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 …
Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) presence in Albania highlights security risks for Europe
Advertising campaigns don’t come cheap and those paying want value for money. The Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) annual event at Villepinte in France to celebrate so-called armed struggle and promote violent regime change against Iran is about showcasing the MEK to build a brand presence in political and media circles. The Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) brand, like any other brand, depends for its success on advertisement and consumer support.
Support for the MEK is strongest in America where reports that the Trump administration will adopt a policy of regime change toward Iran has led to speculation this will involve the MEK. Clearly the anti-Iran elements which pay for the MEK believe they are getting value for money.
What does the MEK offer for their dollar?
First and foremost, anyone who believes the MEK has renounced violence and terrorism should revisit their recent history (perhaps consult their Farsi language websites for MEK narratives rather than the English language NCRI propaganda). After losing their benefactor Saddam Hussein in 2003 the MEK, from its Iraqi base in Camp Ashraf and headquarters in Paris, engaged in active support for the Saddamist led insurgency which was expanded by AQI and more recently the failed efforts of Daesh to overrun Baghdad.
It took twelve years for the government of Iraq to succeed in its demand that America remove the group from Iraq. Taking the MEK off America’s terrorism list in 2012 (followed by British and European Union terrorism lists) was a pragmatic move to allow the relocation of the group in third countries. Of course, the American government had no intention of relocating the group to the US. Why would they when France and Albania would host the group instead.
The MEK has never dropped its agenda of supporting terrorism. Even after arriving in Albania, the MEK’s support for Daesh and violent extremists has been fully in step with prominent war-mongers; those who don’t mind the violent imposition of an inhumane so-called caliphate on millions of citizens in the Middle East so long as Iran is contained.However, this US-centric view of the situation is not echoed by Europe. 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 radicalised MEK members there was hardly likely to offer them any comfort.
Indeed, conditions in Albania mean the group has a much more open hand to pursue its agenda now it has left Iraq. Although the MEK has given up on its own ability to force regime change on Iran, the group will, of course, work to harm Iran’s interests in any way it is able or as it is instructed. As a mercenary force, the MEK is equipped to train, advise and facilitate terrorist and intelligence activity. The recent ISIS attacks in Tehran which bear the hallmarks of MEK involvement at some stage are a stark example of this capability. Interpol warns of at least 173 suspected members of a Daesh suicide brigade heading for Europe. The MEK are experts in people smuggling.
So, when the well-paid speakers at the Villepinte event in France advocate violent regime change, it is this MEK mercenary paramilitary group which is being advertised, rather than a political wish list written in Washington.
Because of this, the participation of three members of Albania’s parliament in this event ought to be of great concern in Europe. In 2014 Albania became an official candidate for accession to the European Union. Notwithstanding efforts to combat the drug cartels, arms smuggling and people trafficking gangs which prevail there, corruption and organised crime are still a problem.
Although Albania’s officially stated foreign policy promotes non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, some deputies find advocacy for the MEK irresistible.
The head of the Republican Party Fatmir Mediu in a wonderful attempt to ignore the MEK’s totalitarian nature ludicrously encouraged MEK members in the audience to ‘vote for their future’. The MEK is a cult, its members are held in a state of modern slavery. They do not even have a say over their everyday lives let alone a vote. This makes the presence of Deputy Interior Minister Elona Gjebrea even more troubling. Europeans know her as the minister for anti-trafficking. However, she has turned a blind eye to the living conditions of the MEK members in her own country.
Socialist Party deputy and former Premier Pandeli Majko echoed the MEK’s demand for regime change and stated that these radicalised MEK members are now Albanian citizens. Was this simply rhetoric?
If the Rama government has truly provided MEK members with Albanian passports, their free movement across Europe will allow into the European Union and Schengen area a new army of radicalized extremists, which would be a new threat to the West. France, which has hosted the MEK headquarters for over three decades, always refused to give the members national passports.
While the EU views the MEK as a security threat which would damage accession, there are many other elements who actually benefit from the insecurity and corruption in the Balkan region which allows gangs and groups like the MEK freedom to operate outside any laws and norms. One thing can be agreed however, neither the US nor the EU want Albania to join the EU any time soon.
Indeed, with trade deals between European Union countries and Iran increasing, the continued presence of the MEK in EU countries is increasingly problematic.
However, although the MEK are experts at intimidation and propaganda, in reality the expulsion of the MEK from Europe should be neither controversial nor unexpected. No government in Europe supports the presence of extremists in their midst and the MEK has a long history of extremist behaviour and messaging. The self-immolations in western capitals are an example of their actual behaviour, while the Villepinte celebration of armed struggle and advocacy of violent regime change is incompatible with European countries’ values and wider approach to counter-terrorism.
Previously the MEK in Europe couldn’t be expelled to Iraq because their human rights could not be guaranteed. This is not the case in Albania. Maryam Rajavi happily spent some weeks there earlier this year. President Macron can either bite the bullet and expel this unwanted group at long last, or continue to tolerate the MEK on French soil as leverage to extract further concessions from the Trump administration. Either way, the fact remains that the real problem lies in Albania. A security and humanitarian problem that will not go away.
Massoud Khodabandeh is the Director of Middle East Strategy Consultants and has worked long-term with the authorities in Iraq to bring about a peaceful solution to the impasse at Camp Liberty and help rescue other victims of the Mojahedin-e Khalq cult. Khodabandeh co-authored the book ‘The Life of Camp Ashraf – Victims of Many Masters’ with his wife Anne Singleton.
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) exposing Maryam Rajavi’s MEK activities in Albania
Warning: MEK moving members to a remote and isolated camp in Albania (aka Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult)
Sahar Family Foundation, Tirana, Albania, November 19 2017:… For three days now, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult) in Albania has been relocating its members to a remote and isolated camp in Albania which they have called the ‘Ashraf Three’ base after Camp Ashraf, the main MEK garrison in Iraq. The new base is surrounded by high walls and barbed wire to prevent the members from escaping. Since a long time ago …
Warning: MEK moving members to a remote and isolated camp in Albania (aka Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult)
For three days now, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult) in Albania has been relocating its members to a remote and isolated camp in Albania which they have called the ‘Ashraf Three’ base after Camp Ashraf, the main MEK garrison in Iraq. The new base is surrounded by high walls and barbed wire to prevent the members from escaping.
Since a long time ago the Rajavi cult has been covertly establishing facilities far away from Tirana, or any other town or city, to which it can move its members and separate them from the outside world. The aim is to exert maximum control over them to enable further brainwashing them without interference. A remote and isolated place similar to Camp Ashraf in Iraq is an ideal place for coercive psychological manipulation because it allows the leaders to control the followers both physically and mentally.
At present, the MEK members in Tirana enjoy some limited access to the outside world. This is not tolerable for the cult. The cult leader Maryam Rajavi wants her followers captive all the time. If they have free access to the outside world they will realize they are continually being told lies and they will discover that there is a way out.
The method of controlling the members inside the MEK is mind manipulation which requires an isolated area from which the members cannot escape and gradually people forget about the free world and accept their lives in there.
Cults like the MEK do not allow their members access to uncensored news or information. If they are moved to this new base the situation will be even worse than it was for them in Iraq since they now know a lot more than they did before about the outside world and therefore the internal pressure and suppression will be more severe.
The cult has also forced members to sign documents to swear that they wish to move to the new place willingly and voluntarily and they have no right to leave the place ever. They are told that this is for their own safety and security which is not correct. In this way they are giving away their rights and freedom for the rest of their lives.
The members have also been given promises of excellent facilities and services which are all lies and even if any such privileges existed these do not replace family relations and contact with the outside world which the cult is denying.
For instance, is it not worse that the members will not have access to the internet and will not be able to contact their families? In Rajavi’s world one has to live isolated from the world and only listen to the cult leaders.
Sahar Family Foundation urges all humanitarian activists and organizations around the world to prevent this human catastrophe from happening and rescue these people from being deceived into a lifelong prison.
Sahar Family Foundation – Tirana
November 18, 2017
Activities of three MEK survivors in Albania Initial report (aka Mojahedin Khalq, Rajvi cult)
Sahar Family Foundation, Tiran, Albania, November 10 2017:… Expressing concern about the covert agreement made between the MEK and some political bodies which apparently safeguards some kind of modern slavery. Why the content of this agreement which was signed in Geneva and is regularly mentioned must be kept secret? The necessity of looking after the former members (providing even the same minimum level of support as it is granted …
Ne dokumentarin me poshte al Jazeera tregon historine e terrorit te muxhahedineve iraniane. Menyrat e manipulimit dhe rekrutimit qe ata i kane bere qytetareve iraniane, masakrat kunder kurdeve dhe abuzimin me anetaret e tyre. Kjo eshte organizata qe Shqiperia strehon qe prej vitit 2013. Emisioni Kulti i Kameleonit eshte prodhuar ne vitin 2007.
Activities of three MEK survivors in Albania
Two survivors of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK aka the Rajavi cult) named Bahman Azami and Saadallah Seifi who recently managed to escape the cult, along with Adel Azami, a former MEK member who joined them from the UK, (all three from Kermanshah Province in the west of Iran), took part in various activities in Tirana, as below, to talk about their experiences:
– Two separate interviews with Gazeta Impakt
– An interview with the television TemA TV in two episodes
– Two separate meetings with the UNHCR and RMSA (the Albanian refugee agency)
– Inviting officials of the UNHCR and RMSA to visit other MEK survivors in the MEK hostel in Tirana and accompanying them on this visit
– Two meetings in the Albanian ministry of interior affairs
– Meeting in the US embassy in Tirana
– Visiting various media and NGOs in Albania
These above mentioned individuals raised the following issues in their visits and interviews:
– Describing the problems the European Union has with Albania and concerns about the presence of a terrorist cult in the country
– Protection of the former members of the MEK and how their security is ensured by the Albanian government
– Introducing Sahar Family Foundation in Tirana to the Albanian government and the US embassy and the UN as the only solution to the present problems
– Expressing concern about the covert agreement made between the MEK and some political bodies which apparently safeguards some kind of modern slavery. Why the content of this agreement which was signed in Geneva and is regularly mentioned must be kept secret?
– The necessity of looking after the former members (providing even the same minimum level of support as it is granted to a prisoner), such as shelter, food, medication, family visits and etc., in order to prevent people being forced to go back to the cult or resort to criminal behaviour.
In these meetings, during which a representative of Sahar Family Foundation was present, the other parties were urged on behalf of the suffering families to clarify all agreements made within them and avoid any illegal and inhuman acts and also to not prevent the families and friends from helping their loved ones.
The Sahar Family Foundation representative emphasized that at the present time the Albanian authorities do not give any help themselves but nor do they allow the families to help their loved ones.
The officials met promised cooperation in the future in all aspects and mentioned that they know the present procedure is not right and there is a need to review the whole situation. They expressed that they are waiting for further contact and mutual activities with the Sahar Family Foundation.
In these meetings it was explained that as far as the EU parliamentarians are concerned they were informed that the US and Albania had plans to dismantle the cult and help the captured members return back to normal life, but that so far not even a trace of activity in this regard has been seen. This has created grave concern amongst the Europeans that an intact and active terrorist cult has now been moved away from the Iranian border and now sits on the border of the European Union.
The other parties said that they are aware of the concerns expressed by the EU parliamentarians about the presence of the MEK inside Europe. They understand that concerns about the security of Europe are serious. And they know that if this problem is not resolved in the proper way this will remain as an obstacle to Albania joining the EU.
The issue of former MEK members who have left Albania illegally and have become a problem for neighboring countries was also discussed. The Sahar Family Foundation was asked to inform the former members that under no circumstances should they try to leave Albania illegally since this would make their situation even more complicated. The former members should sort out their legal difficulties inside Albania.
Links to some of the media coverage in Albania:
IMPAKT 97: Xhihad 2.0? Cfare duan xhihadistet iraniane ne Shqiperi? (pjesa 1)
IMPAKT 97: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 1)
Anne Singleton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian Mojahedin member discusses with Dr. Olsi Jazexhi the presence of the Iranian Mojahedin in Albania
IMPAKT 98: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 2)
Anne Singleton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian Mojahedin gives the testimonies of three ex-Mojahedins (Mojahedin Khalq: MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) members who have abandoned MKO in Albania. The Mojahedin defectors show how they were recruited, brainwashed and kept in servitude by the Rajavi cult and how they gained their freedom from MEK.
Ekskluzive/ Ekspertja britanike: Ju rrëfej për muxhahedinët (VIDEO)
E Hënë, 06 Nëntor 2017, 16:04
Ekspertja britanike Anna Khodabandeh, një ish-muxhahedine e kampit MEK në Iran ka ardhur në Tiranë për të bindur çdokënd që opozita iraniane nuk është ajo që duket. Në një intervistë ekskluzive për TemA TV ajo lëshon disa mesazhe. Mes të tjerave ajo thotë se MEK po tenton të mbledhë rreth vetes rininë shqiptare.
(Google Translate: Exclusive / British Expert: You Confess About Mojahedin (VIDEO)
Monday, 06 November 2017, 16:04
British expert Anne Khodabandeh, a former Mojahedin of the MEK camp in Iran, has come to Tirana to persuade everyone that the Iranian opposition is not what it seems. In an exclusive interview with TemA TV she issues a few messages. Among other things she says that MEK is trying to recruit Albanian youth.)
The statement of the TV channel announcing the interview of the three survivors
Ekskluzive/ Tortura në kampin e muxhahedinëve në Tiranë, flasin dy të arratisur (VIDEO)
Dy prej muxhahedinëve iranianë që janë arratisur nga pallatet e Yzberishtit ku ndodhen mijëra të tjerë, rrëfejnë eksperiencat e tyre në Tiranë. Në një rrëfim ekskluziv për TemA TV ata tregojnë sesi raportonin endrrat dhe mendimet tek krerët eMEK-ut dhe më pas mijëra persona mblidheshin rreth tyre dhe qeshnin.
(Google Translate: Exclusive / Torture at Mujahideen Camp in Tirana Two Fugitives Speak (VIDEO)
Monday, 06 November 2017, 18:53
Two of the Iranian mujahideen who fled from the Yzberisht palaces, where there are thousands, confess their experiences in Tirana. In an exclusive story for TemA TV they show how they reported dreams and thoughts to MEK leaders and then thousands of people gathered around them and laughed.)
Sahar Family Foundation
Tirana – Nov 8, 2017
IMPAKT 97: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 2)
Gazeta Impakt, Tiran, Albania, November 07 2017:… Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian mojahedin gives the testimonies of three ex- mojahedins (Mojahedin Khalq: MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) members who have abandoned MKO in Albania. The mojahedin defectors show how they were recruited, brainwashed and kept in servitude by the Rajavi cult and how they gained their freedom from MEK.
IMPAKT 97: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 2)
Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian mojahedin gives the testimonies of three ex- mojahedins (Mojahedin Khalq: MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) members who have abandoned MKO in Albania. The mojahedin defectors show how they were recruited, brainwashed and kept in servitude by the Rajavi cult and how they gained their freedom from MEK.
IMPAKT 98: Xhihad 2.0? Cfare duan xhihadistet iraniane ne Shqiperi? (pjesa 2)
Gazeta Impakt –
November 7, 2017
Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh nje qytetare britanike, ish xhihadiste iraniane sjell deshmite e tre ish-xhihadistesh iraniane (anetare te organizates te njohur si Mojahedin Khalq: MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult. Keshilli i Rezistences Iraniane) te cilet kane braktisur organizaten e muxhahedineve ne Shqiperi. Dezertoret nga organizata xhihadiste tregojne sesi u radikalizuan, si u trushpelane dhe u mbajten si skllever nga kulti Raxhavi dhe sesi me pas fituan lirine nga organizata muxhahedine.
Emisioni eshte ne anglisht.
IMPAKT 97: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 1)
Gazeta Impakt, Tiran, Albania, November 06 2017:… Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian mojahedin discusses with Dr. Olsi Jazexhi the presence of the Iranian mojahedin organization in Albania. The discussion is around the MKO, Daesh, FETO and other terrorist organizations that have recruited fighters in the Balkans and have used countries like Albania as a base against Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They discuss the history of MKO, the process of radicalization …
IMPAKT 97: Jihad 2.0? What are the Iranian Jihadis (MKO, Rajavi cult) doing in Albania? (part 1)
Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh an ex-Iranian mojahedin discusses with Dr. Olsi Jazexhi the presence of the Iranian mojahedin (Mojahedin Khalq: MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) organization in Albania. The discussion is around the MKO, Daesh, FETO and other terrorist organizations that have recruited fighters in the Balkans and have used countries like Albania as a base against Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They discuss the history of MKO, the process of radicalization, the use of terror as weapon of choice in the Middle East and the reasons why the American government uses terrorism and supports organizations like MKO for its geostrategical interests in the Middle East. They debate the use by MKO of terms like the National Council of Resistance of Iran, democratic opposition of Iran etc to depict itself as a democratic organization, while this organization breaks the laws of Albania and calls for a violent war against a foreign country. The analysts ask why the Albanian government jails and “deradicalises” Albanian Suni jihadis who want to join the jihad in Syria, but tolerates the Iranian jihadis to call for war against Iran from Albania?
IMPAKT 97: Xhihad 2.0? Cfare duan xhihadistet iraniane ne Shqiperi? (pjesa 1)
Gazeta Impakt –
November 6, 2017
Anne Singelton – Khodabandeh nje ish-moxhahedine iraniane diskuton me Dr. Olsi Jazexhi prezencen e xhihadisteve iraniane ne Shqiperi. Diskutimi perqendrohet perreth MKO-se, Daesh-it apo ISIS-it, FETO-s dhe organizatave te tjera terroriste qe kane rekrutuar luftetare ne Ballkan dhe kane perdorur vende sikur Shqiperia si baze per te sulmuar vende sikur Turqia, Irani, Iraku dhe Siria. Diskutohet historia e MKO-se, procesi i radikalizimit, perdorimi i terrorizmit si arme gjeostrategjike ne Lindjen e Mesme, dhe arsyet pse administrata amerikane mbeshtet organizatat sikur MKO per qellimet e saj ne Lindjen e Mesme. Debatohet perdorimi nga MKO i termave sikur the National Council of Resistance of Iran (Keshilli Kombetar i Rezistences ne Iran), opozita demokratike e Iranit etj per ta treguar kete organizate si demokratike, ne nje kohe qe kjo organizate thyen ligjet e Shqiperise dhe ben thirrje per xhihad kunder nje vendi te huaj.
Analistet pyesin pse qeveria shqiptare burgos dhe “deradikalizon” shqiptaret myslimane qe flasin per xhihad dhe duan te shkojne ne xhihad ne Siri, por toleron xhihadistet iraniane per te bere thirrje per lufte kunder Iranit nga Shqiperia?
Emisioni eshte ne gjuhen angleze.
Legal representative meets with UNHCR in Tirana to clarify the status of MEK defectors (aka MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
Av. MB. Lawyer, Sahar Family Foundation, Tirana, Albania, October 16 2017:… Furthermore, the lawyer asked why the UNHCR does not support the MEK defectors, who after leaving the organization end up in the street and without any support? By not supporting these people who want to enjoy their personal freedoms that democracy guarantees, the UNHCR was not helping these people who deserve to live in freedom in a democracy. The UNHCR representatives responded …
Legal representative meets with UNHCR in Tirana to clarify the status of MEK defectors
By Av. M.B., Lawyer
On October 9, 2017 an Albanian lawyer and a representative of some defectors from the Mojahedin Khalq organization (MEK) met with officials of the UNHCR in Tirana, Albania. The meeting had been requested on 27 September by the lawyer acting on behalf of two defectors from the MEK who want to know what their future relation with their UNHCR will be.
The lawyer and one MEK defector were received at the offices of the UNHCR in Tirana by H. Balla from the Office of Legal Protection, and H. Khan who is responsible for the MEK members in Albania.
The lawyer acting on behalf of her clients demanded explanations from UNHCR officials regarding the status of her clients in Albania, their economic difficulties and their legal status.
During the discussions H. Khan, who was responsible for the re-settlement of MEK members from Iraq in Albania, clarified a number of items for the lawyer. He explained that the UNHCR had helped the MEK to relocate to Albania to save them from the threats they were receiving in Iraq. The UNHCR had been paying MEK members in Iraq but now that they had settled in Albania they were no longer the responsibility of the UNHCR. Contrary to the claims of MEK defectors that the UNHCR pays 500 EUROs monthly to MEK members, the UNHCR representative explained that the UNHCR no longer pays any money to the MEK for its members. He said that the MEK has its own budget. It has an agreement with the Albanian state and it is responsible for paying its members and defectors alike, since this was one of the points of the understanding that the MEK, the Americans and the Albanian state had agreed once they were transferred to Albania.
The UNHCR for its part was trying to help MEK members to integrate into Albanian society by providing training for them and through an agreement that it had with an Albanian NGO, the Refugee and Migrant Services (RMSA), which was helping MEK members with their social needs.
During the discussions, the MEK defector complained to the UNHCR about the way the MEK was blackmailing its members in Albania, enslaving them, using psychological threats and blackmail and threatening them with slander. The defector described the spying network that the MEK has created against its own members who are deserting the organization en-mass. He complained that the MEK was keeping its members totally isolated, prohibiting them from talking to their families in Iran and throughout the world, and if one member is caught talking to his family or to another defector he is immediately expelled from the organization and is accused of being an agent of Iran.
The defector revealed how the MEK had enslaved many of its members for the past 30 years, and now that they were living in a democratic country like Albania, this organization was still blackmailing them, keeping them isolated and not allowing them to enjoy the freedoms of democracy and civic life.
The lawyer told the UNHCR officials that these claims have been presented to her by many other defectors who live in a state of fear and intimidation from this organization, which claims that it will bring democracy to Iran. She asked the UNHCR representatives if they were aware that the MEK was intimidating and threatening even the families of MEK members who have come to Albania to meet their loved ones. She disclosed to UNHCR representatives that in a number of cases, family members of MEK members had been detained and threatened even by the Albanian police whenever they had come to Albania and tried to contact their relatives.
The lawyer asked how can this organization speak of democracy when it treats its members in such an inhumane way, which is a criminal offense according to Albanian laws? She asked the UNHCR about its stance towards these criminal allegations that defectors are making against this totalitarian organization which claims to fight for democracy and human rights? How could the UNHCR work with and support such a totalitarian and enslaving organization? They asked UNHCR staff if they were aware that this organization is acting against human rights conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Albania has signed, and was denying its members freedom of thought, freedom to create a family, freedom of movement, freedom of association and was treating many of its members as slaves.
Furthermore, the lawyer asked why the UNHCR does not support the MEK defectors, who after leaving the organization end up in the street and without any support? By not supporting these people who want to enjoy their personal freedoms that democracy guarantees, the UNHCR was not helping these people who deserve to live in freedom in a democracy.
The UNHCR representatives responded that the behavior of the MEK towards its members has to be judged by the Albanian government and within the framework of the agreement it has with the MEK. The lawyer pointed out that this agreement has not been made public or submitted to scrutiny and so nobody knows what has actually been agreed. What was clear is that as the situation stands at present this agreement is in contravention of UNHCR rules and human rights legislation because clearly neither the MEK members nor the defectors and nor their families are not being accorded their proper civil or human rights.
When the lawyer asked about their legal status and what the UNHCR is contributing towards this issue – since many of them have no work permits and their legal status is described as humanitarian refugees – the UNHCR responded that they are working with the Albanian government to clarify their status.
They suggested that the lawyer acting on their behalf must contact the Interior Ministry of Albania since this body is responsible for their residence in the country.
The lawyer asked the UNHCR representatives whether they do pay some MEK members. The UNHCR representatives said that yes, they do pay some members, on a case by case basis, but not everyone. They were paying the accommodation of M. A. a defector who was in a desperate situation.
The MEK defector who was in the meeting said that the help M. A. was receiving was minimal. He was able only to buy just few kilograms of oil, flour and sugar to eat for a whole month.
The legal representative of the UNHCR admitted that support for the MEK members in Albania was a big problem. He said that even the Albanian government will not support the refugees for more than six months. The government gives them accommodation, food and after six months they are on their own.
But the difficult case of MEK members was exacerbated since they were taken to Albania on a humanitarian basis and not as asylum seekers. They have no work permits and cannot integrate into the society.
The defector claimed that the UNHCR had in the past paid MEK members 500 EUROs per month in their accounts. However, H. Khan explained that this was no longer the case. The UNHCR had given financial support to MEK members in 2016 but now it has run out of money. He said that the support of MEK members and defectors was the duty of the MEK which brought them into the country and the Albanian government who agreed to host the Mojahedin.
The defector said that the Albanian office of asylum had told MEK members that in 2018 some humanitarian organization might take over the financial care of MEK members in Albania. But the situation of the defectors remains unclear and this means that many MEK defectors will continue to suffer and struggle for their economic survival in Albania.
The defector explained that many families of MEK members want to contact their loved ones in the MEK so that they can provide them with support and assistance. But the MEK’s refusal to allow this contact and the Albanian government’s compliance with this ban means they are forced to remain with the MEK or become destitute. This was not an acceptable situation when many people could be helped by their own families and not depend on handouts from any organization.
The conclusion of this meeting was that many MEK members who want to defect from this ex-terrorist organization, who do not want to be considered as combatants and want instead to live in freedom and liberty have no option but to stay with the organization. If they choose to leave the MEK and enjoy the freedoms and democracy of Albania, to marry, have children and create families like all other free human beings, they will suffer economic hardship and blackmail from the MEK whose spies monitor and intimidate the defectors. They will be accused by the MEK of being Iran’s agents and no one will help them. They do not speak Albanian, have no skills, the vast majority has no work permits and cannot find jobs in impoverished Albania. They have no passports and no possibility to settle in other richer countries in Europe. The only option that many MEK members have is to stick it out with the MEK in its camps in Albania. They must live an isolated life in which they are also thereby forced to agree to call for waging a terrorist war against Iran.
At the end of the meeting the UNHCR advised the lawyer and her clients to contact the Albanian office for asylum to clarify their status and situation. It was also suggested that the MEK should be taken to court and asked to pay for the defectors since the MEK had undertaken responsibility for their financial support after their transfer to Albania.
Përfaqësuesi ligjor takohet me UNHCR-në në Tiranë për të sqaruar statusin e dezertorëve të MEK
gazeta impakt –
October 17, 2017
Në datën 9 tetor 2017 një avokate shqiptare dhe një përfaqësues i disa të larguarve nga organizata Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) u takuan me zyrtarë të UNHCR-së në Tiranë, Shqipëri. Takimi ishte kërkuar më 27 shtator nga avokatja që vepron në emër të dy ish pjesëtarëve të larguar nga MEK, të cilët dëshirojnë të dinë se cila do të jetë marrëdhënia e tyre e ardhshme me UNHCR.
Avokatja dhe një i larguar nga MEK u pritën në zyrat e UNHCR-së në Tiranë nga H. Balla e zyrës së mbrojtjes ligjore dhe H. Khan i cili është përgjegjës për anëtarët e MEK-ut në Shqipëri.
Avokatja që vepronte në emër të klientëve kërkoi shpjegime nga zyrtarët e UNHCR lidhur me statusin e klientëve të tij në Shqipëri, vështirësitë e tyre ekonomike dhe statusin e tyre ligjor.
Gjatë diskutimeve, H. Khan, i cili ishte përgjegjës për rivendosjen e anëtarëve të MEK-ut nga Iraku në Shqipëri, sqaroi një numër çështjesh për avokaten. Ai shpjegoi se UNHCR-ja kishte ndihmuar MEK që të zhvendoset në Shqipëri për ti shpëtuar nga kërcënimet që ata po merrnin në Irak. UNHCR kishte paguar anëtarët e MEK-ut në Irak, por tani që ata ishin vendosur në Shqipëri nuk ishin më përgjegjësi e UNHCR-së. Në kundërshtim me pretendimet e MEK-ut se UNHCR paguan 500 EURO çdo muaj për anëtarët e MEK-ut, përfaqësuesi i UNHCR-it shpjegoi se UNHCR-ja nuk i paguan më para MEK-ut për anëtarët e saj. Ai tha se MEK ka buxhetin e vet. Mek ka një marrëveshje me shtetin shqiptar dhe është përgjegjës për pagimin e anëtarëve dhe të larguarve, pasi kjo ishte një nga pikat e mirëkuptimit që MEK, amerikanët dhe shteti shqiptar kishin rënë dakord pasi që ata të transferoheshin në Shqipëri.
UNHCR-ja nga ana e saj po përpiqej të ndihmonte anëtarët e MEK-ut që ti integrojë në shoqërinë shqiptare duke u ofruar trajnime atyre sipas një marrëveshje që kishte me një OJQ shqiptare, Shërbimin për Refugjatët dhe Migrantët (RMSA), e cili po ndihmon anëtarët e MEK-ut në bazë të nevojave sociale.
Gjatë diskutimeve, dezertori i MEK-ut iu ankua UNHCR-së për mënyrën se si MEK i shantazhon anëtarët e saj në Shqipëri, duke i skllavëruar ata, duke përdorur kërcënime psikologjike dhe shantazhe dhe duke i kërcënuar me shpifje. I larguari e përshkroi rrjetin e spiunimit që MEK kishte ngritur kundër anëtarëve të vet, të cilët po e braktisin organizatën në masë të madhe. Ai u ankua se MEK i mban anëtarët plotësisht të izoluar, duke i ndaluar ata të bisedonin me familjet e tyre në Iran dhe në të gjithë botën. Nëse një anëtar do kapej duke folur me familjen e tij ose me një tjetër person të larguar, ai menjëherë dëbohet nga organizata dhe akuzohet sikur është një agjent i Iranit.
I larguari tregoi se si MEK kishte skllavëruar shumë nga anëtarët e tij për 30 vitet e fundit dhe tani që ata jetonin në një vend demokratik si Shqipëria, kjo organizatë ende i shantazhonte ata, duke i mbajtur ata të izoluar dhe duke mos i lejuar ata të gëzonin liritë e demokracisë dhe jetën qytetare.
Avokatja u tha zyrtarëve të UNHCR-së se këto pretendime i janë paraqitur asaj edhe nga shumë dezertorë të tjerë që jetojnë në një gjendje frike dhe kërcënimi nga kjo organizatë, e cila pretendon se do të sjellë demokracinë në Iran. Avokatja kërkoi nga përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së të ishin të vetëdijshëm se MEK-u po i frikësonte dhe kërcënonte edhe familjet e anëtarëve të MEK-ut që kishin ardhur në Shqipëri për t’u takuar me të dashurit e tyre. Avokatja u tregoi përfaqësuesve të UNHCR-së se në një numër rastesh anëtarët e familjeve të anëtarëve të MEK-ut ishin mbajtur dhe kërcënuar edhe nga policia shqiptare sa herë që kishin ardhur në Shqipëri dhe përpiqeshin që të kontaktonin me të afërmit e tyre.
Avokatja u tha atyre se si kjo organizatë mund të flasë për demokracinë kur në të njëjtën kohë i trajton anëtarët e saj në një mënyrë kaq jonjerëzore, që sipas ligjeve shqiptare është një vepër penale? Avokatja i kërkoi UNHCR-së qëndrimin e saj ndaj këtyre akuzave kriminale që po bëjnë të larguarit kundër kësaj organizate totalitare që pretendon të luftojë për demokracinë dhe të drejtat e njeriut? Si mund të punonte UNHCR-ja dhe të mbështeste një organizatë të tillë totalitare dhe skllavëruese? Ata pyetën stafin e UNHCR-së nëse ishin të vetëdijshëm se kjo organizatë po vepronte kundër konventave për të drejtat e njeriut dhe deklaratës universale të të drejtave të njeriut që Shqipëria ka nënshkruar dhe u mohon anëtarëve të saj lirinë e mendimit, lirinë për të krijuar një familje, lirinë e lëvizjes si dhe duke i trajtuar shumë nga anëtarët e saj si skllevër.
Për më tepër, avokatja pyeti se përse UNHCR nuk i përkrah të larguarit e MEK-ut, të cilët pas largimit nga organizata përfundojnë në rrugë dhe pa asnjë mbështetje? Duke mos i mbështetur këta njerëz që duan të gëzojnë liritë e tyre personale që garanton demokracia, UNHCR nuk po i ndihmon këta njerëz që meritojnë të jetojnë në liri në një demokraci.
Përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së u përgjigjën se sjellja e MEK-ut ndaj anëtarëve të saj duhet të gjykohet nga qeveria shqiptare dhe në kuadër të marrëveshjes që ka me MEK. Avokatja vuri në dukje se kjo marrëveshje nuk është bërë publike dhe nuk është dorëzuar për shqyrtim dhe kështu askush nuk e di se çfarë është arritur në të vërtetë. Ajo që është e qartë aktualisht tregon se kjo marrëveshje është në kundërshtim me rregullat e UNHCR-së dhe legjislacionin për të drejtat e njeriut, sepse në mënyrë të qartë as anëtarëve e MEK, as dezertorëve dhe as familjeve të tyre nuk u janë dhënë të drejtat e tyre civile, të drejtat e njeriut.
Kur avokatja pyeti për statusin e tyre ligjor dhe atë se si UNHCR po kontribuon për këtë çështje – pasi që shumë prej tyre nuk kanë leje pune dhe statusi i tyre ligjor përshkruhet si refugjatë humanitarë – UNHCR u përgjigj se po punojnë me qeverinë shqiptare për të sqaruar statusin.
Ata sugjeruan që avokati që vepron në emër të tyre duhet të kontaktojë Ministrinë e Brendshme të Shqipërisë, pasi ky organ është përgjegjës për qëndrimin e tyre në vend.
Avokatja pyeti përfaqësuesit e UNHCR nëse ata ndihmonin financiarisht anëtarë e MEK-ut. Përfaqësuesit e UNHCR-së thanë se po, ata paguajnë disa anëtarë, rast pas rasti, por jo të gjithë. Ata po paguanin strehimin e M. A. një dezertori që ishte në një gjendje të dëshpëruar.
Dezertori i MEK i cili ishte në takim tha se ndihma që kishte marrë M. A ishte minimale. Ai ishte në gjendje të blinte me ndihmën vetëm pak kilogramë miell, vaj dhe sheqer për të ngrënë për një muaj të tërë.
Përfaqësuesi ligjor i UNHCR-së pranoi se mbështetja për anëtarët e MEK në Shqipëri ishte një problem i madh. Ai tha se edhe qeveria shqiptare nuk do të mbështesë refugjatët për më shumë se gjashtë muaj. Qeveria u jep atyre strehim, ushqim dhe pas gjashtë muajve ata do duhet ti sigurojnë vetë.
Por rasti i vështirë i anëtarëve të MEK u përkeqësua që kur ata u dërguan në Shqipëri në baza humanitare dhe jo si azilkërkues. Ata nuk kanë leje pune dhe nuk mund të integrohen në shoqëri.
Dezertori pretendoi se UNHCR-ja në të kaluarën i kishte paguar anëtarët e MEK me nga 500 euro në muaj, të derdhura në llogaritë e tyre. Megjithatë, H. Khan shpjegoi se kjo gjë kishte ndryshuar dhe nuk ishte më kështu. UNHCR-ja kishte dhënë mbështetje financiare për anëtarët e MEK-ut në vitin 2016, por tani ajo ka mbetur pa para. Ai tha se mbështetja e anëtarëve dhe dezertorëve të MEK ishte detyrë e MEK-ut që i solli në këtë vend dhe e qeverisë shqiptare që ra dakord ti strehonte Muxhahedinët.
Dezertori tha se zyra shqiptare e azilit i kishte thënë anëtarëve të MEK-ut se në vitin 2018, një organizatë humanitare mund të merrte përsipër kujdesin financiar të anëtarëve të MEK në Shqipëri. Por situata e të larguarve mbetet e paqartë dhe kjo do të thotë se shumë prej tyre do të vazhdojnë të vuajnë dhe do të luftojnë për mbijetesën e tyre ekonomike në Shqipëri.
Dezertori i MEK shpjegoi se shumë familje të anëtarëve të MEK-ut dëshirojnë të kontaktojnë me të afërmit e tyre në MEK, në mënyrë që ata të mund t’u sigurojnë atyre mbështetje dhe ndihmë. Por refuzimi i MEK-ut për të lejuar këtë kontakt dhe dakortësia e qeverisë shqiptare me këtë ndalim nënkupton se ata janë të detyruar të qëndrojnë me MEK-un ose të bëhen të varfër. Kjo nuk ështe një situatë e pranueshme kur shumë njerëz mund të ndihmoheshin nga familjet e tyre dhe nuk do të vareshin nga lëmoshet e ndonjë organizate.
Përfundimi i këtij takimi ishte se shumë anëtarë të MEK që duan të dezertojnë nga kjo ish organizatë terroriste, të cilët nuk duan të konsiderohen si luftëtarë dhe që duan të jetojnë në liri, nuk kanë asnjë mundësi, por vetëm të qëndrojnë në organizatë. Nëse ata vendosin të largohen nga MEK dhe të gëzojnë liritë dhe demokracinë e Shqipërisë, të martohen, të kenë fëmijë dhe të krijojnë familje si të gjithë njerëzit e tjerë të lirë, ata do të pësojnë vështirësi ekonomike dhe shantazhe nga MEK, spiunët e së cilës mbikqyrin dhe i kërcënojnë dezertorët. Ata do të akuzohen nga MEK sikur janë agjentë të Iranit dhe askush nuk do t’i ndihmojë. Ata nuk flasin shqip, nuk kanë aftësi te vecanta, shumica dërrmuese nuk ka leje pune dhe nuk mund të gjejnë punë në Shqipërinë e varfër. Ata nuk kanë pasaporta dhe nuk kanë mundësi të vendosen në vende të tjera të pasura në Evropë. E vetmja mundësi që kanë shumë nga anëtarët e MEK është që të qëndrojë me MEK-un në kampet e saj në Shqipëri. Ata do duhet të jetojnë një jetë të izoluar në të cilën ata po ashtu do jenë të detyruar ti pergjigjen thirrjes ne rast se behet thirrje për të kryer një luftë terroriste kundër Iranit.
Në fund të takimit, UNHCR-ja këshilloi avokaten dhe klientët e saj të kontaktojnë zyrën shqiptare për azil për të sqaruar statusin dhe gjendjen e tyre. U sugjerua gjithashtu që MEK duhet të cohet në gjykatë dhe ti kërkohet të paguajë të larguarit pasi që MEK kishte marrë përgjegjësinë për mbështetjen e tyre financiare pas transferimit të tyre në Shqipëri./ Gazeta Impakt
How can these lawmakers (Senator Roy Blunt, Brad Sherman, Joe Lieberman , Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce….) sleep at night and where is the media!
Houman Fakhimi, Facebook page, August 17 2017:…The Iraq War Resolution of 2002 was not only based on Saddam’s alleged possession of WMDs. The Resolution also claimed Saddam had links to terrorism and both Congress and President Bush named People’s Mujaheddin Of Iran (MEK) then based in Iraq as proof that Saddam was harboring terror groups (see photos1-2). 15 years later thousand of $$$ have been spent on lobbying by MEK and …
Houman Fakhimi added 13 new photos
The Iraq War Resolution of 2002 was not only based on Saddam’s alleged possession of WMDs. The Resolution also claimed Saddam had links to terrorism and both Congress and President Bush named People’s Mujaheddin Of Iran (MEK) then based in Iraq as proof that Saddam was harboring terror groups (see photos1-2).
15 years later thousand of $$$ have been spent on lobbying by MEK and the same lawmakers (many now in the private sector) that voted for the Iraq Resolution (see photos 3-6) AND even “experts” that called for the vote that sent 6,000 US soldiers to their graves and over 30,000 inflicted with life long debilitating injuries are now actively promoting the same MEK as the “freedom fighters” US needs to install in Iran via regime change !
Who is looking out for America?
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
Iran’s Social Network Sites (SNS): We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
Dr. Raz Zimmt, The Moshe Dyan Center, Tel Aviv university, August 08 2017:… The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime …
We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq: SNS Respond to a Conference of the Iranian Opposition
In early July, Iran’s National Resistance Council, the political wing of the opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), held its annual conference at the Villepinte Exhibition Center in a suburb of Paris. The conference sparked angry reactions and public criticism on Iran’s social networking sites (SNS). This anger was exacerbated by Saudi and US representation at the conference, which was seen as evidence of Saudi and American efforts to instigate political change in Iran through compromising support of a terrorist organization widely considered traitorous by Iranians.
MEK’s ideology combines Shi‘ite Islam with Marxism. During the early 1970s, the organization emerged in opposition to the Iranian monarchy. The United States and the European Union previously designated MEK as a terrorist organization due to its involvement in terrorist attacks in Iran, with several attacks against Western (including American and Israeli) targets. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, MEK and the new regime fell into severe conflict, with the regime implementing strongly suppressive measures against MEK. As a result, the organization transferred most of its activities to Iraq, where it aligned itself with the Saddam Hussein regime. In the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, MEK even participated in several Iraqi army operations against Iran. As a result, MEK was left with very little support in Iran proper, with many Iranians considering MEK activists traitors. In recent years, there has been no evidence of the organization’s involvement in terrorism. Instead, it focuses mainly on political activity in Europe and the United States aimed at enlisting support for regime change in Iran. Nonetheless, critics believe this political activity is merely a façade.
This year’s annual MEK conference was chaired by the organization’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, and attended by hundreds of participants from around the world, including Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, who formerly served as head of Saudi intelligence, as well as largely hawkish former US officials, including the former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former US Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-Conn.), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In their speeches at the conference, these senior officials harshly criticized the Islamic republic, accused it of supporting terrorism, and called for regime change in Tehran.
The conference aroused strong reactions in Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who ended an official visit to Paris on the eve of the conference, criticized France for permitting the opposition group to operate within its borders, saying that regional and European countries are well aware of MEK’s terrorist activities. Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s advisor on international affairs, emphasized that hosting terrorists would not contribute to regional or international peace. On SNS, thousands of Iranian users mobilized a virtual campaign against the organization using the English and Persian hashtags “Iran hates MEK” and “No to MEK.” The posts included insults and slurs against members of the organization accused of causing the death of thousands of Iranian citizens. Users contended that MEK is a terrorist organization entirely unrepresentative of the Iranian people, and devoid of popular support. They stressed that opposition to MEK unites Iranians, regardless of ideology or political outlook. As one user tweeted, “There is no difference between conservatives, reformists or independents! We all agree on hatred for Munafakin [a derogatory term for the MEK, meaning hypocrites or false Muslims].”
Predictably, the main criticism of the organization was based on its alignment with the Iraqi regime during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian users called MEK members “betrayers of the homeland” and “traitors,” accusing them of collaborating with the Ba‘ath regime’s chemical attack on the citizens of Iran during the summer of 1987. “When Iranian women and children trembled in fear of Iraqi missiles, the MEK drank faludeh [a cold Iranian beverage],” wrote one commenter. Many users emphasized that the Iranian people would neither forget nor forgive the organization for its historic misalignment.
Along with expressions of hatred towards the opposition group, users also attacked its supporters in the West and Saudi Arabia. Many users compared MEK to ISIS, arguing that there was no difference between supporting the Iranian opposition group and supporting the Islamic terror organization. Western support for MEK, spearheaded by American politicians close to the current administration, was considered further proof of the West’s hypocrisy. Critics contended that while Western countries claim to defend democracy and human rights against terrorism, they perpetuate a terrorist organization responsible for thousands of innocent civilians’ deaths, and for serious human rights violations in internment camps it operated in Iraq. “Trump administration wants to back an Islamist terrorist cult (MEK) to bring democracy to Iran. What a sick joke,” tweeted one user. Meanwhile, Saudi support for this opposition group reignited Iranian hostility towards Saudi Arabia, which has been the target of Iranian users’ hatred and racism for the past several years of worsening relations between the countries. “Saudi Arabia supports Maryam Rajavi as leader of Iran, but within Saudi Arabia women have no right to drive!” read one tweet.
The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime during the Iran-Iraq war, which remains a traumatic memory for Iranians. Therefore, Iranians consider any support for MEK to be an illegitimate offence against national pride. The Iranian public’s aversion to foreign interventions and allies of Iran’s enemies sporadically captivates SNS discourse, as exhibited by the conference’s backlash.
 “Iranian FM decries France green light to MKO activities,” Press TV, July 1, 2017.
 “Velayati Blasts France for Hosting MKO Terrorists,” Fars News Agency, July 3, 2017.
 #IranHatesMEK and-#No2MEK
 In this context, see Iranians’ responses to a letter in which Iranian activists in exile urged US President Trump to adopt an aggressive policy towards Iran .Raz Zimmt, “Critics or Traitors? Responses to Iranian Exiles’ Letter to Trump,” Beehive, 5(1), January 2017,
Dr. Raz Zimmt investigates Iranian social media responses to the annual conference of Mojahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group whose support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War remains a searing national trauma.
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.
National Geographic, March 04 2017:… Leading MEK members squirm under the knowing gaze of Michael Ware. Watch the shifty looks and glances as the MEK representatives try to lie about their true intentions. They admit to wanting regime change, but claim to be pacifists. Ware asks ‘Why does a political organization still need to have a para-military organization?’ He then cleverly gets them to …
Associated Press, February 16 2017:… The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center. In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. …
Iran Interlink, February 15 2017:… The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement
Gazeta Impakt, Albania, Translated by Iran Interlink, January 01 2017:… According to Fatos Klosi, former director of the National Intelligence Service, the American CIA chief has warned Albania that Donald Trump will renounce support for the MEK terrorists and it will be the Albanian Government itself which must deal with internal security and must confront a group trained militarily from the time of Saddam Hussein …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
Iran Interlink, October 30 2016:… Local observers in Tirana are reporting that the Mojahedin Khalq cultic terror group (MEK) is buying and creating several sandwich and kebab shops in the city and is using the MEK members to work in these fast-food businesses. On the surface this may look like a positive move. In an article titled ‘Albania: What would a de-radicalization program for the Mojahedin Khalq involve’, it was …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, October 16 2016:… In spite of American promises, no de-radicalisation programme is in place to deal with over 2500 members of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group who have relocated to Tirana from Iraq. The MEK has a long history of violent and criminal activity. This has not stopped now they are in Tirana. Unless the Albanian government introduces its own programme, it must accept …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington post (and Top Topic), October 09 2016:… For the local citizens, mystery surrounds their arrival and their lifestyle. Should these secretive and covert neighbours be treated with suspicion or kindness? At a local level, the first thing neighbouring families need to be aware of is that among all MEK members, sexual relations have been banned for over 25 years. This means there are no marriages or children or young people in the organisation. More troubling …
Massoud & Anne Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 14 2016:… Whether Rajavi is already dead or now killable is not known – only he can answer this – but he and his whole organisation are certainly now, body and soul, in the capable hands of the Saudi Prince. If he is still alive, Rajavi’s only role is to act as go-between to instruct his wife what she must do on behalf of the Saudis. If he is dead
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? Fro