Press TV and Tasnim News, July 09 2019:… The terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), which strongly opposes Reza Pahlavi, has warned Saudis and some sponsors of the program not to produce it, threatening to disclose some secrets behind the program if it is broadcast, the reports said. In October 2018, the Guardian revealed that Iran International is funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to the MBS. Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
1- Son of Iran’s Ousted Shah to Work for Saudi-Funded TV Channel: Sources
Tasnim News July 09 2019
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former US-backed Shah of Iran who fled the country in 1979, plans to work for an anti-Iranian satellite TV channel funded by the Saudi regime, informed sources said.
Promised a hefty payment, Reza Pahlavi will soon be part of a new program due to be broadcast by the UK-based Iran International TV, the unnamed sources were quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) has suggested producing the program with the aim of creating divisions among the Iranians, according to the sources.
The terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), which strongly opposes Reza Pahlavi, has warned Saudis and some sponsors of the program not to produce it, threatening to disclose some secrets behind the program if it is broadcast, the reports said.
During the December 2017-January 2018 unrest in Iran, Reza Pahlavi, in an interview with Reuters, called on US President Donald Trump’s administration to encourage US technology companies to provide communication services to Iranians to protest the Islamic Republic.
In October 2018, the Guardian revealed that Iran International is funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to the MBS.
Quoting an unnamed source, the Guardian said bin Salman is the force behind the anti-Iran TV channel.
One source stated $250 million had been provided, which was estimated to cover five years of operation costs, according to the Guardian.
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
2- After all else fails, bin Salman hires son of Shah to divide Iranians
Press TV, July 09 2019
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has gained notoriety for pledging to take the kingdom’s political and ideological war with Iran inside the Islamic Republic’s borders, is hiring Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s ousted despot Mohammad Reza Shah, to make a television show aimed at sowing discord among the Iranian people.
The show is currently under production by the UK-based Iran International network, a well-known propaganda outlet with a mission to stir tension in Iran.
The network grabbed headlines last September, when it interviewed head of the al-Ahwaziya terrorist group right after it attacked a military parade in Ahvaz, southwest of Iran, killing at least 25 and wounding over 60 civilians.
The Guardian has revealed in the past that Iran International’s funding company maintains close links with MbS.
The idea of airing a show that features Reza Pahlavi was first floated by bin Salman himself, sources aware of the collaboration said.
According to one source, Pahlavi had initially asked for a huge pay to do the show but eventually settled down for an alleged one fiftieth of that sum after the intelligence services of a European country intervened.
The pre-production began months ago, after a number of Saudi intelligence agents moved to one of Iran International’s offices and hired a media consultancy group.
The program would mainly focus on whitewashing the Pahlavi regime’s image as a vassal state of the US which also squandered hundreds of billions of dollars of Iranian people’s money.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the son of Iran’s ousted Shah, who still thinks he has a shot at reviving his father’s rule, is being exposed for his direct ties with Saudi Arabia.
Pahlavi’s links to the Saudi royal family came into spotlight last year, when he came to blows with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), a terrorist outfit that has long helped Iran’s enemies with their plots for regime change in Tehran.
Pahlavi came under fire from the MKO for describing the terror organization in an interview with Associated Press as a “cult-type structure” that would not be a “suitable partner” for the US should it ever get serious about regime change.
The reason, according to the exiled “prince,” is that the MKO sided with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his war against Iran in the 1980s, and killed Americans before the 1970 Islamic Revolution.
The MKO hit back at Pahlavi back then by calling him “fake opposition.”
The group is now threatening to reveal secrets that neither Phalavi and Saudis nor Iran International would like to see spilled should the three-way collaboration take shape.
In the heat of the argument, a Phalavi era official revealed to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency that Reza and his mother, Farah, had secretly traveled to Riyadh and received $22 million in funding for their regime change plans. Other unofficial sources have put the number at around $40 million.
The brawl between the MKO and Pahlavi, however, soon lost its appeal in Iran, where popular support for both groups is virtually non-existent mainly because of their dark history which involves plotting with the enemies against the people of their own country.
The MKO is also known to have ties with Saudi rulers. They invited Prince Turki al-Faisal to their annual gathering in Paris in 2016.
What is bin Salman looking to get?
Bin Salman has never kept his penchant for undermining Iran a secret.
On the domestic front, his regime has supported terrorist groups operating in southeastern and southwestern parts of Iran in an attempt to take away Iranian people’s sense of security.
On a boarder level, his Saudi Arabia has teamed up with Israel and the US in forming a NATO-like alliance of Arab countries against the Islamic Republic.
So it is only natural if he tries to lure in Iranian opposition groups that might help him further his soft war against Tehran even a few small steps, according to Marcus Papadopoulos, a London-based publisher and editor at Politics First.
“Saudi Arabia, which is backed by America and backed by the UK, and also unofficially backed by Israel, would very much like to see the overthrow of the Iranian government,” he told Press TV on Monday. “So it is no surprise that Saudi Arabia is now funding these anti-Iranian people… and television channel.”
He argued that what bin Salman is doing is an extension of what the US and its Western allies have tried to do ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution by pursuing their regime change policy.
The decision to tap Phalavi for the job, according to the analyst, reflected the desire in Washington for returning Iran to the pre-Revolution era when the country was a “vassal state” of America.
“They are grooming someone (Pahlavi) in the event that the Iranian government is overthrown… and no doubt the Shah’s son is quite aware what the Americans and the Saudis have in store for him.”
UK’s claims of media freedom ‘just a façade’
The MbS-Pahlavi-Iran International project also brings to the foreground an issue that has long overshadowed London’s claims of media freedom.
In 2012, when the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom revoked Press TV’s broadcasting licenses, it cited government ties and propaganda as main reasons and refused to change the decision despite Press TV’s many requests for answers and evidence.
This is while the Ofcom doesn’t seem to have any problems with other networks such as Iran International, which are freely preaching anti-Iran rhetoric and even hold live interviews with well-known terrorists.
“British authorities project Britain as a beacon of media freedom in the world… in reality that is just a façade,” Papadopoulos said.
“The British will not tolerate any media outlet that challenges the British narrative on affairs in the world and that challenges that Western narrative of affairs in the world,” he said, arguing that is why Press TV had its broadcasting license taken away.
The analyst said it made “absolute sense” for the British to let Iran International operate because London also shares the same Saudi and American desire as regime change in Iran and that is the sole objective behind creating such networks.
He said the British were “masters of manipulation” and some people bought what they had to offer through their propaganda outlets.
“But if you just dig away at the surface, you will see the reality that British are allowing a television channel to broadcast from the UK that is calling for the overthrow of an independent, sovereign government,” he argued. “That is completely against the international law, that is completely against the United Nations Charter and yet the British get away with it.”
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
Untangling The Web Of The Saudi-Israeli-US Propaganda War On Iran
Behnam Gharagozli, Iranian.com, February 06 2019:… One manifestation of this trend is witnessing how the MEK was somehow transformed from a terrorist organization to a dissident Iranian organization after only a short time. This transformation from terrorist to dissident just so happened to occur after the MEK’s base in Iraq was sacked (the MEK had been an ally of Saddam Hussein) and the calls for regime change in Iran grew louder. That the mainstream media belongs to only a handful of large corporate entities is another fact to consider.
Untangling The Web Of The Saudi-Israeli-US Propaganda War On Iran
Shortly after the horrific attacks on 9/11, it was discovered that there was an American plan to dismantle the regimes of seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and lastly, Iran. Since then, the world witnessed regime change and subsequent civil wars in Iraq and Libya while Somalia and Sudan remain failed states. However, Iran, along with its close ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is said to be stronger than the Lebanese army and the most powerful non-state armed actor on earth, remain not only fully functional but have in fact expanded their power vis-à-vis the United States, Israel and their Gulf Arab governments.
US-Israeli-Saudi efforts in the Middle East since 2001 have provided multiple instances of Blowback—long term, unintended negative consequences of foreign policy. Nowhere is this more telling than Iran’s expanded and still growing influence in the region as the result of American missteps. Rather than converting Iraq into a launching pad to effectuate regime change in Iran, the United States saw Iranian influence and control grow in Iraq. Rather than meeting its declared mission of knocking out the Lebanese Hezbollah in 2006, Israel suffered its third defeat at the hands of the Iranian ally. In Iraq’s quest to rid its country of ISIS fighters, one Iranian official joked that the Iraqis prefer to have Iranian commanders lead from the front rather than American advisers direct them from the rear. Relatedly, world opinion generally credits Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Suleimani, rather than any American, Israeli or Saudi counterpart, as the one who led the successful campaign against ISIS in Iraq.
Instead of giving up its quest for regime change in Iran, the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia appear to be more determined than ever.
Instead of giving up its quest for regime change in Iran, the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia appear to be more determined than ever. Evidence for this is found not only in Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and imposition of harsh sanctions against Iran, but also in the mainstream media’s bias in reporting on Iran. Rather than analyzing the obvious drawbacks in pursuing regime change in Iran (e.g. the expected high loss of human life, enormous cost to the American taxpayer and resulting chaos in what would in all likelihood result in a fragmentation of the country similar to that of Syria and Libya), the mainstream media curiously appears to favor a regime change policy.
While this may initially appear to be surprising, identifying the many groups that would benefit from regime change in Iran quickly harmonizes the disparity between facts and reporting. Saudi Arabia and Israel would greatly benefit from Iranian regime change, as it would eliminate their chief rival in the region. The notorious terrorist cult organization, Mujahedin-e Khalq (“MEK”) would be a likely beneficiary, as it would clear the way for them to achieve their goal of acquiring power in the country (an objective that they failed to achieve after the 1979 revolution). Simultaneously, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi (the would be ruler of Iran but for the 1979 revolution) of the Pahlavi family would potentially be able to return to some sort of a leadership position in the country. The neoconservative establishment in the United States that infamously brought us the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and subsequent brutal aftermath would stand to benefit, as regime change in Iran was their ultimate goal (“Anyway can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.”). One must recall that the neoconservatives sought a fairy tale scenario wherein the fall of Baghdad would lead to the rest of the Middle East (Iran included) to magically turn into pro-American liberal democracies.
The goal of removing the clerical regime in Iran is apparently so powerful that it has united groups that would otherwise hate one another. Indeed, absent a hatred of the Iranian regime, there are few commonalities between a Zionist, Saudi royalist, Iranian monarchist, MEK member and a Neocon. Nevertheless, many of these various groupings have found a loose yet committed confederation in their quest for regime change.
This confederation has revealed itself in the mainstream media’s bias against Iran. One manifestation of this trend is witnessing how the MEK was somehow transformed from a terrorist organization to a dissident Iranian organization after only a short time. This transformation from terrorist to dissident just so happened to occur after the MEK’s base in Iraq was sacked (the MEK had been an ally of Saddam Hussein) and the calls for regime change in Iran grew louder.
That the mainstream media belongs to only a handful of large corporate entities is another fact to consider. What this means for pro-regime change groupings is that there are relatively few sources that must be purchased to create an echo chamber favoring their political agenda. What is more, it is odd that Persian language outlets such as Voice of America, Manoto, Kalameh and Radio Farda consistently and persistently appear to favor regime change despite so many obvious policy drawbacks.
…it is important to expose media outlets that receive funding from the Israeli government, Saudi Kingdom, MEK, Pahlavi family and neoconservative groups.
In light of the above, it is important to expose media outlets that receive funding from the Israeli government, Saudi Kingdom, MEK, Pahlavi family and neoconservative groups. This will reveal important biases to alert the public of another American foreign policy misadventure that will dwarf the carnage of Operation Iraqi “Freedom.
Historical Background Behind the Saudi-Israeli-US Alliance Against Iran
That the MEK and Pahlavi family seek regime change in Iran should come as no surprise. Both organizations adamantly feel as though they are the true rulers of Iran and that they were unjustly pushed out of power by the current regime.
However, it is important to identify the geopolitics behind the Saudi-Israeli-US alliance against Iran to put the issue in its proper context. This is especially so as Saudi Arabia and Israel (along with their respective lobbies in the United States) face an uncomfortable reality: Iran’s status as an ethnic minority in the region, important strategic position, natural resources, large economy, powerful military and significant influence in the Middle East make Iran a much better geopolitical ally to the United States than both Israel and Saudi Arabia combined.
The U.S-Saudi relationship dates back to the 1940s wherein the United States essentially committed to protect the Saudi Royal Family in exchange for cheap oil. American commitment to this doctrine was subsequently reinforced in the Nixon and Carter Doctrines.
Prior to the 1979 revolution in Iran, the United States had set up a regional containment strategy designed to check Soviet power with American allies in light of American commitments elsewhere such as Vietnam. In May 1972, President Nixon’s administration immensely increased support of the pro-Western Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. The Nixon Doctrine essentially stood on two pillars:
Saudi Arabia and Pahlavi Iran (aka “twin pillars”). Pahlavi Iran was a crucial pro-Western buffer state and was regarded as the “strategic prize.”
Shah of Iran with President Nixon during a state visit to the United States, July 24, 1973. Source: Richard Nixon Foundation
1979 brought the twin pillar policy crashing down as it brought an end to Pahlavi Iran and replaced it with an anti-American Islamic Republic that sought to export its revolution. This resulted in the Carter Doctrine wherein the United States declared that:
Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.
The anti-American nature of Iran’s 1979 revolution and the Carter Doctrine turned the United States and Iran from allies to enemies. Indeed, on January 7, 1981, President Carter signed a secret directive authorizing “the Pentagon to use force to prevent Iran from closing the Strait of Hormuz to oil exports.” What is politically ironic but geopolitically not surprising is that President Reagan continued the Carter Doctrine.
Since American officials at the time viewed military force as a last resort, the United States required a proxy to enforce the Carter Doctrine. As a result, Reagan administration threw its weight behind Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Saddam Hussein Iran-Iraq war 1980s. Credit: Wikipedia
The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) revealed Saddam Hussein to be an incompetent military proxy for the United States. Throughout the war, American officials expressed repeated anxiety about the Iraqi military’s ability to perform against Iranian advances. Indeed, American aid was crucial to preventing a decisive Iranian victory in the Iran-Iraq war.
Saddam Hussein would subsequently prove himself to be a liability. Not realizing that he was merely an American pawn to protect the other Arab governments in the Persian Gulf from Iranian expansion, Saddam invaded oil rich Kuwait. This foolish move invited direct American military intervention in Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991) and severely weakened Iraq’s military.
After essentially decimating its regional strongman, the United States was left without a military proxy to check Iranian expansion in the region. While the Cold War was over, American concerns about Iranian influence throughout the Middle East remained. Indeed, President George H.W. Bush generally continued the Carter Doctrine upon his signing of the National Security Directive 26 on October 2, 1989.
President Clinton’s lack of foreign policy experience allowed his National Security Advisor, Martin Indyk, a former AIPAC director to dominate Clinton’s Middle East policy. Indyk convinced Clinton to pursue a policy of containment vis-à-vis Iran.
Meanwhile, Israel, emboldened by the fall of the Soviet Union, the crippling of Saddam Hussein (an arch nemesis of Israel) and having an ally in the Clinton White House, began to depict Iran as a threat to advance its “New Middle East” ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister’s Yitzhak Rabin’s proposal whereby Israel would play a central role in the Middle East required Israel to demonize the only remaining regional power in the Middle East: Iran. That Rabin’s vilification of Iran flew in the face of Israel supplying Iran with weaponry and lobbying the United States to do so throughout the Iran-Iraq war apparently was of no importance.
Utilizing the often repeated but poorly supported myth of Israeli military invincibility, Israel and its lobby in the United States was able to convince the Clinton administration that Israel could replace Saddam as the regional pro-American powerhouse to thwart Iranian influence.
Israeli-AIPAC efforts in the United States quickly bore fruit in the anti-Iran campaign. AIPAC successfully lobbied the Clinton administration and subsequently Congress to halt all U.S. trade with Iran despite Israel continuing trade with Iran. This included cancellation of a $1 billion Iranian oil contract with an American company, Conoco. Although the Conoco deal found support in the State Department and CIA, pro-Israeli forces in the United States ended the deal by way of the Iran Libya Sanctions Act. This also served as the third failed attempt by then Iranian Akbar Hashemi President to normalize relations with the United States and therefore emboldened Iranian hardliners. Simultaneously, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich publicly secured $18 million for covert operations against Iran while arguing for regime change.
9/11 would considerably raise the stakes. With the rise of neo-conservatism in the United States, the Israeli lobby found a welcoming ear in their quest for regional expansion. The Israel lobby’s role in pushing the United States to invading Iraq is well documented.
Iran saw the writing on the wall. Indeed, neo-conservatives were not ambiguous about their ambitions for regime change in Iran. Such voices manifested themselves via official means by way of President Bush’s Axis of Evil speech in 2002 vilifying Iran despite Iran providing the Americans with crucial support in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan. This resulted in Iran converting its cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan into subversion.
Oddly, the United States did not have a concrete plan in place to invade Iran after toppling Saddam. The Bush administration did not conduct war games or simulations on this topic.
Nevertheless, Iran offered the United States and Israel the 2003 grand bargain (which has received little attention in American mainstream media) whereby the two countries would normalize relations, Iran would offer full access to its nuclear, chemical and biological tech programs, cooperation on fighting terrorism, assistance in stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq and pressuring Palestinian opposition groups to stop violence against Israel. The proposal even offered to disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah. The Bush administration and Israel instead decided to pursue regime change and rejected the grand bargain.
Coupled with American incompetence in stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq (e.g. Paul Bremer’s de-Baathification policy), U.S. and Israeli announcements for regime change convinced the Iranian regime to not only subvert American efforts in Iraq, but to take advantage of the power vacuum that the American invasion created and expand Iranian influence in Iraq. Rather than becoming a launching pad for an American invasion of Iran, post-Saddam Iraq turned into an Iranian ally.
Iran’s increased strength and expansion throughout the Middle East pushed Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together. The two countries had always had an unusual alliance. The Saudi Kingdom’s rise to power in the country significantly owes a debt to the British favoring the Ibn Saud family (the current ruling family in Saudi Arabia) over the Hashemites (the would be ruling family in Saudi Arabia). Part of the British preference was due to the Ibn Saud family’s approval of the creation of the state of Israel as per Britain’s Balfour Declaration. Recently, Saudi Royalists and Zionist hardliners have found a common enemy in Iran and decided that it would be convenient to reinforce their alliance.
However, the United States, Israel nor Saudi Arabia has the ability to overthrow the Iranian regime by way of overt military force. American military plans in the late 1990s asserted that toppling the Islamic Republic by force would require three years of fighting and at least half a million troops. Such plans and the estimates upon which they were premised were based on circumstances that predated the Iranian regime’s entrenchment in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Currently, therefore, it is logical to conclude that the current cost to topple the clerical regime in Iran is much higher. As such, the three countries have resorted to a propaganda war in hopes of weakening Iran and creating the conditions necessary for regime change.
Instances of Reporting Bias
On October 31, 2018, the Guardian published an article headlined “Concern over UK-Based Iranian TV Channel’s Links to Saudi Arabia.” In that article, Saeed Kamali Dehghan detailed that a UK-based Iranian TV station is being funded by a “secretive offshore entity” with close links to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (“MBS”). The UK-based Iranian TV station, “Iranian International TV” joined the many exiled Iranian channels that reach Iranian residents by way of satellite television such as BBC’s Persian service and Manoto TV. An insider claimed that the channel had turned into a platform for “ethnic partisanship and sectarianism.” The article went on to identify instances where Iranian International TV provided the MEK a platform and how its parent company, Volant Media has strong links with the Saudi Royal Family. Importantly, Iranian International TV receives no commercial income, which makes its dependence on Saudi funding and corresponding Saudi bias incredibly apparent.
The article notes that “According to one source, Saudi Arabia gave” $250 million to launch Iran International. Subsequently, Tasnim News and Press TV observed that according to a tweet from the Guardian correspondent, Dehghan, that “one source” was Khashoggi. The tweet unambiguously indicated that:
“I can confirm that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because of speaking to me on the phone from Istanbul in the morning on 26 September, revealing that London-based Iran International TV was funded by Mohammad bin Salman and Saud al-Qahtani.”
This tweet, which was later deleted, did not receive any considerable coverage in American mainstream media. One may argue that Tasnim News and Press TV have a strong pro-Iran and anti-Saudi bias. However, such an argument would ignore the fact that the tweet from Saeed Kamali Dehghan stands on its own regardless of any bias on the part of Tasnim and Press TV.
While mainstream American media has provided some coverage on the Khashoggi murder, it has failed to do so within the crucial policy framework of Trump’s pro-regime change stance in Iran.
When considered in conjunction with Trump’s November 20th statement pardoning Saudi Arabia in part by demonizing Iran, the above strongly supports the contention that the United States has declared a propaganda war on Iran. That Trump has admitted to having personal business interests (and subsequently denied those business interests when confronted) with the Saudi Kingdom only bolsters the claim. Trump’s decision to cite Israeli interests when defending the U.S.-Saudi relationship only further reveals that there is coordination among the U.S, Israel and Saudi Arabia in this regime change campaign against Iran.
In 2017, protests began in one of Iran’s largest cities, Mashhad. The trigger appears to have been dissatisfaction regarding the price of food and necessities. Regime change advocates quickly sought to exploit these protests. Many who agreed with the protestors’ grievances were concerned that external forces like the Pahlavi family and MEK would attempt to leverage what appeared to be reasonable complaints to push for their own goals.
Such concerns turned out to be well founded. The Guardian reported on June 30, 2018 that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, admitted that the protests were “happening because of many of our people in Albania.” What is significant about Albania is that it is the location where MEK’s compound is located. On November 9, 2018, the Guardian revealed that MEK’s “main work in Albania involves fighting online in an escalating information war.” This information war included a 1,000 member “troll farm” in Albania that would post propaganda in multiple different languages and multiple different online outlets (including Facebook, Twitter and others).
The above was virtually absent in mainstream American media. When read in conjunction with statements by John Bolton (who would subsequently become Trump’s National Security Adviser) at a 2017 MEK rally calling for regime change in Iran by 2019, it is difficult to ignore the Trump administration’s reckless regime change policy in Iran. What is even more troubling is that the Trump administration intends to achieve this goal by using an organization that the Iranian general public sees as synonymous with treason.
$300 Million Contract
With respect to why the Iran protests were happening, Giuliani also referred to “many of our people…throughout the world.” On August 4, 2018, the Critics Chronicle revealed that Saudi Arabia paid $300 million to Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of the Pahlavi family and the would be heir to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s throne but for the 1979 revolution. This $300 million contract was intended for Reza Pahlavi to promote anti-government protests in Iran. At the writing of this draft, that article is not available online. However, the story was republished in November by other outlets including Tehran Times. Consistent with the overall trend, this story did not appear in mainstream American media.
Credible Iran analysts across the world are nearly unanimous in their belief that Reza Pahlavi, like MEK, has little to no support among the Iranian general public. That the American mainstream media would not report that an unpopular figure like Reza Pahlavi received $300 million to promote regime change in Iran cements the contention of an Israeli-Saudi-US information war.
Khashoggi killed for disclosing Saudi funding of anti-Iran TV channel: Guardian
Press TV, November 09 2018:… Earlier this summer, the Iran International came under fire for praising a terrorist attack in Iran’s Ahvaz and broadcasting live coverage of a rally by the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). At the time, the Guardian took note of Press TV’s complaint that the Western and Saudi media were refraining from terming the deadly attack as a terrorist act despite the large number of civilian …
Khashoggi killed for disclosing Saudi funding of anti-Iran TV channel: Guardian
Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, might have lost his life for disclosing Riyadh’s funding of an anti-Iran UK-based TV channel, the British daily Guardian suggests.
In a report on Oct. 2, the Guardian cited a source close to the Saudi government as saying that the anti-Iran London-based TV channel Iran International received an estimated $250m (£192m) from the Saudi royal court each year.
Now the Guardian correspondent, in a Friday tweet, has revealed that his source was Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was assassinated on the same day as the report was published in a premeditated murder in Turkey blamed on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also known as MBS.
A tweet message by Guardian reporter Saeed Kamali Dehghani regarding Khashoggi’s murder scheme
I can confirm that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because of speaking to me on the phone from Istanbul in the morning on 26 September, revealing that London-based Iran International TV was funded by Mohammad Bin Salman and Saud al-Qahtani. Read this: https://t.co/nlutbjywi3
— Saeed Kamali Dehghan (@SaeedKD) November 9, 2018
The Guardian correspondent, Saeid Kamali Dehghan, later posted tweets that suggested he felt threats to his safety.
“My request to all family and friends is not to contact me at this moment, except very trusted one. My mum knows how to contact me. I trust my mum and a few people here,” he said in the tweet. However, he later deleted all his tweets regarding the case.
Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad praised the Guardian correspondent in a tweet and warned about the “risks” which he may encounter.
“Mr. Kamali Dehghan, the Guardian correspondent, confirmed in a brave step that Khashoggi had revealed before his death to him information about the establishment of the Persian-language ‘Iran International’ network by Saudi authorities,” he wrote.
“The relevant authorities are aware of possible risks to Mr. Kamali and the embassy is also in contact with them,” Baeidinejad added.
Last month, the Guardian also reported that the Iran International was being funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director was a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to bin Salman.
The source told the Guardian that Saud al-Qahtani, who served as media adviser to MBS and was among several senior officials removed in connection with Khashoggi’s murder, was involved in the funding of Iran International.
“It is money coming from the royal court,” the source – now revealed to be Khashoggi – said, when speaking about the Saudi crown prince.
Earlier this summer, the Iran International came under fire for praising a terrorist attack in Iran’s Ahvaz and broadcasting live coverage of a rally by the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
At the time, the Guardian took note of Press TV’s complaint that the Western and Saudi media were refraining from terming the deadly attack as a terrorist act despite the large number of civilian casualties in the incident.
Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of bin Salman, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, but never came back.
The Saudi kingdom, after denying the murder for several days, finally admitted that Khashoggi had been murdered in the consulate during an interrogation by rogue operatives that had gone wrong after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national.
However, Saudi Arabia said that it did not know the whereabouts of the body, which is widely believed to have been dismembered.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later announced the assassination had been ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.
Trump, Saudi Arabia and the Khashoggi Murder (U.S. also backs Mojahedin Khalq MEK Terrorists)
Robert Fantina, Counter Punch, October 28 2018:… U.S. spokespeople have praised the Mujahedin-E Khalq organization (MEK), which is responsible for thousands of deaths in Iran since 1979, and is now active outside that country, attempting to foment the overthrow of the government. The U.S. would be only too happy to see them succeed, and turn Iran into the chaos and disaster that Iraq and Yemen are today. Fortunately for Iran …
Trump, Saudi Arabia and the Khashoggi Murder
Is there no crime so obvious, so egregious and so blatant that it won’t be overlooked by United States President Donald Trump, if doing so suits his twisted needs? He looks past Israeli barbarity, despite the obvious, unspeakable human rights abuses that that rogue, racist apartheid nation commits. He ignores the abject suffering caused by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. He excuses, with barely a mention, the Saudi bombing of a school bus full of Yemeni children. And now he is overlooking the cold-blooded murder of a Saudi journalist, which that government even concedes, after several rather incredulous stories, that it is, indeed, responsible for.
Any other U.S. president, Democrat or Republican, would certainly see this as a reason to at least review the U.S.’s unqualified support for the Saudi regime. He or she would express horror not only at the murder itself, but at the targeted silencing of a member of the press, one critical of Saudi Arabia. The massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia agreed upon would at least put on hold, while the entire situation is reviewed.
But not Trump; he was first happy to say that there must be some other explanation for why Jemal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post, entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain a marriage license, and never came out. Then, after numerous denials by the Saudi government that it had no knowledge of what may have happened, they stated that Khoshoggi died in a fistfight in the embassy! While this may be a prize winner in any contest for the most outrageous and unbelievable statements any government has ever made, Trump was happy to accept it.
Then, when the Saudi regime finally said that ‘rogue’ members of the government (are there any other kind in Saudi Arabia?) were responsible, Trump seemed perfectly content with that explanation. What consequences the perpetrators will experience is not known, nor are any expected. Certainly, none of this will impact U.S. relations with the Saudi regime.
One need not wonder why this is. Trump has set the U.S.’s deadly sites on Iran, and seeks Saudi support to implement whatever destructive and illegal plans he may have for that nation. Never mind that Saudi Arabia supports such terrorist groups as Jibhat al-Nusra, an organization that is on the U.S.’s official ‘terrorist’ list. The U.S. happily supports other terrorist groups in Syria and other locations around the world, so why object to one that the U.S. itself condemns?
U.S. spokespeople have praised the Mujahedin-E Khalq organization (MEK), which is responsible for thousands of deaths in Iran since 1979, and is now active outside that country, attempting to foment the overthrow of the government. The U.S. would be only too happy to see them succeed, and turn Iran into the chaos and disaster that Iraq and Yemen are today. Fortunately for Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp prevents the MKO from having any significant power in Iran.
And so what if the brutal Saudi war on Yemen is causing millions of people to die of starvation? Why should the U.S. object to that, as long as it can enlist Saudi Arabia in its anti-Iran plans. Trump has stated more than once that the U.S. needs Saudi Arabia for that purpose, so basically whatever horrendous atrocities Saudi Arabia commits will be overlooked.
Since the U.S. is so busy condemning Iran while it ignores the unspeakable human rights abuses of some of its allies, including Saudi Arabia, let’s see what it is that Iran has done that has brought about Trump’s wrath.
+ Iran has supported and continues to support the legitimate Syrian government against U.S.-sponsored rebel groups. This has increased Iran’s power, influence and prestige in the Middle East, and since Israel wants complete hegemony in that part of the world, Iran’s growth cannot be tolerated.
+ Iran’ government supports the human rights struggles of the Palestinian people; in so doing, it also supports international law, something which the U.S. holds in contempt.
+ Iran is allied with Russia, which is the new enemy du jour of the U.S.
+ Lastly, the U.S. has not been able to ever accept that the people of Iran overthrew the brutal, oppressive, U.S-installed puppet, the Shah of Iran, in 1979. This will never do, since Iran, as of 1979, ceased bowing to the U.S. master.
It may be difficult for Trump, who’s attention span rivals that of a 2-year old, who believes that if he or she can’t see something, it no longer exists, to understand the rich history and culture of Iran. Consider the Cyrus Cylinder, dating from the sixth century, B.C., and discovered in Iraq in 1879. This artifact is sometimes seen as the first declaration of human rights known to man.
And what of the revolution, mentioned above? This was truly a people’s movement, indicating the power that people have over even the most brutal and powerfully-backed oppressor. Democracy, anyone?
Let’s compare now the number of countries that the U.S has invaded, just since World War II, with the number Iran invaded during that same time period. The total for the U.S is 16 (18, if you count Lebanon and Iraq twice). Here is the list: Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Angola, Lebanon (twice), Grenada, Panama, Kuwat, Iraq (twice), Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Syria. This, of course, is in addition to supporting brutal rebels in many democratic nations that didn’t toe the U.S. line.
Now, for the list of countries that Iran has invaded since World War II. The total is 0. One needs to look back to 1798 for the last time Iran invaded another nation.
Let’s look now to the current year. A White House report called the ‘Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Military Force and Related National Security Operations’, or, unofficially, the war report, issued in March of this year, indicates that the U.S. is currently at war in seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. Iran, by comparison, is supporting Syria, its ally, against foreign-financed and trained terrorists.
But according to the U.S. government, it is Iran that is the world’s foremost sponsor of world terrorism. It is Iran that is the major abuser of human rights. It is Iran that is causing untold trouble around the world.
It has been said that if one tells a lie often enough, eventually it will be believed. Trump seems to rely on this, as he attempts to prepare the hapless U.S. citizens for another needless, deadly, devastating war. But those citizens should beware: Iran is not Iraq. It is a large and powerful country, with powerful allies. The U.S. will wage war on Iran to its own detriment. It is hoped that such a war will never happen.
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
Ofcom investigates TV network over interview praising attack in Iran
Saeed Kamali Dehgahn, The Guardian, London, October 03 2018:… This is not the first time Iran International has been heavily criticised. The television previously gave extensive live coverage to a rally by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), a cult-like organisation that espouses regime change and has links to Saudi Arabia. The controversy over the coverage of the MeK rally led to the channel ceasing its cooperation …
Ofcom investigates TV network over interview praising attack in Iran
Saudi-linked Iran International TV gave airtime to supporter of assault that killed 24 at parade
Ofcom is investigating a UK-based Saudi-linked television network after it gave airtime to the spokesman for an extremist separatist group who praised last month’s terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, which killed at least 24 people, including children.
The investigation by the media watchdog highlights the growing influence of Saudi-linked stations operating from London, which is increasingly becoming a key media battle ground for the proxy wars in the Middle East.
Iran International TV, based in Chiswick, west London, was the first Farsi language media organisation to interview Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, after the 22 September attack.
Tostari said the National Resistance of Ahvaz, an umbrella group linked to the Struggle Movement, had carried out the attack, and praised the killings, later condemned by the UN security council as a “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack”, which he said had hit “legitimate” military targets.
“Today’s operation was carried out by the National Resistance of Ahvaz against legitimate targets, which are Revolutionary Guards, and military members of the Islamic Republic,” he said.
Told that civilians were among the dead, he said: “What was targeted was the viewing platform [of the military parade] where officials stood. Ordinary people were not on that platform.” He added: “I insist that armed resistance is part of our resistance.”
Tostari’s group later backpedalled on the claim. The Ahvaz attack has also been claimed by Isis.
Ofcom confirmed it was investigating the interview. “We are assessing this news programme as a priority against our broadcasting rules,” a spokesperson said. It has not opened a formal investigation.
Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, tweeted that the embassy had filed a complaint.
Iran International is one of an increasing number of London-based television stations backed by Middle Eastern interests that are trying to influence audiences thousands of miles away. Questions have been raised over the network’s funding and its links to Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s arch-enemy. Many Iranians compared the interview to giving airtime to Isis after a terrorist attack in the west.
Rob Beynon, the acting head of the channel, stood by the decision to broadcast the interview and said it had referred to the Ahvaz shooting as a “terrorist attack”.
“We and the BBC [Persian] and Radio Farda interviewed the same person during that day and we’ve already said that it was done because we wanted to find out the background to it,” he told the Guardian. “There isn’t a ban on interviewing that person as far as I am aware.”
He said his network would comply with Ofcom but said he did not think the interview with Tostari had broken the rules since he said the spokesman did not incite violence.
“[Tostari] explained his reasons as he saw them and he was challenged by the presenter,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we agree with him.”
Iran International was launched in May 2017 shortly before presidential elections in Iran. Two other Farsi-language networks, BBC Persian and Manoto TV, are also based in London. Iran International pays generous salaries – one employee said pay was double that offered by competitors – and its 100-strong staff works out of a modern newsroom and studio.
Iran International’s licence is held by its parent entity, a company called Global Media Circulating, according to Ofcom’s records. Adel Al-Abdulkarim, one of the company’s two directors, is also a shareholder, and a Saudi national with a history of working with Saudi Arabian media moguls such as Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the former general manager of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, and formerly editor-in-chief of newspaper Alsharq Alwsat.
A source who has worked with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said Iran International’s money came from the Saudi royal court, estimated to be about $250m (£192m).
“The money is coming from Saudi Arabia, it is from the royal court,” the source said, questioning whether private investors would risk that amount of money with such a small chance of return.
Beynon did not answer questions on the channel’s funding. He said the day-to-day editorial and technical operations of Iran International were managed by DMA Media Ltd, which is a UK news company owned by private UK shareholders. The Guardian has asked Beynon to explain the precise relationship between DMA Media Ltd and Global Media Circulating.
He added: “Iran International can be judged by its output and the editorial policy implicit in that. It is not reflective of the views of any government and aims to provide news and views of interest to all Farsi speakers.”
This is not the first time Iran International has been heavily criticised. The television previously gave extensive live coverage to a rally by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), a cult-like organisation that espouses regime change and has links to Saudi Arabia.
The controversy over the coverage of the MeK rally led to the channel ceasing its cooperation with Mehdi Jami, a respected journalist who spoke out on internal discontent over the decision. At least one journalist left the network after the coverage of the Ahvaz attack.
Shia-majority Iran and Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia are engaged in proxy conflicts across the Middle East, including in Syria and Yemen. Iran has its own Arabic-language television, Al Alam, which broadcast its own version of events.
It is irked by London becoming a hub for exiled channels it views as subversive. Manoto TV is perceived to be close to monarchists, focusing extensively on pre-revolutionary Iran and depicting the era as glamorous. It lost £33m in 2016 and 2017, according to its latest accounts. Manoto has not disclosed its sources of funding since 2012 and did not respond to a request to explain these.
In 2012, Iran’s English-language state-run Press TV was forced off air in the UK after Ofcom revoked its licence for broadcasting forced confessions of a journalist imprisoned in Iran.
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money
Saudi Arabia Bankrolled Iran’s MEK with Tons of Gold, Rolexes (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult)
Sputnick and Press TV, September 19 2018:… Massoud Khodabandeh explained that 3 tons of solid gold, a minimum of four suitcases of customized Rolex watches and fabric that had been used to cover the Muslim holy site of Kaaba in Mecca were among the commodities shipped from Saudi Arabia to MEK operatives in Baghdad as …
Saudi Arabia Bankrolled Iran’s MEK with Tons of Gold, Rolexes – Report
Sputnick, September 19 2018
Link to the source
A former high-ranking MEK official confirmed long-held suspicions that Saudi Arabia has been financing the political-militant group bent on violent regime change in Iran through sophisticated channels to provide the group with valuables like gold and Rolex watches, according to a new report.
In an interview with Jordanian news outlet Al-Bawaba Tuesday, a former MEK member who oversaw the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of materials explained how the group has stayed financially afloat.
Massoud Khodabandeh explained that 3 tons of solid gold, a minimum of four suitcases of customized Rolex watches and fabric that had been used to cover the Muslim holy site of Kaaba in Mecca were among the commodities shipped from Saudi Arabia to MEK operatives in Baghdad as part of the scheme. From there, the valuables would be sold on the black market in Jordan’s capital, Amman, to Saudi-aligned merchants.
“Aided by two Iraqi and two Saudi representatives, Khodabandeh smuggled three trucks filled with gold bars from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad. He estimated that each truck held about a ton of gold, making the shipment’s contemporary worth almost $200 million,” Al-Bawaba reports. After selling the gold, funds would be sent to offshore MEK bank accounts, Khodabandeh said.
The report says that the US also supported the MEK by providing the UN Refugee Agency with $20 million in order to transport thousands of MEK members from Iraq to Albania. The US then gave Albania funds to construct a “military-style facility for the MEK, in which it is currently holed up.”
War hawks in Washington point to the MEK as the most viable proxy force for bringing down the Iranian government. The group doesn’t support within Iran, according to Saeed Jalili, a Tehran-based writer. “I have not heard anyone asking them [MEK] to make a comeback in Iran or anything like that,” Jalili told Al Jazeera in March.
“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs. And that opposition is centered in this room today,” John Bolton, once the US ambassador to the UN and now White House national security adviser, said during a speech at an MEK conference in Paris last year.
Bolton went so far as to conclude his remarks by predicting the overthrow of the Iranian government by the end of 2018, according to Iranian expat journalist Bahman Kalbasi. “Any that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran,” Bolton said to a round of roaring applause.
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) March 22, 2018
“We resettled a lot of the MEK people from Iraq in Albania,” Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator at the time, told Foreign Policy in April. “It became the goal of the US government to get them out of there. That is the reason they were delisted” from the US list of terror groups in 2012.
“It happened under the secretary’s authority, not because they had met the requirements for not being a terrorist group,” said Benjamin, who is now director of the Center For International Understanding at Dartmouth University. Hillary Clinton was the US secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, before John Kerry assumed the post until the arrival of the Trump administration in 2017.
“Bolton is positively predisposed to the MEK,” a foreign policy Capitol Hill staffer told Foreign Policy in April, when Bolton joined the White House as national security adviser. “They will have some access to this White House at least.”
‘Saudis gave MKO gold, Rolex watches worth hundreds of millions of dollars’
Press TV, September 19 2018
Link to the source
An ex-member of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) has shed light on Saudi Arabia’s financial support for the anti-Iran terror group, explaining how the Riyadh regime funneled, in one instance, gold bars and other valuables worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the notorious outfit.
Massoud Khodabandeh, a former high-ranking MKO element, made the revelations in an interview with Jordanian news website al-Bawaba released on Tuesday.
He said officials of the Saudi spy agency, formerly led by Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, gave the MKO three tons of solid gold, at least four suitcases of custom Rolex watches as well as fabric covering the Ka’aba, Islam’s holiest shrine.
Khodabandeh personally oversaw the transfer.
Gold and other valuable commodities, he added, were later sold in black markets in the Jordanian capital, Amman, via Saudi-linked businessmen and the money went to offshore accounts linked to the MKO.
Khodabandeh also noted that he had himself smuggled three truckloads of gold bars from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad with the help of two Iraqi and two Saudi representatives.
Each truck held about a ton of gold, “making the shipment’s contemporary worth almost $200 million.”
“After a few days I arranged for it to go to Amman to be sold,” he said. “We knew a few businessmen who could do this for us and move the money to offshore accounts.”
The ex-MKO member further unveiled that some of the money the organization received from its dealings was allocated to the purchase of military vehicles.
Through the Saudi-linked businessmen in Amman, he said, the MKO “bought large fleets of Toyota semi-military vehicles and many other logistical needs.”
Khodabandeh also stressed that in addition to regular payments from former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the MKO also received sums from Iraqi oil exports to Britain.
He explained that after the fall of Saddam, Prince Turki became the terror outfit’s main supporter.
“I would say that after the fall of Saddam, the MKO which was then being run by Massoud [Rajavi] under the patronage of Saddam, changed to the organization run by Maryam [Rajavi] under the patronage of Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud,” he said.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community. Its members fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq, where it enjoyed Saddam’s backing.
The MKO has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.
In 2012, the US State Department removed the MKO from its list of designated terrorist organizations.
A few years ago, MKO members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former US military base in Baghdad, and later sent to Albania.
Elsewhere, the al-Bawaba report said that the US had paid $20 million to the UN Refugee Agency to transfer thousands of MKO terrorists from Iraq to Albania, and had even given Tirana funds to build a military-style facility for the group.
Maryam Rajavi Reza Pahlavi Squabble over Saudi MBA Money