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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 53

++ Writers reacting to last week’s news about Amrollah Ebrahimi’s intimidation article in Global Iran say it is ironic that he managed to escape the MEK in Iraq and take refuge in TIPF, but now in Europe he has been re-recruited and is probably paid to spread this information in the media. Ghorban Ali Hossien Nejad’s article is titled ‘About Amrollah Ebrahimi, Massoud Rajavi and Goebbels’. He writes about the system of misinformation in the MEK and says that because of his good Arabic language skills he spent 20 out of 30 years of his membership in the kind of activity they are doing now in the Netherlands. Other people comment that Ebrahimi’s claim to be working with Dutch Intelligence needs to be investigated. Irrelevant to whether this is true or not the Dutch need to be careful of their reputation.

++ The controversy caused by Maryam Rajavi’s inclusion Accountability Week in the Canadian parliament resulted in quite a few reactions. Said Soltanpour, a Canadian journalist, posted on Facebook and Twitter what a Conservative MP divulged to him; Maryam Rajavi had applied for visa but was rejected. Even though an MP can invite an individual and ask for a visa apparently the far right members weren’t successful. The MP also said, ‘This has been a disastrous event and looking back we wish it hadn’t happened’. Other comments complain that Maryam Rajavi bends over backward to answer questions by Canadian MPs but doesn’t even talk to Iranians. Massoud Khodabandeh on Facebook: Canada has another problem as the Iraqi embassy has complained to Canada’s Foreign Ministry that the aim of inviting this woman, with the lies she says about Iraq, to your parliament, has apparently been to demonise the GOI, UNAMI and all those who are trying to sort out the situation of the MEK there. Canada, instead of helping, has acted to create problems instead.

++ Reports from Albania reveal that the MEK are attempting to re-impose its brainwashing system. There are three kinds of people in Tirana. First the MEK and their loyalists. Men and women are separated with the men occupying a 12 storey building called Italia House. The women have been moved a kilometre distant. Apparently Maryam Rajavi is very concerned to restrict their contact with the outside world to prevent any of them running away. Everyone has been instructed, in addition to their daily tasks of cooking and cleaning, to learn English, French or German. Brainwashing sessions are held three times a day. Since Maryam Rajavi is worried about information coming out of Albania she has given direct instructions for everyone to watch each other, to stay inside the building as much as possible and those who need to go shopping should go in groups of at least three and watch each others’ activity. On their return they have a debriefing session. The second group are those who have separated but are still dependent on the MEK for legal and/or financial reasons. They are paid $250 per month plus food, but they have to work for the MEK in return and it is also conditional on them not having contact with others. They are more free than the loyalists, don’t have to participate in meetings, but are required to listen to Maryam Rajavi’s proclamations and watch videos. The third group are those who have separated completely from the MEK are getting no money or food from the MEK, but little by little they are using their freedom to stand on their own feet and get back to a normal life.

++ After Iran made a formal request to Iraq for the extradition of several MEK members, internal critics of the MEK have published warnings. They fear that Rajavi’s silence over this issue means he wants this to provide more blood and sacrifice. Atefeh Eghbal denounces this and trusts her criticisms will help the MEK. Esmail Yaghmai’s article ‘For Deaf Ears’, acknowledges the MEK leaders won’t listen to anyone but pleads for them to treat this as a humanitarian issue and to get them out rather than making political gain from it.

++ Representatives of Setaregan Association in Switzerland had meetings in the Swiss Parliament where they briefed MPs about the situation in Iraq and the MEK in general.

++ Maryam Rajavi met with leaders of the Syrian opposition in France to try to coordinate what kind of help the MEK can give them. Many writers remembered that this is the same as what happened with Iraq in the 1980s, but question whether the MEK can be any use now.

++ The Head of Iran’s Commission of Councils of Parliament gave an interview after he returned from Iraq. He discusses the MEK saying, “I don’t think there is any use for the MEK in Syria or elsewhere. They have no arms, no energy, and live in abandoned American containers. They are a burden. Their average age is 53 and many have terminal illnesses. Iraq is trying to send them to Europe and North America to live out the rest of their lives, but no one is worried about them as a threat, we just need to move them on.”

++ Hadi Afshar (aka Said Jamali) one of the longest serving members of the MEK to have escaped writes a short note in Pejvak Iran titled ‘For the gentlemen Abrishamchi, Jaberzadeh, Mohaddessin, Towhidi, Darvari, Barai, and …’. He directs his comments to these who know him from the time of the Shah: “knowing you all, you all know what Rajavi is up to – I am not talking about politics, or differences in our views or about Iran or Iraq. I mean 3000 lives in Camp Liberty, and you all know he wants to kill them. We witnessed for years how he operates so we all know. I beg you for once and for all to get together and save these people. Sit and find a bit of courage in yourselves to talk, and once you do talk things will move forward. If you think your hearts are so dead you can’t understand me, just remember when we would sit together and read the Qoran, and turn to God. Your hearts will soften again.”

++ Several articles again expose the MEK’s efforts to gather a ‘rent-a-crowd’ audience for their annual June 20th celebration by touting in travel and tour agencies as well as refugee camps. Mojahadin.org in Tehran interviewed Jahanshah Seyed Mohammadi, who had been given by Saddam to the MEK as a POW. He explains how the POWs suffered in Saddam’s prisons and at the hands of the MEK. He says, “at least the audience in Europe have a better time than us, they have a free trip and even money. We worked 24/7 and were beaten. We received no pay, we were no better than slaves. At least in Europe they get paid.”

++ Ali Khatami, a recent escapee from Camp Liberty, currently resides in Hotel Mohajer in Baghdad. He has been an outspoken critic and has exposed the MEK’s mistreatment of residents in the camp during his interviews with UN officials. This week the MEK found he was the source of this information and have tried to discredit him. In an hour long video the MEK mash Khatami together with other escapees and accuse him of having ‘always been an agent of the Iranian regime’. Khatami writes to say, “You, who sit in Camp Liberty, think this is against me. But when you sit outside Liberty, and you see the list of all the others who have escaped like me, you are bound to ask, why? Why have so many people run away from them?”

++ Many places have treated as a joke pictures of the MEK demonstration against Iran in Vienna this week. Some comment that the MEK failed in the US then Canada and are now trying this. But point out that it is ironic that the total number of demonstrators is three, who are surrounded by banners and flags on sticks because there is no one to hold them. This, they say, clearly shows the collapse of the MEK from within. It doesn’t even have enough people to do this.

++ Dr Alireza Nourizadeh’s weekly TV programme this week was devoted to the situation of the MEK. A video of the one hour programme has been widely published on the internet as ‘a history of the MEK and Massoud Rajavi’. Nourizadeh began by recounting what he knew of them at the time of the Shah, particularly the history of Massoud Rajavi, starting when he was a young boy. Nourizadeh’s main point, as someone who has known Rajavi for so many years, is that Rajavi is trying to play the role of Imam Zaman and is hoping that one day the dust will settle and he can come back – though probably during this time he will have some plastic surgery! He says, “As a normal person, Rajavi could have apologised years ago, said, ‘I am not capable of doing this and I will hand over to my wife Maryam who can continue’. This is the normal behaviour of human beings. But because Rajavi really believes his Imamat he can’t hand over control to anyone else. Just as Jesus couldn’t give his place to anyone else, so Rajavi can’t hand over to his wife and has to wait until its safe to come out again so he can run the show!”

In English:

++ Following on from Ali Gharib’s exposure in The Nation of the gaffe in the Canadian Parliament when it invited Maryam Rajavi as a ‘human rights advocate’, Anne Khodabandeh wrote ‘Introducing Maryam Rajavi as a human rights activist is the wrong tool for the wrong job. On the same subject Saeed Kamali Dehghan writes in The Guardian, ‘Why Canada is getting it wrong on Iran’, “This week’s Iran human rights event at Canada’s parliament embodied what is wrong with Ottawa’s approach. A key speaker at a programme studying violations of human rights in Iran was Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the radical exiled group MEK, which was listed as terrorist organisation by the US and the UK until recently. The MEK, charactrised [sic] by many observers as a cult-like group, has been repeatedly slammed by the United Nation because of mistreating its own members. The MEK appearance at the programme reportedly made the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, to withdraw from the event.”

++ Mazda Parsi’s article in Nejat Bloggers, ‘The MKO and the mirage of Alternative for the IRI’ brings together several strands and articles written about the MEK’s recent activities and the mistaken belief in some political circles that they are a viable group. Parsi brings critical voices to answer this and concludes, “The MKO’s large-scale effort to gain the West’s support does not seem to be efficient. “The dominant EU line now clearly favors diplomacy with Iran, which will, hopefully, lead to a final deal over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program,” suggests Mamedov.” The more the chances of success for diplomacy increase, the more irrelevant the MEK will become.””

++ In an interview with Al Jazeera, investigative journalist Dr Gareth Porter again asks ‘ How did a false Iran nuclear narrative come to dominate global politics?’ and says, “Israel is the only country in the world that had actually created an office in its foreign intelligence agency responsible for influencing foreign perceptions of the Iranian nuclear programme, as revealed by the book The Nuclear Jihadist, by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins. Furthermore, as ElBaradei observed in his own memoirs, Israel had openly provided the IAEA an entirely new series of intelligence reports and purported documents on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons work while ElBaradei was still Director General. The dossier that the IAEA published in November 2011 was based entirely on those documents, although the source was never mentioned by the agency.”

++ Nejat Society has published a Letter to António Guterres UNHCR from Nejat Society families of Yazd Province. They ask for his help saying ” Removing the cultish and organizational limitations is regarded as the basis for the freedom of the captured members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization of Iran in Iraq”, before pointing out that “We are deeply concerned for the fate of our children. We are entitled to see our children and we are sorry that the international human rights bodies haven’t paid the least attention to us.”

May 23 2014

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