Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 5

++ Nejat Association wrote an open letter to the Albanian embassy in Tehran thanking their government for Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 5taking the initiative to accept 14 refugees from Camp Liberty in Iraq. Nejat Association describes this move as the first step to connecting these individuals to their families and to greater society and asks the Albanian government to help further in this respect.

++ This week four people escaped from Camp Liberty in one day. The following day another individual named as Hassan Shaabani managed to run away and surrender to Iraqi police. The names of the other four will be made public if and when they choose.

++ A group of ex-MEK members met with representatives of the UNHCR in Paris to discuss the situation of the captives in Camp Liberty, and how to break the deadlock after the MEK leader has given the order to stop the UN interviews and to not meet with anyone from outside agencies. The report emphasises the legal aspect as there are 950 individuals who hold documents from western counties and who therefore do not need refugee status and should be immediately transferred. The report concludes that the real solution is to allow the families into the camp to visit their loved ones.

++ More has been written about the first 14 MEK who have gone to Albania and Rajavi’s reaction which is to try to stop this continuing. People have written about their hopes that this is a real breakthrough and signals breaking the taboo of leaving Iraq and marks the eventual freedom of all the hostages. Among these articles are reports that one of the people in Albania called Nastaran Rastegaarpour has gone there with a false name and documents. The claim is that this particular woman was moved from Ashraf to Liberty with this false Identity and then from Liberty to Albania. The real Nastaran Rastegaarpour is an MEK commander resident in London and in charge of the Nirooi (personnel) section. She frequently travels around Europe to organise the membership. The analysis is that her documents have been used to move a particular female from Iraq because the MEK do not want her real identity to be revealed. There are many precedents for this kind of action, including the covert transfer of the Rajavis’ son and daughter back to Europe.

++ A US State Department official told Congress that the MEK’s leadership was not cooperating in the departures from Camp Liberty  despite risks to the members’ lives in Iraq. Beth Jones, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that although US officials have worked hard to persuade the group’s leadership to cooperate in the departures, “very few have been allowed to move.” She appealed for cooperation.

++ Martin Kobler has visited the European Parliament to brief MEPs. He deplored the lack of cooperation from the MEK leader and other MEK leaders with the UN. In response Stevenson and Quadras attacked Kobler as an ‘agent of the Iranian regime’ and said that he has come to say this to appease Iran and Iraq.

++ A prominent Iranian MP, Agha Mohammadi, told the Majlis news agency that the Americans’ use of the MEK by opening an MEK lobbying office in Washington shows clearly that America is putting Zionism before the interests of the American people. What this move shows is how desperate the US has become that they do not even try to hide their use of terrorism whether in Iran, Syria, Chechnya or other parts of the world.

++ This week marks the anniversary of the death of Hadi Shams Haeri who had been a prisoner under the Shah. Years later, after leaving the MEK, he continued to campaign indefatigably to free his children. Sadly neither his son, Amir, nor his daughter, Nosrat, saw him before he died as they are still being held captive in Iraq.

++ An article by Massoud Jaabani warns asylum seekers in Europe not to fall for the MEK’s propaganda in which every year they pay for a three day holiday in Paris in exchange for two hours’ attendance at the MEK’s 20th June celebration. Jaabani points out that for someone who has not yet been granted refugee status, crossing national borders is illegal and can result in a long delay in getting recognition. Every year at this time the MEK celebrate armed struggle. Ironically, even though the Americans claim they are not terrorists, they still celebrate their adherence to violence.

++ Esmaeil Vafa Yaghmai the poet, who left the MEK a long time ago but who still had reservations about public criticism, has published his first article in his weblog entitled ‘Is Akram Habib Khaani alive?’ He claims that he and his son Amir have received condolences from MEK sources over his ex- wife’s mysterious death in Camp Liberty – something the MEK refused to acknowledge when he contacted them. His long article describes how they got engaged and married and also how they were impacted by the forced divorces and separation of children. He says ‘it is time for me to come out and talk, and I don’t care anymore that the MEK will call me an “agent of the regime” or that the IRI will misuse what I have to say’.

++ After examining evidence, a court in Khales province of Iraq has fined the MEK around half a million (US) dollars for illegally taking over land belonging to local villagers. The MEK and its supporters (lobbyists) have vociferously rejected this finding and claim that the land was taken over by the Iraqi government after the Americans left and that any issue should be taken up with Iraq’s Ministry of Defence.

Behzad Ali Shahi published an article examining the original boundaries of Camp Ashraf and where the MEK added a munitions dump outside the camp followed by a huge area beyond that which reached civilian areas which the MEK themselves forcefully confiscated to use for military manoeuvres and training. In part one of its claim the MEK says that since the government of Iraq does not recognise the MEK as a whole entity the court should claim this money from the individuals (who do not have any money of their own). In another part the MEK claim that Iraq’s defence ministry is in charge and they should answer to the court. Alishahi says that with this kind of logic the MEK could have easily represented Saddam Hussein himself and have him freed with compensation. He says that using the same reasoning in the court of Saddam it could be said that now Saddam is not in charge, any punishment for Saddam should be the burden of the new Iraqi government. Alishahi says that clearly the MEK do not want to remember how much money they stole from Iraq and how much money they removed from Iraq.

++ This week it has been revealed that the MEK applied for and have been registered under the name of the NCRI as a lobby group in Washington. The MEK have not yet announced it. But everywhere else this news has been published Iranians from all sides have shown their disgust and have not been shy of saying that through this action the MEK has openly become a mercenary of the Israeli side of the US system against their motherland. In US media however there has been much criticism of the US administration for its open support and use of terrorism, and many have warned that the US has not learned from its past mistakes of using and supporting terrorism.

Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – Friday May 31, 2013

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