Regime change in Iraq resulted in dramatic changes for Rajavi
Sahar Family Foundation, May 21 2009
translated by Nejat Association
Memoirs of Ms. Batoul Soltani – Part 12
I have to divide this part of my memoirs into two sections: before the fall of Saddam Hussein and after that.
After the basic agreements were reached in the visit between Masud Rajavi and Tariq Aziz, Masud tried his best to serve Saddam Hussein in return for his favors. It is worth knowing that Saddam Hussein gave priority to grant MKO’s demands and requests over all his plans and gradually this support was rapidly increasing in quality and quantity. During the 17 years, between 1985 and 2002, while Masud Rajavi was flattering his boss in Iraq, Saddam Hussein could lead the group in any way he wanted. It should be reminded that the assassination of Sayad Shirazi in Iran was carried out by the direct order of Saddam Hussein. Sayad Shirazi was a commander who resisted against the Iraqi army very firmly during the war, so Saddam had personal rancor against him. Rajavi directed this act of terror for Saddam’s sake only, justifying his crime as eliminating a common enemy.
Rajavi was granted a large reward by Saddam. He was so proud of it that he noted it in all his meetings saying such an act was welcomed by the landlord (Rajavi referred to Saddam as the landlord or Mr. President). However, when you focus on Sayad Shirazi’s assassination, you see that they killed a person who did the most resistance against the invading enemy, but MKO assassinated his personality first and then assassinated him physically and finally they defended their dirty crime.
In 1985 and 1986, Rajavi began his military campaign by bringing his innocent sympathizers from all over the world to Iraq by any means he could, including force, intimidation, and deception. They sent smugglers to gather homeless youth and bring them into the organization. When the recruits were transferred to Iraq, they settled in Camp Ashraf in North of Iraq. From the beginning, MKO needed to have a section to organize its relations with the Iraqi government so it was established and named Foreign Relations Department. Masumeh Malek, a member of the Leadership Council was the person who had sort of responsibility over this section.
Abbas Davari was one of the people who were hired for this section too because he knew Arabic and Mehdi Abrishamchi was also working there before going to Europe. Rajavi himself had arranged some meetings with the Iraqi officials. He always pointed out those visits as being successful, and that he could convince them he really loves Mr. President. Therefore he succeeded to have visits with Saddam Hussein, flattering him in order to get more money and weapons. So long as Saddam was in power, Rajavi always talked about the large amounts of money and weapons granted by him, in his meetings with the Leadership Council. He also told us about the juridical support given by Saddam’s regime regarding false passports or ID cards while the terror teams of MKO wanted to cross Iranian borders to launch their terrorist operations.
Maneuver lands provided by Saddam Hussein was one of the facilities made available. I remember the time when women were winning the high ranks in MKO; there were some trainings for them. The trainers were mostly Iraqi commandants who taught intelligence and security skills too. The women had learned a lot of Arabic. The mutual services Rajavi and Saddam offered to each other led to a lot of benefit for both sides. With the large funds granted by Saddam Hussein, MKO could develop its bases in some European countries. It is obvious that spending too much money will solve many problems. The organization could use Saddam’s money to gain the support of a lot of people to reach its goals. Due to the type of relations with Iraqi government, most of MKO’s actions were rather planned by Saddam Hussein than being adapted with the organization’s principals. Sometimes the members were directly receiving military trainings under Iraqi army commandants. For military maneuvers they used the lands confiscated from the Iraqi citizens.
Then they sent Maryam Rajavi and a group of other members to Europe. They claimed that whatever happens to Camp Ashraf, these people should take care of the organization in Europe. When the US army invaded Iraq, Rajavi’s strategy was to arrange an attack to Iranian borders. After the fall of Saddam, there was a new phase for MKO, and there was also a new question: what would happen to us? What would be our policy? Then we were surprised to see Rajavi organizing a new system called “Kaviani”. Kaviani was the section for negotiations with American forces and also the new Iraqi government. It is worth knowing that the same members who were active in Foreign Relations Department (relation with Saddam’s regime) were now responsible to deal with the new government.
This time, they changed the name of this section and called it Social Relations Department which was responsible to contact Iraqi people too. “Piercing” (cult jargon) was the organizational expression used for this latter duty. The most important target and also outcome of this was “Saleh Matlaq” who was absorbed by MKO. To achieve such a goal, they used any tools such as religious, political, mental and financial means. Their goal mattered to them only. They made too much efforts to affect have an effect on people and maintain their support. The Social Relations Department arranged dinner parties; and celebrations in Camp Ashraf to accomplish its propaganda purposes. They gave out large amounts of money taken out of Iraqi banks, to poor Iraqi citizens in order to gain their support. As an eyewitness, I can courageously say that before the fall of Saddam Hussein even one single Iraqi wasn’t able to enter the camp and Iraqi people had no idea about MKO.
Even a group of members were appointed to deal with Iraqi citizens in order to recruit them. The interesting part was that they had considered prizes for those who succeeded to bring Iraqi citizens into the Camp and put them in front of camera for their propaganda campaign.
MKO instrumental misuse of individuals
Memoirs of Ms. Batoul Soltani – Part 11-2
... They even recruited unemployed and addicted young people promising them to find jobs for them out of Iran. Somehow, we all were the victims of MKO tricks, because we had some social problems. The deceitful recruitment techniques of MKO were completely opposite to what is called voluntarily acceptance ...
Batul Sultani, Sahar Foundation, Baghdad, May 12, 2009
Translated by Nejat Association:
(A cult session in Ashraf Camp Iraq - under the protection of Saddam)
When Masud Rajavi fled to Paris from Iran, he managed to maintain some financial sources through different means. He could get some youth away from their homes. They were innocent young individuals whose natural right was to live a normal life, but MKO could deceive them to join the group. I remember that at the time each person needed 30 thousand Tomans (roughly 30 American Dollars) to flee from Iran. The organization recruited those who were out of job or those who had other problems and sent them out of the country through various ways. There were also individuals who were introduced to the organization. For instance my husband was introduced by a member who had already joined the group. Then the organization sent a guy to recruit him in Iran and sent him abroad. There were some smugglers who took the recruited ones passing the borders and the journey was very dangerous. But it didn’t matter to Rajavi. When the organization tricked my husband and me, we were supposed to join MKO’s courier. We got out of Iran on camels. We risked our lives so many times but finally we could survive. I remember a lot of young couples were killed in the way.
They took both financial and manpower resources via this way. The duty of manpower part was to recruit those who had social problems and to send them abroad. They tricked many people outside and inside the country. They manipulated them using long-term emotional methods or they tried to control their thoughts in order to recruit them. Hence Masud Rajavi could gather a number of them in France. I read about that period after I joined the organization. The Iran-Iraq war had already started. Saddam Hussein had imposed a war on Iranians. He later attacked Kuwait. And Masud Rajavi became the accomplice of such a person who had no respect for his neighbors.
I just don’t know how Masud Rajavi can justify his cooperation with Saddam and accept his so called peace agreement. Unfortunately Masud Rajavi visited Saddam Hussein under the pretext of his ridiculous peace treaty. He cooperated with the enemy of Iran and named it “struggle for peace and freedom”. He also made his supporters to believe in his second marriage with Firouzeh Banisadr and his third marriage with Maryam Qajar Azodanlou - his so-called ideological revolution - as “struggle”. He came to Iraq where the enemy of Iran was killing Iranian people every day. Then he brought all his supporters from Europe to Iraq for the so-called “struggle”. Indeed, he used all his tricks to achieve political power over the organization. This was a treason that Rajavi committed against the freedom movement of the Iranians.
When he wanted to come to Iraq from France, I was one of those supporters who were deceived by him because I was in Iran and I didn’t have enough knowledge about MKO. They even recruited unemployed and addicted young people promising them to find jobs for them out of Iran. Somehow, we all were the victims of MKO tricks, because we had some social problems. The deceitful recruitment techniques of MKO were completely opposite to what is called voluntarily acceptance. Once the MKO was founded, the recruitment methods were based on supreme human principals. Now there was a big difference.
MKO used any trick to deceive the depressed and dispirit youth of the society in order to take them to Iraq as its modern slaves. After they entered the organization, the officials of the group did everything to force them to stay in Iraq. These members were forces to fight against the Iranian soldiers who were defending their country.
Sometimes MKO fighters helped Iraqi battalions to win the battles. Then Rajavi used to go to Saddam to get his reward and of course money for the services MKO fighters offered the Iraqi Army. Rajavi could arrange and equip his so-called National Liberation Army by the funds Saddam Hussein offered to him. So the so-called National Liberation army was formed on the base of the blood of some innocent people.
He started his operations by sending his terror teams inside Iran. He organized some operations in cooperation with Iraqi Battalions. He also arranged his forces to assist Saddam’s army against Iranian soldiers. However he named this treason as struggle for freedom. This shows a big division between what the primary principals of MKO were and what Rajavi did.
No member could escape from MKO because if someone wanted to escape one would be arrested by Iraqi Intelligence services in a few hours time, and one would be punished by them and then sent back to MKO Camp again.
When the Iran-Iraq war ended, Rajavi found a new pretext to slaughter Iranian people and also his own supporters and sympathizers. He infiltrated his forces into Iran to launch mortar attacks in Iranians cities.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, he used a new trick and dropped all his organizational responsibilities. He went to achieve what he was hysterically looking for. He defined a new position for himself to become an ultra-organizational leader. It was very surprising that Rajavi who chanted slogans against Imperialism, sat at the negotiation table with American generals. We saw the MKO authorities became US Army advisors. They began their collaboration with the Americans by launching intelligence operations over Iranian borders.
To gain the support of US officials, they arranged parties and meetings with them. They spent large amounts of money to collect signatures of the alleged 5 million Iraqis whom MKO claims to have their support. NOW, we can see what happened to the “struggle” I talked about. Today, MKO is resorting to every mean to gain the support of US administration. All the victims who are kept in Ashraf Castle work day and night to be used in favor of MKO leaders’ goals.
Translated by Nejat Society
Mujahedin’s struggle principals
Memoirs of Ms. Batoul Soltani – Part 11-1
Batul Sultani, Sahar Foundation, Baghdad, May 04, 2009
(Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, cult leaders)
In this session, I would like to describe the struggle that today MKO insists on its principals. They say that their struggle is their main investment. I want to talk about MKO fighters, to learn how their fight and their principals were at the beginning, in what stage of their struggle they are now, and how much they have been loyal to their primary principals of their struggle.
Since 1964, I mean when the founders of MKO established the group, they determined a definition for Right and Wrong. Their definition was somehow new at that time. They defined Right and Wrong as “exploiter” and “exploited”. The objective example for the Wrong was US-backed dictatorship of Shah. Along with these principals, they decided to launch an armed struggle against Shah and US military officials, advisors and economic or cultural authorities.
They continued their struggle, even after the mass arrests of the group’s members in 1970, fighting to overthrow Shah’s monarchy. They were killed either inside or outside the prison. It is good to know that at that time Masud Rajavi’s organizational comrades including Badi’ Zadegan, Hanif Nejad and even some others who were at lower ranks comparing Masud, were executed in the prison, but Masud Rajavi survived. Although MKO has always justified this fact by some nonsense, there are a lot of accusations against Masud Rajavi who could manage to survive among so many comrades who were executed. I’d rather explain the process Rajavi headed after the Islamic Revolution; I want to evaluate the way he acted far from those primary principals.
When Masud Rajavi was released from Evin prison, he addressed some speeches in Amjadiyeh stadium and other places. The criterion that can prove Rajavi’s disentitlement for MKO’s leadership was his eagerness to claim himself as the leader of the group immediately after he was released from the prison. He was extremely enthusiastic to introduce himself as the leader of the movement and the revolution and he tried to make others to recognize his self-assigned position. He did not want any other post except that of a leader. He didn’t recognize any other person as the leader.
When his true face was shown, the main problem of MKO was brought about. He showed his hostility toward many individuals. I mean, he was looking for a leadership role when the Iranians had all focused on Ayatollah Khomeini’s leadership as the only legitimate leader. In fact, Rajavi’s extreme jealousy and hostility was coming up. When he couldn’t get the first position as the leader of Iran, he tried to get the president’s office but he was not allowed to be a presidential candidate because he hadn’t voted for the constitution he was supposed to prosecute. All these things pushed him to an open opposition against the Iranian Revolution.
After a short period of time, on June 20th, 1981 he declared armed struggle against Islamic Republic. I think since then the organization’s circle of power has completely changed. Indeed, Rajavi himself insists on this change. But the change was in a way that the organization distanced from a popular organization. Actually, he declared armed struggle in that disturbing situation in the society after too much bloodshed, only to achieve his personally lost objectives. It was just for his personality in his cult. Therefore, he did his best to endanger social security.
At the time, I was in grade one at high school. I remember how MKO misused the tiniest complaints or protests in schools for its own cause. As a student, I didn’t know anything about the organization.
Just sometimes I protested against the conditions and MKO took the benefit of my adventurous, immature protests and recruited me. As the first step, once you joined the group, you had to leave your family and go to the group’s safe houses to “fight the Islamic Republic”. MKO members were quite active at schools and they could influence those who had the potentiality and opposed the regime. For example, some students protested against mass praying, they didn’t like to participate it , or they had complaints about veil (hijab). These people were the same ones who fell in MKO’s trap more easily. The group recruiters worked on the students in order to absorb them gradually. Then they used to ask the new recruits to give financial helps. They focused on those who were passionately revolutionary. They continued with the new recruited ones to bring more students to the organization’s net.
I remember that they arranged mountain climbing tours to recruit new students. So gradually I was recruited by MKO without having any information about the group and its cause.
When MKO declared armed struggle, they trapped a group of young people who had no way but to stay in MKO’s safe houses. They were supposed to launch operations. But I didn’t know this at that time. I could only read about it later. I was too young for politics or Rajavi’s theories, but I saw some active, devotee youth who worked for the group.
Finally, the organization was outlawed by the Islamic Republic because of its armed struggle against the regime, the state and the authorities. Some of its members were arrested. Masud Rajavi fled Iran along with Banisadr and survived, although his wife Ashraf was killed in Iran. Masud had no pity for his wife and never tried to get her out of Iran.
Rajavi:You shouldn’t get arrested alive
Memoirs of Ms. Batoul Soltani – Part 10
Sahar Family foundation, Baghdad, March 10 2009
Translated by Nejat Society, April 04, 2009
The most important matter within MKO is the way members have to make their relationships with their outer self or the so called point of outer self (cult jargon).
To define this issue, you should first discuss the leadership in MKO. I mean that they consider the relationships of a member limited to his relationships with the leadership only. In fact, the position of the leadership is so special that everything is defined or formed on that base. The first paragraph of the manifesto of the ideological revolution says: "there is an obstacle between each member and the leader" which should be removed. For example Rajavi officially questioned that: "who is in the bottom of your heart?", and then declared that "I want Maryam to be there instead."
It is definitely funny to fill the bottom of our hearts with someone else (other than Masud). When Masud says that he doesn’t want anyone - parents, relatives, spouses … - to be in the bottom of our heart except Maryam, he means that the members should only be with him. "Maryam" is the nickname for Masud. This is also a deceit because they indirectly say that the substitute for parents, children, and spouses … is Maryam. Maryam, is just a puppet who must praise Masud every day. They have set a structure that her daily job is to lead the members, canalize them and control them for the time Masud wants to launch an operation and achieve his goals.
For Example, they clearly declared that every individual resembles a mathematical fraction. It means that everyone consists of a numerator and a denominator. They say that the numerator is Maryam and the denominator is Masud, Where the numerator equals breath and the denominator equals blood. It means that so long as the member is alive and is breathing, he must work for Maryam and whenever Masud desires, he must sacrifice his blood . Therefore, they own the individuality of the member. And this was the reason for Maryam’s election as a co-leader. Masud chose a woman who was in fact his comrade’s wife. He sought after her. Then they married and their story began: Maryam became the first person in charge of MKO (after Masud who was the spiritual leader) and they carried on until Maryam said: "every member of the organization should follow my path.” This was defined differently for men and women. Basically in this way, they elected the first group of leadership council : they chose the female members who acted as Masud desired. They had to perform exactly what Masud commanded . They left aside the male members. Why? Because they didn’t want to make the changes Masud wanted. Women fit in the system founded by Masud more easily than men. The women members didn’t do anything by themselves; they executed Masud’s orders more according to his wishes. There are so many male members in MKO who are more knowledgeable, more intelligent and even more skillful than Masud. In that system of controlling, Masud could make all of them to obey his orders. The women were taught how to control the men. In order to prevent men complaining, they gave some of them titles such as "Pins", "Columns" ... (cult jargons) and used them in some tasks which are typically men's work. But actually, the most private problems of men were studied by the women members of the Leadership Council. The worst one was Nasrin (Mahvash Sepehri) who encountered them in the meetings.
Of course, the leadership Council often had arguments that Rajavi had to come and solve the problems personally. I remember when in 1995 the members of the Leadership Council were passive and disappointed, Masud Rajavi held lengthy meetings (15 to 30 days) called the Second Constitutors to convince them. However, Rajavi had the ability to do so. For example he is told that someone has a problem. Rajavi calls him to the microphone and starts up a conversation with him, and after convincing him they finally conciliate. Rajavi is already informed of what kind of personality that member has or what his problem is because his monitoring system has fed him with all information. For example, he knows that the member’s child is dead. He says to him: "well, Reza do you think about your kid?” and poor Reza wonders "what a smart leader he is! He knows everything about me!" therefore Rajavi convinces him that the leader is an extraordinary person who has good relations with all members and remembers all their private issues. Sometimes, they hold some primary meetings before the main meetings. During a primary meeting, they start admiring Masud, describing his abilities and different dimensions of his life, his personality, his activities and the high-quality of his revolution and the short hours of his sleep. Then, they say "you should join such an eternal origin".
(MKO members in European Countries 2003)
Maryam made too much effort to praise Masud. Even she said: "I’m not able to acquaint Masud". I mean Maryam had planned to convince the members that Masud is an extra-ordinary person. She tried her best to convince the members that Masud is superior to his era .
She has silly strategies saying that "we will enter Iran, we will overthrow the regime" but those who are skillful in politics know that this is quite impossible, yet Maryam told the hesitators: "You can’t understand this because what Masud says happens after a few years.
She tried to give him significant characteristics saying that he is linked with an eternal origin.
(Maryam Rajavi directly ordered the massacre of Kurdish people)
Sometimes Masud did the same for Maryam. He began to admire her and Maryam apparently complained against his compliments. This was a game between them. These disgusting relations makes the people outside the organization believe that MKO is a cult of personality. All authorities have to submit their members’ reports to Masud. And Masud reads them all.
Every year, on New Year's Day they give some gifts to the Leadership Council members to affect them emotionally. The gifts include sister Maryam’s watches or necklaces ... or gold medallions with Masud’s portrait on them.
To convince the members to attempt self-immolations or suicide bombing operations, Masud visited them and had a party with them and clearly told them "You shouldn’t get arrested alive, in case of being arrested you have to kill yourselves immediately. "They falsified all religious Hadith (quotations of the Prophet), and even Quran was interpreted in their own way to legitimize the suicide bombing attacks.
Besides, Maryam Rajavi was considered superior to a normal leader. Rajavi’s ambitions are to make Maryam a leader like Masud, an avant-garde of revolutionaries who can replace Masud in his absence. She meets Lords, deputies and MPs. She creates an atmosphere to present a false picture of Masud, herself and MKO.
(Mehdi Abrishamchi and Massoud Rajavi taking orders from Saddam's head of secret services)
MEPs intrigued by accounts of newly arrived escapees from Camp Ashraf
Discussion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq/National Council of Resistance and its activities in the EU Parliament
... Ms Ebrahimi said she saw Mr Paulo Casaca when he visited Camp Ashraf. We were not allowed to approach him and speak to him, she explained to delegates. If they had somewhere to go, she told delegates, without doubt ninety-nine percent of the people in Camp Ashraf would leave the camp and the MKO...
Reported from EU Parliament, Sep. 09, 2008
On Tuesday 9 September a meeting was held by the Delegation for Relations with Iran in the European Parliament. The meeting focused on ‘Discussion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq/National Council of Resistance and its activities in an exchange of views with:
Ms Anne Singleton expert on the MKO
Representative of the NCR (declined invitation)
Three Residents of Ashraf Refugee Camp who arrived from Iraq in the last couple of weeks: Ms. Ebrahimi, Mr. Hassan Piransar and Mr. Hamid Siah Mansoori.
Also present were former MKO members Karim Haggi, Mohammad Sobhani, Hadi Shams Haeri and Ali Ghashghavi, who accompanied the new arrivals to provide support to these vulnerable people.
Ms Angelika Beer, President of the Iran Delegation (Greens/EFA), began by describing the MKO and its activities up to the present time.
Anne Singleton briefly described her own involvement with the MKO for over twenty years.
Asserting that the MKO will not give up the use of violence to achieve its aims, Ms Singleton went on to explain why, in spite of that, she believes that the MKO has currently little to do with the Iranian political scene, but that precisely because it is a cult, its danger is that it interferes in parliamentary democracy in western countries in ways that may even involve criminal activity.
Whilst agreeing that the MKO’s platform of ‘total regime change’ in Iran could be attractive to some politicians in the west, Ms Singleton challenged the delegates to consider whether the MKO would be able to achieve its stated aim – ‘will it do what it says on the tin’? Since its last major offensive against Iran in 1988, the MKO has achieved little to further its aims. She told delegates that they should also consider the possibility that, even if they believe the MKO has changed tactic and intends to pursue its aims only through political opposition, the MKO may not actually be ‘fit for purpose’ She urged them to consider the evidence of the three former residents of Camp Ashraf who have arrived in Europe from Iraq only in the past few weeks, and who would speak later in the meeting about conditions inside the MKO.
Ms Singleton asserted that Iranian people – as those delegates who have visited Iran are aware – are not waiting to be rescued by the MKO and are capable of opposing their own government. Iranian women are not waiting to be taught about feminism by Maryam Rajavi who leads an organisation which – as Batul Ebrahimi will testify - badly abuses women members.
Then Ms Singleton described the current situation of the MKO in Iraq. Control of Camp Ashraf, the MKO’s headquarters, has been transferred from the American military to the Iraqi military. Ms Singleton said that Iraqi government officials are angry at reports which suggest that the MKO would be ‘massacred’ if the Americans handed over Camp Ashraf.
Instead, the people inside the camp are facing a humanitarian crisis because they are not allowed even basic freedoms such as the right to enjoy contact and visits from their families. A rumour has arisen that the Americans have removed around 300 of those captive in Camp Ashraf and left the others. Ms Singleton said that if this is the case then she would consider the remaining 3000 individuals in Camp Ashraf to be ex-members of the MKO. They should be brought to western countries as soon as possible.
Finally, Ms Singleton presented delegates with one solution to the crisis at Camp Ashraf, remove the MKO from the European terrorist list and bring ALL 3,300 residents to Europe where those who are mentally, physically and emotionally sick would be able to receive help.
Ms Singleton finished by reminding delegates that continuing support for the MKO would, of course, mean that the European Parliament accepted to have a cult operating in its midst and continuing to interfere in parliamentary democracy. However, if that is the decision to be made, then so be it.
Ms Beer thanked Anne Singleton for her contribution and asked the three recently arrived, former Camp Ashraf residents to speak.
Ms Ebrahimi (speaking in Farsi) told delegates that she had gone to Camp Ashraf when she was sixteen years old and although she quickly realised she wanted to leave, she was captive there for another ten years. She described conditions for women in the camp. Not only does the MKO not allow women to marry, women are made to work in the scorching sun for hours at a time so their complexions are ruined and they become ugly. This is so they do not develop the vanity to think they could be attractive to a man, she told delegates.
In order to remove hope from the women of ever having a family, they are being sent under surgery for spurious medical conditions to have their wombs removed [hysterectomy] and around ten percent of women in Camp Ashraf have now undergone this surgery. When they tried to impose it on her, Ms Ebrahimi ran away. She begged delegates to take doctors to Camp Ashraf to check the veracity of what she was telling them.
The MKO told her that if she left the camp and went with the American soldiers, they would rape her. For this reason it took two years before she was able to have the courage to escape.
Ms Ebrahimi said she saw Mr Paulo Casaca when he visited Camp Ashraf. We were not allowed to approach him and speak to him, she explained to delegates. If they had somewhere to go, she told delegates, without doubt ninety-nine percent of the people in Camp Ashraf would leave the camp and the MKO.
Mr Hamid Siah Mansoori (speaking English) told delegates he had been in the MKO for over twenty five years. He described how he had gone to Iraq from Canada. He had a good education, and a good life in Canada and had his own business before leaving everything behind in the mid 1980s to go to Iraq. He then described the MKO’s attitude to family. He said no one is allowed to contact their family, except in a few cases where people were told to contact their family to get money from them. He said the MKO told his family he was dead. They came to look for him five years ago – at the beginning of the American occupation – but were told he was dead.
Mr Hamid Siah Mansoori said he had arrived only a week ago, but had lost any contact details for his family. Nevertheless, his first priority now was to make contact with his parents and the rest of his family.
Ms Beer asked delegates if they had questions. One delegate asked how the MKO continued to be financed which allowed them to continue to undertake such expensive campaigns in parliament and elsewhere. Another delegate asked for more detail about the role of the Americans in supporting Camp Ashraf when the US State Department so strongly describes them as a terrorist group.
Anne Singleton answered these questions, pointing out that during the reign of Saddam Hussein the MKO had received almost unlimited finance from Saddam Hussein, as well as from Saudi Arabia and some western governments from behind the scene. Now, however, although it is clear that MKO finances are dwindling somewhat, it was unclear how the MKO could continue to spend so much money, and the only people to answer that are the MKO themselves.
Ms Singleton pointed out a five year rift in policy toward the MKO between the US State Department – which has a very thorough knowledge of the MKO – and the US Defense Department under Donald Rumsfeld. Some in the US Administration wanted to use the MKO in confronting Iran and therefore Camp Ashraf has been protected by the US military in Iraq for five years. Ms Singleton conceded that this protection was beneficial in keeping the MKO out of danger in the midst of a war zone. But that the Americans had also flouted the UN Fourth Geneva protocol by not allowing MKO to meet their families and not enabling them to leave the situation.
Ms Beer then introduced Mr Mohammad Sobhani who had previously addressed the Delegation. Following that meeting he had been the subject of unfounded accusations of having attacked MKO members in Paris. Instead, Mr Sobhani was the victim of a violent attack when some fifty MKO supporters ambushed a meeting at which Mr Sobhani was a speaker.
Following this, Mr Hadi Shams Haeri briefly pleaded with delegates to help him have contact with his children whom he has not been allowed to see for eighteen years. He asked that Mr Paulo Casaca accompany him to Camp Ashraf and help him meet with them again.
At the end of the meeting Ms Beer expressed her appreciation for the speakers and said it had been a valuable meeting. One which, given the ongoing situation at Camp Ashraf, might soon be repeated.
After the meeting, several of the attendees stopped to talk to the visitors – in particular the three who had just arrived from Iraq - and asked them to keep them informed of developments.