++ Paris this week saw the start of the court case against leading MEK member Mehdi Abrishamchi on terrorism charges. Several former MEK members staged a picket in support of the prosecution.
++ More responses are rumbling through the Commentariat in reaction to Maryam Rajavi’s speech to Congress. The underlying theme is ‘how on earth did they end up bringing Maryam Rajavi to speak?’ Most concluded that this exposes high levels of financial corruption at the top levels of the US political system. But in that respect only America and Israel are paying the price because Iran is able to use this situation to its favour in the negotiations. By itself the event is a comedy – “bringing the representative of ISIS to talk against ISIS”. Some point out that Maryam Rajavi didn’t even attempt to say anything about ISIS to show any expertise. Worse than that she announced that to fight ISIS you need regime change in Iran fronted by the MEK; which will take the credit and take power. Rajavi complains that nobody should believe there are differences between Sunni and Shia because both Iran and ISIS are both after power. Then immediately follows that by demanding regime change in Iran to give power to the MEK! That, according to her and completely missing her own irony, is the way forward. Even the Americans acknowledge that the only effective force pushing back ISIS in Iraq is the Iranian backed militias alongside the Iraqi army. Some analyses conclude that the presence of Rajavi shows the utter weakness of the Israelis and the Americans. The Israeli lobby and its sub class have been brought so low and powerless as to play this card.
++ The Mohammadi family have written to state that they have not and will not give up on their struggle to make contact with their daughter Somayeh. They, along with other families, are asking ‘where is this so-called international community, where are the human rights organisations? How come, when it comes to the Mojahedin they can do what they want? Why are these organisations so useless?’
++ The MEK is preparing for its annual show in Villepinte celebrating the start of its terrorist campaign inside Iran and again the Commentariat is exposing the MEK saga of buying both audience and speakers.
++ Ehsan Bidi from Albania says the MEK has changed its tactics this week. Now MEK commander Afshin Ebrahimi is asking ex members “why are you still here?” He is encouraging them to leave Albania illegally. Bidi says this makes it even more obvious that they want to establish a base in Albania. The MEK has brought money, forces and have bought land and property there for a reason.
++ Mir Bagher Sedaghi from Setaregan Assoc in Switzerland published a short article asking ‘Is Rajavi as great as she thinks she is, or is she just daft?’ The article quotes Rajavi claiming victory “because the agents of Iran’s Intelligence ministry – Daniel Benjamin and Robert Ford – who tried to stop Maryam Rajavi speaking to Congress failed and we won.”
++ Fallout from Maryam Rajavi’s appearance by video conference in the US Congress continued this week. Some former MEK members wrote in English to congratulate Robert Ford and Daniel on their stance.
Daniel Larison in The American Conservative writes “The refusal of these former officials to play along with some hawks’ disturbing admiration for the MEK is appropriate, but it is unfortunate that it should be necessary. The attention and praise lavished on the MEK in recent years by former officials, retired military officers, and politicians has been an embarrassing spectacle. Now the strange infatuation that many hawks have with the “former” terrorist group is spilling over into the regular business of Congress. As if to underscore how misguided inviting Rajavi was, a copy of the cult leader’s testimony shows that she intends to use her time to argue for regime change in Iran. Ali Gharib comments: But more to the point, the MEK has always had only one goal: the overthrow of the Iranian regime. For decades, it has tried to shoehorn regional and geopolitical dynamics into its aim, irrespective of any salient connections.”
Atwiw.com’s take on the event is even more blunt. After unpicking the MEK’s attempts to buy respectability, the jokey article concludes: “So, hey, if you’ve ever wanted to testify before Congress but there’s no discernible reason why they should invite you to do so, plus maybe you’ve got some unsavory things in your past that could complicate matters, don’t worry! Just fork over a few tens of thousands to your favorite congressperson and you could soon find yourself offering your “expertise” (or irrelevant ranting, but whatever, you bought your time fair and square) to our nation’s top legislators! Good luck!”
Mazda Parsi in Nejat Bloggers argues that the “Appearance of the self-claimed president of National Council of Resistance, Maryam Rajavi in a hearing in US Congress indicates the absurdity of the claim of fighting against terrorism. Although the credibility of this so called leader is questionable getting support among some US congressmen for her presence in the congress is interesting and creates doubts in everybody’s mind.”
++ Also in America, Eli Clifton writing in Lobelog reveals that ‘Tom Cotton Allies Himself with the MEK’. “It appears that Cotton, who has quickly displaced Lindsey Graham as the Senate’s most hawkish member, has decided that it is necessary – perhaps even politically desirable – to make common cause with a group that has committed serious human rights abuses, allied itself for some two decades with Saddam Hussein, and carried out terrorist acts, including against U.S. citizens and servicemen – all in the interests of sabotaging an Iran nuclear agreement.”
++ On the subject of the nuclear negotiations Akbar Ganji’s article in the Huffington Post suggests ‘Why Tehran Fears the Iraqization of Iran on Nuclear Inspections’. In a well-argued piece he analyses Iran’s mistrust of American intentions. “Iranian leaders are deeply concerned about the IAEA inspection regime, and are afraid that Iran will meet the same fate as Iraq’s, right before its invasion in 2003, when the agency demanded inspecting even Saddam Hussein’s palaces. The IAEA searched everywhere and found no evidence of a nuclear program, yet Iraq was invaded… Ayatollah Khamenei and the military leaders believe that, beginning with the day after signing the final agreement, Israel and the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq will surely declare every single military site as “suspect,” claiming that the Islamic Republic is secretly trying to make nuclear bombs there. If Iran does not allow inspecting the “suspect” sites, Israel and MEK will declare victory, and if Iran does allow the inspection, the agency may eventually demand to inspect even Khamenei’s bedroom.”
++ Iran Interlink believes ‘Maryam Rajavi and her cult brand prove too toxic for The Hill’ after an article by long term MEK supporter Struan Stevenson omitted to mention either Maryam Rajavi or the MEK.