Khodabandeh – Interview with BBC Radio In a letter to British Interior Minister Mr. Charles Clarke, Massoud Khodabandeh who runs Iran-Interlink group in Britain asked for investigation into the activities of the National Council of Resistance in the UK and preventing what he called “the MKO’s assault on reporters”. Iran-Interlink was formed three years ago with the purpose of helping those who separate from the MKO. Last week in a press conference in London, this group displayed films and documents showing the MKO’s cooperation with the former regime of Saddam Hussein. However, a number of MKO supporters protested the event. In an interview with Mr. Khodabandeh, I asked him why he had sent a letter to the British Interior Minister:
Khodabandeh: On November 10, we held a press conference in London titled “Saddam’s Relations with International Terrorism” and a number of media took part in the event. Unfortunately, some MKO members came to attack the participants, but they failed as the police came to the scene. A reporter, however, leaving the place was assaulted by MKO members. I expected the NCRI to release a statement, apologizing for what they had done, but instead they started threatening their opponents, particularly reporters and journalists. Therefore, as a British citizen, I wrote to Mr. Clarke; the previous letter, signed by 70 to 80 people asking for investigation, was sent to him on September 26. In this letter, I asked for a full investigation on the status of the MKO and NCRI’s office and their activities in London. In addition, I requested for a guarantee against possible similar acts by this group in future. As the organizer of this conference, and on behalf of Iran-Interlink and others, I apologize for the behavior of Rajavi’s agents towards the participants, particularly the correspondents of the BBC and VOA.
– Those who, according to you, disrupted the order of conference claim that the meeting was held by the cooperation of Islamic Republic’s intelligence forces. What’s your response to these accusations?
Khodabandeh: I wrote this letter as a British citizen, but we are now speaking in Farsi as Iranians. Calling 700-800 people abroad the “agents of regime” and claiming that a VOA correspondent, a BBC reporter, Human Rights organizations and opposition figures are all agents of the Iranian regime is not helpful at all. This is only exaggerating a system inside Iran. I don’t think that even CIA has such power. Even if you are right, and I’m not the agent, but the head of the regime’s Intelligence Ministry, why do you attack VOA’s correspondent? You have assaulted a woman. This is not the way Iranians behave. They never attack a lonely woman in a corner of a building. She had only come to listen. She said nothing; she had only come to watch the films and no one knew if she was going to write a report or not!
November 18, 2005