Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 180

++ Following the death of Mohammad Ali Jaberzadeh Ansari (aka Ghasem), Maryam Rajavi’s speech drew criticism as she offered her condolences not to the deceased’s family and friends, but to Massoud Rajavi. ‘You can’t offer condolences to a dead person’ wrote most commentators. Instead of attending the funeral in Paris, Maryam Rajavi went to Albania to firefight the chaos there among the members. In Albania she has been in desperate talks with people. Her main message is ‘please don’t run away’. Copying Massoud Rajavi’s well-worn formula, she tells the members ‘if only I had just four proper people I would have toppled the regime by now. It’s your fault, you can’t do, you are not dedicated enough to me’. She blames the members for her failures. The MEK leadership has established a ‘State of Alert’ in Albania in case any of the families come there. The members’ cult phobia is activated by dire warnings: ‘Agents of the regime are outside the door. If you leave they will kidnap, torture and kill you. Families are agents disguised as families. Weak families are used and behind every grandfather is an agent that wants to kill us. They are agents of the Khodabandehs. The Khodabandehs are very active and their agents are everywhere and they have even infiltrated inside us, so we must be careful, you must report everything in order to discover who the infiltrators are.’

These scare tactics have been used to the point that over 90% of the members can’t leave the building at all and are suffering sunlight deficiency – even the curtains are closed. For that reason, the families have published a petition condemning Maryam Rajavi’s refusal to allow people to contact their families. Some commentators on this situation link the death of Jaberzadeh with the deaths, one after another, of other members due to age and overwork and the untreated sicknesses they have endured for decades. Every death means that one more testimony, more piece of evidence is lost which, in a court of law, would allow the facts to be established about this group. One writer, examining these deaths, describes it thus: “The Angel of Death is circling over Auvers-sur-Oise, picking them off one by one”.

++ Davoud Baghervand Arshad, ex-MEK  member, participated in the 9th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Also attending the Summit was Dr Fariba Hashtroudi, a famous journalist and writer who lives in Paris. She was, for some time, a member of the NCRI but left over disagreements about human rights.

In English:

++ In the febrile atmosphere created by President Donald Trump, the respected Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University has introduced a calm and reasoned tone with an article titled ‘Ten things Iranians can do to pre-empt a Trump war’. He encourages ordinary people (not just Iranians) to feel empowered and to take various actions not reliant on their government. The second item on his list is: “…denounce those treacherous forces among the expat opposition – now led by the cultic People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), and Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah – that demand “regime change” in Iran.

“Neither of these characters has the slightest legitimacy inside Iran. A blind hatred of the Islamic Republic is definitive to these expat forces, no matter what the consequences for Iranians as a people. That hatred is categorically different from any legitimate critical stand vis-a-vis Iran.

“There must remain no false claim that any one of these discredited expat oppositions represents the Iranian people. They do not.”

++ Sonila Mehmeti from ATA News Agency, Albanian announced the agreement of professional and institutional cooperation signed in Tehran between Iran’s official agency IRNA and the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA). On the same day, Iran’s Fars News Agency attacked human rights bodies for trying to whitewash the MEK’s terrorist crimes and criminal history. “[The] Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani in a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in November called on the European states to annul the legal immunity of MKO members.

“’The spread of plights and dangers of terrorism in the European countries as well as its negative consequences, including the refugees crisis which has inflicted the European states too, have more than ever shown the necessity for real serious determination to fight against it,’ Larijani wrote in his letter.

“He stressed that the European states’ double-standards on human rights issues and their support for the MKO terrorist group whose hand is stained with the blood of the Iranian and Iraqi people and even its own members is not acceptable at all.”

++ Press TV has produced several documentaries and film reviews covering MEK history. Modern Slaves is an informative review of the film ‘Mina’s Facility’ about MEK activities just after the Iranian Revolution. The film won several prizes in Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival. The documentary ’50 Years Later’ covers the period before the Revolution when the MEK was riven by schism and internal violence.

February 24, 2017

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