Nejat Society, May 05 2019:… Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) should be considered as part of the B-team. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused a ‘B-Team’ of pushing the US towards “disaster” by clashing with Iran. “President Trump believes putting pressure, bullying, will bring us to the negotiating table so he can make this ideal deal he has in mind. I don’t know what that deal is,” Zarif told the Asia Society in New York. The MEK A Tool For B-Team
The MEK A Tool For B-Team
By Nejat Bloggers Last updated May 5, 2019
Seeking war and paralyzing sanctions against the Iranian people, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) should be considered as part of the B-team.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused a ‘B-Team’ of pushing the US towards “disaster” by clashing with Iran. “President Trump believes putting pressure, bullying, will bring us to the negotiating table so he can make this ideal deal he has in mind. I don’t know what that deal is,” Zarif told the Asia Society in New York.
The so-called ‘B-Team’ Zarif named consisted of US National Security Advisor John Bolton, United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“The B-Team is pushing US policy toward a disaster,” Zarif said, decrying what he called Trump’s “obsession” with “bullying” Iran. Zarif added that the B-team has a “plot” to push for the disaster.
How is the MEK involved with the B-team?
The MEK is the link between its financial sources and the right wing western politicians. The most recent revelations on the MEK’s money laundering activities was made by Foreign Policy last week. “The upstart far-right party is unapologetically Islamophobic, but without donations from Iranian exiles, it may have never gotten off the ground,” reported Sohail Jannessari and Darren Loucaides of FP. 
“Documents leaked to the Spanish newspaper El País show that almost 1 million euros donated to Vox between its founding in December 2013 and the European Parliament elections in May 2014 came via supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian group,”
According to FP. “The NCRI was set up in the 1980s by Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) and a number of other Iranian dissidents and opposition groups. The MEK’s allies later abandoned the NCRI, making the organization functionally an alias for the MEK.” 
The FP correspondents who view the Vox as a racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and sexist party, interviewed some sources to investigate the motives of the MEK and its financial resources that make it capable of funding a right wing European group.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a now-retired Spanish politician, who previously served as one of the 14 vice presidents in the EU Parliament, has been a longtime paid supporter of the MEK and one of those lobbyists who helped the group get removed from the EU’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2009. “Spain’s Vidal-Quadras went on to help found Vox in late 2013. And supporters of the NCRI provided the funding needed to launch the right-wing party and contest the 2014 European elections,” according to El País. 
“The MEK may have just been returning the favor to a long ally, Vidal-Quadras, who has been supportive of the MEK for years,” FP authors suggest. “But as one former member of the MEK executive committee told Foreign Policy, the financial resources the group gained under Saddam Hussein have likely run out—which suggests that it may have another source of funding today.”
“Mojahedin [MEK] are the tool, not the funders. They aren’t that big. They facilitate,” said Massoud Khodabandeh, former member of the group and the Director of Middle East Strategy Consultants told FP. “You look at it and say, ‘Oh, Mojahedin are funding [Vox].’ No, they are not. The ones that are funding that party are funding Mojahedin as well.” 
Khodabandeh said he himself was involved in moving money for the MEK and its funders during the reign of Saddam Hussein. “I went to Riyadh and recovered three trucks of gold bars from agents of [the] Saudi intelligence agency [at that time] led by Prince Turki bin Faisal. We transferred them to Baghdad and then to Jordan. We sold the bars in Jordan,” he claimed. 
Khodabandeh’s account raises the question of where the MEK’s money is coming from today. Heyrani, the recent MEK defector, also handled parts of the organization’s finances in Iraq and was blunt when asked about the current financial backing of the MEK: “Saudi Arabia. Without a doubt,” he told FP. 
The flow of the money laundered by the MEK finds its way in the pockets of the far right politicians of the United States, too. President Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is the most prominent figure to receive MEK’s hefty sums. “Bolton is estimated to have received upwards of $180,000 to speak at multiple events for MeK,” the Guardian reported in July 2018. “His recent financial disclosure shows that he was paid $40,000 for one speech at an MeK event last year.” 
Zarif also brought up Bolton’s past associations with the MEK in his interview with Bolton’s favorite news media, Fox News. Zarif said Bolton had told the group at a rally “that he would celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, in Tehran with that terrorist organization.” 
Tom Rogan of Washington Examiner correctly suggests, “For Bolton, the priority is not a democratic Iran, but a pro-American Iran. Bolton has been flexible in pursuit of this end.”  He confirms that Bolton –as one of the Bs of the B team—has been the most frequent paid speaker of the MEK.
“While Bolton refused to comment when asked if he was paid for his speeches, the Wall Street Journal’s Farnaz Fassihi and Seymour Hersh have accused Bolton of receiving payments,” Tom Ragan states. ”Another source, speaking to the Washington Examiner, supported these claims.” 
Moreover, MEK’s connections with Israel have been denounced several times in the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientists. MEK connections with Bolton, Bin Salman’s agents, Benjamin Netanyahou’s Intelligence Mossad simply indicates its substance as a tool in the hands of the enemies of Iranian nation.
By Mazda Parsi
 Jannessari, Sohail & Loucaides, Darren, Spain’s Vox Party Hates Muslims—Except the Ones Who Fund It, Foreign Policy, April 27, 2019.
 Merat, Aron, Terrorists, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild wild story of the MEK, the Guardian, November 9, 2018.
 CNS News, Bolton haunted by MEK association, April 30, 2019.
 Rogan, Tom, John Bolton: A complex worldview that just might work for Trump, Washington Examiner, April 30 2019.
The MEK A Tool For B-Team
The Corruption Of The Terrorist Group List
Paul Pillar, Lobe Log, April 16 2019:… It also ignores what probably was Iran’s hope in holding the al-Qaeda members, which was to exchange them for members of the terrorist group/cult known as the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK), then under U.S. control in a camp in Iraq. As Michael Rubin’s review of that group’s record makes clear, the MEK richly deserved its place on the FTO list, even though money from its well-heeled backers bought enough lobbying to get it removed from the list a few years ago.
The Corruption Of The Terrorist Group List
The ineffectiveness and many of the costs of the Trump administration’s latest move in its anti-Iran campaign—its designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO)—are readily apparent and have been ably analyzedby other commentators. The designation does not put any additional economic pressure on an already heavily sanctioned Iran and, among other drawbacks, only makes it harder for Iranian critics of the IRGC to speak up lest they be seen as stooges of the United States.
The Trump administration is running out of ways to demonstrate its hostility toward Iran. As it strives to contrive new ways, it compromises and undermines other U.S. interests and objectives. The latest move undermines the objective of counterterrorism by placing, for the first time ever, a governmental entity on a list that never was designed for that purpose.
Omnibus counterterrorist legislation known as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which Congress enacted in 1996, created the FTO list. That act criminalized material support to terrorist groups, with material support defined broadly to include financial contributions, propagandizing, and almost any other form of cooperation or business dealings with a terrorist group. If support to a foreign terrorist organization was to be made a crime, then it was necessary for the law to specify what counted as a foreign terrorist organization. Hence the 1996 act created a formal list of such organizations, along with criteria for the executive branch to use in determining which groups should be placed on the list.
In short, the FTO list never was intended to be a means of condemning foreign entities that the United States doesn’t like. Instead, it is a tool for prosecutors to go after individuals who, for example, contribute money or facilitate the movement of guns or people on behalf of a terrorist group.
Clearly none of this is designed to apply to an arm of a foreign government, whose operations depend on a governmental budget rather than on aid from prosecutable individuals. The attempt to apply the U.S. law in question to the IRGC—which is an entire branch of the Iranian armed forces—theoretically makes every Iranian taxpayer a potential criminal defendant. Or, if one did not want to apply the concept of material support quite that broadly, what about all those who currently serve in the IRGC (about 125,000) or its associated militias within Iran (an even larger number) or have ever served in the IRGC (another large number, because many Iranians perform their military service in the Guard)?
The broad range of activities that the IRGC performs on behalf of the Iranian state also means that the material support provision would apply as well to other foreign governments that do ordinary, decidedly non-terrorist, business with Iran. This is especially true of Iraq, which for this reason strongly opposed the U.S. designation of the IRGC. Iraqi officials deal with the IRGC not only on matters of Iraqi security but also on such mundane business as the regulation of cross-border commerce. The IRGC also has been involved in peace negotiations in Afghanistan, making other participants to that process subject to the material support provision as well.
The law hits even closer to home when considering a terrorism-relevant fact that the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge. Iran, including the IRGC, has actively opposed the terrorist threat that has mattered most in recent years, which is violent Sunni extremism of the al-Qaeda or Islamic State (ISIS or IS) variety. In Iraq, the IRGC and the militias it supported played the leading role in combating and defeating IS on the ground. The United States played a supporting role with air power. That means that the U.S. Air Force has provided material support to the IRGC and thus also is in violation of U.S. law, or at least would be the next time it is used to combat a similar terrorist threat that Iran also opposes. Of course, it sounds ridiculous to talk about the Air Force as a violator of U.S. criminal law, but this ridiculousness is only a reflection of how inapposite it is to designate the IRGC an FTO.
Putting foreign governments’ militaries or security services on the FTO list starts down a slope on which there is no stopping point other than the arbitrary and inconsistent one that the administration prefers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion that “the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government” is fundamentally incorrect. The public record alone shows that other governments use clandestine violence overseas, including in ways that fully qualify as international terrorism under the terms of the same U.S. law that created the FTO list. Pakistan does it. Russia does it. Israel has a long record of doing it, including nasty operations such as car bombs in urban streets that kill innocent passers-by as well as the intended target. One of the very Iran-supported operations that Pompeo mentioned in his bill of particulars against the IRGC was clearly an attempt to retaliate for serial Israeli assassinations of Iranian scientists. The original assassinations were international terrorism every bit as much as the attempted retaliation.
And, as a recent reminder, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi shows that Saudi Arabia does it, too.
The IRGC designation is one more indicator of how the administration’s campaign of unrelenting hostility against Iran has less to do with countering nefarious behavior than it does with pursuing other objectives. One of those objectives, as the timing of the designation announcement made obvious, was to bestow another gift on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and help him win re-election. Netanyahu publicly thanked President Trump for responding to the prime minister’s “request” to make the designation.
Another objective is to goad Iran into making some move that would provide a spark or an excuse for the war with Iran that National Security Advisor John Bolton has long wanted and that Pompeo evidently wants as well, as reflected in his refusal to acknowledge, in a recent exchange with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), that the administration lacks congressional authority for such a war.
Pompeo clings to the notion that a post-9/11 authorization for the use of force is sufficient because Iran held some al-Qaeda members in some kind of house arrest rather than immediately expelling or prosecuting them. The notion ignores that Sunni extremists of the al-Qaeda sort are adversaries, not allies, of Iran. It also ignores what probably was Iran’s hope in holding the al-Qaeda members, which was to exchange them for members of the terrorist group/cult known as the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK), then under U.S. control in a camp in Iraq. As Michael Rubin’s review of that group’s record makes clear, the MEK richly deserved its place on the FTO list, even though money from its well-heeled backers bought enough lobbying to get it removed from the list a few years ago.
To all the other deleterious side-effects of the administration’s obsession with Iran—including the diplomatic isolation of the United States and the poisoning of U.S. alliances—add the damage to U.S. counterterrorist policy and to U.S. credibility in the fight against terrorism.
Trump branding IRGC as a terror group undermines reformers in Iran
Kim Sengupta, The Independent, April 10 2019:… the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wanted to point out that Bolton had told an Iranian exile group – the Mujahedin Khalq (MEK), once designated as terrorists in the US and Europe – the Trump administration should fully back their goal of immediate regime change and recognise the group as a viable alternative. “John Bolton is now angry because he said he would celebrate with MEK in Tehran in 2019 and that is not going to happen,” said Zarif.
Trump’s decision to brand IRGC as a terror group undermines reformers in Iran
Analysis: The likelihood is that it will be the hardliners taking over in Iran, not a pleasant scenario for the Iranian people or the outside world, writes Kim Sengupta
Donald Trump’s designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation will have far-reaching consequences, and is a highly significant step in the escalation of tensions with Tehran.
It is the first time the US has labelled another sovereign state’s armed forces as terrorists, and the move will renew charges that this is yet another step in Washington’s attempt to instigate regime change in Iran.
The most immediate effects of Trump’s decision are that it enables the US to impose further sanctions. At the same time it will make it even more difficult for the countries trying to save the nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump is striving to sabotage with a new raft of punitive measures – making it more difficult for banks and businesses to trade with Iran.
But this US president, a Vietnam draft dodger who routinely traduces military heroes and blamed the supposed “deep state” for investigations into whether he was the Muscovian candidate in the US presidential elections, is now very much in confrontation with his security and diplomatic establishment.
The decision about the IRGC came in the same week Trump started a systematic purge of internal security, removing the director of the Secret Service, Randolph Alles, and forcing the resignation of homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen – with other senior officials, it is believed, due to follow.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, egged on by Saudi Arabia and Israel, have been pressing for action against the Revolutionary Guards. Both are hawks on Iran, and there is particular suspicion in Tehran of Bolton.
At the recent meeting of the annual Munich Security Conference, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wanted to point out that Bolton had told an Iranian exile group – the Mujahedin Khalq (MEK), once designated as terrorists in the US and Europe – the Trump administration should fully back their goal of immediate regime change and recognise the group as a viable alternative.
“John Bolton is now angry because he said he would celebrate with MEK in Tehran in 2019 and that is not going to happen,” said Zarif.
But there is another issue with this president, as it continues to be in the “Russiagate” inquiries – his business affairs.
Two years ago The New Yorker magazine published an account of Trump Tower Baku, an edifice which never actually opened to the public and, according to the report, appeared “to be a corrupt operation engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard”.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, visited the site in 2014 and offered advice about various aspects of the project.
The Trump organisation, say legal documents, signed multiple contracts to construct the tower with the Mammadov family, whose head Ziya Mammadov, then the transport minister of Azerbaijan, was described in US diplomatic messages as “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan” (according to non-profit group Transparency International, the country is one of the most corrupt nations on Earth) .
The project came before the Iran nuclear deal, at a time when international financial institutions were wary of dealing with Iranian institutions. The aim of the Baku Tower project, The New Yorker report noted, was to “launder money and do other biddings of the central organisation”.
The Mammadovs had economic links to the Darvishi family, three of whose members were directly associated with the IRGC. Ziya Mammadov had awarded a number of contracts on the project to Azarpassilo, an Iranian construction company run by the Darvishis.
The IRGC is heavily involved in commercial sectors of Iran, owning swathes of factories and businesses – as is the case with the military in other countries including Pakistan and Egypt.
This is a matter of some controversy inside Iran. One of the reasons for the unrest which swept the country last year was the leaking of the national budget which revealed that, while ordinary people were suffering economic hardship due to new American sanctions, some conservative religious institutions and security bodies like the IRGC remained unaffected and continued to do well.
The budget was almost certainly leaked by people in the reformist administration of president Hassan Rouhani. It is the reformers who are being undermined by Trump’s sabotage of the nuclear deal, and will continue to be by the IRGC designation.
That organisation will claim to be patriotic champions, keep on getting its money, and it will be at the detriment of the long-suffering Iranian people.
There is a danger there will be regime change in Iran thanks to people like Bolton who brought us the disastrous Iraq invasion. But the likelihood is that it will be the hardliners taking over, not a pleasant scenario for the Iranian people or the outside world.
What do Iranians think of the MEK? (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO Rajavi cult)
Ali Alavi, Iran Interlink, March 03 2019:… Reporters who talk about the MEK usually want to talk about the politics and the money. They say, for example, that John Bolton supports them, that they get money from Saudi Arabia, that they want regime change in Iran. Sometimes these reporters even mention Iranians. When they do, they say the MEK doesn’t have much support in Iran because of siding with Saddam Hussein in the war that ended in 1988. That’s all. Maybe they don’t say anything else because they don’t know anything else.
What do Iranians think of the MEK? (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult)
Reporters who talk about the MEK usually want to talk about the politics and the money. They say, for example, that John Bolton supports them, that they get money from Saudi Arabia, that they want regime change in Iran. Sometimes these reporters even mention Iranians. When they do, they say the MEK doesn’t have much support in Iran because of siding with Saddam Hussein in the war that ended in 1988. That’s all.
Maybe they don’t say anything else because they don’t know anything else. Maybe they don’t care what Iranians think of the MEK because they are too busy talking about what America wants and what Europe wants from Iran.
Let’s hear more from Iranians about the MEK.
The MEK A Tool For B-Team
True stories of terror stun critics at Iranian film festival
Rohollah Faghihi, Al Monitor, February 22 2019:… The movie is about the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq organization, often referred to as MEK, and their infiltration of the Iranian security apparatus in the 1980s. US national security adviser John Bolton has promoted MEK, currently based in Albania, as an alternative to the Islamic Republic. The group, which was on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations between 1997 and 2012
True stories of terror stun critics at Iranian film festival
In a cruel twist, on Feb. 13 — a mere 48 hours after the award ceremony — 27 people were killed in a terror attack, believed to be staged by an offshoot of Jundallah, a Sunni Baluch extremist group and the subject of the festival’s top winner, “When the Moon Was Full.” Jaish al-Adl, founded in 2012 by members of Jundallah, claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb that targeted a bus carrying members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“When the Moon Was Full” explores the life of Abdulhamid Rigi, the younger brother of Abdulmalek Rigi, the executed leader of Jundallah. The movie, directed by Narges Abyar, swept the awards for best director, best actor (Hootan Shakibaplaying the role of Abdulhamid), best actress (Elnaz Shakerdust for the portrayal of his wife Faezeh) and best supporting actress (Fereshteh Sadr-Orafai as the mother of the Rigi brothers). The film also took the award for best film, beating its prominent rivals “6.5 for a Meter” by Saeed Roustayi and “Warden” by Nima Javidi.
Critics at the Fajr Film Festival described “When the Moon was Full” as a phenomenal film that provides a rare insight into an infamous terrorist group. The movie is based on the true story about the marriage of Abdulhamid Rigi and Faezeh Mansuri. Abdulhamid talks Faezeh into leaving Tehran for Pakistan along with her brother Shahab, but the family finds themselves captives of Jundallah. Shahab, who the group says is an Iranian agent, is beheaded. In the movie, Abdulmalek calls the father of Faezeh and Shahab to tell him to “watch the video of your son’s beheading on Al-Arabiya tomorrow night.” Though Faezeh has a chance to escape, she chooses to remain in Pakistan so as not to leave her three children. Finally, Abdulhamid kills her in her sleep on the orders of his elder brother.
Though the Rigi brothers were based in Pakistan, Jundallah carried out ambushes and suicide attacks in southeastern Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Abdulmalek was arrested by Iranian intelligence in 2010 to jubilation in the province, with people handing out sweets on the streets.
At the time, Iranian officials accused the United States and some Arab countries of supporting and funding Rigi. The unnamed officers who arrested him were quotedin the Iranian media as saying that the militant leader had been on his way to a meeting with Richard Holbrooke, then US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the Manas air base near Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek. While Abdulmalek was en route to Bishkek from Dubai, his plane was forced to land in Iran, leading to his arrest and eventual execution the same year.
In a Feb. 7 interview with Khabar Online, sociologist Emad Afrough stated that “When the Moon Was Full” accurately depicts the extremist Islam of the group as well as the culture of the Baluch people, a group of tribes with about five million people in the province of Baluchistan in Pakistan, in Iran and Afghanistan.
Praising Abyar for taking up such a sensitive issue, especially as a female director, producer Mahmoud Razavi posted on Instagram Feb. 13, “I remember that few years ago, I had the intention of producing a TV series about Abdulmalek Rigi. I had prepared a proposal and I gave it to a veteran and famous director of Iranian cinema. … When he came to the meeting, he said, ‘Dear Mahmoud, I love my life, they will kill me.’”
Another of the festival’s controversial films was “Midday Adventures: Trace of Blood,” directed by Mohammad Hossein Mahdavian. It was nominated in 11 categories and won best special effects, best costume design and best sound mixing.
The film is the second in a trilogy by Mahdavian, following the “Midday Adventures” or “The Story of Noon,” released in 2017. The movie is about the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq organization, often referred to as MEK, and their infiltration of the Iranian security apparatus in the 1980s. US national security adviser John Bolton has promoted MEK, currently based in Albania, as an alternative to the Islamic Republic. The group, which was on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations between 1997 and 2012, is deemed responsible for the deaths of 17,000 Iranians. In the 1980s, the group was in Iraq helping Saddam Hussein during his eight-year-war against Iran.
“Midday Adventures: Trace of Blood” narrates the 1988 Mersad Operation, the last major military operation of the war that ended in a decisive victory for Iran. While the film mostly received positive reactions, some media outlets criticized the film for being “incomplete” in ignoring the role of the late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the victory against MEK. Producer Mahmoud Razavi is close to former conservative presidential candidate Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf. Mahdavian directed President Hassan Rouhani’s campaign documentary in the 2017 presidential election.
Amir Homayoun Ghanizadeh, the young director of “Maskhare Baz,” won the best film award in the festival’s “New Vision” section but refused to receive it. He instead sent an Afghani immigrant worker to speak out about the difficulty his countrymen are facing in Iran. But whatever social message Ghanizadeh wanted to send was lost, as he was ridiculed on the social media for copying Marlon Brando in the 1973 Oscars. Brando, who won for best actor in “The Godfather,” had sent a native American activist to decline his award at the ceremony.
The MEK A Tool For B-Team