Both sides undermine regime change in Iran

Both sides undermine regime change in Iran

Michael Rubin, AEIdeas, July 20 2017:… Those who embrace the MKO as a viable alternative — or even a tool — toward regime change do as much harm to the cause of Iranian freedom as those who embrace the Islamic Republic’s so-called reformers. While the MKO tend to dismiss any criticism as pro-regime propaganda, the simple facts are these: The MKO have, at best, only a miniscule following inside Iran. This is because they sided with Iran’s enemies during the … 

List-of-Mojahedin-Khalq-martyrs-Massoud-Maryam-Rajavi-MEK-fiction-fakeThe Enemy of My Enemy is NOT Always My Friend…

نمایندگان پارلمان اروپا جلسه بحث در مورد مجاهدین خلق فرقه رجویDebate in the European Parliament ‘What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?’

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Both sides undermine regime change in Iran

There’s a notion out there embraced by many progressives — some in the academic and think tank community, and some lobbyists such as those surrounding the National Iranian American Council — that the path toward change in the Islamic Republic of Iran will come through the Islamic Republic’s reform movement.  This belief should be dismissed for two reasons:

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Michael RubinFirst, it misunderstands the security structure of the Islamic Republic. In short, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exists not primarily to export Iran’s revolution across the region, but rather to defend the ideology of the revolution domestically and shield the Supreme Leader from the will of the Iranian people. Even if 99% of the Iranian public opposed the regime and voted as a bloc for the most reform-minded candidates, muddle-through reform would fail.

Second, it exaggerates the sincerity of the reformists who, after all, remain wedded to the ideology imposed on Iran by revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. That every single ‘pragmatist’ or ‘reformist’ has failed to implement his agenda is telling. Instead, Iran’s political space has consistently shrunk, hence many of the figures deemed acceptable just a decade ago are now in prison — for example, President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, former Parliamentary Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi. A dispassionate look at the evidence suggests that reformers, rather than being agents of change, are the ‘good cop’ distraction against a ‘bad cop’ who can monopolize the levers of power.

Simply put, to suggest reform is a goal and then support Iran’s official reformists is to work toward the opposite objective; it gives the regime a free pass. To suggest trade and normalization are the paths to moderating Iranian behavior is even worse, since it pumps money into a system that disproportionately benefits the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the security state.

So, if the goal of ending the Islamic Republic is as laudable as that of ending the Soviet Union, how best to go about it? Many politicians, former diplomats, and former military officials have jumped on the bandwagon of the Mujahedin al-Khalq (MKO), an opposition group whose leaders live in Paris. The group now embraces the rhetoric of democracy, but both its history and its cultish behavior belie that claim. While the MKO’s supporters say they speak at its annual conference in Paris because they agree with what the group stands, five-figure honoraria seems to play a significant role in the decision to attend. The paeans to Rajavi written by those receiving largesse from the group range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Among those former US officials who have joined MKO circles — a handful including Joe Lieberman and John McCain — know a bit about Iran, but most — Howard Dean, Elaine Chao, and Andrew Card, among others — do not.

Those who embrace the MKO as a viable alternative — or even a tool — toward regime change do as much harm to the cause of Iranian freedom as those who embrace the Islamic Republic’s so-called reformers. While the MKO tend to dismiss any criticism as pro-regime propaganda, the simple facts are these:

  • The MKO have, at best, only a miniscule following inside Iran. This is because they sided with Iran’s enemies during the Iran-Iraq war and conducted terrorism inside Iran which may have killed hated regime officials, but also murdered ordinary Iranians. Supporters often point to the MKO’s “discovery” of Iran’s covert nuclear program but, here it seems that the MKO was simply laundering information for a foreign intelligence service that did not want its own fingerprints on the operation. While in that case, the Iranian government was caught red-handed, much of the information the MKO announced likewise has turned out to be nonsense.
  • To support the MKO is to provide a regime-strengthening gift to the Islamic Republic. Most Iranians do not support their government (they are not revolutionary; past experience, lies, and repression have instead made them both cynical and apathetic). They look more fondly upon the shah’s era than they did in the past, simply because the grass is always greener, and most also are proud of their own experiment with parliamentary democracy in the first decade of the twentieth century. But, the MKO is so overwhelmingly despised within Iran that external support for it plays into the Islamic Republic’s interests. As despised as the ayatollahs might be inside Iran, any bolstering of the MKO allows the regime to rally people around the flag; it also undercuts support for legitimate civil society inside Iran.

In the April 2010 issue of Commentary, I wrote about the case for regime change in Iran. The Obama administration approached Iran with obsequiousness, however. With Donald Trump in the White House, the idea of regime change inside Iran is again in the realm of public debate. Mark Dubowitz, chief executive officer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reportedly wrote a memo arguing for regime change touching on many of the same points which was circulated within the Trump administration. Many senators and even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have also described regime change as an admirable goal; they are right. Such regime change does not mean military action or overt US intervention — no one wants a repeat of Iraq — but rather recognizing that ordinary Iranians should be empowered to express and organize themselves and achieve a state in which every vote comes and every Iranian enjoys individual liberty.

There is nothing shameful about supporting independent Iranian labor unions. Quite the contrary, it is shameful that the Democratic Party and European Green movement avoid doing so. There is also nothing wrong with supporting Persian-language broadcasting that reports on those subjects like corruption and Shi’ite pluralism which Iranian journalists inside Iran are forbidden to address. Nor is there anything wrong with encouraging political pluralism.

The problem inside the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been its aggressive, destabilizing ideology more than its quest for nuclear weapons. If a peaceful, liberal, democratic Iran has a nuclear weapons capability, it would be far from ideal, but it would not create the anxiety which a nuclear weapons-possessing Islamic Republic of Iran does. If the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has fallen short of the goal of permanently hobbling Iran’s nuclear ambition thanks to the sunset clauses which the overly ambitious Secretary of State John Kerry agreed, then that makes the case for regime change the best possible alternative. How sad it is, then, that so many progressives would condemn Iranians to live under a tyranny against which they have chafed for decades, and so many formal officials would effectively aid the regime in exchange for an honorarium check. If American officials and diplomats truly recognize that the Islamic Republic is destabilizing, is a state sponsor of terrorism, and is a nuclear aspirant, then they must cease undercutting true opposition to the Islamic Republic. Neither naiveté nor greed are excuses to undercut liberty and endanger US national security. It’s time to recognize that Islamic Republic reformists and MKO acolytes are really two sides of the same coin: engines which empower a noxious regime.

(END)

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Under President Macron, France can play a pivotal role in Western relations with Iran

Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=8287

What is John McCain thinking? 

Michael Rubin, AEIdeas, April 04 2017:… No one supports the notion of replacing the existing regime with something that is hardly better. With this meeting, McCain has embraced the enemy of our enemy in the Tehran regime, but he has also embraced the enemy of the Iranian people, for whom for so long he has been a valiant champion. Iran can do better than the MEK as it seeks to replace the reprehensible dictatorship now in charge. And so can we … 

The MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialist inspired murder of six Americans in pre-revolution Iran which it later celebrated in songs and publications

Link to the source

What is John McCain thinking?

How disappointing it is then to see this press release from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, an Iranian opposition group also known as the Mujahedin al-Khalq (MEK or MKO):

[On] Friday, April 14, 2017, Senator John McCain, Chair of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Maryam Rajavi in Tirana. They discussed the latest developments in Iran, the Iranian regime’s criminal meddling in the region, as well as the future prospects. Maryam Rajavi expressed her appreciations to Senator McCain for his unsparing efforts in support of the MEK from Ashraf and their relocation out of Iraq…. On the recent developments in the region, Maryam Rajavi noted, ‘The Iranian regime is responsible for committing war crimes in Syria and it must be evicted from that country. Aside from its valuable humanitarian aspect, I believe this is the right policy from a merely political standpoint.’

So far, so good. But the press release continues:

The Chair of the US Senate Armed Services Committee told MEK members, ‘You have stood up and fought and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your own future, for the rights that are God given.’ ‘I thank you for being an example, an example to the whole world, that those people who are willing to fight and sacrifice for freedom will achieve it, and you are an example to everyone in the world that is struggling for (freedom),’ Senator McCain remarked. Senator McCain lauded Maryam Rajavi’s leadership. He declared, ‘Someday, Iran will be free. Someday, we will all gather in that square.’

Let’s put aside the question about whether the press release quoting McCain is accurate: McCain is savvy enough to understand imagery and that the MEK uses his presence to signify endorsement.

But, if the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee chooses to signal his support for the group, what’s the big deal? After all doesn’t the Mujahedin al-Khalq oppose the Islamic Republic of Iran? Enemy of my enemy etc? Unfortunately, not really.

Consider the Mujahedin al-Khalq’s history: It began as a reaction to the growth of Western liberal thought in Iran, embraced anti-American terrorism in the 1970s, and became a significant backer to the Islamic Revolution in Iran before revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini ordered them purged. The Mujahedin responded with terrorism directed not just at the Islamic Republic’s top officials, but at the population at large. At its peak in July 1982, the group assassinated, on average, three regime officials per day. The straw that broke the camel’s back in Iranian public perception was that they sided with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War. In effect, they became to ordinary Iranians what John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, became to the American public.

I spent about seven months in post-revolutionary Iran while working on my doctoral dissertation. As an American traveling around in the mid-1990s, I was somewhat of a novelty and Iranians would seek to talk to me on buses, in hotel lobbies, in taxis, and in restaurants. Few had anything good to say about the Islamic Republic but none had any kind word for the Mujahedin al-Khalq.

After Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the leadership of the organization changed its tune. Whereas once they had embraced Marxism, Islamism, and then during their Iraqi exile, Baathism, they suddenly reinvented themselves rhetorically as democrats. The problem is that they still operate, if not as terrorists, as a totalitarian cult. Masoud and Maryam Rajavi can even tell members who to marry and divorce. Whereas McCain and other U.S. officials were right to condemn the massacre of the Mujahedin all-Khalq by Iranian forces and their Iraqi proxy militias, this does not mean that the group needs to be tolerated or embraced in any way, shape, or form.

The animosity Iranians feel toward the Mujahedin al-Khalq is such that any Western flirtation with Rajavi and the Mujahedin al-Khalq plays into the Islamic Republic’s propaganda, allows Tehran to rally Iranians around the flag, and hampers rather than catalyzes regime change.

It is perfectly acceptable to oppose the Islamic Republic—indeed, it is morally curious how so many policymakers can ignore its racism, terrorism, and genocidal incitement. But no one supports the notion of replacing the existing regime with something that is hardly better. With this meeting, McCain has embraced the enemy of our enemy in the Tehran regime, but he has also embraced the enemy of the Iranian people, for whom for so long he has been a valiant champion. Iran can do better than the MEK as it seeks to replace the reprehensible dictatorship now in charge. And so can we.

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McCain Is the MEK’s Newest Fan (aka Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)

ISIS ISIL Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult Flaqsgrooming Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult) in Tirana part of bigger agenda for Albania

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=8148

Clarification: Trump-Iranian Exiles story (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult) 

Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRIAssociated 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. … 

مریم رجوی رودی جولیانی الین چاو تروریسم قتل جنایتNational Security: Could Maryam Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq) blackmail her friends in high places – Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich

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link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans

(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)

Link to the source

Clarification: Trump-Iranian Exiles story (Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult)

A Feb. 5 story by The Associated Press on contacts between people associated with the Trump administration and the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, known as the MEK, stated as fact long-standing accusations against the group, including its alleged responsibility for the killing of Americans in the 1970s.

The U.S. State Department and the FBI concluded that the group carried out those killings, and claims of responsibility were made at the time in the name of the MEK. However, the story should have stated higher up that the current MEK leadership disavows the killings, as well as several other allegations.

The story also omitted the reason the State Department delisted the group as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012: The U.S. government acknowledged that the organization had renounced violence and had committed no terrorist acts for more than a decade.

A revised version of the story follows:

An official in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and at least one of his advisers gave paid speeches to organizations linked to an Iranian exile group widely accused of killing Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, running donation scams and seeing its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader.

Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK.

More than two dozen former U.S. officials, both Republican and Democratic, have spoken before the MEK, including former House Speaker and Trump adviser Newt Gingrich. Some have publicly acknowledged being paid, but others have not.

While nothing would have prohibited the paid speeches, they raise questions about what influence the exiles may have in the new administration.

Already, a group of former U.S. officials, including Giuliani, wrote a letter to Trump last month encouraging him to “establish a dialogue” with the MEK’s political arm. With Trump’s ban on Iranians entering the U.S., his administration’s call this week to put Iran “on notice” and the imposition of new sanctions on Friday, the exile group may find his administration more welcoming than any before.

A potential alliance with the MEK would link the U.S. to a group with a controversial history that has gone against American interests in the past by supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. After fleeing Iran, the MEK joined forces with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It later exposed details of the clandestine nuclear program run by Iran, which views the MEK as its sworn enemy.

“The Mujahedeen have backed the winning horse. They are going to have some at least entree into the administration,” said Ervand Abrahamian, a professor at the City University of New York who wrote a book on the MEK. “I think it weakens the U.S. because the more they have access to the administration, the more people in Iran are going to be scared of anything the U.S. does.”

The MEK denies responsibility for the killing of Americans in the 1970s, blaming a splinter faction. It also denies financial misdeeds and cultism, and says it has been unjustly demonized by its foes.

The group waged a long political struggle in Europe and the United States to be removed from lists of terrorist organizations. The Obama administration officially lifted that designation in 2012, with then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying she was satisfied that the MEK had publicly renounced violence and had committed no confirmed acts of terrorism for more than a decade.

In a letter to The Associated Press, the group’s spokesman in Paris, Shahin Gobadi, dismissed the accusations against it now as “stale and threadbare.”

“THE AYATOLLAH MUST GO”

The MEK long has cultivated a roster of former U.S. and European officials to attend its events opposing Iran’s clerically-run government. It pays for the appearance of many.

Standing before a cheering crowd of MEK supporters in Paris in 2015, Giuliani didn’t disappoint.

“The ayatollah must go! Gone! Out! No more!” Giuliani shouted in a speech as American flags waved behind him on giant screens.

“I will not support anyone for president of the United States who isn’t clear on that slogan behind me. What does it say? It says regime change!”

Giuliani has acknowledged being paid for his appearances at MEK events. However, he hasn’t filed a government disclosure form since his failed 2008 Republican presidential bid, so it’s unclear how much the MEK has paid him in total. Giuliani did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment sent through his aides.

As Giuliani spoke in Paris, behind him were a host of other former officials on stage, including Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. A former director of the Peace Corps and a labor secretary under President George W. Bush, Chao gave a much more subdued speech focusing on women’s rights.

“While discrimination against women (has) been outlawed in other countries, Iran has been legalizing it,” Chao said. “While other countries are empowering women, Iran has been penalizing them.”

Chao had a seat of honor at the Paris event next to Maryam Rajavi, the “president-elect” of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political arm of the MEK. She received a $50,000 honorarium from the MEK-associated Alliance for Public Awareness, according to a report she filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Chao received another $17,500 honorarium for a March 2016 speech she gave to the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri, which MEK opponents also link to the exile group.

The Department of Transportation said in a statement that Chao has a “strong record of speaking out in support of democracy and women’s rights in the Middle East,” but “has not spoken to MEK events.”

It added that her speeches were delivered alongside bipartisan members of Congress, governors, prime ministers, ambassadors, generals, former FBI Directors and “many other influential voices.”

Gingrich has also spoken to the MEK before, including at a gala in 2016, although it is not clear whether or how much he was paid. Gingrich could not be reached for comment. The White House also had no comment.

The MEK welcomes the incoming Trump government, as “some people within this administration” plan to change American policies toward Iran, said Mohammad Mohaddessin, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of its political arm.

“The core of the policy that we are advocating is to be tough with the Iranian regime, to not ignore its crimes against the Iranian people,” Mohaddessin told the AP.

The U.S. Treasury briefly investigated the MEK’s practice of paying American politicians in 2012. A Treasury spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment about the status of that probe.

———

“THE KILLING OF TWO AMERICANS, THIS WAS WORK OF MOVEMENT MUJAHEDEEN”

The MEK was formed by radicalized university students in 1965. It embraced both Marxism and the idea of an Islamic government after the violent overthrow of the American-backed shah. Their name, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, means “the People’s Holy Warriors.”

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. Col. Lewis L. Hawkins, the deputy chief of the U.S. military mission to Tehran, as he walked home from work, according to the State Department.

In 1975, gunmen attacked a car carrying two American airmen, killing them. Hours later, American consular officials received a call claiming the attack for the MEK in revenge for Iran executing prisoners.

“This was work of Movement Mujahedeen of Iran,” the caller said, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable.

In the three years that followed, the MEK killed three American employees of defense contractor Rockwell International and a Texaco executive, according to the State Department and others.

“The Mujahedeen are xenophobic,” a once-secret 1981 CIA assessment on the group said. “Anti-Americanism and anti-imperialism provide cornerstones for the policies.”

The MEK, which now describes itself as being “committed to a secular, democratic, non-nuclear republic” in Iran, blames a Marxist splinter faction of the group for killing the Americans.

After joining in the Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the MEK quickly fell out of favor with Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The MEK declared war on Iran in June 1981. Within days, a bomb exploded at the headquarters of the Khomeini-directed Islamic Republican Party in Tehran, killing at least 72 people.

A series of assassinations and attacks followed as MEK leaders and associates fled to Paris. Later expelled from France, the MEK found haven in Iraq amid its grinding, bloody war with Iran. Heavily armed by dictator Saddam Hussein, MEK forces launched cross-border raids into Iran.

After Iran accepted terms of a United Nations cease-fire in 1988, the MEK sent 7,000 fighters over the border. The attack further alienated the group from average Iranians.

The MEK says it renounced violence in 2001. But the U.S. Army’s official history of the Iraq invasion in 2003 says MEK forces “fought against coalition forces” for the first weeks of the war, something the MEK denies.

In the chaotic years after the invasion, the MEK itself became a target of violence. The worst came in September 2013, when at least 52 members were shot dead.

Thousands of MEK members were ultimately resettled in Albania.

———

“CULT-LIKE CHARACTERISTICS”

After siding with Saddam, the MEK’s popularity in Iran plummeted. To boost its ranks, the group increasingly began targeting Iranians applying for visas abroad in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, promising them work, aid in moving to Western countries and even marriage, according to RAND.

“Most of these ‘recruits’ were brought into Iraq illegally and then required to hand over their identity documents for ‘safekeeping,’” RAND said. “Thus, they were effectively trapped.”

The MEK also forced its members to divorce their spouses and separated parents from their children, which the State Department described as “cult-like characteristics.” RAND and Abrahamian, the university professor, said the MEK dictated how much its members slept, giving them busy-work tasks and controlling what outside news they consume.

For years, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi, the husband of Maryam Rajavi, hasn’t been seen publicly and is presumed to have died, Abrahamian said. MEK members call him the “Hidden Imam” who will return to Earth as a messiah, Abrahamian said.

When French police arrested Maryam Rajavi in 2003 as part of a terrorism investigation, MEK members responded by lighting themselves on fire in Paris and other European cities. The MEK denies it is a cult.

Over the years, the MEK has been targeted in a series of investigations around the world for running charity scams.

An FBI probe found MEK members hustled travelers arriving to Los Angeles International Airport, asking them to donate after showing them binders of photographs of disaster or torture victims. The money instead went to banks in Belgium, France, Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to “support MEK operations and activities, including terrorist activities,” a 2007 indictment against seven members said.

In Britain, authorities dissolved a charity in 2001 allegedly associated with the MEK that had made an estimated 5 million pounds a year. Its investigation found some donors “were misled into believing they were personally sponsoring individual children when this was not in fact the case.”

In the 2003 raids in France, police found $1.3 million, mostly in $100 bills, at MEK-affiliated properties.

Mohaddessin, the MEK foreign policy chairman, blames the investigations on a concerted misinformation campaign carried out by Iran. The Islamic Republic has imprisoned and executed the group’s members for years.

“These allegations are absolutely false,” Mohaddessin said. “There are many cases that were fabricated by the Iranian regime and their agents.”

Iran also has alleged the MEK receives foreign support. After the assassination of four nuclear scientists, Iran accused Israel of training and equipping MEK fighters who committed the killings. The MEK called the accusation “absolutely false” at the time, while Israel declined to comment.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia increasingly has shown support for the MEK as it faces off with Iran in wars in Syria and Yemen. The kingdom’s state-run television channels have featured MEK events and comments. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the nation’s former intelligence chief, even appeared in July at an MEK rally in Paris.

“I want to topple the regime too,” the prince said to cheers.

———

“SKILLED MANIPULATORS OF PUBLIC OPINION”

From protests at the United Nations to their Paris rallies, the MEK has proven over the years to be effective at getting attention.

RAND in 2009 called the group “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” A U.S. diplomatic cable from February of that year released by WikiLeaks described their “extravagantly hospitable, exaggeratedly friendly, culturally-attuned manner.” The cable also mentioned that the MEK had “a history of using intimidation and terrorism for its ends,” which Mohaddessin called an allegation from the Iranian regime.

The MEK’s success in getting former U.S. officials behind them could be seen in a letter dated Jan. 9 sent to Trump just days before his inauguration.

“We repeat the call for the U.S. government to establish a dialogue with Iran’s exile resistance,” read the letter, signed by Giuliani and others.

However, exile groups haven’t always been proven to be reliable American allies in the Middle East. Exiled Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, for instance, heavily lobbied the administration of President George W. Bush to invade by pushing false allegations of weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.

But while the MEK continues to pay former U.S. officials for their time, the family of the American lieutenant colonel killed in 1975 has filed a $35 million federal lawsuit in Colorado against the group and Iran.

The reason for the lawsuit, Lt. Col. Jack Turner’s family says, is simple: “Unlike the U.S. hostages, our father never had the chance to come home.”

———

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap.

(End)

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Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRI

رودی جولیانی و دونالد ترامپ مجاهدین خلف قرفه رجویAmbassador Daniel Benjaminan and Ambassador Daniel Fried on Mojahedin Khalq Terrorist designation and Camp Ashraf
(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

Remember.Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) was one of the excuses of US attacking Iraq

عربستان سعودی مجاهدین خلق داعش و تروریسمIran: Joint Takfiri – MKO plot against Iran failed (aka: Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, Rjavi cult)

زهره قائمی فرمانده ترور صیاد شیرازیBBC: Who are the Iranian dissident group MEK? (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, PMOI, …) 

Captain Lewis Lee Hawkins
(Photograph courtesy Annette Hawkins)

Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)

Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf). 
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)

Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=8131

Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook 

Col. Jack Turner Col. Paul ShafferMassoud 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 of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.

(Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, by Kenneth Katzman. Washington, Nov 1992. 6 p.
Doc. call no.: M-U 42953-1 no.92-824F)

Link to the source

Trump’s MEK version of events won’t secure victory against Iran, lets ISIS off the hook

Rudi Giuliani, Maryam Rajavi and Elaine Chao

مسعود خدابنده

Massoud Khodabandeh

They say actions speak louder than words. Looking behind the Twitter storm which creates a smoke and mirrors effect to disguise the Trump administration’s true intents, one fact is blindingly clear; for this government, Iranians are first in the firing line.

This, of itself, is not unexpected. On the campaign trail Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran. So it was already clear he’s no fan of Iranians.

His first act as president has been to issue a direct and belligerent challenge to Iran – he included Iran in the Muslim ban and then declared that Iran is “on notice” after Iran test-fired a ballistic missile which it says is defensive. Iran is clearly in the crosshairs for Trump and his team.

And the evidence stacks up. As a barometer for any individual or even government’s aggressive approach to Iran, support for the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK aka Rajavi cult) is as accurate an indicator as any. The group has advocated violent regime change against Iran for three decades. Its supporters are in doubt that this is a rallying cry for a US-led war.

Even before taking office, revelations about potential Trump administration advisers and officials giving support to the terrorist MEK cult caused concern among foreign policy experts. After all, anti-Iran pundits can choose from literally thousands of civil groups and personalities to act as advisors and partners in challenging Iran. The MEK’s dirty past includes the anti-Imperialistinspired murder of six Americans in pre-revolution Iran which it later celebrated insongs and publications. (The family of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Turner – “We were the first victims of terror before there was ever a war on terror” – is currently seeking redress for his death.) The new president has apparently brushed aside such concerns and has chosen to surround himself with people who have advocated for the MEK.

Col. Jack Turner and Col. Paul Shaffer victims of Mojahedin Khalq terror campaign

By not denouncing the MEK Trump has done several things. One is to signal that he is at war not with Iran but with Iranians. The MEK is hated more profoundly than any of Iran’s current political leaders by Iranians inside and outside the country.

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 of Iran. Trump clearly has no intention of defeating terrorism.

But most importantly, this tolerance, even warmth, shown toward the MEK in American foreign policy circles is a message that can be read from afar and by everyone else in the world: the American war box is virtually empty. Aside from a handful of puny sanctions, bringing the MEK into the equation means that not only does the America not have a stick to wave at Iran, it appears foolish enough, befuddled by ideological zeal perhaps, to tie its fate to the most unlucky and doom-laden group there ever was.

Laughably, parasitically, the MEK has consistently tied its fate to whichever it assumed was the winning side. However, the choice of MEK sponsors no longer looks so astute. Ayatollah Khomeini quickly saw through the MEK’s smarmy overtures to share power and promptly exiled them from Iran. The next step was to ally with Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war – a feat of spectacular treachery for which no Iranian will ever forgive them. After Saddam’s fall the MEK believed that the chaos in Iraq which gave rise to the insurrection of Al Qaida in Iraq would somehow carry them forward. The MEK even flirted with support for ISIS and the Syrian Free Army hoping they would find a home in the new Caliphate. Instead, the MEK were evicted from their base and sent into deeper exile in Albania, a country with no axe to grind against Iran. Long term sponsors have included Israel – which tasked MEK operatives with the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists – and the anti-Shia Saudi Arabia. Both countries are bogged down with interminable troubles of their own. And now the MEK are hoping to cosy up with the Trump administration.

The Obama administration kept the MEK at arms’ length and never entertained direct support for the group. When the government of Iraq held the US, along with the UN, responsible for removing the MEK from Iraq to a third country, the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to agree to remove the MEK from the US terrorism list before any third country would legally be able to accept them on their territory.

Since 2001 Trump’s predecessors have built up strong homeland defences and led counter-terrorism efforts particularly against the threat of ISIS to the US and Europe. It is now likely that this legacy will be squandered by an administration with an overriding hatred of Iran. Instead of understanding the benefit of developing strategic partnerships with countries like Iran and Iraq in the global fight against terrorism, the Trump administration would rather rain down terror on the Iranian people.

But the biggest delusion would be to believe that the MEK could be a reliable or effective partner in any sense. If Donald Trump has any insight into his own modus operandi – the erratic demands and refusal to take criticism – he will have a direct view of how the MEK operates. Aligning America’s foreign policy with the whims of a mind control cult will not secure victory over Iran. Instead, it will diminish America’s standing in the world, and it will certainly not make the world a better or safer place.

(END)

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Massoud Khodabandeh: The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Its Media Strategy:
Methods of Information Manufacture

Some related documents:

Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)

Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf). 
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)

Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)

link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans

(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)

مریم رجوی رودی جولیانی الین چاو تروریسم قتل جنایتDonald Trump pick Elaine Chao was paid by ‘cult-like’ group that killed Americans (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)

زهره قائمی فرمانده ترور صیاد شیرازیBBC: Who are the Iranian dissident group MEK? (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, PMOI, …) 

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Also read:
http://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/?p=8004

Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth 

مسعود خدابندهMassoud 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 … 

تعلیم دیدگان صدام مجاهدین خلق رجوی از عراق تا آلبانیAlbanian citizens fearful of radicalised Mojahedin Khalq neighbours deserve more information

Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, Rajavi cult)’s Fake Intelligence On Aleppo Only Hinders Fact-finding Bodies Finding The Truth

Link to the source (Huffington Post)
Also on WOW.com 

Massoud Khodabandeh Director at Middle East Strategy Consultants.

An article published in the Washington Times Security section claims that (yet again) the Mojahedin Khalq (aka MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult, Saddam’s Private Army) has provided intelligence to the West on Iranian crimes and atrocities. However, in terms of actual intelligence revelations, the article should more properly have sat in the Opinion section.

In this post-truth era, it almost goes without saying that facts and fiction rub shoulders in most of the articles reporting on Syria and Aleppo from all sides. But if Western journalists had no presence in Aleppo and uncritically reported hearsay and opinion to support their own agendas, think then what the MEK’s reporting is based on.

The MEK pretends it has some kind of insider knowledge which it can apparently tap into whenever it needs to make a point. Iran, however, has made no secret of its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Newspapers and state run media probably tell us in much greater detail than the Washington Times report about the deployment of fighters and how they are funded. The dead from this conflict are mourned very publicly inside Iran. It is disingenuous of the MEK to merely recycle this information as a ‘revelation’


NCRI spokesman deceives gullible U.S. officials and journalists with misinformation

But the MEK is notorious for its role as a misinformation and propaganda outlet. Variously over the years, the MEK has been exposed for false reporting and intelligence in issues such as the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. After passing one piece of genuine intelligence in 2002 which it was given by Mossad, the MEK continued to pass fake information to the IAEA so as to disrupt the negotiation process, and to enable the US to impose severe sanctions against Iran. In 2015 the MEK ‘shock revelation’ of a secret nuclear facility in Iran – intended to derail ongoing nuclear negotiations – when subjected to just a little bit of investigatory journalism was soon revealed as sheer fabrication. The MEK similarly muddied the waters of truth during investigations into the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina in 1994 for which MEK supplied intelligence implicated Iran.


NCRI ‘shock revelation’ turned out to be taken from an advertising brochure

Iran and Russia’s behaviour and agendas have their own place in these issues which should be rigorously investigated and reported. But 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 from the NCRI site of Maryam Rajavi. The NCRI site then reposts its own report as though it originated in the Washington Times and both, without further verification, get taken up by Fox News.

(END)

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Maryam Rajavi Saddam's private army NCRIIntroducing Maryam Rajavi as a human rights activist is the wrong tool for the wrong job

The Life of Camp Ashraf Mojahedin-e Khalq – Victims of Many Masters By Anne Singleton and Massoud Khodabandeh

Also read:

  • Michael Rubin, AEIdeas, April 04 2017:… No one supports the notion of replacing the existing regime with something that is hardly better. With this meeting, McCain has embraced the enemy of our enemy in the Tehran regime, but he has also embraced the enemy of the Iranian people, for whom for so long he has been a valiant champion. Iran can do better than the MEK as it seeks to replace the reprehensible dictatorship now in charge. And so can we … 

    Michael Rubin, Community Magazine, November 15 2016:… If the goal of the Trump administration is to contain, weaken, and roll back the influence of the Islamic Republic, then outreach to the MKO is the worst possible move because it would rally Iranians around the flag and strengthen the current regime. The simple fact is this: if there is any consensus within Iran, it is that the MKO is the only thing worse than … 

    Michael Rubin, Commentary, April 29 2014: … The Mujahedin al-Khalq may be a lot of things, but it is neither progressive nor is it non-violent. Progressive movements tend not to dictate to women who to marry and who to divorce. It has its roots in the same Islamist currents that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini drank from, and only abandoned the Islamic Republic when its revolutionary …

    Michael Rubin, Commentary Magazine, December 17 2013: … And while MKO spokesmen may castigate the Iraqi government and the Iranian regime, the real victims of the MKO lay within the group itself. Camp Liberty—the successor to Camp Ashraf—exists as much if not more to keep MKO members insulated from the real world and under the control of MKO leader Maryam Rajavi’s commissars …

    Michael Rubin, Commentary, July 08 2013: … No longer being considered a terrorist group does not make the MKO democratic, however, as anyone who has ever studied their internal workers can attest. It is against this backdrop that this diary, written by a Kyrgyz student recruited to attend an MKO rally in Paris, is so interesting. It seems that the MKO leaders must now not only pay speakers …