An Iranian judicial inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses by Massoud and Maryam Rajavi and 40 other named senior members of the organisation by 42 former members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), prompted an aggressive reaction from Massoud Rajavi. The Presiding Judge in the hearing contacted the Judiciary of Albania and France to arrange for notifications and documents to be forwarded to them and they have been invited to introduce representatives of the 40 accused where they live in their defence. Massoud Rajavi’s wife Maryam Rajavi, the de facto leader of the MEK, and the majority of MEK members are based in Albania, while the former HQ in Paris is still active.
The MEK reaction came in the form of an audio statement by Massoud Rajavi [the translated transcript is reproduced below]. According to the recording, Massoud Rajavi’s voice has not changed in two decades while he has been in hiding, presumed dead. He is now aged over 70. Photographs show him as a younger man.
Rajavi begins his statement by challenging Iran’s leaders Khamenei, Rouhani and [Ebrahim] Raisi to join him in an international court. Rajavi then repeats some of the allegations made against the MEK over its history. All of which have been documented. It reads as a list of crimes which have caught up with Maryam Rajavi and which he is furious about having been exposed. One particular issue that clearly stings him is the revelation that while he was in Iraq, Saudi Arabia paid Rajavi in suitcases of gold.
challenge to Iran’s leaders to meet him in court is hollow and laughable. In fact, throughout the history of his leadership. Rajavi has done everything possible to avoid any legal action. As well as being unable to answer to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Rajavi has evaded both legal enquiry and prosecution. Much of this has been achieved by diversions and distractions.
– In 1987, France expelled 17 MEK members to Gabon. Rajavi ordered his followers to undertake hunger strikes throughout western Europe forcing the French government to return them to Paris.
– In 2003, Maryam Rajavi and other leading members were arrested at the MEK HQ in Paris on terrorism charges. Rajavi ordered self-immolations to protest her arrest. Three members died, other members suffered severe burns, with some suffering life-changing injuries.
– In 2011, in post-Saddam Iraq, an inquiry was held into how the MEK acquired land for their camp. Farmers in the adjacent village said Saddam Hussein had confiscated their land and gifted it to the MEK. The MEK refused to engage in a legal inquiry. Instead, Rajavi sent tens of unarmed rank and file members to aggressively confront Iraqi security forces. Several MEK members died and many were injured in the incident, including 5 Iraqi security forces.
– In 2013, 52 MEK members died in an attack by unidentified assailants on Camp Ashraf. There were, at that time, only 100 members guarding the evacuated camp. The majority of members had been relocated to a new camp near Baghdad. It was later discovered that all those who died had incriminating information about Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. A 53rd victim was a former member who had been kidnapped and taken to the camp.
– Also in Baghdad, the Iraqi judiciary summoned leading members of the MEK to court accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. They were smuggled to Albania to evade arrest.
– In Albania, a leading MEK member Behzad Saffari accused, in print, investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi of being ‘an infamous spy of Iran’ an ‘officer of the mullah’s secret service’. Thanasi sued for defamation in August 2019. Two years later, the court case has stalled. Saffari has gone into hiding, his whereabouts is unknown, while lawyers for Saffari waste time and obfuscate. At one time, for example, Saffari’s legal team claimed he needed an English translator in court, in spite of the fact he was studying dentistry in the UK when he joined MEK and has acted as one of their main English language spokespersons throughout the past thirty years.
– Another way the MEK evades investigation and legal prosecution has been the elimination of former members of the organisation who have acted as critics and opponents. Several high profile MEK members have died in recent years under suspicious circumstances. One member Massoud Keshmiri was last seen with the MEK in Germany before disappearing. He has not been seen since. Last month former MEK member Hadi Sani Khani was trafficked by MEK from Albania to Paris. He also has not been seen since. Maryam Rajavi claims she doesn’t know where Hadi is, but Massoud Rajavi’s message makes it clear that this “former colleague of the Ministry of Intelligence in Albania” told them he was paid $500 by Iran. Yet, they don’t know what happened to him after he arrived in Paris.
It is significant that Rajavi’s audio message has not been in English, only in Farsi. It has been posted on some MEK sites but repetition and amplification of the message has been on sites specifically created for attacking former members; specifically Efshagari. This means they don’t want their own English-speaking supporters to see this.
It is also significant that Rajavi’s message is broadcast from Albania. It also carries the logo of the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA) – the MEK’s military wing – aka Saddam’s Private Army. Rajavi still clings to this logo to pretend to his followers that they are still an army. Meanwhile, last week, an Albanian diplomat in Geneva claimed his country is fighting terrorism and that the MEK is not a terrorist organisation. Does the label ‘foreign paramilitary group trained by Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard’ have a better ring to it for the Albanian government?
From Albania, Massoud Rajavi orders his followers to give the names and addresses of former members and critics to what he calls Resistance Cells (or terror cells), i.e., MEK members. The threat is clear. He wants to kill these people too. He is warning former MEK members, ‘if you expose me, I will kill you; especially if any want to pursue legal action’. This statement was not issued from Iraq or elsewhere, it came from Albania and is being celebrated by Maryam Rajavi and the members there. The Albanian government is responsible for the actions of Maryam Rajavi in that country. Now that there is a direct threat to the lives of those former members that MEK haven’t yet killed, Albania must take responsibility for their safety.
Rajavi’s challenge to Iran’s leaders is a deflection. This is not about Iran. He is not threatening those Iranians who are giving evidence in Tehran. If Rajavi was able to act inside Iran, he would have killed them and talked about it afterwards. But Rajavi has no power in Iran. He does, however, have power in Albania; he is backed by the US, EU, and UK. Rajavi’s claims of CIA support have not been disproved or disavowed by the US. It was the US embassy in Tirana which in 2017 halted the de-radicalization program planned by the Obama administration. We wrote in January that a quick and effective policy win on Iran for President Joe Biden would be to reinstate that plan and rid the US, Albania, the EU and the Iranian people of this toxic group. This statement reflects what happens when governments fail to curtail the MEK. It a matter of time before the MEK manages to kill again, simply because they can.
Translated transcript of Massoud Rajavi’s audio message:
Massoud Rajavi – Invitation to Khamenei, Rouhani and Raisi to Participate in an International Court of Justice – March 8, 2010
The curtains were drawn again. After the Antwerp trial and its historic verdict, the shop of the regime’s mercenaries abroad, who used to relay the mullah’s words line by line against the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance, has become so sluggish that the judiciary of the executioners itself has inevitably taken over the job.
In Ashraf, when 320 loudspeakers and 677 days of 24/7 garbage did not work, the head of executioners Qassem Soleimani replaced the so-called critics and ‘former members of the Mojahedin’. The revocation of citizenship and passports and the expulsion of mercenaries, which was the demand of the noble and free Iranian public, has shaken the limbs of agents and mercenaries so much that some employees of their own say that they have gone to lawyers to see the files of the case and its appendices and booklets to see if there is anything about them.
At the same time, a former colleague of the Ministry of Intelligence in Albania revealed that the ministry pays 500 euros a month to mercenaries for writing 12 articles against the Mojahedin, including: “Torture of dissidents, lack of freedom in Mojahedin relations, brainwashing, confession of sexual issues and moments, the severance of ties with the outside world, forced divorces, suspected killings within the Mojahedin, the killing of Kurds and Shiites in Iraq, taking of money from the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the fact that they took their nuclear information from Israel and they have no popular base or support in Iran”.
We have been well acquainted with the accusations of moral corruption, hypocrisy and espionage for the Soviet Union, the United States, Israel and Iraq since the time of the accursed Khomeini, and it is not new. What is new is the enemy’s helplessness in the face of resistance and the holding of sham exhibitions under the title of a court case, whose plaintiffs, witnesses, lawyers and judges are all its own tails. This is the rights and judiciary of the clerical government.
Once again, I call on Khamenei, Rouhani, and Raisi to come with us to an international tribunal if they dare. Bring those 17,000 killed who they give as the statistics, and those 17,000 killed who do not count in the Eternal Light operation in their statistics, and the next 17,000 who are going to be killed and brought up! This makes it clear that a great war has been going on in Iran for 40 years between the people and the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization (MEK, MKO) against the deceptive and anti-human regime.
In December 2007, we said: “The leaders of the clerical regime are turning their heels upside down for the fear of being summoned to international courts. One day they will write a warrant for us on Interpol forms! Every day, they sought our trial in Iraq, and from time to time in France, they commented on killing Sayad Shirazi and the announced operation of the Mojahedin Command Headquarters inside the country. They think that the Mojahedin are afraid of a trial. They are completely unaware of this fact and of this rule of law, that wherever there are drops of law and a speck of justice and fairness, and in any court where justice and the rule of law are relatively existent, the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance will undoubtedly win. I tell the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards near and far that you have won in your plunder and trade, but we have won in our law and justice. To plunder the treasury of the Iranian nation and the oil and blood trade is your domain, and justice and the law is our territory. Now, this is the ball of game and this is the field. We also bring witnesses to the massacre of prisoners and the uprising of Aban, Sistan and Baluchestan, and witnesses to the ruined houses and the homeless.
I call on all my compatriots to provide the names and addresses of intelligence agents, mercenaries, secret servicemen, executioners, judicial operatives, the Basij elements, and the IRGC to the insurgent centers for the great day of justice and law. During the anti-monarchy revolution and at the beginning of Khomeini’s betrayal and crime, revolutionary insurgents shouted:
May our people’s weapons target the chests of traitors