By Reza Shafiee
The civilized world should take the threatening signs coming from Tehran serious. In this day and age and with likes of ISIS and Al-Qaeda still running around, warning shots from the theocratic regime in Iran should be taken with utmost caution. Some may interpret them as signs of strength but history has thought us that such behaviors are actually signs of absolute desperation and weakens.
The latest in the chain of events regarding Iranian regime’s covert activities outside Iran was uncovered by the US Justice Department on August 20. The Justice Department’s statement implicates two Iranian individuals — Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar and Majid Ghorbani — spying on Iranian dissidents. The main target according to the statement is members and supporters of main Iranian opposition the People’s Mojahedin organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
“On or about Sept. 20, 2017, Ghorbani is alleged to have attended a MEK rally in New York City, during which he photographed individuals participating in the protest against the current Iranian regime. In or about December 2017, Doostdar returned to the United States from Iran and made contact with Ghorbani in the Los Angeles area. During the meeting, Doostdar paid Ghorbani approximately $2,000 in cash and Ghorbani delivered to him 28 photographs taken at the September 2017 MEK rally, many of which contained hand-written annotations identifying the individuals who appeared in the photos. These photographs, along with a hand-written receipt for $2000, were found concealed in Doostdar’s luggage as he transited a U.S. airport on his return to Iran in December 2017,” the statement added.
It also says: ‘The indictment also alleges that Ghorbani traveled to Iran in or about March 2018, after informing Doostdar that he would be going to Iran to conduct an “in-person briefing.” Thereafter, on or about May 4, Ghorbani attended the MEK-affiliated 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington, D.C. During the course of the conference, Ghorbani appeared to photograph certain speakers and attendees, which included delegations from across the United States. On May 14, Doostdar called Ghorbani to discuss clandestine methods Ghorbani should use in order to provide this information to Iran.”
Since early summer, the Iranian regime lost all hopes of hiding its true intentions for entering the nuclear deal with the West. It removed the mask and showed its ugly face. In late June, distant memories of Iranian regime’s capabilities in terrorism craft came to life when one of its top diplomats caught red handed in plotting a major terrorist attack on the big annual rally of Iran’s main opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Paris.
Even as the rally unfolded, a terrorist plot intending to target it was foiled by security forces in France with the help of their German and Belgian partners. Timing of the plot was significant because Hassan Rouhani was scheduled to visit Austria the next day.
Assadollah Assadi masterminded the plot while under diplomatic immunity from Austrian government. He was stationed in Vienna. Assadi was caught red-handed when he was giving the explosives and detonator to a sleeping cell, an Iranian born Belgian couple to carry out the attack.
To put some flesh on the bones, the Iranian regime’s history is marred by terrorism and hostage taking for political gains. It all began with taking American diplomats hostage for 444 days in Tehran in late 70s.
Attacks on EU soil
This is not the first plot of its kind on the European soil. On April 24, 1990, Kazem Rajavi was gunned down in broad daylight by several agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of Iran as he was driving to his home in Coppet, a village near Geneva.
He was Iran’s first Ambassador to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Shortly after his appointment, he resigned his post in protest to the “repressive policies and terrorist activities of the ruling clerics in Iran”.
The Mykonos restaurant in Berlin where four Kurdish-Iranian leaders were assassinated by the Quds Force Special units in 1992 was another notorious terror attack on European soil.
Referring to Assadollah Assadi arrest in Germany, a US official said that “the administration takes the arrest of the diplomat “very seriously” and sees it as evidence that Iran is using diplomatic compounds in Europe and elsewhere as cover to plot terrorist attacks.
The official dismissed Iranian suggestions that it was a “false flag” operation intended to falsely accused Iran of terrorism. The same US official also said: “If Iran can plot bomb attacks in Paris, they can plot attacks anywhere in the world, and we urge all nations to be vigilant about Iran using embassies as diplomatic cover to plot terrorist attacks.”
Had it not been foiled in time, it would have claimed the lives of thousands including top former officials from US, Canada and the Arab countries.
Iranian regime’s terror machine in full swing
With the arrest made on American soil, it is abundantly clear that the regime is after its main enemy: the Mojahedin. Make no mistake that the mullahs’ regime since its inception has always consider the MEK a vital threat to its existence. The Revolutionary Guards top brass day in, day out hardly miss any opportunity to warn against MEK’s involvement in galvanizing the protests in Iran.
Since January and new round of nationwide protests in Iran, the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei openly pointed his blaming finger at the MEK for leading the protests.
The regime officials regret missing the opportunity to wipe out the MEK members in Iraq. Now that they have moved to Albania in Europe IRGC is having a hard time terrorizing them.
A statement issued by the NCRI’s Security and Antiterrorism Committee drops the curtain on the IRGC and Quds Forces’ intentions of dealing with the MEK threat.
It says: “The regime’s Supreme Security Council, in an instruction to the Ministry of Intelligence, the terrorist Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence and other agencies involved in export of terrorism and fundamentalism, ordered them to take further measures to spy on the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance and to set the stage for terrorist acts. The Ministry of Intelligence stations in various European countries were ordered to collect more information from movements and activities and to use more resources.”
What has happen just in the summer is alarming for the US and especially the EU governments. It seems that the IRGC and its Quds Force take the role of MEK in leading the protests inside the country very seriously. They have shifted their undivided attention to wake up as many sleeping sells they have in Europe and the US to engage in terrorist attacks on members of the Iranian Resistance.
*Reza Shafiee is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). He tweets @shafiee_shafiee