Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 266

++ After the illegal assassination of general Qassem Soleimani, videos and audios in support of president Trump flooded Farsi social media. These all turned out to be fake. The only ones that were true were MEK outlets, which genuinely support Trump. Very quickly an audio emerged from Massoud Rajavi – presumed dead – as the only Iranian who officially and publicly supported Trump and endorsed the assassination. As usual in the audio he threatens the ex-members with death. But, his message and further statements by Maryam Rajavi say this assassination is not enough. ‘Now you have bombed the convoy in Iraq you should hit them and their places in Iran and Iraq and Syria’, scream the Rajavis. In the end Massoud and Maryam both ask the Americans to re-arm the MEK. Other MEK outlets ranted, using foul language against anyone who doesn’t praise Trump. Ironically that includes the poet laureate of Iran who says he feels sad they have killed Soleimani. All the MEK sites went on full on attack against Mahmoud Dolatabadi. ‘How dare you say you are sad; your hands are soaked in blood and etc’, they screamed. This ranting caused a serious backlash for Rajavi, especially after everything died down and Trump didn’t go to war with Iran. News from inside MEK says that members of the NCRI are really angry about Rajavi jumping on the bandwagon without thinking it through. One spoke to MEK supporters in London. They told him ‘we have a thousand questions after this. Not least is that we MEK are on our backs, Maryam Rajavi has been deported from EU to Albania, Massoud has not been seen for decades and the US government is saying nobody allowed to talk to you. Instead of working on this you are asking for arms in Albania. To do what? Where? How?’ Further questions spilled out: ‘Are we Iranian or not? If we are, didn’t we see the number of people who came out in support of Soleimani?’ The NCRI representative says that ‘we [in the NCRI] all say the same things, we also have the same questions, but nobody in MEK is answering. It is a self-inflicted wound. You didn’t have to do this. Even the US and Israel didn’t ask us to support the assassination like that. This is the madness of Maryam Rajavi.’ As for the audio being genuine or not. Most MEK supporters think not. Especially after it was pointed out that the voice is that of a 30-year-old man. Rajavi – if alive – is around 70. So, members don’t believe this is his voice. Javad Firouzmand from Arya Association in Paris put out a short note directed at Rajavi in which he reminds him he’s always been trying to jump on somebody’s bandwagon – Khomeini, Saddam, Pompeo. He ends it by saying ‘once again you smelled a barbeque and invited yourself to the feast. But you are mistaken, that is the smell of branding donkeys!’

In English:

++ Before the illegal assassination of general Soleimani, Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and those accompanying them, news about the MEK focused on their failure to influence the fuel protests in Iran and their continued efforts to use social media to create fake news and pervert the narrative on Iran toward their regime change agenda. Post-Soleimani, it became clear that the MEK are totally isolated on this issue as the only Iranians who praised Trump and condemned Soleimani. Massoud Khodabandeh pointed out, in an article published by The Iranian and Responsible Statecraft, that “the blinkered aim of the Trump administration’s foreign policy to manufacture regime change against Iran by any means possible including all-out war has in fact resulted in the opposite result. Regime change is now in its coffin and the assassination of general Soleimani is the last nail hammered in.” And concluded that “the unwanted assassination of Soleimani will result in tectonic shifts in the world order. No matter how hard mainstream media in the West works to normalize America’s actions, security and military experts the world over will have their own ideas about what the future holds.”

++ The MEK is also mentioned in some articles as having a negative influence on US foreign policy, acting through proxies like Giuliani, Bolton and Mukaskey. This led to Pompeo ordering American officials not to talk with them according to Nick Wadhams in Bloomberg. “’Direct U.S. government engagement with these groups could prove counterproductive to our policy goal of seeking a comprehensive deal with the Iranian regime that addresses its destabilizing behavior,’ the cable said. Exiled Iranian opposition groups ‘try to engage U.S. officials regularly to gain at least the appearance of tacit support and enhance their visibility and clout.’ Cut Ties With MEK – Pompeo Ordered Officials.”
2020/01/10

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