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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 302

ASILA Launched in Albania

++ A play called Baba Adam has been staged by the City Theatre in Tehran. The play charts the journey of the father from Iran to Iraq in search of his long-lost son who is a member of the MEK. On arriving at Camp Ashraf, instead of letting him know that his son is alive or not, fanatics of the MEK throw stones at him and break his head. Ebrahim Khodabandeh who was consulted by the writers as they created the work, attended the first performance and thanked the writers. The play was well received by Tehran theatre goers.

++ Rahman Mohammadian in Albania wrote that for the last four decades Massoud and Maryam have been telling us that all their critics are agents of the regime. The actual intelligence ministry of Iran has answered that in order to be legitimate, the members should be allowed to criticise the regime 80% and MEK 20%. Mohammadian argues that “this means Iran is more tolerant than you. At least allow your critics to do that. This could not be in favour of the regime.” But, asks Mohammadian, “would you allow 99% criticism of the regime and 1% criticism of MEK, or even just one question about you. You can’t tolerate even that. Why?”

In English:

++ Kourosh Ziabari writes in Asia Times, ‘Well-Funded Exile Regime-Change Outfits Are Hardly Paragons of Virtue’. He asks are “these kaleidoscopic opposition groups the ‘saviors’ that will cultivate democracy in Iran and put national interest above anything else when they rule the roost, including ideological dogmas, ethnic divisions and partisan interests? The answer is a clear, if not resounding, “no.” Among the groups he covers, MEK is prominent. Ziabari charts the MEK’s murky behaviours and activities – from collusion with Saddam Hussein to arguing for severe sanctions against Iran – as well as questioning its internal workings so that “it is so cryptic in its workings and so unethical in its conduct that the majority of Iranians reckon it to be a shadowy cult, leaving it with little to zero credibility among the populace it professes to be fighting for.” He offers us the example of his own treatment by the MEK after publishing a critical article. “ As soon as the story went viral, hundreds of Twitter accounts began slandering me – posting identically worded tweets – as an apologist of the Islamic Republic, and some of them went so far as to claim that I was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps!” As for the credibility of the opposition groups he concludes that the “alternative to a bad situation is not a parlous one.”

++ Jack Turner interviewed Robert Fantina, journalist and political analyst, about the MEK for Geopolitica. Concerning recent court cases against Iranian officials – in Belgium and the Swedish court case which has now moved to Albania – Fantina says it highlights double standards that western criminals such as the assassins of Soleimani are not prosecuted by the International Criminal Court and yet Iranian officials are being brought to trial in other countries.

“The MEK is a terrorist organization that seeks the overthrow of the legitimate government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their terrorist activities – the killing of innocent people – are well-known. Yet they receive support from some western nations, most notably the United States, because that nation’s government harbors an irrational hatred of Iran, and will support any organization, even a terrorist one, that opposes it.”
“The leaders of the MEK should be charged in the International Criminal Court with the many crimes they have committed.”

++ The MEK proudly advertised that UK MP Bob Blackman attended their ‘Free Iran’ rally in London this week. Blackman made an intervention in a parliamentary debate on the government’s treatment of asylum seekers crossing the channel in small boats. Blackman offered the example set by the Albanian government “who moved, satisfactorily, Camp Liberty from Iran into Camp Ashraf?” Iran? The MEK pays these people, yet they can’t even do their homework and get their facts right.

Nov 26 2021

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