Protests in Iran that ostensibly began as a reaction to the death of a woman in police custody in September 2022 have prompted unprecedented international opposition to its government, not only from the usual Western, Israeli and Saudi suspects, but from celebrity social media influencers with no previous record of commenting on Iranian affairs. Iran is now the target of a carefully coordinated information war with a single goal to drive international support for regime change by any means – whether through sanctions, armed insurrection, military intervention, or some combination of the three. Before a largely uncritical audience of billions of admiring Instagram followers who do not speak Farsi and have little to no understanding of Iranian politics or culture, a collection of Hollywood actors, washed-up rockers and top models have pumped out viral posts depicting ghastly abuses of protesters by Iran’s security forces, including retaliatory home demolitions and outright massacres.
The US is preventing Iranian energy projects from supplying oil to Lebanon, claimed Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Hezbollah, in a televised speech on Tuesday, January 17. This oil, he said, could have provided relief to millions of Lebanese suffering from lack of electricity and fuel. Speaking at the award ceremony of the Soleimani International Prize for Resistance Literature, Nasrallah noted that all of Lebanon is suffering from the energy crisis, “whose repercussions are affecting the economy and the people’s daily lives,” Al-Mayadeen reported. Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah had initiated talks with Iran to get oil, as per decisions made by the government. Iran had agreed to provide oil to Lebanon, and while the “Iranian offer is still on the table,” the US is “preventing the offer from being carried out,” he said. Lebanon has been unable to import enough oil and gas as it faces an unprecedented economic crisis since 2019.
Elon Musk has announced that he is helping to smuggle hundreds of Starlink satellite communications devices into Iran. The South African-born billionaire made the admission on December 26, replying to a tweet lauding female Iranian protesters for refusing to cover their hair. “Approaching 100 Starlinks active in Iran”, he tweeted, clearly implying a political motivation to his work. That Musk is involved in Washington’s attempts to weaken or overthrow the administration in Tehran has been clear for some months now. In September – at the height of the demonstrations following the suspicious death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini – Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the U.S. was “taking action” “to advance Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people” and “to counter the Iranian government’s censorship,” to which Musk replied, “Activating Starlink…”
As Iranians and Iraqis commemorate the three-year anniversary of Washington’s illegal assassination of Iran’s Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, scores of people have, over the last few days, rallied in the streets of both countries. On 3 January, people from all over the Islamic Republic, and particularly in Soleimani’s hometown of Qanat-e Malek in Kerman province, gathered to remember the fallen commander. At Tehran’s main prayer hall, a national congress to commemorate the assassination was held and attended by several senior officials. The following day, a scholarly congress under the title “The Global Hero of Resistance” will also be held and attended by a number of officials and figures from abroad.
On Tuesday, Mehr news agency reported that a senior Iranian judicial official said 94 U.S. nationals have been charged with involving in the 2020 assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Kazem Gharibabadi, deputy chief of the Iranian judiciary and secretary general of the High Council for Human Rights, made the remarks in a televised interview on the third anniversary of Soleimani's assassination. He said the three main accused are former U.S. President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Commander of U.S. Central Command Kenneth Frank McKenzie, stressing that no one will be immune from prosecution in this case. Gharibabadi said the accused are not just the 94 Americans, and their accomplices from seven other countries, including certain regional states as well as Germany and Britain.
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister likened the US-backed parliamentary coup that removed him from power in April 2022 to the violent CIA operation that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. The CIA-organized coup “was a very similar pattern followed in when my government was dismissed,” Khan said. He likewise praised Iran’s independence today, stating that Western sanctions means that “the people of Iran might have suffered, but they haven’t lost their dignity.” Khan added that, while Pakistan and Iran may have some differences, “you cannot disagree with them standing for their sovereignty. So I admire that about them.”
Top United Nations experts have criticized US government sanctions for violating the human rights of Iranians. They made it clear that the unilateral coercive measures that the United States has imposed on Iran violate international law. A group of UN special rapporteurs stressed that these sanctions have a “negative impact” on “the enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the Islamic Republic of Iran and on the right to health and the right to life.” Violating Iranians’ right to life is a roundabout diplomatic way of saying that US sanctions are killing them. The UN experts sent a formal letter to the United States condemning its sanctions and requesting that it investigate and remove them.
The explosion of protests in Iran that began in September were not about the Islamic Republic’s “hijab law” specifically, but about the abuses and excesses of the so-called morality police – the Gasht-e-Ershad (also known simply as Ershad, or in English, the ‘guidance patrol’) – against regular Iranian women who were considered to be immodestly garbed. Public disgruntlement was triggered by the widely-publicized death of Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended by the Ershad and died while in their custody. Although subsequent video footage released by Iranian police authorities showed that Amini had collapsed herself – likely due to her personal health history, as her official autopsy indicates, and not from alleged “beatings” – Iranians argued that the stress of it all may have triggered that collapse.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic-language al-Alam television news network on Monday that the states have suggested that they would adopt the approach on the condition that Iran starts to unconditionally and abundantly inject crude oil and natural gas into global energy markets, which remain unstable in the wake of Russia’s military campaign in neighboring Ukraine and coercive measures against Moscow. He went on to note that the Islamic Republic has also been asked to completely yield to the demands put forward by representatives of three European countries – Britain, France and Germany – as well as those of US delegates during the course of talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In a 2014 “oil war,” the US pressured Saudi Arabia to overproduce crude and intentionally crash prices on the global market, in order to hurt the export-reliant economies of Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. The United States and Saudi Arabia waged a very important yet little-known “oil war” in 2014, which had huge geopolitical and economic consequences for the world. Washington pressured Riyadh to significantly overproduce crude and intentionally crash prices on the global market, in order to hurt the export-reliant economies of Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. Multipolarista host Ben Norton analyzed this crucial historical episode in the video above.
How fake news is made. "The Iranian parliament has voted overwhelmingly to execute 15,000 protesters - and all because they dared to protest for the rights and freedoms of women not to wear a headscarf." The above was retweeted more than 3,300 times. It is fake news. But you only learn that when you go back to the sources. The Newsweek report linked in the tweet, though full of lies, does not say that the Iranian parliament "voted overwhelmingly to execute 15,000 protesters". But it comes near to that: After numerous calls for harsh punishments in recent days, the Iranian parliament on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of the death penalty for protesters. The above was retweeted more than 3,300 times. It is fake news. But you only learn that when you go back to the sources. The Newsweek report linked in the tweet, though full of lies, does not say that the Iranian parliament "voted overwhelmingly to execute 15,000 protesters".
The United States seized the opportunity when protests over the death of Mahsa Amini started in Iran to push a narrative of mass dissent and repression in the country. This is a narrative the US used in the lead up to its invasion of Afghanistan. There are other signs and evidence of US interference in Iran to foment regime change and justify military intervention. The US Special Envoy to Iran said last week that the military option is on the table. Clearing the FOG speaks with Dr. Foad Izadi, a professor at the University of Tehran, about the demonstrations, how Western media are pushing misinformation and how the actions of the United States are counterproductive. He explains that if the United States actually cared about women in Iran, it would end its illegal sanctions.
The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, says that – with the help of the US – the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) has become a “safe haven” for Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups that “pose a threat to Iranian national security.” “Today, there are 1,200 military camps [with] 3,000 armed terrorists operating against us,” Bagheri claimed during a speech on 15 October. He added that Iran continues to keep US bases in Iraq “under surveillance.” “We know where the US bases are situated across Iraq, as well as the number of forces in them and the nature of their actions,” Bagheri said, before warning that “if the US takes any action against our drones, we will undoubtedly take responsive measures.”
Over the last weeks there were some riots in Iran. At first there were protest about the falsely reported death of a young women, Mahsa Amini, who had suddenly collapsed (video) while waiting in a police station. She died a few days later. Mahsa Amini had previously had brain surgery and her collapse and death were related to that, not to police action. The protests by mostly women, and supported by a well known U.S. government employee, were soon taken over by separatist groups who turned them into riots. This especially in the northwestern Kurdish border region and the southeastern Baloch region. These groups are know to have foreign support. Police stations were attacked, cars were set on fire and night riots set off. In total some 24 policemen and some 100 protesters died. It is not the first time that such riots are happening in Iran.
Iran has been in Western media headlines a lot recently — and as usual, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Despite the media hype about a “revolution” coming to Iran, events over the last month have a distinctly counter-revolutionary whiff about them. This is clearly the case, despite the fact that there are no doubt legitimate grievances with the Iranian government to be had. But the Western media, almost without exception, always follows the line of Western governments and intelligence agencies. The very same agencies that have been working to overthrow the Iranian government for decades (and which carried out a successful coup against the elected prime minister of Iran in 1953 so that they could to steal Iran’s oil).