MEPs warned not to fall victim to misleading Mojahedin Khalq (MKO,MEK, Rajavi cult) lobby in European Parliament
MEPs warned not to fall victim to misleading Mojahedin Khalq (MKO,MEK, Rajavi cult) lobby in European Parliament
Massive human rights violations inside the MEK must be investigated: individual screening and resettlement by UNHCR needed
... This infatuation with the PMOI also diverts our energy and attention away from the civil society movement known as the ‘green movement’ whose leaders have rejected any link with the PMOI. The PMOI lost all its credibility with the Iranian people when they formed an alliance with the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The only actor inside Iran who nowadays accords any importance to the group is the Iranian government: they have accused some of the arrested protestors from the demonstrations since the Presidential elections of 2009 of collaborating with the PMOI in order to discredit the pro-democracy movement ...
MEPs from five political groups have sent a letter to their colleagues to brief them about the PMOI lobby in the European Parliament. The letter, copied below, says that while the deaths at Camp Ashraf were uncacceptable, MEPs should not ignore the MEKs history in Iraq and the overwhelming evidence of human rights abuses inside the MEK. The letter called for screeing and resettlement of individual camp residents and fair trials for members which Iraq alleges have committed crimes against humanity in their country.
Text of the letter:
Strasbourg, 10 May 2011
Before Easter vacation, Vice-President Vidal Quadras has addressed a letter to all members of the European Parliament accusing the Chair of the Iran delegation, Ms. Lochbihler, of diffusing false information about the Iranian People’s Mujahedin, also known as Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), PMOI, MKO or National Council of Resistance. For your information we attach the two letters.
The PMOI was protected by Saddam Hussein who hosted them from the mid-1980s until his demise. They collaborated in his internal repression against Kurds and Shiites and have since that time had a military camp known as Camp Ashraf. When the US disarmed the camp in 2003 it housed over 3000 PMOI fighters. The group has developed a very strong lobby in the European Parliament over the last couple of years claiming to be the only serious Iranian opposition group.
The events of April 8, when the Iraqi security forces tried to force their way into the camp with armoured vehicles brought the existence of this group into the lime light again. We fully support the serious concern and condemnation expressed by Ms Lochbihler over the killing of some 30 camp residents and the injury of many more. While the main responsibility for the incident seems to be with the Iraqi security forces, they have so far only acknowledged responsibility for the death of three inmates. We therefore fully support the call of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay for an independent investigation into the incident.
This unacceptable blood shed should not, however, distract us from an objective and level headed analysis of the track record of the PMOI. We urge all members to seriously consider the history, actions and behaviour of the PMOI before signing any declarations or letters of support in favour of this group in the future. Their method is very simple: they mobilise MEPs justified outrage at the nuclear issue, the human rights violations and the very character of the Iranian regime, but instrumentalised such opinion for a different purpose – the political legitimation of the Mujahedin organisation itself.
Surprisingly, the allegations of massive human rights violations inside the Mujahedin organisation are never subject of debate. According to overwhelming evidence the former militant group has turned into a repressive sect far removed from the respectable image the representatives of this group display when visiting the European Parliament. The human rights violations the leaders are committing against the group’s members are amply documented, starting with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and many witness reports of ex-members who were able to flee (including testimonies in the European Parliament).
The European Court of Justice removed the PMOI from the EU terrorist list in 2009 on a formality – the Member States who asked them to be included on the list refused to transmit the evidence on which their request was based to the court. This ruling does not make any statement as to the group’s practice of internal repression.
The support the PMOI receives from members of Parliament allows its leadership to perpetuate their absolute power over the rank and file, of which most are believed to want to desperately leave the group. The hundreds of members who have managed to escape from Ashraf and have been screened by the UNHCR bear witness of their plight.
This infatuation with the PMOI also diverts our energy and attention away from the civil society movement known as the ‘green movement’ whose leaders have rejected any link with the PMOI. The PMOI lost all its credibility with the Iranian people when they formed an alliance with the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The only actor inside Iran who nowadays accords any importance to the group is the Iranian government: they have accused some of the arrested protestors from the demonstrations since the Presidential elections of 2009 of collaborating with the PMOI in order to discredit the pro-democracy movement in the eyes of the population.
Instead of boosting the PMOI, with all its criminal activities, we should urge the High Representative and the member states to help to find a humanitarian solution for the remaining camp residents (screening by the UNHCR and individual resettlement) and a fair trial for the approximately 50 persons in the camp wanted by the Iraqi authorities for alleged crimes against humanity.
Sincerely Yours, Michael Gahler, Elmar Brok (EPP), Kurt Lechner (EPP), Maria Muniz, Ana Gomes, Hannes Swoboda (S&D), Marietje Schaake, Annemie Neyts, Jelko Kacin (ALDE), Isabelle Durant, Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL)
... Struan Stevenson is a strong advocate of the Washington/Zionist backed foreign terrorist group, Mojahedin-e Khalq(MKO) which continues with its illegal presence in Iraq. The Government of Iraq had charged that the MKO have been actively interfering in Iraqi affairs over the past six years. The MKO base Camp Ashraf (now Camp New Iraq) was used as a covert meeting place for Saddamists ...
Ayad Allawi is being dragged into a controversy created by Western Baathist supporters.
Struan Stevenson MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Iraq Delegation has said he has received many letters claiming that widespread fraud had taken place in the Iraqi election on March 7.
Struan Stevenson is a strong advocate of the Washington/Zionist backed foreign terrorist group, Mojahedin-e Khalq(MKO) which continues with its illegal presence in Iraq. The Government of Iraq had charged that the MKO have been actively interfering in Iraqi affairs over the past six years. The MKO base Camp Ashraf (now Camp New Iraq) was used as a covert meeting place for Saddamists. The MKO also has some of its members working in the European Parliament.
Mass letter writing and scaremongering accusations without evidence are typical MKO tactics.
Before the election, former Iraqi MP Saleh al-Mutlaq was barred from standing for election because of his association with the MKO – he channelled funds for the terrorist organisation.
Now, after the election, Struan Stevenson has claimed “Major efforts are exercised to deny the win of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi”.
It looks as though Mr Allawi is also being tarnished by association with supporters of the former Saddam regime.
While Iranian students protest their government, MKO plots against the Iraqi people fail
... while he was in Jordan, Mr Stevenson again raised the issue of the MKO in Iraq and how they could be helped. Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered that Mr Stevenson “could resolve the situation by offering all 3400 PMOI refugees visas to come to live in Scotland!” No doubt this was not the kind of help Mr Stevenson was looking for ...
By Anne Singleton, Iran-Interlink, December 8, 2009
Just as the MKO (aka NCRI) had no presence in Iran during the protests following Iran’s June elections, this time on 7th December (16th Azar - the day of national student protests) the MKO were also nowhere to be found. Instead, the next day, after trawling the Iranian newspapers for lists of protests throughout Iran, Maryam Rajavi kindly and thoughtfully (in case we didn’t know) informed the world through her websites that many Iranians vehemently and vocally oppose their government.
Without doubt the era of Rajavi’s association with Iranian politics has come to its inevitable end. Indeed, since 2002 the MKO have had no involvement in Iranian affairs except as second-hand news peddlers.
Still, the group is extremely active, lobbying parliaments and media. But on what issue?
The simple answer is – Iraq. The MKO’s websites are focused on Iraq and the cult’s situation there. The latest legal straw the group is grasping at is to somehow exploit an aspect of Spanish law which deals with international issues. But with no connection to Spain and no legal status in the international community except as a terrorist entity, the MKO really does not have any realistic hope that Spanish law can be used to force the Government of Iraq to allow it to remain as a terrorist group in their country. No doubt this will be a deep disappointment to the MKO’s backers and advocates – particularly those in the European Parliament.
Now, another huge blow has been dealt the MKO as Iraq's parliament has unanimously approved a new electoral law, paving the way for elections early next year. Although the US’s RAND report makes it clear that the MKO should have been disbanded in 2003, the Americans have preserved and promoted the group for a specific task – to facilitate the eventual return of pro-western elements (such as former Saddamists) into the Government of Iraq.
No surprise then that at the start of the new European parliament, well-known MKO lobbying MEPs, Mr Struan Stevenson and Mr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, made a significant leap from membership of the Iran Delegation to sit on the Iraq Delegation, where Mr Stevenson is Chairman.
One of the issues to be raised as an immediate concern in the Iraq Delegation’s first meeting in September was not the desperate plight of 31+ million Iraqis suffering massive bomb blasts and consequent insecurity (let’s generously assume that was a given concern) but to support the demands of the MKO leaders to keep their 3400 Iranian cult members trapped in Camp Ashraf in Diyala province.
Members of the Iraq Delegation plan to visit Iraq in early January. But by the time the second meeting of the Iraq Delegation was held in November, the Chair, Mr Stevenson , had been invited to visit Jordan – where the former Saddamist Baathists including Izzat Ebrahim, Massoud Rajavi and Saddam Hussein’s family have taken refuge – to “have an exchange of views with various political figures involved in the political process in Iraq”.
(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)
Mindful that the MKO will not be able to remain in Iraq and a new terrorist base will have to be found for the cult, while he was in Jordan, Mr Stevenson again raised the issue of the MKO in Iraq and how they could be helped. Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered that Mr Stevenson “could resolve the situation by offering all 3400 PMOI refugees visas to come to live in Scotland!” No doubt this was not the kind of help Mr Stevenson was looking for.
The MKO’s activities are currently linked to their role in Iraq. The group has been used as a cover to meddle in Iraq’s political process and facilitate – through a violent insurgency – an increase in the role of Saddamists in the country. The agenda has not been successful and the demise of the MKO to those promoting this agenda is sad but inevitable. It remains to be seen who will have the heart to rescue the 3400 cult members who have so far had no say in their situation and no escape from their exploitation.
Although it was not seriously expected that Mr Stevenson offer asylum to the whole MKO in Scotland, it is surely not unreasonable that these people be offered asylum and dispersed between the many European countries which make up the European Union.
(Massoud and Maryam Rajavi theMojahedin Khalq cult leaders)
Iran’s internal opposition succumbs to a dose of poisoned soup
Washington backed Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) kills the Green Movement
... Sadly, no one could have been in any doubt, including – perhaps especially - the MEK’s backers, that people would disappear from the streets once terrorists backed by foreign powers were thrown into the pot. And it is not only in Iran but in demonstrations held in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington that this phenomenon shows itself. The destruction of Iran’s internal opposition, the so-called Green Movement’ simply cannot be all blamed on the IRI. It should be clear that those who greedily and imprudently contribute the fatal ingredients to the mix are more than any culpable of poisoning the Ash ...
Today, March 2, Iran’s Majles issued its report on the 14 February demonstrations. Its reading had been delayed in order to assess the outcome of yesterday’s demonstration which had been called by the opposition.
The result was disappointing for the organisers. Not many people turned out. And this poor turnout has now unfortunately given a clear indication that after one year during which the IRI has manoeuvred to separate Mousavi and Karoubi from their support base among people inside Iran, the time has now come to deal with them. The report from Majles makes it clear what the next steps will be.
But the poor turnout cannot be attributed to a lack of will on the part of the opposition as many, many ordinary Iranians are known still to strongly oppose their government. Neither can the poor turnout be laid exclusively at the door of the IRI which, contrary to predictions, did not strike with disproportionate force; unpleasant as the use of tear gas and beatings are for demonstrators anywhere in the world.
Instead it is probable that Iran’s internal opposition is being slowly murdered with a dish of poisoned Ash prepared with a fatal mix of ingredients; the pot provided by the hardliners in Iran and the fire provided by Israel, the chickpeas and beans provided by the neoconservatives, the herbs provided by American foreign policy and the salt and pepper of the dish was the addition over the last few months by warmongers and regime change pundits who liberally sprinkled ‘support for terrorism’ into the dish. This added seasoning was of course the overt American and Israeli support for the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq working against the interests of the Iranian people.
The Iranian government chefs have proved themselves professional enough to use the ingredients to poison the soup. It’s not that people didn’t want to come out, and not that the regime had to use force; people didn’t come to the streets because they didn’t want to be associated with violent activists linked to the MEK.
Sadly, no one could have been in any doubt, including – perhaps especially - the MEK’s backers, that people would disappear from the streets once terrorists backed by foreign powers were thrown into the pot. And it is not only in Iran but in demonstrations held in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington that this phenomenon shows itself. The destruction of Iran’s internal opposition, the so-called Green Movement’ simply cannot be all blamed on the IRI. It should be clear that those who greedily and imprudently contribute the fatal ingredients to the mix are more than any culpable of poisoning the Ash.
... Today, the MKO is active in toppling both regimes ruling Iran and Iraq. On the other hand, the governments of Iran and Iraq are closely cooperating with each other. In recent months, some very influential politicians and political circles in the US have been actively supporting Mrs. Rajavi – as president – and strive to use the force at Ashraf Camp to change the Iranian regime. During the last three months alone, six important conferences were held in this regard and all six looked at this force as the agent of change in Iran... As these conferences began and progressed, it was clear that the Iranian and Iraqi regimes would not tolerate General Jones’s proposals ...
A group of prominent Iranian human rights activists and intellectuals have responded to the horrendous killings of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization members by publishing an open letter condemning the killings. The moderate and peaceful spirit of the letter is commendable and deserves support.
Harm to MKO members was feared from the day Saddam Hussein’s regime came to its end. Iranian freedom-lovers knew that in view of the nature of the new regime in Iraq the MKO would have difficulty in maintaining its camp, Ashraf Camp and organization. The new political realities would one day come bring their status to a dead-end. It was clear from many years ago that it was prudent for MKO leaders to decide to that its members should migrate to other countries.
When the US handed over Iraq’s complete sovereignty to the Iraqi government concerns amplified about the imminent catastrophe. Many Iranian organizations, including Etehade Jomhurikhahan Iran (The Union of Iranian Republicans) rightfully stressed the need for the MKO to immediately depart Iraq while also emphasizing governments to encourage the MKO to do this.
Unfortunately the leadership of the MKO spent its greatest and most effective resources on a campaign whose goal was to attain the right to remain at Ashraf Camp.
In view of the political goals and policies of the MKO today vis-à-vis the governments of Iran and Iraq, it is clear that attempts to maintain the MKO in Ashraf Camp will only lead to more violence and clashes. When the Mojahedin settled in Iraq Saddam Hossein ruled over Iraq and the war between his government and the Islamic republic of Iran was in full swing. The MKO too wanted to continue their war with the Islamic republic. Because of this, they received the full support of the Iraqi government and at the least their security was completely provided to them. Saddam’s relations with the MKO were very cordial while those with the Shiites and the Kurds were deeply inimical.
Today, the MKO is active in toppling both regimes ruling Iran and Iraq. On the other hand, the governments of Iran and Iraq are closely cooperating with each other.
In recent months, some very influential politicians and political circles in the US have been actively supporting Mrs. Rajavi – as president – and strive to use the force at Ashraf Camp to change the Iranian regime. During the last three months alone, six important conferences were held in this regard and all six looked at this force as the agent of change in Iran.
At these conferences US general James Jones, Obama administration’s former national security advisor is the key driver.
As these conferences began and progressed, it was clear that the Iranian and Iraqi regimes would not tolerate General Jones’s proposals regarding Iran. At the time I wrote a piece explaining that a new game had begun which was another source of danger for the country and the region.
The condemnation of the tragedy that took place on the morning of April 8 in Ashraf Camp is the least and simplest response that Iranian pro-democracy activists can undertake. But our responsibility goes further. We have a deep responsibility towards the 3,500 individuals who are trapped in the neo-conservatist policies of the US and Israeli dreams for Iran. The policy of staying and preparing itself for the eventual outcome pursued by the MKO cannot last. Pressure and insistence of the neo-conservatists for using this force as a pressure against the Iranian regime must end.
Before the tragedy repeats itself, now is the time to approach the MKO and its powerful international supporters and press for the organization to submit its request to the UN Secretary General to resettle the group and its members in a secure country, while at the same time condemning any killing or bloodshed by the Iraqi army and to press the Iraqi government to announce a moratorium on the MKO.
I specifically request of the MKO, General Jones, John Bolton, Mrs. Mary Robinson, and Messrs. Howard Deen and Patrick Kennedy who are the most influential supporters of keeping the MKO and recognizing it as the alternative to the Iranian regime to facilitate the departure of this group from Iraq and set a specific date for this. At the same time, the Iraqi government should provided assurance that it would not enforce its sovereignty over Ashraf Camp until the departure of the MKO.
"Supporting Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI ,Rajavi cult), kiss of death for Green Movement"
... First and foremost among such groups is Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). But despite its obvious threat to global security, the MEK could be taken off the State Department's Terror List within the next week. If this happens, it promises to spell disaster for the pro-democracy movement in Iran, and will be a devastating setback in the country's attempts to move forward... It is highly unlikely that other U.S.-designated FTOs, such as al-Qaida, would enjoy this astonishing degree of latitude in the corridors of the U.S. military, and within its executive and legislative branches ...
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Right: supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi listen to his speech at a demonstration in Tehran on Thursday June, 18, 2009
(Mohsen Kadivar, left and Ahmad Sadri, right)
As Tunisians and Egyptians work through their respective political transitions, the Iranian government increasingly detaches itself from the realities of its restive population. The longer it resists meeting public demands, the shorter its lifespan becomes.
At the same time, within the Iranian Diaspora, some have sought to usurp leadership of Iran's indigenous pro-democracy movement. This has alarmed the leaders of the Green Movement in Iran. Mir Hossein Mousavi warned against "international surfers" seeking to wield their own axe in the furnace of the Green movement in his last communiqué that was issued before he was put under house arrest on Feb. 29.
First and foremost among such groups is Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). But despite its obvious threat to global security, the MEK could be taken off the State Department's Terror List within the next week. If this happens, it promises to spell disaster for the pro-democracy movement in Iran, and will be a devastating setback in the country's attempts to move forward.
The MEK has no political base inside Iran and no genuine support on the Iranian street because it was long based in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's patronage. It lost any semblance of credibility it might have had inside Iran due to its opposition to the Shah's regime when its troops fought on behalf of Iraq toward the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Hence, it would behoove U.S. policymakers to be skeptical of the boasts of MEK lobbyists regarding the extent of this group's popularity inside Iran.
Since Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003, the MEK has been depending almost entirely on the uneven enforcement of existing U.S. laws concerning designated foreign terrorist organizations. Surprisingly, the MEK military compound in Iraq enjoys de-facto "protected persons" status, and its activities at the U.S. congress have long been unchecked. It is highly unlikely that other U.S.-designated FTOs, such as al-Qaida, would enjoy this astonishing degree of latitude in the corridors of the U.S. military, and within its executive and legislative branches.
Countless first-rate analysts, scholars and human rights organizations -- including Human Rights Watch -- have determined that the MEK is an undemocratic, cultlike organization whose modus operandi vitiates its claim to be a vehicle for democratic change.
Most importantly, MEK activities in Washington could be causing irreparable damage to Iran's home-grown opposition. When post-election turbulence commenced inside Iran, the MEK quickly sought to join the frenzy of brewing opposition to the current government. The Ahmadinejad government promptly connected the Green Movement to the MEK in an effort to discredit the pro-democracy movement. Opposition leaders such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karrubi immediately pushed back. Rahnavard pointedly said, "the Green Movement is a people's movement that is alive and dynamic and holds a wall between itself and the MEK." Opposition leaders in Iran have good reason to erect and maintain such a wall. They see the MEK as an organization capitalizing on U.S.-Iran enmity to shed its terrorist designation and subsequently receive U.S. government funding -- effectively becoming the Iranian version of Ahmed Chalabi's infamous Iraqi National Congress.
As Washington policymakers seek new ways to pressure their counterparts in Tehran to yield on nuclear developments, they must refrain from actions that would harm the long-term prospects of trust and friendship between the two peoples.
Removing the MEK from the FTO at this juncture would embolden Iran's hardliners to intensify their repression and discredit the Green Movement by implying that it is somehow connected to the widely detested MEK terror group. Furthermore, supporting the MEK would provide the Iranian government with the specter of a foreign-based threat that could be exploited to heal key fractures within the system, increase the number of Iranians who would rally around the flag, and facilitate the suppression of the indigenous political opposition.
For all of its mistakes in the Middle East, the Bush administration -- even at the height of its aggressive foreign policy -- understood that delisting the MEK from the State Department's terrorist list would be a dangerous gambit. It would trigger a huge loss of U.S. soft power in Iran, damage Iran's democratic progress and help Iranian hardliners cement a long-term dictatorship. The Iranian people won't forgive or forget such cynical moves. Bitter memories associated with U.S. policies toward the Shah and Mohammad Mossadegh, the prime minister overthrown with covert American assistance in 1953, continue to linger and poison U.S.-Iran relations to this day. We urge the U.S. government to avoid committing this critical mistake at a time when the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people hang in the balance.
Mohsen Kadivar, a leading figure in the Green Movement, is visiting professor of religion at Duke University. Ahmad Sadri is professor of sociology and James P. Gorter chair of Islamic world studies at Lake Forest College.