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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 61

++ As the situation in Gaza has escalated there has been a lot of condemnation of the MEK which has remained mum about the situation of the Palestinians and only expressed sympathy for the illegal settlers.

++ A picket was held in The Hague in the Netherlands to protest the situation of Behzad Alishahi a former member of the MEK who has been held in detention for several months. Various organisations sent representatives; some Iranian and some Dutch. Participants asked the Netherlands not to distinguish between good and bad terrorists and to treat MEK, Al Qaida and ISIS all the same. They stated that ample evidence has been found that the MEK created a case against Alishahi because he is a vocal critic and could not be silenced by their usual intimidation methods. According to this evidence, the MEK had collected signatures from their own supporters against fabricated allegations and then published articles boasting their power, saying if anyone criticises us we will do the same to you. The protestors read a message from Alishahi which thanked the participants and continued, “it is clear this action is targeting me individually, but is aimed at their internal critics to make them back off and keep quiet. As far as I am concerned it is only to be expected that your enemy will do these things against you. I hold my head high because so many friends are on my side.”

++ Ariya Iran Association in Paris has published documents and videos from Peace Association showing some of the participants in Villepinte making objections and heckling during the meeting. Peace Association has published the video showing tens of people standing up and trying to object before being escorted from the building by the hired security.

++ The website Mojahadin.com in Tehran posted a short piece titled, ‘When the Mojahedin Khalq override their masters’. After a spokesman for the Pentagon announced, “As far as we know Iran has no military presence in Iraq”, the MEK published a different version. A screenshot of the MEK website declares: ‘Pentagon spokesman says Iranian military is present in Iraq”.

++ In Iraq, Karim al-Nouri, spokesman for the ministry of transport was asked in an interview about the situation of the MEK. He said “it is public knowledge and we have clear evidence that the only reason the MEK are still in Iraq is because every time we increase the pressure on them to leave, the Americans intervene to keep them here. Our decision that they leave Iraq is irreversible, but we have now added the Judicial ruling that some will not be allowed to leave because they must face prosecution.”

++ Nejat Association (Eastern Azerbaijan branch) made an appeal based on an item the MEK have published. The MEK have claimed that 3100 tribal leaders have asked the US president to ask the UN to send blue helmets to protect Camp Liberty. In this statement the MEK claim that, “not allowing us to bring things into the camp that we want to has left us short of medicine and medics and has resulted in 21 deaths”. Nejat and the families are now appealing to UNAMI officials to force the MEK and its backers to make public the names of these 21 who have died so their families can be informed.

++ Nejat Association has published a new book titled, ‘A tune for death’. The book examines the words and behaviour of the MEK and Rajavi against the writings and knowledge of Margaret Singer, author of Cults in our Midst (1995).

++ Edalaat Association in Iran held a meeting in Tehran this week to address the issues of how the victims of the MEK can recover mentally and how they can move forward legally from their experiences. Various experts were invited to speak. Among the speakers was Mansoureh Karami widow of Massoud Alimohammadi, the first assassinated nuclear scientist.

++ Hanif Heydarnejad, an internal MEK critic, posted a piece on his own website titled, ‘The Heroic People of Iran’. He describes how, in his youth he got to know the MEK and its anti-imperialist struggle and examines the MEK position up to the recent event at Villepinte. He concludes that although the ‘People’s Mojahedin’ have always claimed to be the ‘Vanguard of the Heroic People of Iran’, there is no sign of these people any more. He now asks, “Where are these heroic people? We certainly didn’t see any of them in Villepinte. The people who left the MEK did so because they changed so much from what they started as.”

In English:

++ In an article titled, The Great Iranian Nuclear Swindle, Arron Merat unpicks the politically motivated false narrative about Iran’s nuclear programme which has been “wilfully adopted by much of the press”. The author identifies the role of the MEK in manufacturing false information about the Iranian programme and concludes: “The Gulf of Tonkin incident, which misleadingly sold the US on a full-scale war in Vietnam, and the claim of “mobile biological weapons labs” by the “Curveball” informant that helped selling the world on the Iraq War, are but two examples of falsehoods wilfully interpreted as truth by a supine press and a public conditioned to believe the worst. The West cannot allow a similar travesty to unfold in Iran. Its leaders should accept that the case against Iran is political, not technical, and work to end this long and burdensome affair.”

++ Hamid Babaei, counselor for the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, wrote an opinion column in USA Today, ‘Why are Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman and Patrick Kennedy hanging with members of a terrorist cult?’ Babaei’s scathing criticism of well-known American political figures who attended the MEK’s Paris rally declares, “Their appearance and their support for the People’s Mujahedin Organization (MEK) as an Iranian “opposition group” demonstrates their cluelessness about Iran. Considering the group’s history, its popularity in Iran is comparable to an American-led affiliate of Al-Qaeda.” After detailing the MEK’s “violent history, cultic nature and oppression of its own members spanning close to four decades”, the piece reveals that “in 2009, the State Department submitted information in court stating the MEK had trained individuals “to perform suicide attacks” and a declassified FBI report from 2004 similarly found that MEK cells around the world were “actively … planning and executing acts of terrorism. Most importantly, none of the members of the organization have ever been brought to justice by the Western governments who give them shelter.” Babaei’s powerfully argued case concludes, “The principle of the prevention of impunity dictates that acts of terror must not remain without legal consequence and those responsible must be brought to justice. The many victims of the MEK, those who have been killed or maimed and their family members deserve justice and the principles that Western nations claim to be unflinchingly dedicated to in the context of the so-called war on terror are trampled on every day that they accommodate terrorists, rather than contribute to their prosecution.”

++ Jim Lobe in Lobelog warns that Iran Hawks (who he identifies as the Israel lobby and its many allies in Congress), are launching a new effort to sabotage any agreement in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. The piece identifies several of the politically motivated actors in this scheme, including some linked to the MEK, and says, “hawks here appear to be taking their cue more from Netanyahu than the professionals, as this week saw clear evidence of their gearing up for a major fight both within and outside of Congress.”

++ An article by Iran Interlink titled, ‘Mixed messages from Mojahedin Khalq signal collapse of internal unity’, says that the MEK were disappointed when ISIS – which the MEK had initially supported – had not overrun Diyali province and restored Camp Ashraf to them, and were now claiming to be against ISIS so as to lay the ground for a massacre of the residents of Camp Liberty which could subsequently be blamed on Iran no matter which group carried out such an act. The article identified the growing divisions between Massoud and Maryam Rajavi in how they see the cult operating, each view based on their different perceptions of where their true allegiances and interests lie.

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat bloggers, like many Farsi articles, questions why the Mojahedin are so reluctant to cover the news of Gaza. He writes, “The MKO’s lack of enthusiasm and sympathy for the slaughter of Palestinians stems from the decade-long alliance of the group with Israeli Intelligence agencies. The notorious alliance includes financial, military, operational and spying cooperation that aims to demonize the Iranian Government. Their purpose is to curtail the nuclear program by any possible means.”

++ In a moving piece published by Christian Science Monitor, Scott Peterson reports on his interview with Mansoureh Karami, the wife of assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Alimohammadi. The article describes Karami’s meeting with her husband’s killer.”Before the meeting, Karami had vowed that, as many pellets as had entered her husband’s head, she would “hammer that many nails in that person’s head.” But when she met Fashi she found a broken man pleading for forgiveness, sobbing so much that he used up an entire box of tissues.

“When I saw him, I saw him being so powerless and small. I said it’s a waste for my hands to expend all this energy [hammering nails],” recalls Karami. She has two grown children, a degree in psychology, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in women’s studies.

“I will never forgive him – there is no place for forgiveness. Because I don’t think he only affected my family, but the whole country,” says Karami, focusing her determined dark brown eyes. “All the people of the world – no matter their beliefs – they still respect their country, and he betrayed his country.”

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