Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead

Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead

Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go AheadIran Interlink, December 22 2021:…. “The good news is that the president of Albania Edi Rama and the president of Kosovo signed an agreement, the day before yesterday, based on which the border between the two countries will be opened.” Hassan Heyrani told families of MEK members in an online meeting. “Therefore, families will be able to take a flight from Iran to Belgrade, Serbia and from there they could come to Krishna which is 250 kilometers from Tirana so we can go there to visit them.” Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead

Massoud Khodabandeh - Documentation Frees MEK MembersDocumentation Frees MEK Members

 

Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead

In a summit held on December 20-21, hosted by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in the Albanian capital Tirana with his counterpart from North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, a raft of deals were signed that will lead the way to further links between the countries. Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia launched the Open Balkan initiative in October 2019 to promote ties with the aim to establish a single market to pave the way for EU membership.

Our goal is that the Balkans have no more borders for people, for the movement of goods, capital, and services — four European Union principles,” Albania’s prime minister said.

This is good news for ASILA, the association registered with the Albanian Judiciary whose aim is to support Iranians living in Albania. ASILA not only helps defectors from the Rajavi cult with their rights and living arrangements, it also hopes to reunite families estranged by the MEK’s anti-family policy. In a video link with some of these families gathered in Tehran, the head of ASILA, Hassan Heyrani, explained that the Open Balkan initiative would open the way to facilitate these visits.

“The good news is that the president of Albania Edi Rama and the president of Kosovo signed an agreement, the day before yesterday, based on which the border between the two countries will be opened.” Hassan Heyrani told families of MEK members in an online meeting.
“Therefore, families will be able to take a flight from Iran to Belgrade, Serbia and from there they could come to Krishna which is 250 kilometers from Tirana so we can go there to visit them.

Heyrani added that the ASILA Association also has the power to establish a travel agency in order to provide visitor visas for the Iranian families willing to visit their loved ones in Albania.

Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead

Sources:

1- Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia Deepen Ties At ‘Open Balkan’ Summit

Radio Free Europe
Link

TIRANA — Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia have signed a raft of deals and agreed to further their Open Balkan initiative to promote ties as the three countries’ leaders held two days of talks in Tirana.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama hosted the December 20-21 summit in the Albanian capital with his counterpart from North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The sides inked six agreements on the labor market, electronic identification, and the lifting of nontariff barriers for businesses, among other things.

They had previously decided to abolish customs controls from January 1, 2023.

Rama said the Open Balkan initiative’s goal is to establish a single market among its members and pave the way for EU membership.

“Our goal is that the Balkans have no more borders for people, for the movement of goods, capital, and services — four European Union principles,” Albania’s prime minister said.

The Open Balkan initiative, launched in October 2019, “is one of the biggest ideas in today’s Europe,” according to Vucic.

“The most important goal is to unite people who have been focusing more on the past rather than the future. It is important to connect people and their businesses,” the Serbian leader said.

According to Zaev, “Open Balkan is our way forward on the road to the European Union.”

The three Western Balkan countries are at different stages on the path to EU membership.

While Serbia has launched full membership negotiations, accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania have been delayed.

“We agreed that our three countries would not be held hostage to the failure of the European Union to unblock our European integration process,” Zaev said. “That process can be stopped in Brussels, but the Europeanization and implementation of European values in Northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Albania have no reason to be on hold.”

Officials of the three other Western Balkan countries seeking to join the EU — Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Montenegro — have expressed skepticism toward the Open Balkan initiative and rejected calls to join.

Vucic’s arrival in Tirana on December 20 triggered a protest by thousands of Albanians opposed to his visit and the summit.

The rally was called by former Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who said the Open Balkan initiative was meant to “establish Serbian hegemony in the region.”

The next Open Balkan summit is scheduled for February in North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje.

2- ASILA: the way will be open for families of MEK hostages

Nejat Society
Link

The head of the Association for the Support of the Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) spoke of the new options that are opening for the families of MEK members who are looking forward to visiting their loved ones in the group’s camp in Albania.
The newly established ASILA has the duty to support the Iranians who defects the Cult of Rajavi and the families of those who are still taken as hostages in the group’s camp Ashraf 3, in the region of Durres in North of Tirana, Albania.

In an online meeting between Hassan Heyrani, the head of ASILA, in Tirana, and a number of families of MEK members in the office of Nejat Society in Tehran, Heyrani promised to use all capacities of the association to pave the way for the families to travel to Albania.
“I assure you that the way will be opened,” he said. “The cult of Rajavi cannot prevent you from visiting your loved ones in a democratic European country. They have been supported by the US and Israel so far but they have not been able to keep their own children in their cult.”

In response to the heart-broken mother of Mijad Hajalirezai who was weeping tears languishing for her son, Heyrani said, “The Mujahedin cannot keep their members under pressure, mind control and intimidation forever. Half of their members have defected since the early 2000s.”
ASILA has been officially registered in the Albanian Judiciary department and its activities are closely supervised by the Albanian government.

End

Good News From Albania – Family Visits May Go Ahead 

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/asila-launched-in-albania-iran-interlink-weekly-digest/

ASILA Launched in Albania – Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – Nov 26 2021

ASILA Launched in Albania - Association for the Support of Iranians Living in AlbaniaIran Interlink, November 28 2021:… On 24th November in Albania, the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) was launched. Founding members of ASILA, Dashamir Mersuli (president), Gjergji Thanasi (Secretary), Hassan Heyrani (Executive Head), with some former members of the MEK held their first meeting. In an interview for SCAN-TV on YouTube, Mersuli and Heyrani explained the aim of ASILA. According to Heyrani, ASILA was legally registered as an institute to support defectors from the Rajavi Cult (aka MEK). ASILA Launched in Albania

Association for the Support of Iranians living in Albania ( ASILA )Association for the Support of Iranians living in Albania ( ASILA )

Good News From Albania 

ASILA Launched in Albania – Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – Nov 26 2021

Iran Interlink Weekly Digest Mojahedin Khalq MEK NCRI Rajavi cult++ On 24th November in Albania, the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) was launched. Founding members of ASILA, Dashamir Mersuli (president), Gjergji Thanasi (Secretary), Hassan Heyrani (Executive Head), with some former members of the MEK held their first meeting. In an interview for SCAN-TV on YouTube, Mersuli and Heyrani explained the aim of ASILA. According to Heyrani, ASILA was legally registered as an institute to support defectors from the Rajavi Cult (aka MEK). He explained that the new government directive under pressure from the EU to issue ID cards to all non-Albanians had been the catalyst for the new association. Along with the ID cards ASILA will support those who leave the MEK to “enjoy their civil rights, find a job, deal with their legal issues and have a family.” Heyrani added: “We will try our best to aid defectors of the MEK to experience a new life, without fear, outside the imprisonment of the terrorist cult of Rajavi.”

ASILA Launched in Albania - Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania

ASILA Launched in Albania Iranians against Rajavi cult

++ A play called Baba Adam has been staged by the City Theatre in Tehran. The play charts the journey of the father from Iran to Iraq in search of his long-lost son who is a member of the MEK. On arriving at Camp Ashraf, instead of letting him know that his son is alive or not, fanatics of the MEK throw stones at him and break his head. Ebrahim Khodabandeh who was consulted by the writers as they created the work, attended the first performance and thanked the writers. The play was well received by Tehran theatre goers.

++ Rahman Mohammadian in Albania wrote that for the last four decades Massoud and Maryam have been telling us that all their critics are agents of the regime. The actual intelligence ministry of Iran has answered that in order to be legitimate, the members should be allowed to criticise the regime 80% and MEK 20%. Mohammadian argues that “this means Iran is more tolerant than you. At least allow your critics to do that. This could not be in favour of the regime.” But, asks Mohammadian, “would you allow 99% criticism of the regime and 1% criticism of MEK, or even just one question about you. You can’t tolerate even that. Why?”

In English:

++ Kourosh Ziabari writes in Asia Times, ‘Well-Funded Exile Regime-Change Outfits Are Hardly Paragons of Virtue’. He asks are “these kaleidoscopic opposition groups the ‘saviors’ that will cultivate democracy in Iran and put national interest above anything else when they rule the roost, including ideological dogmas, ethnic divisions and partisan interests? The answer is a clear, if not resounding, “no.” Among the groups he covers, MEK is prominent. Ziabari charts the MEK’s murky behaviours and activities – from collusion with Saddam Hussein to arguing for severe sanctions against Iran – as well as questioning its internal workings so that “it is so cryptic in its workings and so unethical in its conduct that the majority of Iranians reckon it to be a shadowy cult, leaving it with little to zero credibility among the populace it professes to be fighting for.” He offers us the example of his own treatment by the MEK after publishing a critical article. “ As soon as the story went viral, hundreds of Twitter accounts began slandering me – posting identically worded tweets – as an apologist of the Islamic Republic, and some of them went so far as to claim that I was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps!” As for the credibility of the opposition groups he concludes that the “alternative to a bad situation is not a parlous one.”

++ Jack Turner interviewed Robert Fantina, journalist and political analyst, about the MEK for Geopolitica. Concerning recent court cases against Iranian officials – in Belgium and the Swedish court case which has now moved to Albania – Fantina says it highlights double standards that western criminals such as the assassins of Soleimani are not prosecuted by the International Criminal Court and yet Iranian officials are being brought to trial in other countries.

“The MEK is a terrorist organization that seeks the overthrow of the legitimate government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their terrorist activities – the killing of innocent people – are well-known. Yet they receive support from some western nations, most notably the United States, because that nation’s government harbors an irrational hatred of Iran, and will support any organization, even a terrorist one, that opposes it.”
“The leaders of the MEK should be charged in the International Criminal Court with the many crimes they have committed.”

++ The MEK proudly advertised that UK MP Bob Blackman attended their ‘Free Iran’ rally in London this week. Blackman made an intervention in a parliamentary debate on the government’s treatment of asylum seekers crossing the channel in small boats. Blackman offered the example set by the Albanian government “who moved, satisfactorily, Camp Liberty from Iran into Camp Ashraf?” Iran? The MEK pays these people, yet they can’t even do their homework and get their facts right.

Iran Interlink weekly digest 

Good News From Albania . ASILA Launched in Albania

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/the-trouble-with-mujahedin-khalq/

The Trouble With Mujahedin Khalq

The Trouble With Mujahedin KhalqMichael Rubin, The National Interest, July 31 2021:… The MKO is correct to condemn incoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi for his role in the 1988 massacres of several thousand political prisoners. Everyone should. But having been the victims of persecution in the decade after they helped bring Khomeini to power does not change the fact that the MKO’s tendency to cry wolf hinder and obstruct the real fights against the Iranian regime, Iranian terrorism, and the Islamic Republic’s covert nuclear program. The Trouble With Mujahedin Khalq 

 

Maryam Rajavi Deported From France To AlbaniaAfter Being Deported From EU, Maryam Rajavi Threatens Albanians

The Trouble With Mujahedin Khalq

The MKO’s tendency to cry wolf hinder and obstruct the real fights against the Iranian regime, Iranian terrorism, and the Islamic Republic’s covert nuclear program.

by Michael Rubin

The Mujahedin al-Khalq (MKO) formed against the backdrop of the anti-shah opposition in the 1960s and evolved to become an important component of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary coalition. But Khomeini turned on the MKO as he consolidated his dictatorship. Unlike others forced out of power, persecuted domestically, or sent into exile, the MKO fought back: They both sponsored a terror campaign targeting regime officials—killing many innocent bystanders in the process—and they accepted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s protection, a move ordinary Iranians considered treasonous. Within Iran, the Islamic Republic is deeply unpopular. Khomeini promised Islamic democracy, but delivered a regime as dictatorial, more corrupt, and less tolerant than that which preceded it. Inside the Islamic Republic, Iranians remain curious about opposition groups. They watch diaspora television channels, following the opposition on Telegram channels, and ask about high-profile figures like Reza Pahlavi, the son of the ousted shah. About the MKO, however, they voice only opprobrium.

The hatred ordinary rank-and-file Iranians feel for the MKO is the group’s Achilles’ heel. MKO activists counter both by accusing anyone who criticizes them as being a regime agent and arguing that their record of success exposing Iranian secrets shows the depth to which they have infiltrated the Iranian regime. If the MKO is able to so deeply implant themselves in Iran’s most sensitive and security-conscious organs, the logic goes, it demonstrates that they both have support and are far better positioned as an opposition group than anyone else. The former is betrays crass amateurishness, and the latter is simply false.

Consider just how many exposés and supposed intelligence coups the MKO have bungled or gotten wrong. More than two decades ago, the group announced that Ahmad Behbahani, an alleged high-ranking Iranian intelligence officer, defected. Behbahani gave an off-camera interview to “60 Minutes” implicating Iran in a number of operations in which claimed to play a central role. Much of what he said, however, was nonsense. Nor was the alleged Bebahani the age or height of the real figure. The MKO may have to attract attention to its own cause, but doing so threw a wrench into real investigations and created a situation in which the Islamic Republic could dismiss real evidence as fraudulent in the future.

Between 2002 and 2004, I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an aide on both the Iran and Iraq desks. When Iranians and Iraqis would request meetings with more senior leaders, I was a gatekeeper: I would sit down and do a preliminary meeting to understand their agenda and, ultimately, determine who in the Defense leadership they should meet, if at all. It was not uncommon for Iranian American activists from a range of organizations with very little presence or history to request such meetings. They would present us with documents purporting to be smoking guns of one sort or another. 

Provenance was always a concern: How did the person in front of me or my colleagues acquire such a document? Without exception, when we investigated, the documents turned out to be fraudulent, and often had figurative MKO fingerprints on them. In effect, it was a time waste that distracted from the battle against Iranian terrorism and the regime’s nuclear program. Had any of those group members gotten through, the result would have been an embarrassment to top officials and a delegitimization of their work on Iran at a time when, according to subsequent U.S. National Intelligence Estimates, the Iranian nuclear weapons program was still ongoing.

Link to the source

The Trouble With Mujahedin Khalq

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Mujahedin-e-Khalq Barometer of CorruptionMujahedin-e-Khalq Barometer of Corruption

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

مزدور مریم رجوی و ترکی الفیصل اربابشSaudi Arabia Bankrolled Iran’s MEK with Tons of Gold, Rolexes (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult)

Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/a-deranged-cult-and-our-warped-foreign-policy/

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign PolicyDaniel Larison, AntiWar, July 15 2021:… This show of support for the MEK reflects the extent to which our foreign policy debates are distorted and corrupted by the lobbying efforts of foreign groups and governments alike. No one knows for sure where the MEK gets its money, but there is reason to believe that it may be coming from the Saudi government and/or Saudi individuals. In recent years, prominent Saudis have begun participating in MEK events, and that coincided with the kingdom’s intensifying hostility towards Iran in the last decade. A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy 

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign PolicyThe Mojahedin e-Khalq Aren’t America’s Friends. Even Iranians who hate the regime don’t want MEK

A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

by Daniel Larison Posted on July 14, 2021

Every year the notorious cult and “former” terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) holds a political conference to promote its propaganda and call for regime change in Iran, and every year many current and former American, Canadian, and European officials and elected representatives line up to pay homage to the group and their leader, Maryam Rajavi. Members of both major parties in the U.S. have either traveled to the group’s compound in Albania or spoken remotely through video messages in exchange for hefty speaking fees for the last ten years. The annual parade of prominent officeholders and policymakers that offer up effusive praise to such a wretched group is an ongoing disgrace for the United States and its allies, and it is a symptom of deeper problems with our foreign policy.

This show of support for the MEK reflects the extent to which our foreign policy debates are distorted and corrupted by the lobbying efforts of foreign groups and governments alike. No one knows for sure where the MEK gets its money, but there is reason to believe that it may be coming from the Saudi government and/or Saudi individuals. In recent years, prominent Saudis have begun participating in MEK events, and that coincided with the kingdom’s intensifying hostility towards Iran in the last decade. Our Iran policy debate is being influenced to an alarming degree by an extremist cult and an increasingly repressive authoritarian client state, and none of that can be good for American interests or democratic accountability in our foreign policy.

American support for the MEK reminds us that bipartisanship in foreign policy usually means rallying behind exceptionally bad causes. This year’s conference was described in one report as a “rare moment of bipartisan unity,” as if this somehow made cheering on a deranged cult better. The pro-MEK boosterism also shows that there are far too many people in and around our government that will make common cause with absolutely anyone if they are in favor of regime change in Iran. That in turn is a measure of just how irrational our government’s fixation on Iran is.

The MEK was originally an armed group opposed to the Iranian monarchy before the revolution, and during that period it was also responsible for killing several Americans. The MEK supported taking and keeping US diplomats hostage. After the group fell out with Khomeini and were brutally purged, the group relocated to Iraq where they joined with Saddam Hussein to attack their own country. Their participation in Iraq’s attack on Iran has earned them the enduring loathing of almost all Iranians everywhere, and for that reason and others they have virtually no support in Iran or in the diaspora. While the MEK was officially removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012 after an extensive lobbying campaign, it remains a totalitarian, cultish organization that abuses its own members. There is good reason to believe that members of the group still act as cat’s paws for Israeli intelligence in carrying out assassinations and acts of sabotage inside Iran. As part of the group’s effort to remake its image, it uses a political front organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to create the impression that the MEK has changed and committed itself to democracy.

The MEK has not changed. They remain at their core the same militant and extremist organization they have been for decades. Cheering on the MEK is as crazy and irresponsible as endorsing the Lord’s Resistance Army or defending the Khmer Rouge, and it is not an accident that the group has sometimes been likened to the latter. Unfortunately, because they hate the Iranian government and make the right noises about democracy, they are given a free pass and Iran hawks embrace them as allies. In the past, participants in MEK summits have ranged from Newt GingrichJohn Bolton, and Rudy Giuliani to Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, and John McCain. This year it included former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, his fellow New Jerseyan Sen. Cory Booker, and many other members of Congress. The speakers routinely declare that the MEK and its allies are the “real” opposition working towards “secular democracy,” they denounce the Iranian government, and they call for some form of regime change.

Flournoy’s participation in the conference this year proved to be especially controversial since she is a major figure in Democratic national security circles and had frequently been mentioned as a possible Biden nominee for Secretary of Defense earlier in the year. In her remarks, she expressed hope for “internal regime change” in Iran, and congratulated the assembled audience for their work: “we must continue to applaud and support the important work of Diaspora groups like yours that keep alive the vision of a secular, free, and democratic Iran.”

Faced with a swift backlash online, Flournoy now claims that she didn’t know that she was speaking at an MEK event and wouldn’t have participated had she known, but it strains credulity that she was unaware of the nature of the event and its sponsor. A simple web search would have shown the relationship between the NCRI and the MEK, as well as the violent and disturbing history of the cult. Frankly, it is impossible to believe that she didn’t know who she was addressing.

The language that Flournoy used in her speech sounds too much like the standard pro-MEK talking points that other speakers have used for the last decade, and the MEK’s lobbying efforts are too well-known and have been going on too long for her to plead ignorance. It is notable that Flournoy felt the need to concoct a cover story to excuse her participation, since most pro-MEK shills take pride in what they do, but her excuse isn’t credible. Even if her explanation were true, it doesn’t excuse the horrible lack of judgment that she displayed here. If she didn’t understand that she was addressing an MEK event, she shouldn’t be offering advice on Iran policy or holding forth on the political future of Iran.

The MEK is a dangerous and disreputable group. They ought to be so politically radioactive that no one would want to be associated with them, but that has not happened because Iran hawks from both parties and in many other Western countries find the MEK useful to their agenda. Supporting the MEK allows them to mislead ignorant audiences into falsely believing that their hard-line policies enjoy support from the Iranian Diaspora No one who knows anything about Iran thinks that the MEK deserves support or has any support back in Iran, so whenever someone celebrates the group that is all the proof you need that nothing else that person says about Iran and Iran policy should be taken seriously.

Iran hawks and the MEK are both obsessed with regime change in Iran. Since they cannot achieve it from within Iran, it is just a matter of time before the cult’s yes-men in Washington push for military action aimed at toppling the government. Just as they sided with Saddam Hussein to attack their own country over forty years ago, the MEK wants to rope the US into fighting another war against Iran. If we want to prevent that war from happening in the future, the MEK’s cheerleaders need to be exposed to ridicule and criticism over their willingness to support a group that has both American and Iranian blood on its hands.

Daniel Larison is a contributing editor and weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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A Deranged Cult and Our Warped Foreign Policy

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Mojahedin_Khalq_MEK_Rajavi_Cult_Saddam_Iraq_Bin_Salman_SaudiBBC: Who are the Iranian dissident group MEK? (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, PMOI, …)

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