Emily Judd, Al Arabiya English, 30 September 2019
Iran’s top leaders ordered and authorized the September 14 attack on two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, a US-based Iranian opposition coalition announced in a press conference on Monday.
The US Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) shared detailed intelligence purported to show the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched the attack from Iranian territory, and that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the attack and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani approved it.
“Supreme leader Khamenei made the decision to make such an attack on Saudi oil installations,” said NCRI-US Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh at the press conference.
Jafarzadeh said Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) met in July to discuss the issue and that top commanders of the IRGC were involved in the planning and implementation of the operation.
“The decision for this attack was taken in the Supreme National Security Council that is presided over by the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani. The regime’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also a regular member,” said NCRI-US representative Soona Samsami at the press conference, adding that commander-in-chief of the IRGC Hossein Salami and commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani were present. The plan was reportedly approved by the SNSC on July 31.
Jafarzadeh said IRGC commanders with expertise in missiles and drones convened at a base in Omidiyeh, Iran, to participate in the operation ahead of September 14. After the attack, the operational officers reported their activities to top Iranian military personnel.
The cruise missiles used in the attack were manufactured in the Parchin military complex in Iran, southeast of Iran’s capital city of Tehran, according to Jafarzadeh.
Jafarzadeh said the information comes from the MEK [Mujahedin-e Khalq] network inside Iran.
“The sources are inside the regime and within the IRGC and they are completely reliable,” said NCRI-US Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya English.
The sources say both Khamenei and Rouhani were briefed on the details of the attack.
US intelligence shows the attack originated from Iran. The Arab Coalition investigation found that the 25 drones and cruise missiles that struck the Aramco oil facilities were Iranian-made and were flying from north to south.
While the Iran-backed Houthi militia claimed responsibility, the international community has rejected the claim, blaming Iran.
The American branch is part of the NCRI, an umbrella organization of Iranian opposition groups, which includes the controversial Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK, which has been described by critics as having cult-like attributes, has previously released alleged evidence of Iran’s nuclear violations.
MEK dissidents were expelled from Iran following the 1979 revolution as they call for the current regime to be toppled and replaced with a secular government. The current MEK has distanced itself from the group’s actions in the 1970s, when some of its members killed US citizens in Iran. The MEK was designated a terror group by the US State Department until 2012.
NCRI-US Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh was the first to expose Iran’s secret nuclear program when he announced its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz at a press conference in Washington in 2002.
Last October France froze assets of Iran’s intelligence agency in response to an alleged Iranian terror plot targeting the annual NCRI meeting in Paris.