions legislation.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 is significant because this is the first time prominent Democrats have bucked a veto threat from the Obama White House. It also is significant because it closes a major loophole in the petroleum sanctions that has allowed countries such as China to continue importing Iranian oil in the form of fuel oil, while cracking down on the oil-mixing trade sponsored by sanctions-busters such as Babak Zanjani, who has been running cargoes of Iranian oil to Labuan, Malaysia where he blends the Iranian oil with oil from other countries and then sells it as non-Iranian oil.

The new bill amends previous sanctions legislation by replacing the ban on “crude oil purchases from Iran” with an ban on “purchases of petroleum from Iran or of Iranian origin,” a new definition aimed to capture blended oil as well as fuel oil, condensates, and other forms of petroleum exported by Iran. It also expands sanctions beyond the current energy, shipping and shipbuilding to include certain ports and free economic zones, as well as any economic sector the President deems to be “strategic.”

The new bill also prevents the President from cutting staff or appropriations to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the primary U.S. government agency involved in sanctions enforcement, as happened during the brief government shutdown last year. (
Download the latest draft here).

The authors of the bill  clearly see the measure as a means of “putting teeth” into the ongoing diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program, not as a means of impeding or prohibiting those negotiations. But Iranian foreign Minister Javad Sharif warned that if the bill passed, the negotiations were over and Iran would back out of the Joint Plan of Action.


2013 entries

 



 

 

 

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