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Iran-Interlink Weekly Digest – 186

++ This week marked the anniversary of the death of General Sayad Shirazi – a war hero during the  Iran-Iraq war. Saddam Hussein ordered the MEK to assassinate Shirazi for a specific amount of money which was then paid to Massoud Rajavi. At the time of his assassination Shirazi was retired and living as an ordinary citizen without any security. The head of the terror team, Zohreh Ghaemi, was later deliberately left in Camp Ashraf without protection by Rajavi to be killed by Iraqi tribes. Former MEK Struan Stevenson then wrote a book for the MEK praising her terrorist activities. Every year at this time Iran broadcasts programmes about Shirazi the war hero to remind people how the MEK betrayed their country and about the crimes of Saddam Hussein.

++ This week Farsi commentators reacted with disdain to Rajavi’s hysterical reporting of Trump’s bombing of Syria. According to these writings Rajavi has become more extreme than the Syrian opposition itself. Rajavi says the American reaction was insufficient, there should be more bombing of Syria and that the ultimate aim should be to bomb Iran. Commentators decried the dirty and treacherous MEK for claiming to be Iranian.

++ Several reports mentioned that more and more members have left the MEK during this week.

++ Alameh Hosseini, of Lebanese origin, has acted as an MEK lobbyist in Iraq. Recently he published a complaint against the MEK alleging that they have not paid him for his services. The MEK response was to quietly remove all his writings from their websites. Iraqis who know the MEK commented that Hosseini is not alone in his troubles with the MEK. The MEK has decided it no longer needs its Iraqi or Arab lobbyists as much since the Arabic lobbying is now done directly by Saudi Arabia. Instead, since moving to Albania, the MEK has shifted more of its budget to its western lobbying efforts and therefore has not paid for the work done by Iraqi and Lebanese lobbyists like Hosseini. He has not been as patient or trusting as others and has complained publicly. Others have complained directly to the Saudis.

In English:

++ Nejat Society reported that the Iranpour family celebrated the birthday of their family member Ahmadreza who is still held hostage by the MEK cult. Ahmadreza and his brother Mohammadreza Iranpour, travelled to Turkey in 2002 attempting to reach Europe to make a better life. They were deceived by the MEK and taken to Camp Ashraf. Their family were without news until 2004 when they managed to meet with them accompanied by 20 MEK minders. Since then the Iranpour family members travelled to Iraq several times but were denied further meetings with the brothers. They have now been transferred to Albania but the family refuse to give up their efforts to free them from the cult.

++ Tony Cartalucci in New Eastern Outlook examines the terrorist attack on St. Petersburg’s metro system, saying that “Western analysts are also attempting to cement a narrative that downplays the significance of the attacks and instead attempts to leverage them politically against Moscow.” Cartalucci identifies “US-European support for foreign-funded organizations posing as ‘nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) running parallel efforts with terrorist organizations undermining Moscow’s control over Chechnya…” The article mentions US support for the MEK as an example of such sponsorship. “As per US policymakers’ own documented machinations – such as the 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF) – a militant component is prescribed as absolutely essential for the success of any street movement Washington manages to stir up against targeted states.”

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Bloggers exposes the double standards of the MEK who cheered the Trump administration’s retaliatory bombing in Syria in response to an alleged chemical gas attack. Parsi reminds us that when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against his Kurdish populations the MEK not only failed to condemn the dictator but supported his agenda to crush Kurdish resistance. Parsi also points out that the MEK are quick to condemn the massacre of children in Syria but remain silent about the starvation of Yemeni children.

++ In the lead up to the presidential election in Iran Reza Pahlavi had an interview with Jon Gambrell in AP. Pahlavi expressed his interest in liberating Iran with a peaceful revolution which he envisages could start with “labor unions starting a nationwide strike”. Heedless of the actual power structures in Iran, Pahlavi continued “members of the hard-line Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization established to protect the clerical system, would be assured they wouldn’t be ‘all hung and shot’.” While admitting that he had yet to meet with the Trump administration despite his letters, Pahlavi dismissed the MEK: “Another Iranian exile group, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously paid a member of Trump’s Cabinet $50,000 for giving a speech. However, the MEK’s siding with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and its killing of Americans before the revolution, which the group now denies, makes it an unsuitable partner, Pahlavi said. ‘It’s pretty much a cult-type structure’, he said.”

April 14, 2017

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