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Iran’s lobbyists contend that there is a battle between moderate elements and hardline conservatives being waged in the Iranian regime. However, in reality, The Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has the final say, and whoever is President is subject to his commands.

Those who took over the original Islamic revolution now run Tehran. Under this regime, human rights abuses, including prison, torture, and execution, continue. 

Even Iranian dissidents outside of Iran are targeted, most notably the members of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, which is one of the largest and oldest resistance groups. Many of the PMOI members formerly resided in refugee camps in Iraq, but were constantly under attack.  They have now been safely relocated in Europe. 

In the wake of the 2009 presidential elections, mass protests by the Iranian people followed. They were fired upon, arrested, and many were executed. Since then, the regime has instituted broad crackdowns prior to the election cycle, including the arrests of journalists, bloggers, politicians, activists and even students and artists.

Only carefully vetted and approved candidates are allowed on the ballot for presidential and parliamentary elections.

President of the International American Council and a leading expert on Iran and U.S. foreign policy, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, wrote about this Iran lobby myth in Arab News.  Rafizadeh writes that “Iran’s moderates are a critical part of the political establishment. Many of them, including the current President Hassan Rouhani, were robust supporters or founding fathers of the Islamic Republic’s Shiite theocracy. These ‘moderates,’ such as the late former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were once called ‘hard-liners,’” he says, adding, “In addition, it is crucial to point out that to be a politician in Iran, your loyalty to the core pillars of the political establishment should be firmly proven. Vilayat-e Faqih is the core pillar of Shiite political thought expounded by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and forces a guardianship-based political system on the people, and requires that a Shiite religious figure be the leader of the nation.”  According to Rafizadeh, the terms ‘moderates’ and ‘hardliners’ are a Western invention, and are not used in Iranian politics. Additionally, the Iran lobby uses these terms with Western media. 

Rafizadeh said, “Iran’s supreme leader and the senior cadre of IRGC hold the final say when it comes to Iran’s foreign policy. They also have significant control over Iran’s economic, financial, and political sectors. For example, at the end of the presidential term of the so-called ‘moderate’ Hassan Rouhani, Iran has not altered its policies toward Syria, in supporting President Bashar Assad, along with Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and other nations’ domestic affairs. In fact, it has intensified its expansionist policies through its military and additional revenues.”

Little has changed in Iran since 1979 for Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities such as Kurds, Christians, Sunni, Arabs and others. 

More horrifying is the use of acid in attacks against women. According to Iranian news agencies, last month, two women in Maashour, within the Ahwaz province, were attacked. Additionally, according to Al-Arabiya, a family of four was attacked on Saturday in Sharada, within Isfahan province, Iran’s top tourist destination.

Reports on social networks claim that the victims were not properly veiled, and were therefore sprayed on the face and body by assailants on motorcycles. In press statement, Isfahan’s Investigative Police Chief Sitar Khasraoui said that the families were taken to the hospital to treat the burns.

This, while the Iran lobby professes that moderates are battling for control in Iran.

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