Soraya Sepahpour-Utrich, Balkans Post, November 12 2019:… An expert on U.S. foreign policy believes the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization may carry out acts of terror and sabotage in Europe and place the blame on Tehran. “The group has had ample experience in carrying out killings and assassinations. The cult will not even allow members to defect,” said Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, in an interview with the Balkans Post. “I would not be surprised if a group member, or several, carry out acts of terror and sabotage in Europe and place the blame on Tehran. Perhaps that is the plan for them,” she added. MEK may conduct terror attacks in Europe and place the blame on Tehran
MEK may conduct terror attacks in Europe and place the blame on Tehran, says expert
An expert on U.S. foreign policy believes the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization may carry out acts of terror and sabotage in Europe and place the blame on Tehran.
“The group has had ample experience in carrying out killings and assassinations. The cult will not even allow members to defect,” said Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, in an interview with the Balkans Post.
“I would not be surprised if a group member, or several, carry out acts of terror and sabotage in Europe and place the blame on Tehran. Perhaps that is the plan for them,” she added.
Here’s the full transcript of the interview:
Balkans Post: In a piece published by the Washington Post in September, Shahin Gobadi, spokesman of the anti-Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group, claimed that “a cursory review of the MEK’s history shows it has survived and flourished for 54 years, not because of having a voice in the White House but because of its reliance solely on the Iranian people and because it has been willing to pay the price for democracy in blood and treasure.” What could you say about these remarks?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: The publication of this piece in the Washington Post is not without irony. The Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post is a private enterprise with deep pockets that passes itself as a ‘news’ outlet. Regrettably, the Washington Post that lends its pages to a cult’s propaganda is a very sharp departure from the Washington Post that in the past earned dozens of Pulitzer prizes. The Post is best remembered for publishing the Pentagon Papers – a secret government study about the Vietnam War. In a sharp departure from those days, the current owner of Washington Post is making deals with the Pentagon. In the same vein, the MEK Shahin Gobadi writes of has departed sharply from the MEK that was founded in 1965.
For the first few years, the MEK was dedicated to fighting America’s friendly dictator, the Shah of Iran, capitalism, and Western imperialism. But in 1975, there was an ideological split within the group at which time the group declared that Marxism, not Islam, was the true revolutionary philosophy (expressed in a book entitled Manifesto on Ideological Issues). It was at this stage that they resorted to terrorism. The Americans in Iran became their primary target and they wounded or killed high profile military personnel in Iran and are said to have been actively involved in the U.S. embassy takeover.
In an about-face, the group became the pet terrorists of the very “Western Empire” they had set out to fight. Their existence was necessary to America to rid Iran of the Islamic government that had overthrown their man in Tehran. Thus the terror activities and assassinations once conducted against Americans in Iran were directed at the new Islamic government in Iran. The terror group and their backers promoted the notion that the MEK was not responsible for assassinations of Americans and those acts of terror were carried by rogue elements within the group was promoted.
The lies continue to spread. The MEK has zero validity and support inside Iran. And frankly, fewer still outside of Iran. But they have a great deal of political support in America, Britain, and Israel. Not only do prominent American politicians on both side of the aisle support the group, but neoconservatives and the pro-Israeli think tanks. They also got “protection” from an online organization head by Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker through its online publication “International Analyst Network” and “Global Politician.”
So to sum up, the group has departed sharply from its origins and is the same in name only, and it would not have survived without the backing of influential politicians and organization. The only price paid in ‘blood’ was that of the people it terrorized and killed.
BP: Described by critics as “ a cult ”, the MEK has been lauded by top U.S. officials as alternative to Iran’s government. How has the group gained the support of such influential people?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: Personally, I do not believe that the U.S. sees them as an alternative to the government in Iran. They use the group to undermine Tehran while enticing them with promises. The support of ‘influential people’ is not for the group, or its ideology, but for the harm it can do to Tehran. The more sensitivity Iran shows towards this cult, the more the U.S. and Israel dangle the group in front of the Islamic Republic.
I think that is very important to understand them in this context. The United States has a stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but it has a habit of using terrorists to achieve its goals. If and when the objective is reached, the terrorists would become dispensable – undesirable.
BP: Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has described the organization as a fringe group with mysterious benefactors that garners scant support in its home country. Is there any evidence to show who these “mysterious benefactors” are?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: Some former MEK members have stated that they have witnessed Saudi Arabia giving money and gold to the group. I believe that may have been in much later years. At the onset of the Iranian Revolution, Saudi Arabia was more interested in restoring the monarchy and the deposed Shah’s son. Of course, in the 80’s, their benefactor was the “Butcher of Baghdad”, Saddam Hossein.
The political support from Israel is unquestionable and there is plenty of literature on this. However, in 2012, the NBC broke out a story that was repeated everywhere – that Israel had “financed, trained, and armed” the MEK.
Certainly, while the MEK were being protected and chauffeured around in Camp Ashraf – Iraq as ‘special status person/s’, surely the U.S. government would have been responsible for their maintenance.
BP: The MEK operates out of a compound in rural Albania. How has the group’s presence in that region impacted the Balkans in general and Albania in particular?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: It is beyond the scope of my research to address the impact the presence of MEK operatives has had on the Balkans. But what is very clear is that the United States had a 4-year plan (2011-2015) to give aid to Albania in order to advance U.S. objectives related to Albania’s role in moving forward U.S. foreign policy objective. The initial consequence of this ‘generosity’ was to demand Albanian house thousands of terrorists. It appears that a terrorist group that was protected by the United States in Iraq is now protected by the Unites States in the Europe.
The group has had ample experience in carrying out killings and assassinations. The cult will not even allow members to defect. I would not be surprised if a group member, or several, carry out acts of terror and sabotage in Europe and place the blame on Tehran. Perhaps that is the plan for them.
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master’s in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication. She is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of the lobby. Her articles have been published by several online publications. She is a public speaker. She is frequently interviewed by Russia TV.
MEK may conduct terror attacks in Europe and place the blame on Tehran
Washington’s Infatuation with the MEK terrorists
Soraya Sepahpour Ultich, American Herald Tribune, June 30 2019:… What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that Israel was supporting a terrorist cult that had massacred the Kurds in Iraq in 1991, and only a few year later, the Israelis were training the Kurds in Iraq who has survived the massacre (obviously something that has been lost on the Kurds) while their killers, the MEK, were being chauffeured around by American soldiers a short distance away in Iraq – in America’s ‘war on terror’! Washington’s Infatuation with the MEK
Washington’s Infatuation with the MEK terrorists
Inarguably, Washington has a long history of supporting terrorists. As General William Odom, President Reagan’s former National Security Agency (NSA) Director wrote in his 2007 article “American Hegemony, How to Use It, How to Lose It”:
“[T]errorism is not an enemy. It is a tactic. Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics…”.
Despite this long-standing use of tactic, there is no record of terrorists operating but a stone’s throw away from the White House. Nor has there been such brazen embrace of a terrorist group dubbed an undemocratic cult – until now.
The 1997 Patterns of Global Terrorism report issued by the State Department stated the following about the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO, NCRI and various other acronyms):
“During the 1970s, the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran to destabilize and embarrass the Shah’s regime; the group killed several US military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. The group also supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In April 1992 the MEK carried out attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.”
Listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 1997, the offices of the group’s spokesperson, Alireza Jafarzadeh was located at 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even after the attacks of September 11 and America’s declared “war on terror”, the spokesperson and representative of the terror group was just down the street from the White House. Later, the organization would move its offices to 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, remaining close to the residence of the President of the United States of America located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It is said that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. This is certainly not true of Washington officials and their cozy ties with the MEK cult. It seems that they are inching ever closer and have the audacity to flaunt their ties. Washington’s actions are a long cry from Israel’s who in the 1990’s was secretly aiding the group. (The Israeli-MEK relations continue to be omitted from news headlines while the accusatory finger is pointed to Saudi Arabia for their financial support of the cult).
Connie Brock of The New Yorker writes: “Israel had a relationship with the M.E.K at least since the late nineties, and had supplied a satellite signal for N.C.R.I. broadcasts from Paris into Iran.An Israeli diplomat said: “The M.E.K is useful,” but did not elaborate.”. According to the same report, the Israelis provided the MEK with unsubstantiated ‘intelligence’ on Iran’s nuclear program. Not surprising since the aforementioned 1997 Patterns of Global Terrorism report states, “The MEK directs a worldwide campaign against the Iranian Government that stresses propaganda and occasionally uses terrorist violence .”.
The close relationship with Israel may help explain why it was that in spite of being listed as terrorists, the group managed to bribe prominent politicians; even as a provision of the defense authorization bill would grant the military the authority to detain and hold anyone indefinitely, or to assassinate any individual suspected of having ties to terrorists/al Qaeda. Yet, these terrorists were giving speaking fees to American politicians. (The group also has its tentacles around British politicians – see HERE).
What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that Israel was supporting a terrorist cult that had massacred the Kurds in Iraq in 1991, and only a few year later, the Israelis were training the Kurds in Iraq who has survived the massacre (obviously something that has been lost on the Kurds) while their killers, the MEK, were being chauffeured around by American soldiers a short distance away in Iraq – in America’s ‘war on terror’!
Meanwhile, back home, politicians were being bribed by the terrorists! Clearly, FATF (Financial Action Task Force) did not prevent money from being funneled to and from terrorists. Shamelessly, Washington is demanding that Iran become a member of FATF to stop terrorism financing!
Even while the terrorist group was doling out money to corrupt politicians so they could be removed from the FTO list, and Washington politicians accepted money from terrorists, the group continued with its terrorism and carried out cross-border raids inside Iran with the full knowledge and encouragement of the Bush administration (History Commons).
Concurrently, Washington was using other group members to promote propaganda against Iran with emphasis on ‘human rights’. The leader of the terrorist cult, Maryam Rajavi’s live satellite broadcast into Washington was cheered . This certainly gave new meaning to ‘human rights’ promotion by America – as well as its ‘war on terror’.
The hypocrisy reached across the aisle. Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, but both parties supported this terrorist cult – all the way to the top. When Hillary Clinton was running for President in 2008, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D -Texas), co-chair of Hillary’s presidential campaign, not only shared her friendship with America’s then presidential hopeful, but she also promoted America’s pet terrorists – the MEK. Congresswoman Jackson Lee went as far as calling Maryam Rajavi “Sister Maryam,. (Would this make Hillary and Maryam ‘sisters’ too?).
Certainly, Hillary’s push to remove the MEK from the FTO was a very sisterly act.
It is important to bear in mind that the group was removed from the list of FTO after U.S. officials disclosed to NBC that the MEK terrorist group was financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service and responsible for the killing of Iran’s nuclear scientists; and at a time when the United States was negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Deal.
This year, as the Iranians mark the 38th anniversary of a horrendous attack by the MEK cult, the Trump administration is openly promoting the cult and flaunts Washington’s decades long, bipartisan infatuation with a notorious, anti-democratic cult. What makes the MEK stand out?
Israel’s support aside, they seem to be brought out in the open whenever Washington wants to play tis psychological games with Iran – its ‘stick’, the term [offensive] policy makers like to use. Washington knows full well that the group is hated in Iran. That not a single member of this group will be tolerated in Iran, and there is no future for the group. History also shows that Washington has experienced blow-back every time it has supported an unsavory group or when it has encouraged terror and terrorists. Terrorism, like pollution, does not recognize borders. Why the mad romancing of the MEK?
Perhaps Washington hopes that this cult will simply come to an end. As the Council on Foreign Relations has reported: “Many analysts, including Rubin, have characterized the MEK as a cult, citing the group’s fealty to the Rajavis. Older women were reportedly required to divorce their husbands in the late 1980s, and younger girls cannot marry or have children.”. Perhaps Washington’s thinking is that their numbers will dwindle and there will be no future generations of this cult to come back and haunt it. Now there is a wish both Washington and Tehran share!
But wishes don’t make policies. Washington needs to understand that its stick is a boomerang that will come back at it. Washington has become morally and fiscally bankrupt as a result of its wrong policies. Its high time to save itself from the quagmire of its own creation before sinking beyond redemption.
Financial Times, October 6, 2005.
Washington’s Infatuation with the MEK terrorists