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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 164

++ MEK internal critic Iraj Mesdaghi is known as a prolific internet ranter. In the midst of his outpourings this week, he published pictures which he claims show Massoud Khodabandeh talking with somebody and using obscene language. Mesdaghi claims that Khodabandeh, the MEK and the Iranian government have all collaborated to work against him. Khodabandeh answered, saying that although he would not usually engage with such rants it has been necessary to apply an analytic response in this case. He says the accusations are clearly fabricated since he never met with any such person and would never use such bad language. What is relevant is that Mesdaghi’s situation is rendered pretty sad by this. Whether he faked the images and speech himself or it was fed to him by the MEK or others, it is clearly exploiting his known weaknesses in order to discredit him and thus undermine the evidence and documents he brings to the 1988 prison executions investigation. Mesdaghi was part of this event and exposing him now as a liar and cheat brings discredit to his evidence. As the Persian proverb says, he is throwing a mouse into the stew (Ash) of other cooks.

++ In Iran the Association of Graduates of Sharif University published a booklet of former graduates. Maryam Rajavi’s picture is there too. There have been mixed reactions, with people asking, ‘was this deliberate?’ Many reminded us of the time that the MEK would place ads for shampoo in Iranian newspapers using Massoud Rajavi’s picture, or place an announcement in the small ads with a picture of Maryam Rajavi saying, ‘we are waiting for you my beloveds’. It is more likely, however, that this has happened because nobody knows her. The younger generations have no idea who she is. For them she is just an old woman, past retirement age who used to go to their university.

++ Muharram has started and it is nearly Ashura. Every year the MEK changes its mind as to whether it should mark the event or ignore it depending on their circumstances. This time they are trying to create an anti-Shia image of themselves to suit what the Saudis need. Commentators point out that Saddam was anti-Iranian, the Saudis are anti-Shia and Israel is anti-both of them. But interestingly, the MEK – claiming to be both Iranian and Shia – manage to have kept their place among them and mark Ashura as well.

++ A book has been published in Iran called ‘My life with the Mojahedin’. It is written by a former MEK member who had originally been a POW. He describes how the MEK made him suffer until he submitted to going with them rather than remain in Saddam’s prison. After escaping the MEK after 2003 he took refuge with the American army before getting to Germany. He has now returned home to Iran and to his family.

In English:

++ IRNA – “Iran took the complaints of families of victims of terrorist operations carried by Mujahedeen Khalq Organization to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. During the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, the Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) called for the realization of human rights of victims of terrorism. ADVT said that cultural campaign must be initiated to uproot terrorism in the world.”

++ A report by the Congressional Research Service, headed by Kenneth Katzman, and titled ‘Iran: Politics, Persian Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy’ devotes a page at the end to describing the MEK. In spite of strange contradictions which are probably a result of energetic ‘copy and paste’ and too little ‘read and edit’, the passage makes interesting reading.

October 07, 2016

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