Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 257

++ In Albania, a source inside MEK has informed Iran-Interlink that alongside the click farm work Rajavi has ordered some members to discover who leaked the incriminating photographs which we wrote about in Lobelog last week to the Iranian media. The way this is being done is through telephone calls. They change the way they speak so they can pass as officials in Iran who are ringing to congratulate reporters for their work and then ask who sent the photos. Technically, MEK uses double phone calls which divert between themselves, so they appear to be coming from inside Iran. Sometimes they use Iranian mobiles so although the call goes to Albania, it shows up as Iran. This work is not new for MEK. After they arrived in Paris in 1981 over 200 landlines were set up to make calls into Iran to conduct their terrorist campaigns from France. MEK have sold their expertise in this kind of undercover work to Saddam Hussein, the CIA, MOSSAD, etc.

++ Last week the MEK launched an all-out online attack against Zarif’s visit to Europe. During a demonstration in Sweden they attacked the police, and some of them were arrested. In Paris, the MEK were forced to gate-crash another Iranian group’s demonstration since they are banned from holding their own. The police were not happy about this misuse of the protest. Interestingly, in spite of this effort to be seen, the success of Zarif’s visit and his subsequent return to the fringes of the G7 had a bad backlash inside MEK as the members became demoralised and deflated again. They are questioning ‘what are we doing, it’s not about helping Iran, we have just become an anti-Iran force’. To counter this mood, Rajavi has ordered the leading members to talk about the MEK’s martyrs, to remind the rank and file that they died for ‘the cause’, particularly glorifying those who burned themselves in 2003. Unfortunately for Rajavi, this caused even more of a backlash and made matters worse because members don’t buy these narratives anymore. External to the MEK, critics write in Farsi about what happened. They point out that instead of the MEK affecting Zarif and his work. Iran’s top diplomat performed his job well and the result was that the MEK became wobbly and ended up fighting each other. Some say that the way Rajavi thinks diplomacy works is the diplomacy of slavery; that the MEK are slaves to the Saudis and to the U.S. etc. Inside the MEK they are waking up to this. Others say that contrary to what Rajavi says, that these martyrs burned themselves for love, no, they were slaves who died because you ordered it. You killed them. And now, gone are the days of keeping people in MEK with false narratives.

In English:

++ Costantino Ceoldo, Pravda, interviewed Richard Black of the Virginia State senate – the only Western politician to have spoken openly in defense of Syria and its people. Asked about the role of the MEK, Black said that because Iran is a patriotic, cohesive and unified nation, there was little chance of the MEK growing like ISIS. But Western support for MEK-led regime change would be problematic. Using terrorists against Western enemies has not produced good results. Indeed, the damage to the German and Scandinavian countries due to these disasters may cause permanent damage. The MEK’s role could be to continue its covert intelligence activities at the behest of the U.S. such as the tanker attacks earlier this summer.

++ Ebrahim Khodabandeh’s blog piece ‘How has the MEK resisted disintegration’ explains that the MEK has only survived this long because of the support of the Republicans in America over the past two decades. In particular, the Trump administration, which intervened directly to enable the MEK to build what is a de facto extra-territorial enclave in Albania.

++ A lengthy analysis by Jonathan Broder in Newsweek magazine examines the state of Iran’s opposition groups as political pundits variously predict the chances of war or regime change in Iran as the Trump administration sends out mixed messages on an almost daily basis. Iran, he acknowledges, is weakened by American sanctions, but by no means bowed. Broder’s take on the MEK’s ability to take advantage of such turmoil is not flattering. Realistically, the MEK is a bad group with a bad history. To paraphrase, it is paid to exist and yet only exists by paying for support from a roll call of shills drawn from the dregs of American politics. They have no support inside Iran and cannot work with any other opposition groups.

++ A Washington Post piece by Adam Taylor highlights the dilemma of the MEK. It is dependent on American political will. So, the Trump administration’s prevarication – is regime change a thing or is it not – is particularly problematic for the group. President Trump wants to meet with Iran (anyone). That would spell disaster. The MEK can only exist in war and chaos. Diplomacy is an anathema to Rajavi.

++ Iranian media reported President Rouhani declaring the unity of the country. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani talked about the intelligence cooperation between Iran and Iraq. Both mentioned the MEK as the enemy of Iran and a potential danger imposed by the West.

++ A socialist perspective on Iran and the U.S. approach by Mazda Majidi in Liberation News, takes the view that Iran is not collapsing and that Trump’s desire to meet with the Iranians is a bitter disappointment for Maryam Rajavi who feeds off war and destruction and bloodshed.
August 30, 2019

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