by Pooya Stone
Breitbart on Tuesday referred to the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)’s role in suppressing the Iranian people and exporting terrorism amid the coronavirus outbreak and the regime’s fear of possible protests.
For years, the Iranian Resistance, particularly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), have exposed the details of the IRGC’s warmongering and terrorist activities in the Middle East, its role as the regime’s most important suppressive forces and a corrupt institute which controls the Iranian economy and plunders national wealth to continue its malign activities.
Now amid the coronavirus outbreak, and as the number of Coronavirus victims according to the MEK surpasses 5,950 because of the regime’s inaction, cover-up, and hoarding, the IRGC also uses this crisis to raise funds to continue its devastating role in Iran and abroad.
In this regard, the Breitbart website referred to a video ad showing one of the IRGC generals raising funds under the pretext of fighting the coronavirus. “Circulating a commercial video on his Telegram Channel, IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (Ghalibaf) has called upon people to deposit money in a little-known institution’s bank account and help it contain the deadly virus,” the report said. “The institution is named after the eighth Shiite Imam, Ali ibn Musa al-Reza, buried in Iran’s second-largest city, Mashhad. The “Imam Reza Headquarters,” claims that it manufactures protective masks in fifty workshops across Iran, and it has also promised unnamed state-own entities to produce twenty million masks for free distribution among the poverty-stricken people in Iran.”
Yet as the report points out, the truth is: “The 'headquarters' is officially registered as the Mehr al-Reza Jihadi Foundation. The shady outfit’s website maintains that it was established in a popular, spontaneous move in 2013 to assist 'deprived people' in cultural and social fields.”
Nevertheless, the website does not provide the foundation’s articles of association, the names of people on its board of directors nor the sources of its income. Digging further, one finds out that the foundation was officially registered in 2016. Therefore, it is not clear how the unregistered and unlicensed entity operated and even won government contracts between 2013 and 2016. Still digging further, one finds out that a mid-ranking cleric, Gholam Reza Qassemian, is named as the chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. Widely known as Qalibaf’s 'nightingale', Qassemian is praised for his singing video clips. He is also the manager of Meshkat Shi’ite seminary.
“There are hundreds of similar operations in Iran that siphon millions of dollars away from the impoverished population under the patronage of powerful officials and clerics. Many of them double as get-out-the-vote machines for the benefit of their patrons during elections, which is one reason why even the most blatantly corrupt Iranian officials never seem to lose them,” the report adds.
Citing the MEK’s revelation of the regime’s plans of increasing its oppressive measures by using the IRGC, to counter possible nationwide uprisings against the regime’s inaction and lying about the coronavirus outbreak, Breitbart wrote: “The Iranian regime will once again rely on the IRGC and its local militias to suppress public demonstrations. According to the opposition PMOI/MEK organization, the government is already making plans to 'counter potential protests as the public outrage over the regime’s mishandling of the situation continues to rise.'”
“PMOI/MEK quoted an Iranian state newspaper worrying that public backlash over the coronavirus could link with ‘previous developments, including the November 2019 incidents,’ meaning the regime’s savage response to an earlier round of protests over rising gas prices. An even more proximate threat to the regime’s power, but one unlikely to be mentioned by a state newspaper, were the protests that erupted in January after Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner and murdered everyone aboard,” read the article.
Referring to the MEK's position over the blatant remarks of the regime's president Hassan Rouhani, who was trying to downplay the coronavirus outbreak, the report added: "PMOI/MEK noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is already saying the coronavirus epidemic is over and making ominous noises about the need for police and military forces on the street to control the unrest."
While reflecting the regime's utter fear of the MEK's role in revealing its inaction and cover-up of the coronavirus, the article further points out that according to the state-run Rajav News news agency: “The course of anti-system media on the number of coronavirus victims: Maryam Rajavi is in front comparable to other competitors.”