When economic protests quickly turned into widespread anti-regime protests engulfing some 75 mostly provincial cities and towns across Iran in late December and into January, we took note of the State Department's brazen pro-revolutionary rhetoric calling for "elements inside of Iran" to lead a "transition of government" in spokesperson Heather Nauert's own words (echoing prior statements by then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson).
We posed the question then, and raised it again with renewed unrest in Tehran and the southern city of Khorrmashahr over this past week: are we witnessing regime change agents hijacking economic protests?
Indeed a high level joint US-Israeli "working group" has been meeting for months with just this goal in mind as Axios confirms in a bombshell new report: "Israel and the United States formed a joint working group a few months ago that is focused on internal efforts to encourage protests within Iran and pressure the country's government."
Israeli journalist Barak Ravid reports for Axios that, "Two Israeli officials told me the team was formed as a part of the U.S.-Israeli framework document on countering Iran," noting the team has met "several times during the last few months" and it has oversight by none other than John "Bomb Iran" Bolton and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat.
With the 2015 Obama-brokered JCPOA now in tatters after the US pullout, and with the Assad government emerging victorious after a seven year proxy war largely aimed by Western allies at rolling back Iranian influence in the Levant, it appears the White House stands ready to bring the Syria model of covert destabilization to Syria.
The Israeli officials told me that both the domestic situation in Iran and the work of the joint team were discussed during a meeting between national security adviser John Bolton and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat at the White House several weeks ago. Both Bolton and Ben-Shabbat think that raising internal pressure on the Iranian regime might have a positive influence on Iranian regional behavior.
"Internal pressure" is precisely code for the type of CIA-Mossad sponsored destabilization campaigns which marked much of the history of 20th century coups in the third world, and which marked the 1953 overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in the coup d'etat that brought US and UK puppet Shah to power.
As we reported in May just a few days after the former NYC mayor and Trump's personal attorney unexpectedly let it slip that "we got a president who is tough, who does not listen to the people who are naysayers, and a president who is committed to regime change [in Iran]", the Washington Free Beacon had obtained a three-page white paper that was circulated among National Security Council officials with drafted plans to spark regime change in Iran, following the US exit from the Obama-era nuclear deal and the re-imposition of tough sanctions aimed at toppling the Iranian regime.
The plan, authored by the Security Studies Group, or SSG, a national security think-tank that has close ties to senior White House national security officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, seeks to reshape longstanding American foreign policy toward Iran by emphasizing an explicit policy of regime change.
And it appears that the latest Axios report on the US-Israel working group is but an early manifestation of what was outlined in the white paper, and news of Bolton's direct oversight of the working group comes the same week Rudy Giuliani again told an Iranian opposition conference "see you in Tehran next year" and "the end is near" in reference to recent internal protests in the country.
Though we have little doubt that such covert ops actually began years ago in Iran, likely into the Bush administration, Axios reports that US and Israeli state-sponsored propaganda is in full swing:
In the last few weeks, both Israel and the U.S. started using social media to convey anti-regime messages to the Iranian people. And Netanyahu has recently posted four different videos on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter — translated to Farsi — in which he speaks to the Iranian people and encourages them to protest against the regime.
Axios further identifies recent tweets by Secretary of State Pompeo as possible direct result of the working group's strategy:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote a series of tweets supporting the protesters in Iran, criticizing mass arrests of protesters by the Iranian regime and highlighting the regime's growing funding of the Revolutionary Guards Corps as controversy build over Iran's domestic spending.
Of course, such examples constitute but the tip of the iceberg, especially when one looks at the activities and funding for the controversial Iranian opposition group in exile, Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK) — considered by Iran and many other countries as a terror organization (and not long ago by the US State Deptartment, though delisted as a terror group under Obama ), but now given close support by US Congresspersons and Trump admin officials alike.
Bush and Netanyahu have used these kooks for intel and assassinations, but could it really be possible that the Trump NSC could convince themselves that Rajavi could actually rule Iran after the next war, or some sweet coup? Or just Rudy's getting paid? https://t.co/fWSfz8izlm— Scott Horton (@scotthortonshow) July 3, 2018
Essentially a paramilitary cult, the MEK, is suspected of conducting assassinations of high level Iranian figures, especially nuclear scientists and engineers for years, likely at the bidding of foreign intelligence services.
For example, Mossad's role in such assassinations was confirmed as far back as 2012. And crucially, a who's who of top US officials have long been cozy with the group, foremost among them John Bolton.
But as veteran intelligence professionals recently explained at Consortium News, the MEK’s history of terrorism is quite clear. Among more than a dozen examples over the last four decades these four are illustrative:
- During the 1970s, the MEK killed U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
- In 1981, the MEK detonated bombs in the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Premier’s office, killing some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Iran’s President, Premier, and Chief Justice.
- In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.
- In April 1999, the MEK targeted key military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff.
The newly revealed US-Israeli "working group" for ramping up "internal pressure" inside Iran is probably ready to unleash the MEK, or perhaps already has. Likely we will so more unrest to come.