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Iran News in Brief – May 27, 2023

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Iran Protests at a Glance

Based partially on reporting by PMOI (MEK) Network in Iran

Saturday, May 27, 2023 – 8 PM GMT + 1

Protests continued in several cities in Iran on Saturday. Workers of the Makush Steel Company in Bandar Abbas, the provincial capital of Hormozgan province in southern Iran, rallied outside the provincial governor’s office, demanding their rights, including delayed paychecks and pensions.

Also on Saturday, railway workers in northwest Iran went on strike, demanding their rights, especially their delayed paychecks and pensions.

Following the prison swap between Belgium and the Iranian regime that saw the release of Tehran’s convicted terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi released from prison and returned to Iran, freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the Iranian opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), have been rallying on Friday and Saturday in several cities across Europe to condemn this heinous act of appeasement.

These rallies were seen in Brussels outside the Belgian Foreign Ministry and Prime Ministry’s office. Iranians also gathered in front of Belgium’s embassies and public places in  London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm, Oslo, The Hague, Bern, Geneva, Halle, Bremen , and Hamburg in Germany, Vienna, Aarhus, among other cities to condemn this succumbing to Iranian regime’s demands.

These demonstrators reminded Europe and the West that their failed appeasement policy vis-à-vis Tehran will only embolden the mullahs’ regime as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism into further belligerence, including plotting terrorist attacks and expanding its infamous hostage diplomacy.


Vandecasteele Release Criticised as ‘Shameful Ransom’ by Iranian Opposition


The Belgian government has been criticised for paying a “shameful ransom” in swapping Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat convicted for plotting a terrorist attack, to secure the release of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele. As confirmed by Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Amir-Abdollahian, Assadi has been released from Belgian prison, having been previously detained on terrorism charges. His release was a pre-requisite for Vandecasteele’s release, who had been arrested in Iran on false charges of espionage.

Assadi’s release has been heavily criticised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an organisation that represents exiled Iranian dissidents. The diplomat had been arrested after his plan of carrying out a terror attack on an Iranian opposition group in France was foiled in 2018.

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Fmr. Dutch PM Balkenende Joins Call To Put Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Terrorism List

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Over 100 prominent politicians, including former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, have signed a letter calling the European Union to put the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) on its terrorism list. The letter was drawn up by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which presents itself as Iranian opposition abroad. It was signed by former Prime Ministers, Presidents, and other politicians, NOS reports.

The letter, addressed to the European Union, United States President Joe Biden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, calls for solidarity with the Iranian people and a tougher approach against the IRGC. This elite corps is more powerful than the Iranian army and has regularly cracked down on protests in recent months. The signatories accuse the international community of “decades of silence that have fueled a culture of impunity.”

Other signatories include former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, former U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss, and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Former presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Romano Prodi of the European Commission also signed, as did three Nobel Prize winners, former president Manual Santos of Colombia, Costa Rican activist Óscar Arias Sánchez, and Polish trade union leader Lech Walesa.

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Former Pms Harper, Campbell Back Letter Calling on Trudeau, Biden To Act Against Iranian Regime

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Former Canadian prime ministers Stephen Harper and Kim Campbell are among more than 100 world leaders who’ve signed a letter calling for democratic reform in Iran and efforts to hold “regime officials accountable.”

The letter, sent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden, and European Council President Charles Michel, was signed by 109 former heads of government and state, including former British prime minister Liz Truss and former American vice-president Mike Pence.

“We believe it is time to hold the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to account for its crimes,” the letter says.

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How MEK’s Founders Defied the Shah’s Regime and Inspired Iran’s Freedom Movement

MEK founders execution May 25 (1)

This week marked the 51st anniversary of the execution of Mohammad HanifnejadSaeid Mohsen, and Ali Asghar Badizadegan, the founders of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). These courageous individuals, whose crime was to desire freedom in their country, were executed by the Shah regime on May 25, 1972, after months of resistance under brutal torture. Hanifnejad, Mohsen, and Badizadegan founded the PMOI/MEK on September 6, 1965, amidst an era fraught with relentless repression against dissidents and political activists. Iran’s despotic ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ruthlessly compelled all opposition groups and movements to cower in silence and subservience. Under the iron grip of his savage secret police, the SAVAK, Pahlavi imposed a draconian regime, leaving no room for dissent.

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Farzaneh Zilabi, a Lawyer, Sentenced to 1.5 Years Behind Bars

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Farzaneh Zilabi, an attorney at law, has been handed a verdict by the 4th Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz, resulting in a one-year and six-month prison sentence. The charges against Farzaneh Zilabi include “anti-regime propaganda” and “insulting the leadership.”

While Farzaneh Zilabi did not personally attend the court hearing, her defense brief was submitted, and one of her lawyers was present during the proceedings. Similarly, the case of Sara Nasseri, a 41-year-old resident of Mashhad, adds to the growing alarm regarding human rights abuses. Nasseri was arrested during the nationwide uprising on December 6, 2022, and after spending 20 days in the Intelligence Department’s detention center, she was transferred to Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad. Despite five and a half months since her arrest, Nasseri remains detained without trial.

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How Is Inflation Making Lives Harder for Iranians- Part 3

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High and volatile inflation has been persistent in Iran, leading to rising poverty levels and social tensions. For average Iranians, inflation means that everyday items, such as food and other necessities, become more expensive.

In recent years, the country has faced significant inflation challenges, with average inflation rates reaching as high as 45.2% over a 12-month period. State media are now talking about inflation rates as high as 70%. The underlying factors of inflation in Iran include persistent budget deficits, reliance on a single-product economy, perversive state corruption and embezzlement, the deterioration of economic infrastructure, and the lack of an independent private sector.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – May 26, 2023