Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, January 14 2019:… Bolton also distrusts multilateral agreements and has close ties with the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK, an Iranian opposition group with a past history of assassinating American citizens.The other survivor so far of Trump’s reality show administration is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A self-described “counterpuncher,” Pompeo, who replaced the more moderate and less Iran-phobic …
Mattis and Our Bankrupt Iran Policy
James Mattis’ tenure at the Pentagon ends today. Sina Azodi and Barbara Slavin consider what his departure could mean for the future of Iran policy:
The retired Marine general had policy differences with the president about Iran as well. While a supporter of containment, Mattis advocated remaining within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His departure tilts the balance in Trump’s national security team in favor of more hawkish individuals who have openly advocated regime change as the ultimate solution to US differences with the Islamic Republic.
When Mattis resigned, I warned that his successor would likely be more of a yes-man and less willing or able to restrain the president’s belligerent tendencies. That might seem like a strange thing to say until we remember that Mattis was responsible for curbing the president’s desire for a much larger military response against the Syrian government in the spring of this year, and according to some accounts he was a major obstacle to an attack on North Korea in 2017. Trump supporters have been quick to credit the president for de-escalation and limited intervention that happened because Mattis restrained him, and they have been equally swift in shifting blame for his escalations of other wars to the people around him. Mattis was unwilling to end our current pointless and illegal wars, but it is also true that he was responsible for keeping Trump from starting new ones.
Mattis shared the administration’s Iran obsession to an alarming degree, but as Azodi and Slavin point out his departure removes one of the only counterweights inside the administration to the much more rabid Persophobes in Bolton and Pompeo. It could also mean one less obstacle inside the administration to an attack on Iran that Bolton and Pompeo have wanted for many years. Azodi and Slavin continue:
Left atop Trump’s national security team is national security adviser, John Bolton, a so-called “offensive realist” who has long pushed for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. Bolton also distrusts multilateral agreements and has close ties with the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK, an Iranian opposition group with a past history of assassinating American citizens.
The other survivor so far of Trump’s reality show administration is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A self-described “counterpuncher,” Pompeo, who replaced the more moderate and less Iran-phobic Rex Tillerson, has also suggested in the past that US should consider attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
U.S. forces may be withdrawn from Syria in the coming year (or maybe they won’t be), but that doesn’t mean that war with Iran has become less likely.
Mesissa Etehad, LA Times, January 13 2019:… MEK, is a shadowy organization with a militant past. Up until 2012, it was deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Led by a husband-and-wife power couple — Massoud and Maryam Rajavi — the group was sheltered and armed by Saddam Hussein for nearly 20 years. Known for its female-led military units, the MEK was disarmed after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Massoud Rajavi went missing …
Tehran times and Mehr News, Tehran, January 12 2019:… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted to be behind murder plot allegations. Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group (MKO/MEK/ Maryam Rajavi cult) and Al-Ahvaziya group how took responsibility for the latest terror attack in Iran are free in Europe. Last summer, they held their held their annual forum in Paris with the presence of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, calling for regime change in Iran. The MKO listed as a terrorist organisation by much of the international
Iran Interlink, January 11 2019:… There were two more deaths this week in Albania. Every week two or three members are dying. On one side it can be put down to their age, but on the other hand some deaths are suspicious. There is no oversight or inspections to find out what happened to them. We have only to accept what MEK say about them. Behzad Massoudi, who died this week, was with MEK for over forty years. Everyone who knows him says he had no illness as the MEK claim. But he was a critic during all his time with them …
Press TV, January 09 2019:… The Leader was referring to comments by US National Security Adviser John Bolton. “Before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran,” Bolton told an MKO meeting in July 2017. Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Christmas was a few days ago. This is how US calculations work.” “Some US officials pretend that they are mad. Of course I don’t agree with that. Rather, they are first-class idiots,”
Nejat Society, January 09 2019:… “In 1989 a team of MKO recruiters headed by Mehdi Abrishamchi launched their propaganda in the POW’s camps to recruit us,” Mohammadian writes in his statement of defection. “Together with some other Iranian prisoners, I joined them but, soon I found out that their propaganda was completely false”. He witnessed an immoral, undemocratic and inhuman atmosphere in the group. It was like the collapse of …
Press TV, January 08 2019:… “Europeans, incl Denmark, Holland & France, harbor MEK—who killed 12000 Iranians & abetted Saddam’s crimes against Iraqi Kurds—as well as other terrorists staging murder of innocent Iranians from Europe. Accusing Iran won’t absolve Europe of responsibility for harbouring terrorists,” Zarif said in a post on his official Twitter account. Iran’s top
Nejat Society, January 08 2019:… When approached in person, Amnesty International officials have not accepted responsibility for the content of this report and have instead referred complainants to the authors and asked them to send their complaints to the writers directly, which is quite odd. Amnesty International did not deny the role of the MEK and Shadi Sadr. One of the c