A Dutch friend of mine who has recently returned from a business trip to Iran, asked me, “Why many taxi drivers in Tehran are interested in international politics?” In fact, after asking him where he is from, some drivers who could speak English began discussing issues such as the rise of right-wing in Europe, Syrian war, and Trump.
I tried to explain to him that Iranians, in general, are interested in political issues which are probably because of the important geopolitical location of the country. However, we should not ignore the impact of too many media which broadcast politics in a daily basis. He was long enough in Iran and had contact with diplomatic community Iran which provided him with a clear image about the country. So I asked him about the people`s interest in opposition abroad. He glanced and said, No chance at all. Any reform would begin from inside.
I agree. The groups like MKO (aka Mojahedin Khalq of Iran) are never forgiven by Iranian people for their betrayal to the motherland and supporting Saddam Hossein during Iran-Iraq war. It is well known that the group consists of a bunch of older fanatics and a few younger robots. A long time ago they lost their respect and support. But can Senator John McCain help them to change their poor image?
Recently in a trip to Albania, which also hosts MKO members as refugees now, he paid a visit to them and to the group’s leader Maryam Rajavi. However, I have reasons to believe that McCain`s visit to MKO does not bring popularity or credit for the group with a notorious terrorist background.
1- McCain and people like him who visit MKO and attend their events (like the Saudis or other retired American officials) are not popular people themselves. They do not support human right, pluralism or political development. Even worst, among these types of MKO supporters, many have clearly demanded a war on Iran! So how this gang of politically incorrect people can add value to MKO?
2- People like McCain consider MKO as a tool to pressure Tehran, in favor of the rival Saudis. They are fully aware that the group is unpopular in Iran. Thus despite what MKO wants to show in its propaganda, McCain uses them to send a message to Tehran. MKO is only a channel of communication! Therefore it can be concluded that the American and Saudis who participate in MKO meetings are not supporting the group but opposing Tehran. Personally, I think that they have been making the same old dumb mistake.
3- Iranian people have historically shown that they are not in favor of changes from abroad, nor from foreign powers getting involved in their issues. This is a fact that has been confirmed by the more rationale employees of the state department. Therefore such lobby programs are not appreciated by Iranian people and reformist opposition. As a consequence, these types of meetings do not accredit MKO.
In conclusion, it can be argued that MKO gains nothing by organizing meetings with warlords, right-wing activists, and Saudis. A group which is unpopular in Iran has proven that will not be accepted as a player in Iran. My Dutch friend also agreed and added: “Iranians hebben een hekel aan MKO. Which means Iranians hate MKO.”
Arash Sameti Pour