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What is known about MEK funding in Albania?

MEK Cult women in Albania

Who is behind the financing of the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (MEK) remains a mystery.

The camp of about 3,000 members of this organization in Kamez, Albania, extends over a territory of 38-40 hectares, where about 127 objects are built.

For their deployment in the Ashraf 3 camp, the USA had contributed, which had given 20 million dollars to the UN refugee agency to help the relocation to Albania.

But, after an action by the Albanian Police in this camp on suspicions that its members have committed the criminal offenses of “provocation of war” and “cyber attacks”, the US Department of State emphasized that the US does not finance this organization.

The financiers of this organization are not publicly known, since the MEK does not provide official data. However, its financing has been a point of discussion several times in the world media.

In an article published in 2018, the British newspaper The Guardian wrote that the MEK organization was financed by the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussien, “for most of its life in asylum”.

The MEK moved to Iraq in 1986, after its activities in Iran were banned in 1981. The Council on Foreign Relations, based in New York, USA, writes that Hussein had been the main financier of the MEK until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“But in recent years, the group claims to rely on the large number of wealthy Iranian expatriates in the United States and Europe, and other people opposed to the clerical regime in Tehran,” a Council on foreign Relations report said..

But the participation of the former intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia, Prince Turki al-Faisal, in a gathering of this group in Paris on July 6, 2016 had prompted criticism from Iran after he had supported the overthrow of the Government of Iran.
An Iranian official, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, had accused Saudi Arabia of sponsoring terrorism.

The professor of the University of the City of New York, Ervand Abrahamian, told The Guardian in 2018 that Saudi Arabia is behind the financing of the MEK.

“The money ultimately comes from Saudi [Arabia]. There is no one else who can subsidize them with this level of funding,” said Abrahamian, a Middle East historian.

But, The Guardian points out that the MEK has always denied that it is financed by Saudi Arabia. Radio Evropa e Lire has contacted the spokesperson of this organization regarding the financing of the MEK in Albania, but has not received a response until the publication of this article.

For various periods from 1997 to 2013, the MEK was listed as a terrorist organization in several countries, such as the USA, EU, and Great Britain.

In 2009, Great Britain removed the MEK from this list. The USA did the same, under the administration of former President Barack Obama, in 2012. At that time, The Guardian reported that a multi-million dollar campaign was made to remove it from this list.

The MEK describes itself as “the largest and longest-lived Iranian opposition group with a five-decade history of fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran.”

But on June 21, the US State Department said it does not consider the MEK to be a “sustainable democratic opposition movement representing the Iranian people” and stressed that the US does not contribute to the funding of the MEK and does not provide any support or training for the members of this organization./rel


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