Women have been the main target of the Iranian regime — now they’re leading the revolution to bring it down

New York Post     |     By Maryam Rajavi     |     November 27, 2022

Brave Iranian women, supported by a generation of young men, educated and knowing their inalienable rights, have openly and ferociously rejected the brutal religious dictatorship of Ali Khamenei and all his loyalists and apologists, in pursuit of justice and equal rights.

They are organized, inspired, self-sacrificing and ready to bring about fundamental change: the regime’s downfall and the establishment of democratic rule that will ensure their life, liberty and prosperity.

Their courageous stand on the streets of almost every city and town in Iran has been met by the welcome support of all of society and the awe and respect of the free world.

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini’s tragic death in the custody of Tehran’s morality police triggered an explosion of grievances over injustices our people have suffered for more than four decades. The world is witnessing the fruition of a democratic revolution that Ruhollah Khomeini denied 43 years ago when, under a pretense of Islam, he imposed a theocratic dictatorship on the Iranian people.

Iranians, especially women, are ending a monstrous religious fascist experiment that defiled Islam as well as Iran’s culture and civilization by committing the most egregious and inhumane crimes in modern times.

Women have been the main target of the regime’s oppression and discrimination — and thus possess the greatest potential to confront the regime. They have also learned by experience that their rights cannot be realized as long as this regime reigns. They are, therefore, the force for change and rebirth of our nation.

The protesters are using slogans to communicate their aspirations to the world. “Death to Khamenei!” “Death to the oppressor, be it the shah or the [supreme] leader!” “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!” “Death to the principle of velayat-e faqih [absolute clerical rule]!”

In the first months after the revolution, the mullahs’ regime sought to impose compulsory veiling with its own slogan: “Either the veil or a hit on the head.” Mujahedin-e Khalq women who wore the veil were on the front lines of the women’s huge protest in March 1979. I was there.

In 1981, when our people revolted against religious fascism, they were met with brute force. Many high-school and university students were summarily executed the day after a half-million-strong peaceful demonstration in Tehran, without regard to judicial norms or proper identification. Mass executions intensified in subsequent weeks and months, at times with hundreds executed every night.

Four decades of horrors and massacres, injustices and cruelties have ensued.

Today, the Iranian people have not risen to reform an irreformable and illegitimate regime but rather to end it. They rose in peaceful protest but were met with bullets, torture and executions. In an uneven conflict with heavily armed forces of suppression, they are rightfully resisting with what they have, with rocks, their honor, blood, sweat and tears.

The free world must support the democratic revolution for which my empty-handed compatriots are laying down their lives. When inalienable and God-given rights cannot be secured through peaceful means in the face of a brutal dictatorship lacking any legitimacy, it is incumbent upon women and men of honor to secure them through organized, responsible and self-sacrificing struggle by any means within the bounds of internationally recognized covenants — such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognizes the right “to have recourse as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression.”

The United States Declaration of Independence, too, holds that “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish” a government that is destructive to its citizens’ life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Faced with ruthless violence from well-armed security forces exhorted to show no mercy and a regime that seeks no less than their wholesale massacre to continue its control and enslavement of the citizenry, there is only one recourse of last resort. As Americans know, freedom does not come free.

The Iranian resistance will continue until the religious dictatorship’s downfall and the establishment of a free, secular, democratic and non-nuclear Iran, in peace and good mutual relations with the world.

Women are at the center of this resistance, and their role in the political leadership as well as economic, cultural and intellectual life will be guaranteed by their struggle. Above and beyond their absolute right to decide what they wear and how to live, they are at the forefront of change.

The Iranian people should not be alone at such a defining moment. It is time for the West to shun the appeasement of the theocracy and support the democratic revolution by recognizing the resistance’s right to defend itself against the brutality of the regime by any means possible.

We’ve always welcomed the support and participation of all Iranians in overthrowing this regime, rejecting dictatorships of the past and establishing a free Iran through popular sovereignty and the ballot box. The path to reclaim our rights and rebuild our future has been charted, and thanks in great part to the country’s women, a free Iran will soon join the free world.

Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/27/women-have-been-the-main-target-of-the-iranian-regime-now-theyre-leading-the-revolution-to-bring-it-down/

Activists say prisoners chanted antigovernment slogans;
Parliament clears police in Mahsa Amini’s death.
The fire Saturday at Evin Prison in Tehran, which the U.S. says is a political prison for dissidents and foreigners and is known to hold demonstrators from recent protests.

WSJ     |     By Benoit Faucon and David S. Cloud      |      Oct. 16, 2022

The protest movement sweeping Iran spread to a Tehran prison known as a symbol of political repression in a new challenge to the Islamic Republic, with detained dissidents chanting antigovernment slogans before violence erupted and a deadly fire engulfed the facility, activists said.

Authorities said the fire killed four inmates and blamed a planned escape attempt on Saturday for the mayhem at Evin Prison, a complex in north Tehran erected by the shah five decades ago that serves as a political prison for dissidents and foreigners. A large fire was visible at Evin from the densely populated neighboring communities, and loud bangs were heard through much of the night.

The melee started in a ward of the prison that houses inmates convicted of financial crimes and other criminal offenses but quickly spread to areas where political prisoners and dissidents are held, prompting guards to bring in reinforcements and firefighters to put down the protests and extinguish the fire, according to officials and human rights activists.

By Sunday morning, authorities said they were back in control, but the unrest marked another indication that the country’s Islamic leadership is facing one of the gravest tests in its 43-year existence. The protests that first focused on the country’s mandatory hijab, or head covering, for women have morphed into something larger, calling for the end of the strict Islamic governance ushered in with the country’s 1979 revolution. While authorities said the prison violence had nothing to do recent protests, witnesses and advocates for the prisoners said the extraordinary incident at Evin was another sign that the leaderless movement was spreading beyond the government’s control.

Protests continued across Iran over the weekend, according to footage verified by Storyful, which is owned by News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal. In Ardabil, a town in northwest Iran, there were demonstrations after a teachers’ association said a schoolgirl was beaten to death after a pro-regime event turned into an anti-government protest. The government has denied responsibility, saying she had died from a heart condition.

By the accounts of both activists and the government, the violence at Evin began on Saturday.

In the women’s ward of the prison, some inmates broke down the door of the two-story building housing around 45 prisoners, and moved into the staff area of the prison yard, where they started chanting antigovernment slogans, said Atena Daemi, a human-rights activist in Tehran who was released from Evin eight months ago after seven years imprisoned there. She said she had heard accounts of the riot from eight families, who received brief calls Sunday from prisoners in Evin’s women’s ward.

A prison guard warned the women, some of whom weren’t wearing mandatory headscarves, that they would be killed unless they went back into the building, Ms. Daemi said, citing the accounts told by the families.

Guards fired tear gas and threw “something like a grenade,” Ms. Daemi said she was told. Women also reported seeing guards armed with rifles aiming at them with laser sights, which project a visible beam.

Two women prisoners—Sepideh Kashani, an environmental activist, and Zahra Safaei, a political activist—were overcome by the tear gas and needed treatment, Ms. Daemi said, citing accounts from the families. None of the women imprisoned in the ward were arrested during recent protests, she said.

“They said everybody in the women’s ward is safe, but the situation is tense,” Ms. Daemi said. “Due to the large amount of tear gas used in the prison, some of them have burning eyes and shortness of breath.”

The government has arrested hundreds of protesters, jailing the most politically active ones in Evin, said members of the protest movement and human-rights activists. They include six students at the Sharif University who were arrested when the elite Tehran institution was surrounded by police two weeks ago, say students who escaped the raid. Another affected ward held political prisoners, according to accounts gathered by the Free Union of Iranian Workers, the main umbrella of trade unions, which has many members held at Evin. Some Evin prisoners had gathered in the courtyard and chanted slogans against the government on Friday, the union said.

Then on Saturday, prison officials tried to intimidate the prisoners, who later protested and rioted, the union said. When family members went to the prison to check on their relatives’ safety, they were initially told Sunday that they wouldn’t be allowed to talk with prisoners, Ms. Daemi added. But when the families protested, they were allowed to have brief conversations.

On Sunday morning, families of detainees could be seen outside the prison seeking news of their jailed relatives. More than 15,000 inmates are said to be held at the sprawling complex on the outskirts of Tehran. Authorities said Saturday’s melee began in Ward 7, which is supposed to be for inmates convicted of financial crimes. The inmates set fire to a sewing workshop, according to Iran’s state media, adding that some prisoners had blades and tried to escape the prison. When prisoners from Ward 7 broke out of their building, they freed prisoners in Ward 8, Ms. Daemi said.

Among those in Ward 8 was Emad Shargi, an Iranian-American incarcerated at the prison on what the U.S. has called false charges, according to his sister, Neda Sharghi. She talked to him briefly Saturday night by phone, she said, hearing shooting and yelling in the background. Later he was moved to another ward, she said.

“He was moved from where the riots were,” she said. “We haven’t been able to get much more information.”

By early Sunday morning, Iranian state television aired a video showing that the prison was calm, though damaged by the fire. State media said the unrest had involved only prisoners convicted of theft and financial crimes, a claim disputed by human-rights activists.

Four inmates died of smoke inhalation and 61 were injured, state news agency IRNA said.

Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American imprisoned on espionage-related charges rejected by Washington as baseless, has been detained at Evin for seven years. His lawyer, Jared Genser, said Mr. Namazi was placed in solitary confinement after the riots Saturday and told it was “for his own protection.” He was briefly furloughed earlier this month then returned to Evin.

Some prisoners were without water and food Sunday, according to Ms. Daemi, citing conversations with families of men incarcerated there. She said 45 prisoners had been transferred from Ward 8 since the melee, and an additional 14 who had been injured were returned without treatment.

Azin Mohajerin, the lead human-rights officer at Miaan Group, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization focused on human rights in Iran, said Evin and the rest of the prisons system in Iran is “overcrowded, above its maximum capacity after the large number of arrests during the protests.” Mr. Mohajerin, who is compiling a list of detainees and their conditions, said that Iran’s prisons are so full with detained protesters that arrested female high-school students are now mixed with adults in crowded cells.

Evin Prison and its management were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2018 for human-rights abuses. “Prisoners held at Evin Prison are subject to brutal tactics inflicted by prison authorities, including sexual assaults, physical assaults, and electric shock,” the Treasury Department said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-protests-spread-with-uprising-at-prison-11665932021

 

OC Register      |     By MITRA SAMANI      |     October 9, 2022

The preamble to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that in absence of the rule of law, individuals and societies are “compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression.” That is precisely what we are currently witnessing in Iran, and in line with the UN’s declaration, the people’s uprising must be recognized as legitimate and as deserving international support.

To their credit, major world powers have appropriately condemned the Iranian regime’s backlash against the ongoing protests, which began in response to the death, on Sept. 16, of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality police.” Some governments have even taken steps to sanction Iranian authorities over the killings and mass arrests that were reported during the first two weeks of unrest.

However, these measures have been unfortunately tepid, tentative and slow to develop. They do not reflect the urgency of the moment. Although Iran underwent at least a half dozen other nationwide uprisings between December 2017 and earlier this year, many commentators have rightly observed that the present situation is different. While many of the slogans are the same, conveying a now-familiar message of regime change, the accompanying actions are more intense, far-reaching and defiant.

Apart from simply gathering in the streets and calling for “death to the dictator,” participants in the current uprising have been meeting security forces face-to-face, often fighting back against heavily armed officers using nothing other than rocks and fists. Videos have leaked out of the Islamic Republic in spite of harsh restrictions on internet access, which show police vehicles and government buildings having been set ablaze.

Meanwhile, the presence of female activists has been especially apparent in the current uprising, as might be expected in light of its origin as a protest against the regime’s forced veiling laws and its violent enforcement of fundamentalist Islamic standards of public behavior. Women have gathered in massive crowds to collectively throw off their hijabs, often burning them and cutting their hair to signal their permanent defiance of the regime’s demands.

This, along with unusually consistent international attention to the uprising, may have had a mitigating effect on the regime’s violent repression, at least over the short term. Tehran has tried to both conceal and justify that repression with its cuts to internet access and its corresponding promotion of narratives that portray domestic unrest as part of a vague, foreign conspiracy to undermine the theocratic system. But the sheer scale, geographic diversity, and spontaneity of the protests makes those narratives easy to debunk even in absence of complete information and reliable online communication.

The female population’s extraordinary outrage means that it will be necessary for authorities to target women if they have any hope of halting this outpouring of dissent. But this creates something of a conundrum for the regime, since it has long presented its forced veiling laws and general misogyny as part of a social strategy for protecting women. It is a narrative that is not taken seriously by many Iranians, but its absurdity would be laid bare like never before if the regime openly killed female activists while still claiming to act in their best interest.

This goes to show that Iranian authorities are being made to confront instability not only in society at large but also in the ideological underpinnings of the system. The regime will soon face the choice of either acknowledging its own hypocrisy in order to lean into the violent suppression of dissent, or else pursuing compromise with the activist population and thus acknowledging that their hardline Islamism was wrong-headed and unpopular in the first place. In either case, the theocratic dictatorship cannot be expected to survive the change, and so the international community should prepare itself for Iran’s complete transformation.

Some may question what that transformation will lead to and whether it will be beneficial to either Western interests or the Iranian people themselves. But many Western policymakers already understand that there is an established alternative to the clerical regime, and that its platform is and always has been to reject all forms of tyranny and to provide Iranians with popular sovereignty once and for all.

That alternative is embodied by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its female leader Maryam Rajavi, who has outlined a 10-point plan for Iran’s free, democratic future. That plan has long been endorsed by American and European lawmakers representing a broad range of political ideologies and affiliations, including 257 bi-partisan members of Congress in the U.S. House. With the current uprising bringing the Islamic Republic closer than it has ever been to regime change, it is certainly time for the governments of the U.S. and its allies to offer that same endorsement and to take concrete steps to support the Iranian people in what could be their final push for democracy.

By the same token, Western governments and individual policymakers should make it absolutely clear that the Iranian people, like all people’s throughout the world, have an inherent right to make that push and to rebel against tyranny and repression, especially when they have been denied the rule of law for more than four long decades.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/09/iranians-have-the-right-to-revolt-to-achieve-democracy/

 

Thousands Rally at the UN, Voice Support for Iran Uprising, Condemn Raisi’s Presence

OIAC      |     September 23, 2022

New York, September 23, 2022 – Capping a weeklong series of exhibitions and daily picket lines, some 3,000 Iranian Americans from across 40 U.S. states held a major rally at New York’s Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to denounce Raisi and stand in solidarity with the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran calling for regime change.

According to the latest reports by the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), dozens have been killed by the Revolutionary Guards in protests in 100 cities and 30 provinces in Iran.

The participants in the NY rally heard from high profile former Senators Joe Liberman (D-CT), Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), and Ambassador Sam Brownback (R-KS), as well as Ukrainian lawmaker Kira Rudik. Speakers and the rally participants condemned the presence of Iranian regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi at the UN and called on the international community to prosecute him for his role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners and other crimes against humanity in Iran.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed the rally via a video link.  “From Saqqez, Sanandaj, and Divandarreh, to Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, Mashhad, Rasht, and other cities of Iran, brave protesters have shaken the pillars of Khamenei’s oppressive rule with their chants of “From Kurdistan to Tehran, Iran is drenched in blood,” “Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is illegitimate,” and “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the (mullahs’ supreme) leader,” Mrs. Rajavi said in her remarks.

Madam Rajavi highlighted the fact that, “Khamenei is himself in the throes of death. The public’s enormous hatred toward Ebrahim Raisi, as well as the decay and decline of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), signal the clerical regime’s end. Khamenei and Raisi drag their dying regime from one day to the next through the monthly executions of dozens of people…In contrast, the struggle and sacrifice of the MEK and Resistance Units give people hope and encourage them to prepare for the final uprising to bring down the mullahs.” Mrs. Rajavi called on the current session of the United Nations General Assembly to take immediate action regarding the clerical regime’s crimes against women, especially the crimes and daily killings by the mullahs’ guidance patrol.” Of note since the rally, the United States has placed sanctions on Iran’s “morality police.”

In his remarks, former Vice-Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman said, “I am proud again to stand with you today against Raisi, against Khamenei, and for freedom for the people of Iran. History is full of examples where regimes that nobody thought would be toppled have been overthrown.” Today he added, “this murderer is speaking to the organization that was founded to protect the peace. The protests are growing. The people of Iran, led by the resistance of Iran, supported by the NCRI and MEK, continue their protests.”

The choice is clear, Mr. Lieberman noted, “There is an alternative. It’s time to acknowledge that the regime in Iran will not change. It is time for us to change the regime and free the people of Iran. The resistance within the country bravely grows stronger, supported by the NCRI.”

Former Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) told the crowd, “Raisi can call himself a president. We call him a murderer. Raisi wasn’t elected. He was chosen.” He alluded to Iranian regime terror operations in Europe and the U.S. and said, “What is the regime he represents? His government sent a diplomat with a bomb in a diplomatic pouch to plant it in a peaceful gathering to take out lives. Raisi is the head of that regime. That is the person who just spoke to the General Assembly. We are gathered because we will never forget what Iran was and we will never stop fighting for what Iran must become. We say to the world, what is right for Ukraine is right for Iran.” Senator Torricelli directed his remarks at the rulers in Tehran and said, “Joining me today to speak to you is Senator Lieberman and Senator Brownback. To the regime, take note of who they are and what they represent. Democrats and Republicans, we as Americans are united…we are as united for a free Iran as we are for a free Ukraine.”

Ambassador Sam Brownback, the former Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, and former Governor and Senator said in his remarks, “The people of Iran are rising to claim their rightful place as a free people.” Raisi he said, “doesn’t deserve to address the UN. He deserves to be tried for the crimes he committed against his own people.” He added, “It is time to declare freedom for the people of Iran. That’s what we are for. We declare the end of the dictatorship over Iran. That’s what the people want.” With the growing protest and opposition movement he added, “the boiling point has been reached. The desire for change can no longer be contained.”

Ms. Kira Rudik, a leading Ukrainian parliamentarian said, “We are here to support each other as the free nations of Ukraine and Iran, People of free Iran. During these seven months [since the invasion of Ukraine], there were tough times when we didn’t know if there was hope. During these times, I told myself what Mrs. Rajavi told me: We can and we must.”

A number of distinguished Iranian Americans also addressed the rally

Dr. Siamack Shojai, an Economist, Educator, and Administrator said, “To the policymakers in the US and UN and EU capitals: regardless of which party is in the White House, I request that you look at history and see that the policy of appeasement will not stop the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons and will endanger the lives of millions of Iranians. We need regime change. Honorable Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, clean your hands again and again. Because you shook the hands of the murderer Raisi who killed thousands of the best Iranians who stood for freedom. He should be prosecuted, not welcomed to the UN.”

In his remarks, Professor Kazem Kazerounian reiterated that, “The cries of anger that we hear in Iran today is not the voice of a mourning nation. It is the manifestation of a nation risen for change. This is the result of more than 40 years of persistence and resistance in the toughest of times. It is a resistance movement that has a plan, organization, leadership, and more importantly, has made sacrifices… We mark this year as the year of freedom, resistance, and equality. Our exams will be in the streets and squares of Iran.”

Former political prisoner Mrs. Sheila Neinavaei, who spent eight years in Iran’s prisons and came face-to-face with Raisi at the “Death Commission” in 1988, said in her remarks, “Last week, we witnessed the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the regime on bogus charges of violating hijab rules and killed a few hours later. For years, the regime became more violent. On the other hand, the members of the resistance became more resolute, to the point that the regime became desperate. The regime decided to eliminate the problem from the root.” Today she added, “the regime’s president is one of the key players of the 1988 massacre. It is a shame for the UN that Raisi is here today. But this will be the end of the regime.”

In his speech, Doctor Firouz Daneshgari, a renowned Professor and Surgeon at Case Western Reserve University said,  “I am addressing you as a former political prisoner who has been tortured and witnessed the murders committed by Raisi. He is a murderer who has no place among world leaders. He must be arrested and tried for his crimes against humanity. Khamenei appointed him to continue his brutality to suppress protests.” The ongoing uprisings he added, “will overthrow the regime. Hail to all the protesters across Iran.”

Ashraf Zadshir, MD, a California based researcher and physician also stated, “The conditions in Iran have caused a brain drain in Iran. As you know, many students are under the cruelest torture in Iran’s prisons, including Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi.  She then decried Mahsa Amini’s senseless murder in the hands of IRGC security forces and said, “But Mahsa is not dead, Mahsa has become the spark for the current uprising for regime change.” She credited Maryam Rajavi and leadership of women in the Iranian resistance with inspiring a new generation of women and girls who lead the movement for democratic and secular republic in Iran.

In his remarks, Bishop Robert Stearns, the Founder and Executive Director of Eagles’ Wings, said, “We care about what’s happening in Iran because their issues touch our entire world. It’s an issue of freedom and human rights. The time for change is now.  People from many different faiths and religions can unite around this. It is time for the tyrant Raisi to go…We say Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan is the path to freedom. All of history teaches us that eventually evil falls and good triumphs. I know that change is coming very quickly in Iran. I believe that we will see very soon see the walls of evil fall and freedom come to the people of Iran.”

Reverend Dr. Marcus Miranda, President/CEO f New York State Chaplain Task Force said in his speech, “We’re closer to achieving freedom of equality, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion in Iran. Raisi continues to use execution to silence the majority in Iran. But the uprisings have begun and will not stop until freedom rings in Iran.” He said, “If the US wants stability in the Middle East, it must sit at the table with Mrs. Rajavi. Mrs. Rajavi should be addressing the UN, not Raisi.”

Seena Saiedian, a student at UC Berkeley and a member of the Organization of Iranian-American Communities’ young professional chapter reminded rally participants that, “Iranian society is so explosive than anything can trigger another major uprising and nationwide protest. And Mahsa’s death did just that. Iranians all across the country are risking their lives in the streets protesting her killing and calling for the downfall of the dictatorship.” Our message to these protesters is clear he aded, “we hear you, we stand by you, and we urge the international community to stand with you in rejecting the entirety of the regime.”

Kiana Afshar, a graduate of the University of Virginia and Member of OIAC’s Young Professionals said, “Chants denouncing the brutality of the government ring across the cities of Iran, clearly showing the collective despair and anger of the Iranian people against Raisi, Khamenei and the Mullahs.” ”My message to my brothers and sisters in Iran,” she added, “is that we are all here with you, until Iran is free again. And that day is not too far.”

Lawmakers urge Biden to deny Iranian president entry into US for UN meeting over ‘gross violations’ of rights

Over 50 Democrats and Republicans are urging Biden to keep the Iranian president from attending the UN assembly in New York

By Kelly Laco     |     Fox News     |     Sept. 8, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is urging President Biden to deny necessary “entry visas” for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation to attend the upcoming 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City due to the foreign president’s record of supporting terrorism and violating human rights.

“We write to strongly urge you to deny entry visas to the United States for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation to attend the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session in New York this September,” the 52 total lawmakers led by Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Biden Thursday.

“The United States cannot overlook Ebrahim Raisi’s direct involvement in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including the 1988 organized mass murder of thousands of political prisoners, among whom were women and children, by the Iranian regime,” the letter continues.

“A majority of those murdered were members or supporters of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK). Members of other political dissident groups were murdered as well. Raisi was a documented member of the Tehran ‘death committee,’ the group responsible for overseeing the massacre. It is highly concerning that Raisi and other members of the so called ‘death committee’ have not been investigated and charged with crimes against humanity. Furthermore, Raisi continues to publicly defend his role in the 1988 executions.”

“It is unacceptable that the Iranian government continues to back state-sponsored terrorist activities around the globe, including campaigns to assassinate American officials,” the congressmen continue, noting that the Department of Justice recently charged a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for planning to assassinate former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

In addition, they cite Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State “the legal authority to deny entry” to any individuals who have been involved in any act of torture or killing.

The lawmakers note that two previous administrations in the last 10 years have denied entry visas to Iranian regime officials: in 2014, Iran’s UN Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, and in 2020, foreign minister Javad Zarif.

The letter comes as the Biden administration is still negotiating the final details of a renewed nuclear deal with Iran.

Last week, a group of 50 House Democrats and Republicans called on Biden to share the text of any deal to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Congress before signing it.

They specifically expressed concerns with the potential rollback of sanctions on Iran to stem the state’s ability to fund terrorist activities against the U.S. and its allies. A recent report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies says the latest data available shows the current proposal will mean a $274 billion windfall for the Islamic Republic of Iran in its first year of implementation, and upwards of $1 trillion for the regime by 2030.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to perpetrators of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and cruel regimes that endanger both their people and Americans. We urge you and your administration to carefully consider this matter of national security and to use your authorities under the INA to deny Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation entry into the United States,” the letter concludes.

The White House referred Fox News Digital to the State Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/lawmakers-urge-biden-deny-iranian-president-entry-gross-violations-rights

 

France 24     |     8/28/2022

Washington (AFP) – An exile group announced a New York lawsuit against Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Thursday, challenging US authorities to take action against him as he is expected to arrive next month for the UN General Assembly.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran said the suit accused Raisi of torture and murder in a 1988 crackdown on Iranian dissidents.

Echoing similar complaints filed in England and Scotland, the civil lawsuit says that in 1988 Raisi was a member of the so-called “death commission,” four judges who directly ordered thousands of executions as well as torture of members of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, known as the MEK.

The MEK is the largest partner of the NCRI.

It is “beyond doubt that as deputy state prosecutor for Tehran province, Ebrahim Raisi, was a member of that death commission,” Steven Schneebaum, the lead attorney in the lawsuit, said in a Washington press conference organized by the NCRI.

The suit was filed in federal court in New York last week in the names of two people tortured at the time and a third person whose brother was executed.

It cites Amnesty International and US sanctions declarations that accuse Raisi of complicity in the 1988 events.

The suit asks for unspecified damages for torture, extrajudicial killings, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The suit challenges the belief that Raisi, who was elected president last year, enjoys immunity under US law as a head of state and also an official foreign representative attending the United Nations annual general meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.

Schneebaum said that, for one, Raisi is not a diplomat officially accredited to the United Nations.

Secondly, he said, while Raisi is president, the real head of state of Iran is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Raisi is not a diplomat… and is not eligible for the privileges extended under the Vienna Convention. Nor is he in fact a head of state,” Schneebaum said.

If US authorities accept those arguments, they could serve Raisi with a warrant if he attends the UN meetings beginning September 13.

That would require him to submit a plea withing 21 days, said Schneebaum.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a questions on its view of Raisi’s status.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220825-iran-exiles-sue-president-raisi-in-us-ahead-of-un-meet

 

Iranian Americans’ rally calls for prosecution of Ebrahim Raisi. The rally will take place at the United Nations Plaza on Wednesday, September 21, protesting Tehran’s president Ebrahim Raisi’s presence at the United Nations General Assembly. Iranian Americans from across the country will gather to voice opposition to Raisi, calling for his prosecution for his part in 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. A crime against humanity. On July 14, 2022, Hamid Nouri, a prison aide to the “Death Commission” members, including Raisi, was sentenced to life, after ten months of court proceeding in Sweden. It was the very first case of 1988 massacre going to trial, so far.

In addition to Sec. Pompeo and Amb. John Bolton who are the known targets of assassination by Iran, Seven US Senators, 52 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives, over 500 Iranian American professionals have called President Biden to deny visa to Ebrahim Raisi.

The rally will take place in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, from 8:30am to 11:00am on 9/21. Prominent speakers are scheduled to address the event, including former Senators Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback, and Robert Torricelli. Victims of Raisi’s crimes will also be speaking. Additional speakers will be announced as the date draws closer.

Please RSVP by sending an email to media@oiac.org with the name of the reporter/journalist that will be attending. For more information, please check this page.

 

NEW YORK TIMES    |     BRET STEPHENS     |     AUG. 23, 2022

A lot has been written about the broader meaning of the attack this month on Salman Rushdie, for which a Muslim religious fanatic has been charged with attempted murder. Not enough has been said about the evil of the regime that presumably inspired the deed and so many others like it — or of what it says of the wisdom of trying to strike a nuclear deal with it.

The Islamic Republic of Iran did not take responsibility for the murder attempt on Rushdie. But Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against him for “The Satanic Verses” remains in effect, and in 2007 Rushdie reported that every Feb. 14 he receives a “sort of Valentine’s card” from Iran recalling its promise to kill him. Following this month’s attack, Iranian state media called it “divine retribution.”Nor is Tehran being discreet about similar attempts being made on American and European soil against some of its other enemies, literary or political.

On Aug. 10, the Justice Department unveiled criminal charges against Shahram Poursafi, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, for trying to orchestrate an assassination attempt against former national security adviser John Bolton. Axios’s Mike Allen reported the same day that Iran had put out a $1 million bounty for the murder of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In July, the target was Masih Alinejad, the Iranian American journalist and human-rights activist, whose Brooklyn home was visited last month by a man later arrested with a loaded AK-47 in his car. The regime was also behind an elaborate earlier kidnapping attempt against Alinejad.

Last year, a Belgian court convicted Vienna-based Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, along with three Iranian Belgian accomplices, in a plot to bomb a 2018 gathering of Iranian opposition figures in Paris. In July the Belgian Parliament ratified a prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran after Tehran arrested a Belgian national in Iran on espionage charges, though a Belgian judge has barred an exchange.

Also last year, the Iranian American writer Roya Hakakian disclosed that she had been warned by the F.B.I. that she, too, was a target for Iranian agents in the United States. Hakakian is the author of “Assassins of the Turquoise Palace,” the stunning account of Iran’s 1992 assassination of four Iranian opposition figures in Berlin’s Mykonos restaurant, and of the long struggle for justice that followed.

On it goes:

In November, Norwegian media disclosed that a former first secretary to the Iranian Embassy in Oslo was accused by authorities of being the mastermind of a 1993 assassination attempt against William Nygaard, Rushdie’s publisher there. In 2020 Iran executed journalist and dissident Ruhollah Zam after he had been lured to Iraq and then handed over to Iran. That same year, in Dubai, Iran kidnapped Jamshid Sharmahd, a German citizen and California resident. He is now at serious risk of execution. In 2018 Denmark foiled an effort by Iranian intelligence to assassinate a dissident there. In 2011, Iranian agents plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States by bombing the Cafe Milano in Washington.

“The assassination needed to go forward, even if doing so would cause mass casualties,” the plot leader instructed his accomplices, according to court filings.

The point of this abbreviated list is that the stabbing attack on Rushdie, even if it was only inspired by Tehran rather than directed by it, was not unique. On the contrary, it was all too typical.

The Islamic Republic has been carrying out a campaign of assassination, kidnapping and intimidation of its critics from its earliest days. Those who argue that these efforts are merely responses by Iran for wrongs done to it — the Trump administration’s 2020 assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of the Revolutionary Guards, for instance — have cause and effect backward. Suleimani was targeted after a career spent killing others, including, according to the Pentagon, hundreds of Americans.

How does all this bear on the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program? The conventional wisdom is that it doesn’t — that Iran’s record of fanaticism and murder have nothing to do with its willingness to limit its atomic ambitions in exchange for economic incentives.

But this evades two key points. First, what signal does it send to Tehran that we will do nothing to punish it, and will continue to negotiate with it, even as it seeks to murder Americans on our own soil, including former senior officials? The answer is: weakness. That’s a perception the Biden administration can ill afford, and an incentive to further Iranian provocations.

Second, what do Iran’s murderous tentacles reveal about the character of the regime? The answer is: It doesn’t stop at red lights. Advocates of a deal can tell themselves that it will have safeguards to verify compliance. But Iran has found ways to cheat, and the lifting of sanctions will provide it with a financial bonanza that it will immediately put to destructive use. Making a deal with Iran now is about as wise as striking a new arms-control agreement with Vladimir Putin.

Since the attempt on Rushdie’s life, writers, activists and celebrities have sought to raise the banner for free speech. That’s good as far as it goes. But it will never go far enough until the free world again finds the nerve to stand up to the odious regime that brought the outrage about.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/23/opinion/iran-rushdie-attack.html

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL     |     July 14, 2022

Responding to today’s landmark decision of Stockholm’s District Court sentencing a former Iranian official, Hamid Nouri, to life in prison over crimes related to Iran’s 1988 prison massacres, following a trial carried out under the principle of universal judication, Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“Hamid Nouri’s conviction and sentence today in Sweden for crimes related to Iran’s 1988 prison massacres is an unprecedented step towards justice for crimes committed in Iran and sends an unequivocal, and long overdue, message to the Iranian authorities that those responsible for crimes against humanity in Iran will not escape justice.

“For more than three decades, survivors and relatives of thousands of political dissidents extrajudicially killed and forcibly disappeared in Iran’s 1988 prison massacres, have struggled for truth and justice. With this first ever ruling against an Iranian official, albeit in a European court, they have finally witnessed an Iranian official held to account for these crimes. This must be followed by all states exercising universal jurisdiction to criminally investigate all other former and current officials in Iran against whom there is evidence of involvement in past and ongoing crimes against humanity, including Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s President.

“This critical ruling must serve as a wake-up call to the international community to tackle the crisis of impunity that prevails in Iran. To address this, members of the UN Human Rights Council must urgently establish an international investigative and accountability mechanism into the most serious crimes committed in the country, including the thousands of cases of enforced disappearances which remain unresolved more than 30 years after the 1988 prison massacres.”

Background

Consistent with their long-standing pattern of denial and distortion, the Iranian authorities have reacted to the trial of Hamid Nouri by describing it as a “plot” concocted by “terrorists” that relied on “fake documentation and witnesses”.

In a 2018 report Iran: Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity, Amnesty International concluded that, in addition to committing the crime against humanity of murder in 1988 by extrajudicially executing thousands of political dissidents in secret, the Iranian authorities are committing the ongoing crimes against humanity of enforced disappearance, persecution, torture and other inhumane acts, including by systematically concealing the fate of the victims and the whereabouts of their remains.

In 2021, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances called for an international investigation into enforced disappearances arising from the 1988 prison massacres.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/07/iran-conviction-of-former-iranian-official-over-involvement-in-1988-prison-massacres-landmark-step-towards-justice/

 

Boston Herald     |     Dr. Kazem Kazerounian     |     June 25, 2022
Kazerounian: To support Iran’s people, engage with the Iranian Resistance

https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/1540068695384399872
In his recent trip to Albania, former Vice President Mike Pence showed world leaders and politicians how they can play a leading role in supporting the people of Iran in their struggle for freedom and democracy. Mr. Pence visited Ashraf 3, the main headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the longest-standing and most organized opposition to the tyrannical regime ruling Iran.

The visit comes as Iran is on the verge of a monumental change. People from all walks of life are in the streets every day, protesting economic woes, government corruption and suppression of freedoms. Teachers, workers, pensioners, government employees, oil and gas sector workers and many other segments of society are regularly holding protest rallies. The protests are marked with slogans that call for the ouster of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his appointed president Ebrahim Raisi.

These protests, which are taking place despite severe security measures by the regime, symbolize what the Iranian nation has gone through in the past four decades. After the 1979 revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini seized control and established a tyrannical theocracy that brutally massacred dissidents, squandered the country’s wealth on developing weapons of mass destruction and waging war on neighboring countries, and exported terrorism across the globe. For the people of Iran, who had overthrown the Shah dictatorship to live in freedom and prosperity, the mullahs’ rule was a betrayal of their aspirations and the sacrifices they made in the 1979 revolution. Today, the mullahs’ regime is the greatest enemy of the Iranian people and one of the biggest global threats.

During their reign of terror, the mullahs have executed more than 120,000 MEK members and supporters, including 30,000 political prisoners who were mass-executed in 1988. Raisi, who is now the regime’s president, was one of the key players in that brutal massacre of political prisoners. I was one of the MEK supporters who managed to escape the regime’s security apparatus and find refuge in the U.S., where I am currently a professor and dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

Despite the regime’s brutal crackdown, the MEK has stood against the dictatorship of the mullahs and defended the rights of the Iranian people. Its sources inside the country were the first to expose the regime’s nuclear weapons program in 2002. The MEK has consistently provided information about the regime’s illicit nuclear sites, its terrorist network and its human rights abuses. The Resistance Units, a network affiliated with the MEK, is the most expansive network of organized anti-regime activists inside Iran and they are constantly carrying out activities to prevent the regime’s repression from snuffling the fire of protests inside Iran.

Today, the confrontation between the Iranian people and the regime is at its highest point. On the one side is a regime symbolized by Ebrahim Raisi, whom the Iranian people have nicknamed “the butcher of 1988,” and on the other are 80 million people who want to enjoy basic freedoms and live decent lives.

In the past, U.S. administrations have mostly stood on the sidelines, remained silent, or sided with the regime when the people held nationwide protests. This is the time to stand with the people of Iran.

Mr. Pence showed how the international community could do this. In his visit to Ashraf 3, Mr. Pence also met with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of opposition forces that includes the MEK. The NCRI has a platform that calls for the establishment of a democratic state, which gives equal opportunities to all Iranians regardless of their gender, ethnicity and religion; which denounces terrorism and is at peace with its neighbors; which does not need a nuclear weapons program; and which is a contributor to peace and security across the globe. This is what the people of Iran and the world want.

As Mr. Pence said in his speech to MEK members in Ashraf 3, “One of the biggest lies the ruling regime has sold the world is that there is no alternative to the status quo. But there is an alternative – a well-organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified and popularly supported alternative. … Your Resistance Units, commitment to democracy, human rights and freedom for every citizen of Iran. Maryam Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan for the future of Iran will ensure freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the freedom for every Iranian to choose their elected leaders. It’s a foundation on which to build the future of Iran.”

Dr. Kazem Kazerounian currently serves as dean and a professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/06/25/kazerounian-to-support-irans-people-engage-with-the-iranian-resistance/amp/