This whole project, a means to put down the Greens, was the brainchild of Ahmad Jannati who had first brought this up at a meeting at Jamkaran near Qom. He had claimed he had come across a document that showed that the Americans, with a little Saudi assistance, had paid a billion dollars to the “leaders of sedition” with a promise of another fifty billion for toppling the present regime. Reacting to this groundless statement, protests arose from all around, even from unlikely quarters such as even the fundamentalist Majles delegate Ali Motahari. Green movement leaders denied and ridiculed the allegations and demanded to see the documents. In response to this, in turn, Kadkhodai, spokesman of the Council of Guardians, without mentioning any documents, spoke of disclosing “evidence” in “court” and then Yadollah Javani, one of the political authorities in the Revolutionary Guard, threatened these leaders with action by the regime.
Haydar Moslehi, the Intelligence Minister, claimed that the amount of money paid to the “leaders of sedition” was considerably more than a billion dollars, the amount claimed by Jannati. He then produced a list of all the educational, propaganda, cultural, research and even sporting activities undertaken by all countries with Iran and declared that the precise amount of funds discovered by the Intelligence Ministry was actually 17 billion 700 million dollars. He added that certain other funds for international awards, secret intelligence missions, assistance given to terrorist guerrillas, such as Rigi or the PJAK groups, research institution scholarships and similar beneficiaries had not even been included in the figures.
Incidentally, the above figure, after adding only a small amount, will just about match the 18 and a half billion dollars which was, in a very insensible way, taken out of the country by operatives of the regime and allowed to fall into the hands of the Turkish government as easy money. (As an interesting side-note, following the elections, financial matters were the only thing not mentioned among the charge against those arrested.) Yet even a closer examination of certain types of aid given by some European governments, claimed by the Iranian government to be given under the pretext of international extra-curricular activities such as defending human rights and supporting victims of violence and other causes, reveals that one of the most important undercover NGOs of the Intelligence Ministry, namely, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence,” presided over by one Ali Reza Taheri, has been one of the main recipients of these funds.
A few years ago, it was announced that a 55-million-dollar bill countering Iran had been passed by the US government. The lion’s share of the proceedings mainly went towards bolstering Voice of America and its Persian section’s television programming as well as Radio Farda and some research programs and on programs for defending human rights by the US Department of State. The Islamic Republic, on various pretexts, accused as criminals any human rights activist or any participant in international conferences as being indirect recipients of financial aid from the above-mentioned budget. At that time, one of the high-ranking insiders of the Revolutionary Guard openly declared that the Iranian regime was not worried at all over this budget because a considerable amount of it would, in fact, be absorbed by supporters of the Iranian government establishment. Perhaps at that time many people ignored these remarks or considered them, as usual, as habitual psychological warfare or empty words on the part of the Revolutionary Guard but in 2007, that is two years after Ahmadinejad seized power, all civil and non-governmental organizations campaigning in areas of human rights, women and children’s rights, the environment and health (fight against AIDS and addiction and so on) were dissolved and were pronounced illegal and their managers and core staff were arrested or exiled or sentenced to long imprisonments. These include figures such as Emadeddin Baghi, the Alai brothers and others. In their place, tens of quasi-governmental organizations, dubbed by the opposition as G-NGOs or governmental non-government organizations, were created, one after another by the movaazi (parallel) intelligence service. The Ahmadinejad administration tried to take advantage of the void created from the lack of civil organizations, even absorbing and spending the common funds of international communities for its own security and intelligence purposes.
A concrete example of this policy adopted by the Iranian Republic is an organization called the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, which was founded in 1988 by a former staff member of the Intelligence Ministry named Alireza Taheri. This organization received under that cover, millions of dollars of aid from different organizations while accusing the opposition of the same acts. After a while, it had learned different ways to infiltrate these international communities and organizations and thus gradually paved the way for other Iranian governmental organizations, such as Iran’s Judiciary Center for Training and Research and some other organs so that they could benefit from such million-dollar aid too, in such a way that over a four year period in Ahmadinejad’s term in office, that is from 2005 to 2009, over two and a half billion dollars were obtained from foreign governments through the office in Iran for the UN Development Program by organizations affiliated with judicial, security and intelligence organs of Iran.
Complete details of these funds and the names of governments who provided assistance can be viewed in both English and Persian at the website . The crucial point is that many Iranian civil society non-governmental organizations have been closed down over these same years and by these same judiciary and intelligence organs – because they themselves were participating in such propagandist and civil projects – on charges of treason and their activists were imprisoned and suppressed. In this case, too, the Iranian government, using its deceitful double standards in its one-way media propaganda, set out to suppress the civil society at large.
Of course, spending foreign funds for the purpose of training a country’s judges through participation in training courses on judicial systems and becoming familiar with advanced judicial systems in other countries is also a good thing. Indeed, it is necessary and will definitely be of great help in setting up democracy and freedom in Iran. Still, it is unfortunate that under the name of NGO, security and intelligence organizations abuse these facilities for the opposite purposes, hence the need for ever more awareness on the part of international organizations outside Iran and independent civil organs.
The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence presided over by Ali Reza Taheri – who can be seen in the picture accompanying this article, while taking part in the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva – is only one of the known examples of such blatant abuses of absorbing foreign aid and internal government resources, which have been used to continue the blatant and organized violation of human rights in Iran. The undercover security organization, Defending Victims of Violence, by adopting affiliations that can only be used for non-governmental international organs such as membership in the network of non-governmental organizations for the formation of the International Criminal Court, the national coordinator for demonstration against child labor, International Action Network on Small Arms, the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO), International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Center for Victims of Torture and Asian Youths Services, can all be seen on the website of the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence.
By taking part in various international conferences and by delivering false reports and materials, they are attempting to fortify the government’s web of lies concerning complete freedom and observation of human rights in Iran. With these ploys, they are attempting to neutralize the voice of a nation which they say is speaking through independent members of organizations and the Iranian civil society and human rights activists at such conferences in defense of the oppressed.
An outrageous example is the organized attendance at the UN Human Rights Council session of this organization in Geneva. Ali Reza Taheri along with Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of the Human Rights Office of the Judiciary, and the Iranian delegation, who, in the examination of Iran’s thick file attempted to justify the ruthless killing of people following the presidential elections last year, the ambiguities of the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and also the imprisonment of thousands of people from different castes and classes of the country on grounds of their beliefs and political and social charges. They also tried to gloss over stoning and other methods of execution that do not have any legal backing.These people intended to occupy seats in the Human Rights Supreme Council, an act which was foiled thanks to the awareness of Iranian civil society activists and international organs. Of course, the story of utilizing double standards in order to take advantage of non-Iranian funds as a tool to suppress Iranian activists opposed to policies of suppression is still going on. Just as in the recent news of the deputy of the National Prosecutor as to the filing of the lawsuit against some of the leaders of the opposition and in the speech made by the secretary and spokesman of the Council of Guardians and the Intelligence Minister, the way is being paved in various ways, such as false charges of using foreign financial aid, so that the story of relations with other countries and foreign organizations remains the most important propagandist project of the regime
Ali Reza Taheri and Monireh Amedi-e Qomi, two of the undercover agents of the Intelligence Ministry, in the February 2010 session of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.