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Iran-backed security forces open fire on demonstrators in Iraq

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 8, 2020—Demonstrators in the cities of Najaf and Babil, both located in southern Iraq, are protesting against poverty, economic corruption, and the Iranian regime’s meddling in their country through proxy groups and corrupt political figures. Al Rafidein TV reported on Sunday, June 7, that the sound of gunfire against demonstrators in Najaf continued into the night.

Security forces near the Najaf Provincial Council building constantly opened fire on demonstrators and resorted to using tear gas, the Al Rafidein report added. The voice of one video is heard saying, “They are attacking demonstrators with live bullets. Sunday, June 7.”

Iraqi protesters were also seen setting fire to the Najaf Provincial Governor’s building.

Al Arabiya Al Hadath TV aired a report covering the clashes between protesters and anti-riot units in Najaf. “In Iraq clashes between protesters and anti-riot units erupted outside the Najaf Provincial Council located south of Baghdad. Eyewitnesses have reported that security forces began using tear gas and live bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd heading towards the provincial council. In other reports, the demonstrators were able to block the Diywania-al Hamza highway. They also chanted slogans condemning a number of former ministers.

 

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Demonstrators in the city of Nasiriyah of southern Iraq held a demonstration calling for the overthrow of corrupt rulers and proxy groups, along with politicians who enjoy very close ties to the regime ruling Iran. In the cities of Babylon and Basra, demonstrators held a rally outside a police station, forcing them to release wrongfully arrested demonstrators.

The Iraq October Revolution Demonstration Committee issued a statement describing a recent attack by oppressive government forces against demonstrators in Babylon’s main protest square as an act of terrorism.

“The government has carried out dangerous measures against the demonstrators in Babylon province, including military units and proxy criminals resorting to terrorism against demonstrators. The military units raided the protest square of Babylon and ran over the demonstrators with their military vehicles. However, the brave youth showed resistance in the face of this cowardly terrorist attack. Through their perseverance these brave youths were able to defeat the measures carried out by the government and proxy forces in their initiative aiming to impose severe crackdown against the protest square,” the statement read in part.

In other news from Iraq, Al-Hadath TV reported on June 3 that the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force chief Esmail Ghaani has traveled to Iraq. “Ghaani led a large Iranian delegation entering Iraq. This time, however, is a first that an Iranian official and his delegation entered Iraq after officially obtaining visas. It is worth noting that they received these visas from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. We remember that during Qasem Soleimani’s era and the tenure of former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Soleimani or any other Iranian official entered Iraq without official visas. Furthermore, during that period the Iranian ambassador in Iran, Iraj Masjedi, never abided by political protocols. In fact, he would be in violation of such protocols with his measures that went beyond the diplomatic framework. It appears now that circumstances are changing. The Iraqi Prime Minister has issued an order indicating any military or civilian official, or foreign delegation, to Iraq is forbidden without obtaining an official visa,” the report says.

Al-Hurra published a report on June 3 citing British media describing this latest development as “Ghaani’s defeat.”

“Appointing Kazemi as the Iraqi Prime Minister reflects a reality that IRGC Quds Force chief Esmail Ghaani has failed to fill Soleimani’s shoes and have the same influence. Ghaani entered Baghdad in March of this year with the aim of influencing the appointment of Iraq’s new prime minister. However, since he was not speaking Arabic and lacked Soleimani’s power or his personal relationships, there was no grand welcoming of his visit and some Shiite leaders refused to meet him,” the Al-Hurra report highlights.

Recent developments in Iraq have raised eyebrows among senior Iranian regime officials in Tehran and many are publicly voicing their concerns. Sa’dollah Zarei, a brigadier general in Iran known for his pro-regime articles, wrote the following in Kayhan daily, the mouthpiece of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“Iraq is undergoing very dangerous circumstances. The U.S. military presence is considered the most important security challenge. The Americans are also imposing immense pressure to maintain their forces in Iraq. This clearly indicates that despite what some may say in their remarks, this country has a long-term agenda to remain in Iraq and this can evolve into a very significant change of events for Iraq’s future,” the May 17 piece reads in part.

 

 

Mustafa al-Kadhimi has recently been appointed as the Prime Minister of Iraq. The Kayhan piece also sheds light on the Iranian regime’s concerns in this regard. “The appointment of Abdolvahab al-Saedi as head of the anti-terrorism police force in Iraq is a sign from the new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Saedi is a general who enjoys the support of both the Americans and the Baathists.”

“Furthermore, Al-Kadhemi inviting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for a visit to Iraq and announcing a new round of talks between Washington and Baghdad regarding a security agreement raises the probability of important security transitions taking place inside the Iraqi government,” the article adds.

 

 

“Shiite groups in meetings with al-Kadhimi have been reassured that in contrast to Mohamed Tawfiq Allawi, al-Kadhimi is committed to conducting talks with their leaders and groups, who will continue their engagement under the parliament framework. However, al-Kadhimi has recently taken specific measures suggesting that these pledges have already lost their weight in the very first days of his premiership,” the article concludes with grave concerns about Tehran’s future interests in Baghdad.

A program broadcast by Al-Hurra TV on February 4, 2020, explored a list of 32,000 Iraqis, many of whom are politicians and senior commanders of paramilitary forces, who are getting their paycheck from the Iranian regime.

“Documents reveal that 32,000 Iraqis are directly getting their salaries from Iran, and at the top of the list are commanders of armed paramilitary forces who claim to be Iraqis but are closely tied to Iran,” Al-Hurra reported, adding that many of the persons on the list occupied top seats in the government.

The documents were first obtained and published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Many of the people included in the list have great influence and clout in government bodies, especially the security forces.

“This list is being discussed while the people of Iraq are in the midst of a revolution against the ruling class and the influence of Iran in the government institutions of this country,” Al-Hurra reports.

Since protests began in Iraq in October 2019, Iran-backed militias have killed hundreds of protesters in the streets, and have abducted and murdered many activists and protests organizers in their homes. This list further proves the violent intervention of the mullahs’ regime in Iraq, which Al-Hurra describes as “the occupation of Iraq by the mullahs’ regime.”

Following is a short glimpse of some of the people who are on Iran’s payroll.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, commander of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia

One of the most prominent names in the list of Iran agents in Iraq is Jafar Mohammed Ali al-Ibrahimi, also known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Al-Muhandis was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S.-led drone strike against a convoy that also carried Qassem Soleimani, the chief terrorist of the Iranian regime and then-commander of the terrorist Quds Force. Al-Muhandis has been working with the Revolutionary Guards since 1984. He was actively involved in terrorist operations against the MEK in Iraq.

 Hadi al-Amiri, commander of the Badr Corps

His full name is Hadi Farhan al-Amiri and he is currently the commander of the Badr Corps. He was also deputy commander of Kata’ib, second to al-Muhandis, and the deputy commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi, the umbrella organization of militia forces backed by the Iranian regime headed by Falih al-Fayyadh, the national advisor of former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.

Amiri also heads the “Al-Fath” coalition in the parliament and had close ties to Qassem Soleimani.