++ Last week saw the anniversary of the 1988 Forouq-e Javidan or Mersad operation in which MEK tried to invade Iran and march on Tehran. Around half the group’s forces were killed and many injured when the Iranian military drew them into an ambush and attacked them. This week MEK said nothing about the operation in English or any other language but they did publish a lot in Farsi pretending it was a great victory for them. This prompted many to write. Several commentators point out that only a cult member would accept this as a victory. Some compared this to other so-called MEK victories – such as running away from Iran, going to Iraq, and being removed from Iraq even though they said they would not leave. All these were victories according to MEK. Some writing points out that this actually was a victory for Rajavi because he didn’t really want to go to Iran. He just wanted people to get killed so he could bank their blood to insure the future of the cult. MEK is proud of its long list of martyrs as ‘proof’ of its success.
++ On the subject of families, some commentators have written about Rajavi’s Zoom conference. Most say ‘Rajavi boasted she could link up thousands of online connections, could you not even link up to a single family from your own side in this event!” Some wrote that Rajavi didn’t even mention the word ‘family’ in this event even though this is her main problem in Albania. One family member wrote a letter to Rajavi saying ‘unfortunately the closest person to your organisation is me because you have my family member there. If you don’t acknowledge my existence and people like me as families of your members, who are your audience? Certainly not Iranians.’ Others point out that Saudi Arabia as usual is wasting money flogging a dead horse because these expensive gatherings and well-paid lobbyists don’t give any return. What is their aim? They are not addressing Iranians.
++ During the last few weeks some elderly parents have died and in Albania some of the members have died. This is becoming a trend.
++ The day before Rajavi’s Zoom carnival the families held a Zoom conference. It was just themselves, ordinary families sharing their experiences. There are around a thousand families campaigning to get in touch with their loved ones but because of the coronavirus pandemic they joined in as small groups from every province. They asked Albania to not copy Saddam Hussein or at least not to be as bad as him. Some days after Rajavi’s event, some ex MEK members also held a conference in which formers from all over the world talked together.
++ Anne Khodabandeh’s Open letter to the EU negotiators for Albanian accession was translated into Farsi and published. On Farsi outlets many commented on the situation of MEK in Albania and the pressure that places on the Albanian people. They conclude that Albania is not a country, it is a subsidiary of the Neocons.
++ Massoud Khodabandeh and Soraya Abdullahi – one of leading family campaigners with Faraq Organisation (Nejat in Ardebil) – took part in an hour and a half interview with GEE Radio. Khodabandeh explained the situation of MEK in Albania – how they were supposed to be deradicalized, but Trump stopped that, since when the US has supported their activities in Albania. Abdullahi explained the human rights situation of the members and the families who are denied contact with their loved ones.
++ Many pieces have been written by the families and about the families of MEK members. The campaign to make contact with their loved ones is ongoing. The MEK response is low class swearing, labelling the families agents of the Iranian regime and crying that these families intend to come to the camp and kill their loved ones. Albanian historian Olsi Jazexhi questions how they intend to get their missiles into the country and who has trained an eighty plus year old to fire them? Jazexhi conducted a series of online interviews with some of the families in Iran with English interpretation.
++ Iran Interlink translated an article by Atefeh Nadalian of Nejat Society, titled ‘A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!’ In it she points out that Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is the only other head of state to directly support the MEK other than Saddam Hussein. But, she explains, Saddam only used MEK for his own military and intelligence purposes. He kept them under total control otherwise, not allowing them any civil freedoms whatsoever. On the contrary, Edi Rama has granted MEK full freedom over every aspect of the state of Albania. Thus allowing MEK to corrupt politicians, bribe media heads, pervert foreign policy, undertake illegal and immoral activities with impunity, kill their own members and hide in an extra-territorial garrison where the Albanian security and state institutions have no jurisdiction.
++ Maryam Rajavi’s Zoom conference was ridiculed and denounced from various quarters. Nejat Society CEO Ebrahim Khodabandeh queried on behalf of the families why if it was possible for Rajavi to connect online to so many of her ‘fans’, she couldn’t connect the families to their loved ones online to have supervised meetings. He pointed out that the families are more Iranian than any of the participants in Rajavi’s event. How does she claim to lead Iranians if she excludes them!
Press TV denounced London based Saudi network Iran International TV for live streaming the whole of Rajavi’s event. On the other hand some commentators thought that Iran state television should have done the same because that would allow everyone in Iran to witness what a charlatan and traitor Rajavi is first hand. American writer Stephen Lendman also wrote a scathing piece on the event saying “NCRI has nothing to do with democratic values, everything to do with wanting Iran transformed into a US controlled fascist police state as it was from 1953 to 1979 under US installed Mohammad Reza Palavi.”
++ Anne Khodabandeh’s Open Letter to the Negotiators for Albania’s Accession to the EU was published by The Iranian. The letter lists MEK activities in Albania which “displays a pattern not of simple disregard for the laws and norms of the host community, but a deliberate exploitation of weaknesses in every aspect of the Albanian state from local to national level”. Khodabandeh points out that the MEK will not be allowed to re-enter Europe through the back door of accession now that they have been exiled to Albania. The solution is to dismantle the group and the best help toward that goal is to involve the families of the members who are desperate to help their loved ones.
++ The anniversary of the 1988 Forouq-e Javidan or Mersad operation has thrown up the usual reminders of what a disaster this was for MEK. Alireza Niknam in Geopolitica quotes some of the Iraqi military and intelligence officers who were involved. Niknam says “The MEK / MKO was so bent on seizing power that its leadership willingly plotted a war against their own, putting millions of innocents in harm’s way. Most striking remains the group’s divorce from reality as its leaders continue, even to this day, to believe they have some form of popular legitimacy.”