Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 278

Heshmat Alavi Deeply Humanitarian Transformation for Biden

++ The MEK’s click farm in Albania has removed all pro-Trump posts from their sites and magically transformed into human rights advocacy as if they are supporters of Biden now. To the point that Heshmat Alavi has now become a deeply humanitarian human rights advocate. MEK are now giving advice to Biden, whereas before they were totally against him. Members outside the click farm have been instructed not to talk about politics in spite of all the things that have happened in America. MEK leaders have scolded the members saying ‘we’re not in Tehran because you are not ideologically committed enough. Ideological classes and discussions have begun in which members are told about ‘how at the start of Islam, the people sacrificed themselves for prophet Mohammad and how you haven’t sacrificed enough’. Basically, members are told: ‘It’s your fault we’re not in Tehran now. Your leader did everything they could, but you are not doing what is needed. Some of the older members have got it and understand that every time the leaders don’t succeed, they introduce some new lecture to bamboozle the members. Some members are asking ‘what else can we give? We gave our kids, our families, our time, energy, our thoughts and emotions, we have nothing left’. Alongside these grumblers are those who don’t buy it at all and who question ‘why, we were promised that if we stay for four years Trump will start a war and we will win’. That didn’t happen so the leaders are keeping these critics separate because they don’t submit to the leaders’ commands. They are being threatened that ‘there is no vaccine out there if you leave, just wait, we will soon have the vaccine and then you can go’. But as critics point out, since 2003 they have been creating false deadlines to prevent people leaving.

++ Outside the camp, MEK are putting pressure on some members who don’t want to live with MEK but are getting paid to stay on the sidelines as supporters. MEK has agreed with the Americans, Albanians and UNHCR to be responsible to pay for their members. Now they have corrupted officials in Albania to not only not mention this agreement, but to also deny dissenters ID cards and work permits if they leave MEK, and to put all kinds of obstacles in their way so they don’t contact their families for support. Now they have cut their money as well. Last week we heard about the latest victim of the freshly humanitarian MEK’s treatment of its members. Mansour Barahoui is a MEK member living outside the camp. Nobody knew he was out until MEK denounced him in an official statement on their sites. MEK declared ‘We asked him to take a stance against the agents of the regime (his family who have been trying to contact him), he hasn’t said anything therefore we have cut his allowance (around $200 per month in LEK). In a matter of only a few short weeks, Barahoui has gone from publicly labelling the BBC as “agents of the Iranian intelligence services” for reporting about Saddam’s POWs in MEK, to now being labelled an agent himself for refusing to denounce his own family who want to contact him. Commentators in Albania say MEK are withdrawing payments because of panicking that the Biden administration won’t put pressure on the Albanian government like the Trump administration did. They are in the process of pulling themselves together to face an uncertain future. Inside they conduct ideological brainwashing work, outside they pressure dissenters to come back to them. Meanwhile over the past few weeks, every 2-3 days someone escapes the camp and in spite of their difficulties – they say they thought they would come out and die – they have announced their separation from MEK. Also, every 2-3 days a death due to COVID-19 is announced. But those who are escaping the camp say that MEK don’t announce even a third of the deaths. They bury them inside the camp, and there are many more than they say.

++ Behzad Moezi, the pilot who flew the Shah out of Iran and then went back and later took Massoud Rajavi and Abolhassan Bani Sadr to Paris, died last week. Massoud Rajavi (if he’s alive) praised him as a ‘top member’. ‘Moezi came back for us as we asked him to’, claims Rajavi. This has led to people asking ‘if he was your member why did he take the Shah, and why did the CIA take his family to America before he came out with you? It more likely that he was ordered what to do by the CIA. And that means you were cooperating with the CIA before coming out of Iran. Describing this scenario has been a big gaffe by MEK. In Albania Maryam Rajavi has been advertising his death with her enthusiastic praises. Two days ago, however, his daughter Maryam Moezi posted Tweets in English and Farsi announcing that: Contrary to what MEK say, he never supported them, as the whole family didn’t support MEK. As far as we know our father didn’t support them but had nowhere else to go. If he were alive, he would hate what they say about him. From Maryam Rajavi’s unwanted praise to the ridiculous claim that he was good at playing the violin – he never touched one in his life.’

1: My father, #Behzad_Moezi died of acute leukemia on January 10th. Neither me, my younger sister, Fatemeh, or older brother Ali had the chance to make it to our father’s bedside because of the travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

— Maryam Moezzi (@maryam_moezzi) January 16, 2021

++ Homeira Mohammadnejad – a former MEK member now in living in Germany – wrote about the situation of COVID in camp. She explains that members are dying because of the lack of distancing, lack of attention to illness, and lack of medical help etc. While Maryam Rajavi sheds crocodile tears for people in Iran over COVID, Mohammadnejad gives statistics – comparing per thousand cases in populations around the world with the situation in the MEK camp. She concludes that the MEK camp is worst by far in the whole world per population. In a population of 80m, the deaths in Iran are about a hundred per day. MEK’ population is around 2000 individuals and 2-3 are dying per week. Mohammadnejad then talks about her own memories. “When I was in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, I became ill and they took me to their ‘hospital’ there. I was there among other seriously ill people, all in one room. I remember that in front of us the orderlies were counting how many calories per day we were consuming and discussing whether we were worth it in relation to our lack of ‘productivity’. ‘They are not giving anything to the leadership’ they said, ‘these calories belong to the leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi so being ill is anti-leadership, they are a waste of calories’.”

In English:

++ While many foreign policy experts and commentators have been keen to advise President Biden to go back to the JCPOA as a way to manage Iran, Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh have written a piece suggesting an alternative response. The article outlines the situation of Iran now after four years of an American ‘state of war’ against the country. Iran is now more militarised, and the Middle East less safe for Americans and Israel. Biden must accept that Iranians blame America for their woes, not just Trump. And he must demonstrate that his administration will be different. The authors write that a quick and effective policy win would be to go back to the agreement under the Obama administration to de-radicalise the MEK in Albania and return them to civilian life and their families. “By dismantling and deradicalizing the MEK, Biden can score easy wins in a variety of arenas. In Albania it would free around two thousand members from conditions of modern slavery, allowing them to reintegrate into normal society and be reunited with their families. It would relieve the Albanian government and security services of the headache caused by MEK crime, corruption and impunity in their country. For Iranians who universally regard the MEK with loathing as traitors and cultists, it would send a clear message that America will not tolerate terrorism or human rights abuses in pursuit of its foreign policy aims. Iran’s people would view dismantling this terrorist group as a goodwill gesture; building a modicum of trust that may sway some voters in June to have faith in the efficacy of diplomacy with the west.
“But the most significant win for Biden would be to start tackling the corruption inside America which facilitated Trump’s belligerent agenda and that of his backers. Dismantling the MEK would stem one of the hidden conduits for the flow of foreign money and false narratives into America.”

++ Daniel Larison in The American Conservative reviews a book by Philip Gordon, a former Obama official, which examines ‘Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East’. Larison outlines the book’s main argument: “Regime change leads to long-term costly failure even when it initially ‘works’ at bringing down another government. Toppling a foreign government always causes more instability and costs more than its advocates expect. Both the U.S. and the affected country end up being worse off than if the old government had been left in place, and any ephemeral benefits that might come from overthrowing the government are soon far outweighed by the losses that follow.” But in conclusion, Larison says: “While Gordon makes an overwhelming case that regime change is not worth doing because of its long-term deleterious consequences, he does not rule out the option entirely. He allows that there might be occasions when a government is sufficiently dangerous or atrocious in its treatment of its own people that regime change is worth considering, but he qualifies this immediately by saying “such cases will be rare to non-existent.” That being the case, it isn’t clear why Gordon feels the need to leave the door to regime change open even a little bit. Just as there are certain tactics that the U.S. refuses to employ because they are inherently illegitimate and wrong, we should be able to rule out regime change for good.”

++ Robert Fantina, Global Research, outlines why ‘The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability in Middle East and Balkans’. Fantina writes that during the Civil War in Albania in 1995, military depots were looted and masses of weapons were stolen by various criminal groups and the Kosovo Liberation Army. “And now an Albanian journalist, Ebi Spahiu, an independent analyst on Central Asian and Western Balkan Affairs has sounded the alarm about weapons being in possession of anti-Iranian terrorists. This journalist expressed her concern about the possibility of Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization’s (MKO; sometimes referred to as MEK) having access to these weapons and the danger of rearming themselves.” The article concludes: “Indications of future violence are in clear evidence; even Twitter briefly restricted the group’s activities, and suspended the leader.

“Beyond the MKO, the presence of jihadist extremists, especially in southeastern Albania, bring widespread activities of arms and drug trafficking. Adding the presence of the Mujahedin-e Khalq into this already-deadly mix further jeopardizes the safety of the citizens in this country and further destabilizes the entire region.

“The support that the United States currently offers to the MKO must end. Without that support, the MKO would be unable to continue its operations in Albania, and the risk of further terrorist activities by its members would decrease significantly.”

++ Mazda Parsi of Nejat Society asks ‘Who is mercenary? MEK or Critics? The question arises because MEK have accused an Albanian historian, Olsi Jazexhi, and Albanian investigative journalist, Gjergji Thanasi, of being ‘mercenaries for the Iranian regime’. The pair produced an indignant riposte which demonstrated the fallacy of MEK’s stance. Parsi examines this in more detail and turns his scrutiny back on to MEK and its brazenly mercenary behaviour and activities. He concludes “The expenses of maintaining thousands of members in the group’s camp in Albania and those large amounts of fees they pay their western supporters to speak on behalf of them, require the MEK leaders to work harder as mercenaries. To all those facts on MEK’s mercenary work, you may want to add the allegations about trucks of gold bars and Rolex watches that were donated to the group by Saudi Arabia.”

++ Iran Interlink reported on a protest by local residents of Manez after land which had been earmarked for the expansion of their overcrowded cemetery somehow got sold to MEK for burial of their rapidly increasing dead. MEK’s response was to label the townsfolk as ‘agents of the Iranian regime’ who have been manipulated by Iran to threaten MEK. The article points out that the MEK have complete disregard for the dead unless they can turn a profit from them – such as publicity. “This kind of gaslighting and misdirection practiced by the MEK is not new. It is their modus operandi; to deflect investigation, criticism, and prosecution. But this reaction over such a sensitive issue as a cemetery only shows there is no bottom to the depths the MEK will go.”

++ Nejat Society continues its activities in campaigning for the families to be re-connected with their loved ones in MEK. Nejat is also appealing to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances to investigate and pursue justice for the ‘disappeared’ MEK members.

Jan 22, 2021

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