Iran Interlink, August 10 2018:…A pro-MEK piece was published by Fox News in response to the multiple exposures and articles about MEK in Farsi, English and Albanian language media. Sources close to MEK in Albania describe them as ‘running around like headless chickens’ because everyone now knows who they are and how they operate.- Farsi commentary is almost all in condemnation of the MEK attacks on the Mohammedi’s …
Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – August 10, 2018
++ A pro-MEK piece was published by Fox News in response to the multiple exposures and articles about MEK in Farsi, English and Albanian language media. Sources close to MEK in Albania describe them as ‘running around like headless chickens’ because everyone now knows who they are and how they operate.
++ Farsi commentary is almost all in condemnation of the MEK attacks on the Mohammedi’s, the ex-members and the failed state of Albania which cannot cope with them. One writer says that it simply doesn’t fit that a mother and father are agents of Iran. No agent would have been going around the world from Iraq to Europe and now Albania for twenty years. The only person who would have the motivation to devote their life for this is a mother.
++ Ex-members have re-published an MEK article on their own sites, the MEK article is called ‘Mojahedin in Albania in Google’. They explain that MEK has panicked because Google search comes up overwhelmingly with anti-MEK writing. MEK claims, in its article, that to do such a thing needs hundreds of thousands of dollars expenditure, because everyone knows that to make sites and to force tags into major newspapers, so it would come up in MSM is a hard and costly job. Spending this much money cannot be done except by the Intelligence Ministry of Iran, unless you claim ‘the people’ have paid for it. Ex-members are saying ‘you are looking at a mirror’. First MEK are thinking that the only way to be in Google is to spend vast amounts of money and work on it, which is what they do themselves. And to say that ‘the people’ are paying is simply a reflection of how they describe their own shady financial affairs. Secondly, this clearly shows that the whole system of MEK is focused on Google wars. If they think they have lost this time, it means if they are in Google at other times they think they’ve won. Their whole struggle has been reduced to an online presence. MEK’s only argument – warped logic – is that ‘they’ are spending so much money to say MEK has collapsed. Why would you spend that if we haven’t collapsed?
++ Nejat Society has published a second teaser for its 3-part documentary series ‘The End of the Path’. Filmed at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq, the series shows how the MEK lived and exposes its cultic behaviour, in particular its human rights abuses against the members and their estranged families.
++ Mazda Parsi for Nejat Bloggers unpicks John Limbert’s warning that support for MEK by some US politicians “would end up backing MEK, a group hated by most Iranians and resembling a combination of the Jonestown cult and the Khmer Rouge.” Parsi describes conditions of slavery under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia – the same slavery that is going on with MEK today. He references NYT contributor, Elizabeth Rubin, Human Rights Watch and Al bawaba website, who have all warned about the cultic nature of MEK and the potential for Maryam Rajavi’s MEK to become the Pol Pot of Iran.
++ As the controversy rumbles on in Albania about the efforts of parents from Canada to rescue their 38-year-old daughter, Somayeh Mohammadi, from behind the closed walls of Camp Ashraf 3, where she is under constant coercive control, the Tirana Times published lengthy coverage of events in English. The article superficially and uncritically repeats the allegations and counter allegations made by each side. The article does not investigate whether the Mohammadis have been sent by Iran to kill their daughter. Nor does it investigate whether Somayeh is a free agent and really has written the letters published in Albanian media.
++ Telesur ran a critique of American foreign and military policy by Catherine Shakdam, ‘Nuclear Deal: Is The MKO Playing Into Anti-Iranian Sentiments?’. Pointing out that President Trump approved the largest military budget in in US history in 2018, Shakdam claims that the US systematically had a hand in ‘terrorising and bullying’ other countries over the decades, often contravening international law. Iran on the other hand has “acted in accordance with international treaties within the parameters of international law…”. The US has made an enemy of Iran for reasons “that lie well beyond its national interests”, common sense and political consensus. Trump’s “decision to contemplate regime change in Iran that should command our ire – especially when it entails empowering well-known terror militants: the MKO, also known as MEK”, says Shakdam, who goes on to describe the MEK in dangerous terms. Support for MEK – “a terror group whose ideology is sold to bloodshed, murder and heinous acts of violence on the basis of its self-proclaimed exceptionalism” – “contravenes not only international law as it plays directly into the definition of state-sponsored terrorism, but political common sense”.
++ Massoud Khodabandeh’s article ‘Albanian Police No Match For MEK Commanders Trained by Saddam’s Mukhabarat’, in The Iranian, analyses the disparity between an ordinary couple from Canada and the MEK commanders who are controlling the life and activities of their daughter behind closed doors in an isolated camp. Khodabandeh points out that while Albanian media present this as a family dispute it is not and gives brief biographies of the MEK commanders and agents involved in ‘delivering MEK’s version of Somayeh’s story’. The four, originally recruited from the UK as students, are Jila Deyhim, Homayoun Deyhim, Behzad Saffari and Ahmad Taba. All received training by Saddam Hussein’s security and military services. Albanian police were shocked by the behaviour of MEK as 60 ‘potential suicide bombers’ surrounded police station 4 in Tirana. Khodabandeh concludes that Somayeh is in great danger and if any harm, injury or death befalls her, the government of Albania will be held responsible.
++ Jounalist Ken Klippenstein wrote another expose for The Young Turks (TYT) Network, ‘It’s not Just Bolton and Giuliani: Trump Team’s Links to Iran ‘Cult’ Run Deep (Walid Phares)’. As the title indicates, the Trump Administration is riddled with MEK supporters who are financially compensated for meeting with and promoting MEK. This piece focuses on Walid Phares who met with MEK to discuss ‘the human rights situation in Iran’. Other MEK advocates include Kenneth Blackwell, Michael Mukasey and Michael Ledeen. However, the article ends: “Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson, director of its Middle East and North Africa division, told TYT, ‘We have documented very serious abuses by the MEK against its own members, including the forced detainment and torture of dissident voices at MEK camps in Iraq’.
“‘In most of these cases, the MEK sought to punish with physical and psychological abuse individuals who wanted to leave the organization’, Whitson said. Unsurprisingly, MEK has been described by many, including the Rand Corporation, as a ‘cult.’
“Asked about the Trump team’s links to the group, Whitson told TYT, ‘We have repeatedly raised our concerns with American officials who have received funds from the MEK, including for example Mr. Giuliani’.”
Why increased US pressure on Iran appears to be backfiring
Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, August 01 2018:… Administration officials say they are “supporting Iranian voices”. But, say Iranians and analysts, the apparent lack of a US strategic vision for a post-regime Iran, and administration officials’ association with the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – an exiled, cult-like opposition group reviled inside Iran – have instead yielded rare levels of Iranian unity. “If there …
Why increased US pressure on Iran appears to be backfiring
WHY WE WROTE THIS
Recent street protests over Iran’s economy seem to suggest the country could be vulnerable to outside pressure. But Iranians say the White House has miscalculated, resulting in increased unity instead.
By Scott Peterson Staff writer @peterson__scott
President Trump’s escalation of anti-Iran rhetoric and increased US pressure against the Islamic Republic have been a boon to Iran’s noisy minority of hard-line, America-obsessed flag burners.
But the US campaign is doing more than strengthen the hard-liners. Amid a broader administration effort to deepen instability among Iranians torn by their own political and social divides, there are signs the Trump-led targeting of Iran may be backfiring, as Iranians coalesce against a foreign enemy.
One result is a newly belligerent anti-American tone from Iran’s centrist President Hassan Rouhani, who has advocated outreach to the West. Another is reconsideration by a sizeable portion of Iranians who – quietly, but unmistakably, for decades – have professed admiration for the American people and have long viewed America as a beacon of hope.
Administration officials say they are “supporting Iranian voices” by abetting anti-regime sentiment and taking advantage of frequent local protests in Iran. But, say Iranians and analysts, the apparent lack of a US strategic vision for a post-regime Iran, and administration officials’ association with the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – an exiled, cult-like opposition group reviled inside Iran – have instead yielded rare levels of Iranian unity.
“If there were some hope [in Washington] that with some kind of pressure from outside that Iranians would be encouraged to go out on the street, Trump is giving the wrong signal: ‘You come to the street and make instability, and we will make the MEK come to power,’ ” says a veteran analyst in Tehran who asked not to be named.
“The hatred, the distrust, the dissatisfaction … toward the establishment is growing here, no question about it,” says the analyst. “People are protesting here and there. But … what Trump is doing” makes the prospect of a popular uprising even more distant.
Citing “current America and these policies,” which had shown the US to be “totally unreliable,” Tehran dismissed an offer by Mr. Trump Monday to meet Iranian leaders with “no preconditions.” The White House later clarified that it has no plans to change its policy of ratcheting up pressure and sanctions on Iran.
Ordinary Iranians have taken to Twitter using the hashtags #ShutUpTrump and #StopMeddlingInIran to condemn US actions.
“Trump’s craziness has no end. But our unity is endless, too. So the more he shows his teeth, the more we will show our fists,” says Saeed, a clean-shaven student of mechanical engineering at Azad University in Tehran who says he supports reformist politicians.
“We have passed all those hurdles in the past and this one, although it is more serious than ever, I’m sure we will successfully leave behind,” says Saeed, who only gave his first name. “It is Trump who will be thrown away or, in the words of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], will be ‘thrown into the dust bin of history.’ We will stand behind the establishment forever.”
Mutual hostility between the US and Iran has defined the geopolitical strife between these arch foes since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
‘Never, ever threaten’
But the Trump administration’s particular animus toward Iran is especially counterproductive, Iranians and analysts say. As the US seeks to check what it calls Iran’s “malign activities” and extensive influence across the Middle East, it is ratcheting up sanctions and explicitly attempting to turn Iranians against their clerical leaders.
Last week, Trump replied to a warning from Mr. Rouhani not to take Iran’s military capability lightly by tweeting, in all capital letters, that Iran should “never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Iran’s Qods Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, replied, addressing Trump: “Come, we are ready. If you begin the war, we will determine the end of it.”
After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, several thousand Iranian citizens in Tehran were among the first – and among the very few – in the Middle East to hold a spontaneous candlelit vigil in solidarity with the United States.
Yet today Iranians also are reeling from being included – alongside Somalis and Yemenis – in a blanket seven-nation White House travel ban, even though an estimated one million Iranian-Americans live in the US.
They are baffled by Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And they are feeling the bite of new US sanctions designed to put “unprecedented” economic pressure on Iran by cutting it off from the outside world, forcing all third-country business to withdraw, and blocking the sale of any Iranian oil.
“We have always expected the Americans to come to our rescue, but that has happened only in words and not action,” says Ramezan, a retired teacher in Tehran. “Look at Trump.… He does not even let us visit his country. Do you think we could expect such a fool to save us from a bunch of other fools?”
Solidarity with protesters
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the stakes in a speech Aug. 22 in southern California to a group that included Iranian-American members of the MEK – an organization that was on the US list of terrorist groups until 2012. It has for years paid top former officials, including current National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to shill for its Iran regime-change agenda.
Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration “dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do,” and pledged solidarity with Iranian protesters while listing cases of corruption and human rights abuses. But he also said the US had “an obligation to put maximum pressure on the regime’s ability to generate and move money.”
That speech brought home to Iranians the challenge of forging detente with this White House, says John Limbert, a former US diplomat who was among the 52 hostages taken at the US Embassy in 1979 and held captive for 444 days.
“What’s striking are these totally insincere and unconvincing professions of how much we support the Iranian people and their aspirations,” says Mr. Limbert, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and author of the book, “Negotiating with Iran.”
He summed up the Iranian view: “Here is this person [Trump] who says he’s going to kill millions of us, they’re going to strangle our economy… and they are going to support our aspirations for democracy. How stupid do they think we are?” says Limbert.
‘A limit to our patience’
Yet, even as Iranians are disparaging of Trump and his approach to Iran, when it comes to their domestic woes, they spread their blame further, to chronic mismanagement and corruption at home.
“Unity has always been our choice against enemies. This time it has to be even more vigorous because we are facing a special one, who has no ethical boundaries,” says Leyla, a soon-to-retire health ministry employee in Tehran.
“But there’s also a limit to our patience,” she says. “Our officials have to see people’s problems. If they need our backing, they must do something for our livelihood.… Things will break down and even unity won’t work when you have no bread.”
Iranians for two centuries have witnessed the negative result of outside interventions, and in the US case it was a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1953 that many regard as laying the foundation for the Islamic Revolution, decades later.
“It’s hard to believe that Trump or the American administration is on the side of the people,” says the Tehran analyst. “ ‘By hurting people you can’t be on the side of the people,’ this is what some say.”
“I know some young people who were really disgusted with the regime … but some of them are not so sure about revolution anymore, because the MEK image here is not what these people want as the new leadership,” says the analyst.
“These activities by Trump and his aides to get close to the MEK scared lots of people – indirectly helping people move away from the idea of revolution against the mullahs,” he says.
American support for MEK (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult) in Albania alienates Iranian public opinion
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Balkans Post, July 31 2018:… The MEK is described as a destructive cult because it poses the greatest threat to its own members. Many hundreds have been killed and continue to be killed by the leaders. The latest example came only weeks ago with the unexplained death of MEK member Malek Sharaii. Sharaii’s family in Iran say that he had wanted to leave MEK but had incriminating …
American support for MEK (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult) in Albania alienates Iranian public opinion
This is a picture of MEK member Jila Deyhim who is in Tirana. She uses the name Parvin Shafiee in Albania. In Iraq she was the commander of the terror teams with over 60 agents under her command. She was involved in the assault on Mostafa Mohammadi.
Trump’s supposed policy of bullying Iran into begging for talks has stalled after his all-caps Twitter rant was batted back by General Qassem Soleimani’s kick-ass retort. Time for a re-think of the whole approach perhaps. Indeed, many of the tactics used by the US to bring Iran into line over the past forty years have actually enabled and strengthened the ruling establishment there. It’s not that Iran has got better, but the US has made avoidable blunders.
Not least of these is to threaten to bomb the country to destroy its (so-far peaceful) nuclear capabilities. Allied with cruel economic sanctions, the discriminatory Travel Ban and overt support for violent regime change, this aggressive approach only alienates Iranian people.
But while there is disagreement between the various organisations and factions who oppose the Iranian government on any number of issues, there is one thing which unites almost all Iranians and that is the unaccountable American support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist cult.
Since the 1980s, the MEK has been facilitated as a terrorist entity and propaganda outlet by the US establishment specifically because of its violent extremism and regime change agenda. These supporters have no illusions – MEK is unreliable and untrustworthy and has no support whatsoever among Iranians. However, intelligence agencies and the military are amoral institutions; they make no judgment about the ethical or moral value of an asset. So, as long as politicians find the ‘MEK threat’ useful to buttress their regime change agendas, the arrangements for MEK’s continued survival remain largely unchallenged.
Because of this complicity, US Secretary of State Pompeo’s claim that “the Trump administration dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do” was met with derision among the Iranian diaspora. If the US at any time had wanted to help the Iranian people, it would have dismantled the MEK. For years, successive US administrations have squandered opportunities to remove MEK from the equation. This failure has contributed to the sterility of US policy toward Iran.
What looked like a genuine process to de-list, transfer and de-radicalize the MEK, initiated by Hillary Clinton in 2012, proved simply to be a pragmatic move which allowed continued US support for MEK in a third country after Iraq increased demands for its expulsion. A $9m deal struck with Albanian Prime Minister Berisha included American funding for a De-Radicalization Institute in Tirana. This was advertised to reassure the Albanian people; MEK members would be re-integrated into society and allowed to take up residence as ordinary citizens to live out their lives in peace and security.
Instead, the US facilitated the re-grouping of MEK in a closed terrorist training camp in rural Albania, where MEK leaders continue their horrible human rights abuses against the members. Apparently, neoconservatives find the group’s promise of regime changeirresistible, even in the face of such evidence. However, above all other considerations, the MEK members in Albania are living, breathing souls and it behoves us to pay attention to them as individuals.
The MEK is described as a destructive cult because it poses the greatest threat to its own members. Many hundreds have been killed and continue to be killed by the leaders. The latest example came only weeks ago with the unexplained death of MEK member Malek Sharaii. Sharaii’s family in Iran say that he had wanted to leave MEK but had incriminating information about the September 2013 massacre at Camp Ashraf which MEK didn’t want to be made public. The family allege that he was murdered because of his past. Due to MEK pressure, the police investigation was halted, Sharaii’s body was apparently ‘discovered’ after two weeks and buried without any post mortem because the MEK claimed this was against their religious practices. He joins a long list of disappeared and mysterious, unexplained deaths of MEK members.
Unsurprisingly then, over four hundred people have managed to escape the cultic clutches of MEK while they are in Albania. The latest escapee, Hassan Shahbazi, described his membership with MEK as “slavery”. There is no doubt, that MEK keeps all its members in a state of modern slavery. Former members confirm that many, many members would like to leave but are trapped and afraid. MEK has hired a private armed security group to keep members inside and everyone else, including the Albanian security services, out.
This enforced entrapment and isolation are compounded by the MEK’s refusal to allow families to be in contact with one another – this is as true for related people inside the camp as for the desperate families outside who, since 2003, have come searching for their loved ones in MEK, offering them help and succor.
One such family, Canadian citizens Mostafa and Mahboubeh Mohammadi, have recently come to Albania to try to rescue their 38-year-old daughter who is still unable to meet with her parents. MEK goons are experts in intimidation techniques including threats of physical and verbal violence, actual violence. More significantly, their claim to have CIA and MOSSAD backing has been enough to silence most Albanian media, who do not want their careers or businesses ruined for this group.
Since its arrival in the small Balkan country, MEK has caused nothing but controversy in Albania. Its citizens rightly fear them. Neither its politicians nor its police can control them. And families like the Mohammadi’s must bear the brunt of MEK violence.
So, while American politicians can feign ignorance, Iranians themselves know the truth. And they know that the Hardliners in Iran are the biggest benefactors of this situation. Not only was the terrorist MEK disarmed and imprisoned in Iraq for a decade at American expense, the group is still used as a bogeyman by Iran’s security services to quell protests and rebellion in the name of counter-terrorism. As a first principle, opposition activists in Iran are careful to distance themselves from MEK in every shape and form.
In this context, using the MEK name as lazy shorthand for ‘violent regime change’ can only be counter-productive; it is guaranteed to unite Iranians against you. If President Trump really seeks to change what his predecessors have done and to shake up politics, his most effective move would be to dismantle MEK. Such a move would be a radical departure from the sterile policies of the past. Trump would take the credit for something that should have been accomplished years ago.
The Albanian Translation:
Mbështetja amerikane për MEK-un në Shqipëri largon opinionin publik iranian
Gazeta ImpakT –
July 30, 2018
Nga: Anne Khodabandeh
Politika e supozuar e Trump për të ngacmuar Iranin në kërkimin e bisedimeve ka ngecur pasi të gjitha kapelet e tij të Twitter-it u goditën nga gjenerali Qassem Soleimani. Në të vërtetë, shumë nga taktikat e përdorura nga SHBA për të sjellë Iranin në linjë gjatë dyzet viteve të fundit, kanë mundësuar dhe forcuar institucionin në pushtet atje. Nuk është se Irani ka marrë më mirë, por SHBA ka bërë gabime të shmangshme.
Disa nga këto gabime janë kërcënimet dhe bombardimet për të shkatërruar aftësitë bërthamore (aq të qeta). Aleancat me sanksione ekonomike mizore, ndalimi diskriminues i udhëtimit dhe mbështetja e hapur për ndryshimin e regjimit të dhunshëm, janë qasje agresive që vetëm i largon njerëzit iranianë.
Por, ndërkohë që ka mosmarrëveshje mes organizatave dhe fraksioneve të ndryshme që kundërshtojnë qeverinë iraniane për çdo numër çështjesh, ekziston një gjë që bashkon pothuajse të gjithë iranianët dhe kjo është mbështetja e papërgjegjshme amerikane për kultin terrorist Mojahedin Khalq.
Që nga viti 1980, MEK-u është lehtësuar si një entitet terrorist dhe një burim propagandistik i institucionit amerikan, veçanërisht për shkak të ekstremizmit të dhunshëm dhe agjendës së ndryshimit të regjimit.
Këta përkrahës nuk kanë iluzione – MEK është jo i besueshëm, i pasigurtë dhe nuk ka asnjë mbështetje në mesin e iranianëve. Megjithatë, agjencitë e inteligjencës dhe ushtria janë institucione amorale; ata nuk bëjnë gjykim për vlerën etike apo morale të një aseti. Pra, për aq kohë sa politikanët gjejnë “kërcënim MEK” të dobishëm për të mbështetur agjendat e ndryshimit të regjimit, rregullimet për mbijetesën e vazhdueshme të MEK mbeten kryesisht të pakontestueshme.
Për shkak të këtij bashkëpunimi,pohimi i Sekretarit të Shtetit Pompeut se “administrata e Trump ëndërron të njëjtat ëndrra për popullin e Iranit si ti” u takua me tallje mes diasporës iraniane. Nëse SHBA-ja në çdo kohë do të donte të ndihmonte popullin iranian, do ta kishte çmontuar MEK-un. Për vite të tëra, administratat e njëpasnjëshme të SHBA kanë harxhuar mundësitë për të hequr MEK nga ekuacioni. Ky dështim ka kontribuar në sterilitetin e politikës amerikane ndaj Iranit.
Ajo që dukej si një proces i mirëfilltë për të çregjistruar, transferuar dhe radikalizuar MEK, iniciuar nga Hillary Clinton në vitin 2012, u dëshmua thjesht si një lëvizje pragmatike që lejoi mbështetjen e vazhdueshme të SHBA për MEK në një vend të tretë pasi Iraku rriti kërkesat për dëbim.
Një marrëveshje 9 milion dollarë u godit me kryeministrin shqiptar Berisha duke përfshirë fondet amerikane për një Institut Radikalizimi në Tiranë. Kjo u reklamua për të siguruar popullin shqiptar; Anëtarët e MEK-ut do të ri-integrohen në shoqëri dhe do të lejohen të marrin qëndrim si qytetarë të zakonshëm për të jetuar jetën e tyre në paqe dhe siguri.
Në vend të kësaj, SHBA-të lehtësuan ri-grupimin e MEK-ut në një kamp trajnimi të mbyllur terrorist në Shqipërinë rurale, ku udhëheqësit e MEK-ut vazhdojnë abuzimet e tyre të tmerrshme kundër anëtarëve. Me sa duket, neokonservatorët gjejne premtimin e grupit për ndryshimin e regjimit të papërmbajtshëm, madje edhe përballë provave të tilla. Sidoqoftë, mbi të gjitha konsideratat e tjera, anëtarët e MEK-ut në Shqipëri jetojnë të lirë.
MEK-u përshkruhet si një kult shkatërrues, sepse përbën kërcënimin më të madh për anëtarët e vet. Shumë janë vrarë dhe vazhdojnë të vriten. Shembulli i fundit erdhi vetëm disa javë më parë me vdekjen e pashpjeguar të anëtarit të MEK-ut, Malek Sharaii. Familja e Sharaiit në Iran thotë se kishte dashur të largohej nga MEK, por kishte informacione inkriminuese në lidhje me masakren e shtatorit 2013 në Kampin Ashraf të cilin MEK nuk donte të bëhej publike.
Familja pohon se ai u vra për shkak të së kaluarës së tij. Për shkak të presionit të MEK, hetimi i policiseu ndërpre, trupi i Sharaii u zbulua pas dy javësh dhe u varros pa asnjë post mortem sepse MEK pretendonte se kjo ishte kundër praktikave të tyre fetare. Ai bashkohet me një listë të gjatë të vdekjeve të zhdukura dhe misterioze, të pashpjegueshme të anëtarëve të MEK.
Pa dyshim, më shumë se katërqind njerëz kane arritur te ikin nga kthetrat e MEK-ut derisa janë në Shqipëri. Arratisja e fundit, Hassan Shahbazi, e përshkroi anëtarësimin e tij në MEK si “”skllavëri”. Nuk ka dyshim se MEK i mban të gjithë anëtarët e saj në një gjendje skllaveri moderne. Anëtarët e mëparshëm konfirmojnë se shumë anëtarë duan të largohen, por janë të bllokuar dhe të frikësuar. MEK ka angazhuar një grup privat të armatosur të sigurisë për të mbajtur anëtarët dhe të gjithë të tjerët brenda, duke përfshirë edhe shërbimet e sigurimit shqiptar.
Ky mbyllje dhe izolim i detyruar përbëhet nga refuzimi i MEK-ut për të lejuar familjet të jenë në kontakt me njëri-tjetrin. Kjo është po aq e vërtetë për njerëzit e lidhur brenda kampit si për familjet e dëshpëruara jashtë të cilëve, që nga viti 2003, kanë ardhur në kërkim për të dashurit e tyre në MEK, duke u ofruar atyre ndihmë.
Një familje e tillë, shtetasit kanadezë Mostafa dhe Mahboubeh Mohammadi, kanë ardhur kohët e fundit në Shqipëri për t’u përpjekur të shpëtojnë vajzën e tyre 38-vjeçare që ende nuk është në gjendje të takohet me prindërit e saj. MEK janë ekspertë në teknikat e frikësimit, duke përfshirë kërcënimet e dhunës fizike dhe verbale. Më e rëndësishmja, kërkesa e tyre për të mbështetur CIA-n dhe MOSSAD-in ka qenë e mjaftueshme për të heshtur shumicën e mediave shqiptare , të cilët nuk duan që karrierat ose bizneset e tyre të shkatërrohen për këtë grup.
Që nga ardhja e saj në vendin e vogël ballkanik, MEK-u nuk ka shkaktuar asgjë, por polemika në Shqipëri. Qytetarët e saj i druajnë me të drejtë. As politikanët e as policia nuk mund t’i kontrollojë ato. Dhe familjet si Mohammadi duhet të mbajnë peshën e dhunës së MEK.
Pra, ndërsa politikanët amerikanë mund të pretendojnë injorancën, vetë iranianët e dinë të vërtetën. Dhe ata e dinë se Hardliners në Iran janë përfituesit më të mëdhenj të kësaj situate. Jo vetëm që MEK-i terrorist u çarmatos dhe burgoset në Irak për një dekadë me shpenzime amerikane, grupi eshte perdorur si breshke nga shërbimet e sigurisë së Iranit për të shuar protestat dhe rebelimin në emër të kundër-terrorizmit. Si parim i parë, aktivistët e opozitës në Iran janë të kujdesshëm që të largohen nga MEK-u në çdo formë.
Në këtë kontekst, përdorimi i emrit MEK si shkurtesë dembel për “ndryshimin e dhunshëm të regjimit” mund të jetë vetëm kundërproduktiv; është e garantuar që të bashkohen iranianët kundër jush. Nëse Presidenti Trump me të vërtetë kërkon të ndryshojë atë që paraardhësit e tij kanë bërë dhe të shkundë politikën, masa më e mirë e tij do të ishte të çmontonte MEK-un. Një veprim i tillë do të ishte një largim radikal nga politikat sterile të së kaluarës. Trump do të marrë kredi për diçka që duhet të ishte kryer vite më parë.
Burimi: Ballkan post/ Gazeta impakt
Here is how the Mojahedin el-Halk (Mojahedin Khalq, Maryam Rajavi cult, MEK) militants attack Mostafa Mohammady in the streets of Tirana. They try to illegally detain and later hit Mostafa, who ends up in hospital. The operation against Mostafa was directed by commander Behzad Saffari. He led bands of mojahedin to later protest against Mostafa even in Tirana’s police station number 4
THE CONFLICTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST Workshop (Part 6)
Anne Khodabandeh shpjegon si eshte radikalizuar nga muxhahedinet iraniane dhe sesi ndodh procesi i radikalizimit
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.
Massoud Dalili: Wanted for terrorism in Gilan Province – killed in Camp Ashraf, Iraq
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 leader ordered self-immolations after arrest by French anti-terror police
European counter-terror experts warn that as ISIS is pushed into a smaller and smaller theatre of operations in the Middle East, there will certainly be blowback as foreign fighters return to their own countries. In this context, the ISIS terrorist attacks in Tehran expose a much morecomplex situation which will have lasting repercussions in the West unless it is tackled at source. That includes zero tolerance for any messages promoting violent extremism.
What worries experts is that ISIS almost certainly gained the expertise it used to carry out the attacks in Iran from the exiled Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) organisation. The MEK has a three-decade history of terrorist violence against Iran and continues to cling to an agenda which promotes violent regime change. Whilst the MEK is widely regarded as a defunct force due to the age and health of its fighters, experts warn that although the MEK no longer constitutes a fighting force, the members remain fully radicalised and capable of acting as logistics facilitators and training and planning consultants for any other terrorist group. Certainly, they are all capable of conducting suicide missions.
Since America ensured the MEK were transferred from Iraq to Albania this danger has become more acute. Albania is still struggling to overcome the political and media corruption, drug crime, gun smuggling and people trafficking which will prevent it joining the European Union anytime soon. The presence of 3000 radicalised MEK members in a country known as a route between Europe and Syria for modern terrorist forces is not just controversial, it is dangerous.
Even so, the real danger does not lie in Albania; it is a NATO country dominated by the US and the MEK can and will, therefore, be contained and re-purposed for whatever the US needs them for. The recent visits to the MEK by John Bolton and Senator John McCain are an indication of this agenda.
The real danger lies in France and Western Europe. The MEK has been headquartered for the past thirty-six years in Auvers-sur-Oise just outside Paris. This year, as always, the MEK will use its front name the ‘National Council of Resistance of Iran’ to hire the Villepinte salon outside Paris, pay disproportionate speakers fees to advocates and round up a paid audience to wave flags and dutifully applaud the ‘regime change’ speeches. This annual event is known inside the MEK as a celebration of armed struggle – the raison d’être of the MEK group.
This year the event is being held on July 1, but it was originally timed to celebrate the MEK’s challenge to Ayatollah Khomeini’s leadership on 30th Khordad (June 21, 1981). These dates matter. Analysts now say that the MEK has moved the date of the celebration to distance it from the association with defeat – after the coup d’état failed, senior MEK leaders fled to France with CIA backing and left the rank and file to face mass arrests and executions inside Iran. Instead the new date is closer to what the MEK regards as a major victory in its three decade long terrorist campaign against Iran. On the 7th Tir (June 28, 1981) MEK operatives blew up the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party in Tehran during a meeting of party leaders. Seventy-three leading officials of the Islamic Republic were killed.
The significance of this becomes clear when we link the MEK’s core beliefs to the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. The message which the MEK event gives to observers is that the pattern of attacks by ISIS in Tehran was glorious and righteous and is a legitimate response to a scenario in which Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. (For the record, neither the MEK nor Saudi Arabia condemned the attacks.)
This scenario – Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism – has been promoted ad nauseamby the MEK throughout western political circles. The work of national parliaments as well as the European Parliament have been held hostage to this narrative. Normalisation of relations with Iran following the nuclear agreement have been stymied by the MEK. Indeed, MEK bullying and intimidation in pursuit of this agenda was recently discussed in the European Parliament. The MEPs concluded that Europe cannot properly challenge Iran’s human rights situation as long as a group which promotes regime change and abuses the human rights of its own membersartificially imposes itself centre stage of these discussions.
The fact is that over the past year the western political landscape has changed dramatically. Two distinct blocs have emerged: a cohort of anti-Iran countries including the US, UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia on one side blindly pursuing regime change against Iran apparently at all costs, and Europe – minus the UK after Brexit – (and incidentally Russia and China) pursuing rapprochement and trade opportunities.
In this context, the spotlight for action must fall on France, home to the MEK headquarters. We must ask the French government ‘these people belong to the regime change bloc, why do you continue renting your land to them after 36 years? What have the Americans or the MEK done for you that is worth the bad reputation attached to supporting this group? What is the cost benefit of having the MEK in your country? What implications does its continued presence have for your foreign policy and trade relations? How can the Republic continue to allow this group topromote violent extremism and terrorism on French soil?’
In the past, of course, it was pointless asking these questions – even though they were asked as permanent unresolved issues. Removing the MEK from France and other European countries was problematic – expelling them to Iraq was impossible because their human rights could not be guaranteed. But in 2016 the Americans facilitated the MEK’s removal from Iraq to safety in Albania. There is no reason to believe that Europe cannot similarly facilitate the safe removal of the MEK leaders from France and other European countries to Albania. The MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has already spent several weeks in Tirana. There is nothing to prevent her setting up a permanent headquarters there with further help from the Americans.
President Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist movement has won a large majority in the French parliament giving him a strong hand to play. He already revealed himself to be a shrewd and masterful challenger in international relations almost before opening his mouth when he out manoeuvred President Donald Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels in May. Perhaps the time is finally ripe for a new appraisal of what zero tolerance means for France. The MEK’s messages promoting violent regime change should no longer be tolerated.
Me Presidentin Macron, Franca mund të luajë një rol të rëndësishëm në marrëdhëniet perëndimore me Iranin
Ekspertët evropianë kundër terrorizmit paralajmërojnë se ndërsa ISIS është futur në një teatër gjithnjë e më të vogël të operacioneve në Lindjen e Mesme, me siguri do të ketë të papritura kur luftëtarët e huaj të kthehen në vendet e tyre. Në këtë kontekst, sulmet terroriste të ISIS-it në Teheran ekspozojnë një situatë shumë më komplekse e cila do të ketë pasoja të përhershme në Perëndim, nëse nuk trajtohet që në burim. Kjo përfshin tolerancë zero ndaj çdo mesazhi që promovon ekstremizmin e dhunshëm.
Ajo që shqetëson ekspertët është se ISIS përvetësoi pothuajse me siguri ekspertizën që përdorej për të kryer sulmet në Iran nga organizata e mërguar Muxhahedin e Halq (MEK). MEK ka një histori prej tre-dekadash të dhunës terroriste kundër Iranit, dhe vazhdon të kapet në një axhendë e cila nxit ndryshimin e dhunshëm të regjimit. Përderisa MEK konsiderohet gjerësisht si një forcë e vdekur për shkak të moshës dhe shëndetit të luftëtarëve të saj, ekspertët paralajmërojnë se megjithëse MEK nuk përbën më një forcë luftimi, anëtarët mbeten plotësisht radikalizues dhe të aftë për të vepruar si lehtësues logjistikë dhe konsulentë trajnimi dhe planifikimi për çdo grup tjetër terrorist. Sigurisht, ata janë të gjithë të aftë për kryerjen e misioneve vetëvrasëse.
Meqënëse Amerika siguroi që MEK-u të transferohej nga Iraku në Shqipëri, ky rrezik u bë më akut. Shqipëria ende po lufton për të kapërcyer korrupsionin politik dhe mediatik, krimin e drogës, kontrabandën e armëve dhe trafikimin e njerëzve, të cilat do ta pengojnë hyrjen në Bashkimin Evropian në çdo kohë. Prania e 3,000 anëtarëve të radikalizuar të MEK-ut në një vend të njohur si një rrugë midis Evropës dhe Sirisë për forcat terroriste moderne nuk është vetëm e diskutueshme; është e rrezikshme.
Megjithatë, rreziku i vërtetë nuk qëndron në Shqipëri; Shqipëria është një vend i NATO-s i mbizotëruar nga SHBA-ja, dhe kështu MEK-u mund dhe do të përfshihet e rivendoset për çfarëdolloj gjëje që SHBA-ja ka nevojë për të. Vizitat e fundit nga John Bolton dhe senatori John McCain janë një tregues i kësaj axhende.
Rreziku i vërtetë qëndron në Francë dhe në Evropën Perëndimore. MEK ka qenë i vendosur për tridhjetë e gjashtë vitet e fundit në Auvers-sur-Oise jashtë Parisit. Këtë vit, si gjithmonë, MEK do të përdorë emrin e tij të parë ‘Këshilli Kombëtar i Rezistencës së Iranit’ për të marrë me qera sallonin Villepinte jashtë Parisit, për t’u paguar avokatëve tarifat joproporcionale të folësve dhe për të siguruar një audiencë të paguar për të valëvitur flamuj dhe për të duartrokitur fjalimet e ndryshimit të regjimit. Kjo ngjarje vjetore njihet brenda MEK-ut si një festë e luftës së armatosur – arsyeja e ekzistencës së grupit MEK.
Këtë vit ngjarja do të mbahet më 1 korrik, por fillimisht ishte caktuar për të festuar sfidën e MEK-ut ndaj udhëheqjes së Ayatollah Khomeinit në Khordadin e 30-të (21 qershor 1981). Këto data janë të rëndësishme. Analistët tani thonë se MEK e ka ndryshuar datën e kremtimit për ta larguar atë nga lidhja me humbjen – pasi grushti i shtetit dështoi, udhëheqësit e lartë të MEK-ut ikën në Francë me mbështetjen e CIA-s dhe i lanë njerëzit e thjeshtë për t’u përballur me arrestime masive dhe ekzekutime brenda Iranit. Përkundrazi, data e re është më afër asaj që MEK e konsideron si një fitore e madhe në fushatën terroriste të tre dekadave kundër Iranit. Më 7-të Tir (28 Qershor 1981), operativët e MEK shpërthyen selinë e Partisë së Republikës Islamike në Teheran gjatë një takimi të udhëheqësve të partisë. Shtatëdhjetë e tre zyrtarë udhëheqës të Republikës Islamike u vranë.
Rëndësia e kësaj bëhet e qartë kur lidhim besimet kryesore të MEK-ut me sulmet e fundit terroriste në Teheran. Mesazhi që ngjarja e MEK-ut u jep vëzhguesve është se modeli i sulmeve të ISIS-it në Teheran ishte i lavdishëm dhe i drejtë dhe është një përgjigje legjitime për një skenar në të cilin Irani është sponsori kryesor i terrorizmit në botë. (Sa për ta ditur, as MEK as Arabia Saudite nuk i dënuan sulmet).
Ky skenar – Irani si sponsori kryesor i terrorizmit – është promovuar nga MEK në të gjitha qarqet politike perëndimore. Puna e parlamenteve kombëtarë si dhe Parlamenti Europian janë mbajtur peng i kësaj narrative. Normalizimi i marrëdhënieve me Iranin pas marrëveshjes bërthamore është penguar nga MEK. Në të vërtetë, ngacmimi dhe kërcënimi i MEK-ut në ndjekje të kësaj axhende u diskutua kohët e fundit në Parlamentin Evropian. Deputetët përfunduan se Evropa nuk mund ta sfidojë siç duhet situatën e të drejtave të njeriut të Iranit për sa kohë që një grup që promovon ndryshimin e regjimit dhe abuzon me të drejtat e njeriut të anëtarëve të vet, imponon vetë artificialisht fazën qendrore të këtyre diskutimeve.
Fakti është se gjatë vitit të kaluar peizazhi politik perëndimor ka ndryshuar në mënyrë dramatike. Dy grupe të dallueshme janë shfaqur: një grup i vendeve anti-Iran, duke përfshirë SHBA-në, Mbretërinë e Bashkuar, Izraelin dhe Arabinë Saudite nga njëra anë, që me sa duket ndjekin verbërisht ndryshimet e regjimit kundër Iranit me çdo kusht, dhe Evropa – pa Mbretërinë e Bashkuar pas Brexit – (dhe aksidentalisht Rusia dhe Kina) që po ndjekin afrimin dhe mundësitë tregtare.
Në këtë kontekst, vëmendja për veprim duhet të bjerë në Francë, në shtëpinë e selisë së MEK. Ne duhet të pyesim qeverinë franceze se pse këta njerëz që i përkasin bllokut të ndryshimit të regjimit vazhdojnë të marrin me qera tokën tuaj pas 36 vjetësh? Çfarë kanë bërë amerikanët apo MEK-u për ju, që ia vlen reputacioni i keq që i bashkëngjitet mbështetjes së këtij grupi? Cili është benefiti i të pasurit MEK-un në vendin tuaj? Çfarë implikimesh ka prania e tij e vazhdueshme në politikën tuaj të jashtme dhe të tregtisë? Si mundet Republika të vazhdojë ta lejojë këtë grup të nxisë ekstremizmin dhe terrorizmin e dhunshëm në tokën franceze?
Në të kaluarën, natyrisht, ishte e pakuptimtë t’i bëje këto pyetje – edhe pse ato ishin pyetur si çështje të përhershme të pazgjidhura. Heqja e MEK-ut nga Franca dhe vende të tjera evropiane ishte problematike – dëbimi i tyre në Irak ishte i pamundur për shkak se të drejtat e tyre njerëzore nuk mund të garantoheshin. Por në vitin 2016, amerikanët ndihmuan largimin e MEK-ut nga Iraku në Shqipëri. Nuk ka arsye të besohet se Evropa nuk mund të lehtësojë në mënyrë të ngjashme largimin e sigurt të udhëheqësve të MEK-ut nga Franca dhe vendet e tjera evropiane në Shqipëri. Udhëheqësja e MEK-ut, Maryam Rajavi ka kaluar tashmë disa javë në Tiranë. Nuk ka asgjë që të parandalojë ngritjen e një selie të përhershme atje me ndihmë të mëtejshme nga amerikanët.
Lëvizja e re qëndrore e Presidentit Emmanuel Macron ka fituar një shumicë të madhe në parlamentin francez, duke i dhënë atij një dorë të fortë për të luajtur. Ai tashmë e shpalli veten si një sfidues të zgjuar dhe mjeshtëror në marrëdhëniet ndërkombëtare kur ai ia mori në kthesë presidentit Donald Trump në samitin e NATO-s në Bruksel në maj. Ndoshta për Francën ka ardhur më në fund koha për një vlerësim të ri të asaj që nënkupton zero tolerancë. Mesazhet e MEK-ut që promovojnë ndryshimin e regjimit të dhunshëm nuk duhet të tolerohen më.
/ © Gazeta Impakt
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, June 20 2017:… The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh… As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger. My shame and guilt stem …
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh.
As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger.
My shame and guilt stem from having been involved in such attacks in the past as a member of the MEK. My anger springs from what I see as the MEK’s ongoing influence in these current attacks. Based on my inside knowledge of the MEK I believe this organization has now helped the most notorious terror organization in the world to attack our country and our people.
As I followed news of the attacks I was forced to remember my own role in a similar mission and how my membership of the MEK had almost cost me my life. While analyzing the details of the ISIS attack as they emerged, it was easy to see that these operations in Tehran had been based on the expertise of MEK operations in several ways. I have identified some of these similarities which I have given in outline below.
The targets selected by ISIS were sites constantly targeted by the MEK. The Iranian Parliament and its members had always been primary targets for the MEK since the 1980s. The group had managed to assassinate several members of the Parliament and tried to plant a bomb there at one point. They were unsuccessful and some members were killed by security forces while other terrorist teams were arrested. Similarly, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine was created, Massoud Rajavi, the late MEK leader, announced that “Khomeini’s grave must be exploded”. It became a mantra among MEK members which they would chant in indoctrination sessions. The MEK tried unsuccessfully to send terrorist teams there in 1991 and 2002.
While ISIS and the MEK have the same interests in attacking Iran, ISIS could have caused much greater anti-government fear and hatred among the civilian population in line with its regime change agenda if they had bombed a civilian target like transport infrastructure or a shopping mall. They could have done more damage by targeting the Revolutionary Guards whose forces are in Syria. Instead, the ISIS targets matched those which had been constantly under attack by the MEK for thirty years.
ISIS used locally recruited Iranians for this attack. Their main challenge was to get their weaponry to Tehran without being detected by Iranian security forces. This had always been the main challenge for MEK terrorists. They used different methods to get their weapons to Tehran. For example, hiding the weapons in a small truck loaded with food or inside an empty computer case. The MEK experiences were helpful to the ISIS attackers. They paid a female acquaintance to join them to go to Tehran, pretending it is a family visit. This was to raise less suspicion. Between 2000-2003, the MEK used the same approach to get their terrorists from Iraq to Tehran. The first suicide bomber in Iran was a female MEK member. Since then, the MEK used women in suicide operations to ‘normalize’ their terrorist teams.
The suicide mission
An important similarity is the human factor. Just like the MEK, ISIS terrorists selected and trained for suicide missions are thoroughly brainwashed first. They undergo intensive indoctrination and psychological manipulation sessions and afterwards they are not allowed to think of anything else but their mission; terror. From the videos and reports, it is clear that the terrorists are numbed and fearful people who are prepared to use weapons as a first resort against innocent unprepared people. The ISIS terrorists exploded their vests in their first moments of contact with security forces. A couple of them even exploded their vests as soon as they just saw the security forces. This is similar to MKO terrorists who were brainwashed to assassinate unarmed civilians or perform a mortar attack in a large city like Tehran. They were also armed with cyanide pills and a hand grenade and ordered that rather than risk capture they must commit suicide and hurt as many of the people around them as possible.
It has been widely reported that, just like the MEK, ISIS also gets support from inside Saudi Arabia. After the Tehran terrorist attacks neither Saudi Arabia nor the MEK condemned the events. This echoes MEK behaviour under the Saddam regime. The MEK could not and would not condemn any action of Saddam or the Saudis because they were being paid and supported by them.
The MEK needed governmental level backing to move across national borders. Saddam arranged for MEK operatives to get inside Iran from Pakistan and Turkey rather than cross the Iraqi border which was under international scrutiny. ISIS has also been able to cross borders and move weapons and fund its activities in a way that indicates governmental level of support.
There is no indication that the MEK were directly involved in the Tehran attacks. But from my inside knowledge and based on having performed a similar style of suicide attack in Tehran myself some years ago, there is little doubt in my mind that ISIS have been able to use MEK expertise to pursue this modern terrorist attack.
Debate in the European Parliament ‘What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?’
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffpost, June 02 2017:… The meeting was organised by Ana Gomes, SND (Portugal) and seconded by Marietje Schaake, ALDE (Netherlands) and Michael Gahler, Christian Democrats (Germany). Two expert speakers were invited to address the meeting: Nicola Pedde, Director Institute for Global Studies, Italy and Massoud Khodabandeh, Director Middle East Strategy Consultants, UK. …
Debate in the European Parliament ‘What is to be done about the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq (MEK)?’
A meeting in the European Parliament on 30 May discussed the problems associated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MEK) both inside the Parliament and across Europe and the wider world.
The meeting, which was attended by MEPs, researchers and analysts along with representatives of agencies outside the parliament such as security personnel, was organised by Ana Gomes, SND (Portugal) and seconded by Marietje Schaake, ALDE (Netherlands) and Michael Gahler, Christian Democrats (Germany).
All three have a clear record as outspoken critics of Iran’s human rights record and are concerned about the impact of MEK activity on this issue.
Since all the participants have seen first-hand that the MEK spends enormous amounts of money for publicity and lobbying, the first issue to be discussed was ‘who funds the MEK and what is their agenda?’ It soon became apparent that the MEPs are fully aware that the MEK has never existed as an independent group and has benefitted over three decades from funding streams from specific circles which are trying to engineer regime change in the Middle East. The question then became whether these sponsors understand that the cost benefit of supporting the MEK is not giving positive returns but in fact has a negative result for them in their regime change agendas.
Further discussion by representatives revealed that the MEK has been shunned by almost every Parliament across Europe.
In spite of this, MEK members can still gain access to the European Parliament because it is an open institution. The problem this presents is the bullying tactics used by the MEK to intimidate MEPs and their staff. Several delegates at the meeting gave first-hand evidence of this. One MEP said that within ten minutes of taking one particular stance he was bombarded by mass emails some of which contained swearing and threats. Delegates agreed that this is incompatible with the fundamental principles of any Parliament in which representatives must be able to speak and act free from any pressure or intimidation.
Nicola Pedde described to delegates his work in the Italian Parliament where MPs are persuaded to sign petitions by bogus human rights campaigners. Pedde said that when he asked, many of the signatories were unaware that the MEK was behind the petition and didn’t realise that various sentences or paragraphs were added afterwards to give support for Maryam Rajavi and her agenda. Pedde said some MPs were even strongly against the MEK and were very angry about being deceived in this way. They had thought they were condemning human rights abuses in Iran, but their names were then misused to depict them as supporters of terrorists in Albania.
The discussion moved on to the problem of accepting the MEK as advocates of human rights for Iran. Ana Gomes said that when Iranian Nobel Human Rights Prize winner Shirin Ebadi visited the European Parliament, she was unequivocal in saying that the MEK do not have the right to be described as human rights activists. Quite the opposite, they are abusers themselves, she said. Massoud Khodabandeh reminded delegates that in a recent interview with AP, Reza Pahlavi – who wants to restore the monarchy to Iran – dismissed the MEK as a cult. In addition, every Iranian opposition group from the Greens to the Nationalists has rejected the MEK as human rights advocates and as a political entity.
More concerning for delegates is that the government of Iran is quick to use the MEK’s advocacy for human rights as a means to dismiss the issue, pointing out that the terrorist group murdered thousands of Iranian citizens and still commits human rights abuse against its own members. Massoud Khodabandeh gave an example from the UK House of Lords in which Haleh Afshar – a prominent Iranian feminist and academic who now sits in the House as Baroness Afshar – hosted a parliamentary debate about human rights in Iran. The challenging discussion, with valuable contributions from several informed members, was completely undermined by one of the MEK’s supporters who asserted that only Maryam Rajavi and her group could bring freedom and human rights to Iran. The government of Iran cannot be expected to even respond to such a debate said Khodabandeh.
Nicola Pedde made an interesting comment when he said that the MEK cannot be considered as a viable force because, as a result of its cultish behaviour, the MEK do not have a second generation. They have effectively killed themselves, he told delegates, because marriage and family are banned for all members.
The third issue to be discussed was the MEK presence in Albania. Delegates heard how the MEK had been forced to leave Iraq and how the Americans arranged for the UN to be able to transfer them to Albania. The government of Iraq was relieved to be rid of three thousand MEK who had been part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive forces, but the problem has now simply been moved to Albania. The Americans promised help to de-radicalise the MEK members. But, as Massoud Khodabandeh pointed out, this did not happen and the group was allowed to re-group as a terrorist cult and treat its members as modern slaves.
Delegates discussed Albania’s candidature to join the European Union in light of this situation and agreed that this is not just incompatible but that having trained terrorists on the doorstep of Europe is already a security threat to Europe. Delegates stressed that European security services need to take this threat seriously from now.
Reports also described the human rights abuses inflicted on MEK members by their own leaders. They are living in conditions of modern slavery because the UNHCR is acting illegally by paying refugee allowances to the organisation instead of to the individual members. This means members are forced into dependency on the group and cannot leave. Members are also prevented from contacting their families or even other former members so they do not have any recourse to external help or support.
As the two speakers gave their expert analysis throughout the meeting, they also offered suggestions for solutions. Khodabandeh urged delegates to put pressure on the Albanian authorities and the UNHCR to resolve the hostage condition of MEK members in Albania.
Pedde said MEPs should be briefed about the danger of supporting human rights through using groups like the MEK.
At the end the meeting was also opened to the audience for discussion. Former MEK members, Ali Akbar Rastgou, Batoul Soltani, Reza Sadeghi and Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad were able to join the discussion at this time.
In conclusion delegates discussed various solutions which are open to them. It was important, they said, to find ways to tackle these problems because parliament cannot be held hostage to bullies. A package of activities was agreed in order to curtail the MEK’s deceptive and intimidating activities in Parliament. Other solutions to the wider problems were also agreed and will be put in place throughout the rest of the year.
Parlamenti Evropian: Shqipëria rrezikon integrimin në BE për shkak të muxhahedinëve (MEK)
Një takim në Parlamentin Evropian më 30 maj diskutoi problemet që lidhen me Organizatën Muxhahedin e-HalK (MEK) si brenda Parlamentit, ashtu edhe në të gjithë Evropën dhe botën e gjerë.
Takimi, në të cilin morën pjesë deputetë, hulumtues dhe analistë, së bashku me përfaqësues të agjensive jashtë parlamentit si personel i sigurisë, u organizua nga Ana Gomes e Partisë Socialiste (Portugali), dhe u suportua nga Marietje Schaake e partisë ALDE (Hollandë) dhe Michael Gahler i Partisë Kristian Demokrate (Gjermani).
Të tre kanë një rekord të qartë si kritikë të sinqertë të të dhënave për të drejtat e njeriut në Iran, dhe janë të shqetësuar për ndikimin e aktivitetit të MEK në këtë çështje.
Dy ekspertë u ftuan për të adresuar takimin: Nicola Pedde, Drejtor i Institutit për Studime Globale, Itali, dhe Massoud Khodabandeh, Drejtor i Këshilltarëve të Strategjisë për Lindjen e Mesme në Mbretërinë e Bashkuar.
Meqë të gjithë pjesëmarrësit kanë parë që MEK shpenzon shuma të mëdha parash për publicitet dhe lobim, çështja e parë për t’u diskutuar ishte ‘kush e financon MEK-un dhe cila është axhenda e tyre’? Shumë shpejt u bë e qartë se deputetët janë plotësisht të vetëdijshëm se MEK nuk ka ekzistuar kurrë si një grup i pavarur, dhe ka përfituar më shumë se tre dekada nga financimi nga qarqe të veçanta që po përpiqen të kurdisin ndryshimin e regjimit në Lindjen e Mesme. Më pas u bë pyetja nëse këta sponsorë e kuptojnë se kostoja e mbështetjes së MEK-ut nuk po jep kthime pozitive, por në fakt ka një rezultat negativ për ta në axhendat e ndryshimit të regjimit.
Diskutimet e mëtejshme të përfaqësuesve zbuluan se MEK është shmangur nga pothuajse çdo Parlament në të gjithë Evropën.
Përkundër kësaj, anëtarët e MEK-ut ende mund të fitojnë qasje në Parlamentin Evropian, sepse është një institucion i hapur. Problemi që paraqet kjo është taktika e persekutimit e përdorur nga MEK për të intimiduar deputetët dhe stafin e tyre. Disa delegatë në takim dhanë dëshmi të dorës së parë për këtë. Një deputet i parlamentit tha se brenda dhjetë minutave nga marrja e një qëndrimi të veçantë, ai u bombardua nga emaile masive, disa prej të cilave përmbanin betime dhe kërcënime. Delegatët ranë dakord se kjo nuk është në përputhje me parimet themelore të kujtdo Parlamenti në të cilin përfaqësuesit duhet të jenë në gjendje të flasin dhe të veprojnë pa ndonjë presion ose frikësim.
Nicola Pedde u përshkroi të deleguarve punën e tij në Parlamentin Italian, ku deputetët janë bindur për të nënshkruar peticione nga aktivistët e rremë të të drejtave të njeriut. Pedde tha se kur ai i pyeti, shumë nga nënshkruesit nuk ishin në dijeni se MEK ishte prapa peticionit, dhe nuk e kishin vënë re se më pas ishin shtuar fjali ose paragrafë të ndryshëm për të dhënë mbështetje për Marjam Raxhavin dhe axhendën e saj. Pedde tha se disa deputetë ishin madje shumë kundra MEK dhe ishin shumë të zemëruar që ishin mashtruar në këtë mënyrë. Ata kishin menduar se po dënonin abuzimet e të drejtave të njeriut në Iran, por emrat e tyre më pas u keqpërdorën për t’i përshkruar ata si mbështetës të terroristëve në Shqipëri.
Diskutimi vazhdoi me problemin e pranimit të muxhahedinëve si avokatë të të drejtave të njeriut për Iranin. Ana Gomes tha se kur fituesja e çmimit Nobel për të Drejtat e Njeriut, Shirin Ebadi vizitoi Parlamentin Evropian, ajo ishte e qartë që muxhahedinët nuk kishin të drejtë të përshkruheshin si aktivistë për të drejtat e njeriut. Përkundrazi, ata janë vetë abuzuesit, tha ajo. Massoud Khodabandeh u kujtoi delegatëve se në një intervistë të kohëve të fundit me AP, Reza Pahlavi, princi i kurorës në Iran – i cili dëshiron të rivendosë monarkinë në Iran – hodhi poshtë MEK-un si një kult. Përveç kësaj, çdo grup i opozitës iraniane, që nga të Gjelbrit deri te Nacionalistët e ka hedhur poshtë MEK-un si avokatë të të drejtave të njeriut dhe si subjekt politik.
Më shqetësuese për delegatët është që qeveria e Iranit është e shpejtë në përdorimin e avokimit të MEK-ut për të drejtat e njeriut si një mjet për të hedhur poshtë çështjen, duke vënë në dukje se grupi terrorist ka vrarë mijëra qytetarë iranianë dhe ende kryen abuzime të të drejtave të njeriut kundër anëtarëve të vet. Massoud Khodabandeh dha një shembull nga Shtëpia e Lordëve në Mbretërinë e Bashkuar në të cilën Haleh Afshar – një feministe dhe akademike e shquar iraniane, e cila tani është ulur në Shtëpi si Baronesha Afshar – priti një debat parlamentar mbi të drejtat e njeriut në Iran. Diskutimi sfidues, me kontribute të vlefshme nga disa anëtarë të informuar, u dëmtua plotësisht nga një prej mbështetësve të MEK-ut, i cili pohoi se vetëm Marjam Raxhavi dhe grupi i saj mund të sillnin liri dhe të drejta të njeriut në Iran. Qeveria e Iranit nuk mund të pritej as të përgjigjej për një debat të tillë, tha Khodabandeh.
Nicola Pedde bëri një koment interesant kur tha se MEK nuk mund të konsiderohet si një forcë me gjasa për sukses, sepse, si pasojë e sjelljes së tij kulturore, MEK nuk ka një brez të dytë. Ata kanë vrarë në mënyrë efektive veten e tyre, u tha ai delegatëve, sepse martesa dhe familja janë të ndaluara për të gjithë anëtarët.
Çështja e tretë për t’u diskutuar ishte prania e MEK-ut në Shqipëri. Delegatët dëgjuan se si MEK ishte detyruar të largohej nga Iraku dhe se si amerikanët organizuan që OKB-ja të ishte në gjendje t’i transferonte ata në Shqipëri. Qeveria e Irakut u lehtësua që shpëtoi nga tre mijë muxhahedinë që kishin qenë pjesë e forcave represive të Sadam Huseinit, por problemi tani thjesht është zhvendosur në Shqipëri. Amerikanët premtuan ndihmë për de-radikalizimin e anëtarëve të MEK-ut. Por, siç vuri në dukje Massoud Khodabandeh, kjo nuk ndodhi dhe grupi u lejua të ri-grupohet si një kult terrorist dhe t’i trajtojë anëtarët e tij si skllevër modernë.
Delegatët diskutuan mbi kandidaturën e Shqipërisë për t’u bashkuar me Bashkimin Evropian nën dritën e kësaj situate, dhe ranë dakord se jo vetëm që kjo është e papërputhshme, por trajnimi i terroristëve në pragun e Evropës është tashmë një kërcënim për sigurinë e saj. Delegatët theksuan se shërbimet e sigurisë evropiane duhet ta marrin seriozisht këtë kërcënim prej tani.
Raportet gjithashtu përshkruan abuzimet e të drejtave të njeriut të shkaktuara ndaj anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga udhëheqësit e tyre. Ata jetojnë në kushte të skllavërisë moderne, sepse UNHCR-ja vepron në mënyrë të paligjshme duke ia dhënë ndihmat për refugjatët organizatës, në vend që t’ua japë anëtarëve individualë. Kjo do të thotë se anëtarët janë të detyruar të varen nga grupi dhe nuk mund të largohen. Anëtarëve u pengohet gjithashtu që të kontaktojnë me familjet e tyre ose edhe me anëtarët e tjerë të mëparshëm, në mënyrë që ata të mos kenë ndonjë ndihmë apo mbështetje të jashtme.
Ndërsa dy ekspertët prezantuan analizën e tyre gjatë gjithë takimit, ata gjithashtu ofruan sugjerime për zgjidhje. Khodabandeh u kërkoi delegatëve të ushtrojnë presion ndaj autoriteteve shqiptare dhe UNHCR-së për të zgjidhur gjendjen skllavërore të anëtarëve të MEK-ut në Shqipëri.
Pedde tha se deputetët duhet të informohen për rrezikun e mbështetjes së të drejtave të njeriut përmes përdorimit të grupeve si MEK.
Në fund takimi u hap edhe për diskutim nga audienca. Ish anëtarët e MEK-ut, Ali Akbar Rastgou, Batoul Soltani, Reza Sadeghi dhe Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad ishin në gjendje të bashkoheshin në diskutim në këtë kohë.
Në përfundim delegatët diskutuan zgjidhje të ndryshme që janë të hapura për ta. Është e rëndësishme, thanë ata, që të gjenden mënyra për të trajtuar këto probleme, sepse parlamenti nuk mund të mbahet peng i frikësimeve. U ra dakord për një paketë aktivitetesh për të kufizuar veprimtaritë mashtruese dhe frikësuese të MEK-ut në Parlament. U dhanë gjithashtu zgjidhje të tjera për probleme më të gjera, që do të vendosen në punë gjatë gjithë pjesës tjetër të vitit. / © Gazeta Impakt
Richard Engel, NBC, May 25 2018:… How did a fringe Iranian opposition group with a history of assassinating Americans get so cozy with the likes of John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani? By paying them thousands to speak at its events, where they advocate for MEK-led regime change inside Iran …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Lobe Log, June 08 2018:… Regrouping meant that the MEK would continue to call for violent regime change against Iran, backed by US extremists like Rudi Giuliani and John Bolton who now occupy influential posts in the Trump administration. As a result, Albania has become a front-line enemy state in relation to Iran. Regrouping also meant re-enslaving members, who are not paid …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Lobe log, January 17 2018:… The MEK is a fringe, cult-like group that was once on the U.S. terrorism list. Rajavi’s appearances, in which she talks as though she represented the Iranian people, provided Iran’s leaders with a gift. Among other angry Farsi commentary, she provoked a hashtag storm on Twitter, with Iranians of every political stripe telling Rajavi in English …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, April 2018:.. In the week leading up to Human Rights Day on December 10th, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, had a typically busy week meeting with world leaders. For this reason, our inside sources tell us, MEK leader Maryam Rajavi brought forward a planned trip to the European Parliament hoping she would …
EU Reporter, Brussels, April 13 2018:… MEK has new sources of funding after Saddam Hussein and is active in the EUP. Several colleagues tried to prevent today’s meeting. The MEK seem to have free rein in parliament to lobby every day. I am trying to find out by asking the EUP president, which MEPs are providing them access.Before introducing the speakers, MS Gomes told delegates that when she hosted Nobel Peac
Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh, Balkans Post, July 20 2017:… The visits by John Bolton and Senator John McCain to the MEK in Tirana remind us that Albania shares a land border with the EU via Greece and with other troubled Balkan states. Albania’s de facto role as a bridge between Europe and areas of conflict in the Middle East has been of concern for international security officials for some time. The relocation of 2700 …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 16 2017:… In a week when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini both delivered considered speeches about the Iran nuclear deal, President Donald Trump’s typical shorthand reference to it as a “bad deal” indicates nothing to the world community other than he hasn’t put the effort in to understand how …
Various media, July 03 2018:…Giuliani spoke to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella coalition largely controlled by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), which was once listed as a terrorist organisation in the US and Europe and is still widely viewed as a Marxist-Islamist cult built around the personality of its leader, Maryam Rajavi.“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran, …
Tehran Times, Jul 03 2018:… A prominent law expert from Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies has urged the Ottawa government to launch an investigation into former senior Canadian officials’ connection with anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).A Reza Nasri – A prominent law expert from Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies …
Nejat Society, December 10 2017:… The ten points that are included in the commitment paper of the Cult of Rajavi meet the very criteria that Dr. Stein defines as features of a cult-like system. She has a five-point definition of a cult: “One: The leader is charismatic and authoritarian. Two: The structure of the group isolates people. The third thing is total ideology, like, ‘You only need me and no other belief system has any relevance whatsoever.” The fourth thing is the process of brainwashing. The fifth point: creating
Iran Interlink, December 08 2017:… Maryam Rajavi was in Brussels on Wednesday to talk about Iran in a meeting aimed at demonising Federica Mogherini. At the same time a group of former MEK were there to give testimony to MEPs. Rajavi had brought an entourage of Saddam trained thugs with her who used this chance meeting to beat up the formers. Two were injured and needed medical treatment. One of the perpetrators has since been named as Siavosh Rajabi from London …
Iran Interlink, December 07 2017:… Anne Khodabandeh of Iran-Interlink visited Albania twice for a fact-finding mission in November and December. The fact-finding mission was to investigate the situation of separated members of the MEK and to see what needed to be done to help them and others who will be separating in future. Anne was also invited to speak in a workshop about her work as an expert in prevention …