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HomeIran News NowIran Opposition & ResistanceIran’s Regime President Actually Did Deliver What He Was Missioned For

Iran’s Regime President Actually Did Deliver What He Was Missioned For

Photo exhibition, Washington D.C.
Iranian Resistance supporters hold a rally in Washington, D.C., calling for a ban on Ebrahim Raisi’s trip to the U.S. for the upcoming UN General Assembly.

In recent weeks, there has been a veritable outpouring of terrorist threats from the regime ruling Iran. That fact should serve as a wake-up call to Western officials regarding both recent and longstanding failures of Iran policy. Even if it has no impact on the pending agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, it should at least prompt the West to turn away from the underlying assumption of good faith on Tehran’s part and to recognize that by treating Iran as a normal country, they only embolden the behaviors that mark it as anything but.

Since Ebrahim Raisi was appointed by the regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei as the new president, the overall climate of repression intensified throughout the country. Khamenei had selected Raisi for the presidency on the expectation that he would implement practices similar to those which guided the 1988 massacre.

Naturally, this entails phenomena like mass arrests and the rapid implementation of capital sentences. But there is also a foreign policy component to the regime’s repression of dissent, and this has proven to be important in the face of multiple uprisings over the past several years. The first of these, in January 2018, prompted Khamenei to deliver a speech in which he acknowledged that the  Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MEK) had played a major role in organizing the nationwide protests and promoting slogans like “death to the dictator,” which communicated popular demand for regime change.

Concerns about the MEK’s growing influence have been apparent ever since, and they have led to attacks not only on its “Resistance Units” inside Iran but also on its members and affiliates throughout the world. In March 2018, Albanian authorities disrupted a plot to deploy a truck bomb against the MEK compound in that country. And in June, a number of European law enforcement bodies uncovered a plot to infiltrate and bomb an international rally that was organized near Paris by the NCRI.

In mid-July this year, the MEK was forced to postpone a planned rally at Ashraf 3, after Albanian authorities identified credible threats of attack by Iranian intelligence operatives. Those threats were disrupted in large part by the enactment of search warrants issued by an Albanian court specializing in organized crime, which then revealed that it had been investigating a local Iranian intelligence and terror network since the time of the 2018 bomb plot.

Despite that network being exposed, the regime in Tehran soon doubled down on its threats against the MEK, with one hardline media outlet openly advocating for a military attack on Ashraf 3. That outlet, Fars News Agency, is reportedly close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which had previously promoted threats against a broad range of targets, including former US officials whom it deemed responsible for the January 2020 drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, who as commander of the IRGC’s foreign special operations division, the Quds Force, was the regime’s top terrorist operative.

The seriousness of those threats was clearly demonstrated earlier this month when the US Department of Justice unsealed its case against Shahram Poursafi, an officer in the IRGC who had unwittingly communicated with a confidential informant about his plans to have former US National Security Advisor John Bolton assassinated. Poursafi’s further plans reportedly extended to former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well, and perhaps others besides.

The threats to their lives are therefore easily understood as consequences of the same factors underlying the plots to attack Ashraf 3. Those include the uptick in malign activities associated with the Raisi administration, as well as Western silence over those activities and Raisi’s appointment itself.

Sadly, that silence has only been reinforced in the midst of the current outpouring of terrorist threats, which escalated to the point of an outright attack on August 12 when an admirer of the Iranian regime and the IRGC stabbed the author Salman Rushdie at a Western New York literary event in an apparent effort to implement the 1989 fatwa calling for his death.

Even after Tehran justified and praised that attack, efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal proceeded in the absence of any new objections or demands from the Western side. Meanwhile, the Belgian government continued to move toward the implementation of a treaty with the Iranian regime, which is expected to set the stage for the terrorist-diplomat Assadollah Assadi to be released only four years into his 20-year sentence.

Perhaps most alarming of all, the US and the United Nations appear to have overlooked each of the recent terrorist threats and the general upward trend in Tehran’s malign activities in order to leave in place an invitation for Ebrahim Raisi to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly next month.

If these plans remain unchanged and Raisi is granted a visa to visit New York, it will provide undue legitimacy to a criminal whose own people have roundly condemned him as a “butcher,” and it will once again reinforce the sense of impunity that prompted that criminal to oversee a surge of threats and human rights abuses not only within his own country but throughout the world.

In retrospect, one could argue that Ebrahim Raisi actually did deliver on the promises he made to the regime’s establishment. This begs the question, will Western leaders do the same with the oath they made to their citizens and principles?