Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution,at the Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran on February 11. Photo courtesy of Iran President's Office/EPA-EFE
Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics." The Iranian regime is past masters at all three.
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Tehran's information and communications technology minister, tweeted a picture last week of a silver spaceman's outfit with the words: "astronaut costume #brightfuture." But social media users instantly accused him of flaunting an American child's Halloween costume, which can be bought on Amazon for $30. The minister had simply torn off the NASA badges on the American toy spacesuit and replaced them with the flag of the Islamic Republic. Closer inspection of the spacesuit even revealed the faint outline where the NASA logos had been removed.
This brainless deception became even more farcical when it was announced that an attempt to send a Simorgh or "Phoenix" rocket carrying a Zafar 1 communications satellite into space had failed. The attempted launch at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's Semnan province, some 145 miles southeast of Tehran, ended in disaster when the rocket blew up on the launch pad.
Undeterred, the Defense Ministry space program spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said: "Stage 1 and stage 2 motors of the carrier functioned properly, and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier. But at the end of its path, it did not reach the required speed for being put into orbit." Incredibly, Hosseini went on to describe the disaster as a "remarkable" achievement for its space program. It certainly was a remarkable achievement. The Iranian regime has become an international laughingstock.
The theocratic regime's history of deception dates back to its very foundation following the 1979 revolution, which brought the primeval, bearded psychopath, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to power. His first great lie to the Iranian people was that he was God's representative on Earth, supervising the introduction of a constitution based on "Velayat-e-faqih" (the absolute rule of the clergy) and an aspiration to create a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Overnight he gave birth to Islamic fundamentalism, declaring that anyone who challenged his authority would be guilty of "moharebeh," or waging war against God. This fictitious edict has been used ruthlessly for the past 41 years to systematically murder tens of thousands of the regime's opponents, most notably supporters of the People's Mojahedin of Iran/Mojahedin-e-Khalq, who advocate a secular government, democratic elections and universal suffrage in direct opposition to the fascist repression of the mullahs.
Infuriated by their stance against him, Khomeini ordered a brutal and bloody crackdown on members, supporters and sympathizers of the MEK in what has been described as a "reign of terror." According to a decree by Khomeini, "The Mojahedin of Iran are infidels and worse than blasphemers... They have no right to life."
Since then, the MEK have been the principal victims of human rights violations and systematic annihilation in Iran,and they are a key target for demonization and assassination abroad. Over the past four decades, 120,000 of its members and supporters have been executed. Dozens more have been assassinated outside Iran. The execution, imprisonment and torture of MEK members, supporters and their families continue unabated to this day.
In the summer of 1988, the summary execution of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran took place, in an atrocity that surely must rank as one of the most horrific crimes against humanity of the late 20th century. The vast majority of the victims were activists of the MEK. The mass executions, in jails across Iran, were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime's then supreme leader, Khomeini. Needless to say, following their long history of lies and deception, all of these murders and assassinations are routinely denied.
The catalog of duplicities and deceits is a long one. The mullahs falsely claimed that the MEK had supported Saddam Hussein and had conspired with him to attack the Iraqi Kurds. They claimed they were terrorists and persuaded the West, in a wretched act of appeasement, to add them to their terrorist blacklists in the 1990s. It took lengthy court hearings in London, Luxembourg and Washington, D.C., to blow the whistle on these fabrications and lead to the delisting of the MEK.
The mullahs then resorted to brutal attacks on camps in Iraq where thousands of MEK opponents of the Iranian regime had sought refuge. Repeated massacres took place, where Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commandos, the regime's Gestapo, even dressed up in Iraqi military uniforms to exterminate the defenseless civilians. Repeated attacks on Camps Ashraf and Liberty left hundreds dead and over a thousand injured. The Iranian regime denied any involvement.
More recently, their mendacity has reached new heights of incredulity. In 2018, an Iranian diplomat from their embassy in Vienna was arrested on terrorist charges after being caught handing over a 500gm bomb to two Iranian "sleepers," ordering them to detonate it at a huge opposition rally in Paris. Confronted by this appalling conspiracy as he flew to Vienna, no doubt to congratulate his bomber, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, immediately denied all knowledge of the plot, claiming it was a "false flag" attempt to smear his government. Similar denials of involvement and protests of innocence followed the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and first secretary from Albania on terrorist charges.
The high point of the regime's flagrant dishonesty was surely reached when they lied about shooting down the Ukrainian airliner with the loss of 176 lives. They maintained this horrible deception for days, until it became so blatantly obvious from filmed evidence that they had been responsible that Khamenei himself had to order a climb-down, and the truth finally emerged. No one should have been surprised at this news, as the mullah's propaganda machine had for months been churning out denials about blowing up oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuzor firing missiles at Saudi oil installations.
With such a rich history of double-dealing and duplicity, the 80 million angry and oppressed citizens of Iran can expect fake results from the sham parliamentary elections to be held on Friday, where only hand-picked candidates loyal to Khamenei will be allowed to stand. Phony spacesuits and crashing satellites are the least of their worries. Sensible Iranians should boycott these bogus polls.
Struan Stevenson is the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association.