On Tuesday, Iran-backed militias in Iraq attacked the United States Embassy in Baghdad. U.S. President Donald Trump immediately confirmed the Iranian regime’s direct role in this attack.
The attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq follows the same pattern of the Iran hostage crisis in November 1979, when the United States embassy in Tehran was taken over by a group of people calling themselves “Student followers of the line of the Imam.”
Years later, the hostage-takers went on to become the most senior officials of Iran’s regime, including Masoumeh (Mary) Ebtekar, the Vice President of the regime. Many of the hostage-takers still hold key positions in the regime, which confirms the regime’s institutionalized terrorism.
The question is why the regime resorted to such an action?
The 1979 U.S. embassy takeover had the goal of eliminating Iran’s democratic forces, specifically the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e-Khalq or MEK) from the political scene.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 3, 2019
The recent nationwide uprising in Iraq starting last October, which was directed against the regime’s meddling in Iraq, shook one of the Iranian regime’s pillars of existence, the export of terrorism, that it has been successfully continuing in and through Iraq, mostly because of the western policy of appeasement. Therefore, by attacking the U.S. embassy through its Iraqi agents, the regime aimed to divert the focus of the Iraqi people’s protest from Iranian meddling in their country to the presence of US forces in Iraq. It also sought in vain to get a US position against the Iraqi protesters.
On October 30, 2019, Hossein Shariatmadari, the representative of Ali Khamenei, regime’s Supreme Leader in the state-run Keyhan daily, known as the government’s mouthpiece called for the takeover of the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Editor Hossein Shariatmadari wrote: “in previous note, by mentioning the takeover of US embassy in Iran, which Imam called it the “second revolution”, the issue was raised in the context of a question that why the Iraqi revolutionary youths … are not ending the presence of US embassy in Baghdad, which is the epicenter of conspiracy and espionage against the innocent people of Iraq!? And why are you not eliminating and throwing out this infected wound from your holy land? A takeover of US espionage center in Islamic Iran and eliminating that epicenter of conspiracy had many benefits for us, and then why the revolutionary youths of Iraq deprive their holy land of these benefits?”
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) October 31, 2019
The circumstances today are much different from 1979; In 1979, the Iranian regime was at the peak of its power and was able to benefit from the U.S. embassy takeover. Now, amid increasing domestic and international pressures, including the nationwide Iran protests in November and the end of an appeasement policy, the regime’s attack against the U.S. embassy in Iraq will only add to the regime’s miseries.
The Iraqi people or the Iranian regime’s agents?
The Iranian regime tried to portray the attack against the U.S. embassy in Iraq as a popular and voluntarily movement. Yet the presence of both the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force commander, Qassem Soleimani in Iraq while the attack took place and the regime’s known agents such as Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, Qays al-Khazali, Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad on the frontline of these so-called “protesters” caused a major failure of the Iranian regime’s propaganda.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) October 18, 2019
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter, “The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad.”
“Today’s attack against the U.S. Embassy should not be confused with the legitimate efforts of the Iraqi protestors who have been in the streets since October working for the people of Iraq to end the corruption exported there by the Iranian regime,” Pompeo added.
The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad. All are pictured below outside our embassy. pic.twitter.com/2QfGGrfmDd
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 31, 2019
In an article published on December 31, the Washington Examiner wrote, “Qais al Khazali, 44, is one of Iran’s key allies in Iraq as the founder of the Asaib Ahl al Haq militia responsible for hostage-taking and the killing of U.S. soldiers, but which recently won seats in Iraq’s controversial 2018 parliamentary elections. He showed up Tuesday with his supporters at what the U.S. government condemned as a violent Iranian-fomented protest.”
“Dale ‘Chip’ McElhattan, who had years of experience dealing with Khazali while director of U.S. hostage affairs in Baghdad, told the Washington Examiner that Khazali’s role in the protest was a foreboding indicator of the hand of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” read the report.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote in an exclusive report On November 15, 2019, over the role of the regime’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi that, “Masjedi played a leading role in forming criminal Iraqi paramilitary groups under the name of the Popular Mobilization Force or PMF. He described the PMF’s actions as those of a ‘force strictly following the supreme leader,’ which has to be at his service and ‘the sacred causes of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ Different IRGC’s officials, on different occasions, called the PMF ‘Iraq’s Revolutionary Guards’ and said, ‘Popular Mobilization Force is the same as the Basij forces in Iran’.”
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 15, 2019
“Iraq’s PMF held a meeting called ‘Thanks Iran’ on April 24, 2019, and expressed appreciation for the actions of the mullahs’ regime in Iraq. Masjedi participated in this meeting along with some of the IRGC Quds Force’s commanders and PMF leaders including Hadi-Al Ameri, Abu-Mehdi Mohandess and Falih Alfayyadh,” the NCRI’s report added.
As the Iranian Resistance has declared for years, the Iranian regime’s presence in Iraq is not just a threat to the Iranian people and the people of Iraq, it endangers peace and security in the entire Middle East.