The September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia oil infrastructure was ordered by Iran’s Supreme Leader and planned with help from a number of officials including the president, according to recent disclosures by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (US-office), based on the people's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) sources inside Iran.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran held a press conference in Washington on Monday to draw attention to Iran’s culpability for the attack, and to offer recommendations for policymakers in the US and elsewhere. Iran has denied launching the drones and missiles that briefly cut Saudi oil output in half, but the White House and the Saudis themselves determined that the attacks had come from the north and utilized Iranian-made weapons.
This regime is counting on inaction of the international community in its aggression. The regime has paid almost no price for what it has brought upon the region.@WhiteHouse @SecPompeo @StateDept pic.twitter.com/y0gUs6rOXu— NCRI-U.S. Rep Office (@NCRIUS) September 30, 2019
The MEK's sources identified Omidiyeh base as the staging ground for the attack and noted that this location was selected in part because it is not an official IRGC base.
The hardline paramilitary apparently took over the army air defense position as part of an effort to maintain deniability after information emerged about the attack. But now that deniability is arguably threatened by the NCRI’s disclosures, which also include details of the types of weapons used in the attack and the chain of command that was involved in its design and approval.
The NCRI is a coalition of Iranian opposition groups which advocates for a democratic system of government in place of the existing theocracy. Its constituency is led by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(MEK / PMOI), which maintains an intelligence network inside the Islamic Republic and has been credited with revealing essential information about the regime’s secret nuclear weapons work.
The MEK was also reportedly responsible for much of the planning and organization that went into a nationwide uprising at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Monday’s press conference cited this sort of domestic unrest as a contributing factor in the regime’s decision to strike out against Saudi Arabia.
“The regime tries to prop itself up and prevent an uprising through suppression and sponsorship of terrorism against its opposition. The regime attempts to contain the anger of the society, blackmail the international community into inaction and retreat through warmongering,” said Soona Samasami, the NCRI’s US representative. She added that if the regime was compelled to halt any of these activities, it would collapse.
Another group of IRGC comdrs/personnel with expertise in missiles & drones was transferred from the IRGC’s 3rd Naval Region in Mahshahr (75 miles south of Ahvaz) to the Omidiyeh base to participate in this operation. @WhiteHouse @SecPompeo @StateDept pic.twitter.com/dfCVwzQICK— NCRI-U.S. Rep Office (@NCRIUS) September 30, 2019
Monday’s press conference also reiterated a call for a more comprehensive strategy to exert pressure on the regime.
“They are counting on the inaction of the international community, so they can manipulate and gain concessions from the West,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Deputy Director of the NCRI’s US representative office. “The only way to eliminate the threat of the regime is to change the regime by the people and their resistance.”
Toward that end, Jafarzadeh recommended United Nations resolutions to more effectively constrain Iranian activities in the nuclear sphere and elsewhere. He also urged removal of Iranian proxies from other countries of the region, the full investigation of past Iranian human rights violations, and the public endorsement of the Iranian people’s right to resist their government.
The revelations indicated the direct role of Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader, Hassan Rouhani, its president and regime's Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif in the decision making meetings.
IRGC MGens Hossein Salami, comdr in chief of the IRGC; Qassem Soleimani, comdr of the Qods Force; Gholam-Ali Rashid, comdr of the Khatam-ol Anbiya Central HQ; and BGen Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, comdr of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force; were also present. @WhiteHouse @SecPompeo @StateDept pic.twitter.com/qBIGk7TwUb— NCRI-U.S. Rep Office (@NCRIUS) September 30, 2019
“The decision for this attack was taken in the Supreme National Security Council, presided over by regime President Hassan Rouhani,” Samsami said in her opening remarks at the National Press Club. “Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also a regular member of the SNSC and attends its sessions. A number of Revolutionary Guards commanders attended this meeting.”
The NCRI’s account gives the impression of “hardline” and “moderate” factions working with unity of purpose toward a plan that was initially ordered and ultimately approved by Ali Khamenei, the final authority in all matters under Iran’s theocratic system.