The Corbett Report, January 09 2018:… Then there is the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a US State Department designated terrorist organization that has been responsible for bombings, attempted plane hijackings, political assassinations, and indiscriminate killings of men, women and children in their attempt to overthrow the government of Iran. Naturally, it is openly supported by …
Episode 326 – We Need to Talk About the Iran Protests
Are these protests in Iran spontaneous, or are they the result of another regime change operation? This week on The Corbett Report, James explores the past, present and future of US and Israeli involvement in Iran, and the attempts to foment unrest in the country.
For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.
For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).
Reports have just come out claiming that the United States and Israel have signed a secret deal to tackle the nuclear threat from Iran, so it looks like the deal isn’t so secret anymore. The far-reaching Memorandum of Understanding was signed on December 12th at the White House following intense talks between both nations and plans to set up four teams to handle various aspects of the Iranian threat. One team will focus on Iranian activityin Syria and Lebanon, another will deal with both diplomatic and intelligence activities to grapple with Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, a third will tackle Iran’s ballistic missile program and the fourth will oversee preparations for any escalation by Iran or Hezbollah.
And then, just two days after that report broke, just three weeks after the plan itself was agreed, a wave of protests broke out across Iran. These protests, originating in discontent over the performance of the economy under the Rouhani government, soon morphed into rallies, riots and violence aimed against the Iranian republic itself.
Could these protests be the result of the US and Israeli plan to undermine Iran? If these were just two isolated data points then connecting these dots would be a stretch. But when we put recent events into their proper perspective, there is no doubt that the US, Israel and their allies are actively supporting and fomenting regime change in Iran. And that’s why “We Need to Talk About the Iran Protests.”
This is The Corbett Report.
From the scattered and contextless news reporting of the mainstream media, it might appear that the protests happening right now are, in fact, a grassroots uprising against an unpopular and repressive regime. After all, this is what we are told by US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
NIKKI HALEY: Now the Iranian dictatorship is trying to do what it always does, which is to say that the protests were designed by Iran’s enemies. We all know that’s complete nonsense. The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators.
And surely no one can make the case that the Iranian people do not have valid reason to be upset at their government.
After years of rising unemployment and inflation and dwindling hopes for a foreign investment boom, even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is upset with the country’s economic outlook under President Hassan Rouhani. The government’s latest budget proposal, sent to parliament just weeks ago, has only made things worse, cutting an extremely popular cash transfer program instituted under previous President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that gave each Iranian a stipend of about $90 per month.
The videos of the earliest demonstrations in this wave of protest, scattered footage of a few dozen protesters in the northeastern city of Mashhad calling for economic relief, are in line with the “spontaneous” uprising being touted by the political puppets and their mainstream media mouthpieces. But those early protests soon descended into chaos, mayhem, violence and death.
Now, with dozens dead and hundreds arrested, the question has to be asked: have the initial, grassroots protests been hijacked by regime change agents?
The question is by no means outlandish. In June of 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted to Congress that the government is actively working with parties inside Iran to help foment regime change inside the country.
Rep. Ted Poe: I would like to know what the policy is in the US toward Iran. Do we support the current regime? Do we support a philosophy of peaceful regime change?
Rex Tillerson: Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop nuclear weapons and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly, as we know.
That same month, it was revealed that the CIA has created a new mission center to focus exclusively on gathering and analyzing intelligence about Iran.
Ramping the tension up even further, it was reported just this past week that the US has given the green light to Israel to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
All of this comes on the heels of repeated warnings by President Trump over the past year that the US was preparing operations against the Iranian government.
Michael Flynn: President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama administration, as well as the United Nations as being weak and ineffective. Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice. Thank you.
Trump: It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime—one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room. The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.
SOURCE: Trump Slams Iran at UN Speech
Colin Bray: Donald Trump made an ominous sounding statement to journalists following a meeting with top US military officials at the White House. He suggested the talks on Thursday, during which North Korea and Iran were discussed, were a prelude to a major event, but then declined to comment further.
President Trump: …Could be the calm. The calm before the storm.
Reporter: What storm, Mr. President?
Trump: You’ll see.
But perhaps this is just hot air, political bluster designed to throw the Iranians off balance. Maybe these comments and the sudden wave of violence in Iran are coincidental. Is there any reason to think that the US, Israel and their allies are actually operating in Iran?
To answer this question, we have to see the current unrest not as a spontaneous protest arising in an historical vacuum, but as the end result of a century of interference in Iranian politics.
The modern era of Iranian politics traces back not to last month, but to 1951, when then-President of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, nationalized the Iranian oil industry, revoking concessions that had been made to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later rebranded as British Petroleum) half a century earlier. This enraged the British and put the Americans—embroiled in the Cold War and worried about Soviet influence in the region—on edge. Together they hatched a plan—dubbed “TPAJAX” and led by Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.—to topple the government and strengthen the rule of the US-friendly Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The plan was comprised of four main components: the first was to begin a propaganda campaign portraying Mosaddegh as a communist; the second, to encourage the opposition to create disturbances; the third, to pressure the Shah to remove Mosaddegh from power and select a new prime minister; and fourth, to support Fazlollah Zahedi as Mosaddegh’s replacement.
With the propaganda campaign support for the opposition well underway, General H Norman Schwarzkopf arrived in Iran on August 1st armed with large bags filled with millions of US dollars. Scwarzkopf met with Zahedi and the Shah to assure them of US support. Roosevelt also entered Iran secretly under the alias “James Lockbridge,” and on the same day met with the Shah to discuss the execution of Operation Ajax. The Shah was to issue a decree to dismiss Mosaddegh and replace him with Zahedi.
On August 15th, the commander of the Imperial Guards, accompanied with three truckloads of soldiers, arrived at Mosaddegh’s home to issue his dismissal. Mosaddegh’s guards overwhelmed the soldiers and called for the immediate arrest of Zahedi, who was being hidden by the US in its embassy compound. The Shah, upon hearing of the coup’s failure, fled to Baghdad and the US began drawing up plans to pulls Zahedi and Roosevelt out of the country. Roosevelt, hoping to make use of the failed coup attempt, hired a large crowd at the cost of $50,000 to pose as communist tutor members and riot through the streets of Tehran, attacking mosques and statues of the Shah. Roosevelt also stepped up the propaganda campaign to link Mosaddegh with the rioting communists. In preparation for the second coup attempt, the CIA began bribing army and police officials. August 19th was the date set by the CIA for its next attempt to overthrow Mosaddegh.
On the morning of August 19th, the same mob hired two days earlier to pose as communist rioters entered the center of Tehran and began threatening and intimidating passers-by and drivers to display pictures of the Shah. The police, having already been paid off, failed to intervene the mob. Then, armed with knives, clubs, chains and sticks, began marching on Mosaddegh’s house. The CIA had told the mob to do everything possible to ensure the mob gets as much attention as possible. Taking the advice rather literally, the mob had hired wrestlers, tumblers, jugglers and clowns.
Zahedi came out of hiding from the US embassy and drove to the state radio station to announce his takeover. The shah’s imperial guards began attacking Mosaddegh’s house with artillery, sherman tanks and bazookas. Mosaddegh had once again managed to escape over the back wall. The ensuing battle between the Imperial Guards, the hired mob and Mossadegh guards claimed over 300 lives. Among those killed were the hired mob members who had been found with money still in their pockets given to them that very morning by CIA agents.
The same day, Zahedi declared himself Prime Minister and the following day Mosaddegh surrendered himself to the Shah’s forces.
That 1953 coup casts a long shadow over Iranian politics in the modern era. The chain of events that foreign intervention set off led ultimately to the 1979 revolution, when the Iranian people, fed up with a Shah who was seen as an American puppet and who used his secret police to suppress political dissent, overthrew the government and instituted the Islamic Republic. As newly declassified documents reveal, however, even Ayatollah Khomeini, the self-proclaimed enemy of the American empire, was careful to keep an open channel of communication with the American government, extending from his first contact with “The Great Satan” in November 1963 (when he assured President Kennedy “he was not opposed to American interests in Iran”) to the midst of the revolution itself (when he assured President Carter that “You will see we are not in any particular animosity with the Americans” and insisted “The oil flow will continue after the establishment of the Islamic Republic”).
According to the sources of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who experienced the revolution directly as a resident of Iran, even the infamous hostage-taking itself was a pre-arranged bit of political theater, designed to play into the anger of the Iranian people at American intervention even as it spared key American personnel from that wrath.
Sibel Edmonds: 14 15 years ago through one of the legal firms that I worked with during my case I I got to know this private part-time investigator the firm had hired. Now this man used to work for the CIA he was an agent and he spent years in Iran during the Shah’s regime. He introduced himself and he actually spoke Farsi, and I speak Farsi. I said “Wow! How did you learn?” He said “Well, I lived in Iran. I worked for the State Department / the agency,” and his cover was [that he was] the radio announcer for the English-language radio in Iran broadcast from the embassy. That’s one of the common covers there.
And he said, “You know the hostage-taking?” That infamous scene that whenever the US mainstream media talk about Iran, guess what they always like to show? They like to show these bearded men going there and taking over the US embassy and they’re taking these poor Americans as hostage. Barbaric, you know. I think that is the most famous scene that has been played billions of times by the US media. Because their masters want that scene being like this thing, you say “Iran” and the first thing people visualize is that hostage taking. “Those barbaric animals!” you know?
Well he was there and he said five or six days before the hostage taking “we” (State Department/CIA special staff members) were given a notice by cable to immediately leave Iran and go. And they gave us options: Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, etc. “Have some vacation time, beach time,” you know? “And then don’t come back to the United States until we got our next assignment for whatever country.” So he said “I packed immediately.” It was like, “Immediate! Now! You’re leaving Iran.”
All the embassy people who were connected to CIA, anybody high level were given notice to immediately leave Iran five days before that hostage taking. So the only ones left there were some administrative people. None of them were CIA, they got all the key staff and they got them out of the country okay and they left those poor patsies there to suffer, the administrative people, so that hostage taking incident would take place.
Now you and I would say therefore it was some sort of a pre-arranged incident. They got heads up that the regime and the rebels were going to take over the embassy. They were given timelines so that they could take the important step see the real bad guys, CIA people, out of the country okay, and then leave a few poor Americans in there to to go through the staged events.
So you are looking at a false flag. You’re looking at a staged event.
But as much as those historical events have shaped the Iranian psyche and the Iranian body politic, the modern era of intervention against Iran began nearly two decades ago in secret planning meetings taking place in the bowels of the pentagon.
CLIP – CLARK SPEECH
The invasion of Iraq began in 2003 and by 2007 Seymour Hersh was reporting in the pages of The New Yorker that the Pentagon, living up to the plan revealed by Clark, had begun “The Redirection,” an attempt to refocus attention away from the escalating quagmire in Iraq and toward the neocons’ next target: Iran. This “redirection” involved the US allying with Sunni forces in the region—including radical Wahabi Sunnis and even Al Qaeda-affiliated groups—to sew chaos throughout the Middle East and to undermine the Iranian government and its regional allies.
That same year, globalist insider and CFR member Gary Hart, wrote a warning to the Iranian government about the US government’s ability to use a false flag event to start a war. In Hart’s warning, entitled “Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran,” he cites the United States history of using staged and provocateured events as a pretense for attacking their enemies, citing the Gulf of Tonkin, USS Maine, and Pearl Harbor as historical precedents.
Predictably, Hart was never confronted on these statements by the mainstream media, but when confronted by independent citizen reporters at We Are Change, he admitted that he was warning of a possible false flag attack that was being planned at the highest levels of the US government to justify a bombing strike on Iran.
Reporter: Sir, was this not an outright threat veiled in doublespeak that the United States could stage an event to go to war with Iran?
Gary Hart: No.
Reporter: No? Then what…?
Hart: Well, what I was tongue-in-cheek saying was that we have an administration in Washington that is dying for a reason to bomb Iran. And so, in a mock blog letter to the Iranian government not the president of the Iranian government, I just simply said “unless you people want to be bombed you better be careful about cross-border incursions.” And I think I explicitly said “keep the Republican Guard or the Revolutionary Guard—whatever it’s called—away from the Iraqi border.
I was trying to communicate to the American people what our own government was trying to plan, and that was to find a reason for bombing Iran. And I was simply saying—in effect to the American people through this mock letter—”be very careful about this administration creating a USS Maine incident or a Gulf of Tonkin incident that would justify bombing Iran,” that’s all.
In 2008, Seymour Hersh revealed a plan drawn up by Dick Cheney to build fake Iranian PT boats and to dress US troops up as Iranians in order to attack American ships, thus tricking the public into believing that the Iranians had attacked America.
Seymour Hersh: One of the items was…There was a dozen ideas probably about how to trigger a war. And the one that interested me the most was “why don’t we build—we and our shipyard—build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats, put navy seals on them with a lot of arms and the next time one of our boats goes through the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot up. Might cost a dozen lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. But that’s the kind of stuff we were talking about.
At the same time, Israel and the US launched a cartoonish Iraqi WMD-like propaganda campaign to convince the world that Iran was developing a nuclear weapons program. And just like Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the “Iranian nuclear threat” was a deliberate fabrication.
Not only did the IAEA repeatedly confirm that there is no evidence Iran diverted any nuclear material into any military program, but the US intelligence community itself concluded in its own national intelligence estimate in 2011 that Iran was not trying to build a nuclear bomb. Incredibly, even Mossad contradicted its own Prime Minister by confirming in leaked cables that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” And, to the surprise of absolutely no one, it was later revealed that the CIA had been running an operation to plant evidence of nuclear weapons involvement on Iran.
But perhaps the greatest irony of all is that there actually is an ongoing terror threat in the Persian Gulf. But that threat does not come from Iran. It is targeted at Iran.
Take Stuxnet, for example. One of the most sophisticated and malicious computer worms ever devised, Stuxnet was discovered in 2010 and was quickly found to be designed specifically to sabotage the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. It has since been revealed that Stuxnet was only one part of a much larger cyberattack against Iran, jointly launched by the US and Israel and dubbed “NITRO ZEUS.”
Then there is the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a US State Department designated terrorist organization that has been responsible for bombings, attempted plane hijackings, political assassinations, and indiscriminate killings of men, women and children in their attempt to overthrow the government of Iran. Naturally, it is openly supported by Rudy Giuliani, Joe Lieberman, Newt Gingrich and a bevvy of other politicians who are able to flaunt America’s laws against supporting terrorists because the MEK, being against Iran, are the right kind of terrorists.
Then there are the assassinations of Iranian scientists that were confirmed to have been the work of Mossad.
And the recent Israeli bombing in Syria that was done based on a poorly sourced BBC report that indicated that there may be an Iranian military base near Damascus.
Time and again, the US, Israel and their willing regional ally, the Saudis, have attacked, threatened, provoked and staged events to draw Iran into war. And time and again, these attacks and provocations go utterly unreported in the mainstream press while politicians on both sides of the phony left/right divide allude to nameless transgressions of the Iranians.
It is only in this context that we can possibly hope to come to an understanding of the events taking place in Iran today.
Let’s be clear: This is not to say that the government of Hassan Rouhani is above reproach. This is not to say that the mullahs are brave defenders of freedom and liberty. This is not to say that the actions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are always and forever wholesome and virtuous. This is not to say that the Iranian people are all happy with their government and that any and all unrest is only the work of outside forces.
These are the strawman arguments by which defenders of this renewed push for regime change in Iran try to shift the focus and muddy the waters. The point is that any and all decisions about what happens in Iran should be the work of the Iranian people. If Iraq and Libya and Syria have taught us anything, it is that the “humanitarian intervention” rallying cry is a sham, a false pretense used to whip up public support for the next regime change operation.
They cried crocodile tears over the poor, beleaguered people of Libya, but once the love bombs had been dropped and the country was torn apart, not another moment was spent worrying about the country. Today, there are open slave markets operating outside Tripoli, but not one word of remorse from the warmongers whose military intervention brought that about.
They cried crocodile tears over the poor, repressed people of Syria, and then proceeded to fund, arm, train and equip a terrorist insurgency that eventually morphed into ISIS under the careful tutelage of these humanitarian warhawks.
And now, the very same people who have been calling for the deaths of untold scores of Iranians are now pretending to care about the Iranian people.
Bill Kristol: I think the root cause of this, Stephanie, is that the Iranian people don’t have freedom and they would like freedom. I mean, you can get upset about the very minimal sanctions President Trump put on the IRGC. His policies have not fundamentally affected anything, and if companies don’t want to help the IRGC, the ruling regime in Iran, that’s fine with me. Let’s be more respectful of the Iranian people’s desire for freedom.
Trita Parsi: With all due respect, Bill, you’ve been arguing to bomb Iran for so long, so I don’t know if you’re really respecting the Iranian people. You’ve been advocating killing Iranians, so I don’t think you or the Trump administration have the credibility to now say that you care for the Iranian people.
Stephanie Ruhle: Hold on. Hold on.
Kristol: It’s not about me! It’s not about me! It’s about the Iranian people. Do you stand with the Iranian people against the regime?
Parsi: Of course I do.
Kristol: We’re in agreement, then.
Parsi: That’s exactly what I’m advocating. I’m in favor of making sure that they actually move towards a more democratic situation without killing them.
No, this is not about the plight of the poor Iranian people. This is about achieving a key American/Israeli/Saudi geopolitical objective.
As the dust settles on this wave of protests, it is most likely that the Iranian government will not be toppled. The opposition is unorganized, unarmed, and not drawing the masses of crowds that we have seen in previous “color revolutions.” But this is an ominous sign of things to come as the recent American/Israeli agreement on Iran comes to light.
The only question is whether the people of the world are going to fall for yet another regime change operation.
Unpopular Maryam Rajavi’s Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, MKO) and Saudi media outlets
Iranian.com, January 03 2017:… Marginal groups of anti-government extremists that are unpopular within the country such as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran have also been prominently featured in foreign state-controlled media such as the Saudi-owned network Al Arabiya. The PMOI, also known as Mojahedin-e Khalq, once enjoyed the protection of Saddam Hussein and played a role in assassination …
Russia Warns Against Foreign Meddling In Iran As Separatism, Extremism Voiced In Unrest
As Iran struggles to control spiraling unrest, Iran’s geopolitical foes have backed marginal opposition groups and voiced hopes for “regime change.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement addressing the ongoing mass protests in Iran and highlighting the apparent ambitions of some regional and international powers to turn the country’s internal affairs into a vehicle for advancing their interests.
“This is Iran’s internal affair,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, according to TASS news agency. “We express the hope that the situation won’t develop under the scenario of bloodshed and violence.”
“External interference destabilizing the situation is inadmissible.”
The protests began on Dec. 28, 2017, in response to the country’s complicated social conditions and had been focused primarily on economic and policy demands.
Since then, however, authorities have sought to get a handle on the increasingly disparate and often radicalized nature of the opposition, which has in some cases shown hostility to the Islamic Republic established by late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.
Ten people were reportedly killed in protests on Sunday, a death toll that rose on Monday when the deputy governor of the western Hamadan Province, Saeed Shahrokhi, told ISNA another three persons were killed in the city of Tuyserkan. The circumstances and cause of these deaths, however, remain unclear.
On Monday, a protester shot and killed a policeman during demonstrations, according to police, the first reported fatality during the five days of unrest.
Slogans calling for the ousting or assassination of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been echoed and amplified by several corporate and state-owned foreign media outlet as officials and heads of state of Iran’s geopolitical foes the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have displayed unabashed glee at Iran’s domestic unrest.
In groups where high concentrations of minority nationalities such as Ahwazi Arabs or Balochis are located, separatist and terrorist tendencies have also been displayed in the form of violent clashes with security forces, calls for secession from Iran, and even a pipeline bombing, which was claimed by jihadist group Ansar al-Furqan Ahwaz Martyrs Brigade.
Marginal groups of anti-government extremists that are unpopular within the country such as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran have also been prominently featured in foreign state-controlled media such as the Saudi-owned network Al Arabiya. The PMOI, also known as Mojahedin-e Khalq, once enjoyed the protection of Saddam Hussein and played a role in assassination attempts against Iranian officials and attacks on Iran.
The group has long gained significant lobbying muscle in Washington and is widely considered to enjoy the backing of Riyadh, with Saudi officials publically backing the group’s efforts.
Iranian Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said Monday that Iran would temporarily restrict access to social networks in Iran.
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