Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 20

++ Several articles in Farsi, the most thorough of which is by Amir Movasaghi, criticise Maryam Rajavi for her crocodile tears over the Camp Ashraf victims which the articles describe as ‘playing victim’ for an American audience. As usual, the articles point out, Rajavi does not ask for the remaining people to be removed from Iraq but instead insists the MEK retain a base in Iraq. This has led many to conclude that this is based on a policy of getting rid of them.

Hamid Reza Salmani, from Yaran in Paris, has written an article titled, ‘Why wasn’t Camp Ashraf evacuated sooner?’ He details the efforts that Rajavi made to delay the evacuation and encourage the residents to fight with Iraqi security forces and shed blood. He concludes by asking, ‘shouldn’t western judicial systems question Rajavi and the lobbyists about their deliberate role in this bloodshed and the deaths of the hostages?’

++ Homayoun Kohzadi’s article is about Rajavi himself and how he has continually insisted on ‘going back to Ashraf’. Kohzadi points out that Rajavi also begs the MEK backers to send them to Syria as a way to get rid of them. Finally Kohzadi reminds everyone that Rajavi claimed ‘Camp Ashraf is everything we have and if it is not there we should not be alive’. But in the end he was resigned to abandoning Camp Ashraf with as much bloodshed as possible. Kohzadi reminds us that Rajavi used to quote Lenin by saying ‘to negotiate we can even wear a skirt if needed.’ But, he says, Rajavi should remember that Lenin was stressing the importance of negotiating, not suggesting a disguise for escaping.

++ A statement issued by the MEK this week swears at anyone who speaks about Camp Ashraf or criticises anything that has happened there in the past 25 years. The statement calls such people ‘mad dogs of the Iraqis’, or ‘monkeys of Iranian Intelligence’. In the end the MEK threatens every person from Iranian officials to journalists, reporters and commentators in the West, we will ‘punish you in the same way we have the likes of Lajevardi, Sayad Shirazi or the mullahs blown up like Sadughi, Dastgeib, Madani, etc’ – names of people the MEK has killed in assassinations and suicide bombings over the past thirty years. In response many have written in Farsi to warn that it is all very well saying the MEK is no longer on western terrorism lists when it is apparent their next targets are not in Iraq or Iran or Syria, but will be in London or Washington or Paris. They warn, it is not the first time the MEK has diverted attention from their defeats by resorting to acts of terrorism.

++ Irandidban website has warned America, the UN and the government of Iraq that if they do not supervise the Camp Liberty residents when they are taken out of Iraq, there will almost certainly be a series of murders, killings and terrorist activities, because these people have unstable and disturbed mental health and many have been trained by Saddam’s Fedayeen exclusively for such activities.

++ This week’s guests on Mardom TV were Batul Soltani and Zahra Moini, who talked about their personal experiences of Camp Ashraf.

++ Nimnegah site published part ten of its interview with Mohammad Razaghi, a former MEK member. In this episode he recalls the MEK’s massacre of the Kurds in 1991 and describes how they didn’t even leave the dead but instead burned and destroyed the bodies and the villages as much as possible. The savage hatred and intimidation shown by the MEK as they ran over bodies with their tanks was to act as a warning for others to be afraid and submit.

++ Mohamamd Karami published more news about Albania. The ninth series have now joined the 159 already transferred. Significantly, from these, 69 have declared themselves to be against the MEK and the government of Albania has housed them separately from the others in an apartment block.

++ Sahar Family Foundation of Baghdad has published an article titled ‘After 27 blood filled years, Camp Ashraf finally closed’. The article reminds us of the three and a half years of picketing by families of the Camp Ashraf residents and then briefly recaps the history of Camp Ashraf from time Rajavi went to Iraq, how the base was built and how it has now been destroyed and renamed Camp New Iraq. It goes through each strategy that Rajavi announced over these 27 years and shows how he changed his word every few months until failure after failure brought the camp to what it is now.

++ Other Farsi commentators point out that the end of Camp Ashraf came about not because of the MEK themselves but because of the stubbornness and dictatorship of Massoud Rajavi. It is a failure of his leadership, they say, not his followers. In response to the threat to kill critics, many point out to Rajavi that Saddam Hussein has gone and those days have gone with him.

++ The former deputy head of Iraq’s parliament stated that he condemned the killings but welcomed the evacuation of Camp Ashraf and said Iraq is on the right track to getting rid of this terrorist entity but that this has to be accomplished faster.

++Many write about the situation of the Iranian opposition outside Iran, in particular in relation to the government of Iran. They explain how the MEK and Rajavi have always been used as a winning card in the hands of Iran in international relations which uses the terrorist MEK cult as an example of Iranian ‘opposition’ groups, and uses the MEK against foreign governments by pointing to the double standards of supporting a widely despised terrorist group as the main Iranian opposition. These writers warn real opposition groups to clearly separate themselves from the MEK or they will never gain trust among people and make progress.

++ Following widespread criticism, the MEK removed the ‘death threat’ item from its website after only a few days. Commentators pointed out that the MEK clearly don’t know how to react after they were warned that the item and the process of its removal have been scanned and linked and re-published on the internet by MEK critics. The MEK are in an mess they say. By this morning the MEK had restored the ‘death threat’ item. Similarly, this week the MEK published an item claiming that a group of Iraqis had held a demonstration in their favour – until several people identified the main image as taken in 2004 from inside Camp Ashraf when the MEK were inviting Iraqis into the base to win them over with meals and money. A photoshopped banner had been transposed across the centre of the image to make it look current. The MEK immediately reacted by removing the picture but then, days later, restored it.

++ Mohammad Karami has published reports from Camp Liberty residents who have arrived in Albania who say that the MEK are trying to get a woman called Masoumeh Malek Mohammadi on the transfer list for Albania. Mohammadi is a well known torturer and murderer inside the MEK and is wanted by Iraqi judicial authorities for crimes committed in Iraq. The MEK now want to get her out of the country before she is arrested. Previously another wanted woman, Farzaneh Meidanshahi was transferred to Albania to avoid arrest.

++Iraqi newspapers this week do not have much to say about the MEK and Camp Ashraf because of more important issues gripping the country but a few parliamentarians, including Sadegh Al-Laban, have been quoted asking their government to expedite the MEK’s expulsion because they are agents of foreign governments in Iraq. Iraqi police referred to the MEK threats of assassination made against officials and others in Iraq. Officials refer to the fact that in Iraq the MEK are a designated terrorist organisation and they must be brought to justice. A few papers have quoted officials who say the Camp Ashraf killings were the work of MEK leaders and that they have killed their own people inside the camp. Iraq is still investigating this. They say some of the bodies show signs of having been tortured before they have been shot, so some areconcluding this has been an internal affair.

++ In English, various media reported Iraqi dismissals of MEK claims it is holding seven allegedly missing Camp Ashraf residents. Nejat bloggers quoted Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari saying that “the presence in Iraq of dissident groups and terror militants was no longer tolerable – directly referring to MKO members”. Zebari “called on the UN and Western countries to honor their promises and relocate all militants out of Iraq as soon as possible”. Fars News reports a speech made by senior Iranian MP, Naqavi Hosseini, “Since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran the US has been using MKO as a tool to achieve its objectives in the region”. But, he stressed, Iran “intends to pursue the rights of the Iranian victims of MKO terrorist attacks through international human rights organizations”.

++ Meanwhile, an American newspaper gives coverage to Ted Poe, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the panel that handles terrorism issues, as he urges the UN to place a United Nations peacekeeping force in Camp Hurriya and report back to the Security Council” because “…it should be evident to all by now that the government of Iraq cannot be trusted to keep these refugees safe.”

++ Anne Singleton, author of two books on Camp Ashraf and the MEK, writes in an article titled ‘Loving families offer security and a future for Camp Liberty residents in Iraq’, that the residents are being used for political purposes by various quarters and that America has a moral duty to help them after they have spent nearly three decades working for western interests. She says, “Once it is acknowledged that the residents of Camp Liberty are individuals and not pawns to be deployed or destroyed, and the MEK leaders are required to restore their basic freedoms, then solutions as to what can be done with them will not be difficult to find. First and foremost of these is to reunite them with their families.” The article concludes, “When looking for a permanent solution for the residents, anybody with any sincerity must acknowledge that the involvement of these people’s families can offer the emotional, financial and mental security needed for them to return to normal life wherever they finally settle. Beyond this, the normalising presence of families at Camp Liberty will forestall the opportunity for further attacks.”

September 20, 2013

Service

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