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the Akbar Mohammadi case
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Circumventing Internet Censhorship Tools
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
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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
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)
The Tribunal, presided over by international jurists Hamid Sabi and Regina Paulose, plans to hear over 133 witnesses, including the families of victims murdered by the regime testifying remotely from inside Iran, the Persian Service of Voice of America reported.
Also known as the Aban Tribunal, for the Persian month of the protests, the Tribunal heard testimony on Thursday from Nahid Shirpisheh, whose 27-year-old son, Pouya Bakhtiari, was shot while protesting in Karaj, spoke to the panel by video from Iran. A data base of victims compiled by Amnesty International now lists 323 Iranians killed during the November 15-19, 2019 protests. Regime officials have admitted killing 200 protestors.
The Tribunal wants the United States, the UK, and the European Union to enact human rights sanctions against Iranian regime officials it finds guilty of crimes against humanity. Sabi leads a recently-formed human rights group based in London, Justice4Iran.
2021: Leaked Evin documents show abuse.
Internal documents from Evin prison, obtained
by a hactivist group known as Edalat-e Ali
(Alis's Justice), show that prison authorities
systematically punished prisoners for signing
open letters, going on hunger strike, or
otherwise seeking to make their treatment
known to the outside world. The documents were
to Radio Farda. A separate batch of
documents, relating to the November 2019
protests and the murder of dissidents, was
reportedly leaked to the BBC. Edalat-e Ali
is the same group that leaked videos from
Evin Prison in August (see below).
Oct. 29, 2021: U.S. Treasury issues drone sanctions. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control today imposed sanctions on a network of companies and individuals "that have provided critical support to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the IRGC Qods Force (IRGC-QF). In imposing the sanctions, Treasury noted that the Quds Force has used and proliferated lethal UAVs for use by Iran-supported groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, Kata’ib Hizballah, and the Houthis, and to Ethiopia, where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region." The Quds Force has also used armed drones "in attacks on international shipping and on U.S. forces," Treasury said.
Sept. 19, 2021: Free Nazanin
Committee appeals to British Foreign
Minister. The Free
Nazanin campaign and REDRESS, have
appealed to UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss,
asking her to impose Magnitsky sanctions on ten
Iranian officials involved in Iran’s
hostage-taking. The UK government enacted
Magnitsky-style sanctions, to punish international
human rights offenders, last year. The sanctions
restrict the travel of government officials and
freeze their assets. UK citizen Nazanin
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained nearly 2000 days
ago, ostensibly to convince the British government
to pay a £400 million debt to Iran.
July 19, 2021: Regime attempt to
kidnap Iranian-American journalist foiled. Four
Iranians were indicted today in Manhattan for a
failed attempt to kidnap Voice of America
journalist Masih Alinejad. Thse kidnapping was
part of a plan targeting at least five Iranians in
Canada, the UK, and the UAE, the
indictment claimed. While Alinejad was not
named in the indictment, she confirmed
on Twitter that the authorities had
informed her of the plot against her and thanked
the FBI. "I am grateful to FBI for foiling the
Islamic Republic of Iran's Intelligence Ministry's
plot to kidnap me," she said.
April 8, 2021: FDI Protests German
government persecution of Iranian
The German government has taken unprecedented steps to isolate Iranian activist Abolghassem Mesbahi, 61, cutting off his ability to find work, contact the media, maintain a bank account or travel, in outright violation of German and European Union law, international human rights standards, the United Nations Charter, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran urges all like-minded human rights organizations to read Mesbahi's declaration, which we publish below (Permalink here), and to raise Mesbahi's case with members of the Bundestag, the German government, and international organizations.
If you are financially able, please consider sending a donation to the special page we have set up to help Mesbahi and his family. Contributions are not tax-deductible.)
Mesbahi initially came to Germany in 1996 as a political refugee, and subsequently acquired German citizenship along with his family.
For many years, he was forced by the German government to live a clandestine existence in the witness protection program, as he was assisting federal prosecutors in the Mykonos case. Known as "Witness C" to the media during the 1996 trial, his testimony ultimately led the German court to indict top Iranian government officials, including the Supreme Leader and then-president Hashemi-Rafsanjani, for their role in ordering the assassination of Kurdish dissident leaders Sadegh Sharafkindi, Fattah Abdoli and Homayoun Ardalan, and translator Nouri Dehkordi, at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin on September 17, 1992.
(For more details on the Mykonos case, see the report from the Iran Human Rights Documentation, here).
He was also a witness in the Iran-9/11 case (Havlish v. Osama bin Laden et al) in the Southern District of New York that ultimately led to more than $16 billion in damages against the government of the Islamic regime in Iran.
Mesbahi and his family have been thrown out of their apartment in Germany and are currently living thanks to assistance from local churches. The German government has denied him access to health care and the social welfare safety net afforded to all German citizens, in violation of German law. As Mesbahi told FDI, "the German government has placed me in a category of one. No one else in this country is treated this way."
When Mesbahi attempted to relocate to Canada several years ago, the German government intervened with Canadian authorities to get him expelled from the country.
We believe this outrageous persecution of a brave defector and human rights advocate stems from the crass material interests of German industry, which sees Iran as a cash cow for German exports. But more important, it demonstrates to abject political cowardice of German leaders from 1999 until today. Shame on you, Gerhard Schroeder! Shame on you, Angela Merkel!
My name is Abolghasem Mesbahi. I was born on Dec. 17, 1959 in Tehran, Iran.
I was an active member of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and became a high ranking employee of the intelligence services and foreign ministry in Iran
In 1996 I appeared as a prosecution witness in the Mykonos trial in Berlin, Germany, where I testified about my knowledge of the Iranian government’s direct involvement in the assassination of Iranian Kurdish dissidents at a Berlin restaurant in 1992.
Out of concerns for my safety, the prosecutors referred to me in public as Witness C.
Based largely on my testimony, the court found that the Iranian regime Supreme Leader, the President, and other top government officials were legally responsible for the murders, and I myself became a target of Iranian government hit teams. The German ministry of interior consequently placed me in their witness protection program.
In 1998, Gerhard Schröder, then head of the Socialist Party (SPD), became the German chancellor and invited Iranian president Khatami to Germany. During this trip, based on the new SPD policy toward Iran, Germany established security and intelligence cooperation with Iran. This had disastrous consequences for me and my family.
Starting in early 1999, the Bundesverfassungsschutz (BfV), German’s domestic intelligence organization, put pressure on me and my family so I decided to leave witness protection program for my own safety.
At first, this pressure took the form of cutting me off from all political and media contacts. For example, every time I had a TV interview or appeared in a court as a witness against the Iranian regime, they would try to discredit me and block me from those contacts. They also contacted my employers in the energy sector and got me fired from several jobs. Three times I was forced to sleep in the streets because the BfV had cut of my source of income.
In 2014 I had an interview in London with an Iranian opposition television that was rebroadcast by al Jazeera.
After that interview, the BfV closed my bank account and issued a notice to all German banks, ordering them not to open any new accounts for me.
The BfV also informed the state unemployment agency that I was ineligible for employment, because I posed a security risk to potential employers.
This effectively blocked my ability to earn a living and to support my family.
From that time on, I have been unable to get a job or to conduct private or political activities. The BfV also blocked state welfare agencies from providing public assistance to me or my family, despite the fact that we had become German citizens and were eligible for public assistance.
They also blocked me from accessing the pension credits I had earned.
They even prevented me from permanently leaving Germany, despite offers from friends and even government officials in other countries to help me and my family leave Germany.
In effect, I became a prisoner of the state without ever being charged with a crime or brought before a court of law. In what type of country can the government prevent a citizen from leaving the country?”
Many people can testify to my situation.
In 2016, I wrote a private declaration testifying to these criminal acts by the BfV against me and my family and delivered it to Kommissar Mettmann Hoher, an official with the local police. He contacted the BfV and was told that they were punishing me because of my interview with Al Jazeera. Kommissar Mettmann even showed me a copy of the interview the BfV had given him.
But because of the power of the BfV, Kommissar Mettmann said he could not help me, and the BfV increased the pressure on me and my family, isolating us from all outside contacts. I call this type of isolation “white torture.”
The BfV was able to completely destroy my ability to provide for my family. Now my 14-year-old daughter puts her head on my shoulder and cries for fear of starvation.
I have become the sacrificial lamb of the BfV, who punish me so the German government and German industry can benefit from their close relationship to the government of the Islamic regime in Iran.
I call on all international humanitarian organizations to come to my aid. Please help me and my family to leave Germany for any other country in Europe, the United States or Canada, so that I can work and live again!
- Witness C of the Mykonos trial
- Witness in the AMIA trial
- Witness in the 9/11-Iran case
Dec. 14, 2020: U.S. designates senior MOIS operatives for abduction and detention of Bob Levinson. Thirteen years after retired FBI agent Bob Levinson went missing on Kish Island, the Treasury Department identified two senior MOIS officials, Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, and placed them under U.S. sanctions. The two Iranians "acted in their capacity as MOIS officers in the abduction, detention, and probably death of Mr. Levinson," a Treasury Department statement read.
"Mohammad Baseri is a high-ranking MOIS officer involved in counterespionage activities in and outside of Iran, who has been involved in sensitive investigations related to Iranian national security issues. Baseri has worked directly with intelligence officials from other countries in order to harm U.S. interests. Ahmad Khazai is a high-ranking member of the MOIS who, in his role as a senior official of the MOIS, has led MOIS delegations to other countries to assess the security situation," according to the Treasury statement.
While Treasury provided no additional details, a 2019 report from the Defense Intelligence Agency noted that in the 1980s and 1990s MOIS was involved in an assassination campaign "that killed dozens of Iranian dissidents, many of them in Europe," and more recently "has been implicated in the murder of two dissidents in the Netherlands and a foiled plot [in 2018][ against an MEK rally in Paris.
"The MOIS changed its organizational structure in 2017 by elevating its Bureau of Foreign Intelligence, providing the organization with a dirrect line of accounting in Iran's annual budget separate from the rest of MOIS," the DIA report concluded [p81].
Dec. 12, 2020:
Regime executes dissident journalist. The
former editor of Ahmadnews, Ruhollah Zam,
was executed on Saturday, Dec. 12, after the
Iranian Supreme Court upheld the death
sentence handed down against him by a trial
court in June. Zam was enticed to travel
from Paris to Baghdad last autumn, where he
was abducted by regime agents and taken to
Iran. (See our report
from Oct. 19, 2019, below, on his
abduction). The Judiciary claimed
Zam had confessed to leading the 2017
protests inside Iran through a council of 29
"regime change" media outlets.
His execution was widely condemned by human rights organizations, and by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The French foreign ministry announced that its ambassador to Iran, as well as other EU colleagues, was withdrawing from a long-planned Europe-Iran Business forum in protest. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo applauded the EU move. "The international community must continue to hold the regime accountable for its unconscionable actions," he said in a tweet. Jake Sullivan, designated by former Vice President Biden to become national security advisor, tweeted that Zam's execution was "another horrifying human rights violation by the Iranian regime. We will join our partners in calling out and standing up to Iran's abuses." Biden's secretary of state nominee, Tony Blinken, retweeted the comment, although both men have publicly called for the United States to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA.
Oct. 23, 2020: Iranian dissident found dead in Toronto. The return of the hit teams? An Iranian dissident, Mohammad Mehdi Amin Sadeghieh was found dead in his Toronto home on Friday. The York Police is calling his death a homicide and put out a bulletin seeking information on a 2015 black Honda CRV they believe connected to his murder. The apparent assassination of the 58-year old Amin prompted Hamed Esmaeilion, the spokesman for victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 shot down by Iran, to report death threats he had received, presumably from Iran, to the RCMP. After it got caught assassinating dissidents in Europe in 1996, the regime reigned in its hit teams and focused on killing Iranian dissidents inside Iran and in "friendly" countries such as Iraq and Turkey, which have systematically failed to investigate Iran's involvement. If a regime-related hit team murdered Mr. Amin, it shows a new level of brazenness from the Iranian regime, which has shown itself desperate to prevent the re-election of President Donald J. Trump.
Oct. 21, 2020: Director of National Intelligence reveals Iranian effort at election interference. Director John Ratcliff in a joint press conference with FBI director Chris Wray on Wednesday revealed that Iranian cyber hackers had gained access to voter data bases in Florida and other states and have been "sending “spoofed” emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump." The scheme apparently involved emails from a so-called white supremecist militia, the "Proud Boys," to registered Democrats, warning them not to vote for former vice president Biden.
Oct. 8, 2020: USG seizes 92 Iranian government-controlled websites.
In an unprecedented and historic move, the Department of Justice and the FBI on Wednesday seized control of 92 domain names they said were “unlawfully used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to engage in a global disinformation campaign.”
The scope of the Iranian disinformation campaign was global, and included four sites targeting American audiences and masquerading as authentic news sites. Other seized sites operated in Europe and through the Middle East and South Asia. The DoJ posted a full listing of the websiteshere. For more detailed information, see our analysis, here.
Sept. 29, 2020: Crown Prince calls for civil disobedience. In a ground-breaking address to Iranians via Instagram, exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi called for a "new pact" among Iranians, and for the first time ever, addressed Balouchi and Kurdish minorities as Iranians. FDI has long argued that one reason the 2009 protests did not succeed was that freezing out of ethnic minorities by the Tehran-central Shiite protest leaders. Pahlavi's direct call to Balochi and Kurdish minorities, and to Iran's workers, was a clear effort to mobilize all branches of Iranian society opposed to the ruling clerics.
been tremendous activity over the past two
years in the Iranian opposition, both
inside Iran and in exile, with the
formation of the Iran Transition Council,
and calls for a Government in Exile. Now,
for the first time Pahlavi has taken off
the gloves and called for union of the
opposition in support of civil
disobedience. You can watch
the speech here.
Sept. 28, 2020: Zarif says killing Soleimani left Iran "with only one arm." In a domestic speech today, former minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the American drone strike that killed Quds Force commander General Qassem Suleymani on Jan. 2, 2020 in Baghdad "hit so hard that we are left with only one arm."
Sept. 17, 2020: Treasury sanctions MOIS-backed hackers. Just two days after the extraordinary releases from the FBI detailing Iranian regime hacking tools, Treasury identified some 45 MOIS-related hackers and sanctioned them by name. Most were related to Advanced Persistent Threat 30 (APT39) and to a front company, Rana Intelligence Computing Company, and had been engaged in a "years-long malware campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents, journalists, and international companies in the travel sector." The Treasury designation alleged that Rana and APT39 had been "conducting computer intrusions and malware campaigns against perceived adversaries, including foreign governments and other individuals the MOIS considers a threat."
To accompany the designation,
the FBI released two separate white papers
detailing the hacking tools used by a separate,
cyber network. These included: "Mimikatz,"
a program that "dumps passwords from memory, as
well as hashes, PINS, and Kerberos tickets;" and
NanoCoreRAT, a remote access Trojan that allows
the hacker to remotely access and control
computers to record user credentials and conduct
In virtually all cases, the Iranian hackers gained access to victims' computers by embedding a link with malicious code in a phishing email.
A second FBI white paper included code used by Rana and APT39 that had been used against "hundreds of individuals and entities from more than 30 different countries" that had "targeted more than 15 U.S. companies, primarily in the travel industry." The tools were also used "to track the movements of individuals whom the MOIS considers a threat."
Sept. 15, 2020: US government identifies Iran-based cyber-security actors. In the first of several public alerts, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA, in tandem with the FBI, warned that Iran-based hacking networks were seeking to compromise U.S. federal government agencies and private sector targets. One report, "Iranian Web Shells," examined Iranian government efforts to penetrate U.S. high-tech actors, as well as healthcare, financial, and insurance companies across the U.S. A second, "Iran-based threat actor exploits VPN Vulnerabilities," examined specific hacking tools used by these networks, including the "ChunkyTuna," Tiny,", and "China Chopper" web shells; "Chisel," a "fast TCP tunnel over HTTP... useful for passing through firewalls;" "Nmap," for "vulnerability scanning and network discovery," Angry IP Scanner," a tool that pings IP addresses, and "Drupwn," a Pathon-based tool "used to scan for vulnerabilities and exploit CVEs in Drupal devices.
released a series
of technical papers identifying Iran-based
hacking networks and
Jan. 2, 2020:
The U.S. takes out Iranian
terror-meister. And here's why
it's unlikely the Iranian regime will strike
Dec. 23, 2019: NIAC infiltrates Democrats in Congress. Is it infiltration when the interests coincide, and the penetration is willingly accepted, even invited? Perhaps not. But it is no coincidence.
The self-avowed "Iran lobby" (that is, pro-Tehran-regime lobby) in Washington, DC, NIAC, has placed members in the Congressional offices of Reps Barbara Lee, Ilham Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and even with the DNC. And what have they done with that influence? Lobbied the Treasury Department to lift sanctions on Iran...! Read their names and their misdeeds in this terrific post from PJ Media. (Note: even if the research comes from a pro-MEK writer tied to a known MEK front, the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, facts are facts. And these facts are positively damning....)
Nov. 26, 2019: SecState Pompeo supports Iran protestors, blames Iran for assassination. In a press conference this morning at the State Department in Washington, DC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Iranian regime for its continued crackdown on protests, and for its assassination last week of dissident Massood Malavi in Istanbul, where he had defected from the regime. The United States has received "over 20,000 messages, videos, photos, notes through the Telegram messaging platform and hope we will continue to receive them," he said. Watch the video here.
Nov. 16, 2019: Sweden arrests Hamid Nouri, alleged executioner of MEK prisoners in 1988
Swedish authorities arrested Hamid Nouri as he arrived in Stockholm on November 9, and is considering prosecuting him on charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the massacre of thousands of MEK prisoners in 1988. According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran:
According to the Washington Post, Mesdaghi's sources in Iran provided the information on Nouri's travel plans that allowed the Swedish authorities to arrest him at Arlanda airport.
US-based human rights activist Iraj Mesdaghi, who was a political prisoner in Iran from 1981 to 1991, described Nouri as “one of the highest-level suspects in connection with the 1988 massacre within the European legal jurisdiction.”“During many years of investigation, I discovered through my contacts inside Iran that Nouri had traveled to Europe many times,” Mesdaghi told CHRI on November 10. “A case was built against him in Sweden and as soon as he arrived, he was arrested by a prosecutor’s order. In Sweden, they don’t arrest anyone for no reason. You need sufficient cause.”
Nov 10, 2019: Former Hezbollah Sec/Gen calls Khamenei a murderer.
In a rare videotaped message,
former Lebanese Hezbollah secretary general
Subhi Tufayli blasted Iran's "Supreme Leader"
Ali Khamenei and the security forces for killing
Iranians and Lebanese and fostering corruption
in Iraq. "You claim to be the leader of Muslims,
not just Iranians," Tufayli
said. "Does such a leader accept to kill
the hungry and protect the corrupt and the
criminals?" He accused Khamenei's security
forces of killing more than 250 people in the
current wave of unrest inside Iran. He also
blasted Khamenei for robbing Lebanon since 1972.
"Does our religion teach us to be dirty, corrupt
and murderous thieves?" Tufayli was Hezbollah
leader in the 1980s. A DEA report from 1988
asserted that he issued a fatwa that year
forbiding Hezbollah members from using drugs but
condoning the sale of drugs to nonbelievers, at
a time when Lebanon's Bekaa Valley was at the
center of the international drug trade. (Source:
Mednews, "Kuwaiti Airways Hijacking Bears
Mugniyeh Stamp," April 18, 1988).
Oct. 21, 2019:
Iran proposes prisoner swap with the U.S.
Iran's foreign ministry has announced that it recently sent the United States a list of people held in U.S. jails it wants released in a proposed prisoner swap, leading to speculation that Iran could be preparing to release retired FBI special agent, Bob Levinson. But Iran also made clear it holds lots of other westerners in its jails, including:
-former US Navy cook Michael R. White, of Imperial, CA, sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran
- Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Want, sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly "infiltrating" the country
- Siamak and Bagher Namazi, arrested in 2015.
- Karan Vafadari and his wife, Afarin Neyssari, California art dealers sentenced to 27 and 16 year prison sentences, respectively.
- Morad Tahbaz, a British-American conservationist, arrested in February 2018 while leading a conservationist mission to protect endangered cheetas and leopards, along with eight other researchers. They were accused of using their watch cameras to spy on Iranian missile sites.
many other foreigners, mostly dual
citizens, from France, Austria, Britain,
and Canada, according to this list compiled
by the Associated Press.
Oct. 16, 2019: IRGC kidnaps Iranian dissident, fails in attempt to capture 2nd journalist.
The IRGC announced in Tehran on Monday, Oct. 14, that it had captured dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, and brought him back to Iran. Zam ran the wildly popular AmadNews website and telegram channel, that helped Iranians coordinate street protests in 2017-2018.
According to Iranian government Press TV, the IRGC claimed it had run a “professional, smart and multifaceted operation” against Zam to maneuver him into a position where he could be brought back to Iran and arrested.
In fact, however, Zam was arrested by Iraqi security services upon his arrival at the Baghdad international airport from Paris, and delivered to Iranian intelligence officers without due process.
Zam’s wife, Mahsa Razani, told reporters about the arrest, but declined to comment on important details that were revealed by Iranian dissident reporter Ali Javanmardi, who claimed on AvaToday and on YouTube that Zam had been lured into traveling to Iraq by one of his employees, Shirin Najafi.
Najafi worked with Zam at AhmadNews,” Javanmardi
said. “She invited him to Iraq to visit
with Ayatollah Sistani, claiming that Sistani
was prepared to fund his project of transforming
AhamdNews into an opposition TV with a 15
million Euros grant. That is why he traveled to
Iraq in the first place.” Najafi denied
any involvement in his kidnapping.
“Zam was arrested pro-Iranian security agents at the Baghdad airport and taken by car to Najaf, and then to Iran,” Javanmardi said.
Javanmardi said that IRGC agents attempted to kidnap him in a parallel plot on the same day in Erbil, in northern Iraq.
“A woman named Samira Moradpour came to visit me in Erbil. She claimed to work for Rejman, a Kurdish Regional Government newspaper, as a professional journalist. In fact, we now believe she was an Iranian intelligence officer. She had tried to send us tips for three months with leaks from inside Iran, but we couldn’t publish any of her information, because we could not corroborate it. Just before the operation against Ruhollah Zam, she contacted me and said, I have lots of information for you, but we must meet in person.”
Javanmardi says he was
suspicious of her effort to meet him in person,
especially when she asked for him to come to her
hotel in Erbil at night, alone. “Instead, I
called the As-Ayish,” the Kurdish internal
security services. “They arrested her and
discovered that she was working with two men who
were planning to kidnap me when I came to the
hotel,” he said. Permalink.
May 9, 2919: Pompeo is right to warn
Iran. In a FoxNews
opinion column, FDI Director Kenneth
Timmerman examines reports that a senior Iranian
defector provided indicators of threat and warning
to the U.S. government, with specific target
information against American citizens.
April 27, 2019: FDI launches campaign to help 9/11 witness facing persecution. A defector from Iranian intelligence has been sentenced to 17 years in prison by the Republic of Georgia on charges initiated by the government of the Islamic State of Iran`, in retaliation for his efforts to expose the Iranian government's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. FDI President has launched a Fundrazr crowd-funding page to raise money to pay his legal defense, after attending a court hearing for Alireza Soleimane-pak (aka Hamid Reza Zakeri) earlier this month (photo at right). Note: contributions are not tax-deductible.
April 24, 2019: IRGC intelligence chief defects. A respected Iranian Internet news agency reported on April 19 that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has just "fired" Brig. Gen. Ali Nasiri, Brig. Gen. Ali Nasirithe chief of the IRGC protection and intelligence department. Nasiri is undoubtedly the most significant and highest ranking defector since General Alireza Asgari in March 2007. In an unusual step, the Iranian regime acknowledged his defection a few days later. If indeed he has gone to the U.S. or to Israel, big things could result. Stay tuned.
hit Iran where
it hurts after
40 years of
war, at FoxNews
27, 2019: Top
top advisor at
army is not
but in recent
Jan. 8, 2019: Dutch Foreign Minister accuses Iran of ordering hit teams to assassinate dissidents. In a move reminiscent of the failed bombing attempt against then Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubair at the Watergate in Washington, DC in October 2011, the Islamic State of Iran now stands accused by the Dutch government of hiring an organized crime hit team to gun down two Iranian dissidents in Holland. The announcement, on Tuesday, by Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok lifted the veil on the previously murky expulsion of Iranian diplomats by Holland and Denmark last year. The diplomats were accused of plotting to kill another dissident in Denmark and of plotting to bomb an MEK event in France. Now it appears they were part of a larger intelligence network whose operations included the successful murder of Azeri nationalist leader Ahmad Mola Nissi, 52, who was gunned down by a man who emerged from a BMW in front of his home in the Hague in November 2017. Two years earlier, in a similar shooting, Ali Motamed, aka Mohammad Reza Kolahi, was gunned down near Amsterdam. Kolahi was accused by the Iranian regime of having masterminded the MEK bombing in 1981 that killed Ayatollah Behesti and wounded Ali Khamenei, now the Supreme Leader. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif did not deny the Dutch charges, but in a Jan. 8 tweet accused the European Union of "harboring terrorists."
month to one
year in prison
a new human
says it is
24, 2018: VOA
Farsi wants to
go 24/7. But
bias of VOA
Farsi in their
the arrest of
"It's why the
speak out to
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.
of Iran: Watch
in response to
threat to shut
again or you
the likes of
calls it, the
22, 2018: SecState
time at the
that he "gets
it" on Iran.
For the first,
time, we have
a leader at
the very top
there can be
of the regime
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.
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
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.
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."
20, 2018: New
friends at the
of Iran Crime
over the past
Please look at
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%
in the act in
policy of the
of America in
the Logan Act,
the George V
hotel in Paris
Kharazzi. Photos are here.
gives Iran a
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.
19, 2018: President Trump on
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.
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.
comments set off a twitterstorm in farsi and
in English, many of them using the hashtag
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
20, 2018: Timmerman on
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.
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
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.
9, 2018 - Day 13 of
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.
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."
6, 2018: Day 10 of
- 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.
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.
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...)
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
- 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.
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,
al-Ansari. Video updates
Dec. 30, 2017: The Regime strikes back.
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
verified videos of the
protests, but the Voice of America
is slowing catching
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!
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.
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
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."
don't understand why they insist
on accusig him of spying for
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
joins the United Nations
International, and other
human rights organizations,
in calling on the Iranian
regime to FREE DR.
DJALALI, yet another
innocent pawn in the hands of
operatives seeking to put
pressure on Iranian
expatriates and their host
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
The Department of Defense has made additional videos and images of the captured Iranian weapons available here.
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
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.
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.
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
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)
1, 2017: Iranian freedom activists
call for investigation of Ahmed Mola
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
14, 2017: Alleged Quds Force officer
claims he assassinated Iranian
dissident in Holland. An
opposition internet site known for
having excellent sources within the
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
file was updated on 5/11/2017 to reflect changes
on the Iranian interests section website, and
to add references to IEEPA.
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 Voice of
is the right
person for the
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.
6, 2017: State
of State Rex
of 20 Iranian
Kurds in Rajai
on Aug. 2,
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.
US. In a
from the Islamic
State of Iran
Iraq and a
widow asks why
10, 2017: The
turns 38 -
this year it's
troops on the
of Iraq and
many as 1500
were killed by
Here is the
testimony of a
wife, who lost
her husband to
bomb in 2007,
State of Iran
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
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
said in a sermon at Tehran University on Dec.
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.
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
"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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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. (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.
Aug. 6, 2016: Iran executes former nuclear scientist - Clinton email tie?
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.
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
million by the U.S. government for
providing information on Iran’s nuclear
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
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.
Aug. 5, 2016: Iranian state television showed footage of 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. 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.
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]
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
FDI President & CEO Kenneth R.
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.
June 25, 2015. Human Rights
group blasts Canadian opposition leader.
Read Timmerman's more detailed analysis of the agreement at the Daily Caller.
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