Brief on Iran (BOI – 276)


Statement: Welcoming the sanctions against Iran’s Foreign Minister

WASHINGTON DC, August 1, 2019 – Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) commends the United States Government for imposing sanctions on the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In our view, this is the right, moral, and long overdue step and will undoubtedly empower the people of Iran in their quest for democracy and freedom.

As Secretary Mnuchin declared, “the Iranian regime denies Iranian citizens’ access to social media”, yet Zarif “spreads the regime’s propaganda and disinformation around the world through these mediums.” We concur with U.S. policy that the broader campaign of maximum pressure continues to be an effective option in dealing with this rouge and terrorist regime. Such designation must now be extended to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

Furthermore, the Treasury’s order where it explicitly calls for “persons that engage in certain transactions with the individual designated today may themselves, be exposed to designation,” serves as a warning to regime’s proxies and “apologists” in US and elsewhere.

Over the last several weeks, the world community has witnessed the outpour by tens of thousands of the Iranian diaspora in Brussels, Washington DC, Berlin, Stockholm, and London declaring solidarity with the nationwide uprising and ongoing protests in Iran. Iranians at home and abroad are calling for democratic regime change in Iran and expressing support for the Iranian Resistance and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a free Iran. Convergence of all these efforts offers a realistic and tangible path for a democratic Iran.
Organization of Iranian American Communities-US (OIAC)

Treasury Designates Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif for Acting for the Supreme Leader of Iran, July 31, 2019

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif (Javad Zarif), pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13876 because Zarif acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On June 24, 2019, the President issued E.O. 13876 imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader’s Office (SLO), and authorizing sanctions on others associated with the Supreme Leader or the SLO. Concurrently, Treasury added the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Husseini Khamenei, to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) under this new authority.

“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world. The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “At the same time the Iranian regime denies Iranian citizens’ access to social media, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spreads the regime’s propaganda and disinformation around the world through these mediums.”

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Iran Sanctions Breach Suspicion Prompts Bank to Seize Ships
Bloomberg, August 5, 2019

Reports alleging that fuel tankers appeared to breach U.S. sanctions against Iran were cited in court filings by a bank as it sought to seize the ships, accusing the owners of loan default.

The accusations, which led to the the temporary arrest of the vessels in Singapore late last month, come as the U.S. seeks to isolate the regime in Tehran by cutting off oil sales, a major source of revenue. They also underscore how traders and shippers suspected of violating sanctions can run foul of their own lenders, not just governments.

Hanover-based Norddeutsche Landesbank-Girozentrale, known as NordLB, detailed its claim in documents filed last month in the High Court of Singapore seeking the arrest of the vessels, accusing their China-based owner of defaulting on a $30 million mortgage agreement.

The German lender said in the filings it was notified June 25 by the London P&I Club, a ship owners’ association that provides protection and indemnity insurance, that coverage on the ships would be terminated. That came one day before Lloyd’s List, an industry news publication, reported that two of the ships — Gas Infinity and Gas Dignity — appeared to have transported Iranian liquefied petroleum gas in breach of U.S. sanctions, the bank said.

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Save Lives of Women Political Prisoners in Qarchak Prison
NCRI, August 2, 2019

NCRI Women’s Committee urges dispatch of an international delegation to inspect Iranian prisons and visit political prisoners
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran strongly condemns the brutal battering of four women political prisoners in Qarchak Prison in Varamin.
The NCRI Women’s Committee draws the attention of international organizations defending human rights and women’s rights to the drastic conditions of political prisoners, particularly women, calling for urgent action to secure their release.

Monday, July 29, 2019, four political prisoners detained in the notorious Qarchak Prison of Varamin, were badly beaten up by common criminals incited by prison authorities and dispensary officials. One of the victims was reportedly in critical condition.

Previous reports on July 6 and July 18 contained references to the beating of political prisoners in this prison by dangerous criminals.

Battering of political prisoners by common criminals incited by prison authorities and guards, has become a tool commonly used by the religious fascist regime to pressure political prisoners. On June 10, 2019, political prisoner Alireza Shir-Mohammad-Ali, 21, was murdered by common criminals in the Greater Tehran’s Penitentiary, a.k.a. Fashafouyeh.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has repeatedly urged international human rights organizations to dispatch an international investigative delegation to inspect Iranian prisons and visit political prisoners.

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Five days that can shake Iran
NCRI Editorial; July 16, 2019

Ashraf 3, home to members of Iran’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin (Mujahedin-e Khalq, PMOI or MEK) in Albania, has just witnessed five days of intense political activity with a number of conferences and exhibitions involving resistance members and local and international political figures, at a time when Iran is in the news against a backdrop of regional and international tensions.

Events of the last five days in Ashraf 3 have strategic significance for Iran’s current situation:
The unveiling of Ashraf 3 constitutes a victory for the Iranian opposition. Previously, when MEK members were situated in Iraq, the mullahs tried repeatedly to annihilate the group physically, politically and socially. The establishment of Ashraf 3 in Albania, nowadays part of the free world and out of the reach of the mullahs and their mercenaries, is the last thing Khamenei and his regime needed in their times of trouble. Ashraf 3 is the victorious culmination of a decade of resistance again terrorist, regional and political efforts to bring an end to the MEK. Instead the MEK has emerged stronger, more acceptable, and invincible at this critical juncture.

The international impasse and the regional crisis in which the mullahs’ regime is entrenched reflects, and at times hides, the deep social crisis that, for more than a year, has engulfed the regime in the shape of organized, well-aimed social activities especially by Iranian youth and women. Despite brutal repression, the mullahs have been unable to curb the growing qualitative and quantitative reach of this social crisis.
In parallel with events inside the country, the long and winding road from Ashraf 1 (Camp Ashraf in Iraq) to Ashraf 3, now behind the Resistance thanks to a long international mobilization of support for more than ten years, has given birth to a strong political trend in the international arena against the mullahs. Like the Resistance itself, this political trend has blocked the path of Western appeasement towards the mullahs, and in its evolution, it has found its way to the highest decision-making centers of the world.

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Protests and Strikes Continue in Several Cities Across Iran
Iran Focus, August 3, 2019

This week, people in several Iranian cities held protests and strikes, expressing their discontent and anger over the Iranian government’s policies, poor economic conditions, and the authorities’ disregards for their demands.

Protests by families of Kalaleh municipal workers
On Thursday, August 1, 2019, families of Kalaleh municipality workers in Golestan province rallied to protest against low salaries and against the contracting company of the state’s governing body in the city.
The protesting families said to the government’s plundering agents, “Can the authorities live on a salary of one 1.4 million tomans?”

Strike by Gonbadkavoos suburban taxi drivers
On Thursday, a group of taxi drivers in the Gonbadkavoos freeway stopped working and went on strike in protest to the government’s failure to respond to their demands, including low income and poor housing.

Protests by drivers of Kaldoozakh – Izeh line
On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, a group of Kaldoozakh line bus drivers protested against the removal of the station at their workplace and car fines and lack of job stability. The protesters gathered in front of the governorate in Izeh, Khuzestan province.

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Monograph: ‘The Ayatollahs and the MEK – Iran’s Crumbling Influence Operation’
Lincoln J. Bloomfield Jr
June 2019

Ambassador Lincoln J. Bloomfield Jr. has published a new monograph, The Ayatollahs and the MEK–Iran’s Crumbling Influence Operation , through the University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs.

Bloomfield, a former defense and foreign policy official who has served three presidents over five administrations in the Pentagon, the White House and the U.S. State Department, is the author of a 2013 study of the MEK, The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK)–Shackled by a Twisted History , also published by the University. The story of this group, which was formed by student intellectuals during the 1960s to oppose the Shah of Iran but became an enemy of the clerical regime of Ayatollah Khomeini after the revolution, was twisted by U.S. officials in a misguided attempt to engage and appease the Iranian government. Bloomfield has also prepared testimonies about the MEK for hearings before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

Like the 2013 monograph, this work includes a foreword by Ivan Sascha Sheehan, associate professor and executive director of the School of Public and International Affairs in the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs; Sheehan specializes in global terrorism, counterterrorism, U.S. foreign policy, and international conflict management.

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