Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 128

++ Former MEK Leadership Council member Maryam Sanjabi has published an autobiographical book in Iran titled ‘The Mirage of Freedom’ about her life with the MEK. The book is in Farsi.

++ A few items have been written anticipating the end of Massoud Rajavi’s career now that the nuclear issue has ended. They say, even though he is trying to jump on the human rights, bandwagon, with his background he is at the back of the queue. He was militarily dead after Saddam died, now he’s politically dead.

++ Every week Maryam Rajavi fabricates the support of one group of people or another; distinct from paid supporters. This week she claims that MEK supporters in Tabriz have asked the Americans to invade the area to liberate them. In reaction, a few people writing from Tabriz and elsewhere have ridiculed this. “There is nobody here from the MEK” they say, “the MEK are hated. Even when we do hold demonstrations it has nothing to do with the MEK.”

++ The series of interviews Davoud Arshad had with Alireza Nourizadeh over the past few weeks are done. Now the MEK have launched a vitriolic attack Nourizadeh in every one of their sites; tens of pages swearing at him and fabricating lies against him. Commentators say it is ironic that Nourizadeh is close to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and that while on one hand the MEK are trying to smooch the Saudis, they can’t stop attacking people close to them either. “Let this be a warning to the Saudis. Use the MEK and this is what you get – the MEK will bite the hand that feeds it.”

++ The funeral of Ebrahim Mohammad Rahimi will be held on Saturday 23 January after he succumbed to cancer. Former member of the NCRI, Mohammad Reza Rohani, responded with a short, curt note titled ‘Mr Rajavi why don’t you write with your own name?’ Rohani explains that all this swearing at Mohammad Rahimi is from Rajavi himself but that he has it published under everyone else’s name like Mehdi Abrishamchi. “You still claim to be Muslim? I remind you, the prophet said ‘once someone has died, leave them alone’. But you can’t do that, you have to keep at it. This begs the question, is this swearing about him or issued as a warning against others doing the same thing he did?”

There is a spectrum of MEK and formers who have reacted to Massoud Khodabandeh’s article ‘Massoud Rajavi strangled by his own red line’. The old red line between the internal critics and the ex-members is the same of course, nothing has changed there. But inside the MEK, with the appearance of this new red line, there is chaos. On the surface, internal critics all agree about Mohammad Rahimi’s heroic struggle against the Iranian regime. But beyond this there are clearly two camps. Some ask ‘why did Rajavi not allow him bring his wife to be with her son?’ These people recognise a red line. They realise now that even as a supporter you can’t ask for anything or you’ll be labelled an ‘agent of the Iranian regime’. Some others in this camp simply say, ‘he’s dead, let’s forget it and move on’. But the MEK has been badly burned by the exposure that this new red line has come inside the organisation itself. To sort this out the MEK – which long ago infiltrated the so-called circles of internal critics – has tried pretend that Mohammad Rahimi has nothing to do with the MEK and therefore there is no such thing as a red line. A memorial letter has been signed by tens of sympathetic people which does not mention the MEK at all, as though he wasn’t a member for decades. Signatories include the Matin Daftarys- former members of the NCRI – who have signed it out of good will, but whose names act to dilute Mohammad Rahimi’s association with the MEK. This kind of activity is particularly targeted at the English speaking audience.

The effect of this whole affair has been to create doubt, confusion and infighting to the extent that nobody in the MEK is capable of paying any attention to Massoud Rajavi. He has lost his hold over the members and supporters. We will expect to see an internal crackdown fairly soon.

In English:

++ Mazda Parsi writing in Nejat Bloggers analyses ‘New Evidence on Mojahedin Khalq-Israel Alliance to Thwart Nuclear Deal’. Parsi writes that “Attempts by Israel and American GOP and also the mujahedin Khalq organization (the MKO) to push the West towards more hostility against Islamic Republic have so far failed… The outcome of the deal was very appalling for the three above- mentioned groups. It was a failure for the Israeli lobby AIPAC and the MKO’s lobby who had spent large amounts of money for their lobbying campaigns to obstruct the deal. Their target audience in the congress are paid large sums to run the anti-Iran agenda.” Parsi then exposes the corruption of Republican Senator Tom Cotton in this campaign, referencing Eli Clifton who wrote about this in Lobelog in March 2015 in an article titled ‘Tom Cotton Allies Himself with the MEK’.

++ Nejat Society reports “Two brothers, defected from Mojahedin Khalq. The Bahadori brothers have now returned to their home town Jolfa, Eastern Azarbayjan.

Shahram and Shahrouz Bahadori were warmly welcomed by their family after 14 years of imprisonment in the camps of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO). The Bahadori brothers were recruited by the MKO in 2002 in Baku Azarbayjan where the older one was working. The MKO recruiters promised to provide them with European refuge.

Although they were promised a better life in Europe, they found themselves in Turkey and then Iraqi Camp Ashraf where they were immediately separated from each other. They were not allowed to meet each other for years. They were not told about their family who had several times come to visit them in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The brothers made efforts to meet each other for eight years. Whenever they asked for a visit they were punished by the group leaders.

After their relocation from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, they succeeded to meet each other randomly and eventually they managed to escape from the cult of Rajavi after the recent rocket attack on Camp Liberty in November. Then, they were aided by the UN and Iraqi human rights bodies and the Iranian embassy in Baghdad in order to return to their country.

One of the brothers told Nejat Society that a large number of members of the group are thinking of leaving the group but they are kept busy in computer classes – without the Internet – because leaders claim that they will be sent to Europe after finishing their alleged computer training course. Cult leaders keep members in a state of hesitation and passiveness by threatening them that leaving the MKO ends with death and destruction.”

++ Habilian Association: “A Beirut-based commentator and analyst covering Middle East geopolitics says Saudi Arabia and Israel were desperate to strike a blow at Iran’s further international ‘rehabilitation’. Holding a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University, Sharmin Narwani says the deal was also struck as the US and its allies ‘desperately needed the support of rational, capable parties within the Middle East to help disentangle from their Syrian misadventures.’ In the following interview with Habilian Association, Narwani speaks about those who’ve failed to influence the deal. Having a great knowledge of Iranian society, she also touches upon the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK, a.k.a. MKO) and describes them as ‘useful to the deal spoilers’ who lacks any kind of support in Iran.”

January 22, 2016

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