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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 292

MEK Politically Illiterate

++ This week, Elahe Sharifpour-Hicks, renowned human rights defender, participated in an online discussion for the Saudi outlet Iran International in London. The programme focused on the water shortages and disturbances in Khuzistan. In the middle of the discussion, Sharifpour-Hicks pointed to evidence that the MEK had been involved in taking over the peaceful demonstrations in an attempt to turn it into violent overthrow of the regime. This prompted both the other participants and presenter together to vigorously attack her, denouncing her as an ‘agent of the regime’. Straight after this programme another Saudi paid outlet, ‘Independent’ in Farsi, from London, followed up in attacking her. After that the Albanian troll farm was put into motion to carry on the attack. In response to that, Dr Muhammad Sahimi the well-known academic and opposition personality, published a brief note on social media looking at the situation from different angles.

Starting with all the evidence including the self-proclaimed evidence from MEK about their involvement – which appears to confirm what Sharifpour-Hicks said. Then going through the history of the output of the Saudi outlets and the troll farm in Albania and how they tie up together. Then Sahimi points out that Sharifpour-Hicks, as a human rights defender has not looked into the background of Iran International, believing it to be a genuine, normal television company rather than a Saudi propaganda channel, and has fallen into their trap. For Iran-Interlink the question is not about the outlets, they are known people and, from the other side, Sharifpour-Hicks is a known person too with her reputation intact. The question is, how is it that when it comes to their outlets, the Saudis do not want the name of the MEK to be made public, even though they are using them and their troll farms. They want the MEK but don’t want them named. Unfortunately for them, Maryam Rajavi can’t shut up and could not resist making it public that the MEK were there killing people. It is worth mentioning in this regard, that several police were shot and killed during the disturbances, and that the coalition between the MEK and Ahwazi separatists, whose videos show them shooting people, goes back a long time, not least including the terrorist attack on the military parade in Ahwaz in September 2018.

In English:

++ In a spectacular display of political illiteracy, the MEK launched an attack on Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and critic of the MEK. For years the MEK used Alireza Jafarzadeh in the US as their frontman, even banning him from speaking Farsi in order to create a more convincing Americanised persona. But since the MEK is a cult and as in any cult the members must be kept in an insecure cycle of promotion and demotion, so Jafarzadeh has been removed and now Ali Safavi has been brought out in his place. Safavi and Jafarzadeh are among a handful of MEK members who were recruited as students in the US and UK at the time of the Iranian Revolution. Their English language skills were key to their use in what the MEK calls their public relations department. Sadly, they were not recruited for their political abilities, and in spite of talking to endless numbers of politicians and media over the years, their political knowledge and skills have remained at best at the level of a first-year undergraduate student. Hence the attack on Michael Rubin.

Safavi’s attack was then rehashed and republished in paid and unpaid media, with the Albanian troll farm doing its work to amplify and spread the message. This kind of organised character assassination is not new to the MEK, and no matter whose idea it actually was for Ali Safavi to publish this writing against him, the purpose, presumably, was to warn others off from criticising the MEK. However, all this does is to reveal the MEK’s stupid idea of politics: oppose any and everything to do with Iran because ‘the regime’; when the Republicans are in power, attack Democrats, when Democrats are in power, attack Republicans. Michael Rubin published a dignified response to the MEK’s diatribe in The National Interest, explaining in simple terms that even the MEK could understand, exactly what is the trouble with the Mujahedin al-Khalq [Sic]: in short, “The MKO’s tendency to cry wolf hinder and obstruct the real fights against the Iranian regime, Iranian terrorism, and the Islamic Republic’s covert nuclear program”.

Jul 30, 2021

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