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From the attack on Aramco to the recent protests in Iran, Khamenei’s deadlock is evident

PMOI/MEK Resistance Units set fire to banner of Khamenei
PMOI/MEK Resistance Units set fire to banner of Khamenei

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 29, 2019—In September, the Iranian regime launched a missile and drone attack against the facilities of Saudi oil giant Aramco in a futile effort to put a lid on its own internal crises and to diver attention from its deteriorating economic conditions.

To the dismay of Iranian authorities, however, the attack had a reverse effect. It didn’t strengthen the regime’s hand in negotiations with European counterparts, and instead resulted in the further exacerbation of internal tensions and disputes. 

Expectedly, at the time, Iranian officials resorted to deceitful comments regarding the attack. Six days after the incident, when gathered evidence strongly indicated that the attack was conducted from Iranian soil, Ahmad Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer leader of Mashhad, said, “You say the [the attack] came from the north and not from the south. What’s the difference? Iran stands both on your south and your north.” Alamolhoda was alluding to the regime’s undeclared occupation of Yemen, Saudi Arabia's southern neighbor.

Other authorities tried to lay the blame on the Iran-backed Houthi militias to wash the regime’s hands of the attack while still reaping its rewards. Abbas Rezai, the governor of Iran’s Isfahan province, said, “If people like the Houthis carried out this great deed, it was inspired by the Revolution. This is not a minor achievement. Islamic Iran did not directly do this and will not do so.”

Meanwhile, foreign ministry officials denied any involvement in the attack. “The fact that they are associating this attack to Iran is the extension of maximum lies. These remarks are baseless,” the spokesperson of the foreign ministry said, using a play on the U.S.’s “maximum pressure” policy against the regime.

 

The truthfulness of the Iranian resistance’s disclosure

The Iranian Resistance was the first party to reveal the Iranian regime’s direct role in the Aramco attack. Two weeks after the missile attack, the Iranian opposition coalition the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) provided details obtained by the MEK network inside Iran, which proved the attack was planned and orchestrated under the supervision of the highest Iranian authorities.

“Based on intelligence obtained by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from inside the Iranian regime, the decision for this attack was taken in the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), presided over by regime President Hassan Rouhani. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also a regular member of the SNSC and attends its sessions. A number of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders attended this meeting,” an NCRI spokesperson said at the conference.

The green light for the attack was given by none other than supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the terrorist Quds Force also frequented the SNSC meetings.

The NCRI also revealed the precise location of the base from which the missiles were launched as well as the names and positions of Revolutionary Guards commanders who took part in the planning and implementation of the attack.

Now, two months after the revelations made by the NRCI, and after various studies and investigations, Reuters has published an in-depth report which corroborates the findings of the Iranian Resistance. “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the operation,” Reuters wrote. Reuters also confirmed that “the launch site was the Ahvaz air base in southwest Iran,” as was reported earlier by MEK sources.

Also relevant during the NCRI press conference was the Iranian Resistance’s interpretation of the reasons behind the regime’s attack.

The NCRI representatives made it clear that the regime resorts to these kinds of actions because it is faced with growing discontent inside the country, as well as the growing influence of the Iranian opposition inside Iran and abroad.

Also, the NCRI stressed that the deteriorating economic conditions in Iran are mainly due to the rampant corruption and mismanagement plaguing the regime. This is a fact that the Iranian people have also emphasized in their protests, where they regularly denounce regime officials and institutions for their corruption.

Faced with these circumstances, the regime desperately seeks a way to ensure its survival through warmongering and causing chaos and instability in the neighboring region.

“This regime will soon be faced with a serious crisis,” an MEK spokesperson warned in an interview with Sky News in October.

 

Iran’s failed tactic

In November, the predictions of the Iranian Resistance became reality when hundreds of thousands of people across more than 180 cities in Iran poured to the streets after the regime imposed a sudden increase on the price of fuel. While it was economic grievances and the gas price hike that triggered the demonstrations, the nationwide movement quickly became political in nature and protesters across the country demanded the overthrow of the regime in its entirety. Despite a brutal crackdown on the protests and a near-total blackout of internet services, the protests continue to this day.

In this regard, a regime insider named Emad Afrough, said, “Today, one more protest has been added to the hardships of the people. What the people are saying is that, ‘Despite having promised to control high prices, [the government] has not controlled them.'”

In the past, the regime had used warmongering, foreign conflicts and terrorism to contain the rage of the people and suppress the opposition. This is a recipe that worked well for Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei’s predecessor, who engaged in the eight-year war with Iraq in 1980 and called it a “divine gift.” Under the pretext of fighting foreign enemies, the regime refrained from responding to the rightful grievances of the people and brutally crack down on Iranian opposition forces.

But now, after 40 years of tyranny and corruption, the Iranian people no longer buy into the regime’s rhetoric. And the more the regime squanders Iran’s wealth and assets on waging war against neighboring states, the more the people become enraged and realize that the solution to their miseries is tied to the overthrow of this regime. And this can be seen today in the streets of Tehran, Shiraz, Karaj, Mashhad, Marivan and dozens of other cities.

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