Iran’s public prosecutor has accused the CIA of being behind the recent unrest in Iran. The detail of the accusations is extraordinary. The credibility of his statements needs to be assessed and that requires some preliminary background and context, which follows.
The theory that the U.S. masterminded or elicited or hijacked the protests in Iran is consistent with a number of important facts. These protests benefit the U.S. government, fitting in with the known anti-Iran attitude and policies of Trump, McMaster and others. We know that Pompeo, the CIA head, is aggressively anti-Iran. Even failed protests carry significant benefits for the U.S. They place Iran on the defensive. They provide cover for the U.S. to introduce new sanctions. They support a case for scuttling the nuclear agreement. They foster many, many news stories that are highly critical of Iran and Hezbollah. They provide cover for anti-Iran assassinations.
All of this concerted anti-Iran activity is clearly according to Washington’s desires and to its benefit. Trump’s words are turning into action concerning Iran. That’s shown by the joint U.S.-Israel plan stemming from a top-level meeting held on December 12, 2017. The plan’s 4 goals are consistent with the subsequent protests that we’ve observed. Even if the protests are unrelated to this planning, the 4 measures are important enough to be quoted in full because they show the depth of anti-Iran activity being generated in Washington:
“1. Covert and diplomatic action to block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons – according to the U.S. official this working group will deal with diplomatic steps that can be taken as part of the Iran nuclear deal to further monitor and verify that Iran is not violating the deal. It also includes diplomatic steps outside of the nuclear deal to put more pressure on Iran. The working group will deal with possible covert steps against the Iranian nuclear program.
2. Countering Iranian activity in the region, especially the Iranian entrenchment efforts in Syria and the Iranian support for Hezbollah and other terror groups. This working group will also deal with drafting U.S.-Israeli policy regarding the ‘day after’ in the Syrian civil war.
3. Countering Iranian ballistic missiles development and the Iranian “precision project” aimed at manufacturing precision guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon for Hezbollah to be used against Israel in a future war.
4. Joint U.S.-Israeli preparation for different escalation scenarios in the region concerning Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.”
The Obama administration removed MEK from its terrorist list in 2012. (“The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq (Persian: سازمان مجاهدين خلق ايران, translit. Sāzmān-e mojāhedin-e khalq-e irān, abbreviated MEK, PMOI or MKO) is an Iranian political–militant organization in exile that advocates the violent overthrow of the current regime in Iran, while claiming itself as the replacing government in exile.”) The U.S. government has supported MEK materially, including “…extensive training to MEK operatives, on US soil…” MEK is blamed for numerous assassinations inside Iran. MEK operatives are likely candidates for hijacking otherwise-peaceful protests, being on the spot and already linked to the U.S. government.
Now, back to the accusations of Iran’s Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. He says three states are involved in the plot against Iran: Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. This charge is consistent with their known policies.
“Montazeri said that the main projector of the plan was an American national named Michael Andrea, a former CIA member in charge of combatting terrorism that formed the group to create unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Wikipedia tells us that “Michael D’Andrea is an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, recently appointed to head the Agency’s Iran Mission Center.” Furthermore, “He was a major figure in the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as the American drone strike targeted killing campaign.” He is known to be “surly”, a hard-liner and aggressive. His appointment last June as the top anti-Iran honcho was a clear signal that Trump was opening his own hostile front against Iran. D’Andrea was being given a green light.
Montazeri said the plot originated 4 years ago and was dubbed “Consequential Convergence Doctrine”. To me, this does sound like the kind of Latinate bureaucratic wording that’s typical of Washington.
He said that “they conducted various scenarios such as protesting the high cost of living, high pay of bills and financial demands of the retired people.” Also: “Other outlawed groups such as MKO, followers of the monarchical regime, the nationalists and several groups affiliated to the communists were present in the plot.”
“They had offered two models named Tunisia and Libya and finally chose the latter which was to create waves of unrest from outside to the center, Montazeri added.
“They had prepared two operation rooms in Erbil of Iraq and Heart in Afghanistan to cross Daesh Takfiri groups to the streams of these unrests, he said.”
We have no way at this time to check up on the accuracy of these statements by Montazeri. To me, they sound internally consistent and plausible on how such an operation might proceed; they are translated, I assume, which can introduce some noise.
Taking Montazeri’s charges in conjunction with Trump’s attitude toward Iran, the appointment of Andrea, the U.S.-Israeli game plan, the benefits to Washington even from a failed uprising, and the immediate Washington chorus in support of the protests, they seem to me quite credible. The plan does sound like something that might have had a 4-year gestation and then been given a green light under Trump that it did not get under Obama.
Providing this level of detail is a way for Iran to signal to the CIA that it knows what’s it’s up to and is not intimidated by it. It’s also a way of lending credibility to the Iranian government’s scenario that enemies of the revolution fomented the violent aspects of the protests.8:53 am on January 5, 2018 Email Michael S. Rozeff