Terror Spring, October 29 2019:… Mehdi Abrishamchi and his wife, Maryam Azdanloo, went to Paris after June 20, 1981, and divorced at the behest of the organization after the ideological revolution in 1985. Maryam was married to Massoud Rajavi and Mehdi also married Mina Kheyabani, the younger sister of Musa, on April 4, 1985. Mina was 17 years younger than Mehdi and it was her first marriage. During Rajavi’s visit to Iraq, Mehdi was with him and actively participated in all of Saddam Hussein’s meetings with Massoud Rajavi. In Baghdad, he was in charge of the organization’s relations with Iraq and provided Saddam’s financial, logistical and weapons support to the MEK. He was also the Chairman of the Peace Commission of the National Council of Resistance, which was supposed to make peace between Saddam Hussein and Iran!!! Interestingly, the Peace Commission still exists after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the National Council and is still chaired by Mehdi Abrishamchi .
|Nick name||Abrishami, Sharif, Sina, Bahman Tehrani|
|Date of Birth||06/06/1947|
|Place of Birth||Tehran|
|Education||Student of Chemical Engineering at Tehran University|
|Brothers||Hussein, Saeed, Javad|
|Sisters||Jamila, Sarwar, Sediqa|
|Spouse||Maryam Qajar Azdanlu (Maryam Rajavi), Mina Kheyabani|
Mehdi Abrishamchi (born in 1947 in Tehran) became a member of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1970 and was trained by Mohammad Hanifnejad. He was a student of chemical engineering at the University of Tehran and worked in the Department of Chemistry, responsible for the preparation of explosives. According to SAVAK interrogations, he has introduced individuals such as Alireza Tashid, Ali Bakeri (Behrouz) and Musa Kheyabani as his trainers. Mehdi also had little contact with Hanifnejad and Ahmad Rezai, keeping money and explosive materials for them. Before his arrest by SAVAK, he cuts off his relationship with MEK for a while. Because in one of his visits to team homes, he was confronted with the danger sign (closed curtain). Mehdi Abrishamchi was nicknamed “Majid Asgharzadeh, Sharif, Sina, Mehrdad Sharif, Bahman Tehrani and …”.
Hussein Abrishamchi, Mehdi’s brother and one of the most famous torturers of the SAVAK was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1974 for his membership in and support of the MEK. He was taken prisoner by Lotfollah Maysami’s group and took charge of the Gonbad Revolutionary Gaurd Corps after the revolution. But in 1981, with the release of a critical statement, the specter broke away and rejoined the MEK. In prison, he joined the group of Lotfollah Meisami and took charge of the Gonbad Corps after the revolution. But in 1980, with the release of a critical statement, broke away from the corps and rejoined the MEK.
Mehdi Abrishamchi appears to have talked to his brother, Hossein, and persuaded him to leave Meysami, and provided a cover for his re-admission to the group by telling that he was MEK’s spy in revolutionary guard.
Arrested by SAVAK
Mehdi Abrishamchi was arrested by SAVAK at his father’s factory in November 1971 and transferred to Qezel Qala Prison. At the time of his arrest, he had been a student at Tehran University’s Technical College and was a single man. SAVAK’s reports indicate his arrest, membership in a terrorist group with a communist affiliation and, in particular, membership of the Freedom Movement of Iran.
According to SAVAK, the Iranian Liberation Organization has taken actions such as contacting the FATH, the Iraqi Ba’ath government, and the Confederation of Iranian Students in Europe. The group also has activities such as: hijacking a plane and transporting it to Iraq, armed attack on a member of the Imperial family with the intention of kidnapping him, as well as destroying a power tower on the road while celebrating 2,500 years ceremonies.
At the beginning of the arrest, Savak suggests Mehdi Abrishamchi to be released on bail if he cooperates with them, but he refused. Finally, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison after being reduced his punishment by exerting his father’s influence and activities, such as writing a petition to Sayyid Kazim Shariatmadari and with the amnesty of Shah.
Mehdi’s father, a factory owner and owner of Iran Leab production company, tried to communicate or send photos of his son, who was speaking at the factory, in the presence of government and television officials, in an effort to free or reduce his son’s sentence. His speech was about the commemorating the 2500-year celebration of Persian Empire, history of Pahlavi dynasty and the “white revolution of the Shah and people”. The ceremony was shortly before Mehdi’s arrest, which was reported in the Mahd Azadi newspaper. Finally, with the efforts of Mahdi’s father, Sayyed Hassan Emami,Tehran’s Friday Imam, advised SAVAK to reduce or pardon Mehdi’s punishment.
Mehdi Abrishamchi is released by SAVAK with a written commitment not to enter into harmful activities and disconnect with the MEK.
Responsibility of Mehdi Abrishamchi in MEK
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, centralism was still the fundamental principle of the MEK. But from February 1979 to January 1980, individualism gradually began to emerge seriously in the MEK. Massoud Rajavi was the first person and Musa Kheyabani was the second and Mehdi Abrishamchi as the third person. The remaining members of the group, before the September 1971 strike, had not a history of communicating with the centrality of the first period. But Musa and Mehdi were not powerful in comparison with Rajavi.
Mehdi Abrishamchi had good speech power but lacked the organizational capability; Musa also lacked the attraction needed to influence members because of the bullying and haughty traits. For this reason, Massoud Rajavi became the undisputed leader of the group, and Mehdi Abrishamchi, who was the third man, became the organization’s second right-hand man after Musa Khabani’s death in 1981. Mehdi was also presents on the organization’s 15-candidates list for the parliament’s election.
Abrishamchi was tasked with setting up the organization in Iraq. During the transition of the Mojahedin Khalq to Iraq and the merging the internal and social divisions of the group, he carried out all matters related to the transfer, including consulting with Iraqi officials and providing necessary support within Iraq. He had extensive contacts with Iraqi officials, including his close relationship with an Iraqi Ba’athist officer, Ali Shimiyaie. Mehdi Abrishamchi was welcomed by Rajavi in Eid al-Fitr in 1986 in Iraq, and he was stationed with him in a building called Saadat.
One of the most important responsibilities of Abrishamchi during his stay in Iraq was being the deputy of Mahmoud Ataiee (chief of the Liberation Army Staff) during Operation Forough Javidan. In this operation, the brigade under the command of Mehdi Abrishamchi was responsible for the conquest of Tehran!
Other crimes by Mehdi Abrishamchi include his involvement in communicating, justifying and preparing the group’s infiltrators to carry out terrorist operations, including the 28th of June terrorist operation, and the assassination of Iranian president and Kachuiee.
In addition, he was present at all meetings of Massoud with Saddam Hussein and Iraqi intelligence officials. It is also said that all information the group obtained through spying on Iranian military and operational areas, personnel and equipment was transmitted to Iraqi intelligence officials through Mehdi Abrishamchi.
Mehdi Abrishamchi from Sobhani’s perspective
Sobhani, a former MEK member, wrote about Mehdi Abrishamchi: “Mehdi Abrishamchi, with the organizational names of Assad and Sharif, is a longtime member of the MEK who was imprisoned in Mashhad and Evin in Tehran during the Shah ‘s reign. After February 11, 1979, Mehdi Abrishamchi was one of the main and senior officials of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who participated in press interviews and public lectures and meetings. Mehdi Abrishamchi’s father was a factory owner in Tehran and was in good economic condition. Mehdi married Maryam Azdanloo after the Islamic Revolution, the result of which was a girl named Ashraf. When Ashraf was 6 to 7 years old, I saw her closely at the organization’s foreign relations headquarters in Iraq, coming to her father’s workplace on Fridays. You could easily see the contradiction, the pain, the divorce, and the separation of her parents from each other in the face of this girl, same as hundreds of little girls and boys in the organization.
… One of the interesting and historic points of the MEK that needs to be discussed separately is the political and military announcement of June 18, 1981, that the organization declares the reason for starting the armed struggle as the attack of some armed men to the house of Mehdi Abrishamchi and states that it will thereafter defend its members militarily, which indicates a pre-planned operation for 20th of June 1981. Of course, under the current circumstances, the organization does not want the June 18, 1981 announcement, referring to the start of armed operations, to be made available to members and supporters of the MEK.
Abrishamchi and his wife, Maryam Azdanloo, went to Paris after June 20, 1981, and divorced at the behest of the organization after the ideological revolution in 1985. Maryam was married to Massoud Rajavi and Mehdi also married Mina Kheyabani, the younger sister of Musa, on April 4, 1985. Mina was 17 years younger than Mehdi and it was her first marriage. During Rajavi’s visit to Iraq, Mehdi was with him and actively participated in all of Saddam Hussein’s meetings with Massoud Rajavi. In Baghdad, he was in charge of the organization’s relations with Iraq and provided Saddam’s financial, logistical and weapons support to the MEK. He was also the Chairman of the Peace Commission of the National Council of Resistance, which was supposed to make peace between Saddam Hussein and Iran!!! Interestingly, the Peace Commission still exists after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the National Council and is still chaired by Mehdi Abrishamchi.
Abrishamchi arrived in Paris before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, along with 250 to 300 officials trusted by Rajavi. He was arrested on June 17, 2003 by French police along with Maryam Rajavi and 160 other members and officials of the MEK and then released on bail pending trial. “
Mehdi Abrishamchi, responsible for information exchange with Iraqi intelligence
In Iraq, the MEK claimed to have killed active elements of the Iranian government, citing numerous assassinations. These assassinations were the cost of obtaining various military and logistical facilities from Iraq. The documents left by Saddam’s regime shows that the MEK has used blind assassinations as an effective tool and tactic in presenting its power in the fight against the Iranian government.
From this point of view, the MEK’s written and verbal reports to the Iraqi regime, with the exaggerated personality of the assassins, diminished the ability of the organization to face the Iraqi intelligence and demanded extensive facilities under the pretext of expanding these operations.
Mohammad Hussein Sobhani, a former intelligence and security official, writes about the coordination of Iraq and the MEK:
“Mehdi Abrishamchi was giving Masoud Rajavi information questions needed by the Iraqi army to identify the location of bridges, utilities, plants and economic and military centers in Iran. Massoud then referred these requests to MKO intelligence. The intelligence staff also provided answers after working on the questions.”
The intelligence headquarters was “collecting military intelligence for the intended military and terrorist operations”. In this case, there was a surveillance network in the headquarters, which was a source of intelligence for Saddam’s regime, monitoring and listening to Iran’s wireless and telecommunications networks on the battlefields. Members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization decrypted the encrypted messages of the army and IRGC commanders because of their familiarity with Persian and Iranian culture. The intelligence officer then handed over the discovered messages to Mehdi Abrishamchi and ultimately to Saddam Hussein. In 1987, Mohsen Siah Kolah (the explosive agent of the blast in the Islamic Republic Party office) and a member of the headquarters of the MEK was responsible for the Intelligence.
Mehdi Khoshhal, a former member of the MEK, cites documents released in Europe about the organization’s intelligence cooperation with Iraq:
“The MEK not only made Iraqis easily digest their country’s intelligence, but their leader not only denied being Iranian, but also explicitly called his home Iraq and his blood Iraqi.”
To Be Judged in the Future
Following the overthrow of Saddam, in the summer of 2003, a group of former members of the MEK in the United Kingdom released a book and a video CD of secret negotiations of Massoud Rajavi and Iraqi security chiefs (Estekhbarat). The Iraqis had secretly recorded these conversations. The book by the name “To Be Judged in the Future” was published by the London-based Iranian Interlink Society in the summer of 2004. Parts of the film were also broadcast by some television channels such as Al Jazeera. It should be noted that Abbas Davari and Mehdi Abrishamchi have been with Rajavi during most of these meetings. According to the contents of the negotiations, as well as other documents obtained, Davari and Abrishamchi – as Rajavi’s representatives – have had numerous meetings with Saddam Hussein’s intelligence and security officials.
The first disclosure of the Ba’athist intelligence relationship with the MEK
Al-Hayah published in a detailed interview with General Wafiq al-Samerra’i, one of Saddam’s military intelligence commanders, for the first time documenting the serious and documented relationship between the Iraqi services and the MEK. General Al-Samerrai, who also has a prominent family in Iraq, fled after Saddam’s defeat in Kuwait to foreign countries. Many issues about Iran and Iraq were also revealed in the interview. For example, he claimed that “we started the war.”
After elaborating on the outbreak of the war, he talks about the weaknesses in the newborn Iranian system and about the Saddam regime:
“Saddam had no restrictions on giving money for intelligence activities, so we paid him between 9 million $ and 10 million $ a month after Rajavi and his organization came to Iraq. (in addition to other facilities) Prior to the invasion of Kuwait, Rajavi was taking 20 million Iraqi Dinars a month; he is also given millions of dollars from abroad. It is an illusion that Saddam will abandon Rajavi and surrender him to Iran after complete peace with Iran. Saddam holds the opposition to other countries and uses them at the right time.”
Was it an Iranian terror plot or a false flag operation?
NBC News, July 06 2018:… “The claims against the Iranian diplomat are baseless and we categorically reject them,” said the spokesman, Bahram Ghassemi. “The other individuals arrested are known members of the so-called Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group. The group is an oppressive cult with a long history of terrorist activity and targeting innocent civilians going back decades, and the ties of the mentioned …
Was it an Iranian terror plot or a false flag operation?
Belgian police say an Iranian diplomat was involved in a plot to bomb a rally of the dissident Iranian group MEK, but Iran says MEK itself is to blame.
by Robert Windrem and Nancy Ing / Jul.06.2018 / 3:45 PM ET
Was it an Iranian plot to blow up a political rally near Paris where the U.S. president’s lawyer and a former speaker of the House were scheduled to speak? Or was it a “false flag” operation set up by an Iranian dissident group to damage Iran’s reputation?
While the roots of the plot remain uncertain, some particulars are clear: Belgian authorities arrested a young couple Saturday in a Brussels suburb. The man and the woman are both Belgian citizens of Iranian descent. A search of their Mercedes turned up 500 grams of TATP, a powerful explosive used by terrorists, and a detonator hidden in a small toiletry kit. Belgian authorities were so concerned they brought in a bomb squad to blow it up.
In addition, an alleged accomplice was taken into custody in France and an Iranian diplomat assigned to Tehran’s embassy in Vienna was arrested in Germany, his diplomatic immunity stripped by the Austrians.
A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor said Wednesday that the intended target was the annual convention of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political affiliate of MEK, the Mojahedin-e Khalq or “Peoples’ Mujahedin of Iran,” a well-financed dissident group that formed in the 1960s. MEK was accused by the State Department of assassinating six Americans in Iran prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution and assassinating Iranian diplomats after it.
This undated photo distributed Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by the Iranian Foreign Ministry purports to show a man the Ministry says is Amir Soudani, right, next to a man they say is Mehdi Abrishamchi, center, a top MEK official in Europe. The face of the person on the left has been blotted out by the Ministry for what they say are security reasons.Iranian Foreign Ministry
The spokesman said the couple had picked up the TATP in Luxembourg from the Iranian diplomat and “were fully aware of the risk involved of using this unstable explosive; they had every intention of using it. … They were not naïve.”
When asked if the Iranian diplomat was an agent of any of Iran’s security services, a Belgian judicial source replied, “Practically all employees of Iranian embassies are part of the Iranian Secret Service.”
Among those who spoke at the MEK rally Saturday, which drew a crowd of thousands: Rudolph Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers; Louis Freeh, director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — three of the many prominent Americans of different political stripes who have publicly supported MEK.
But who were the would-be bombers working for? Both U.S. officials and Iran experts have been left scratching their heads.
“There are no simple stories in this patch,” said Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism during the Obama administration.
There are three competing theories circulating in the media and the corridors of power:
- It was a state-sponsored operation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) or its overseas branch, the Quds Force, mounted with the blessing of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
- It was a rogue operation by the IRGC or the Quds force, mounted without the knowledge of Iran’s elected government.
- It was a false flag operation devised by the MEK, intended to embarrass Iran while Iran’s president was in Europe seeking to shore up backing for the Iran nuclear deal after the American withdrawal.
The Iranians are pointing the finger at MEK itself. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used his Twitter account to raise the possibility of a false flag operation. “How convenient,” he tweeted Monday. “Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested …”
A spokesman for Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Iranian diplomat arrested by Belgian authorities was wrongly accused and had nothing to do with the plot. “The claims against the Iranian diplomat are baseless and we categorically reject them,” said the spokesman, Bahram Ghassemi. “The other individuals arrested are known members of the so-called Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group. The group is an oppressive cult with a long history of terrorist activity and targeting innocent civilians going back decades, and the ties of the mentioned individuals with it have long been established.”
Specifically, Ghassemi pointed to Amir Sadouni, the male half of the couple arrested Saturday. Ghassemi claimed Sadouni had long been a member of MEK and produced a photograph purportedly of Sadouni with a senior MEK official.
The Belgian prosecutor’s spokesman, however, said Wednesday the MEK is not suspected in the plot at this stage of the investigation.
How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its “plotters” arrested. Iran unequivocally condemns all violence & terror anywhere, and is ready to work with all concerned to uncover what is a sinister false flag ploy.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 2, 2018
A U.S. intelligence official suggested that he would not be surprised by any of the possibilities, or others, but he and others noted that if it was directed by the Iranian government, it would be an “extraordinary operation, not what we are used to seeing … but it is consistent with their aggressiveness of late.”
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation in May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, providing no details, that “today, the Iranian Quds Force conducts covert assassination operations in the heart of Europe.” The State Department declined comment on the statement.
But the timing of the attack would’ve been odd for the Iranian government or the IRGC, since it came just before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Vienna on Tuesday for the beginning of a European diplomatic swing.
Hooman Majd, an Iranian-American author and contributor to NBC News, also points to the location of the target, Paris, as odd. French President Emmanuel Macron has been the chief European advocate of holding the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, together.
“The MEK does this every year,” said Majd, referring to their convention. “Suddenly, you decide to blow it up? That doesn’t ring true. It would have been devastating for Iran and the JCPOA.”
But Majd and Benjamin also said they can’t eliminate the possibility that this could be a rogue operation planned by Iranian security services — or by radical elements within the Iranian security services — aimed at embarrassing the Rouhani government and perhaps even putting them in charge of an embattled Iran. The IRGC has been a big winner during the time Iran has been under sanctions, facilitating backdoor deals and reaping profits along the way.
“The Iranian government is a very complicated operation, not nearly as easily diagrammed as ours is, even given the chaos of the moment,” said Benjamin, now the director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth. “There are different groups with different agendas. I could well imagine the IRGC thinking this was a moment to do something extreme even though it would appear to carry significant risk from the West, the U.S. in particular.”
Moreover, said Benjamin, “we can’t think of Iranians being careful about the use of force and terror. We make them out to be sharper than they are.” He said the “tradecraft” of Iranian security services — the manner and skill with which they operate — has “shown some rustiness” in recent years.
If it does turn out the Iranian government played any role in a plot against the MEK, he suggested that the Trump administration would seize on it, since the MEK has friends in high places. The president’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, has long been an advocate of the MEK — “a devout shill,” in Benjamin’s words. NBC News has reported that Bolton and Giuliani have received thousands of dollars in speaking fees from the group over the years.
A Washington spokesman for the NCRI, MEK’s political affiliate, called the Iranian regime’s accusation that MEK was involved in the plot a “totally bogus claim.”
In a statement, the spokesman said, “The preposterous claim by the Iranian regime, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, that the arrest of two terrorists in Belgium and an Iranian diplomat in Germany was a ‘false flag operation’ is an absurd lie.”
“The ridiculous attempt to blame the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) for this criminal and terrorist operation is thinly-veiled attempt to cover up the direct and undeniable role of the Iranian regime and its diplomat-terrorists, caught red-handed. … Belgian investigators unequivocally rejected the claim that the MEK was in any way involved.” The spokesman said the arrested couple had pretended to support MEK.
Giuliani said that all participants at the rally were grateful to law enforcement in Belgium and France for stopping an attack on a “gathering supporting freedom from the theocratic oppressive regime in Iran.”