Don’t be fooled: the CIA, MI6 and Mossad are all out to impose regime change.

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).

The Western media never mentions the fact that there is a death toll on the Iranian government side of the current disturbances — killed by rioters and shadowy armed elements.

Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran pointed out in an (extremely hostile, and unfavourably edited) interview with CNN this week that 24 Iranian police and members of the Basij militia have been killed to date.

This inconvenient little fact does not exactly chime with the line about a democratic uprising for women’s rights.

Marandi has also pointed to the fact that these killings began very soon after the protests, which died down after a few days, as riots and even armed attacks became more common.

On 30 September, a group of rioters attacked a police station in the eastern city of Zahedan, in an apparent attempt to seize the arms cache. Video footage clearly shows some of the protesters were armed.

As the brilliant researcher David Miller recently put it, the CIA has pushed the riot button in the country.

US-backed terrorist group the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MEK, has also been active. Marandi says it has been posting instructions online of how to make Molotov cocktails and how to use firearms.

The MEK is a bizarre violent cult, led by its own little dictator, Maryam Rajavi, an Iranian exile in France. During the Iran-Iraq War, the MEK was a proxy of Saddam Hussein, and carried out terrorist attacks against Iran from its base across the border.

Until 2012, even the US outlawed it as a terrorist group. Yet it is now supported by the very same US as a way to punish Iran for its independent, anti-imperialist foreign policy.

The MEK has also worked in alliance with Israel to assassinate Iranian scientists. Recent reports in the Israeli press confirm that alleged Israeli “journalists” are currently working undercover in Iran in order to publicise the riots.

Anti-government Iranian exile groups in Western capitals seem to be leading a lot of the disorder.

One such mob in London attempted to break into the Iranian embassy in South Kensington a few weeks ago. When their attempts were foiled, they attacked people on the streets with masonry and bottles — including even police, several of whom were treated in hospital as a result. The mob also smashed up a mosque.

The Metropolitan Police released the images of 11 men wanted in connection with what it described as violent disorder.

For all the talk of “democracy” and “women’s rights,” the Iranian exile groups’ protests seem to be led by a motley crew of monarchists, reactionaries, cultists, counter-revolutionaries and imperialists.

I myself saw one of these protests in London last weekend, shortly after the “human chain” around Parliament for Julian Assange, which I had attended that day. It was led by people waving the shah-era flag of Iran — ironic, considering the fact that they were also chanting for “democracy.” The shah was anything but democratic — his monarchy was a brutal US-UK-backed torture regime.

The wannabe Iranian politicians in the West are even more disturbing.

The most high profile of them is Masih Alinejad. She claimed in a recent New Yorker profile to be “leading this movement” against the Iranian government. She has more than 9.1 million “followers” across her three main social media platforms (although many are likely to be inauthentic bot accounts).

In another recent interview, the BBC put to her the characterisation that she was a “tool of a United States government which of course has a long standing enmity with Iran”.

She did not deny it, instead responding that “I do not care who funds me.”

In the same interview, Alinejad conceded the fact that she is an employee of the Voice of America Persian, a US government-funded media outlet. Voice of America is openly described by mainstream US media as a CIA propaganda outlet.

Predictability, as an enemy of a government that has steadfastly supported Palestinian resistance since 1979, Alinejad is also rabidly pro-Israel. In June she gave a talk for an Israel lobby group in the US, calling for a future “democratic” Iran to normalise relations with Israel.

Government documents show that Alinejad has been the recipient of more than $628,000 in US federal funding since 2015. But this is no doubt the tip of the iceberg of US largesse to Iranian exiles groups.

The death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody was clearly a tragedy. But it very much appears to me that it is being exploited and misrepresented.

CCTV footage released by the government (see the video below) shows no evidence of Amini being brutalised by police. But it does show her collapsing, apparently after a conversation with a policewoman.

CT scans of Amini’s head, released by Iranian doctors, reportedly show no evidence of trauma or beating, but do show evidence of previous surgery.

Be that as it may, I am not ruling out the possibility protesters in Iran have legitimate grievances against the government.

Yet exactly the same could have been said about Syrians a decade ago. Reform and legitimate grievances are one thing, but regime change and terrorism are another.

When there were some protests for reform of the Syrian government back in 2011, they were swiftly co-opted by foreign-backed terrorist groups who were out to completely destroy the state — especially al-Qaida and ISIS.

I wrote about that in a then-controversial 2013 article titled “Syria: The Revolution That Never Was.”

The title was intended to be attention-grabbing. Re-reading the article in 2022 is interesting. Not only has almost everything I wrote been totally vindicated, but in comparison to what has actually happened over the last decade in Syria, the article was, if anything, overly cautious (indeed, the only thing I got wrong was to miss the possibly that the “rebels” had obtained chemical weapons. It’s now very clear that they did, as the outstanding reporting of Aaron Maté has shown).

Just as the CIA later admitted to pumping at least $1 billion into its secret war against Syria, no doubt we will learn in the years to come a lot more about the cash currently being dished out to Iranian exile groups.

Syria was all-but destroyed by a US-led proxy war and only very narrowly avoided a regime change disaster (similar to the ones that happened in Iraq and Libya) after Hizballah, Iran and Russia led counter-interventions in the country, at the request of the Syrian government. As President Donald Trump put it: “We’re keeping the oil … We left troops behind only for the oil.”

A massive swathe of north-eastern Syria is still illegally occupied by US troops (in alliance with allegedly “leftist” and “democratic” local Kurdish militias, who are, in fact, facilitating the theft of Syrian oil by the US empire).

It would be a crime to allow the same thing to happen in Iran today.

There’s a lot of similarities between what happened in Syria then and what is happening in Iran now. In both cases, there have been massive western propaganda campaigns and online psy-ops to push for regime change and whitewash the riots as a “democratic uprising.”

Don’t be fooled.

Source: Asa Winstanley, October 2022

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