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Amid the shocking revelation that the Iranian regime enriched near weapons-grade uranium for an atomic weapon, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Friday published a highly detailed report to counter Tehran’s drive to become a nuclear power.
The MEMRI report argues that powerful steps can be taken by the Biden administration and Europe to impede Iran’s atomic weapon ambitions short of military strikes targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.
MEMRI lays out a “Plan of Action” that aims to chip away at the legitimacy of the Islamic revolutionary state.
The report comes at a historic moment in Iran’s history due to the revolts against the clerical regime sweeping the nation of 87 million people since September. Demonstrations have engulfed Iran in response to the regime’s notorious morality police arrest and murder of the 22-year-old Jina (Mahsa) Amini in mid-September for not properly wearing her hijab.
MEMRI advocates “Support for the anti-regime protests. For example, renaming of streets on which Iranian embassies in the West are located after Amini.”
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Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war. (Reuters)
The authors of the report, Yigal Carmon, president of MEMRI, and Ayelet Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Studies Project, note, “To this day, the Iranian regime continues to be extremely sensitive and zealous with regard to its international legitimacy, and herein lies its greatest political vulnerability, on which the plan of action suggested below will focus. If the Iranian regime’s legitimacy were to be undermined to any extent, it is possible that Iran would slow its sprint toward enriching weapons-grade uranium and curb its terrorist regional ambitions, if at least partially and temporarily.”
The troika of anti-Western countries – Russia, Communist China and Iran – are a focus of the report. MEMRI terms the relations among these countries an “anti-Western axis, in which Iran plays a central role.”
MEMRI also took Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to task for claiming he issued a fatwa (Islamic religious order) against the construction of nuclear weapons. The think tank said, “Iran must be called out for its lie regarding the supposed fatwa by Khamenei banning nuclear weapons. The West must demand that the ‘fatwa’ be presented, and Iran must be loudly condemned for having lied about this for so long.”
When asked for a copy of the original fatwa, Mojtaba Babaei, Iran’s spokesman for its U.N. diplomatic mission, sent Fox News Digital a U.N. document stating, “The Supreme Leader reiterated the principled position of the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the prohibition of the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and stated: ’We consider the use of such weapons as haram (religiously forbidden) and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.'”
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, center, reviews an honor guard before leaving Tehran’s Mehrabad airport to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting, Sept. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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MEMRI clained to Fox News Digital that the U.N. document is a “political statement” and not a “fatwa.” MEMRI wrote an analysis on its website, declaring “The Official Iranian Version Regarding Khamenei’s Alleged Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa Is A Lie.”
When pressed numerous times for a copy of the original fatwa in Persian, Babaei declined to provide it.
The United Nations has recoiled from highlighting Iranian regime terrorism. The MEMRI policy document says, “United Nations white papers listing the terror attacks that were carried out or planned by Iran and its proxies, as well as the internal persecution and execution of anti-regime protestors, would have a significant impact.”
MEMRI noted, “Such white papers could demonstrate that Iran is a terrorist state both domestically and internationally. They would expose the fact that several Iranian regime officials have Interpol warrants out against them, and that in 1988 and 2019, the U.S. sanctioned, Iran’s now-President Ebrahim Raisi, for his role in the… 1988 execution of thousands of political prisoners, including many academics.”
MEMRI also stressed U.N. condemnations could expose “the academic activities in the West by regime apologists such Hossein Mousavian at Princeton University and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati at Oberlin College; and operating HispanTV, a propaganda outlet in South America.”
Mousavian has faced intense criticism from Iranian Americans for his alleged pro-Iran regime activities, including serving as ambassador to Germany when Iran’s regime approved the assassination of Kurdish dissidents in a Berlin restaurant in 1992.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Sept. 15, 2022. Iran’s Presidential Website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via Reuters)
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Fox News Digital reported on the Oberlin College so-called “Professor of Peace” Mahallati’s alleged role while Iran’s ambassador in covering the massacre of at least 5,000 Iranians in 1988.
MEMRI favors crippling sanctions to destabilize Iran’s regime, including the potent enforcement of existing punitive measures against Tehran.
“During years of sanctions, the U.S. transferred billions of dollars to Iraq from the Federal Reserve, pretending that it doesn’t know that this money ends up in Tehran. This was only stopped a few weeks ago, “wrote MEMRI.
The authors demand that European countries proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist entity. In 2019, the U.S. designated IRGC, which has been responsible for murders of over 600 American military personnel, according the U.S. government, in the Mideast, as a terrorist organization.
The U.S. has under both Democratic and Republican administrations listed Tehran as the world’s worst international state-sponsor of terrorism.
Iran’s regime has championed and ordered assassinations of Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ex-national security adviser John Bolton and Iranian American dissidents such as Masih Alinejad.
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after reviewing an honor guard at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Feb. 14, 2023. (Yan Yan/Xinhua via AP, File)
MEMRI pushes for “Open condemnation of Iran’s aggression against the West. It is noteworthy that even as Iran openly threatens to assassinate senior American officials, as well as dissidents living abroad, no meaningful condemnation comes from America and the West.”
The authors say an “an open call for regime change in Iran would be problematic” but “at the very least the West should not send messages reassuring the regime that there are no Western intentions of regime change in Iran, as the U.S. has reportedly done.”
The intense focus by the U.S. and other world powers (France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia) to reach an agreement with Iran to temporarily curb its alleged illegal nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief has ignored human rights violations in Iran, argue critics.
MEMRI advocates “Support for human rights organizations that expose the discrimination and repression against ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and particularly the LGBTQ+ community by the Iranian regime.”
Iran’s sensitivity to being banned at international sporting events was noted by MEMRI. “Since the Iranian regime has executed soccer players and wrestlers for having expressed support for the anti-regime protests, Iran’s national soccer and wrestling teams should be sanctioned.”
This image taken from video footage aired by Iranian state television on March 8, 2022, shows the launch of a rocket by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard carrying a Noor-2 satellite in northeastern Shahroud Desert, Iran. (Iranian state television via AP)
The widespread labor unrest across Iran was also a topic for MEMRI. The think tank urged “Support for trade strikes and labor unrest in Iran, like had been the case with the Polish trade union Solidarity in 1980.”
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Benjamin Weinthal reports on Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Europe for Fox News Digital. Benjamin has contributed articles to The Wall Street Journal, The Jerusalem Post, Foreign Policy, Haaretz, Forbes and The New York Post. You can follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.