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Iran: internal grievances, external agendas

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January 5, 2018 – Fort Russ News – Guest Contributor – Jay Tharappel

SYDNEY, Australia – Observe some history here. In the lead-up to the Syrian war there were two “oppositions” to the Syrian government, the first comprised of peaceful protesters demanding constitutional reforms and consumer subsidies, the second, armed Islamist’s seeking to topple the state, at that time in March 2011, based out of the al-Omari Mosque in Dara’a in Syria’s south.

Now in Iran, you have a similar situation where there are both protests and “protests” of three kinds. The first is a national level protest that began in Mashhad, against the present government, largely from conservative voters over economic grievances – these are tolerated by the government. The second is a movement that’s been going on for a while now for socially liberal reforms – these are the people who largely voted for the present government and whose pressure resulted in dress-code restrictions for women being relaxed recently.

Both of these protest movements have progressive content and involve mainstream mass public involvement, but the third type of “protest” involves armed attacks on police stations that are being blamed by the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on the Mojahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) – this is where the 12-20 cited death-toll comes from.

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In both cases (Syria and Iran) the ones doing the protesting are politically quite different from the ones that launched armed attacks on state institutions. In both cases the protestors are seeking change within the system, that is, without waging war on the state, whereas the ones backed by outside powers are the ones rapidly resorting to armed confrontations with police resulting in death-tolls that are being explained in the west as the government simply mowing down peaceful demonstrators.

Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi accused al-Qaeda of attacking state institutions with support from outside powers, then in both cases the western media dismissed these claims as rubbish only to later concede that these accusations were indeed true. So when you hear the Iranian government blame the MEK, don’t automatically assume it’s false.

The MEK has been externally backed ever since they sided with Iraq against their own country during the 1980-88 war, which is specifically what made them unpopular in Iran. Three years ago, US media outlet NBC reported that “deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group”, referring to the MEK, “that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges levelled by Iran’s leaders”.

“…confirming charges levelled by Iran’s leaders”

Backed by “Israel” as even U.S. officials admit, the MEK, by promoting slogans denouncing Iran’s support for Palestine and Syria, is essentially promoting the foreign policy interests of its backer. It’s a group that is, a) backed by foreign powers, b) has more support from the Iranian diaspora in the West than Iranians at home, and c) has a history of sabotaging Iran’s national interests, and killing civilians in terror attacks (which is what delegitimizes them among people in Iran across the political spectrum).

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