Dissident’s call for regime change in Iran as executions intensify.

National Council of Resistance in Iran leader Maryam Rajavi was the keynote speaker at Saturday’s rally in Paris, with a demand that Washington abandon the Iranian nuclear accord and take a far more aggressive posture toward Tehran.

National Council of Resistance of Iran July Gathering

July 9, 2016 – Gathering to call for regime change in Iran.

While the Obama administration lifted many economic sanctions on Iran under last year’s nuclear accord, the State Department has continued to list the nation as a state sponsor of terrorism, and international sanctions remain on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

 

 

 

Read the full story here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/13/iranian-dissidents-call-for-regime-change/

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Ali Safavi: Iran is incapable of reform

National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Ali Safavi criticized the United States’ foreign policy with Iran in an editorial for the NY Daily News last week. “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Safavi said. “Welcome to U.S. foreign policy towards Iran.”

Safavi criticized Western countries – the United States in particular – for their enthusiasm in accommodating Tehran’s reformists while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the clerical brutality of Tehran’s regime. Safavi pointed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s execution record as a sign that Iran’s reformists haven’t embraced the political narrative that Western countries want to entrust to them.

President Rouhani has been named a moderate reformist by many in the West and, on the surface, has been painted as a politician able to make economic movement between the West and Iran. Dig below the surface, however, and Rouhani’s presidential record becomes bleaker. The United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, reported recently that Iran’s execution rate is the highest it’s been since 1989, with as many as 4 per day between April 2015 and June 2015. Reporters Without Borders estimate that at least 20 professional journalists and an unknown amount of non-professional journalists are being detained in Iran directly due to their reporting, despite Rouhani promising a change in favor of free speech and media freedoms. Women’s rights remain poor in Iran, even though Rouhani has insisted that he would like to improve them.

Even one of Rouhani’s most significant accomplishments – economic reform – becomes weak when put under scrutiny. The New York Times uncovered in a report that all of the celebrated economic contracts Rouhani secured in his European tour were made solely to state- or semi state-backed Iranian industries. This left little economic benefit for Iran’s weary yet large private sector – a sector that could desperately use foreign investment.

Safavi argued in his editorial that Western trust of reformists like Rouhani are well-intended but ultimately misguided. Iran’s reformist politicians are carefully vetted and hand-picked by unelected members of the Guardian Council and approved by hardline Supreme Leader Ali Khameni. This, in turn, curates moderates and reformists that don’t represent reform or moderation. Safavi believes that legitimizing Iran through the Nuclear Deal, the United States has inadvertently emboldened the Iranian regime to continue to use violence to counter dissent.

Safavi concluded that the Iranian government is incapable of reaching true reform, and that the the time and effort the United States spends on reaching out to the Tehran would be much better spent speaking to Iranian civilians and dissidents.

“Speaking out on the situation of human rights in Iran and reaching out to Iranian dissidents and the organized opposition would go a long way in demonstrating to the millions yearning for freedom that the U.S. is on their side.” Safavi wrote, adding “Until we do, the West will continue to serve as witting accomplices to horrific human rights violations — and as enablers of an illegitimate, anti-democratic regime.”

Prominent United States politicians call for harder sanctions against Iran

In light of Iran’s recent missile tests, many United States figureheads and politicians have called for tougher sanctions against the Iranian regime, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan and Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Iran launched two ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets 1400 km away at the end of a large military drill. It’s the first ballistic missile firing Iran’s conducted since signing nuclear deal P5+1 in July. Per US officials, this firing directly challenges a UN resolution made with Iran that specifically called upon Iran to not participate in ballistic missile activity.

Tehran’s missile tests rippled through the international community, with many United States officials calling for a tougher stance on the Iranian regime. United States Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement: “We are united in the belief that a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, the region and the United States.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan said that he would continue to press for new sanctions against Iran until it stops provoking and threatening the United States and their allies. Several Republicans have echoed his sentiment, calling for more US sanctions in response.

Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she was “deeply concerned”  by Iran’s missile tests, and called for penalties against Tehran in response. “Iran should face sanctions for these activities and the international community must demonstrate that Iran’s threats toward Israel will not be tolerated,” she said in a statement.

Army General Lloyd Austin, commander of the United States Central Command, expressed his concern that Tehran’s missile test is further evidence that Tehran hasn’t changed as much as it wants the West to believe.

“There are a number of things that lead me to personally believe that, you know, their behavior is not — they haven’t changed any course yet.”

Maryam Rajavi: Regardless of outcome, Iranian regime will weaken after #IranElections

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, said in a statement this week that regardless of the outcome of the sham elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in Iran, the situation for Iranian people will not become better. Ultimately, Rajavi believes that the regime as a whole will weaken, its internal crises will intensify, and the resentment and anger that the Iranian people feel towards the mullah’s corruption will deepen.

Rajavi pointed out that Iran’s clerical regime is founded on a rejection of democratic sovereignty, and that while all of the running candidates for office are loyal to clerical rule, many were disqualified for displaying minor dissent against supreme leader Ali Khamenei. As supreme leader, Khamenei has the highest political authority in Iran, and has the power to disqualify political candidates from running for office should he consider them unworthy. Khamenei’s political filter has given ruling hardliners in Iran massive political leverage, and has made it impossible for Iranian citizens to establish a true democracy.

Khamenei’s power to deny was on full display this election season. Earlier this month, Khamenei infamously disqualified Hassan Khomeini from running for membership in the Assembly of Experts – the arm of the Iranian government that monitors the conduct of the supreme leader. Khomeini is the grandson of previous supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, and was popular among Iranian reformists.

As the internal struggle between rival factions and the ruling clerics of the regime heightens, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who many hoped could institute political change, has been submissive to Khamenei’s restrictions, further establishing that despite his rhetoric, he either does not have the will or the strength to create a truly democratic Iran. His inaction has been disappointing to former supporters, particularly women, who feel frustrated by their lack of civil representation.

Maryam Rajavi stressed that whatever the outcome of this election, the strains between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime will only intensify. As whispers of democratic futility and projected low voter turnout grows among Iranians, the Iranian regime pushes harder to facilitate participation in their curated ballot, issuing fatwas to make participation in elections a religious obligation and defining a blank ballot as a direct violation of Sharia law.

Rajavi determined that even if the ruling clerics emerge from the election successful, the hostility that the Iranian people feel towards the mullahs and the mullah’s continued internal struggle to remain in power will ultimately make them weaker, not stronger. The political volatility in Iran in of itself is a loss for the regime.

Activists advocate for better human rights for Iranian women for #InternationalWomensDay2016

Last week, prominent women’s rights advocates from the United Kingdom voiced their concerns for the lack of gender equality and civil protections for women in Iran in an online conference hosted by the NCRI. The advocates condemned the Iranian regime’s poor treatment of women, and called on the UK and the international community to speak up against these injustices.

The online conference, moderated by Ms. Dowlat Nowrouzi, featured three prominent women’s rights advocates: Ms. Linda Lee, former President of the Law Society of England & Wales, Lady Val Corbett, prominent women’s rights activist, and Ms. Margaret Owen OBE, the director of Widows for Peace through Democracy. The advocates discussed Iran’s dismal treatment of women, pointing out the lack of safety women are afforded by the Iranian government and the denial of basic human rights.

“The terrible violence against women and youths in Iran is sickening,” remarked Margaret Owen, adding, “This regime executes juveniles and forces girls at the age of nine into marrying older men. At least 73 juveniles have been executed during the last decade, and according to Amnesty International, 160 are now on death row. Iran has signed up to the conventions on children rights but they do not care.”

The advocates praised Iranian women who object the Iranian regime’s misogyny, and noted the huge potential women have to change Iran, expressing their admiration in particular for Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance for leading the charge for women’s rights. “The change will come for women,” stated Linda Lee.  Lee urged young women to become more active, and requested that they get involved on social media and “stand with their sisters.”

The conference was broadcast live on the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee last Friday. Read the full story here: http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/women/19918-activists-speak-up-for-women-s-rights-in-iran

#StopExecutionsIran: Protest in Paris tomorrow

Since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013:

  • Executions in Iran have continued, especially of ethnic and religious minorities. Over 2,000 people have been executed since Rouhani’s term in office. Amnesty International reported that nearly 700 people were executed by the Iranian regime in just over six months.
  • Iran continues to be the largest prison for journalists in the Middle East. Reporters Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi were both released from Iranian prisons this week. Both were detained in Iran for over a year through “arbitrary and blatantly illegal treatment by Iranian authorities.”
  • Women continue to face violence and misogyny. In 2014, organized gangs affiliated with the Iranian regime committed acid attacks on Iranian women and girls. At least 25 women were subjected to these attacks.

Hassan Rouhani has been touring Italy and France this month in an effort to create an economic relationship between the West and Iran, but the devastating and blatant human rights violations that continue to plague the Iranian people under his leadership should not be ignored.

Join friends of the Iranian people tomorrow as they protest Hassan Rouhani’s civil and democratic violations.

No to Rouhani Rally in Paris
Thursday January 28 2016 | 13:00h in Paris’ Trocadero Square

Follow the event online with the hashtags #No2Rouhani and #StopExecutionsIran

Rally organized against Iranian president in France: protestors say #No2Rouhani

Protestors of the Iranian regime will rally against increased Iranian human rights violations under president Hassan Rouhani. Protesters intend to call attention to the number of executions carried out by the Iranian government while Rouhani has served in office.

Hassan Rouhani’s presidency has an abysmal track record when it comes to human rights. Despite Rouhani running on the perception of a moderate platform, Iran still executes more people per capita than any other country in the world, including at least 694 people between January 1 and September 15 of 2015.

Women and young people see some of the harshest human rights violations: Iran is still the worst offender when it comes to juvenile executions, and a law in 2013 made it permissible for men to marry their adoptive daughters – a law Rouhani implemented himself.

Iranians and their allies have already joined together online under the hashtags #No2Rouhani and #StopExecutionsIran. The protest will take place in Trocadero Square in Paris on January 28 – the same day Rouhani also plans to be visiting Paris.

More information can be found here: http://iranfreedom.org/news/1193-iranians-rally-in-paris-to-say-no-to-rouhani