Albawaba, Ty Joplin, September 18 2018:… In 1989, a year before Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, Khodabandeh and the MEK’s leader at the time, Massoud Rajavi, went to Saudi with an escort by Iraq’s secret police. “Rajavi was to perform pilgrimage as well as other things. At the time for our return to Iraq, we were presented with two suitcases each, presents from King Abdullah, then crown prince …
Saudi Arabia Secretly Sent Truckloads of Gold and Rolex Watches to the Iranian MEK (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
By Ty Joplin
Saudi’s late king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (AFP/FILE)
It is widely rumored that Saudi Arabia has been a loyal supporter of the Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group which began as a collective of radical students and is now more accurately described as a cult.
There has been no concrete account of Saudi’s support for the MEK, until now. In an interview with Al Bawaba, a former top-ranking member of the MEK has provided details of specific transfers of valuables good from Saudi Arabia to the MEK, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The details are difficult to verify, but nonetheless represent the first comprehensive account of the MEK’s partnership with Saudi Arabia.
According to the former MEK member who personally oversaw the transfers, Saudi officials operating within the security apparatus of Turki bin Faisal al Saud, the head of Saudi intelligence at the time, and the late king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, gave the MEK three tons of solid gold, at least four suitcases of custom Rolex watches and fabric covering the Kaaba, the most holy site in Islam. The transfers were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Saudi’s Gold Transfers to the MEK
Late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in 2014 (AFP/FILE)
Massoud Khodabandeh, who used to head security for MEK’s top leaders and was one of its most-senior members, described to Al Bawaba a network of smuggling and black market sales that Saudi used to fund the MEK covertly.
Gold and other valuable commodities were be shipped from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad. Then, they would be sold in black markets in Amman, Jordan via Saudi-linked businessmen; the money would go to offshore accounts linked to the MEK, funding their operations.
In 1989, a year before Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, Khodabandeh and the MEK’s leader at the time, Massoud Rajavi, went to Saudi with an escort by Iraq’s secret police. “Rajavi was to perform pilgrimage as well as other things. At the time for our return to Iraq, we were presented with two suitcases each, presents from King Abdullah, then crown prince. They included gold, [and] Rolex watches,” Khodabandeh said. These watches were custom-made and had the king’s head designed into them.
The MEK, having disavowed personal possessions, removed the king’s head from the watches and sold them to black market businessmen in Amman, Jordan.
They were also presented with a piece of a priceless kiswa, a large drape that is adorned over the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Kiswas are embroidered with gold and are manufactured at a cost of around $5 million, but the religious and symbolic importance of the fabric makes them much more valuable.
“I was also assigned to bring gold in special lorries,” Khodabandeh said.
Aided by two Iraqi and two Saudi representatives, Khodabandeh smuggled three trucks filled with gold bars from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad. He estimated that each truck held about a ton of gold, making the shipment’s contemporary worth almost $200 million.
“After a few days I arranged for it to go to Amman to be sold,” added Khodabandeh. “We knew a few businessmen who could do this for us and move the money to offshore accounts.”
That top Saudi officials, including the late king Abdullah who was crown prince at the time, was funding a Shia militant group complicates the narrative that Saudi was exclusively exporting a hyper-conservative brand of Sunni Islam, called Wahhabism, around the world to combat Shi’ism. In looking to destabilize the Iranian regime, Saudi appeared more than willing to funnel millions of dollars worth of goods to the Shia MEK.
“That top Saudi officials, including the late king Abdullah who was crown prince at the time, was funding a Shia militant group complicates the narrative”
Khodabandeh noted that some of the money received from its dealings with Saudi was for military vehicles.
Through the Saudi-linked businessmen in Amman, “we bought large fleets of Toyota semi-military vehicles and many other logistical needs.”
Other Sources of MEK Funding: Saddam and the U.S.
MEK leader Maryam Rajavi speaking to a crowd of supporters (AFP/FILE)
During much of the 1980s and 1990s, the MEK was sheltered and supported by Saddam Hussein, who co-opted the group and used it as a paramilitary force for his own geopolitical agenda, which included a war against Kurds and Iran. Under the orders of Saddam, the MEK killed thousands of Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war, cementing their reputations as traitors to the Iranian people.
Khodabandeh told Al Bawaba that, in addition to receiving regular payment from Saddam, the MEK was funneled money from Iraqi oil that was exported to the U.K.
The MEK also garnered a significant amount of money from fraud and money laundering activities around the world.
A massive FBI investigation into the group’s finances in 2004 revealed a complex web of front organizations disguised as charities that were MEK revenue generators. Fraud and laundering schemes were found all over Europe and the U.S.,
From Washington D.C., to Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles and even London, Stockholm and Paris, the MEK operated “cells” that took part in fraud schemes and fake charities.
“From Washington D.C., to Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles and even London, Stockholm and Paris, the MEK operated “cells” that took part in fraud schemes and fake charities.”
One such fake charity was called the Committee for Human Rights. MEK members posed as representatives of the so-called Committee for Human Rights, seeking donations for the medical treatment of starving Iranian refugee children. The donations received were then laundred via Turkey back to the main base in Iraq, where they were used “to fund MEK’s terrorist operation” according to the report.
To smuggle in MEK members to the United States, which listed the group as a foreign terrorist organization at the time, the organization forged identity and immigration documents.
An MEK gathering in Paris, France (AFP/FILE)
In 2012, it was delisted as a terror group and recruited by the U.S. for use in destabilizing the Iranian regime. The U.S. paid $20 million to the U.N. refugee agency to transfer thousands of MEK members from Iraq to Tirana, Albania. The U.S. also gave Albania funds to build a military-style facility for the MEK, in which it is currently holed up.
The U.S. also “allocated a budget of 10 million dollars for the purpose of a ‘de-radicalization’ program to dismantle MEK as an organisation and sort out the members,” according to Khodabandeh. But the Trump administration halted the program.
The contemporary MEK is almost unrecognizable from its founding principles.
What began as a radical, anti-Shah student movement in Tehran, the MEK morphed into an anti-Ayatollah guerrilla group when it was forced from the Iranian political scene, then it became a pro-Saddam militia operating in Iraq killing Iranians and Kurds. Now, it is an asset by the U.S. President Donald Trump, whose advisors think it can be wielded against the current Iranian regime.
“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the Ayatollahs,” Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton proudly announced to a conference hall full of MEK members bussed in to the annual gathering from their compound. “And that opposition is centered in this room today.”
The group’s shifting alliances closely align with its sources of funding, making the group a kind of quasi-mercenary force, although the group has not engaged in combat in years.
“The group’s shifting alliances closely align with its sources of funding, making the group a kind of quasi-mercenary force, although the group has not engaged in combat in years.”
Turki bin Faisal al Saud, who was directing Saudi’s intelligence at the time Khodabandeh was assigned to smuggle Saudi goods into Iraq for the MEK’s benefit, has since become an outspoken advocate for the MEK.
“Your efforts to confront this regime are legitimate, and your struggle to rescue all sectors of the Iranian society… from the oppression of the Velayat-e Faqih rule, as was said by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, is legitimate and an imperative,” bin Faisal told thousands of MEK members at an annual conference for the group in Paris in 2017.
“Therefore, advance with God’s blessings.”
Khodabandeh said that bin Faisal replaced Saddam as the main backer of the group. “I would say that after the fall of Saddam, the MEK which was then being run by Massoud under the patronage of Saddam, changed to the organisation run by Maryam under the patronage of Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud.”
“It changed from a terrorist military organisation to an intelligence-based propaganda machine.”
Americans, Saudis, Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) … from 9/11 2001 to 9/11 2018
Iran Interlink, September 11 2018:… In 2001, the day before 9/11, all members of the Mojahedin Khlaq (MEK, MKO, PMOI, Rajavi cult…) were brought to a military base in the west of Baghdad called Bagherzadeh. Long sessions of cultic indoctrination were being carried out, engaging people in what can only be described as forced brainwashing under the military rule of Saddam Hussein. On September 11, in the middle of one of these sessions, Rajavi announced …
Americans, Saudis, Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) … from 9/11 2001 to 9/11 2018.
From the Archive 2003 (1)
A State Department official said in a recent interview that there is “what could almost be described as a rogue operation … being run out of the Pentagon to keep [the MEK] a live and viable anti-Iranian group.”
The Baltimore Sun
11 September 2003
…Meanwhile, the top American military man in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said yesterday that U.S. forces are detaining thousands of fighters from an Iranian opposition group that the United States has listed as a terrorist organization.The group, known as the Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK, has been at the center of a dispute within the Bush administration, with the State Department supporting a tough stance against it but some Pentagon officials viewing it as a way to pressure Iran.
Critics say the group is a violent sect-like organization that blends Marxism and Islam, while Western supporters have viewed it as one of the toughest opponents of the Iranian government.
There have been claims that members of the group are still armed and conducting attacks into Iran from Iraq with the acquiescence of U.S. forces.
Even in recent days, State Department officials have been warning that the group remained active, and were pressuring the Pentagon to step up action against the group.
A State Department official said in a recent interview that there is “what could almost be described as a rogue operation … being run out of the Pentagon to keep [the MEK] a live and viable anti-Iranian group.”
The official said that while under U.S. policy the group is to be treated as a terrorist organization, the U.S. military “apparently is not really policing them at all.”
Richard Boucher, the chief State Department spokesman, said that Mujahedeen Khalq’s presence in Iraq “has been an ongoing subject of discussion from the beginning of the war.”
“We have all agreed within this administration that … the MEK is a terrorist organization,” Boucher said. “That we’re not going to allow terrorist organizations to exist or operate inside Iraq. And how we go about doing that is the subject that the Pentagon, I think, is already discussing.”
Asked about those reports, Sanchez said there is no problem with the group, adding: “The MEK has been separated from their weapons systems.”
From the Archive 2003 (2)
U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing, Washington DC
September 11, 2003
Briefer: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
…Question: Can we switch to the MEK in Iraq? Does the State Department have some concerns that the U.S. military has not effectively disarmed the MEK in Iraq and that they have been allowed to operate?Mr. Boucher: As — I think the Pentagon has been quite clear on the situation there, and so I really refer you to them for the details.
From a policy point of view, we have all agreed within this Administration that: first of all, the MEK is a terrorist organization; second of all, that we are not going to allow terrorist organizations to exist or operate inside Iraq, and how we go about doing that is the subject that the Pentagon, I think, is already discussing. So I’ll leave that part of it to them.
Question: Did the State Department, though, express any concern to the Pentagon about this?
Mr. Boucher: This has been an ongoing subject of discussion from the beginning of the war —
Question: But recently?
Mr. Boucher: — the existence of terrorists inside Iraq is something that we have had to deal with. I am not going to get into specific memos or when we talk to other agencies. We talk to other agencies about everything every day. You can assume that.
Question: What kind of points are still outstanding on that though, Richard?
Mr. Boucher: The — again, —
Question: Yeah, what are main things —
Mr. Boucher: — check with the Pentagon on the status of what they are doing with regard to this group.
From Archive 2003 (3)
State Questions Military Tolerance of Iranian Dissidents
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 11, 2003
The State Department has expressed concern to the Pentagon that the U.S. military appears to have allowed an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group to continue its activities against the Iranian government, including crossing into Iran to conduct attacks, despite an order from President Bush that the group be disarmed, administration officials said yesterday.Four months ago, after heavy pressure from the State Department, Bush ordered U.S. military forces to surround the group’s camps along the Iraq-Iran border and to force the group to give up its arms. But administration officials said the Pentagon has allowed the group to retain its weapons, come and go from the camps at will and use camp facilities to broadcast propaganda into Iran.
In the past week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell wrote Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the matter after lower-level State Department officials were unable to get answers from their counterparts at the Pentagon, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Powell’s note cited reports that the group, known as the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), enjoyed wide freedom to continue their operations. The note also mentioned that intercepts of Iranian government communications indicated the Mujaheddin continued to pose problems for the government in Tehran.
The State Department has officially designated the Mujaheddin as a terrorist group. The Mujaheddin has been campaigning for several decades to overthrow the Iranian government, and since 1987 it has been based in Iraq with the backing of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
“It’s unbelievable,” one State Department official said. “It’s a pretty cushy arrangement for a terrorist organization. But the Pentagon continues to see them as useful, and they seem to be playing a waiting game until the policy toward the MEK changes.”
Last night, a White House official said, “The MEK is being treated as a terrorist organization. That was the guidance issued by the Department of Defense to the field. Recently, the Department of Defense has come to believe that guidance has not been fully implemented.”
The official said that a plan is being implemented to fulfill the original guidance “in accordance with resources available,” and that senior policymakers are aware of the plan.
Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita said the commanders in the field are “balancing the execution of the guidance with the priorities they have out there.” But he said the “premise is inaccurate” that DOD is not trying to faithfully fulfill the administration’s policy toward the MEK.
Earlier this month, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the senior military commander in Iraq, indicated that the Mujaheddin had not been disarmed and still had the ability to slip across the Iranian border. He said at a news conference that additional foreign troops may be necessary “if you want to establish 100 percent control of the borders. . . . We have a couple of other groups that are out there looming, like MEK, that might have to get resolved at some point in time.”
The struggle over the Mujaheddin-e Khalq has mirrored a larger battle within the administration over policy toward Iran, and also sheds light on the ongoing policy rivalry between the State and Defense Departments. Some State Department officials have pressed for a thaw in relations with Iran, only to meet stiff resistance from Pentagon and White House officials.
Before Bush ordered the group disarmed, some Pentagon officials had suggested that the exile group could serve as a proxy force against Iranians who have moved across the border into southern Iraq and at least would make the Iranian government worried about U.S. intentions in the region.
The group, also known as the People’s Mujaheddin, has maintained for the past decade thousands of fighters armed with tanks, armored vehicles and artillery in three camps northeast of Baghdad along the Iraq-Iran border. But the State Department believed that the United States could not condone its existence in the midst of fighting a war against terrorism.
Despite the group’s terrorist designation, the political arm of the group has for years maintained an office in Washington and held frequent news conferences to call attention to allegations that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Last month, Powell ordered the office shut down and its assets seized, a move that won rare praise from the Iranian government.
In January, before the war against Iraq was launched, U.S. officials held a secret meeting with Iranian officials and suggested the United States would target the People’s Mujaheddin as a way of gaining Iran’s cooperation to seal its border and provide assistance to search-and-rescue missions for downed U.S. pilots during the war. In early April, U.S. forces bombed the Mujaheddin camps, killing about 50 people, according to the group, before a cease-fire was arranged on April 15. That was during a period of growing alarm within the administration about spreading Iranian influence among Iraqi Shiites.
The cease-fire convinced the Iranian government it had been double-crossed on the issue of the Mujaheddin. But within weeks, Bush’s senior policy advisers reversed course and ordered U.S. forces to disarm the group, secretly telling Iranian officials even before action was taken on May 9.
Since then, however, relations with Iran have soured over continuing revelations about its nuclear program and allegations that it harbors al Qaeda leaders implicated in the May 13 bombings of residential compounds in Saudi Arabia. After the bombings, U.S. officials suspended the secret talks with Iranian officials.
From Archive 2016 (4)
Dirty deals between Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult), Saudis and their lobbyists in the US
Mazda Paris, Nejat society, September 11 2016:… Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and many events have been planned to honor the victims who lost their lives. However, you may be shocked to hear that there are still people who celebrate the violent act of terrorist extremists of Al-Qaida. These people include the Mujahedin Khalq Organization ( the MKO/ the Cult of Rajavi) whose disappeared leader ;Massoud Rajavi gathered the rank and file in Baqerzadeh Camp and congratulated …
Dirty deals between Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult), Saudis and their lobbyists in the US
Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and many events have been planned to honor the victims who lost their lives. However, you may be shocked to hear that there are still people who celebrate the violent act of terrorist extremists of Al-Qaida.
These people include the Mujahedin Khalq Organization ( the MKO/ the Cult of Rajavi) whose disappeared leader ;Massoud Rajavi gathered the rank and file in Baqerzadeh Camp and congratulated members on the occasion of the collapse of imperialists’ twin towers, offering candies. He said,” this was reactionary Islam, let’s see what revolutionary Islam will do.” (He refers to his group’s ideology as revolutionary Islam)
Surprising is the recent allegations made by one of the American sponsors of the MKO, former senator “Joe Lieberman” in his piece on the Wall Street Journal in which he has tried to link Iran to 9/11!
Lieberman is a famous pro-war figure against Iran. He was the one who called on bombing Iran in a 2010 speech to the Council of Foreign Relations. Lieberman who is a paid speaker for the MKO, addressed the group’s events promising them he will “be working closely” with them for a change of regime in Iran.”
Not only the support for the cult of Rajavi as a “resistance” or “opposition” group indicates the ignorance of the group supporters, but also it demonstrates the complexity and filthiness of the political deals that the MKO and its supporters are involved in.
The Iranian American Progress Action Center ( IAPAC) has posted a photo of Maryam Rajavi and his American friends such as Joseph Lieberman and Rudolph Juliani former mayor of New York.
IAPAC’s comment under the photo is revealing. The page explains how Lieberman is selling the American’s security to the Israel-Saudi-MKO alliance:
“There was a commission dedicated to fact finding about 9/11, so far all we know is they didn’t release the parts associated with Saudis and does not point a finger to Iran as a co-conspirator.”
The page believes that Lieberman’s new allegations “seems to have appeared out of thin air to help Lieberman install his radical Islamic friends.”
However, IAPAC fails to note that the MKO celebrated the 9/11 disastrous event in 2001. It does not notify that Massoud Rajavi has promised his followers to accomplish what AL-Qaida didn’t succeed to do.
The page is right to warn about the dirty relations of warmongers. “Clearly Lieberman and his Saudi owners and Bibi ( Benjamin Netantahu) are creating a pre-text for a war with Iran,” IAPAC commented.” We should not allow American blood and treasure to be wasted on another unnecessary war to make Netanyahu and Saudis realize their dreams.”
The truth is that 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia who were honored by the MKO at that time. Leiberman and other anti-Iran Hawks should be prudent enough to at least know what the MEK is , otherwise they can continue their hypocrisy.
Rajavi: from celebrating 9/11 to serving the government which supported the tragic attack
Reza Sadeghi Jabali, July 07 2016:… (Iran Interlink has translated part of this testimonial article as one example of many about the close relation between the Mojahedin Khalq and Saudi Arabia and terrorist acts)… I can now clearly see why the Rajavis were so enthusiastic and celebrative about 9/11 when it happened. The logical truth is now clear to everyone. The Saudi …
(Translated by Iran Interlink)
Rajavi: from celebrating 9/11 to serving the government which supported the tragic attack
[Iran Interlink has translated part of this testimonial article as one example of many about the close relation between the Mojahedin Khalq and Saudi Arabia and terrorist acts.]
Reza Sadeghi Jabali, ex-high ranking member of the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation, Peyvand Rahaee, Paris, July 22, 2016
The horrifying murderous attack on innocent people on September 11, 2001 shocked people across the globe. Ordinary people were quick to show their solidarity with the victims and their families. Unfortunately, I know of two individuals who were not only not unhappy about this tragedy but went as far as calling this barbaric act a “Sacred Operation” and who ordered their cult members to start preparing for celebration and distributing sweets and candies. These individuals were Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.
In 2001, the day before 9/11, all members of the Mojahedin Khlaq (MEK, MKO, PMOI, Rajavi cult…) were brought to a military base in the west of Baghdad called Bagherzadeh. Long sessions of cultic indoctrination were being carried out, engaging people in what can only be described as forced brainwashing under the military rule of Saddam Hussein. On September 11, in the middle of one of these sessions, Rajavi announced a few minutes’ break and uncharacteristically left the stage. He returned after a while and announced that the session was postponed and that now was the time for celebration and enjoyment.
After this, the scenes of the airplanes smashing into the towers began to be broadcast on the widescreens in the hall over and over again. Each time they were shown, the leaders would stand up, cheer, clap and shout slogans and each time they would look toward the section commanders to ensure they and their people also stand up and join the celebrations. And they would, because they knew the consequences of not obeying. Rajavi, standing on the stage, was more excited than anyone else. After a while he ordered people to stop and listen. He then said (his exact words): “Praise Islam. Praise Islam. Imagine, if this is what Reactionary Islam can achieve, then what a day it will be when Revolutionary Islam steps up to the scene”.
Maryam Rajavi started talking right after him and said: “You have once more disappointed the leader Massoud. This operation should have been carried out by you and should have been a lesson from you to the Americans and the world”.
After that a video of 10 suicide missions carried out by Palestinians against Israel was broadcast. The suicide missions were all from before this Al Qaida suicide operation. The video showed every suicide operative reading his testimony before death, accompanied by relevant propaganda. Both Rajavis stood up at the end of each one and clapped and praised them to the full.
After that Massoud Rajavi said: “This [9/11] is, of course, the product of a right wing Islamic Ideology which has brought down the Americans and the west and especially the Imperialists who are now shaking and afraid. Imagine the day that the Fedayeen and Mojahidin of Maryam, who have passed the stages of Ideological Revolution, decide to engage directly. And that day is not far away and is the divine responsibility of the Mojahedin, and we know that the regime (Iranian Regime) is only an excuse. Our historical and our real purpose in being Mojahedin is the destruction of Imperialism, especially the head of the snake, American Imperialism”.
Today the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia has been directly implicated by the 28 pages of American report (recently unclassified). It clearly indicates direct Saudis involvement in 9/11. We have also witnessed the unusual presence of Saudi’s retired chief spy Prince Turki al Faisal in Maryam Rajavi’s annual show in Paris and more than that, his controversial announcement of the death of Massoud Rajavi for the first time which cannot be interpreted as anything other than the overt stamp of ownership by the new benefactor of the cult (i.e. Saudi Arabia after Saddam).
Putting these things together, I can now clearly see why the Rajavis were so enthusiastic and celebrative about 9/11 when it happened. The logical truth is now clear to everyone. The Saudi regime supported and provided all the backing necessary for this terrorist attack – it is not by accident that 15 of the suicide terrorists were citizens of Saudi Arabia and 4 were living there. And I would add that it is not beyond imagination that the name of Rajavi will also come out in investigations into the 9/11 tragedy. It is clear now that the relations between Rajavi and the Saudi regime go back a long time. It is clear now that this relation was becoming closer and closer after 9/11. Evidence reveals frequent information gathering by Mojahedin Khalq operatives from sensitive places in various cities in the United States and subsequent handing over to Saudi handlers. This information gathering and passing to Saudi and Iraqi intelligence officers of course has always been part of the responsibilities of the Mojahedin Khalq and we as members have known this from a long time ago. I will write another article based on my own first hand witness testimony about these relations in future.
We should keep in mind that Rajavi’s Mojahedin were the first of the Mojahedin who in 1981 started suicide bombing, resulting in the death of a 14-year-old girl (Gohar Adabawaz). And this continued as recently as 2003 in Paris when self-immolation was ordered among the Mojahedin’s supporters – resulting in the deaths and disability of several – after Maryam Rajavi was arrested and detained by the French anti-terrorist police.
I would like to emphasise to all governments and security forces, especially in France, that there is no such thing as “Good Terrorists” and that the age of dividing terrorists into good and bad is passed. Rajavi and his cult are more criminal than all of them. You should consider the influence which the first so-called “sacred suicide operation of the Mojahedin Khalq” – as Rajavi calls it – had on the ideology and the thoughts and deeds of the Wahhabi suicide bombers decades after that. You should remember that the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and US and especially the ones in Paris were directly influenced by the past suicide bombings and self-immolations of Rajavi’s Mojahedin. And this is exactly why he was broadcasting the Palestinian suicide videos over and over again for us directly after 9/11, referring to them as the examples and inspirations of our Mojahed brothers in other countries…
Reza Sadeghi: EU should take the next step by helping the victims of Rajavi cult in Camp Ashraf
Interview with the latest arrival from Camp Ashraf
Paris, January 30, 2009
Using Mojahedin Khalq (Rajavi cult) made the Americans look extremely hypocritical
Sharmine Narwani, Habilian Association, January 22 2016:… I can’t imagine this bothered them much – though it did make the Americans look extremely hypocritical on their “War on Terror.” After all, the MEK had killed US citizens in Iran in the 1970s, attacked US soil in 1992, and continues to abuse its own members. This was the State Department’s very language …
‘US needs help to disentangle from Syrian misadventures’
Iran nuclear talks drew to a close and a historic agreement was reached between Iran and P5+1 and the deal was implemented, but the opponents, from the Israeli Prime Minister and Saudi Arabia to Iran hawks in US congress to the Iranian terrorist groups functioning unhindered in the West, went out of their ways to sabotage the agreement from the very beginning.
A Beirut-based commentator and analyst covering Middle East geopolitics says Saudi Arabia and Israel were desperate to strike a blow at Iran’s further international ‘rehabilitation’. Holding a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University, Sharmin Narwani says the deal was also struck as the US and its allies “desperately needed the support of rational, capable parties within the Middle East to help disentangle from their Syrian misadventures.”
In the following interview with Habilian Association, Narwani speaks about those who’ve failed to influence the deal. Having a great knowledge of Iranian society, she also touches upon the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, a.k.a. MKO) and describes them as “useful to the deal spoilers” who lacks any kind of support in Iran.
1. What is your take on the opponents of Iran nuclear deal before the agreement was reached between Iran and P5+1?
The primary opponents of the P5+1-Iran negotiations were Saudi Arabia and Israel – these two states were on the forefront of a large-scale propaganda campaign intended to derail the talks and prevent a deal from being struck. Their motivations were entirely political as both states actively seek to undermine Iranian influence in the Middle East and beyond. Both states view growing Iranian clout as a direct and existential threat to their nations, and to their ability to manipulate the region to advantage. During the one and a half years of negotiations, the Islamic Republic was in ascendency in the region, while Saudi Arabia and Israel were hemorrhaging credibility – even with their western allies. Their desperation to therefore strike a blow at Iran’s further international ‘rehabilitation’ was even more urgent than usual, and they were successful, on the surface at least, of gaining public support from at least one P5 member state, France. The French took some very hardline public postures – they managed to secure some large weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Qatar during this period – but behind the scenes and at the actual negotiating table, I am told they barely made a peep.
2. How do you assess such activities after the agreement was reached? What are their post-Iran-deal plans?
Of course the French came into line immediately post-deal, mainly to try to gain a piece of the Iranian post-sanctions-relief economic pie. I believe France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius may have even been the first P5+1 official to visit Iran. You can see from the slew of western officials and business delegations making pilgrimages to Tehran in the immediate aftermath of the Vienna deal, that commerce is of paramount importance to these states suffering from stagnant economies.
Economic considerations aside, this deal was also struck because the US and its allies desperately needed the support of rational, capable parties within the Middle East to help disentangle from their Syrian misadventures. By mid-2012, the US and its western allies suddenly realized that Syria would not be a quick ‘regime-change’ operation and were starting to grow concerned about the proliferation of jihadis and other extremists outside of their control, most of them armed, funded and supported by western allies in the Persian Gulf and Turkey. That’s when the US reached out to Iran in a secret meeting in Oman. So I think another consideration for the P5+1 is definitely to gain Iran’s assistance in helping to put out some of these fires. Iran will help, in the sense that eradicating political violence, re-stabilizing states and halting extremism is high on its priority list, but it is important to understand that western goals are not the same. The west is perfectly happy with weakened Mideast states – it just doesn’t want the extremism it has spawned to breach its own borders. At the present moment, the nuclear deal has been helpful in that the US can openly work in the same military theaters (Syria, Iraq) with Iran without a confrontation breaking out between the two. This is a direct result of Vienna.
3. Please tell me what do you think of Netanyahu’s March 2015 address to the US Congress over Iran accord?
I didn’t watch the speech – Netanyahu never has anything interesting or truthful to say. I did, however, watch the circus around it, and I have to say that if I was an American I would be seriously appalled at the pandering of my elected officials to a foreign official. I do think Netanyahu was a net loser by giving that speech. He created a contentious split in the American body politic and gained acrimony instead of galvanizing support. Clearly he lost, as the Iran nuclear agreement is a reality today. But it would be a mistake to write off Netanyahu. He – and his allies in the US and elsewhere – intend to exploit every opportunity, at every turn of this agreement, to put a wrench in the works. One way to do this is to undermine the ‘spirit’ of this deal, which we are seeing at the moment with further sanctions talk, threats about Iran’s missile program, and the ridiculous visa restriction measure that was signed into law by Obama a few weeks ago…
4. What is your opinion about the activities of Iranian groups such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, aka MKO) against this agreement?
I was in Vienna covering the final round of talks and there were some MEK people around with their usual stunts. I don’t really see this group as significant in any way. They are useful to the deal spoilers only insofar as they provide them with token ‘Iranians’ to parrot more anti-Iran propaganda. The MEK’s main interest is in constant demonization of the Iranian government because it enhances their funding opportunities and gives them access to some rather shifty ‘policymaking’ rooms in the west. So Vienna was a valuable platform for them – it probably earned them a few extra dollars. They make good parrots, but nothing more.
5. What is your take on the MEK which was until recently listed as a foreign terrorist organization in the US and is now functioning unhindered in the US and European countries?
Look, the MEK doesn’t really figure into any serious analyst’s calculations on anything to do with Iran. They are an extremely marginalized group within Iran – in all my visits to the country over the years, I have never heard a supportive word for the MEK from a single Iranian. On the contrary, Iranians tend to view them as traitors for fighting alongside Saddam Hussein’s military in an aggressive 8-year war that saw hundreds of thousands of Iranians die. So there is no love lost for the MEK inside Iran. Furthermore, the group’s support comes almost exclusively from foreign adversaries of Iran, which adds to the perception of MEK treachery.
Even when the organization was listed as a terrorist group in the west, it continued to function under different aliases, with the tacit approval of its western hosts. It has only ever been used as a tool by the west, to be pulled out when these states want a ‘lever’ against Iran. Look at the delisting in the US…it took place in late 2012, a few months after Washington had initiated quiet meetings in Oman with Ahmadinejad’s government which ultimately was the ‘opening’ that led to this nuclear deal. The Americans delisted MEK so they could have a pressure ‘card’ in their hand – to show the Iranians the US was willing to escalate if the Iranians didn’t fall into line. But Iran is well-versed in US tactics. I can’t imagine this bothered them much – though it did make the Americans look extremely hypocritical on their “War on Terror.” After all, the MEK had killed US citizens in Iran in the 1970s, attacked US soil in 1992, and continues to abuse its own members. This was the State Department’s very language when they delisted the group.
Listed or delisted, the MEK remains exactly the same. It always enjoyed western cover of sorts. Like many other western-groomed ‘opposition’ groups based outside the Middle East, it will be employed opportunistically by its hosts, and cut off when it is no longer of use.
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Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) and Al-Qaida affiliated groups are alike
Habilian Association, Tehran, June 09 2015:… Dr. Jang Ji-Hyang, policy advisor on Middle East issues to South Korean foreign minister and director of the Center for Regional Studies at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, pointed out the similarity between Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MKO, MEK, NCRI,) and Al-Qaida affiliated groups …
In Habilian Association:
Link to the source
Also in “International Congress on 17000 Iranian Terror Victims”:
link to the source
‘Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) and Al-Qaida affiliated groups are alike’
Dr. Jang Ji-Hyang, policy advisor on Middle East issues to South Korean foreign minister and director of the Center for Regional Studies at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, pointed out the similarity between Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MKO, MEK, NCRI,) and Al-Qaida affiliated groups like ISIS in an interview with the 2nd International Congress of 17000 Iranian Terror Victims’ correspondent.
Regarding the fact that thousands of people in the Middle East have fallen victim to terrorist operations mainly conducted by terrorist groups such as MKO and Al-Qaida affiliated groups like ISIS, Dr. Jang Ji-Hyang said: “Mujahedin-e Khalq organization and Al-Qaida affiliated groups are similar in the sense that they try to gain publicity and international attention trying to maximize the demonstrative effects.” She also pointed out that both Shia and Sunni Muslims are victims of such terrorist incidents.
Referring to ISIS’s killing of both Shia and Sunni Muslims in the region and that the whole Muslim community in general is the victim of the so called “Islamic terrorist groups”, she went on to say that ordinary people in Eastern communities such as South Korea are not keenly aware of the fact that Muslims in general are also the very victims of those terrorist groups.
She continued: “The public sentiment [among South Korean people] might be that the radical terrorists are Muslims, and their main targets are foreigners, non-Muslims, or Westerners. The reason behind this partial knowledge is that 1) ordinary people do not follow the international politics 2) the Middle East is far away from the North East Asia 3) we are so busy dealing with a trouble maker in North Korea that it is a luxury to catch up the international politics of terrorism.”
About the role that International organization such as the United Nations can play in the fight against terrorism, Dr. Ji-Hyang reiterated: “UN by nature does not implement a decisive unitary action toward many urgent international issues.”
At the end, referring to the role popular movements and non-governmental organizations can play in the combat against terrorism and extremism, she added: “The 2nd International Congress of 17000 Iranian terror victims can play a significant role in raising public awareness targeting the global community. It brings about a definitely significant impact given that the movement is initiated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Training Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia reminder of training Mojahedin Khalq (Rajavi cult) terror group in Saddam’s Iraq
Xinhuanet, September 22 2014: … drew a comparison between the current hosting of the armed rebels by Saudi Arabia and what happened at the times of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussain, who had hosted on Iraq soil the Mojahedin-e-Khalq movement (MEK), an Iranian opposition movement in exile that advocated the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran …
News Analysis: Providing arms, training to rebels will exacerbate Syria crisis
DAMASCUS, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) — Washington’s recent decision to arm and train the Syrian rebels, who will supposedly fight the Islamic State (IS) terror group, will only exacerbate and prolong the Syrian crisis in what analysts said would be like “casting oil on a smoldering fire.”
Unlike the situation in Iraq, where the administration of President Barack Obama is coordinating and cooperating with the Iraqi forces in their battle against the IS militants, Washington has turned a deaf ear to the calls of the Syrian government for cooperation on battling the IS in Syria, seeking instead to cooperate and deal with the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels by agreeing to arm and coach them to be able to confront the IS in Syria.
Obama, who is leading an international coalition of reportedly 50 countries to fight the IS, said that the Syrian opposition forces were fighting both the brutality of Islamic State terrorists and the “tyranny” of the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.
“We will provide training and equipment to help them (moderate rebels) grow stronger and take on IS terrorists inside Syria,” said Obama, who is a staunch critic of Assad that repeatedly called for his departure and questioned his legitimacy.
The Congress on Thursday backed Obama, authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels. The U.S. move, while failing to surprise the Syrian politicians given the fact that the U.S. has always been in favor of the opposition, was seen as a policy toward prolonging the crisis in Syria by attempting to replace the IS fighters with others who will remain loyal to their Western patrons and would keep fighting against the Syrian government.
Maher Murhej, a Syrian politician and head of the Youth Party, told Xinhua he wasn’t surprised by the recent U.S. move, pointing out that the training of the Syrian rebels has already started.
“My information is that the new Congress decision has sanctioned the financing of the rebels, and regarding the training, I have information that training camps have already been opened in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, namely in the city of Ha’il in northwestern Saudi Arabia, to train Syrian rebels of the Islamic Front and Islam Army groups,” Murhej said, noting that there is no such a thing as “moderate” rebels as the vast majority of the armed militant groups are radicalized.
Saudi Arabia overtly agreed last week to host training camps for “moderate” Syrian rebels, agreeing thus on Obama’s broad strategy to combat the IS group, which has captured large chunks of territories in Syria and Iraq over the past few months.
Meanwhile, Murhej pointed out that the American strategy aims at keeping the Syrian government busy with fighting the rebels for years to come as it is seeking to replace the IS fighters with other rebel groups that would continue fighting the Syrian government troops.
Obama has recently sanctioned to strike the IS positions in Syria, akin to what his air force is doing in Iraq. However, the conundrum for Obama was that he didn’t want to make a move against the IS that could play in the hands of the Syrian regime, meaning that he wouldn’t want to weaken the IS so that the Assad troops can fill in the void.
Instead, the U.S. president decided to arm the “moderate” rebels so that they could be able to fill in the void that the IS may leave after the U.S. strikes on their positions in Syria, analysts said.
Still, the new approach may take at least a year to train the rebels and weaken the IS fighters, which means that the Syrian crisis is likely not going to see an exit or an end in the near future.
“After getting done with the IS, the West wants to leave other rebels to keep fighting the Syrian government… they want an armed insurgency that could last for years in Syria,” Murhej said, adding that “the superpowers are not only working on prolonging the crisis in Syria, actually they are drawing a new strategy for the future in the region. They are talking about camps that would be permanent so we are looking at 10 to 15 years of insurgency in Syria.”
Murhej drew a comparison between the current hosting of the armed rebels by Saudi Arabia and what happened at the times of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussain, who had hosted on Iraq soil the Mojahedin-e-Khalq movement (MEK), an Iranian opposition movement in exile that advocated the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the group was given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory.
“They (superpowers) are attempting to create a similar group to the Islamic State but this time under the commandership of the West,” Murhej said.
Anne Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, September 19 2014: … This, however, is not a description of ISIS, it is a description of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the exiled Iranian terrorist group. While ISIS claims to be Sunni, and the MEK claims to be Shiite, there are such significant similarities they can both be defined as destructive cults. The major distinguishing difference …