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High Priority for the MKO: Save the Cult or Save the Members’ lives?

On March 16, 2013, the Albanian government said the country was ready to take over 200 members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization who currently live in Camp Liberty near Baghdad, Iraq, reported the AP. "Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha made the offer after meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf, U.N. envoy in Iraq Martin Kobler, and other officials. He said the offer of asylum for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq members was made for "humanitarian reasons."[1]

The move was in response to demands of both the US authorities and the United Nations but it was immediately rejected by the MKO leaders. The group spokesman Shahin Ghobadi who seemingly welcomed the offer claimed “it was nothing new and not enough”!

As the group has previously put accusations on the UN envoy in Iraq Martin Kobler, Ghobadi once more accused him of “pursuing the political objectives of the Iranian regime” and “Acting against the safety and security of the residents.” Ghobadi echoed the orders of his guru, Maryam Rajavi, claiming that the only viable options were to transfer all the residents to the US or Europe or their return to Camp Ashraf.[2]

On March 20, the European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton issued statement on the decision by Albania to offer asylum to the MKO members and welcomed the decision of the government. “I have followed this issue very closely, lending my full support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, and in particular the Secretary General’s Special Representative Martin Kobler, towards a peaceful and durable  solution to this humanitarian issue.” Ms. Ashton said. “Permanent resettlement outside Iraq is the only such solution”. [3]

Ms. Ashton’s statement disappointed the MKO who assumed the EU as one of its sponsors to get rid of the terrorist label. Besides, the EU High Official for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stated her “full support” for Martin Kobler who is always seriously criticized by the MKO propaganda machine.

Ms. Ashton called on “the group leadership and the residents to respond positively to the offer made by the Government of Albania and to cooperate constructively with the United Nations, including by resuming the interviews with the UNHCR.”[4] Perhaps she doesn’t expect the group leaders to respond negatively to the offer that would save the life and future of over 200 people.

Surprisingly, the spokesman of the MKO suggests an ironically strong reasoning for refusing the Albanian offer. Ghobadi hardly finds a justification for the refusal, playing with words and illogical reasons. His wise logic (!) coordinates the number of people   in Camp Liberty with the danger of attack against them! “Following the February 9 rocket attack on Camp Liberty and in light of the fact that all the Camp Liberty residents are in danger of similar attacks, transferring small groups of Liberty residents outside of Iraq would simply increase the danger for the majority who would stay behind,” Gobadi said in an e-mail to AP.[5]

In order to maintain the cult-like hegemony of the group, the MKO has to resort to this “Everything or Nothing “tactic. The MKO propaganda tries to convince the world that its leadership is determined to save the lives of members but it is clearly indicated in their recent reaction to Albania offer, that the Rajavis are determined to save the Organization and its cult- like structure not its members.

Besides Mrs. Ashton, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the “generous offer by Albania of humanitarian admission for 210 residents from Camp Hurriya”, according to the UN News Centre. “He expects and urges the residents to positively respond to Albania’s offer and to cooperate with UNHCR to relocate in the coming days,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.[6]

The statement added that Mr. Ban “unequivocally supports” the efforts of his especial representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler ,”to courageously  and creatively , in exceptionally difficult circumstances, help resolve this situation.” [7]

The UN and EU’s act to welcome Albania offer were accompanied by the US. The State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland thanked Albania Prime Minister Sali Berisha “for the humanitarian gesture to provide a safe haven for these individuals.”[8]

Ms. Nuland urged the group leadership "to place the highest priority on the safety and security" of their members and “unconditional cooperation” with the resettlement process. The AP reported that the UN envoy in Iraq, Martin Kobler, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf held talks Saturday [March16] with Albanian authorities over security measures and housing conditions.[9]

It seems that for the time being the highest priority for the MKO leaders is to save their hegemony over the group. They stall over the relocation of their members of whom a large number own European citizenship or asylum documents. Regarding at least three deadly attacks on MKO members in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, all right reasons are convinced that the group’s relocation both individually and publically should be in the “ highest priority “ for those who are concerned about humanitarian issues – of course not the MKO authorities.

One more thing, Mr. Ban, Ms. Ashton and Ms. Nuland would risk their reputation when they support Mr. Martin Kobler who is often called by the MKO propaganda as the "agent of Islamic Republic".

By Mazda Parsi


[1] AP, Albania offer for asylum to MKO rejected, March16,2013


[3] European Union, Office of Catherine Ashton, EU welcomes Albanian offer, Fully supports Kobler efforts, March 20, 2013


[5] AP, Albania offer for asylum to MKO rejected, March16,2013

[6] UN News Centre, Ban urges dialogue amid increased tensions, welcomes offer to Iranian group, March18, 2013


[8] AFP, US welcomes Albania offer to resettle Iran exiles, March18, 2013


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