Tehran Times, July 10 2017:… It seems that the French government should have come to an understanding about Mojahedin-e Khalq as an extreme and violent group with a repugnant record heavy with terrorist activities, and should clear up this ambiguous point in mutual relations. Needless to say, the Iranian people know that such a retrogressive and decadent organization with reactionary beliefs, whose …
Iran-EU economies complementary, ties speeding up: Foreign Ministry
By Ali Kushki and M.A.saki
Exclusive – Iran and the European Union can make good trade partners as their economics are “complementary”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi says.
“The complementary status of Iran’s economy with those of certain European countries” has, among others, provided a fertile ground for economic cooperation to flourish, he tells The Tehran Times.
In what follows, a full transcript of the interview has been given:
Q: How do you evaluate the current state of Iran-EU relations and its future? What is symbolic significance of the new deal between the National Iranian Oil Company and France’s Total?
A: Presently, relations between Iran and Europe are in a favorable condition. Iran and European countries, or generally the European Union, have many things in common in terms of politics, economy and even culture, despite having some disagreements which might be rooted in cultural, historical, and geographical differences between the Christian Europe and the Islamic Iran.
Given the long history of Iran’s relations with this continent’s important countries; absence of negative public opinion among Iranians towards certain important European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, France and so forth; the complementary status of Iran’s economy with those of certain European countries; a considerable number of Iranian diaspora in the continent; industrial, technical and financial opportunities in many EU countries; a more realistic understanding of Iran’s place in the world among Europeans and their attentiveness to Iran’s history, culture and civilization have all provided the opportunity to explore more avenues for cooperation.
Therefore, if Europe manages to remain unaffected by some ups and downs as well as certain international developments according to its independent European outlook in analyzing the situation in Iran and the region, one can be hopeful about the future of such relations and expansion of ties. Of course, after resolving Iran’s nuclear issues within the framework of negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group, Iran’s economic relations started to flourish. Such trend is speeding up.
Of course, at the wake of BARJAM (the Persian acronym for the Iran nuclear deal), the groundwork was laid for big European and non-European companies to cooperate with Iran. Given their take on Iran’s status and potential, these companies are making attempts to make a comeback to Iran’s lucrative market.
Total’s return to Iran in the current situation is an example of this. Its presence in Iran, in addition to being an economic activity or cooperation, conveys a message that sanctions have come to an end in Iran, and Europe is determined about continued implementation of BARJAM. This shows growing awareness about Iran’s vital status as a stable, wealthy and influential country in the region and world.
Q: What’s your analysis of the recent report by the UN secretary general to the Security Council regarding Iran’s compliance with BARJAM and isolation of the U.S. at the council?
A: At the recent meeting in the UN Security Council, an opportunity was created for the world and perceptive political and international analysts to see how the European countries defend the continued implementation of BARJAM and cooperation with Iran, while observing America’s isolation as well as its abstract and unrealistic and hostile outlook [toward Iran].
Q: Despite the rapidly increasing ties between Tehran and Paris, Foreign Minister Zarif has described the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or MKO) organization as a “moot point” in mutual relations. Has Iran expressed concerns over this issue to the French government? If so, have they responded?
A: It seems that the French government should have come to an understanding about Mojahedin-e Khalq as an extreme and violent group with a repugnant record heavy with terrorist activities, and should clear up this ambiguous point in mutual relations. Needless to say, the Iranian people know that such a retrogressive and decadent organization with reactionary beliefs, whose history is filled with terror, killings and sectarianism, has died long time ago. Despite the growing relations between the two countries, this is a moot point in the French government’s record because terrorism and violence and anti-terrorism battle is not limited to one specific group or region. Tehran’s protest to Paris is for France’s double standards.
Q: A Canadian court of appeal has upheld a previous ruling by a U.S. court, which required Iran to pay around $1.7 billion in damages to “American victims of terrorism.” What’s your reaction?
A: The Islamic Republic regards recognition of U.S. courts’ rulings in absentia as counter to the international judicial norms in such cases. Principally, the issuance of a ruling against a foreign country runs counter to the principle of equality of states and is in violation of their immunity under international law. The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to oppose the ruling and follow up on it. Obviously, irrespective of internal power divisions in Canada, the Canadian administration would be directly liable for any possible material and spiritual damage caused by various branches of the country as a result of such measures.
Q: The Qatar crisis still remains unresolved. Since the crisis, what role has Iran played through consultations with other countries? In case the situation worsens, how would Tehran react?
A: Iran attaches great importance to the security and stability of the region and since the beginning of the Persian Gulf crisis, the Islamic Republic has been in extensive consultations with various countries in the region and across the world. Given the numerous wars and conflicts in the region in recent decades, it cannot endure another war or crisis. Iran has always endeavored in the path of peace, stability and security of the region. We hope that the problems among countries get resolved through dialogue and peaceful means. We wish for peace, political and economic development and safety of our neighbors and other countries across the world.
Q: Would tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensify now that Mohammed bin Salman, who is hostile to Iran, has been promoted to the position of crown prince?
A: Iran is not interested in heightening tension with Saudi Arabia, and hopes that the rulers of that country come to the realization that with increased tensions and hostility, they would lose more than others. Undoubtedly, history has taught all countries, especially in the region, that relying on trans-regional powers would not bring security and stability. Stability and security cannot be bought. Stability and security are possible through interaction with neighbors and in a context of multilateral regional cooperation where all countries get involved. The appointment of the new crown prince in Saudi Arabia is an internal affair of that country.
Q: Have there been consultations between Iran, Turkey and Russia on deploying forces in Syria’s de-escalation zones?
A: In the expert meetings, the three countries have discussed the issue comprehensively. Once the process to establish de-escalation zones is over undoubtedly all three countries will announce the agreements and mechanisms through which they reached an accord.
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, June 20 2017:… The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh… As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger. My shame and guilt stem …
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh.
As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger.
My shame and guilt stem from having been involved in such attacks in the past as a member of the MEK. My anger springs from what I see as the MEK’s ongoing influence in these current attacks. Based on my inside knowledge of the MEK I believe this organization has now helped the most notorious terror organization in the world to attack our country and our people.
As I followed news of the attacks I was forced to remember my own role in a similar mission and how my membership of the MEK had almost cost me my life. While analyzing the details of the ISIS attack as they emerged, it was easy to see that these operations in Tehran had been based on the expertise of MEK operations in several ways. I have identified some of these similarities which I have given in outline below.
The targets selected by ISIS were sites constantly targeted by the MEK. The Iranian Parliament and its members had always been primary targets for the MEK since the 1980s. The group had managed to assassinate several members of the Parliament and tried to plant a bomb there at one point. They were unsuccessful and some members were killed by security forces while other terrorist teams were arrested. Similarly, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine was created, Massoud Rajavi, the late MEK leader, announced that “Khomeini’s grave must be exploded”. It became a mantra among MEK members which they would chant in indoctrination sessions. The MEK tried unsuccessfully to send terrorist teams there in 1991 and 2002.
While ISIS and the MEK have the same interests in attacking Iran, ISIS could have caused much greater anti-government fear and hatred among the civilian population in line with its regime change agenda if they had bombed a civilian target like transport infrastructure or a shopping mall. They could have done more damage by targeting the Revolutionary Guards whose forces are in Syria. Instead, the ISIS targets matched those which had been constantly under attack by the MEK for thirty years.
ISIS used locally recruited Iranians for this attack. Their main challenge was to get their weaponry to Tehran without being detected by Iranian security forces. This had always been the main challenge for MEK terrorists. They used different methods to get their weapons to Tehran. For example, hiding the weapons in a small truck loaded with food or inside an empty computer case. The MEK experiences were helpful to the ISIS attackers. They paid a female acquaintance to join them to go to Tehran, pretending it is a family visit. This was to raise less suspicion. Between 2000-2003, the MEK used the same approach to get their terrorists from Iraq to Tehran. The first suicide bomber in Iran was a female MEK member. Since then, the MEK used women in suicide operations to ‘normalize’ their terrorist teams.
The suicide mission
An important similarity is the human factor. Just like the MEK, ISIS terrorists selected and trained for suicide missions are thoroughly brainwashed first. They undergo intensive indoctrination and psychological manipulation sessions and afterwards they are not allowed to think of anything else but their mission; terror. From the videos and reports, it is clear that the terrorists are numbed and fearful people who are prepared to use weapons as a first resort against innocent unprepared people. The ISIS terrorists exploded their vests in their first moments of contact with security forces. A couple of them even exploded their vests as soon as they just saw the security forces. This is similar to MKO terrorists who were brainwashed to assassinate unarmed civilians or perform a mortar attack in a large city like Tehran. They were also armed with cyanide pills and a hand grenade and ordered that rather than risk capture they must commit suicide and hurt as many of the people around them as possible.
It has been widely reported that, just like the MEK, ISIS also gets support from inside Saudi Arabia. After the Tehran terrorist attacks neither Saudi Arabia nor the MEK condemned the events. This echoes MEK behaviour under the Saddam regime. The MEK could not and would not condemn any action of Saddam or the Saudis because they were being paid and supported by them.
The MEK needed governmental level backing to move across national borders. Saddam arranged for MEK operatives to get inside Iran from Pakistan and Turkey rather than cross the Iraqi border which was under international scrutiny. ISIS has also been able to cross borders and move weapons and fund its activities in a way that indicates governmental level of support.
There is no indication that the MEK were directly involved in the Tehran attacks. But from my inside knowledge and based on having performed a similar style of suicide attack in Tehran myself some years ago, there is little doubt in my mind that ISIS have been able to use MEK expertise to pursue this modern terrorist attack.
Debate in the European Parliament ‘What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?’
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffpost, June 02 2017:… The meeting was organised by Ana Gomes, SND (Portugal) and seconded by Marietje Schaake, ALDE (Netherlands) and Michael Gahler, Christian Democrats (Germany). Two expert speakers were invited to address the meeting: Nicola Pedde, Director Institute for Global Studies, Italy and Massoud Khodabandeh, Director Middle East Strategy Consultants, UK. …
Debate in the European Parliament ‘What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?’
A meeting in the European Parliament on 30 May discussed the problems associated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MEK) both inside the Parliament and across Europe and the wider world.
The meeting, which was attended by MEPs, researchers and analysts along with representatives of agencies outside the parliament such as security personnel, was organised by Ana Gomes, SND (Portugal) and seconded by Marietje Schaake, ALDE (Netherlands) and Michael Gahler, Christian Democrats (Germany).
All three have a clear record as outspoken critics of Iran’s human rights record and are concerned about the impact of MEK activity on this issue.
Since all the participants have seen first-hand that the MEK spends enormous amounts of money for publicity and lobbying, the first issue to be discussed was ‘who funds the MEK and what is their agenda?’ It soon became apparent that the MEPs are fully aware that the MEK has never existed as an independent group and has benefitted over three decades from funding streams from specific circles which are trying to engineer regime change in the Middle East. The question then became whether these sponsors understand that the cost benefit of supporting the MEK is not giving positive returns but in fact has a negative result for them in their regime change agendas.
Further discussion by representatives revealed that the MEK has been shunned by almost every Parliament across Europe.
In spite of this, MEK members can still gain access to the European Parliament because it is an open institution. The problem this presents is the bullying tactics used by the MEK to intimidate MEPs and their staff. Several delegates at the meeting gave first-hand evidence of this. One MEP said that within ten minutes of taking one particular stance he was bombarded by mass emails some of which contained swearing and threats. Delegates agreed that this is incompatible with the fundamental principles of any Parliament in which representatives must be able to speak and act free from any pressure or intimidation.
Nicola Pedde described to delegates his work in the Italian Parliament where MPs are persuaded to sign petitions by bogus human rights campaigners. Pedde said that when he asked, many of the signatories were unaware that the MEK was behind the petition and didn’t realise that various sentences or paragraphs were added afterwards to give support for Maryam Rajavi and her agenda. Pedde said some MPs were even strongly against the MEK and were very angry about being deceived in this way. They had thought they were condemning human rights abuses in Iran, but their names were then misused to depict them as supporters of terrorists in Albania.
The discussion moved on to the problem of accepting the MEK as advocates of human rights for Iran. Ana Gomes said that when Iranian Nobel Human Rights Prize winner Shirin Ebadi visited the European Parliament, she was unequivocal in saying that the MEK do not have the right to be described as human rights activists. Quite the opposite, they are abusers themselves, she said. Massoud Khodabandeh reminded delegates that in a recent interview with AP, Reza Pahlavi – who wants to restore the monarchy to Iran – dismissed the MEK as a cult. In addition, every Iranian opposition group from the Greens to the Nationalists has rejected the MEK as human rights advocates and as a political entity.
More concerning for delegates is that the government of Iran is quick to use the MEK’s advocacy for human rights as a means to dismiss the issue, pointing out that the terrorist group murdered thousands of Iranian citizens and still commits human rights abuse against its own members. Massoud Khodabandeh gave an example from the UK House of Lords in which Haleh Afshar – a prominent Iranian feminist and academic who now sits in the House as Baroness Afshar – hosted a parliamentary debate about human rights in Iran. The challenging discussion, with valuable contributions from several informed members, was completely undermined by one of the MEK’s supporters who asserted that only Maryam Rajavi and her group could bring freedom and human rights to Iran. The government of Iran cannot be expected to even respond to such a debate said Khodabandeh.
Nicola Pedde made an interesting comment when he said that the MEK cannot be considered as a viable force because, as a result of its cultish behaviour, the MEK do not have a second generation. They have effectively killed themselves, he told delegates, because marriage and family are banned for all members.
The third issue to be discussed was the MEK presence in Albania. Delegates heard how the MEK had been forced to leave Iraq and how the Americans arranged for the UN to be able to transfer them to Albania. The government of Iraq was relieved to be rid of three thousand MEK who had been part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive forces, but the problem has now simply been moved to Albania. The Americans promised help to de-radicalise the MEK members. But, as Massoud Khodabandeh pointed out, this did not happen and the group was allowed to re-group as a terrorist cult and treat its members as modern slaves.
Delegates discussed Albania’s candidature to join the European Union in light of this situation and agreed that this is not just incompatible but that having trained terrorists on the doorstep of Europe is already a security threat to Europe. Delegates stressed that European security services need to take this threat seriously from now.
Reports also described the human rights abuses inflicted on MEK members by their own leaders. They are living in conditions of modern slavery because the UNHCR is acting illegally by paying refugee allowances to the organisation instead of to the individual members. This means members are forced into dependency on the group and cannot leave. Members are also prevented from contacting their families or even other former members so they do not have any recourse to external help or support.
As the two speakers gave their expert analysis throughout the meeting, they also offered suggestions for solutions. Khodabandeh urged delegates to put pressure on the Albanian authorities and the UNHCR to resolve the hostage condition of MEK members in Albania.
Pedde said MEPs should be briefed about the danger of supporting human rights through using groups like the MEK.
At the end the meeting was also opened to the audience for discussion. Former MEK members, Ali Akbar Rastgou, Batoul Soltani, Reza Sadeghi and Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad were able to join the discussion at this time.
In conclusion delegates discussed various solutions which are open to them. It was important, they said, to find ways to tackle these problems because parliament cannot be held hostage to bullies. A package of activities was agreed in order to curtail the MEK’s deceptive and intimidating activities in Parliament. Other solutions to the wider problems were also agreed and will be put in place throughout the rest of the year.
Parlamenti Evropian: Shqipëria rrezikon integrimin në BE për shkak të muxhahedinëve (MEK)
Një takim në Parlamentin Evropian më 30 maj diskutoi problemet që lidhen me Organizatën Muxhahedin e-HalK (MEK) si brenda Parlamentit, ashtu edhe në të gjithë Evropën dhe botën e gjerë.
Takimi, në të cilin morën pjesë deputetë, hulumtues dhe analistë, së bashku me përfaqësues të agjensive jashtë parlamentit si personel i sigurisë, u organizua nga Ana Gomes e Partisë Socialiste (Portugali), dhe u suportua nga Marietje Schaake e partisë ALDE (Hollandë) dhe Michael Gahler i Partisë Kristian Demokrate (Gjermani).
Të tre kanë një rekord të qartë si kritikë të sinqertë të të dhënave për të drejtat e njeriut në Iran, dhe janë të shqetësuar për ndikimin e aktivitetit të MEK në këtë çështje.
Dy ekspertë u ftuan për të adresuar takimin: Nicola Pedde, Drejtor i Institutit për Studime Globale, Itali, dhe Massoud Khodabandeh, Drejtor i Këshilltarëve të Strategjisë për Lindjen e Mesme në Mbretërinë e Bashkuar.
Meqë të gjithë pjesëmarrësit kanë parë që MEK shpenzon shuma të mëdha parash për publicitet dhe lobim, çështja e parë për t’u diskutuar ishte ‘kush e financon MEK-un dhe cila është axhenda e tyre’? Shumë shpejt u bë e qartë se deputetët janë plotësisht të vetëdijshëm se MEK nuk ka ekzistuar kurrë si një grup i pavarur, dhe ka përfituar më shumë se tre dekada nga financimi nga qarqe të veçanta që po përpiqen të kurdisin ndryshimin e regjimit në Lindjen e Mesme. Më pas u bë pyetja nëse këta sponsorë e kuptojnë se kostoja e mbështetjes së MEK-ut nuk po jep kthime pozitive, por në fakt ka një rezultat negativ për ta në axhendat e ndryshimit të regjimit.
Diskutimet e mëtejshme të përfaqësuesve zbuluan se MEK është shmangur nga pothuajse çdo Parlament në të gjithë Evropën.
Përkundër kësaj, anëtarët e MEK-ut ende mund të fitojnë qasje në Parlamentin Evropian, sepse është një institucion i hapur. Problemi që paraqet kjo është taktika e persekutimit e përdorur nga MEK për të intimiduar deputetët dhe stafin e tyre. Disa delegatë në takim dhanë dëshmi të dorës së parë për këtë. Një deputet i parlamentit tha se brenda dhjetë minutave nga marrja e një qëndrimi të veçantë, ai u bombardua nga emaile masive, disa prej të cilave përmbanin betime dhe kërcënime. Delegatët ranë dakord se kjo nuk është në përputhje me parimet themelore të kujtdo Parlamenti në të cilin përfaqësuesit duhet të jenë në gjendje të flasin dhe të veprojnë pa ndonjë presion ose frikësim.
Nicola Pedde u përshkroi të deleguarve punën e tij në Parlamentin Italian, ku deputetët janë bindur për të nënshkruar peticione nga aktivistët e rremë të të drejtave të njeriut. Pedde tha se kur ai i pyeti, shumë nga nënshkruesit nuk ishin në dijeni se MEK ishte prapa peticionit, dhe nuk e kishin vënë re se më pas ishin shtuar fjali ose paragrafë të ndryshëm për të dhënë mbështetje për Marjam Raxhavin dhe axhendën e saj. Pedde tha se disa deputetë ishin madje shumë kundra MEK dhe ishin shumë të zemëruar që ishin mashtruar në këtë mënyrë. Ata kishin menduar se po dënonin abuzimet e të drejtave të njeriut në Iran, por emrat e tyre më pas u keqpërdorën për t’i përshkruar ata si mbështetës të terroristëve në Shqipëri.
Diskutimi vazhdoi me problemin e pranimit të muxhahedinëve si avokatë të të drejtave të njeriut për Iranin. Ana Gomes tha se kur fituesja e çmimit Nobel për të Drejtat e Njeriut, Shirin Ebadi vizitoi Parlamentin Evropian, ajo ishte e qartë që muxhahedinët nuk kishin të drejtë të përshkruheshin si aktivistë për të drejtat e njeriut. Përkundrazi, ata janë vetë abuzuesit, tha ajo. Massoud Khodabandeh u kujtoi delegatëve se në një intervistë të kohëve të fundit me AP, Reza Pahlavi, princi i kurorës në Iran – i cili dëshiron të rivendosë monarkinë në Iran – hodhi poshtë MEK-un si një kult. Përveç kësaj, çdo grup i opozitës iraniane, që nga të Gjelbrit deri te Nacionalistët e ka hedhur poshtë MEK-un si avokatë të të drejtave të njeriut dhe si subjekt politik.
Më shqetësuese për delegatët është që qeveria e Iranit është e shpejtë në përdorimin e avokimit të MEK-ut për të drejtat e njeriut si një mjet për të hedhur poshtë çështjen, duke vënë në dukje se grupi terrorist ka vrarë mijëra qytetarë iranianë dhe ende kryen abuzime të të drejtave të njeriut kundër anëtarëve të vet. Massoud Khodabandeh dha një shembull nga Shtëpia e Lordëve në Mbretërinë e Bashkuar në të cilën Haleh Afshar – një feministe dhe akademike e shquar iraniane, e cila tani është ulur në Shtëpi si Baronesha Afshar – priti një debat parlamentar mbi të drejtat e njeriut në Iran. Diskutimi sfidues, me kontribute të vlefshme nga disa anëtarë të informuar, u dëmtua plotësisht nga një prej mbështetësve të MEK-ut, i cili pohoi se vetëm Marjam Raxhavi dhe grupi i saj mund të sillnin liri dhe të drejta të njeriut në Iran. Qeveria e Iranit nuk mund të pritej as të përgjigjej për një debat të tillë, tha Khodabandeh.
Nicola Pedde bëri një koment interesant kur tha se MEK nuk mund të konsiderohet si një forcë me gjasa për sukses, sepse, si pasojë e sjelljes së tij kulturore, MEK nuk ka një brez të dytë. Ata kanë vrarë në mënyrë efektive veten e tyre, u tha ai delegatëve, sepse martesa dhe familja janë të ndaluara për të gjithë anëtarët.
Çështja e tretë për t’u diskutuar ishte prania e MEK-ut në Shqipëri. Delegatët dëgjuan se si MEK ishte detyruar të largohej nga Iraku dhe se si amerikanët organizuan që OKB-ja të ishte në gjendje t’i transferonte ata në Shqipëri. Qeveria e Irakut u lehtësua që shpëtoi nga tre mijë muxhahedinë që kishin qenë pjesë e forcave represive të Sadam Huseinit, por problemi tani thjesht është zhvendosur në Shqipëri. Amerikanët premtuan ndihmë për de-radikalizimin e anëtarëve të MEK-ut. Por, siç vuri në dukje Massoud Khodabandeh, kjo nuk ndodhi dhe grupi u lejua të ri-grupohet si një kult terrorist dhe t’i trajtojë anëtarët e tij si skllevër modernë.
Delegatët diskutuan mbi kandidaturën e Shqipërisë për t’u bashkuar me Bashkimin Evropian nën dritën e kësaj situate, dhe ranë dakord se jo vetëm që kjo është e papërputhshme, por trajnimi i terroristëve në pragun e Evropës është tashmë një kërcënim për sigurinë e saj. Delegatët theksuan se shërbimet e sigurisë evropiane duhet ta marrin seriozisht këtë kërcënim prej tani.
Raportet gjithashtu përshkruan abuzimet e të drejtave të njeriut të shkaktuara ndaj anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga udhëheqësit e tyre. Ata jetojnë në kushte të skllavërisë moderne, sepse UNHCR-ja vepron në mënyrë të paligjshme duke ia dhënë ndihmat për refugjatët organizatës, në vend që t’ua japë anëtarëve individualë. Kjo do të thotë se anëtarët janë të detyruar të varen nga grupi dhe nuk mund të largohen. Anëtarëve u pengohet gjithashtu që të kontaktojnë me familjet e tyre ose edhe me anëtarët e tjerë të mëparshëm, në mënyrë që ata të mos kenë ndonjë ndihmë apo mbështetje të jashtme.
Ndërsa dy ekspertët prezantuan analizën e tyre gjatë gjithë takimit, ata gjithashtu ofruan sugjerime për zgjidhje. Khodabandeh u kërkoi delegatëve të ushtrojnë presion ndaj autoriteteve shqiptare dhe UNHCR-së për të zgjidhur gjendjen skllavërore të anëtarëve të MEK-ut në Shqipëri.
Pedde tha se deputetët duhet të informohen për rrezikun e mbështetjes së të drejtave të njeriut përmes përdorimit të grupeve si MEK.
Në fund takimi u hap edhe për diskutim nga audienca. Ish anëtarët e MEK-ut, Ali Akbar Rastgou, Batoul Soltani, Reza Sadeghi dhe Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad ishin në gjendje të bashkoheshin në diskutim në këtë kohë.
Në përfundim delegatët diskutuan zgjidhje të ndryshme që janë të hapura për ta. Është e rëndësishme, thanë ata, që të gjenden mënyra për të trajtuar këto probleme, sepse parlamenti nuk mund të mbahet peng i frikësimeve. U ra dakord për një paketë aktivitetesh për të kufizuar veprimtaritë mashtruese dhe frikësuese të MEK-ut në Parlament. U dhanë gjithashtu zgjidhje të tjera për probleme më të gjera, që do të vendosen në punë gjatë gjithë pjesës tjetër të vitit. / © Gazeta Impakt
MEK’s Maryam Rajavi blackmails Albania to become the new ‘Saddam regime’ for them.
Massoud Khodabandeh, Top topic, May 08 2017:… Rajavi then publishes these alongside letters signed by American personalities in support of the MEK. The letters from the Americans are addressed to the Albanian Prime Minister and bear the familiar hallmark of MEK authorship. (One letter published by the MEK is signed in blue ink. We can only speculate how the MEK obtained the original letter which should have been sent directly from the Americans to the Albanian PM!) …
MEK’s Maryam Rajavi blackmails Albania to become the new ‘Saddam regime’ for them.
The forced relocation of the MEK organisation from Iraq to Albania resulted in drastic changes within the group. No longer forced to endure the extremes of heat and cold in Baghdad, living alongside ordinary family neighbours for the first time in two decades and the loss of their leader Massoud Rajavi have all profoundly affected the members. They now have the ‘luxury’ to think and their changed environment and circumstances have led them to challenge the leadership.
Defections started almost immediately and the MEK is now in the grip of a crisis of disaffection. The problem was exacerbated when Sahar Family Foundation moved its operation from Baghdad to Tirana. Sahar was created to offer support and help to families of MEK members who were trying to get in touch with their estranged loved ones in the MEK while they were based in Iraq. The MEK leaders regard families and familial relations as “poison” and have tried every way possible to prevent these families contacting their loved ones in the group.
Now that Sahar has begun its work in Albania, the new MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has panicked. Sahar began by reminding the UNHCR and Albanian authorities of the international laws governing refugees, in particular UN human rights conventions and articles, and how the MEK rejects these norms.
Maryam Rajavi reacted by shooting herself in the foot. https://www.mojahedin.org/news/197420
Maryam’s counter campaign is based on the tactics used by Massoud Rajavi in Iraq – blackmail and coercion – but it is too little and too late and has lost its potency.
Soon after Sahar started its campaign to inform Albanian authorities of the MEK’s illegal and scandalous behaviours, Rajavi announced that three disaffected individuals, Hadi Sanikhani, Gholamreza Shokri and Sarfaraz Rahimi, had made contact with their families in Iran and declared them therefore to be ‘agents of the regime’. For this reason, she said, “we will cut their refugee allowances from now”. The MEK then said that the only way for their UNHCR money to be restored was for these individuals (and others) to write whatever the MEK dictates. In Saddam’s prisons the MEK also used such coercive tactics to force compliance and silence.
The three individuals went to the UNHCR office and explained what had happened. The UNHCR advised them to go the MEK’s HQ and talk to them. There they were threatened and attacked by MEK operatives. Two of them have since published their account of the events, but Sarfaraz Rahimi has given in and accepted to write for them. He writes what they dictate against the other two – who are understandably complaining about having no food or money in Tirana – condemning them as agents of the Iranian regime.
Rajavi then publishes these letters of Rahimi alongside letters signed by American personalities in support of the MEK.
The letters from the Americans are addressed to the Albanian Prime Minister and bear the familiar hallmark of MEK authorship. (One letter published by the MEK is signed in blue ink. We can only speculate how the MEK obtained the original letter which should have been sent directly from the Americans to the Albanian PM!)
This combination of letters (forced confessions alongside Americans letters to the Albanian PM claiming Iran is operating against the MEK in Albania under the guise of cultural centres, etc) had two aims. One was to warn dissidents inside the MEK what will happen if they leave or disobey orders. The other aim was to get the Albanian government to back the MEK and replicate the role played by Saddam Hussein in the group’s survival by punishing dissent, only this time in Albania.
Reactions were not as Rajavi wanted or anticipated. Inside the MEK and among ex-members there has been outrage. It seems to everyone that after three decades of unpaid work for the MEK and Saddam Hussein, the day someone leaves they instantly confess, in their own writing, to being an agent of the Iranian regime. There are only two possibilities: the organisation is lying and takes forced confessions, or the organisation is a training ground for agents of the regime.
Others complain that although the Americans have the right to recruit people as mercenaries, they do not have the right not to pay them and force them to be gladiators in Albania.
Albanians themselves see this MEK presence as yet further evidence that America is using their country for any and every form of corruption and illegal activity. Albania is still notorious as a centre for narcotics, arms smuggling and people trafficking in spite of efforts to clean up the country so it can join the EU. Albanians complain that their country is reportedly being used to smuggle US arms to Syria and other places for so-called ‘moderate’ rebels, that NATO uses Albania to conduct activities it can’t perform in the US or EU and that the CIA and the Pentagon have turned Albania into an extra-judicial base for nefarious activities. And now John Bolton and Senator John McCain alongside others use Albania as a springboard to pursue unclear political agendas which may include training terrorists and providing land and logistic for groups which are to be deployed in other countries.
Along with dumping nuclear waste and Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Albania now has had the MEK dumped on it. Instead of getting advice and support to de-radicalise these fanatics the government is being blackmailed and corrupted into performing the same role as Saddam Hussein undertook to protect and deploy the MEK.
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s …
Maryam Rajavi — MEK Propaganda Queen — Advertises Her Services For Iran’s Enemies
Co-authored by Anne Khodabandeh
The Middle East is in turmoil. Deaths and destruction are a daily occurrence throughout the region. Families flee their homes in fear, forced into an uncertain future. No end is in sight. Yet into this calamitous scenario a slick, sophisticated terrorist recruiter’s advert has popped up which ISIS itself could learn from.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website carries a glamorous advertising campaign for a Grand Gathering. Surrounded by glitzy pictures of flag-waving youth, the central focus of this gathering is ‘Our pledge: regime change’.
Well, we all know what that means. Don’t we? Apparently not. Because this advertising doesn’t reflect the destruction wrought in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Here is no promise of jihad and the caliphate. It looks very much like a carnival. Which is exactly what it is – a show. So, what is meant by the promise of regime change?
The first port of call is to understand that the NCRI is just another name for the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) which was also known as the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).
Back in 1994, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi tasked his wife Maryam to leave Iraq for America in order to regain political recognition of the Mojahedin Khalq as ‘the’ Iranian opposition which had been lost when he refused to abandon Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf war.
Refused entry to the USA as the leader of a terrorist entity Maryam instead took up residence in France as a refugee. But instead of meeting politicians to talk about how the MEK could overthrow the Iranian regime, she discovered she could simply create the illusion of support by paying both audience and speakers. She discovered a talent for dressing up, holding fancy dinner parties and talking about her cult ideology.
To create the appearance of a willing audience for her views, she recruited a rag-tag following of Iranian economic refugees who would happily turn up when paid for their services. She paid for feminists from North America, Europe and Scandinavia to visit Auvers-sur-Oise and attend dinner parties. She posed in her hijab to speak about her version of feminism to these western women; carefully spelling it out for them that they would never really understand what feminism is until they understood her husband Massoud Rajavi.
When Massoud recalled her to Iraq in 1997 she had spent a third of the total MEK budget and had no political support to show for it. She had lost around half the loyal MEK members who had defected whilst in Europe. With morale at an all-time low, Maryam was forced to retreat to Iraq with what remained of her personnel and leave the western bases in the hands of largely uneducated paid ‘supporters’.
When allied forces next invaded Iraq in 2003 Maryam Rajavi again fled to France. This time, as luck would have it, western politics was focused on curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme which it insisted was aimed at creating a nuclear weapon. The MEK’s services as propaganda experts were just what was needed, ensuring the MEK’s ostensible survival as an opposition group.
But in reality the MEK was already in terminal decline. Its fighting forces, disarmed in 2003, are currently being transferred from Iraq to Albania by the UNHCR to begin a process of de-radicalisation and reintegration back into normal society. Nobody expects veterans with an average age of sixty to wage the terrorism of thirty years ago. Disarmament also allowed American experts to investigate years of complaints about human rights and cultic abuses inside the MEK. As long as the MEK was being used to muddy the waters of the nuclear negotiations, such details could be glossed over. But since last year when agreement was reached, the MEK’s murky past can no longer be dismissed.
The main reason, of course, is that the new theme for challenging Iran in the international community is based on the country’s dismal human rights record. But Maryam Rajavi has her own well documented human rights abuse dossier to answer for. The MEK, under whatever name it is used, is simply the wrong tool to use to demonise Iran.
Beyond this, the MEK is not the popular opposition its own advertising claims it to be. The group is almost universally despised among Iranians both inside the country and in the diaspora. Not only did the MEK fight alongside Saddam Hussein’s army during the devastating eight-year Iran-Iraq war, but the MEK’s anti-Iran role in the nuclear negotiations hit a nerve with most ordinary Iranians who regarded support for their country’s right to nuclear technology as an issue ofnationalism rather than politics.
Maryam Rajavi cannot get support from Iranians unless it is paid for. Nor can Maryam Rajavi deign to share a platform with any other Iranian opposition personality. So this year Maryam Rajavi will again do what she does best; pay audience and speakers alike to give the illusion of support.
So, back to the recent advertising campaign. Any publicity campaign will be successful if it is newsworthy. Maryam, however, simply churns out the same scenario ad infinitum. Starting with describing a terrible situation in Iran – based on news items that can be gleaned from any serious reporting outlet – she then proposes a ten-point plan for Iran, approved this year by Italian parliamentarians. And then she promises regime change.
Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? From whom is she hoping to garner support?
Many constituencies outside Iran wish fervently for its destruction. It is enlightening that Maryam Rajavi’s websites are home to a bizarre mixture of anti-Shia, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, items which reflect very closely the views of neocons, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Maryam Rajavi is not promising regime change, she is advertising her services as a propaganda queen.
National Geographic, March 04 2017:… Leading MEK members squirm under the knowing gaze of Michael Ware. Watch the shifty looks and glances as the MEK representatives try to lie about their true intentions. They admit to wanting regime change, but claim to be pacifists. Ware asks ‘Why does a political organization still need to have a para-military organization?’ He then cleverly gets them to …
Associated Press, February 16 2017:… The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center. In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. …
Iran Interlink, February 15 2017:… The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement
Gazeta Impakt, Albania, Translated by Iran Interlink, January 01 2017:… According to Fatos Klosi, former director of the National Intelligence Service, the American CIA chief has warned Albania that Donald Trump will renounce support for the MEK terrorists and it will be the Albanian Government itself which must deal with internal security and must confront a group trained militarily from the time of Saddam Hussein …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
Iran Interlink, October 30 2016:… Local observers in Tirana are reporting that the Mojahedin Khalq cultic terror group (MEK) is buying and creating several sandwich and kebab shops in the city and is using the MEK members to work in these fast-food businesses. On the surface this may look like a positive move. In an article titled ‘Albania: What would a de-radicalization program for the Mojahedin Khalq involve’, it was …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, October 16 2016:… In spite of American promises, no de-radicalisation programme is in place to deal with over 2500 members of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group who have relocated to Tirana from Iraq. The MEK has a long history of violent and criminal activity. This has not stopped now they are in Tirana. Unless the Albanian government introduces its own programme, it must accept …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington post (and Top Topic), October 09 2016:… For the local citizens, mystery surrounds their arrival and their lifestyle. Should these secretive and covert neighbours be treated with suspicion or kindness? At a local level, the first thing neighbouring families need to be aware of is that among all MEK members, sexual relations have been banned for over 25 years. This means there are no marriages or children or young people in the organisation. More troubling …
Massoud & Anne Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 14 2016:… Whether Rajavi is already dead or now killable is not known – only he can answer this – but he and his whole organisation are certainly now, body and soul, in the capable hands of the Saudi Prince. If he is still alive, Rajavi’s only role is to act as go-between to instruct his wife what she must do on behalf of the Saudis. If he is dead
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? Fro