Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 127

++ Several items have criticised Saudi Arabia for using the MEK on its Al Arabiyeh television. These say that the Saudis have no tools and have resorted to wearing Saddam’s old boots. We are reminded that the MEK are not as they were before and the negative impact of using them outweighs the positive for Saudi Arabia. Some articles look at the situation of the MEK themselves as a mercenary force which will work for anyone. Irandidban has published a short bullet point article following the history of treason and mercenary activity of the MEK from its start up to now. Fars News in Iran also has a short bullet point article about the Al Arabiyeh channel’s use of the MEK and the separatist groups titled, ‘Al Arabiyeh the mouthpiece of terrorists and separatists’.

++ Atefeh Eghbal and others have written short notes comparing the MEK with Daesh in terms of how they treat families. This was in response to the incident in which a Daesh fighter executed his own mother because she wanted to help him get back to normal life. Iranian writers identify the MEK as being the same, saying the only reason they don’t publicly execute the families is because they can’t. The fundamental approach is the same, swearing, name calling, throwing stones, etc.

++ US and Iranian Foreign Ministers along with EU representative Federica Mogherini are in Vienna in expectation that sanctions will be lifted this weekend. On January 28, President Rohani will visit President Holland in Paris. Iranian exiles in Paris are preparing to start a new phase of anti-Iran activities after the unclear issue has ended. At the top of that agenda is human rights. Tens of different groups and individuals have made a joint announcement about pickets and demonstrations held from 27-28 January. This varies from known groups like the Iranian Democratic Party of Kurdistan to unknown people from Chicago or a group calling itself ‘the book table of the Netherlands’. The main event will be a picket at Les Invalides. Ironically the MEK have announced that they will hold a separate picket on the same day, at the same time, only in Trocadero, which is a stone’s throw away. Contrary to the other events which are organised and attended by Iranian and French groups, the MEK event is all in Arabic and is Saudi backed. It is expected that the flags of Saudi and Israel will be flying together alongside the MEK logo at this picket. It is also expected that there will be more of the so-called Syrian Free Army there than the dwindling MEK people, and already the SFA’s local radio in France is being used solely to advertise this MEK event in Arabic and French. The MEK placards are all in Arabic – we haven’t seen any in Hebrew yet. As usual the MEK are touring Europe’s refugee camps and promising a trip meals and pocket money to any refugees willing to come along. Buses are prepared to set off from London on the 27th and from Brussels and the rest of Europe. These activities are being monitored closely by security services because of recent terrorist activities.

In English:

++ An interview with former MEK member Masoud Banisadr appeared in Fair Observer as ‘Living and Escaping a Terrorist Cult. In it, Banisadr describes the philosophy behind cultic abuse as used by the MEK. He describes his feelings after leaving: “It was great and horrible at the same time. If you find a very close friend has robbed you, it hurts; if you find him violating your trust and dignity and deceiving you for years, it hurts much more. Then imagine finding out a guy who you thought of as a saint and the holiest person on earth has been just a charlatan wanting to make you his slave through manipulating your mind—robbing not only your wealth, health and happiness, but your individuality, personality and humanity. Then you will understand what I felt.”

++ The names of twenty six more Camp Liberty residents who were transferred to Albania have been published by Nejat Society to help families identify where their loved ones are.

++ Mazda Parsi writes for Nejat Bloggers ‘The Cult of Rajavi (Mojahedin Khalq), a tool for Iran hawks’. “The media of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO) has launched a huge Saudi-oriented propaganda against the Iranian Government following the recent conflicts between the two countries. Unsurprisingly, the MKO is on the side of any country that happens to be hostile to Tehran, as the time of the nuclear negotiations the MKO made efforts to obstruct talks by repeating the same old misinformation about the Iranian nuclear activities.”

++ Peyvand Rahaee published an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon from forty families of MEK members asking for help to free them from Camp Liberty in Iraq.

++ Neday-e Haqiqat reports that Narges Behesthi has been seeking contact with two brothers for over ten years since they were taken by the MEK to Iraq. “In 2001 my older brother; Morteza went to Turkey to find a better job. For two months he took a temporary job. After two months that we had no contact with him, Moteza sent us a letter saying that he worked in a shipping company and that they would help him to go to Europe. He wanted us to send our younger brother Mostafa to Turkey. This way Mostafa who was seeking a good job went to Turkey as well. We later understood that the MKO recruiters in Turkey had promised my brother to send him to Europe provided that he stay at Camp Ashraf, Iraq for six months.”

++ Massoud Khodabandeh published an article on Iranian.com titled ‘Massoud Rajavi strangled by his own red line’. In it he describes the plight of loyal MEK supporter Ebrahim Mohammad Rahimi who is dying of brain cancer and his son Sepher. They want to contact the wife and mother who is in Camp Liberty, but Rajavi’s red line has now tightened to include his own supporters as well as external critics. Ebrahim is outside the MEK red line now because of this humanitarian request. He is accused of being ‘an agent of the Khomeini [sic] regime’. Khodabandeh predicts that this constant purging of members will continue until Rajavi is alone. He puts this down to Rajavi’s incompetence even as a cult leader.

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