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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 154

++ This last week marked the anniversary of the Forough-e Javidan (Eternal Light) or Mersad operation. Many memories have been written from both sides – from Iran and former MEK members. But the theme of all of them is that after so many years it is now obvious that the MEK is not a military or even an ideological force. It is a purely mercenary force which has now ended up in the hands of the Saudis. The members are the victims and the leader is getting the money. The titles of many articles follow the theme ‘Yesterday Saddam, Today Salman’. Ebrhaim Khodabandeh was interviewed on national Iranian television as a witness to the operation. He explains how “Rajavi begged Saddam to delay agreeing the UN brokered ceasefire in July 1988 for a few days. Rajavi then deployed a cohort of unaware and untrained civilians, many of whom he had quickly brought from Europe and North America, and allowed them to be massacred in the operation. Later on we found out that he his real objective was not to defeat the Iranian army but to lose a few thousand people so he could call them martyrs. Rajavi pointed out repeatedly in later years that the blood of these martyrs was to be the insurance policy guaranteeing the future of the MEK (he means himself) for decades to come.

++ Several articles refer to the beheading of a 12 year-old boy in Syria by terrorists, whom the Americans now say they will no longer support. However, these are the same terrorists who frequently meet with the MEK in Paris. To date, the MEK have not disowned these terrorists as their close allies in Syria.

++ Leading MEK member Mohammad Mohaddessin was interviewed by Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya media outlet this week. However, this only added to the existing controversy over Massoud Rajavi’s assumed death. Commentators point out that that unlike normal MEK interviews which are prepared in advance with written questions and answers, Mohaddessin was unprepared. This in itself indicates that he was told to do the interview rather than the MEK seeking out publicity for its own agenda. Behzad Alishahi in the Netherlands has initiated a series of articles – the first was this week – which will unpick the gaffes of Al Arabiya and the MEK one by one. Alishahi says this is worth doing because after decades we are beginning to see some of the truths they are being forced to admit regarding their relations with Saudi Arabia and their activities in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere.

In English:

++ The Tehran Times reported the aggressive war of words between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had accused Tehran of expansionist policies and “harboring” terrorism during a lecture on terrorism organized by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels and hosted by Egmont Research Center. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi rejected this as “absurd, unfounded, and repetitious.” The article mentioned Prince Turki al Faisal’s attendance at the MEK annual rally to celebrate armed struggle “where he pledged backing and wished for the collapse of Iran. For years, the group has committed acts of terrorism against Iran and the Saudi link simply means they have been feeding them financially.”

++ Fars News Agency says that a terrorist attack could happen in Iran and blames France and Saudi Arabia for backing or turning a blind eye to the sources of such terrorism. The MEK annual rally in France is evidence of this complicity as it links Saudi Wahhabism, the MEK and Paris.

++ Iran Interlink translated part of an interesting article by former MEK member Reza Sadeghi Jabali. He gives a clear description of the Rajavis’ reaction to the horrific 9/11 attack and links long-term Saudi support for the MEK under Saddam Hussein and in the present with the current threat of global terrorism.

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Society quotes highly respected American journalists Ali Gharib, Barbara Slavin and Robert Macey in his analytical article about Saudi-MEK relations. He posits that neither side benefit from the association. Each writer points to the cultic nature of the MEK and its failure to garner any support among Iranians as well as its failure to actually do anything for the past two and a half decades. Gharib links this with the Saudis’ failure to confront Iran in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and says the choice of the MEK as partners is self-defeating.

++  Dalga Khatinoglu, Baku, Azerbaijan interviewed Nathalie Goulet, vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate for Trend News. Goulet said that Iran and Saudi Arabia must learn to bear with each other and use dialogue to resolve their differences. “The most challenging issue is to restore trust and get rid of irrational fears or feeling of superiority between Iran and Saudi. The world security needs both KSA and Iran,” she said. Goulet cited Islamic State as a common enemy for all countries involved in counter-terrorism. Commenting on Prince Turki’s involvement with the MEK, Goulet said “we always encourage the countries in the region to establish closer relationship for more enduring regional peace. The recent gathering of exiled Iranian terrorist group in France known as MKO and presence of some Saudi figures hopefully shall not be interpreted as position of current administration of KSA”…

“Anyone involved in the regional policy knows that MKO has no foot print inside Iran and have in fact acted as mercenaries against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. Even if you dislike the Iranian regime, supporting the MKO will not help to get a new regime. No one in Iran will support MKO as it betrayed this country by supporting Iraq during a terrible war,” Goulet said. She added that supporting MKO will just bring more solidarity among Iranian people and will create more misunderstanding between the two nations. “It is a big waste of time and money,” she added.

29 July 2016

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