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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 77

++ A group of ex-MEK members wrote an open letter to Hassibeh Haj Sahrai, deputy head of Amnesty International. They say that over the years, as AI publishes its statements, they more and more resemble the statements published by the MEK about Iraq. AI appears to be taking a political stance alongside the MEK without having any idea what is happening on the ground there. There is pretended concern about the situation of Camp Liberty but which actually reveals AI has no knowledge about it. For years, former MEK members say, they have been writing to expose human rights abuses inside the MEK, and have repeatedly asked AI to investigate. But AI has shown no interest whatsoever in doing this. The letter asks, ‘is Amnesty International’s Iraq office part of the opposition to the current government of Iraq, and as pro-Saddamist as it appears to be? If so, even as an opponent of the government AI has a responsibility toward the human rights situation in the camp’.

++ Ebrahim Khodabandeh met with Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Ebrahim Jafari in the International Conference on World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) in Tehran last week to ask him to help facilitate family visits for residents of Camp Liberty. In extension to this, Khodabandeh wrote an article for Iran Interlink giving up to date news about the MEK in Tirana and Camp Liberty. According to people who contact him directly, the MEK had forced the delay in transferring the latest two groups of Camp Liberty residents to Tirana while they finalised purchases of land and buildings outside the Albanian capital. The MEK subsequently created two closed camps and forcefully took the new arrivals there. The MEK has re-created Camp Ashraf in Albania, with closed doors and the cult system intact and have vowed to make more camps in Europe and elsewhere. The heads of the MEK quote Massoud Rajavi who promised he would make “a thousand Camp Ashrafs”. Having said that, people say that inside these camps the residents are protesting and rioting and fighting back. They are no longer compliant. The MEK commanders are trying to prevent outside interference. They threaten officials of the UNHCR and other agencies; either they can buy people or they threaten they will lose their jobs. Other news says that the MEK have changed the go-between for Paris to Tirana from Hassan Nayebagha, to Mina Rezai (a younger member who has been groomed for this role) because she is less known.

++ While visiting Iran, Iraq’s FM Ebrahim Jafari said in several interviews that getting help from Iran to fight terrorism in his country is natural because Iran is the natural ally of Iraq. He said the two countries will root out terrorism together.

++ At the time of this week’s session of nuclear negotiations, Maryam Rajavi and her paid lobbyists tried their utmost to somehow make themselves relevant to attract media attention. They came out with all kinds of messages and stances in order to place themselves with the neocons. But this time there was no media coverage at all. It appears the West has given up on them and the MEK has become a burden rather than a useful mercenary force.

++ Maryam Rajavi, desperate to be in news about something, jumped on the bandwagon of the Australian hostage debacle. First she claimed hostage taker Man Haron Monis was “an agent of the Iranian regime”. She then backtracked when this was found to be untrue. Even more ridiculous was sending a delegation to the funerals of the victims to lay a wreath on her behalf, with photographs to advertise this for her websites. The backlash among Farsi commentators hit when everyone started laughing at this. One even joked about being careful the delegation didn’t take some flowers – referencing the incident when MEK officials were caught stealing flowers from graves to take to ornament Maryam Rajavi’s closed camp in Auvers sur Oise outside Paris.

++ Ghalam Iran (Pen Society) challenged Massoud Rajavi. In a recent announcement, Rajavi claims that only seven people have asked to leave Camp Liberty. Ghalam said, “OK. If, in spite of all the pressure you put on people, we accept that seven people have been courageous enough to say they want to leave, you should now tell us who they are. You must name them. We want to know if they will mysteriously end up dead tomorrow, have heart attacks or commit suicide. It is usual for you to kill such people as dissidents. Certainly, the UN officials need to find them and help them before anything bad happens.”

++ In English:

++ An article by Hamid Babaei, head of the Press Office for the Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN in New York, published by The Hill, questions why that publication “would make its coveted platform so routinely available to the propaganda of a terrorist cult or its bought off the rack series of front groups and shills”. Babaei asserts that “During the last two years a number of opinion pieces have appeared in The Hill against Iran. These articles serve the interests and are written by the members and affiliates of a terrorist group known as the MEK”, which Babaei argues the State Department has called a “repressive cult despised by most Iranians and Iraqis.”

++ Brian M Downing, a political-military analyst writing in The Asia Times, reviews the current state of the nuclear negotiations. He identifies ways in which Iran has complied with various demands over its peaceful nuclear programme and how the deliberate scuppering of these overtures by America and her allies contributes to a continued perception of threat in Iran. Among these threats, “Israel and the ex-pat Mujahideen-e-Khalq group have assassinated a number of Iranian nuclear scientists, though incidents have diminished owing either to increased security or fewer targets. In October 2014, the nuclear research site at Parchin was rocked by a powerful explosion. Outsiders see these acts simply as efforts to slow down the nuclear program. Iran sees them as a sign of general hostility from outside powers.”

++ Iran Interlink posted an analytical article by Sam Muhho in Global Research titled ‘Terrorism is not a “Threat” to the West. It is a Weapon of the West’. The article has no mention of the MEK, but describes the framework within which the MEK has its Western support.

++ Mazda Parsi writing for Nejat Bloggers lines up Maryam Rajavi with the neocons and Israeli lobby who, “even before the ink dried on the extension agreement in Vienna” were demanding new sanctions on Iran as an attempt to further obstruct the negotiations. Parsi points out however that Maryam Rajavi’s “determination to obstruct nuclear talks and engagement with Iran is not in line with the Iranian people’s longing for independence and security”.

++ Sahar Family Foundation reported on Ebrahim Khodabandeh’s meeting with Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Ebrahim Jafari. Khodabandeh asked him to help facilitate family visits for residents of Camp Liberty. “In this meeting Mr. Jafari emphasized that the MKO is a terrorist cult which has committed many crimes against the people of Iraq and confirmed that it is the wish of all factions and tendencies that they should leave the country and that their leaders be prosecuted. He said that preventing the families from visiting their relatives shows by itself the nature of the leaders of this group.”

++ A detailed article by Gareth Porter in Middle East Eye vindicates the findings of his book Manufactured Crisis, that at least some of the so-called ‘laptop documents’ came from Mossad “using the Iranian opposition as a hopefully credible source” to front these revelations.

December 19, 2014

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