The Avaricious Nature of Western Politicians Attending the MEK Event
The propaganda meetings of the Mojahedin-e Khalq group, known as the Kahkeshan (Galaxy), were held from 2004 to 2018 in various places in Paris, Auvers-sur-Oise (Maryam Rajavi’s residence), north of Paris, or in the Villepinte. After 2018, the group accused an Iranian diplomat of bombing this gathering and then held this propaganda meeting in the form of demonstrations or online under the pretext of Coronavirus Pandemic. The purpose of these multimillion-dollar rallies is simply to create the impression in the audience’s minds that “we exist”, but if we look closely at the faces of the members of this organization in such meetings, we will notice the broken and aging organization.
However, some European and American politicians, such as Texas Congressman Ted Poe, who received thousands of dollars in funding from the head of a pro-MEK group, in his state. At a time when he was acting as a keynote speaker on behalf of the lifting of sanctions on the MEK group at events across the United States, he introduced the organization as a ticket to regime change in Iran; But it should also be noted that, just as the MEK knows, the intelligence services supporting the MEK, certainly indicate that they have no social position among the Iranians and even its hatred can be seen obviously among the Iranian people, and raising issues such as alternatives to the Iranian system and overthrowing the government, etc., is no longer applicable and is just designed for the same stage of propaganda, but in the end, this group, with all its factors, capacities and facilities, is just a part of the opposition of the Islamic Republic, and the dissident countries, in the hope of creating disturbance for Iran, are forced to strengthen groups such as the MEK.
Although the MEK and its meeting in Paris cannot be valued as influential, and the radius of this move would be hyperbolic if we consider it further than the same Villepinte rental hall and a few hours of media coverage before and after it, examining this meeting can be an explanation for the glamor of this propaganda show.
In each time of holding this propaganda meeting, different politicians participated in it. For example, after the transfer of MEK members out of Iraq, the meeting was held on Saturday, July 1, 2017 in Villepinte, Paris. This gathering was held simultaneously with Iran’s influence in the region and the development of ballistic missiles and with the presence of the group’s supporters from five continents. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the group of MEK, was the main speaker at the ceremony. Some of the personalities attending the ceremony included: Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York, John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Senator Joe Lieberman, Louis Freeh, Tom Ridge, Michael Mukasey , Turki Bin Faisal, from Saudi Arabia, Linda Chavez, former White House Public Relations Officer, and Nasr al-Hariri, member of the Syrian opposition delegation, and parliamentary and opposition delegations from various countries.
Retired and rented speakers
Both in this meeting and in the previous and subsequent meetings of this group, all the participants in these gatherings, even if they are well-known politicians, have one thing in common, and that is not only are they now retired from the world of politics and power, but have almost no hope of returning to the power that forced them to enter into such a deal with the MEK.
John Bolton, Gingrich, Turki al-Faisal, etc., all of them no longer have a place in the power structures of their respective countries and only look at the meeting of the MEK with a commercial motive, with the difference that the position and background of each of these politicians is effective in increasing or decreasing amounts they would receive. A look at the MEK’s payroll, which shows the amounts of $ 80,000 for a two-minute speech, confirms this. The interesting thing is that the texts of the speeches are also prepared by the agents of the MEK, and more precisely, the speakers at the meetings of the MEK are literally reserved for a specific time.
The behavior of Rudolf Giuliani, one of the participants in the previous meeting of the MEK in Villepinte, is an example of the fact that these people do not see a political future in the power structures for themselves that they agreed to attend the meetings of the MEK, which is why they look at MEK for business matters.
Referring to words from the Turki Faisal, the Saudi speaker of this kind of meetings, increases the possibility of writing the texts of these speeches by the MEK agents and the hired politicians have no choice to read them for the audiences to get their money at the end. In his speech at the meeting, he accused the Iranian government of interfering in Arab countries, saying that Iran today is not a religious or non-religious country and is an isolated country. Unlike artists and scientists in the Sassanid era, Iranian elites today have many problems. He said in a speech to Mojahedin leader Maryam Rajavi that: “Your efforts to liberate your nation are a legendary epic that will remain in history like the Shahnameh.”
The use of words such as Shahnameh and reference to the Sassanid era is completely rooted in Persian literature and culture, not Arabic!
He said to the Iranian government that “Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world,” He stressed that the elections in Iran are “undemocratic and illegitimate because Khamenei, like all dictators, nominates candidates”! He mentioned this statement while 40 years of free elections in Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution have been done, but the first election in Saudi Arabia return to 2005 that was held without the presence of women and it was only to elect members of city councils and municipalities and not to elect officials and main figures! He considers Iran a sponsor of terrorism, while his country has been one of the aggressors in Yemen since 2015 and is responsible for deadly crimes and the killing of more than 370,000 Yemenis and the displacement and wounding of millions of them.
The Guardian writes in connection with the meeting of the MEK and the presence of former US officials in the gathering: “Supporters of an Iranian terrorist organization in a struggle after investing millions of dollars in an unprecedented campaign of political aid, recruiting Washington lobby groups and paying former senior government officials, have been victorious in the United States to lift sanctions on the organization.”
The Guardian’s research, based in part on data from the Center for Political Accountability, a group that tracks the impact of money on US policy, identified a steady stream of funding from key Iranian-American organizations and their campaign leaders, intended to remove the organization from the list of terrorist organizations in the United States.
The campaign to bury the bloody history of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization in the bombings and assassinations that killed Americans, Iranian politicians and thousands of civilians, and to portray it as a loyal US ally against the Islamic Republic of Iran, has brought huge costs for the three groups : Members of US Congress, Washington lobby groups and former influential officials.
One of the prominent members of Congress who received the budget is Ileana Ros Lehtinen, chair of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee. She has received at least $ 20,000 from Iranian-American groups or their leaders.
Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in 2012 that he was paid between $ 150,000 and $ 160,000 for his speeches in support of the group.
Congressman Bob Filner is another MEK recipient who has twice traveled to France to address pro-MEK events, presented resolutions in the House of Representatives for them, and called for the group’s sanctions to be lifted. More than $ 14,000 was the costs of Filner’s trips to Paris was paid to him by the head of an Iranian-American group, and nearly $ 1 million was paid to a lobbying firm in Washington seeking to lift the MKO sanctions.
Texas Congressman Ted Poe received thousands of dollars in grants from the head of a pro-Mujahedin-e Khalq group in his state and tried to portray the group as an option to change the Iranian regime.
Other supporters of lifting the group’s sanctions was Dana Rohrabacher, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Relations, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, received thousands of dollars in grants in just one year to support the MEK.
The Guardian asked the pro-Mujahedin-e Khalq politicians what they thought of the money they received from MEK, but only Rohrabacher responded. She said it was easy to receive financial aid from supporters of the MEK, but that the money had no effect on her position on lifting the group’s sanctions. “I have no doubt that people will help my campaign if it benefits them and they believe in it, whether it is the group of MEK or others.”
But the important thing about this is whether it is right to receive this funding, and whether it benefits the people of the United States at all?
Regarding the multiple policies of the MEK, the killing of several Americans, their change of attitude towards the United States and their “time-serving” and “go-with-the-tide” policies after the fall of Saddam, the answer is definitely no, but the group’s dollars and financial aid to American politicians in their change of opinion and taste has been effective.
“The MEK’s past attacks on the Americans, their bombings in Tehran and the killing of politicians and civilians, and their support for Saddam Hussein, are past and historic,” Rohrabacher said.
The three major lobbying companies in Washington have received nearly $ 1.5 million to pressure the US government and lawmakers to support the group of MEK and protect their members in the Iraqi camp.
Many former US officials have received up to $ 40,000 to speak out in support of the MEK’s removal from the sanctions list. Among them are Gen. Hugh Shelton, former chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and Michael Mukasey, who oversaw the prosecution of terrorism cases, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Randall, received more than $ 150,000 to speak at events in support of the lifting of sanctions for the MEK. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page received $ 20,000 to speak at the rally. Other people in the United States or other countries only accepted travel expenses, although in some cases it included expensive trips to Europe.
Some of these payments prompted an investigation by the US Treasury Department. The organization is examining the costs incurred by Shelton, Freeh, Mukasey and Randall and others to see if they are violating the “financial support for a terrorist group” law. However, in cases involving links to other banned organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, individuals have received long prison sentences for indirect financial support.
Politicians and those invited to the gathering rarely mention the Mujahedin-e Khalq’s violent and anti-American past, portraying the group not as terrorists but as freedom fighters and pioneers of regime change in Iran. Some of them even admit that they had little information about this group before being invited to speak and led by MEK supporters.
A State Department official familiar with speech contracts explains the mechanism of this process: “Your lecturer will call you and say you will receive $ 20,000 for a 20-minute talk. They will send you a private jet and you will receive $ 25,000 more when you are done. They also send a team to explain to you what to say.”
A former US diplomat says he was offered $ 25,000 to speak in Paris, but he declined. He was told that he could make general statements about human rights in Iran and did not have to name the MEK, although “the MEK’s connection to this speech was clear and could not be concealed.” In this case, he was told that “rich Iranians in Europe” would pay the money. Several others spoke to the Financial Times and confirmed that they had received cash for the speech, including John Bolton, the former US national security advisor.
The presence of some former government politicians at these gatherings was sometimes criticized by those country’s media. Like the presence of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government considered the MEK a terrorist organization until 2012.
Thomas Juneau a professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Department of Defense analyst, wrote that Harper openly supports a former terrorist group and a completely undemocratic and illegitimate religious group that is in no way a substitute for the current Iranian regime.
Farzan Sabet, an Iranian policy expert at Stanford University’s Center for Security and International Cooperation, said Harper’s presence showed the complexity of the MEK’s political operations and the naivety or avaricious nature of Western politicians attending the event.
Finally, after much effort and lobbying by the organization, which had been on the US terrorist list since the 1970s for killing US personnel in Iran and its links to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the group was officially recognized by the US and Canadian Foreign Ministries and by the rejection of violent behavior in late 2012, they removed the MEK from the list of terrorist organizations. However, in a statement issued at the same time, the US State Department stated that they still had serious concerns about the MEK.
After the MEK was recognized in the United States, former politicians easily supported the organization and participated in its propaganda campaigns by receiving large sums of money.
Jack Turner, Gopolitika.ru