EU must reassess risk after Rajavi orders MEK loyalists to kill critics

Maryam Rajavi has used a meeting at her headquarters near Paris to incite her followers to go ahead and kill individuals that she identifies as her enemies. Speaking to Mojahedin Khalq loyalists on the eve of the thirty fifth anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Rajavi drew a red line between her supporters and everyone else; at one point she lashes out at Iranian opposition groups outside Iran, calling their criticism of the MEK “the struggle of Khamenei’s Pasdars’ satanic attacks against the resistance”, (i.e. Rajavi). Her red line has a very clear definition; you are either totally for us or totally against us.

According to the MEK’s NCRI website, three hundred associations – essentially sub-sects of the Mojahedin Khalq – were in attendance, although the pictures do not reflect these numbers and the associations are not named anywhere in the report. These represent the core supporters of the MEK who are paid to perform the activities which the majority of actual MEK members are incapable of doing. To the extent they are loyal to Rajavi, they are at her command.

Rajavi began to motivate them by first claiming, without providing even anecdotal evidence and in spite of the recent popular election of President Rohani that, “the Iranian society stands ready to change this regime”. She then went on to define her red line: “we highlight the demarcation with the regime in its entirety and we also stress solidarity with all those true defenders of overthrowing the regime”.

To be absolutely clear about what she means by drawing this red line between ‘us and them’, she says, “the struggle of the participant organisations and associations in this convention against the Mullah’s intelligence ministry at this time is the most needed part of the struggle to topple the Mullah’s regime and bring about democracy and the rule of people in Iran. We announce that countering the agents of religious fascist rulers of Iran who are targeting the leadership of the resistance (i.e. Rajavi), is a nationalistic duty of every freedom lover Iranian irrelevant to their political and ideological belief”. [my emphasis]

By “agents of the religious fascist rulers of Iran”, Maryam Rajavi means anyone who criticises the MEK and in particular former members of the MEK who are by default, and “according to the rules of armed struggle [war], condemned to death”.

Since the vast majority of these critics and former members are resident in Europe and North America, ‘countering the agents’ who are ‘condemned to death’ can only be interpreted as instructing her loyal followers to kill these people wherever they reside in the west.

Of course this is never expressed in English, only on the Farsi sites was the threat published. Realising that, as a resident of France, Rajavi would be held personally responsible for incitement to murder, the MEK quickly removed the incriminating Farsi sections of her speech from the hambastegi meli website (a copy is available), and instead an MEK spokesman in Iraq was quoted issuing the same threat. This time more directly as he said, “since we are at war with Iran we will treat anyone who leaves us as someone who has changed sides and we will execute them”. In this context the specific delineation of the red line becomes highly significant as Rajavi is now able to label anybody who does not bow down to her as her enemy , as an “agent of the Iranian regime”. Even those who have escaped Camp Liberty after thirty years in isolation, and threaten them with elimination.

Try as they might the leaders of the MEK cannot for long disguise their total dependence on violence as a means to pursue the very existence of their group. Although posing for Western consumption as a democratic opposition group, the MEK operates as a cult and relies absolutely on instilling fear and dependency on its members. It is imperative that the leaders maintain this atmosphere among the members in order to keep them ‘on message’. As a result, any criticism or protest aimed at exposing the true nature of the group provokes an immediate deployment of intimidation and aggression, sometimes leading to actual physical attacks, even in the streets of western countries. In this way, members (and backers) are graphically reminded of their real role as a group.

The question is, how far will the MEK go to counter the exposures made by former members who are increasing in number and who remain undeterred in their efforts to help rescue those former colleagues who remain trapped in conditions of isolation and suffering daily abuses inside all the MEK’s bases, whether in Iraq or in Europe and North America?

Informed people are beginning to ask what Maryam Rajavi will ask of the members being kept in Iraq against their will. The MEK are trained to violence, to kill and be killed. That has been the MEK’s raison d’être for five decades. It is the reason warmongers and anti-Iran pundits back the group. Loyal members who are trained for assassination are known to already be in Europe. Will they be unleashed soon in an attempt to silence the MEK’s most effective critics? (In her recent speech Maryam Rajavi emphasises that her real enemies – former MEK members – are no more than a handful in every western countries, but she does not name them.)

Judging by past behaviour, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. On many occasions since the MEK established bases in western capitals, it has used violent attacks on its rivals and enemies; tactics from character assassination campaigns to knifings and attempted kidnaps have frequently been reported by victims. Unfortunately, because the MEK has powerful backers, these low level criminal activities have seldom been investigated or prosecuted, leaving the victims vulnerable, though undeterred.

This threat however must be taken seriously. The gruesome death of a former MEK member who had become incarcerated in Camp Ashraf is a vivid reminder of what the MEK is capable of. Massoud Dalili’s disfigured body was discovered among 52 other victims of a violent attack on the Camp which occurred on September 1st 2013. The victims had mostly been subjected to execution style killing. But Dalili’s face had been burned with acid to render him unidentifiable. Although it is still unclear who launched the attack – Iraqi investigators are unable to interview the 42 eyewitness because the MEK are holding them incommunicado inside Camp Liberty – the fact that Dalili was a former high ranking member who disappeared unaccountably from a hotel in Baghdad two years before has led experts on MEK behaviour to conclude that he was killed by the MEK themselves after being kidnapped or deceived into returning to Camp Ashraf. The MEK have simply blamed Iran for his death.

There are further indications that the MEK are actively mobilising to counter the inevitable exposures of former members about human rights abuses committed systematically inside all MEK camps and bases. Two MEK intelligence and security officers of the Mojahedin Khalq have been tracked travelling between Paris and Tirana in Albania. Tirana is now home to some 210 individuals who were recently transferred there from Camp Liberty. The MEK has made every effort to contain them and keep them under cult control, sending minders along with them from Iraq to maintain the control.

Since their arrival, 70 have separated from the MEK and begun to speak out against their treatment in the Iraqi camps. Now, Esmail Mortezaee (Javad Khorasan) and Hassan Nayb Aghad, have been reported bringing suitcases of money (well over a million dollars in cash) with them from Paris out of which they pay $500 per month to each person on condition that they do not talk to anyone, not even their families, about their experiences in the MEK camps, that they do not talk to the UNHCR, which is responsible for the individuals but pays only around $200 per month, and that they work for the MEK by updating social networks to promote the group. Some of these refugees have been threatened with violence and physical elimination. Interestingly, Esmail Mortazaee carries a card or pass which identifies him as working from the Pentagon office in Tirana. He shows this to the ex members as proof of his backing and power over them.

Such activities are not new and have gone on unchallenged for many years in Europe and North America. Many former members who are outspoken critics of the MEK have been, over the years, subjected to mental and physical intimidation carried out with impunity by loyal MEK members trained in security, intelligence and military skills. But importantly, not one of these trained killers will act without the order of their cult leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. It is incumbent on western security services to understand this dynamic and also acquaint themselves with the current change in risk following the transfer of defected MEK members from Iraq to Europe and in particular Maryam Rajavi’s speech in France blatantly giving her ‘permission’ (read order) to go ahead and kill her opponents.

Middle East Strategy Consultants,Author of “Saddam’s Private Army” and “The life of Camp Ashraf”

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