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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest -7

++ Batoul Soltani wrote an open letter to General James Jones, President Obama’s national security advisor up to 2010, reminding him about the situation at Camp Liberty. He is now retired and will attend the MEK’s Paris rally. Soltani asks ‘don’t you see the danger they pose to your and other countries? ‘I am sure you know about this group’, she says, ‘but if you don’t, please do the research as this is not just a straightforward lobbying group’.

++ This week’s guest on Mardom TV was Behzad Alishahi. The programme concentrated on the resignation of the last two non-MEK members of the NCRI, Mohammad Reza Rowhani and Karim Ghassim. He talked about the MEK’s reaction which was to label them, alongside all the others, as ‘agents of the regime’.

++ Iran Ghalam (Pen Association) in Germany published news of the recent MEK arrivals in Albania. The MEK have dispatched two new agents headed by Mahmoud Hashemi – not his real name – who have tried again, unsuccessfully, to buy the new arrivals, and have again threatened them not to make contact with their families and the outside world. These threats have been ignored and contact is flowing.

++ Iran Didban website issued its analysis of the resignation of NCRI members Ghassim and Rowhani, quoting the reasons that they gave, and concludes that this is the last nail in the coffin of deceit and pretence in the Rajavi cult. There is no longer any hiding from the truth.

++ Some ex-members wrote to Mehdi Sameh, who is on the sidelines of the MEK and NCRI, but who has never rejected them publicly. They criticised him for remaining silent after all the things Rajavi has done to his former colleagues in the Council. They pose a simple question, ‘as a Marxist Leninist who believes he is continuing the line of the Fedayeen group, does he still believe that Rajavi is in the camp of revolution and is capable of being criticised?’

++ A fourth bulletin from Iran Ghalam describes further how the Albania arrivals have rejected the money offered to them by Rajavi’s agents and have established contact with ex-members and their families, even though they are under hardship and find it difficult to provide even enough food for themselves.

++ A group of ex-members have requested that the high-ranking NCRI members who have left the Council in recent years – specifically naming Ghassim, Rowhani and Dr Matin Daftary – do not remain silent, but instead come forward and talk about the problems and concerns which every one of them has, and as well, to get together and form a new organisation so that other ex MEK and Council-members can join.

++ Ghorban Ali Hossein Nejad criticised the MEK for publishing articles swearing at Ghassim and Rowhani. Hossein Nejad says ‘the only thing they asked for was to leave and the only thing they say is that there is no point talking to you as you never answer’. He says, ‘this is how you treat everyone in this organisation and now they are sick of it and are leaving’. Hossein Nejad and others have addressed the remaining people around Rajavi saying ‘this is your last chance to distance yourselves. If you stay any longer you cannot claim ignorance, and you will be part and parcel of the crimes Rajavi has and will still commit.

++ In reaction to the MEK swearing at everyone including Isaemel Vafa Yaghmai and his son Amir Yaghmai, Batoul Soltani asks ‘who is at fault, the son whose search for news about his mother has come to the point that he can only ask if she alive or not, or is it Rajavi who does not allow him to find out’? The MEK then published the text of a letter allegedly written by Akram Habib Khaani and posted on her behalf (allegedly from inside Camp Liberty) to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in which it is claimed that all this is the work of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. One of the proofs of this has been that Massoud Khodabandeh published a paragraph sympathising with the Yaghmai family on Facebook. Even though the MEK members themselves accept that there is no free access to internet inside Camp Liberty.

++ Many analysts have described this MEK scenario of hiding the truth (saying the woman is dead and then alive, etc) as a desperate attempt to detract from real evidence that the MEK have been torturing and killing people in Iraq and that there are many dead and missing people. The analysts accuse the MEK of saying, ‘they claim she is dead, but she’s not’ as a way of proving that every accusation against the organisation is a lie. Yaghmai published an article naming a few of the people the MEK claim have committed suicide but who ex-members claim have been killed under torture.

++ Reporting from Syria, Hezbollah’s TV network, Al Manaar, puts the number of foreign fighters who have been killed in Syria at over 6,000, saying they are from 26 different countries. Within these numbers it is alleged 640 are MEK, which is the highest after the Saudis who number 729. It is believed these are not all ideological members but are mercenaries recruited to fight under the name of the MEK.

++ Hanif Heydar Nejad wrote in “Pejvak Iran” addressing Rowhani, Ghassim and Yaghmai. He says he heard that Rowhani and Ghassem are annoyed about being labelled alongside Yaghmai and the Eghbal family and Iraj Mesdaghi as agents of the intelligence services of Iran. Heydar Nejad criticises them for not recognising the true situation and seeing that this collective picture does not comprise just you or the other few you name. You, he says, have joined a much, much bigger picture, and being in it has not been in your or anyone else’s hands; the MEK have been doing this from decades ago. The MEK version of events is that people not submitting totally to their wishes are to be added to the picture. But your annoyance or shouting or not does not affect the photographer as he has been doing this for years.

++ One of the younger ex-members who has survived Rajavi’s cult alongside a few other younger ex-members has written the story of Amir Yaghmai, who he describes as a child soldier in the MEK. Pictures of him have been published showing that the size of the gun he carries is the same as his height. The writer praised him for standing on his own feet after all the things the MEK have done to him.

++ During the Iranian election a Russian chess champion created a spoof online parallel election putting forward the names of candidates who were not selected as well as personalities from outside the country, including Maryam Rajavi and Reza Pahlavi. People were invited to vote for their preferred candidate. Accordingly the MEK ordered their members and supporters to drop everything and make new email accounts in order to vote for Maryam. Apparently their forces have been so busy with this there has not been time for the MEK to write much this week.

++ Edvard Termador’s article describes the NCRI’s past and present, and concludes, ‘any way you look at it, there has been a past and a present but there is no future. The number of people leaving is confirmation of all the human rights abuses that have been going on.’

++ Marzieh Ghorsi in Turkey has published the fourth part of an interview in Nim Negah website titled ‘The difference between words and deeds in the Rajavi cult’. She explains how they treated her when she asked for help to leave. She asked for some of the money and gold that she brought to the organisation when she had joined along with her documents so she could begin a new life. This was of course rejected. Ghorsi has lived in Turkey for some years now with her children and husband Mr Shirdam. They have not been able to progress their claim for asylum for two years because the MEK have employed lawyers, lobbyists, MPs and MEPs in western countries to hider their case and not allow them to come to Europe. They have told the family, if you keep quiet we will bring you to Europe ourselves. If not, we will make life miserable for you and your children.

++ Asharq Al-Awsat interviewed the former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Abulhassan Banisadr in Paris. Q: Leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and wife of the MEK leader Maryam Rajavi recently said that the Arab Spring will hit Tehran, and that the opposition—represented by the MEK—are prepared to be an alternative to the regime. Do you think there are truly those who view them as a viable alternative? Do you think you yourself are one of these alternatives?

A: Definitely, I consider myself an alternative, and equally I consider all democratic movements as alternatives. But why would we want to consider a group that depended on Saddam, throughout the years he was in power, and then announces that it wants to play the role of lobbyist to Washington. Is this the alternative to the Iranian regime? A lobby group in Washington’s hands?

++ Mayor of Khalis in Diyala province, Uday Al Khadran, called on the Iraqi government to conduct an urgent investigation after advanced telecom devices hidden in a food convoy were seized at Camp Ashraf where just under 100 MEK loyalists remain. He said the way the devices had been hidden demonstrated an intention to use them for unlawful activities.

++ Nejat Society wrote an open letter to French National Assembly member M. Pascal Deguilhem, who is slated to speak at the MEK rally in Villepinte on June 22. The letter reminds him of the situation of people trapped in Camp Liberty and concludes, ‘Compared with your socialist ideals, advocacy for a cult-like group with a dark history of human rights abuses, makes us confused and also concerned about the situation of our children behind the bars of the MKO. However, if you are still willing to attend the June 22 rally we appeal to you to at least use your political social and cultural influence to ask the group leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi to fully cooperate with the UN mission in Iraq for the relocation of Liberty residents to third countries and also to provide us with an opening to get in touch with the residents in a free atmosphere without the supervision of the group officials.’

June 14 2013

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