Iran Interlink November 03 2017:… Homeira Mohammad Nejad from the Women’s Association wrote an analytical article in which she explains that nowadays the MEK has abandoned celebration of everything except two events – 30th June (marking the self-immolations of 2004) and 20thOctober (the anniversary of Maryam Rajavi’s internal ‘election’ as president-elect of Iran). Everything else has been abandoned. There are two reasons. One is that …
Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – November 03, 2017
++ Homeira Mohammad Nejad from the Women’s Association wrote an analytical article in which she explains that nowadays the MEK has abandoned celebration of everything except two events – 30th June (marking the self-immolations of 2004) and 20thOctober (the anniversary of Maryam Rajavi’s internal ‘election’ as president-elect of Iran). Everything else has been abandoned. There are two reasons. One is that people are already leaving in droves, so the group can’t afford to revive or to promote the idea of armed struggle for fear of alienating more. The group is now moving further toward lobbying rather than raising any hopes for active participation in regime change. The other reason is they are seriously afraid of the backlash of the Albanian people who don’t like them at all. The MEK has chosen these two events and done away with its logos and slogans and only promotes pictures of Maryam Rajavi in the hope people will forget who they really are and regard them as benign. This behaviour is obviously not of their choice. The MEK is instructed by its benefactors, such as the Saudis, what to do so that they will be paid.
++ Faramarz Dadras, a political analyst, has posted on his Facebook how sensitive the issue of Massoud Rajavi’s death is for the MEK. He says that apart from this being a product of its cult behaviour, there is credible information that a lot of money is involved and the MEK doesn’t want to announce his death because of this inheritance. His son and wife and wider family are squabbling over the money. This is most unfair, writes Dadras, because those who love him – the members – are not being given the chance to mourn him.
++ Sahar Family Foundation has been inundated by articles and commentary by former MEK members in Albania – with and without names. One of them to mention is titled ‘Tormenting Us with Our Bread’. The writer says that ex-members complain “our bread is in their hands and they are playing with us over that, offering it and withdrawing it with conditions”. The ex-members blame the Americans saying “we know that they know the MEK are doing this to us. They are holding us hostage, saying ‘do as you are told for your money, if you don’t you will not be allowed to eat or have a place to sleep’.”
++ In Iran, Habilian Association published a piece by Khosro Ghanbari Tehrani – famous among the founders of Iran’s Intelligence Agency after the Revolution. He has historically been involved in many areas but now teaches in university. His argument is called ‘The First Bent Brick’. He explains that the MEK was founded on warped principles and actions and therefore Rajavi was able to take advantage of that to build his own warped empire.
++ Merh News and Press TV report the reaction of Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, to renewed American sanctions. He says that after thirty years of such “threadbare and futile” actions, “US congress has turned into an automated machine of passing sanctions against Iran”. Larijani says he believes such actions against the Iranian nation results in greater unity and resistance against these pressures. He also dismissed the latest report by UN human rights rapporteur Asma Jahangir saying it reflects the views of Iran’s enemies, including the MEK.
++ Philip Giraldi writes ‘The Rise of MEK/NCRI in Washington: Pay Off The Right People and You Are No Longer A Terrorist’. The article in the American Herald Tribune describes how money has been used to whitewash the MEK’s history. He concludes, “The emergence of NCRI [aka MEK] at this time is just another fool’s game with the usual Washington crowd queuing up for a bad cause because they are both lining their pockets and thinking they are helping Israel by punishing Iran. In any event it is a poor bargain for the rest of us, but that hardly seems to matter anymore.”
++ Nejat Society in Semnan, Iran held a meeting in which five MEK formers signed a petition to bring Massoud and Maryam Rajavi to justice and face a fair international court for their crimes against humanity. They asked the UNHCR and the Albanian government to facilitate visits for MEK members in Tirana by their families.
++ Yuram Abdullah Weiler writes in the American Herald Tribune that under Donald Trump, Iran is again being accused through the US media of covertly pursuing nuclear arms. “Fox News has announced that the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)… has once again managed to obtain ‘intelligence’ relating to a covert nuclear weapons program hidden skillfully from the peering eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors.” Weiler exposes Alireza Jafarzadeh – a Fox News ‘consultant’ – as a long-term member of the terrorist MEK whose previous ‘revelations’ of Iran’s activities have been found to be fake.
Legal representative meets with UNHCR in Tirana to clarify the status of MEK defectors (aka MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
Av. MB. Lawyer, Sahar Family Foundation, Tirana, Albania, October 16 2017:… Furthermore, the lawyer asked why the UNHCR does not support the MEK defectors, who after leaving the organization end up in the street and without any support? By not supporting these people who want to enjoy their personal freedoms that democracy guarantees, the UNHCR was not helping these people who deserve to live in freedom in a democracy. The UNHCR representatives responded …
Legal representative meets with UNHCR in Tirana to clarify the status of MEK defectors
By Av. M.B., Lawyer
On October 9, 2017 an Albanian lawyer and a representative of some defectors from the Mojahedin Khalq organization (MEK) met with officials of the UNHCR in Tirana, Albania. The meeting had been requested on 27 September by the lawyer acting on behalf of two defectors from the MEK who want to know what their future relation with their UNHCR will be.
The lawyer and one MEK defector were received at the offices of the UNHCR in Tirana by H. Balla from the Office of Legal Protection, and H. Khan who is responsible for the MEK members in Albania.
The lawyer acting on behalf of her clients demanded explanations from UNHCR officials regarding the status of her clients in Albania, their economic difficulties and their legal status.
During the discussions H. Khan, who was responsible for the re-settlement of MEK members from Iraq in Albania, clarified a number of items for the lawyer. He explained that the UNHCR had helped the MEK to relocate to Albania to save them from the threats they were receiving in Iraq. The UNHCR had been paying MEK members in Iraq but now that they had settled in Albania they were no longer the responsibility of the UNHCR. Contrary to the claims of MEK defectors that the UNHCR pays 500 EUROs monthly to MEK members, the UNHCR representative explained that the UNHCR no longer pays any money to the MEK for its members. He said that the MEK has its own budget. It has an agreement with the Albanian state and it is responsible for paying its members and defectors alike, since this was one of the points of the understanding that the MEK, the Americans and the Albanian state had agreed once they were transferred to Albania.
The UNHCR for its part was trying to help MEK members to integrate into Albanian society by providing training for them and through an agreement that it had with an Albanian NGO, the Refugee and Migrant Services (RMSA), which was helping MEK members with their social needs.
During the discussions, the MEK defector complained to the UNHCR about the way the MEK was blackmailing its members in Albania, enslaving them, using psychological threats and blackmail and threatening them with slander. The defector described the spying network that the MEK has created against its own members who are deserting the organization en-mass. He complained that the MEK was keeping its members totally isolated, prohibiting them from talking to their families in Iran and throughout the world, and if one member is caught talking to his family or to another defector he is immediately expelled from the organization and is accused of being an agent of Iran.
The defector revealed how the MEK had enslaved many of its members for the past 30 years, and now that they were living in a democratic country like Albania, this organization was still blackmailing them, keeping them isolated and not allowing them to enjoy the freedoms of democracy and civic life.
The lawyer told the UNHCR officials that these claims have been presented to her by many other defectors who live in a state of fear and intimidation from this organization, which claims that it will bring democracy to Iran. She asked the UNHCR representatives if they were aware that the MEK was intimidating and threatening even the families of MEK members who have come to Albania to meet their loved ones. She disclosed to UNHCR representatives that in a number of cases, family members of MEK members had been detained and threatened even by the Albanian police whenever they had come to Albania and tried to contact their relatives.
The lawyer asked how can this organization speak of democracy when it treats its members in such an inhumane way, which is a criminal offense according to Albanian laws? She asked the UNHCR about its stance towards these criminal allegations that defectors are making against this totalitarian organization which claims to fight for democracy and human rights? How could the UNHCR work with and support such a totalitarian and enslaving organization? They asked UNHCR staff if they were aware that this organization is acting against human rights conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Albania has signed, and was denying its members freedom of thought, freedom to create a family, freedom of movement, freedom of association and was treating many of its members as slaves.
Furthermore, the lawyer asked why the UNHCR does not support the MEK defectors, who after leaving the organization end up in the street and without any support? By not supporting these people who want to enjoy their personal freedoms that democracy guarantees, the UNHCR was not helping these people who deserve to live in freedom in a democracy.
The UNHCR representatives responded that the behavior of the MEK towards its members has to be judged by the Albanian government and within the framework of the agreement it has with the MEK. The lawyer pointed out that this agreement has not been made public or submitted to scrutiny and so nobody knows what has actually been agreed. What was clear is that as the situation stands at present this agreement is in contravention of UNHCR rules and human rights legislation because clearly neither the MEK members nor the defectors and nor their families are not being accorded their proper civil or human rights.
When the lawyer asked about their legal status and what the UNHCR is contributing towards this issue – since many of them have no work permits and their legal status is described as humanitarian refugees – the UNHCR responded that they are working with the Albanian government to clarify their status.
They suggested that the lawyer acting on their behalf must contact the Interior Ministry of Albania since this body is responsible for their residence in the country.
The lawyer asked the UNHCR representatives whether they do pay some MEK members. The UNHCR representatives said that yes, they do pay some members, on a case by case basis, but not everyone. They were paying the accommodation of M. A. a defector who was in a desperate situation.
The MEK defector who was in the meeting said that the help M. A. was receiving was minimal. He was able only to buy just few kilograms of oil, flour and sugar to eat for a whole month.
The legal representative of the UNHCR admitted that support for the MEK members in Albania was a big problem. He said that even the Albanian government will not support the refugees for more than six months. The government gives them accommodation, food and after six months they are on their own.
But the difficult case of MEK members was exacerbated since they were taken to Albania on a humanitarian basis and not as asylum seekers. They have no work permits and cannot integrate into the society.
The defector claimed that the UNHCR had in the past paid MEK members 500 EUROs per month in their accounts. However, H. Khan explained that this was no longer the case. The UNHCR had given financial support to MEK members in 2016 but now it has run out of money. He said that the support of MEK members and defectors was the duty of the MEK which brought them into the country and the Albanian government who agreed to host the Mojahedin.
The defector said that the Albanian office of asylum had told MEK members that in 2018 some humanitarian organization might take over the financial care of MEK members in Albania. But the situation of the defectors remains unclear and this means that many MEK defectors will continue to suffer and struggle for their economic survival in Albania.
The defector explained that many families of MEK members want to contact their loved ones in the MEK so that they can provide them with support and assistance. But the MEK’s refusal to allow this contact and the Albanian government’s compliance with this ban means they are forced to remain with the MEK or become destitute. This was not an acceptable situation when many people could be helped by their own families and not depend on handouts from any organization.
The conclusion of this meeting was that many MEK members who want to defect from this ex-terrorist organization, who do not want to be considered as combatants and want instead to live in freedom and liberty have no option but to stay with the organization. If they choose to leave the MEK and enjoy the freedoms and democracy of Albania, to marry, have children and create families like all other free human beings, they will suffer economic hardship and blackmail from the MEK whose spies monitor and intimidate the defectors. They will be accused by the MEK of being Iran’s agents and no one will help them. They do not speak Albanian, have no skills, the vast majority has no work permits and cannot find jobs in impoverished Albania. They have no passports and no possibility to settle in other richer countries in Europe. The only option that many MEK members have is to stick it out with the MEK in its camps in Albania. They must live an isolated life in which they are also thereby forced to agree to call for waging a terrorist war against Iran.
At the end of the meeting the UNHCR advised the lawyer and her clients to contact the Albanian office for asylum to clarify their status and situation. It was also suggested that the MEK should be taken to court and asked to pay for the defectors since the MEK had undertaken responsibility for their financial support after their transfer to Albania.
Përfaqësuesi ligjor takohet me UNHCR-në në Tiranë për të sqaruar statusin e dezertorëve të MEK
gazeta impakt –
October 17, 2017
Në datën 9 tetor 2017 një avokate shqiptare dhe një përfaqësues i disa të larguarve nga organizata Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) u takuan me zyrtarë të UNHCR-së në Tiranë, Shqipëri. Takimi ishte kërkuar më 27 shtator nga avokatja që vepron në emër të dy ish pjesëtarëve të larguar nga MEK, të cilët dëshirojnë të dinë se cila do të jetë marrëdhënia e tyre e ardhshme me UNHCR.
Avokatja dhe një i larguar nga MEK u pritën në zyrat e UNHCR-së në Tiranë nga H. Balla e zyrës së mbrojtjes ligjore dhe H. Khan i cili është përgjegjës për anëtarët e MEK-ut në Shqipëri.
Avokatja që vepronte në emër të klientëve kërkoi shpjegime nga zyrtarët e UNHCR lidhur me statusin e klientëve të tij në Shqipëri, vështirësitë e tyre ekonomike dhe statusin e tyre ligjor.
Gjatë diskutimeve, H. Khan, i cili ishte përgjegjës për rivendosjen e anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga Iraku në Shqipëri, sqaroi një numër çështjesh për avokaten. Ai shpjegoi se UNHCR-ja kishte ndihmuar MEK që të zhvendoset në Shqipëri për ti shpëtuar nga kërcënimet që ata po merrnin në Irak. UNHCR kishte paguar anëtarët e MEK-ut në Irak, por tani që ata ishin vendosur në Shqipëri nuk ishin më përgjegjësi e UNHCR-së. Në kundërshtim me pretendimet e MEK-ut se UNHCR paguan 500 EURO çdo muaj për anëtarët e MEK-ut, përfaqësuesi i UNHCR-it shpjegoi se UNHCR-ja nuk i paguan më para MEK-ut për anëtarët e saj. Ai tha se MEK ka buxhetin e vet. Mek ka një marrëveshje me shtetin shqiptar dhe është përgjegjës për pagimin e anëtarëve dhe të larguarve, pasi kjo ishte një nga pikat e mirëkuptimit që MEK, amerikanët dhe shteti shqiptar kishin rënë dakord pasi që ata të transferoheshin në Shqipëri.
UNHCR-ja nga ana e saj po përpiqej të ndihmonte anëtarët e MEK-ut që ti integrojë në shoqërinë shqiptare duke u ofruar trajnime atyre sipas një marrëveshje që kishte me një OJQ shqiptare, Shërbimin për Refugjatët dhe Migrantët (RMSA), e cili po ndihmon anëtarët e MEK-ut në bazë të nevojave sociale.
Gjatë diskutimeve, dezertori i MEK-ut iu ankua UNHCR-së për mënyrën se si MEK i shantazhon anëtarët e saj në Shqipëri, duke i skllavëruar ata, duke përdorur kërcënime psikologjike dhe shantazhe dhe duke i kërcënuar me shpifje. I larguari e përshkroi rrjetin e spiunimit që MEK kishte ngritur kundër anëtarëve të vet, të cilët po e braktisin organizatën në masë të madhe. Ai u ankua se MEK i mban anëtarët plotësisht të izoluar, duke i ndaluar ata të bisedonin me familjet e tyre në Iran dhe në të gjithë botën. Nëse një anëtar do kapej duke folur me familjen e tij ose me një tjetër person të larguar, ai menjëherë dëbohet nga organizata dhe akuzohet sikur është një agjent i Iranit.
I larguari tregoi se si MEK kishte skllavëruar shumë nga anëtarët e tij për 30 vitet e fundit dhe tani që ata jetonin në një vend demokratik si Shqipëria, kjo organizatë ende i shantazhonte ata, duke i mbajtur ata të izoluar dhe duke mos i lejuar ata të gëzonin liritë e demokracisë dhe jetën qytetare.
Avokatja u tha zyrtarëve të UNHCR-së se këto pretendime i janë paraqitur asaj edhe nga shumë dezertorë të tjerë që jetojnë në një gjendje frike dhe kërcënimi nga kjo organizatë, e cila pretendon se do të sjellë demokracinë në Iran. Avokatja kërkoi nga përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së të ishin të vetëdijshëm se MEK-u po i frikësonte dhe kërcënonte edhe familjet e anëtarëve të MEK-ut që kishin ardhur në Shqipëri për t’u takuar me të dashurit e tyre. Avokatja u tregoi përfaqësuesve të UNHCR-së se në një numër rastesh anëtarët e familjeve të anëtarëve të MEK-ut ishin mbajtur dhe kërcënuar edhe nga policia shqiptare sa herë që kishin ardhur në Shqipëri dhe përpiqeshin që të kontaktonin me të afërmit e tyre.
Avokatja u tha atyre se si kjo organizatë mund të flasë për demokracinë kur në të njëjtën kohë i trajton anëtarët e saj në një mënyrë kaq jonjerëzore, që sipas ligjeve shqiptare është një vepër penale? Avokatja i kërkoi UNHCR-së qëndrimin e saj ndaj këtyre akuzave kriminale që po bëjnë të larguarit kundër kësaj organizate totalitare që pretendon të luftojë për demokracinë dhe të drejtat e njeriut? Si mund të punonte UNHCR-ja dhe të mbështeste një organizatë të tillë totalitare dhe skllavëruese? Ata pyetën stafin e UNHCR-së nëse ishin të vetëdijshëm se kjo organizatë po vepronte kundër konventave për të drejtat e njeriut dhe deklaratës universale të të drejtave të njeriut që Shqipëria ka nënshkruar dhe u mohon anëtarëve të saj lirinë e mendimit, lirinë për të krijuar një familje, lirinë e lëvizjes si dhe duke i trajtuar shumë nga anëtarët e saj si skllevër.
Për më tepër, avokatja pyeti se përse UNHCR nuk i përkrah të larguarit e MEK-ut, të cilët pas largimit nga organizata përfundojnë në rrugë dhe pa asnjë mbështetje? Duke mos i mbështetur këta njerëz që duan të gëzojnë liritë e tyre personale që garanton demokracia, UNHCR nuk po i ndihmon këta njerëz që meritojnë të jetojnë në liri në një demokraci.
Përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së u përgjigjën se sjellja e MEK-ut ndaj anëtarëve të saj duhet të gjykohet nga qeveria shqiptare dhe në kuadër të marrëveshjes që ka me MEK. Avokatja vuri në dukje se kjo marrëveshje nuk është bërë publike dhe nuk është dorëzuar për shqyrtim dhe kështu askush nuk e di se çfarë është arritur në të vërtetë. Ajo që është e qartë aktualisht tregon se kjo marrëveshje është në kundërshtim me rregullat e UNHCR-së dhe legjislacionin për të drejtat e njeriut, sepse në mënyrë të qartë as anëtarëve e MEK, as dezertorëve dhe as familjeve të tyre nuk u janë dhënë të drejtat e tyre civile, të drejtat e njeriut.
Kur avokatja pyeti për statusin e tyre ligjor dhe atë se si UNHCR po kontribuon për këtë çështje – pasi që shumë prej tyre nuk kanë leje pune dhe statusi i tyre ligjor përshkruhet si refugjatë humanitarë – UNHCR u përgjigj se po punojnë me qeverinë shqiptare për të sqaruar statusin.
Ata sugjeruan që avokati që vepron në emër të tyre duhet të kontaktojë Ministrinë e Brendshme të Shqipërisë, pasi ky organ është përgjegjës për qëndrimin e tyre në vend.
Avokatja pyeti përfaqësuesit e UNHCR nëse ata ndihmonin financiarisht anëtarë e MEK-ut. Përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së thanë se po, ata paguajnë disa anëtarë, rast pas rasti, por jo të gjithë. Ata po paguanin strehimin e M. A. një dezertori që ishte në një gjendje të dëshpëruar.
Dezertori i MEK i cili ishte në takim tha se ndihma që kishte marrë M. A ishte minimale. Ai ishte në gjendje të blinte me ndihmën vetëm pak kilogramë miell, vaj dhe sheqer për të ngrënë për një muaj të tërë.
Përfaqësuesi ligjor i UNHCR-së pranoi se mbështetja për anëtarët e MEK në Shqipëri ishte një problem i madh. Ai tha se edhe qeveria shqiptare nuk do të mbështesë refugjatët për më shumë se gjashtë muaj. Qeveria u jep atyre strehim, ushqim dhe pas gjashtë muajve ata do duhet ti sigurojnë vetë.
Por rasti i vështirë i anëtarëve të MEK u përkeqësua që kur ata u dërguan në Shqipëri në baza humanitare dhe jo si azilkërkues. Ata nuk kanë leje pune dhe nuk mund të integrohen në shoqëri.
Dezertori pretendoi se UNHCR-ja në të kaluarën i kishte paguar anëtarët e MEK me nga 500 euro në muaj, të derdhura në llogaritë e tyre. Megjithatë, H. Khan shpjegoi se kjo gjë kishte ndryshuar dhe nuk ishte më kështu. UNHCR-ja kishte dhënë mbështetje financiare për anëtarët e MEK-ut në vitin 2016, por tani ajo ka mbetur pa para. Ai tha se mbështetja e anëtarëve dhe dezertorëve të MEK ishte detyrë e MEK-ut që i solli në këtë vend dhe e qeverisë shqiptare që ra dakord ti strehonte Muxhahedinët.
Dezertori tha se zyra shqiptare e azilit i kishte thënë anëtarëve të MEK-ut se në vitin 2018, një organizatë humanitare mund të merrte përsipër kujdesin financiar të anëtarëve të MEK në Shqipëri. Por situata e të larguarve mbetet e paqartë dhe kjo do të thotë se shumë prej tyre do të vazhdojnë të vuajnë dhe do të luftojnë për mbijetesën e tyre ekonomike në Shqipëri.
Dezertori i MEK shpjegoi se shumë familje të anëtarëve të MEK-ut dëshirojnë të kontaktojnë me të afërmit e tyre në MEK, në mënyrë që ata të mund t’u sigurojnë atyre mbështetje dhe ndihmë. Por refuzimi i MEK-ut për të lejuar këtë kontakt dhe dakortësia e qeverisë shqiptare me këtë ndalim nënkupton se ata janë të detyruar të qëndrojnë me MEK-un ose të bëhen të varfër. Kjo nuk ështe një situatë e pranueshme kur shumë njerëz mund të ndihmoheshin nga familjet e tyre dhe nuk do të vareshin nga lëmoshet e ndonjë organizate.
Përfundimi i këtij takimi ishte se shumë anëtarë të MEK që duan të dezertojnë nga kjo ish organizatë terroriste, të cilët nuk duan të konsiderohen si luftëtarë dhe që duan të jetojnë në liri, nuk kanë asnjë mundësi, por vetëm të qëndrojnë në organizatë. Nëse ata vendosin të largohen nga MEK dhe të gëzojnë liritë dhe demokracinë e Shqipërisë, të martohen, të kenë fëmijë dhe të krijojnë familje si të gjithë njerëzit e tjerë të lirë, ata do të pësojnë vështirësi ekonomike dhe shantazhe nga MEK, spiunët e së cilës mbikqyrin dhe i kërcënojnë dezertorët. Ata do të akuzohen nga MEK sikur janë agjentë të Iranit dhe askush nuk do t’i ndihmojë. Ata nuk flasin shqip, nuk kanë aftësi te vecanta, shumica dërrmuese nuk ka leje pune dhe nuk mund të gjejnë punë në Shqipërinë e varfër. Ata nuk kanë pasaporta dhe nuk kanë mundësi të vendosen në vende të tjera të pasura në Evropë. E vetmja mundësi që kanë shumë nga anëtarët e MEK është që të qëndrojë me MEK-un në kampet e saj në Shqipëri. Ata do duhet të jetojnë një jetë të izoluar në të cilën ata po ashtu do jenë të detyruar ti pergjigjen thirrjes ne rast se behet thirrje për të kryer një luftë terroriste kundër Iranit.
Në fund të takimit, UNHCR-ja këshilloi avokaten dhe klientët e saj të kontaktojnë zyrën shqiptare për azil për të sqaruar statusin dhe gjendjen e tyre. U sugjerua gjithashtu që MEK duhet të cohet në gjykatë dhe ti kërkohet të paguajë të larguarit pasi që MEK kishte marrë përgjegjësinë për mbështetjen e tyre financiare pas transferimit të tyre në Shqipëri./ Gazeta Impakt
Iran’s Social Network Sites (SNS): We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
Dr. Raz Zimmt, The Moshe Dyan Center, Tel Aviv university, August 08 2017:… The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime …
We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq: SNS Respond to a Conference of the Iranian Opposition
In early July, Iran’s National Resistance Council, the political wing of the opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), held its annual conference at the Villepinte Exhibition Center in a suburb of Paris. The conference sparked angry reactions and public criticism on Iran’s social networking sites (SNS). This anger was exacerbated by Saudi and US representation at the conference, which was seen as evidence of Saudi and American efforts to instigate political change in Iran through compromising support of a terrorist organization widely considered traitorous by Iranians.
MEK’s ideology combines Shi‘ite Islam with Marxism. During the early 1970s, the organization emerged in opposition to the Iranian monarchy. The United States and the European Union previously designated MEK as a terrorist organization due to its involvement in terrorist attacks in Iran, with several attacks against Western (including American and Israeli) targets. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, MEK and the new regime fell into severe conflict, with the regime implementing strongly suppressive measures against MEK. As a result, the organization transferred most of its activities to Iraq, where it aligned itself with the Saddam Hussein regime. In the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, MEK even participated in several Iraqi army operations against Iran. As a result, MEK was left with very little support in Iran proper, with many Iranians considering MEK activists traitors. In recent years, there has been no evidence of the organization’s involvement in terrorism. Instead, it focuses mainly on political activity in Europe and the United States aimed at enlisting support for regime change in Iran. Nonetheless, critics believe this political activity is merely a façade.
This year’s annual MEK conference was chaired by the organization’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, and attended by hundreds of participants from around the world, including Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, who formerly served as head of Saudi intelligence, as well as largely hawkish former US officials, including the former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former US Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-Conn.), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In their speeches at the conference, these senior officials harshly criticized the Islamic republic, accused it of supporting terrorism, and called for regime change in Tehran.
The conference aroused strong reactions in Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who ended an official visit to Paris on the eve of the conference, criticized France for permitting the opposition group to operate within its borders, saying that regional and European countries are well aware of MEK’s terrorist activities. Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s advisor on international affairs, emphasized that hosting terrorists would not contribute to regional or international peace. On SNS, thousands of Iranian users mobilized a virtual campaign against the organization using the English and Persian hashtags “Iran hates MEK” and “No to MEK.” The posts included insults and slurs against members of the organization accused of causing the death of thousands of Iranian citizens. Users contended that MEK is a terrorist organization entirely unrepresentative of the Iranian people, and devoid of popular support. They stressed that opposition to MEK unites Iranians, regardless of ideology or political outlook. As one user tweeted, “There is no difference between conservatives, reformists or independents! We all agree on hatred for Munafakin [a derogatory term for the MEK, meaning hypocrites or false Muslims].”
Predictably, the main criticism of the organization was based on its alignment with the Iraqi regime during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian users called MEK members “betrayers of the homeland” and “traitors,” accusing them of collaborating with the Ba‘ath regime’s chemical attack on the citizens of Iran during the summer of 1987. “When Iranian women and children trembled in fear of Iraqi missiles, the MEK drank faludeh [a cold Iranian beverage],” wrote one commenter. Many users emphasized that the Iranian people would neither forget nor forgive the organization for its historic misalignment.
Along with expressions of hatred towards the opposition group, users also attacked its supporters in the West and Saudi Arabia. Many users compared MEK to ISIS, arguing that there was no difference between supporting the Iranian opposition group and supporting the Islamic terror organization. Western support for MEK, spearheaded by American politicians close to the current administration, was considered further proof of the West’s hypocrisy. Critics contended that while Western countries claim to defend democracy and human rights against terrorism, they perpetuate a terrorist organization responsible for thousands of innocent civilians’ deaths, and for serious human rights violations in internment camps it operated in Iraq. “Trump administration wants to back an Islamist terrorist cult (MEK) to bring democracy to Iran. What a sick joke,” tweeted one user. Meanwhile, Saudi support for this opposition group reignited Iranian hostility towards Saudi Arabia, which has been the target of Iranian users’ hatred and racism for the past several years of worsening relations between the countries. “Saudi Arabia supports Maryam Rajavi as leader of Iran, but within Saudi Arabia women have no right to drive!” read one tweet.
The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime during the Iran-Iraq war, which remains a traumatic memory for Iranians. Therefore, Iranians consider any support for MEK to be an illegitimate offence against national pride. The Iranian public’s aversion to foreign interventions and allies of Iran’s enemies sporadically captivates SNS discourse, as exhibited by the conference’s backlash.
 “Iranian FM decries France green light to MKO activities,” Press TV, July 1, 2017.
 “Velayati Blasts France for Hosting MKO Terrorists,” Fars News Agency, July 3, 2017.
 #IranHatesMEK and-#No2MEK
 In this context, see Iranians’ responses to a letter in which Iranian activists in exile urged US President Trump to adopt an aggressive policy towards Iran .Raz Zimmt, “Critics or Traitors? Responses to Iranian Exiles’ Letter to Trump,” Beehive, 5(1), January 2017,
Dr. Raz Zimmt investigates Iranian social media responses to the annual conference of Mojahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group whose support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War remains a searing national trauma.
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.
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