Iran exiles tied to top Trump advisers urge regime change

US Air Force maintainers prepare a US military drone RQ-4A Global Hawk for takeoff at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (Reuters)
Updated 22 June 2019

Iran exiles tied to top Trump advisers urge regime change

  • Rallyists gather outside State Department demanding end to theocratic govt
  • Washington has accused Iran of responsibility for carrying out attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes heading out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz

WASHINGTON: Supporters of an Iranian exile group with ties to some of President Donald Trump’s top advisers rallied Friday for regime change in Iran, amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.
Clad in yellow vests emblazoned with the words “Free Iran,” more than 1,000 members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq gathered outside the State Department to demand an end to Iran’s theocratic government. The demonstration took place just hours after Trump claimed he had approved but then called off military strikes against Iran to retaliate for its downing of a US drone in the Persian Gulf.
After the rally, the demonstrators were to march to the White House to press their case.
“We have and will continue to declare that what we seek is the regime’s overthrow, overthrow, overthrow,” the group’s Paris-based leader Maryam Rajavi said in a video message to the crowd, which also included current and former US lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Known as the MEK, the group has hosted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton at previous events and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is a supporter. Before joining the administration, Bolton told an MEK meeting in 2018 that “before 2019, we here ... will celebrate in Iran.” Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has made similar comments before the MEK.

HIGHLIGHT

Known as the MEK, the Iranian exile group has hosted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton at previous events and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is a supporter.

Last year its annual rally in Paris that Giuliani attended was the target of an alleged Tehran-backed bomb plot that was thwarted by arrests.
An Austrian-based Iranian diplomat is being held in Belgium, where police found bomb material in the car of a couple of Iranian origin.
The group has its headquarters outside Paris with several thousand members in Albania, extracted in a UN-brokered effort from Iraq.
In another development, the US has requested a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Iran and the latest developments in the Gulf, diplomats said on Friday.
The discussions would touch on both the recent attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf and the Iranian downing of a US spy drone, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. Another diplomat told AFP the meeting would take place Monday afternoon.
Washington has also accused Iran of responsibility for carrying out attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes heading out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.


Russia deploys S-400 missile defense systems in Arctic

Updated 13 min 9 sec ago

Russia deploys S-400 missile defense systems in Arctic

  • The S-400 is one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world and can hit enemy targets at up to 400 kilometers
  • Over the past few years Russia has significantly upgraded its military infrastructure in the Arctic

MOSCOW: Russia has placed S-400 missile defense systems at the Novaya Zemlya archipelago as Moscow seeks to increase its military presence in the Arctic, the defense ministry said on Monday.
The surface to air-missile regiment of the Northern Fleet’s air defense forces based on the archipelago’s southern Yuzhny Island has been fully equipped with new S-400 systems, the fleet said.
The regiment was earlier equipped with S-300 systems, a previous version of the missile.
The S-400 is one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world and can hit enemy targets at up to 400 kilometers.
Over the past few years Russia has significantly upgraded its military infrastructure in the Arctic.
In addition to the Novaya Zemlya forces, the country has stationed troops in the Franz Josef Land, the New Siberian Islands and several other places.
Russia has increasingly asserted itself as an Arctic nation, proclaiming the region as a top priority due to its mineral riches and strategic importance.