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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 172

++ Politically, the MEK have been flying the flag for Syria this week, working hard to promote the West’s Aleppo agenda. Farsi commentators have suggested that the MEK did the same propaganda work for Saddam hoping the West would pay them, but see what happened to him. Not only will the MEK get nothing for promoting the Syrian issue, but it appears they have forgotten who they are and what they are for.

++ A further backlash occurred in Tirana. Maryam Rajavi has been pumping up her followers with promises that now Donald Trump has been elected as US President he has ‘personally assured me’ that he will help the MEK. However, now that Rudy Giuliani is out of the picture, it is clear there is no substance to her claims and the members have become deflated and depressed again.

++ In Tirana, the MEK is working flat out to somehow prevent any families from Europe or North America, or anywhere, from visiting Albania. They are very afraid of this happening.

++ Also in Tirana, former members have issued a collective statement warning about Rajavi’s new phase which involves intimidation and threats to kill former MEK members living in Albania. Gangs of MEK follow them in the street, swear at them and make life difficult for them in any way possible. Now the MEK are activated in this way their history shows there is a very real threat to the formers. The MEK have previously harmed, seriously injured and killed dissenters in Europe.

++ The MEK has trafficked several of its operatives out of Albania. Some have been seen in Sweden collecting money in the streets. One member of the public who had been approached for a charity donation showed the documentation used by the MEK to a former member who lives in Stockholm. He reported that the MEK does not use its own logo and instead prints Swedish governmental charity logos on its (false) documentation. They ask for National Insurance numbers and bank account details to process donations. The donations are demanded using ridiculous stories such as ‘there are over a thousand people on death row in Iran and if you don’t pay to help them immediately, they will die’. Three of these MEK members were recognised by the Stockholm resident as fully radicalised operatives, trained by Saddam’s Mokhaberat in dissembling, bomb making and assassination techniques among other skills. They use local MEK supporters as interpreters.

++ Neda-ye Haghighat website is running a project to collect the names, stories and photographs of internal victims of the MEK – those killed internally in one way or another. Each week the site publishes their stories along with evidence. This week, number 25 and 26 were published: the stories of Alireza Taherlou and Morteza Houdashtban who were killed by the MEK in Camp Ashraf whilst being imprisoned for dissent.

In English:

++ Will Bredderman in Observer Media reported that Rudi Giuliani had “had voluntarily ‘removed his name from consideration for a position in the new administration’ all the way back on November 29”. “… Giuliani, Trump and White House chief of staff-to-be Reince Priebus released a joint statement announcing the decision late today, an age-old practice for burying unflattering news. Priebus, the outgoing chairman of the Republican National Committee, stated that America’s mayor ‘was vetted by our team for any possible conflicts and passed with flying colors’— despite the payments he and his company Giuliani Partners have received from the Islamic State-funding government of Qatar or the registered terrorist group Mujahedin e-Khalq, a banished Iranian political party.”

++ An Open Letter to Baroness Afshar by Anne Khodabandeh of Open Minds and published by Iran Interlink commiserated with the respected Iranian women’s rights advocate over a debate she called in the House of Lords last week. Whilst the other participants echoed her call for the UK government to put diplomatic pressure on Iran over its human rights record, Lord Alton, without a qualm of conscience, entered the debate by promoting and praising Maryam Rajavi and her “commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to other international instruments”. Khodabandeh described this as ‘throwing a mouse in the stew’ after a Persian proverb. “Rather than enjoying a free and productive discussion about human rights in Iran, the whole debate was contaminated by Lord Alton’s unwarranted support for a terrorist group which is known far and wide for its war crimes and crimes against humanity. We cannot now expect Iran not to take advantage of this speech and denounce the UK for double standards and supporting a terrorist group.”

++ Daniel Benjamin’s second article in Politico Magazine ‘Yes, We Do Know the MEK Has a Terrorist Past’ completely refuted an attempt by Robert Torricelli to do “what the group’s supporters always do: He rewrites history, and then smears the group’s critics”. Benjamin uses several examples of US governmental and academic assessments of the MEK’s sordid and bloody history over decades to trounce Torricelli’s attempts to whitewash the group’s past. He concludes “It’s probably too much to ask that Robert Torricelli or any of the renowned political figures supporting the MEK reconsider their views. But others in Congress and the public ought to consult the abundance of evidence of the MEK’s troubling history, including the abuse of its members relayed in reports by such observers as Human Rights Watch and the account of its efforts to buy influence on Capitol Hill contained in the memoir by former Congressman (and onetime Iran-based CIA operative) Robert Ney. A more informed debate about the MEK might start there.”

December 16 2016

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