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Rajavi: Iran overhauls security service

Nov. 17, 2009 at 11:13 AM   |   Comments

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BRUSSELS, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- An Iranian opposition group exiled in Europe claims Tehran is making massive covert changes to its security service in a bid to consolidate power and crush the anti-regime movement in the Islamic Republic.

Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a Paris-based umbrella opposition group, said Tehran has decided to incorporate seven existing security organizations into one giant service, the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

"Its formation marks an unprecedented transformation for the regime's intelligence and suppressive apparatus," Rajavi said last week in Brussels.

While Iran announced this summer it would update its spy service, the regime is planning changes it won't reveal, Rajavi claims.

The new service will act as the regime's "main security force" and be directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his special secretary, Mullah Hejazi, she said.

"In this respect, it will not even be dependent on the president or (the Parliament)," Rajavi said.

"The new organization has a security-intelligence mandate on the one hand, and a military and operational nature on the other, which provides it with covert and paramilitary arms," she said, adding that the regime has launched accompanying "secret purges" within the Intelligence Ministry affecting "hundreds of intelligence directors and veteran agents."

"Therefore, these changes will render the regime even more militarized under Khamenei's hegemony."

Rajavi said the massive changes are done out of fear that the anti-regime protests that have gripped the country after the June presidential protests could be returning in added strength.

Critics say the elections, which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerge winning, were rigged. Tehran cracked down violently on the hundreds of thousands of protesters who took the streets all over the country in the weeks after the vote. Thousands of regime opponents were arrested. The West harshly criticized Iran for the violence.

The NCRI has in the past unveiled allegedly secret acts by the Iranian regime, relying on sources inside the country. Some of those allegations have proven true, while others haven't.

The group scored a major success when it disclosed the existence of two secret nuclear facilities in Iran -- the Natanz enrichment plant and a reactor in Arak.

The NCRI is an umbrella organization representing the People's Mujahedin of Iran, which Tehran and the United States list as a terror organization. It was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah but was squashed by the mullah regime that took power in 1979. It remains one of the main opposition groups to the current regime in Tehran. Most of the PMOI members live in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where they were disarmed by U.S. troops in 2003. The European Union removed the group from its terrorist list in January after Britain had done so last year.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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