Iran Interlink, April 12 2019:… Joke of the week is that Maryam Rajavi took credit for Trump’s designating Sepah as a terrorist entity, claiming (without irony) that she had been demanding this “for years”. In response to the devastating floods in Iran, Maryam Rajavi gathered her followers in the half-built back yard of the closed camp in Albania and put on a performance. Rajavi spoke a bit, looked sad a bit, stood by a flag a bit and posed a bit. Really helpful.
Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – April 12, 2019
++ Most Farsi commentary around MEK this week concerned the listing of Sepah (IRGC) as a terrorist entity. MEK’s reaction was condemned as selling your country (MEK being paid for anti-Iran work). But you won’t gain anything but the hatred of Iranians say critics.
++ Joke of the week is that Maryam Rajavi took credit for Trump’s designating Sepah as a terrorist entity, claiming (without irony) that she had been demanding this “for years”.
++ In response to the devastating floods in Iran, Maryam Rajavi gathered her followers in the half-built back yard of the closed camp in Albania and put on a performance. Rajavi spoke a bit, looked sad a bit, stood by a flag a bit and posed a bit. Really helpful.
++ In response to Maryam Rajavi’s response to the floods, Farsi commentators ask, ‘Why are you not helping in any way? Why don’t you send money? Why, when you claimed that MEK “Resistance Units” are operating all over Iran, do you not have even a single person on the ground? The country is in chaos, there is nobody to stop you from sending at least one person to take a photograph to show that MEK is helping – someone holding a photo of Rajavi for example. This has exposed to the full that everything you say is simply lies. You claim to have support in Iran. You don’t even have a single person.
++ Emile Nakhleh’s article ‘Hawks Clamoring to Attack Iran’ in Lobelog is well worth careful reading. Not because it is difficult, but because it exposes the really dangerous beliefs and behaviours of those close to Donald Trump who are doing everything in their power to bring about a war against Iran in total disregard to damage to human life and society. So, “Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations.” And “Bolton and Giuliani are as susceptible to MEK’s claims as Cheney and Rumsfeld were to Chalabi’s.” Nakhleh points to the path forward: “Fifty-plus retired American generals and diplomats, in a statement published earlier this month, urged the Trump administration to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and work on resolving outstanding concerns with Iran diplomatically. They advised against a war because they saw no good outcome.”
++ Similarly, Stephen M Walt warns in Foreign Policy that ‘America is Wide Open for Foreign Influence’. Walt argues that although the US may have the most expensive defences in the world, its political system is uniquely open to abuse by foreign agency. Among the examples is the MEK which pays speakers fees to gain influence as well as hiring public relations and lobbyists to promote them (as well as clean up their image). Walt concludes: “Foreign policy is not a philanthropic activity, and even close allies think first and foremost about self-interest, which sometimes means trying to bamboozle the United States into doing what they want, even at some cost to Americans. If the United States is spending all this money securing the borders, leaving the national mind unlocked and ripe for manipulation is a tad short-sighted.”
++ Kim Sengupta in The Independent mentions MEK in an analysis of the tit for tat terror branding between Iran and the US. Sengupta argues that this bolsters the hardliners in Iran at the expense of the reformists. But the focus is on Trump who “is now very much in confrontation with his security and diplomatic establishment” encouraged by Bolton, Pompeo, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Bolton notorious for supporting MEK of course. By forensically linking Trump through his daughter’s business dealings with a corrupt Azerbaijani businessman to a family “ three of whose members were directly associated with the IRGC”, Sengupta concludes that if there is regime change in Iran, “the likelihood is that it will be the hardliners taking over, not a pleasant scenario for the Iranian people or the outside world”.
++ Former MEK member Hassan Heyrani, who lives in Tirana, wrote a short blog piece about the MEK. He says the cult is trying to empty Albania of those who left MEK because their continued presence has a bad effect on the members. It encourages them to leave as well. MEK is prepared to spend 5000 euros per person to illegally smuggle them out of Albania to Greece where they are kept secretly until they can further be taken to western Europe.
++ Nejat Bloggers reported that Nejat Society members visited the Atabay family home in Gilan Province on the occasion of Nouruz. The family are active members of Nejat Society. The mother wants to know why Rajavi does not allow her son Hamid Mohammad to contact his family. They have petitioned international human rights bodies on several occasions to help them visit their beloved son.
Hawks Clamoring To Attack Iran
Emile Nakhleh, Lobe Log, April 07 2019:… Trump administration policy operatives, including John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, have treated an Iranian group called the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK as a legitimate alternative to the clerical regime in Iran. The MEK, however, is a terrorist cult that has received funding from all sorts of dubious sources and is often used as a tool by outside groups, states, and organizations, including intelligence services of regional and international state actors, to further an anti-Iran agenda.
Hawks Clamoring To Attack Iran
As Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman clamor for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.
These war drummers are underestimating the potential negative consequences of the war and overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime. They, like the advocates of the Iraqi invasion in the winter of 2002 and early spring 2003, are confusing Iranians’ dislike of the ayatollahs with their potential embrace of a foreign invader.
On the eve of the Iraq war, former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the Vice President Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President David Addington all claimed that the Iraqi invasion aimed at liberating the country from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. Removing Saddam from power, they maintained, would eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and bring stability, security, and democracy to Iraq.
As developments unfolded over the past 16 years, the “liberation” claims proved to be bogus. The invasion and the decision to de-Ba’athify Iraq and dissolve the Iraqi military created an environment conducive to sectarianism, insurgency, and terrorism. The vacuum that followed the regime collapse, the incompetence of the American administration in the “Green Zone,” and the pervasive corruption of the new Iraqi governing councils was quickly filled by pro-Iranian militias, al-Qaeda, and later the Islamic State. The promise of stability and security was replaced by chaos, bloodshed, and mayhem.
The massive destruction of Iraq and the horrendous human and material cost the American “liberation” caused for the country will be child’s play compared to what could happen if Trump and his Israeli and Saudi allies decide to attack Iran. Unlike Iraq—which the British cobbled together after World War One out of the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds under a minority Sunni rule— Iran has been in existence for centuries with a vast territory and a huge population. If attacked, Iran has the capability to retaliate against its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia. Its air and missile forces could quickly destroy the oil and gas facilities and the water and power grids on the Arab side of the Gulf. A war against Iran could easily spread to the Gulf and the Levant. The entire region could go up in flames.
Hubris and Ignorance
The Bush administration was not willing or interested in answering the “morning after” questions regarding the post-Saddam future of Iraq. Whenever I and others urged policy makers to consider the law of unintended consequences and what could go wrong in Iraq following the invasion, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dismissed our concerns and arrogantly claimed that the U.S. military and civilian administration following the invasion would be able to control the situation in Iraq. Their hubris regarding America’s power and ignorance of Iraqi realities on the ground led to a total breakdown of Iraqi society following the demise of the Saddam regime.
The Trump administration seems to be equally arrogant and ignorant about Iran. It has displayed a similar disregard for strategic thinking about the future of Iran beyond the clerical regime. The Iranophobes within the administration seem to be more obsessed with Iran than the Bush administration was ever with Iraq.
Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations. In a recent conversation with Christian broadcasters in Jerusalem, Pompeo waxed eloquent about God’s presumed divine plan designating Trump as a possible savior of the “Jewish people,” Sunni Islam, Maronite Lebanon, Alawite Syria, and the rest of the world from the perceived modern-day Persian “Hamans.”
The American foreign policy process is in serious trouble if Pompeo truly believes that Trump could be the twenty-first-century version of Queen Esther or Hadassah and that this religious vision could chart the path to a grand strategy in the Middle East. When warped religious interpretations are offered as a substitute for rationally debated policy, whether by a radical Wahhabi Salafist, an evangelical Christian, or an ultra-Orthodox Jew, democratic governments should fear for their future. Invoking the divine as an inspiration or a justification for violence against another country, much as Osama bin Laden did on the eve of 9/11, is a rejection of rational discourse and a return to the barbarism of previous epochs.
Pompeo’s imagined “shuttle diplomacy” in the Middle East has been reduced to supporting Netanyahu’s upcoming election bid, threatening Hezbollah in Lebanon, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and lambasting any state that does business with Iran. His ambassador-designee to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, told Congress that the threat from Iran supersedes concerns for human rights in Arab autocracies.
Furthermore, Trump administration policy operatives, including John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, have treated an Iranian group called the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK as a legitimate alternative to the clerical regime in Iran. The MEK, however, is a terrorist cult that has received funding from all sorts of dubious sources and is often used as a tool by outside groups, states, and organizations, including intelligence services of regional and international state actors, to further an anti-Iran agenda.
Similarly, the Bush administration viewed Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré, and the organization he founded, the Iraqi National Congress, as the legitimate alternative to the Saddam regime in Iraq. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld fully bought into Chalabi’s snake-oil sales. Chalabi was instrumental in instigating America’s invasion of Iraq at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American and Iraqi lives. Iraq has never recovered from that ill-fated, unnecessary war. Bolton and Giuliani are as susceptible to MEK’s claims as Cheney and Rumsfeld were to Chalabi’s.
For the sake of whipping up regional animus toward Iran and preparing the ground for a war against the “Persian menace,” Pompeo in effect has told Arab autocrats that so long as they keep mouthing anti-Iran rhetoric, Washington will ignore their despicable human rights record and the continued repression of their people. The thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian, Saudi, and Bahraini jails will have to wait for another day.
Arab regimes have become masters in the art of communicating with their American benefactors. During the Cold War, they received American aid as long as they brandished anti-Communist slogans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the rise of terrorism, these same strongmen were happy to adopt an anti-terrorism rhetoric in order to continue receiving American military and economic aid. Their current anti-Iran public posture is the latest phase in their communication with Washington and is as equally profitable as the previous two phases.
When some regional politicians demurred about getting tough with Iran, as happened during Pompeo’s recent visit to Lebanon, he did not hesitate to threaten them with a panoply of economic sanctions. Vice President Mike Pence used similar language at the recent meeting in Warsaw to berate and even threaten America’s European allies if they dared to take a conciliatory posture toward Iran. The European reaction to Pence’s speech showed that his pathetic performance backfired. Pompeo’s Warsaw meeting ended in utter failure.
Iran Nuclear Deal
Managing Iran’s malign behavior through the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a stroke of diplomatic genius, which former Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz negotiated. The Obama administration placed Iran’s objectionable behavior in two baskets—a nuclear basket, which they addressed through the Iran deal, and a non-nuclear one, which the Obama administration was to address once the nuclear inspection became operational and Iran fully compliant. That approach would have worked: most experts judged Iran to be in compliance with the conditions of the nuclear deal. Unfortunately, President Trump decided not to recertify the agreement.
Trump’s decision contradicted the judgment of most nuclear and intelligence experts about Iran’s compliance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for example, affirmed Iran’s compliance in more than a dozen of its successive quarterly reports and as recently as earlier this month.
In his open testimony to Congress in January, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated that Iran continued to comply with the deal even after Trump announced his intention to scuttle it. Coats said, “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Iran was of course cheating in other areas, according to the DNI’s testimony, but not on the nuclear agreement.
In a statement issued April 25 of last year, over two dozen Israeli senior military and intelligence officials judged that it was “in Israel’s best interest that the United States maintains the nuclear agreement with Iran.” The Israeli statement went on to say that “The current deal is better than no deal” and that “Iran’s destructive regional policies and actions, its support for acts of terrorism, its presence in Syria, and its ballistic missiles program should be dealt with outside the framework of the agreement.” This was precisely the position of the Obama administration when it negotiated the deal in the first place.
The Path Forward
Fifty-plus retired American generals and diplomats, in a statement published earlier this month, urged the Trump administration to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and work on resolving outstanding concerns with Iran diplomatically. They advised against a war because they saw no good outcome. The statement did not seek to exonerate Iran’s destabilizing behavior and its involvement in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon. Nor did the retired senior leaders ignore Iran’s link to terrorism. The statement, however, pointed out, among other things, that the 2015 nuclear deal “put limitations on Iran’s nuclear program that provided assurances that it would not be used to develop weapons, improved American intelligence about potential future development and significantly improved the security of the United States and our allies.”
Additionally, the retired generals and diplomats emphasized that Iran is complying with the agreement and that, under the JCPOA, Iran is barred from engaging in nuclear weapons development program, which prevents it from producing a nuclear device. “Reentering the agreement and lifting the sanctions will greatly enhance United States’ ability to negotiate improvements and enable us to address concerns with the existing agreement.”
Coming from these military and policy realists, who are dedicated to the security of this country, Israel, and America’s allies, this advice is grounded in sane strategic analysis, not in theological whimsy.
Are The MEK And Regime Change Finally Running Out Of Road
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Lobe log, March 09 2019:… Hommerich reported that inside the camp in Albania, MEK militants were still practicing the deadly techniques for combat taught them by Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard—“cutting throats with a knife,” “breaking hands,” “removing eyes with fingers,” and “tearing the mouth open.” In 2017, the Trump administration reversed a 2013 plan by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to establish a De-Radicalisation Institute to disband and rehabilitate the MEK, allowing the dangerous cult to regroup behind closed doors in a de facto extra-territorial enclave and continue its violent practices.
Are The MEK And Regime Change Finally Running Out Of Road?
by Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
The “regime change in Iran” bandwagon—driven by warmongers, fueled by false prophesy, and hurtling pell-mell down the road to Iran—contains various characters, some new and some old.
The bandwagon itself is an ideological construct created 40 years ago in response to the Iranian Revolution. It has taken on various incarnations over the years, but its central purpose has always been to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran and replace it with a compliant pro-American government. What that is hardly matters of course, as was the case with Iraq in 2003.
The drivers of this bandwagon are paid large sums to pursue this agenda at any cost. Others are mere passengers, hoping for a role after the vehicle reaches the destination. Among these passengers is the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), formerly a terrorist group and currently “democratic opposition.” The MEK has been a passenger for all 40 years of the journey, hanging on by paying the drivers. These drivers are public persons such as National Security Advisor John Bolton and Trump lawyer Rudi Giuliani, along with a host of other “influential” persons who steer the bandwagon inexorably toward conflict.
But just as the bandwagon appears to be gathering speed and momentum—enough to scare the Trump administration’s opponents—the MEK appears to be running out of road. And that could signal a halt to the whole enterprise.
The first sign of this came in a piece by Eli Clifton, which discussed the provenance of a large payment ($165,000) received by John Bolton in relation to a tweet to “defend a non-governmental anti-Iran pressure group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)…”. Clifton’s own tweet was met by a couple of feeble MEK slave troll posts on his thread spouting the usual “no appeasement” and “terrorist Iran” themes. This indicates that the MEK has been outbid by a new bandwagon passenger UANI, since the MEK only managed $40,000 for one of Bolton’s speeches. Also, the MEK trolls are running out of steam back in their closed camp in Albania.
Even while Bolton and the Trump administration, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are pushing for a war with Iran, they are beginning to realize that the MEK is not the stick needed to strike fear into the enemy. Indeed, a look at the recent behaviour of the MEK in Albania reveals a failing group beset by internal crisis.
After a series of critical investigative articles by reporters from Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Independent, Channel 4 News, NBC, and others, the recent report in Der Spiegel by Luisa Hommerich was apparently the last straw. The MEK issued a Farsi language statement (written and published in Europe) threatening to assassinate her—for just doing her job.
Hommerich reported that inside the camp in Albania, MEK militants were still practicing the deadly techniques for combat taught them by Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard—“cutting throats with a knife,” “breaking hands,” “removing eyes with fingers,” and “tearing the mouth open.” In 2017, the Trump administration reversed a 2013 plan by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to establish a De-Radicalisation Institute to disband and rehabilitate the MEK, allowing the dangerous cult to regroup behind closed doors in a de facto extra-territorial enclave and continue its violent practices.
In spite of this boost, the MEK, beset by exposures and defections, is trying to prevent the total collapse of the group. Around a thousand members have left the group since it relocated to Albania. The front line over which the MEK peers at its enemy, the Islamic Republic, is no longer Iraq but is now represented by a group of 40 former members protesting in Tirana. The MEK claim that these are all “agents of the Iranian regime” who want to kill the remaining cult members. So, instead of orchestrating regime change in Iran, the MEK can’t even deal with 40 destitute former members.
The MEK is engaged in a form of modern slavery by not paying thousands of activists for 30 years or more. Members who leave the group are left destitute because they have nothing but the clothes on their back even after decades of loyal service. The MEK claims that members offer their services as “volunteers.” But the preamble to the UN Declaration of Human Rights states in its opening sentence that human rights are inalienable—that is, they cannot be disowned by anyone for any reason. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi is responsible for such decisions and treatment.
Not only are the defectors that Hommerich profiles impoverished because they have not had financial recompense for their years of devotion, they are also deliberately left stateless. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees brought the MEK to Albania from Iraq on “humanitarian grounds.” But on arrival they were not granted UN refugee status, nor have they been issued Albanian identity documents that would allow them to work or travel. Lack of residency rights also means that they cannot register for a bank account. They have no identity papers whatsoever, except the flimsy piece of paper used to fly them through international airspace from Baghdad to Tirana.
In her pursuit of fame and glory, Maryam Rajavi treats her members as, essentially, cannon fodder. In the idealized future she paints for the members, they will one day march on Tehran, the vanguard of a spontaneous uprising of the Iranian people against their Islamic oppressors, the mullahs. Why would they need money or identity papers?
In the meantime, it suits Rajavi to have her “followers” incarcerated in a closed camp unable to live independent lives, subject to the whims and demands of the struggle that she purports to lead. But that struggle has almost evaporated. Sure, the MEK is still performing propaganda tasks for various Saudis, Israelis, and Americans to advance the anti-Iran push. But even that is becoming more and more irrelevant as the MEK itself begins to fail.
Massoud Khodabandeh is the director of Middle East Strategy Consultants and has worked long-term with the authorities in Iraq to bring about a peaceful solution to the impasse at Camp Liberty and help rescue other victims of the Mojahedin-e Khalq cult. Among other publications, he co-authored the book “The Life of Camp Ashraf: Victims of Many Masters” with his wife Anne Singleton. They also published an academic paper on the MEK’s use of the Internet. Anne Khodabandeh is a UK expert in anti-terrorist activities and a long-standing activist in the field of deradicalization of extremists. She has written several articles and books on this subject, along with her husband, who is of Iranian origin.
Anne Khodabandeh, Open Minds, De-Radicalisation Consultant, PHOTO-EXHIBITION in Bruxelles
(International Terrorism Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult)
Maryam Rajavi’s MEK is a defunct force in Iran foreign policy
Massoud Khodabandeh, Middle East Strategy Consultants, February 25 2019:… As the following articles show, the complex issue of ‘dealing’ with Iran cannot be solved by the Trump administration or the European Union using the defunct Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) to shake a stick at the country. Iran’s government and ruling system is proving far too sophisticated for this stupid ‘regime change’ narrative. Iranians – inside and outside – don’t want that. Time for a new policy maybe; one that acknowledges facts on the ground rather than the delusion of empire.
Maryam Rajavi’s MEK is a defunct force in Iran foreign policy
As the following articles show, the complex issue of ‘dealing’ with Iran cannot be solved by the Trump administration or the European Union using the defunct Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) to shake a stick at the country. Iran’s government and ruling system is proving far too sophisticated for this stupid ‘regime change’ narrative. Iranians – inside and outside – don’t want that. Time for a new policy maybe; one that acknowledges facts on the ground rather than the delusion of empire.
1- Pro-Reform Group Condemns U.S. Sanctions As Iranian Opposition Becomes More Vocal
Radio Farda, February 25 2019
Link to the source
In a letter to political parties around the world, Iran’s Freedom Movement (Nehzate Azadi) has called for international condemnation of the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), adding that U.S. sanctions will give Iranian hardliners the upper hand in the country’s domestic politics.
The Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) is a pro-reform group with Shiite sympathies that briefly held the government immediately after the 1979 revolution but has been sidelined and not as active since then.
Calling the JCPOA a “model for the peaceful resolution of international conflicts,” the FMI said in the letter, “Rejection of this agreement weakens the value of endeavors in resolving international conflicts peacefully and the role of the United Nations in acting as a safeguarding mechanism for building international peace. The United States’ rejection of this international agreement also negates the significance of efforts in building pathways for peaceful co-existence of nations based on conflict resolution through negotiation and compromise.”
FMI acknowledged that the JCPOA did not address the United States’ concerns about Iran’s missile program and its ambitions in the Middle East, adding that “JCPOA was not initially intended to include the Iranian government’s regional political behavior – or any other issues,” but expressed the view that “these issues could be legitimately addressed in other forums with the consideration of the national security of all nations involved.”
It is not clear why Freedom Movement believes the Islamic Republic has any intention to discuss these issues with Western governments, particularly the United States. Iranian officials categorically reject any such dialogue.
FMI does not advocate the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, but believes in reforms and its members are tolerated to an extent in Iran and not treated as enemies of the regime. Members of the group even participated in the last local elections without any success.
In more than a decade the group has not been very vocal, preferring not to condemn many of the regime’s human rights abuses or its regional adventures. It has also not clearly supported the popular protests by ordinary people against economic hardship and lack of freedoms.
In the letter, the FMI expressed concern over the impact of sanctions on Iran’s middle class, adding that in Iran, “the middle class is exposed to the ravages of sanctions. The Iranian middle class predominately has been in the forefront of the battle for democracy and acted as the engine of change in the country.”
FMI charged that “the United States, with the support of right-wing politicians in Israel and the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia, has imposed sanctions on Iran which ultimately benefit those who are for war and conflict with this country,” adding that “sanctions have also strengthened the political position and power of the Iranian ultraconservatives who continue to encourage and support discord and antagonism in Iranian foreign policy.”
FMI also warned that “democratic changes cannot be achieved in Iran by Washington encouraging groups from outside of Iran who have aimed at toppling the Iranian government. With regards to Iran, democracy cannot be achieved through war, but rather obtained upon a period of sustained gradual reforms that are supported by the Iranian people and arise from within the country.”
Although the letter appears to support the Islamic Republic of Iran’s positions, the FMI stressed at the end of it that the “Freedom Movement of Iran has been under pressure both from the old and the new regimes, and its leaders and members have been arrested, imprisoned and tortured.”
The letter by a political organization that has not been overtly active for decades is yet another indication that the Iranian opposition has become more vocal after the nationwide protests in late 2017 and early 2018, which has weakened the regime in Tehran.
During the past year, the two main opposition groups outside Iran, the royalists and the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) have been more active than ever and developments about and around them have been given more prominence in the media.
The royalists have highlighted the symbolic significance of Prince Reza Pahlavi and established at least two networks of young Iranian activists (Farashgard) with the aim of toppling the Islamic Republic, and the newly established network of technocrats and academics named Qoqnous (Sphinx) with the objective of reconstructing Iran. Meanwhile, the MeK has been more politically active than ever, garnering support from among political groups and Western officials.
In the latest developments, 10 political groups active in the Iranian provinces of Kurdistan, Azerbaijan and Sistan-Baluchistan formed an alliance in Hanover, Germany on Saturday 23 February. The alliance “Solidarity for Freedom and Equality in Iran” has announced its objective as “toppling the Islamic Republic.”
The coalition includes five militant Kurdish parties as well as other militant groups from Khuzestan and Azarbaijan, and a few groups including democratic secular republicans and Marxists.
The freedom movement of Iran may have noticed the changing situation and its letter to political parties around the world could be its way of making itself known as a player that once had a role in the government, hoping to secure a place in the country’s future in case dramatic changes take place.
2- ‘Enough Is Enough: Iran Won’t Give US More Concessions’
Iran Front Page, February 25 2019
Link to the source
A senior conservative journalist says Tehran has not gained much from the US in return for the many concessions it has given Washington.
Hossein Shariatmadari, the managing director of the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan, has, in an editorial published by the daily, taken a swipe at Tehran’s performance in dealing with the US government. The full text of the analytical piece follows.
In his book titled “The Prince,” Niccolò Machiavelli says sometimes it would be very wise to seem crazy! This recommendation is explained by Herman Kahn in one of his books. He says maybe the best way to impose our policies would be to pretend that we are a little nervous and emotional. In this deterrent game, says Kahn, the side which seems to be determined and has left no path to return would have a better chance of gaining concessions from the other side, which has entered the scene with a modest and calm behaviour. He says this is the same place where unwise wisdom is allowed. According to him, pretending to be abiding by an unwise policy may be the best strategy to adopt in the face of a crisis.
It should be noted that when someone feels they are facing an opponent who complies with no laws and regulations and who may make any crazy move when confronted, they prefer to give in to the opponent’s demands in order to spare themselves of this lunatic!
The United States and its European allies have exactly used this ploy in dealing with Iran, and, unfortunately, they have somehow succeeded in taking advantage of this tactic due to the inaction of some Iranian foreign policy officials!
After resigning as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley said in a speech at Charlotte conference that he always regarded Trump a short-tempered person who was unpredictable during negotiations in order to scare the other side. This was what Trump wanted and the mission assigned to her, she says.
It would be unfair if we do not mention this point. While many politicians across the world and some politicians inside the country have fallen for this ploy by Washington and referred to Trump as a lunatic, the supreme Leader described him as someone who pretends to be mad.
And there are reports that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has extended Iran’s suspension from the FATF’s blacklist for another four months. Why? The only reason for this 4-month suspension would be Iran’s resistance to their humiliating demand with regards to the approval of the four bills related to the FATF, especially the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) law and the Palermo Convention. The FATF had threatened that Iran would face tough consequences if Iran failed to ratify the bills. However, the ratification of the FATF would mean “suicide for fear of death!”
Despite insistence by the administration and a number of MPs, the Expediency Council was tasked with deciding on whether or not to approve the bills. Fortunately, most members of the council realized the disgraceful and disastrous nature of the FATF and have, so far, refused to give the go-ahead to the ratification of the bills. In other words, when the FATF saw its threats were ineffective, it has suspended Iran on the blacklist in a bid to make the Expediency Council approve the humiliating bills.
Addressing the opponents of the FATF, A pro-government economic analyst says, “Why do you insist that we be regarded as terrorists in the world?”. He claims there are misgivings of treasons when it comes to the opponents of the FATF. In response, we should say, “Why are you insisting on introducing the IRGC, the Quds Force, the Intelligence Ministry, the Defense Ministry, etc., as terrorists? If you are unaware of the contents of the CFT, why are you expressing views on a subject you know nothing about? And if you know about it, then we should ask ‘Isn’t it treason to describe the IRGC, the Quds Force, the Defense Ministry and Intelligence Ministry as terrorists?’ Or ‘Should we [instead] oppose the ratification of bills whose approval would sound the death knell to national security and result in the surrender of Iranian people to Takfiri terrorists? Hasn’t the FATF officially announced that it does not accept Iran’s definition of terrorism, and hasn’t the US Treasury’s website officially described the aforementioned entities as terrorists?’
One should ask those supporting the ratification of the said bills what will happen if Iran does not accept the FATF.
Mr Zarif says, “Neither me, as Foreign Minister, nor Mr Rouhani, as President, can give any guarantees that the ratification of the CFT would solve any of our economic problems! But it can strip the US of some of the pretexts it has!”
Mr Zarif does not explain, first, which pretexts? Isn’t the existence of the Islamic Republic’s establishment the United States’ main pretext? And, second, in return for so many concessions that we have given, what have we gained over the past five years and a few months except the increase of sanctions and the dozens of hostile cases that the White House has opened against us?
Bitten once, no wise person should be bitten again from the same spot. Do we have to be bitten dozens of times before we come to our senses? Just mention one single concession that we have got from them. Go ahead, please!
What is INSTEX, whose implementation has been conditioned by the FATF upon the ratification of the four bills? “Oil for Food and Drugs!” Isn’t this so-called trade channel with Europe anything other than the humiliation of the Iranian nation? We are supposed to transfer to European banks the forex gained from selling oil! In return, we are supposed to purchase goods from European countries, and not any other countries; but what commodities? Only medicines and food! So far, everything is in the Europeans’ interests. Well, what about our share? Will they buy petroleum from us? The answer is “No.” Will European banks lift the sanctions? Again the answer is “No.” Then what is INSTEX and what benefit does it have for us? Practically nothing! Isn’t it so?
And what countries are supposed to monitor its implementation? Read on!
The supervision is based in France, a country which has overtly turned into a safe haven for terrorists. Members of the MKO terrorist group, who, by their own admission, have murdered some 14 thousand Iranians (The true figure is 17,000) are present in France. During the arrest of members of one of the decision-making centres of ISIS terrorists in Iraq, it was revealed that 13 of those apprehended were French officers involved in the terrorist group’s plans.
The project is managed by Germany, a country which wouldn’t allow the plane carrying Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to fuel despite the fact that Zarif was travelling to Germany at the official invitation of that country to attend the Munich conference. Also, Germany has been holding one of Iranian diplomats in detention for months despite his diplomatic immunity.
And the auditing job lies with the government of the UK, a country which, according to Mr., Zarif, does not allow Iran to open even one bank account.
Finally, we hope the recent ploy by the US and its allies will have no bearing on the calculations of the respected members of the Expediency Council and we hope they will keep in mind this part of remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei that “The proposals made by them (hegemonic powers) generally include deception, deceit and lies. Today, the Iranian nation regards a number of European governments along with the United States as deceitful and unreliable. The government of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] should carefully preserve its borders with them, not step back an inch from its revolutionary and national values and not be afraid of their hollow threats.”
The Many Faces of the MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh
Ty Joplin, Albawaba, November 18 2018:… Khodabandeh admits that he had a difficult time reintegrating into society, as he struggled to rid himself of the constraints the MEK forces upon its members. He forbade himself from watching television, and did not know the extent of Iraq’s crimes against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. But Khodabandeh considers himself lucky; he was able to leave the group while thousands are still trapped inside …
The Many Faces of the MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh
By Ty Joplin
Before Massoud Khodabandeh settled into his life as a consultant living quietly in the middle of England, he was directing the intelligence operations of a group that’s been labelled as a terrorist cult.
The group is called the Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK), and Khodabandeh had, for decades, witnessed its changing of faces: from radical student group opposed to the rule of the Shah in Iran, to anti-Ayatollah guerrilla group, to pro-Saddam militia, to what it is now, an inward-looking and reclusive group with no clear identity beyond its obedience to its leader, Maryam Rajavi.
Massoud Khodabandeh left the group and granted Al Bawaba an exclusive interview, where he documents his smuggling of radio equipment into Iran, his spying on Iranian leaders and MEK defectors and his eventual departure from the group.
Khodabandeh details to Al Bawaba his founding of an MEK cell in London and his imprisonment for participating in a sit-in of the Iranian embassy during the 1979 Iran revolution. After that, he began operating covertly in Europe, traversing the continent with secret funding and passports, looking over all of the MEK’s cells working in Europe at the time, slowing becoming one of its most senior and trusted members.
After the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and the MEK’s falling out with the Iranian regime, Khodabandeh began smuggling radio equipment into Iran via Baghdad, taking powerful radio technology into a secluded station in the mountains of Iranian Kurdistan and surviving attacks by Iranian forces in the process.
As well as helping the MEK cement an international presence, Khodabandeh also remembers helping the MEK’s former leader, Massoud Rajavi, with a particular request. Rajavi asked Khodabandeh to send him dozens of books on cults and psychological manipulation; a request Khodabandeh did not hesitate to fulfill. Decades later, he learned that each book he was smuggling to Massoud was being translated into Farsi and used as a guide on how to transform the MEK into a personalist cult dedicated to serving the will of its leader, Massoud.
After leaving the group, Khodabandeh admits that he had a difficult time reintegrating into society, as he struggled to rid himself of the constraints the MEK forces upon its members.
He forbade himself from watching television, and did not know the extent of Iraq’s crimes against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. But Khodabandeh considers himself lucky; he was able to leave the group while thousands are still trapped inside its confines, doomed to be associated with an opposition group many consider a terrorist cult.
To listen to the full conversation, click here:
Speaking in depth about my experiences with the MEK, from my days as a student up to why I left. Thanks to Ty Joplin of Albawaba for the podcast.
‘The Many Faces of the MEK, Explained By Its Former Top Spy Massoud Khodabandeh’ on #SoundCloud #np https://t.co/IvXGbFdqun
— Massoud khodabandeh (@ma_khodabandeh) November 14, 2018
Open Letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama – Secure the lives of all current and former MEK members
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Balkans Post, November 06 2018:… Please, make sure that the MEK leadership does not lose its mind and commit horrific acts in your country. Enforce the law and impose the authority of your government over the MEK cult and reassure the European public that Albania is a responsible country. Your reply to this letter will be that you ensure the safety and security of all members and former members of MEK in Albania …
Open Letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama – Secure the lives of all current and former MEK members
Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh, former members of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult, sent an open letter to Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, to show their concerns of an imminent terrorist atrocity that would take place in Albania.
Here is the full transcript of the letter:
Dear Prime Minister Rama,
This letter is being sent to you by Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh. We are two British citizens living in Leeds, UK. We are both former members of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult, who now work as deradicalization experts. We follow with great concern the issue of terrorism and radicalisation in Europe, with particular attention to the MEK. We are sending this open letter because of our concerns of an imminent terrorist atrocity that would take place in Albania.
The MEK cult/organization, which your government has hosted in Albania since 2013, is running a campaign to convince the people of Albania that they have distanced from their terrorist past. Efforts to paint a softer image for the group include: taking young people to the Villepinte rally in France in June; inviting Albanian youth to a meeting titled ‘Against Execution’ (and only mentioning Iran, not Saudi Arabia and America and China as examples); contacting members of parliament and party officials to convince them that their terrorist history is not true and has been made up by Iran to demonize the group. This is particularly ridiculous, and any politician or official who believes this in spite of all the evidence to the contrary is being deliberately stupid.
If MEK have changed, why don’t they open up their camp in Manez and allow free access to their secretive camp and their members? Why are they living in paramilitary conditions, with uniforms and gender segregation like in a military garrison? The films of retired German politicians and recruited journalists visiting the camp which were designed to show MEK as ‘ordinary folk’ inadvertently exposed and boasted of these conditions. Why don’t they integrate with the local Albanian community and instead insist having their own city in Albania, their own healthcare and bakery, etc.?
More importantly, since MEK members are working, why don’t they have work permits and pay taxes as Albanian citizens must do? What are they contributing to Albania?
Albanians are waking up to the reality of having a terrorist cult in their midst. The overt behaviour which alarmed citizens of Tirana from 2013 to 2017 has now been hidden behind closed doors. But this does not make the problem go away. Indeed, it makes the group more dangerous since there is no public scrutiny.
The scandal of the Mohammadi family is still fresh in everyone’s minds. What kind of ‘revolutionary’ is the daughter of Mostafa and Mahbubeh Mohammadi, Somayeh who is apparently too afraid to tell her mother face to face not to contact her again. As you already might know, MEK did not allow her any freedom in the matter and she is still subject to constant surveillance and monitoring, she is chaperoned everywhere.
As you are aware, MEK are very vocal that they perceive their group to be the target for death and annihilation from Iran. They claim that agents of Iran’s intelligence services are around every corner and even pose as journalists! That is clearly a matter for Albania’s security and intelligence agencies. The MEK must not be allowed to take the law into their own hands.
However, on a political level it has become clear now that relocating the MEK in Albania and then not de-radicalizing the individuals has attracted the threat of political violence to Albania. No matter which side your government takes – and let us be clear, Albania cannot have good relations with the government of Iran whilst harbouring a terrorist group which is actively working for regime change against Iran, a side must be chosen – the individual members of MEK must be protected.
Your government must take very seriously any threat to the lives of individual MEK members. At this time there is credible evidence of an imminent threat from the MEK leader Maryam Rajavi against members of her own group. Events over the past year – as outlined in this article, and this – indicate that a fatal false flag operation is being planned to advance the agenda of those who wish to destroy the JCPOA and cause a rift in Europe’s relations with Iran. Since the previous alleged plots did not achieve this aim, more drastic action is called for. Experts on the MEK are of the opinion that MEK is planning to kill some of its members, or former members, in Albania, which would then be blamed on Iran. Albania, situated outside the EU and with ongoing problems with crime and corruption, is ideally placed as a scapegoat for violent activity.
The MEK has a long history of setting up scenarios which are used by Iran’s enemies. This latest series of alleged plots in Europe fits into that profile. Your government should not underestimate the capabilities of MEK for such acts. The group’s modus operandi is based on self-sacrifice for the struggle. Over the years, Maryam Rajavi (and her missing husband Massoud) have used the blood of martyrs to keep the group going. The radicalized MEK members who believe in jihad and war are motivated to continue the same path of struggle of these martyrs. Bloodshed also enables MEK to eliminate unwanted members.
The case of Malik Sharai is an example of this activity. Sharai was planning to leave MEK, but as witness to the controversial September 2013 massacre at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, MEK leaders could not allow him to speak publicly about those events.
Your government allowed MEK to evade proper investigation into that death, just as they barred Iraqi investigators from doing their job in Iraq. Malik Sharai was buried without a post mortem examination to establish the cause of death. MEK claimed there were cultural/religious reasons why the Coroner could not do his job. This is not true. No conditions exist that would prevent a full post mortem examination. MEK have thereby flouted Albanian law and regulations to prevent proper investigation into how Sharai died.
The case of Sharai is mentioned because this example must alert you to the danger that MEK members face from their own leader.
What can your government do to stop MEK from committing a terrorist act against their members?
Firstly, MEK must be brought under control. The rule of ALBANIAN law must apply to MEK as it must to every other citizen of Albania. The camp at Manez must be opened up so that proper scrutiny and regulation of MEK’s activities can be conducted by the relevant authorities; Albanian police, tax officers, healthcare providers, anti-slavery activists etc must have full access to MEK and its members. People like Somayeh Mohammadi must be set free to choose their fate.
No matter from where the threat to life originates, every individual MEK member needs protection. To qualify for state protection, MEK members must be issued with identity and residency documents. They should not be left without work permits – a fact that forces many of them to remain radicalized inside MEK.
Security must come from the neutral state not from a private firm in the pay of the MEK. Police must have a presence inside the camp to impose law and order.
Although MEK state that the estranged families of MEK members want to come to Albania to kill them, we know from fifteen years’ experience that the opposite is true and that people whose families are actively campaigning to contact them have not come to harm and have often been able to leave MEK and return to normal life. Your government should issue visas to these families, so they can visit their loved ones in Albania.
Finally, we urge you to increase the vigilance of Albanian security services around the MEK members in Albania, including former members. We have strong indications that a false flag operation against MEK might be planned in your country by a foreign government, which will use this incident against the European Union and its relations with Iran. In order to avoid this, your government must do its utmost to save the lives of MEK members from their leadership, which as in the past, is willing to kill some of its members for its survival agenda. A terrorist act against MEK members by a foreign country on Albanian soil will be a major incident and an embarrassment for your government and the European governments which do not want to see something like this take place in your country.
Please, make sure that the MEK leadership does not lose its mind and commit horrific acts in your country. Enforce the law and impose the authority of your government over the MEK cult and reassure the European public that Albania is a responsible country.
Your reply to this letter will be that you ensure the safety and security of all members and former members of MEK in Albania.
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
Letër e hapur Kryeministrit Edi Rama – siguro jetën e të gjithë anëtarëve dhe dezertorëve të MEK-ut
I dashur Kryeministër Rama,
Këtë letër po ta shkuajmë ne, Massoud dhe Anne Khodabandeh. Ne jemi dy qytetarë britanik që jetojmë në Leeds, Britaninë e Madhe. Jemi ish-anëtarë të kultit të Moxhahedinëve Iranianë (MEK), që tanimë punojnë si ekspertë në fushën e deradikalizimit. Ne ndjekim me shqetësim të madh çështjen e radikalizmit dhe terrorizmit në Evropë, duke i kështuar vëmendje të posaçme MEK-ut. Këtë letër të hapur po ua dërgojmë, pasi jemi të shqetësuar mbi një sulm terrorist i cili mund të ndërmerret në Shqipërisë.
Organizata okulte e MEK-ut, të cilën qeveria juaj strehon që prej vitit 2013, ka ndërmarrë një fushatë nëpërmjet të cilës kërkon ti bindë shqiptarët që ajo është distancuar nga e kaluara e saj terroriste. Pjesë e kësaj përpjekje për përmirësim imazhi janë: dërgimi i shqiptarëve në takimin e Villepinte në Francë në qershor; ftesa e të rinjve shqiptarë në takime sikur ai që u bë “kundër ekzekutimeve” (ku u përmend vetëm Irani, por jo Arabia Saudite, Amerika dhe Kina si shembuj vendesh ku njerëzit dënohen me vdekje); kontaktet që MEK bënë me deputetët e parlamentit dhe zyrtarë partiakë në Shqipëri ku ata mundohen ti bindin ata që historia terroriste e MEK-ut nuk është e vërtetë por është sajuar nga Irani për të baltosur grupin. Kjo e fundit në veçanti është një gjë shumë e ulët, dhe nëse ka politikanë apo zyrtarë shqiptarë që beson këtë rrenë duke injoruar malin me fakte që ekziston, do të thotë që dikush të pranoj të luaj rrolin e idiotit.
Nëse MEK-u sikur ai pretendon, ka ndryshuar, ne pyesim: pse ata nuk e hapin kampin e tyre në MANËZ dhe të lejojnë publikun që të hyjë dhe shohë kampin e tyre sekret dhe anëtarët që ata kanë? Pse anëtarët e MEK-ut vazhdojnë të jetojnë në kushte paramilitariste, me uniforma ku burrat ndahen nga gratë sikur të jenë në një garnizon ushtarak? Filmimi që përpara disa ditësh disa gazetarë të paguar dhe disa politikanë pensionistë gjermanë bënë ndërsa vizituan kampin, ku kërkohej që MEK-sat të tregohen si “njerëz normalë” në fakt tregoi kushtet ku ata jetojnë. Përse muxhahedinët nuk integrohen me komunitetet vendase në Shqipëri, por këmbëngulin që të kenë qytetin e tyre, punishten e tyre, dhe qendrat e tyre shëndetësore etj?
Për më tepër, anëtarët e MEK-ut që punojnë, përse nuk kanë leje pune dhe pse nuk paguajnë taksa sikur qytetarët shqiptarë? Çfarë kontributi po i japin ata shoqërisë shqiptare?
Shqiptarët e kanë kuptuar tashmë që në mesin e tyre qëndron një kult terrorist. Sjellja e tyre e cila alarmoi qytetarët shqiptarë ndërmjet viteve 2013 dhe 2017 tanimë është fshehur në dyert e mbyllura të kampit. Por kjo nuk e zgjidh problemin e tyre. Por në të kundërt, e bën grupin më të rrezikshëm pasi tanimë publiku nuk sheh më se çfarë ata bëjnë.
Skandali i familjes Mohammadi është akoma i freskët në mendjet e qytetarëve. Çfarë ‘revolucionare’ është vajza e Mostafa dhe Mahbubeh Mohammadit, Sommaya e cila sikur edhe është parë ka frikë të takojë mamanë e saj dhe ti thotë në sy që nuk do ta takoj? Sikur edhe ju mund ta dini, MEK-u nuk e la atë të dalë nga kampi dhe ajo vazhdon të mbahet nën survejim nga moxhahedinët, të cilët e shoqërojnë kudo e ngado.
Sikur edhe ju mund ta dini, MEK-u pretendon natë e ditë që grupi i tyre rrezikohet për tu goditur nga Irani. Ata pretendojnë se agjentët e shërbimeve iraniane janë kudo dhe shfaqen edhe si gazetarë! Kuptohet që këtë gjë e vendosin organet e sigurisë shqiptare dhe jo MEK-u. Por shqetësimi ynë është që MEK-u nuk duhet të lejohet që të sillet si polic në Shqipëri.
Sikur edhe ju mund ta keni kuptuar, sjellja e MEK-ut në Shqipëri dhe mos deradikalizimi i tyre ka rritur nivelin e dhunës politike në Shqipëri. Pa marrë parasysh se në cilën anë qeveria juaj qendron – le ta themi hapur, Shqipëria nuk mban dot relata të mira qeverinë e Iranit ndërsa strehon në vend një organizatë terroriste e cila në mënyrë aktive punon që të ndryshoj regjimin në Iran, dhe këtu ju duhet ta ndani mendjen – dhe anëtarët e MEK-ut duhet të mbrohen.
Qeveria juaj duhet të trajtojë me seriozitet çdo kërcënim që i vjen individëve të MEK-ut. Në momentin që ne po u shkruajmë këtë letër, ekzistojnë fakte të mjaftueshme që të bëjnë të besosh për një kërcënim real që ekziston nga udhëheqësja e MEK-ut Maryam Rajavi kundër anëtarëve të organizatës së saj. Në vitin e kaluar – sikur është treguar në këtë shkrim, dhe këtë – MEK-u po planifikon të ndërmarrë një operacion të rremë terrorist [false flag operation] në bashkëpunim me grupe të cilat duan që të shkatërrojnë Marrëveshjen Nukleare të Iranit me Fuqitë Botërore të njohur si JCPOA duke shkaktuar kështu një konflikt ndërmjet Evropës dhe Iranit. Pasi deklaratat bombastike të mëparshme ndaj Iranit nuk janë marrë në konsideratë nga Fuqitë e Evropës të cilat vazhdojnë të mbështesin Marrëveshjen Nukleare me Iranin, tanimë po kërkohet që të ndërmerret një akt edhe më ekstrem. Ekspertët e MEK-ut besojnë që MEK-u po planifikon të vrasë disa nga anëtarët e vetë në Shqipëri, dhe kjo vrasje më pas do ti faturohet Iranit. Shqipëria e cila qëndron jashtë Bashkimit Evropian dhe ka probleme me krimin dhe korrupsionin, është vendi më i përshtatshëm për të kryer një krim të këtillë.
MEK-u ka një histori të gjatë krijimi të skenarëve që më pas përdoren nga armiqtë e Iranit. Pretendimet më të fundme të komploteve terroriste në Evropë i ngjajnë skenarëve të mëhershëm. Dhe për këtë arsye qeveria juaj nuk duhet të nënvleftësojë aftësitë e MEK-ut për të krijuar një incident të këtillë. Mënyra e operimit të grupit bazohet në vetëflijimin për luftën. Në vitet e kaluara, Marjam Rajavi (dhe burri i saj i zhdukur Masudi) kanë përdorur gjakun e martirëve për të motivuar grupin. Anëtarët e radikalizuar të MEK-ut që besojnë në xhihadin dhe luftën kanë mjaft indoktrinim që të martirizohen për luftën e tyre. Vrasjet janë një prej mjeteve që MEK-u përdor për të zhdukur anëtarët e padëshiruar.
Rasti i Malik Sharait është një shembull i asaj që MEK-u mund të bëj. Sharai planifikonte të largohej nga MEK-u, por duke qenë dëshmimtar i masakrës kontraversiale të shtatorit 2013 në Kampin Ashraf në Irak, komanda e MEK-ut nuk mund ta lejonte që të dëshmonte në publik për ato që ndodhën atëherë.
Fatkeqësisht qeveria juaj e lejoi MEK-un që të mos lejoj një hetim të duhur mbi këtë vdekje, në të njëjtën mënyrë sikur MEK-u i ndali edhe hetuesit në Irak që bënin punën e tyre. Malik Sharai u varros pa iu bërë një autopsi për të hetuar shkaqet e vdekjes. MEK-u e evitoi autopsinë me justifikimin se mjeku ligjor nuk mund ta kryente detyrën e tij për shkaqe kulturore / fetare. Por kjo nuk është e vërtetë. Ekzaminimi mjekësor nuk ndalohet dot për asnjëfarë arsyeje. Në këtë mënyrë MEK-u arriti ti shpëtojë ligjit shqiptar dhe rregullave duke i shpëtuar një hetimi të drejtë mbi arsyet e vdekjes së Sharait.
Ua përmendim rastin e Sharait pasi shembulli i tij duhet të shërbejë si shembull për të kuptuar rrezikun që i kanoset anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga udhëheqësja e tyre.
Çfarë duhet të bëj qeveria juaj që të ndaloj MEK-un nga kryerja e akteve terroriste kundër anëtarëve të tyre?
E para, MEK-u duhet vënë nën kontroll. Sundimi i ligjit shqiptar duhet të implementohen mbi MEK-un ashtu sikur edhe mbi çdo qytetar tjetër të Shqipërisë. Kampi i Manzës duhet të hapet kështu që aktivitetet e MEK-ut të mbikqyren nga autoritetet vendore; policia shqiptare, zyra e taksave, organet shëndetësore, aktivistët për të drejtat e njeriut etj duhet të kenë akses të plotë në kampin e MEK-ut dhe anëtarët e tij. Anëtarë sikur Somayeh Mohammadi duhet të lejohen që të vendosin vetë për fatin e tyre.
Pa marrë parasysh se nga u vjen kërcënimi, çdo individ i MEK-ut duhet të mbrohet. Në mënyrë që të gëzojnë mbrojtje të plotë ligjore, anëtarët e MEK-ut duhet të pajisen me karta identiteti dhe rezidencë. Ata nuk duhet të lihen pa leje pune – fakt i cili i detyron shumë prej tyre që të qendrojnë të radikalizuar nga MEK-u.
Siguria e muxhahedinëve duhet të vijë nga organet neutrale të shtetit dhe jo nga firma private që paguhen nga MEK-u. Policia duhet të vendoset brenda kampit të MEK-ut në mënyrë që të vendosi ligjin dhe qetësinë.
Edhe pse MEK-u pretendon se familjet e anëtarëve të MEK-ut duan të vijnë në Shqipëri për ti vrarë, ne e dimë nga eksperienca jonë pesëmbëdhjetë vjeçare se e kundërta është e vertetë. Muxhahedinët që kanë familjet e tyre që duan ti takojnë ata, nuk vijnë që ti lëndojnë por shpesh kanë qenë faktor për lirimin dhe integrimin e tyre në jetën civile. Qeveria juaj duhet të lëshojë viza për këto familje, kështu që ata të vizitojnë të afërmit e tyre në Shqipëri.
Në fund, ne u kërkojmë që të rrisni vigjilencën me organet e sigurisë përreth anëtarëve të MEK-ut në Shqipëri, duke përfshirë këtu edhe dezertorët. Kemi indikacione të forta që na bëjnë të besojmë që një plan për të kryer një operacion të rremë (false flag operation) kundër MEK-ut ndoshta është duke u planifikuar në vendin tuaj nga një qeveri e huaj, e cila kërkon ta përdori këtë incident kundër Bashkimit Evropian dhe marrëdhënieve të tij me Iranin. Në mënyrë që një gjë e këtillë të mos ndodhë, qeveria juaj duhet të marrë masat maksimale për të shpëtuar jetën e muxhahedinëve nga udhëheqja e tyre, e cila në të kaluarën, ka provuar që ka patur dëshirën për të vrarë disa prej anëtarëve të saj për të siguruar mbijetesën. Një akt terrorist kundër anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga një vend i huaj në tokën shqiptare do të jetë një incident i rëndë dhe skandal i madh për qeverinë tuaj dhe qeveritë evropiane të cilat nuk duan që një gjë e këtillë të ndodhë në vendin tuaj.
Lutemi të bëni maksimumin që udhëheqja e MEK-ut të mos humbasë logjikën që të bëjë akte të këtilla të tmerrshme në vendin tuaj. Ushtroni ligjin dhe impononi autoritetin e qeverisë mbi kultin muxhahedin dhe siguroni publikun evropian që Shqipëria është një vend i përgjegjshëm.
Përgjigja juaj më e mirë për këtë letër do të jetë siguria dhe ruajtja e të gjithë anëtarëve dhe dezertorëve të MEK-ut në Shqipëri.
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
Albania: MEK rebrands by assassinating unwanted members
Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh, Balkans Post, June 22 2018:… The mysterious disappearance of a member of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) terrorist group in Albania has once again drawn attention to this controversial group. Malek Sharaee, 47, originally from Khuzestan Province in Iran, was reportedly drowned in the Rrotull village irrigation water reservoir. After three days, divers have not found his body even though the …
Albania: MEK rebrands by assassinating unwanted members
Massoud Keshmiri: Killed Iran’s PM and President – last seen in Germany after escaping MEK
The mysterious disappearance of a member of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) terrorist group in Albania has once again drawn attention to this controversial group. Malek Sharaee, 47, originally from Khuzestan Province in Iran, was reportedly drowned in the Rrotull village irrigation water reservoir. After three days, divers have not found his body even though the water channel is only 3.5 meters deep. However, a MEK representative and three MEK witnesses say his clothes were found at the water’s edge. Police are now investigating this as a possible criminal offense. Even so, unless they gain access to Camp Ashraf Three, the MEK’s purpose-built training camp in Manez, they are unlikely to unearth the truth – MEK impunity is far greater than this small country can deal with or penetrate.
MEK (aka Saddam’s Private Army) was unknown in Albania until they arrived after 2013. Their bizarre behavior and controversial activitiessoon became the focus of media attention.
But the MEK’s dark history began long before this. Along with well-publicised military-style terrorist attacks on Iran since the 1980s, the MEK was also trained by Saddam Hussein’s Mukhaberat (Secret Services) and later by Israel’s MOSSAD, in intelligence gathering and secret operations. As a result, MEK has also conducted many covert terror acts and assassinations over the years. Several of these were deliberately staged to make it look like Iran was involved. Such as the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In spite of extensive investigation, the primary evidence linking Iran came from four high ranking intelligence officers from MEK. In 2011, a man connected to Mexican drug dealers was arrested for the attempted murder of the Saudi Ambassadorto America. The US quickly accused Iran, but after two weeks the perpetrator was linked to MEK. In 2013, Israel arrested a Swedish Iranian man, Ali Mansouri, who ‘confessed’ to be spying for Iran in Tel Aviv. He turned out to be a MEK member.
The underlying pattern behind these events is of deception and callous, cynical murder. These examples are not unique. MEK has a long history of highly sophisticated and brutal undercover activity. However, the reported death of Malek Sharaee in Albania this week also points to a new phase in MEK covert activity. This time individual MEK members who were previously involved in known acts of violence are now themselves becoming victims of their own organization.
Internal assassinations are not new – Commander Ali Zarkesh was deliberately killedduring a military operation in 1988 because he had become critical of the leadership. There have been hundreds of reports of suspicious deaths and actual murders over the last three decades committed against critics and rivals.
In 2013, former MEK member Massoud Dalili was identified as the 53rd victim of a massacre at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. MEK only acknowledged his death when the Iraqi authorities formally identified him via his DNA. Dalili’s body had been deliberately disfigured (his face and hands burned) to hide his identity. Massoud Dalili had been one of the personal security personnel for leader Massoud Rajavi. He had undergone training with Saddam’s Republican Guards and the MEK’s own specialist training. Before coming to Iraq, Dalili had headed a small MEK team in Gilan Province where he was responsible for scores of deaths, including civilians.
Another victim killed during the same attack was Zohreh Ghaemi, She had commanded the assassination of General Sayad Shirazi in 1999. Of the other victims that day, at least ten are known to have participated in known acts of violence for MEK. No one claimed responsibility for the attack on Camp Ashraf.
In 2015, in the Netherlands, Mohamad Reza Kolahi was killed by a criminal gang on the order of MEK. Investigators confirmed that Kolahi was responsible for the 1981 bombing of the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party in Tehran in which 72 high-ranking politicians and party members were killed.
Another MEK member, Massoud Keshmiri, responsible for the bombing which killed PM Bahonar and President Rajai in 1981, was last seen with MEK in Germany some years ago. He has since vanished and could be dead. Although these deaths cannot be said to be directly linked, there is a common thread whose purpose becomes clear when we remember 2016 when Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi Intelligence chief, announced the death of MEK leader Massoud Rajavi. It is clear from this that MEK is being purged from top to bottom of all the individuals who have had involvement or are associated with its violent past – rebranding by assassination to make the group legally acceptable.
MEK has become the pattern for how other defeated terrorist groupings can be reinvigorated, rebranded and reused. The controversy following the Bulgarian PM’s announcement that “Albania will become a coordination center for fighters returning from ISIS to the Balkans” may die down soon – Prime Minister Rama later dismissed this as fantasy, but he is not convincing.Instead, the history of the MEK in Albania indicates that the same scenario will be repeated. As ISIS fighters arrive and settle, the process will start just as it did with MEK. Expect more mysterious murders, suicides, disappearances, bizarre interventions to prevent investigations. And, of course, the involvement of Albanian citizens, politicians, and personalities for and against. Plus, not only abandoning any hope of joining the EU, but suffering more restrictions on the borders with the EU and Balkan countries.