WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2016 -- In a panel discussion organized by the U.S. Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain and State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli, Vice President Al Gore's Communication Director and senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council Larry Haas, and NCRI-US Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh, discussed the Iranian regime's destructive role in the five-year-old Syrian Conflict. A new book, How Iran Fuels Syria War, was also made public.
Iranian Resistance strongly condemns terrorist attack in Orlando and declares solidarity with survivors
June 13, 2016--The Iranian Resistance strongly condemns the criminal terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida which left more than 100 people killed or injured and declares its solidarity with the survivors and the families of the victims. It hopes for a speedy recovery for the injured. This sickening act of blind killings in Orlando is in blatant contradiction to the message of Islam and the culture, civilization and nature of Muslims.
Weak US response to missile testing allows Iran to continue nefarious conduct
By: Alireza Jafarzadeh
June 8--It was revealed that the Iranian regime tested another ballistic missile in April. A military official, Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi, publicly boasted about the supposed success of this test, which he said involved a weapon that could strike targets over 1,200 miles away.
This test-launch flies in the face of the widespread outcry that had been directed against Tehran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the wake of several previous tests. Two of them took place in October and November, after nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 had been completed but before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was actually implemented.
Alireza Jafarzadeh Iran Interview on Blaze Radio
In recent weeks, bombs dropped by the governments of Bashar Assad and his allies have killed and mutilated innocents - men, women, and children - in Syria's Aleppo. The horrific shelling is Assad’s attempt to force a wholesale surrender from the opposition movement in Syria; Assad seeks to crush his detractors and prolong the life of his brutal regime.
Over the past five years, peace initiatives have failed while war crimes, use of chemical weapons and millions of refugees have grabbed international headlines.
The appalling attacks on Aleppo and the unprecedented number of casualties would not have been a reality were it not for the direct involvement of the Iranian regime in the Syrian conflict.
Assad should have fallen long ago. But more than 70,000 Iranian and non-Iranian mercenaries have been deployed by the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to fight in Syria. That figure far exceeds the number of the 50,000-strong Syrian military force, according to IRGC reports.
The Iranian regime has divided Syria into five military zones, setting up 18 Operational and Logistical Headquarters in different parts of the country. There are 8,000 to 10,000 IRGC forces, 5,000 to 6,000 regular Iranian Army troops, 20,000 Iraqi militias from ten different groups, 15,000 to 20,000 Afghan militias (Fatemiyoun), 7,000 to 10,000 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, and 5,000 to 7,000 militias from Pakistan (Zeinabiyoun) and elsewhere operating in Syria.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has pulled in the top brass of his regime’s military command. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s Commander-in-Chief, personally travelled to Syria for the offensives against the cities of Nubl and Al-Zahra in February 2016. IRGC General Mohsen Reza’i, former Commander-in-Chief during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, was appointed as Khamenei’s Deputy for the Syrian War in 2016. IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the Qods Force, regularly travels to Syria and meets with Assad.
Iran's state-run media have published the names and pictures of at least 33 IRGC generals and dozens of other senior commanders killed during the fighting. Corpses are routinely flown back for burial in Iranian cities. The total number of causalities from the IRGC and the Syrian (non-military), Afghan and Iraqi militias exceeds 10,000. Roughly 1,500 of them belonged to the IRGC.
Over the past 5 years, Tehran has budgeted about 100 billion dollars for the war, most of which has been spent on procurement of weaponry or covering the Syrian military’s expenses. Tehran spends one billion dollars annually in Syria solely on the salaries of its mercenaries, and was also instrumental in prodding Russia to play a greater role in the situation.
But why is Tehran so heavily invested in the conflict? To fight ISIS? Absolutely not.
In fact, the Iranian regime has no presence in the eastern part of Syria where ISIS is dominant. And, after all, it was Tehran’s closest allies, Assad and former Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki, who played a significant role in the empowerment, if not the formation, of ISIS.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Gregory Palkot of Fox News on November 17, 2015:
“ISIS was created by Assad releasing 1,500 prisoners from jail and Maliki releasing 1,000 people in Iraq who were put together as a force of terror types.”
So, “fighting ISIS” is a smokescreen. There are other reasons for Tehran's direct and profound involvement.
Senior Iranian regime cleric Mehdi Taeb, head of the Ammar Garrison and former commander of IRGC intelligence, said it best. On February 14, 2013, he called Syria Iran's strategic “35th province,” and explained:
"If the enemy attacks us and seeks to take Syria or Khuzestan [oil-rich western Iranian province], our priority would be to keep Syria, because if we keep Syria, we can take back Khuzestan. But if we lose Syria, we would lose Tehran.”
What should Washington do to prudently resolve the Syrian conflict and to end this century’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe?
The key is to end the occupation of Syria by Tehran. So long as IRGC forces remain in Syria, peace would be an illusion. In Tehran's absence, there would have been a political solution that could include the removal of Assad from power, not to mention that ISIS would have been defeated as well.
To stave off the threats Iran and Assad pose, the U.S. must pursue a broad-based political and financial backing of the democratic Syrian opposition, supplying them with essential military needs and weapons, while establishing a no-fly zone in northern Syria to protect civilians and to help displaced refugees. Otherwise, the Syrian war will have irreparable international consequences for years to come.
By Soona Samsami, The Hill, March 15, 2016
The Iranian regime held two sets of elections in the last week of February. Some in the West see the elections as the first test of power for the mullahs’ president Hassan Rouhani after the signing of the nuclear deal last year. Their optimism is fueled by the vast economic and human potentials of Iran itself. They argue, rather confidently, that the nuclear deal will instigate reforms within the regime by strengthening the position of the “reformers” in Rouhani’s camp.
Did things change after Iran's elections? Not really. The mullahs are still in charge
On February 26th, elections were held for Iran’s parliament and Assembly of Experts. In the aftermath, we are witnessing some of the same rationalizations and tortured logic that allowed certain Western policymakers to convince themselves three years ago that the Iranian regime was entering a period of moderation and reform. Then as now, the election of Hassan Rouhani as president was seen as a serious moment of moderation in the history of the theocratic, terrorist-supporting state.
By Alireza Jafarzadeh
The Hill, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
In July, when the P5+1 struck a nuclear deal with Iran dubbed as “historic,” administration officials spun it as a first step on a path toward improving Tehran’s behavior. That path hit yet another bump in recent weeks, when Iran launched nuclear-capable missiles in defiance of a United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the nuclear deal.
In a letter to the U.N., the U.S., France, Great Britain and Germany decried the missile tests. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on a visit to Bahrain on April 7, 2016, condemned "the destabilising actions of Iran."
In Iran, it's always Groundhog Day: The U.S. should learn its lesson rather than repeatedly supporting reformers who aren't
BY; Ali Safavi
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Welcome to U.S. foreign policy towards Iran. The endless repetition of failed policy choices with respect to Tehran — spread across presidential administrations of both parties — is political theater of the worst kind: a high-stakes version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” But unlike Bill Murray’s character, we can’t seem to stop the cycle.
Ever since the 1990s,
Interview on Bloomberg Radio on Iranian Elections
Elections Day Interview on CNBC TV
Watch the video clip of the February 24, 2016 briefing on elections
The following briefing was held at the NCRIUS office by Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the U.S. Representative office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The silver lining in Europe’s ill-advised embrace of Hassan Rouhani
By Soona Samsami, The Hill, February 15, 2016
Late last month, the Iranian regime’s President Hassan Rouhani wrapped up a trip to France and Italy for a deal bonanza after the lifting of sanctions. The inking of a host of commercial deals seemingly fueled arguments formulated by advocates of rapprochement who say that the latest developments signify a new era in international relations. Some western officials are presumably sincere in their expectation of a sea change in Iranian attitudes and policies. In other cases, these pronouncements are purely pragmatic, ignoring the fundamental discord between Iran and the West for the sake of trade agreements and other short-sighted benefits.
Panel on Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Prospects of Nuclear Agreement, challenges, verification & policy options
In an online question and answer session, the issue of the Iran nuclear agreement was discussed. The panel, moderated by R. Bruce McColm, President of the Institute for Democratic Strategies, included Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, Ph.D, former US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control &International Security, Professor Raymond Tanter, former White House National Security Council senior staffer and Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran US Representative Office.
Ambassador Joseph opened the session by saying he wanted to see a negotiated outcome and a “good agreement” at the end of the nuclear talks. However, he stated that there have been too many concessions, one being the fact that the talks are not preventing Iran from having nuclear weapon capability – a goal that has now been abandoned, meaning that Iran will one day have a large-scale enrichment capability.
Iran’s poor track record was extensively discussed with Ambassador Joseph reminding us how unreliable they have been when faced with questions about their nuclear capability. This means that there is no baseline knowledge for understanding if 12 months is a meaningful deadline - America has no idea how far Iran has advanced. The IAEA has been struggling to make progress in their investigations for years after constant stonewalling from the regime.
Ambassador Joseph also highlighted the unknowns surrounding the excess of enriched uranium that Iran possesses. Will it be sent out of the country? What will Iran do to make it secure? These are questions that we do not have answers to. It is unknown how long it could take for Iran to break out.
Access at any time, to any site and any person affiliated with the site is crucial according to Ambassador Joseph. However, he said that Iran wants to manage access, in other words, they want the right to deny access. This, in his opinion, is one of the many faults that Obama’s administration and the P5+1 have made in the nuclear talks. They have given too many concessions to Iran.
In fact, Ambassador Joseph went on to say that the Obama administration has made a series of serious errors in the negotiations. They have:
• relieved sanctions to “keep Iran on the negotiating table”
• demonstrated that they are desperate for a deal – something that Iran has exploited to the fullest
• made concession after concession (i.e. deadlines)
He concludes that the above makes it “almost embarrassing to watch” and that the U.S. is explaining away Iran’s violations.
Ambassador Joseph concluded his opening remarks with a warning that Iran will become the prominent country in the region – its presence in Middle Eastern countries is becoming more and more prominent. He warned that Iran will think it is immune to external pressure when they have nuclear capability and will therefore continue to repress their people.
Professor Raymond Tanter opened by discussing North Korea – a country that possesses extensive ballistic missile knowledge. This knowledge, Prof. Tanter believes, will eventually be passed to Iran, allowing Iran to militarize their nuclear weapons.
The disconnect between the nuclear talks on one hand and Iran’s support for terrorism, their missile delivery research, the repression of its people, etc. is of concern to Prof. Tanter. He stated that this should all be factored into the nuclear deal.
He believes that there is an increasing likelihood that America will accept any deal in order to avoid having to use force. The regime is therefore increasing their demands for concessions and America keeps granting them in return.
Prof. Tanter predicted that Iran will become more active in its support for terrorism, more active in its support for activities in Yemen and more active in its support for Shiite rebellion. He believes that Iran will be very comfortable behind its “nuclear umbrella” and will therefore be able to extend its reach far beyond its current reach.
Alireza Jafarzadeh discussed the inspections of nuclear sites. A major problem is that the joint plan has continued to allow Iran to ban inspectors from visiting nuclear sites. Another problem is Iran’s continual “cheating”. He explained that the regime have many different methods for cheating. They provoke delays, tamper with evidence, lie until they are eventually exposed, distract authorities and promise cooperation that they do not follow through with.
One major example of the above cheating and deception is the case of “Kala Electric” – a site that was exposed by NCRI in February 2003. The IAEA went to visit immediately after the site was exposed but noticed discrepancies only a month later. They took samples and noted that there had been considerable modifications to the premises. The regime said this was because the space was previously used as a storage facility, then changed to a laboratory, hence the major changes. However this was a lie – it was just an attempt to hide evidence and conceal the truth. The regime also lied about discrepancies in uranium quantities and hid evidence and centrifuges in other facilities.
Jafarzadeh said that the lesson we can pull from Kala Electric is that having access any time to any suspect site is crucial in the negotiations. Iran’s strategy of controlled access to already known nuclear sites is to not answer questions. This is why we can’t let this continue. He said that it is unacceptable that Iran can deny requests from IAEA. Obama should make sure this doesn’t continue. He claimed that there are at least a dozen suspect sites and questioned why they are not being looked at. How can future problems be resolved if they can’t even resolve the current and existing ones? The negotiations have not addressed the issue of suspect nuclear activity and Jafarzadeh said this needs to be resolved before a deal can be reached.