Iranian protesters are cheering the U.S. airstrikes that killed number one Iranian General Soleimani, saying, “He should have been taken out many years ago.”
Yesterday, Ambassador Ken Blackwell, a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, in an article published on TownHall, urged the International Community to hold Iranian regime’s authorities to account for their crimes against humanity and terrorism.
“Iran unleashed its proxies in Iraq to attack the US Embassy in Baghdad on the last day of 2019. That speaks volumes about the nature of Tehran rulers. President Trump correctly held them accountable. The ayatollahs’ conduct at home and abroad has been utterly malign. Period. They stand out as one of the most pressing challenges the international community faces as we enter 2020,” Ambassador Blackwell said.
While referring to the nationwide Iran protests in mid-November, Ambassador Blackwell said, “In November, major protests broke out in Iran. The regime’s response was unprecedentedly brutal. International rights group Amnesty International condemned ‘the frequency and persistence of lethal force’ deployed against peaceful demonstrations.”
“Astonishingly, the death toll has now surpassed 1,500. Over 4,000 have been injured, and more than 12,000 are in prisons and at risk of torture,” said Ambassador Blackwell, referring to the report published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
“There are harrowing accounts. In the city of Mahshahr, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrived with tanks and armored vehicles. After unarmed protesters came under fire and fled into a nearby marsh, the IRGC surrounded them and used truck-mounted machine guns to massacre as many as 100 people,” he added.
“The leading opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), was the most active movement on the ground in Iran. In addition to sending out videos and credible news, its “Resistance Units” also led and guided the protests. On December 15, it said that 1,500 protesters had been killed. Since then, various news agencies and US State Department officials have cited the MEK‘s reported figures as their sources,” said Ambassador Blackwell referring to the MEK’s leading role in Iran protests.
“The NCRI says thousands of detained protesters are under excruciating conditions. The regime’s suppressive forces have reportedly transferred many of the wounded out of hospitals and placed them under torture. Many of the detainees, including those in Shiraz, are being pressured to take part in televised “confessions” and speak out against the uprising and the MEK. Amnesty International has called for those arbitrarily arrested to be released,” he added.
Fox News reports – As the world reacted Friday to the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Iranian resistance groups hailed the move as a “major blow” for the repressive regime in Tehran — predicting that it will boost the morale of dissidents and bring what they see as the likely downfall of the regime’s one step closer.
“It is so significant because it has delivered a major, major blow to the Iranian regime, not just to their terror operations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the region, but in terms of their own operations inside Iran,” National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh told Fox News in an interview Friday.
“While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country,” he said. “They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!”
It was an assessment that those in the NCRI — an umbrella group for Iranian resistance groups — agreed with the assessment. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, said in a statement that Soleimani was “one of the most vicious criminals of Iran’s history.” She went on to predict that “the process of overthrowing the mullahs will be greatly expedited”
“While the prospects for the ruling theocracy’s overthrow is within reach, it is time for the regime’s armed forces to refrain from firing on the Iranian people, lay down their weapons and surrender. The armed forces’ patriotic personnel must join the people of Iran,” she said.
Iran’s regime has been struggling to deal with an uprising in the country, fueled by a weakened economy that has been put under significant pressure by the U.S. since it conducted its “maximum pressure” campaign under President Trump. The administration has ratcheted up sanctions on Tehran since it left the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, which has seen rising gas prices and the collapse of the rial in the last year.
One day before the United States took out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Fox News reported about the over 1,000 Iranians citizens who were murdered by their own government and thousands more imprisoned, for daring to protest the totalitarian Iranian regime.
Masih Alinejad, leader of the protest group, “My Stealthy Freedom,” who documents women brave enough to shed their burqas, joined Fox News host Sandra Smith to discuss the Iranian protester crackdown by their government and how the international community ignore their plight.
Tensions at home exploded again in November when thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against the regime, leading to a brutal crackdown that saw at least 1,000 killed and thousands more imprisoned.
That has coincided with increased aggression by Iran abroad. The U.S. has alleged Iran was behind a wave of attacks on Saudi oil fields in September, and this week pro-Iran militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. It was that attack, as well as the prospect of what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as an “imminent” threat on U.S. interests, that triggered the strike that obliterated Soleimani.
Dissidents say while the immediate effect is to curb Iran’s aggression abroad, it will also give impetus to those at home who are seeking democratic change — connecting the regime’s expression of strength abroad to stability at home. Those seeking that change say that it is hard to underestimate the type of blow it deals to the regime.
“One of the strategic pillars of the regime for the past 40 years has been the export of terrorism and domination of the Middle East….to project power within Iran,” Ali Safavi, a member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile and member of the NCRI told Fox News Friday. “And with what happened last night, that equation has been upset and it has delivered a very significant blow to the aura of invincibility of Soleimani and in fact that image of that regime has been shattered.”
“It tilts the balance against the regime in favor of the people in Iran, it boosts the morale of protesters who have been in streets since November in 190 cities…and it has a very damaging impact on the regime’s own forces, in their morale, they lose the momentum they were trying to build,” Jafarzadeh said.
In November 2018, VOA News shared videos from anti-government protests in Iran, after the government blocked access to the internet.
One video clip verified by VOA Persian showed demonstrators blocking a street in the central city of Shiraz on Sunday and chanting “death to the dictator,” a reference to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It has been a common chant of protesters since Iranians angered with government corruption and mismanagement last took to the streets around the country in December 2017.
Another video clip from Sunday showed chanting protesters at Tehran University, where they said Iran had “lost” its oil wealth by squandering it on Islamist militias engaged in regional conflicts.