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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 167

++ Mahnaz Akafian, mother of MEK hostage Mohammad Ali Sassani, gave an interview to Mardom TV. Speaking with Parsa Sorbi, Akafian explained that in 1987 her son had been a soldier with the Iranian army. He was stationed in Kurdistan. But on the last day of his service he was captured by Komeleh – the armed anti-Iran Kurdish group. They traded him and other captives to the Saddam regime for a sack of sugar each. The Iraqis deliberately mistreated the POWs in order to coerce them into accepting ‘refuge’ with the MEK who would at least feed them. Ever since then the MEK have held him illegally. In spite of the fact he is a POW, no official body has done anything to help or rescue him. Now he has been forcefully transferred to Tirana and is again being held incommunicado by the MEK. Still, after all these years, explains his mother, the Pentagon and CIA do not allow any agencies to contact him or others like him in Tirana.

‘We mothers will never forget the nasty work of the Americans just to keep their favourite terrorist group from collapsing’, said Akafian. ‘We families are paying the price’. Akafian has travelled to Europe and came to the UK in 2008 where she spoke to several parliamentarians who expressed sympathy and pledged their help. Unfortunately, American pressure meant they had to back off. ‘As long as I am alive’, says Akafian, ‘I will try to rescue my son and have it written into the history books that this is what the Americans did to promote terrorism’.

++ Maryam Rajavi has announced a new phase of ‘toppling the regime by political assault’. She has dispatched her top people to the European bases, but especially to Tirana where she also sent her former husband Mehdi Abrishamchi. Those members burned and injured in various MEK violence were also sent to put emotional pressure on the members not to leave and abandon them. Rajavi said ‘we never said we would not change our phases but still our aim is to topple the regime’. Apparently, this explanation and the emotional pressure are not working. People that Iran Interlink has contact with in Tirana say they do not understand her reasoning and there are many unanswered questions. How can you say, 5,000 km from Iran, that a political assault will topple the regime? What, in any case, is a ‘political assault’ and how do I fit in? These are some of the questions raised by the MEK members.

People close to the leadership in Paris, however, say that Maryam has been assigned to perform the lobbying and media work for other anti-Iran terrorist groups which are backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel. So, if a terrorist group kills people in Baluchistan or Kurdistan, or there is a demonstration like the one in Pasargad, the MEK is tasked with claiming the act as belonging to them and creating publicity for them; creating external pressure on Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia and Israel. These same people, however, say that being her, and in the absence of Massoud Rajavi, Maryam is stuck. She is not capable of taking people with her in a different direction as Massoud was. The members are falling by the way side. The MEK’s backers are used to seeing the organisation’s work under Massoud Rajavi and do not realise yet that Maryam is incapable of doing the same, Her ex-husband Abrishamchi does know this and does know her limitations.

In English:

++ Nejat Society reports on the letter writing campaign by families of MEK hostages warning the new UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran not to fall for the same deception tactics of the MEK as her predecessor which led to his loss of face.

++ Iran Interlink reports that the authorities in Albania will be interested to learn that the MEK in Tirana are using the members as slave labour in new businesses they have set up in the capital. The businesses are partly to make money, but also to keep the members occupied. The MEK has used its members as slaves for thirty years and never paid or rewarded them in any way.

++ Eldar Mamedov, advisor in the European Parliament, has written ‘Europe Capitalizes on the Iran Deal’. Based on a report by the EP the article highlights the positives and progress made in relations between Iran and the European Union. However there is some lingering opposition described thus: “Despite the overwhelming support the house has given the report, a minority of MPs expressed vocal opposition. Some of the criticisms reflect what rapporteur Richard Howitt called ‘the lobbying interests’ of forces opposed to the nuclear agreement with Iran in the first place: right-wing pro-Israeli organizations, Saudi Arabia, and the exiled Iranian dissident group Mojaheddin-e Khalk (MEK), which was on the EU terror list until 2009 and removed on technicality. The hawkish American Jewish Committee blasted the report for allegedly ‘giving Iran a free pass on human rights and support for Assad regime,’ although it somewhat mitigated its criticisms when the EP adopted the last-minute amendment condemning Iran for its ‘calls for destruction of Israel and denial of Holocaust.’ MEK, meanwhile, managed to convince enough MPs to consider an amendment calling to investigate the 1988 massacres of political prisoners in Iran—a crime indeed, but one that Iranians themselves, and not foreign legislative bodies, are best placed to address. However, the house ultimately rejected this amendment.”

++ Nejat Society: “On Saturday October 29th former member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (the MKO) addressed a seminar in Koln University. Mr Davoud Arshad member of ‘No to Terrorism and Cults Society’ was invited to attend the seminar by the Union of students and scholars of Koln University. Human Rights, Energy Crisis and Cultural Interactions were subjects discussed in the seminar. Mr. Arshad spoke on the relations between violation of human rights in cults and expansion of terrorism in the world. As a victim of the MKO (the cult of Rajavi), Mr. Arshad describes how horribly members of the MKO particularly female members are victims of human rights abuses.”

++ Mazda Parsi writes about the MEK reaction to the events around Mosul in Iraq. The group’s silence and pretended ignorance of Daesh’s atrocities – calling them “Iraqi revolutionary tribes” – confirms MEK support for the group. Similarly, the MEK approach to the child victims of Yemen’s war (ignoring them) and the idealization of children in Syria as victims of the Russian and Syrian armies reflect the MEK’s beliefs. Parsi says that the MEK cannot condemn Daesh’s use of human shields because they don’t recognise it as being wrong. It is something they do themselves albeit in a different way. The MEK leaders exploit the members as human shields to protect their very existence. Even using them as slave labour for businesses. “It is absolutely wrong to conclude that leaders of the group are thinking of entrepreneurship. The leaders of the group are the ones who benefit from this. The members are being abused. The absolute truth is that the Cult of Rajavi does not value the lives of its members but it wants to make the most profit out of them. ‘The businesses belong to the MEK and are not part of a rehabilitation scheme’, according to Iran-Interlink. ‘MEK members exist in a state of modern slavery and have never benefitted from pay or worker rights during their decades of membership of the cult.’”

November 04, 2016

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