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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 41

++ After French journalist Regis Debray, writing in Le Monde last week, criticised his government for keeping Maryam Rajavi in the country for so long, Rajavi’s lobbyists have been brought out for the usual campaign of character assassination. Alongside them Manouchehr Hezarkhani, one of the last few remaining NCR personalities, has been ‘taken out of storage’ after a long silence to swear at the journalist in Farsi. Hezarkhani has gone into overdrive praising the people who remain in Iraq and get killed, and repeating Rajavi’s lies which are intended to keep them in Iraq. Nader Naderi has responded to Hezarkhani’s articles with a memory from Camp Ashraf at the time of Saddam Hussein when Hezarkhani had come to visit along with his son. According to Naderi, whether intentionally or innocently, Hezarkhani’s son announced in front of several people that he wouldn’t mind staying and working with the MEK. Hezarkhani got angry with him and in front of the others told him straight, “Have I fed you donkey brains to come up with such a ridiculous idea!” His son answered that he didn’t mean to stay permanently, only for a few weeks. To which Hezarkhani shouted back and demanded, “Have they been talking to you that you have come up with such a ridiculous idea. You will leave either before me or with me in a few days time.” Naderi reminds Hezarkhani of this outburst and says “how disgusting it is that what you didn’t want for your son for a few weeks, even though there was no chance of being killed, you are now advocating on behalf of Rajavi for other people’s children to stay and be killed.”

++ This week Jaish Al Adl, one of the terrorist organisations supported by Saudi Arabia, has kidnapped five Iranian border guards. Since the MEK have always been fully supportive of the activities of Al Qaida connected groups, the Families of Victims of Terrorism in Iran has published an article which examines the links between Jaish Al Adl and the MEK, and how they work together.

++ There has been a huge response from ex members and others following Maryam Rajavi’s death threats issued in speech given at a meeting in Auvers sur Oise, and which were published by the MEK in their Farsi sites before quickly being removed as too incriminating. In English, Anne Singleton’s article unpicks Rajavi’s wording to extract the precise meaning of what she is saying; there can be no doubt she is asking her loyal followers to kill the people she defines as her enemies in Europe. In Farsi, writers warn western governments, and in particular the French government, about the threat. Most analyse this as a last ditch and desperate attempt by Rajavi to save herself, but even so, they say, there is now a serious physical threat of violence.

++ This week the MEK suddenly changed their tune. The MEK used to openly support the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Now suddenly they are saying they don’t support it and have removed all such material, past and present, from the MEK’s websites. More interestingly, after all these years of insisting that they stay in Iraq, they are now saying it is Iran which doesn’t allow us to leave. Judging from the responses in Farsi, nobody takes any of this seriously and treat it simply as propaganda. But Irandidban website has an interesting analysis. Placing this alongside the change of tune of Saddamists and Bathist remnants and Al Arabiyah network belonging to Saudi Arabia, they link this with the Americans’ ridiculous new claim that Iran is supporting Al Qaida. Irandidban concludes that they have all been pushed into this position because they have failed in their attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq and since then are trying to whitewash their efforts. The article traces this back to Bandar Bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, whose covert plans in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were exposed to such a point that he had to disappear from the scene. Now those behind these activities, including the MEK, are trying to distance themselves from it.

++ Nejat Association writes a critique of an article supporting the MEK from America: “The MKO’s million dollar campaign in the US Congress has always got the attention of Western media. Hannah Allam of the Miami Herald is one of many American journalists who report on the well funded MKO lobbying efforts in the Congress and its problematic situation as a foreign force in Iraq. The herald piece “Iran’s MEK has friends in Congress, but that hasn’t eased problems in Iraq” , quotes an MKO activist Shirin Nariman who admits that the group’s “deep pocket” and ” relentless lobbying” against Islamic Republic is the key to buy US high profiles…”

++ Mehdi Nikbakht has published article in Setaregan site in Switzerland comparing the life Rajavi and his wife were leading according to the newly published news about the nuclear bunkers etc, in Camp Ashraf, and how the ordinary members had to suffer without even the bare minimum for their needs – food, clothing, heating or cooling, etc – in the camps in Iraq.

++ There has been an enthusiastic response to the action taken by a group of French citizens calling themselves the Peace group who held a demonstration in Auvers sur Oise demanding the expulsion of the MEK cult from France. The MEK typically aggressive counter reaction similarly drew everyone’s attention. Many have connected this to Massoud Rajavi’s existential panic that now he has lost Iraq, he is going to lose France as well. So he ends up threatening anyone and everyone. Ariya Iran has published photographs taken by the group which show the MEK’s agents following the demonstrators as they made their way home after the demonstration and threatening them. One of them is a close bodyguard of Maryam Rajavi. There are also documents which reveal that a French woman who has been regularly featured alongside Maryam Rajavi at her dinners and parties, has been witnessed attacking demonstrators and trying to film their faces while threatening that they will be found and punished.

++ An article by Mahmoud Sepahi from Yaran Association in France is titled: ‘Run aground in Iraq, waiting to be put on trial in France, and Rajavi’s boring messages. Basically he lists the facts about Iraq, the MEK are being thrown out, and about France, Maryam Rajavi is waiting to be taken to court on terrorism charges, and yet she has closed her eyes as though nothing is happening and simply repeats the same boring nonsense she has done for the past three decades.

++ Homayoun Kohzadi in Paris has also been commenting on a different issue but with a similar conclusion. Kohzadi points to the repetitive and boring messages broadcast by Massoud Rajavi for over thirty years. ‘Starting from the time he came out of Iran and gave a 6 month timeline to overthrow the regime, then made it two years and now he extends it year by year but still expects people to sit and listen to him and his nonsense.’

++ Nejat Association published an article examining the MEK’s latest fraudulent activities on their websites using photoshop and other means to fabricate images purportedly showing unrest in Iran. Among such false MEK reports is that attached to a photograph of a queue for government rations for poor people. One report claims that an old man is the subject of the news, but in another report the subject is a young woman. The item has been duplicated with only the names changed; not even remembering it is they who have made the report up. After decades of this, says Nejat, nobody believes them.

++ M. Eftekhari sent an article to be published in Iran Interlink titled, ‘What convention? Which organisations? Which Iranians and what democracy?’ It is a response to Maryam Rajavi’s claim of holding a convention of Iranian associations for democracy. Addressing Rajavi directly he says none of these terms applied. Firstly, this was a speech not a discussion; everyone had to sit and listen to you. Then there were no associations, no names were published, no reports given out; this was only about you. They weren’t even Iranians; 95% were foreigners and the others were your own loyal members. Lastly, this had nothing to do with democracy because you have nothing to do with democracy. The whole thing was a sham.

++ Ali Jahani from Iran Pen association in Germany has posted reminder note titled ‘Why we should help the residents of Liberty’. He identifies the threats from Rajavi which loom over these people, and then shows that there are very, very few people who are trying to actually save them. He shows that nearly every site which mentions them wants to exploit them, whether American, Israeli, etc, they want to use their blood. Only their families and friends – former colleagues – are trying to save them.

++ Iran Interlink places two reports side by side for contrast. A group of French citizens calling themselves the Peace Association have asked for the expulsion of the MEK from Auvers sur Oise. While Press TV reports on President Obama’s use of executive powers to ease rules for potential asylum seekers in the US who support or fund of terrorist groups. This would, of course, allow the MEK to relocate there in future.

++ The MEK’s Farsi outlets continue to viciously attack recently separated members of the NCRI and and others who still consider themselves as internal critics of the MEK. In reaction to these, Esmail Yaghmai, the famous poet and ex member of the MEK and NCRI, who had been criticising them in good faith as a friend and suffered the inevitable backlash of swearing for his efforts, has posted a note which itemises the things the MEK says and concludes that they are so desperate that they don’t even check their own contradictions. In the end, he says, I welcome it because from outside you people can see your true face. Yaghmai says, “Now I take it as a credit to be sworn at by you”. He directs all this at Massoud and Maryam because nobody would do this without their order. He concludes, “I will doubt myself on the day, God forbid, that you begin to say a single positive word about me”.

14 February 2014

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