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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest -3

++ UN Special Representative for the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler announced on 16 May that 14 residents of Camp Liberty have been permanently relocated to Albania as part of an agreement in which the Albanian government has pledged to accept 210 individuals as refugees. The UN report also added that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he “unequivocally supports” Mr. Kobler’s efforts “to courageously and creatively, in exceptionally difficult circumstances, help resolve this situation.”

++ Under pressure from neocons and Israel, the US State Department continues to protect the interests of the Mojahedin’s leaders. In a statement on the relocation of 14 individuals to Albania, the State Department accepts the rule of the hostage takers over the hostages by addressing them as legitimate leaders of people who are in fact hostages not followers. Instead of demanding that the MEK leaders stand aside to allow the UN to conduct its work without hindrance the State Department says, “It is the responsibility of the MEK leadership to facilitate for the residents of Camp Hurriya free and unfettered access to UN human rights monitors.” This appears to be an attempt to revive the MEK at the expense of the rights of the hostages and their families.

++ Several people have written in Farsi and in English to congratulate those involved for their continuing efforts to open the way for these people’s freedom.

++ Rajavi came out again this week. In an audio broadcast in the MEK media he directly addressed Rafsanjani and asked him to become a candidate for president in Iran. The MEK leader later on claimed that this direct appeal to Rafsanjani was part of a plot to widen the gap between different factions in Iran. Nobody involved in Iranian politics took notice of this but the reaction of the MEK’s members and supporters was vociferous. Many wrote openly in Farsi blogs and sites, ‘does our leader mean that if we have the chance we should participate in the election and vote for Rafsanjani, and if so, what happened to his selected president, Maryam Rajavi, who has been appointed and groomed as president for the past 16 years?’ Retreating into silence, the MEK’s reaction to these internal critics has been to post photo-shopped pictures on its sites, claiming them to be from inside Iran, with the graffiti slogan – ‘the only president is Maryam Rajavi’.

++ Ex-members Mohammad Karami and Batul Soltani took part in a long discussion on Mardom TV. Ms Soltani talked about the naked dancing sessions women had to perform for Massoud Rajavi and about the general abuses of women’s rights in the MEK from the past up until the present. Karami explained how many claims of suicide in MEK from the past until now have been exposed as false; the individuals were actually murdered by the MEK. Both produced irrefutable documents and pictures backing their claims.

++ Several people wrote about an incident in Syria in which the Wahabbi Al Qaida attacked a sacred graveyard and exhumed the body of Hajar ebn Oday, a revered Shia. The MEK’s silence on this issue alongside their engagement in fighting in Syria, which they have announced themselves, raised many questions and reminded us that when the twin towers in New York were attacked, the MEK celebrated it. Interestingly the MEK claim they are the true Shias.

++ A few people wrote about the MEK’s violent history from Iran, Iraq and now Syria and emphasised that this is the group the US now take as allies rather than terrorists; basically identifying them as mercenaries.

++ Last week a several Iraqi officials openly criticised the support of the west to keep the MEK intact in Iraq. One of them, Abdul Jabbaar Al Obeidi, head of the Council of Al Azim in Diyali province, criticised the government for delaying the handover of Camp Ashraf and expelling the MEK terrorists. He accused the government of bowing to US pressure and stressed that the land was needed for investment. The Council has approved a project to build residential housing and a university but the work has been delayed as the land is not empty.

++ The saga of Iraj Mesdaghi and other MEK supporters turned critical of Massoud Rajavi, and the violent reaction of the MEK against these critics, has continued through this week with more attacks and swearing by the MEK in their sites and media.

++ Iraj Shokri, who had been with the NCRI and has left, posted an article in his blog about Rajavi and the MEK’s attacks on Iraj Mesdaghi. He reminds us that this started in 2003 after the fall of Saddam when, little by little, people began running away and being sworn at by the MEK according to how vocal they had been. He goes into a detailed analysis of all the things Rajavi has said during these years, and puts it down to Rajavi’s arrogance, his empty talk, his ranting, his bad temper and his delusion which has led to all the wrong analyses that he has come up with over the years. Shokri entitles his article ‘criticism of his majesty the head’ because Rajavi has labelled all the internal criticism he has suffered as the words of ‘agents of the regime who want to separate the head from the body. Shokri says that the head itself is the problem rather than that anyone wants to separate it from the body.

++ Rajavi and the MEK have been swearing at UNAMI and the International Committee of the Red Cross more than other weeks. For observers it is clear that it is because he has failed to insinuate his lobbyists into these institutions and indeed, the only one they had has been expelled and is working full time now for the MEK. His failure to prevent the transfer of the 14 individuals to Albania in this way has burned Rajavi.

++ Jamil Bassam from Nejat Association in Tehran published article titled ‘how near is Rajavi going to get to the Americans?’ He echoes the ideas published last week by Ebrahim Khodabandeh of Sahar Family Association; that members did not join the Mojahedin to be mercenaries of Saddam or the US and it is not us who have changed direction it is the MEK leader who every day changes. Bassam turns the spotlight on the US and quotes Americans both for and against use of the MEK. He points out this is not the first time the Americans have embraced mercenaries who have previously been fighting against them, even though they always see they are later bitten by the same dog. In the end he hopes that the major issue will continue to be the release of the hostages from Liberty so they can choose for themselves whether to be mercenaries of the US or not.

++ Ali Al Khadran the mayor of Khales again directly asks the Government of Iraq to take the hundred remaining MEK out of Camp Ashraf and Diyali province as soon as possible, and says ‘we are under pressure from the people, who do not understand why we are keeping terrorists who have killed their families in our province’. Many other Iraqis have criticised the authorities for not taking the MEK leaders to court and just settling for removing them from the country.

++ Nejat Association has published an article describing the situation in Camp Liberty, describing what has happened from time families started visiting Iraq in 2003 up to the present. The article talks of the efforts of the families, ex-members, the Iraqi authorities, Martin Kobler, the ICRC and others which have borne fruit so that with the minimum of casualties they have brought most of them to Camp Liberty. But, it goes on, from the outside we can see there is more pressure on the individuals now because they are more closely confined in their accommodation. There is more beating, harassment and brainwashing to keep them submissive. Nejat demands that the UN and the international community break this atmosphere with a few simple steps – as Sahar Family Foundation outlined previously – as follows: let there be communication whether face to face, written or by telephone with families, let Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have access to the camp without restriction from MEK leaders, let residents have free access to satellite, TV, books, newspapers etc., let the sick and needy be transferred to hospitals inside Iraq, let the doors be open to allow reporters free access to people inside the camp, take the leaders to court to stand trial against the allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes which have been submitted by the Iraqis. This, as overseen by UNAMI, should be made public. The UN should publish reports about all that is happening inside and at the camp.

Iran Interlink Weekly Digest -Friday May 17, 2013

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