Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 190

++ In the lead up to Iran’s presidential election this week the MEK tried everything possible to ask people not to vote. In response, several writers remind us what elections have meant for the MEK and for their last benefactor Saddam Hussein and for their new one in Saudi Arabia, King Salman. One writer says “I remember the last time I saw an election in the MEK. Massoud Rajavi came in, raised the hand of Maryam and said ‘you don’t get me now, you have to get to me through Maryam. Now she is your ideological leader and I am above that.’ Then he asked, ‘who agrees?’ And while I was wondering ‘what the hell is going on’ my group leader poked me in the ribs and showed me that everyone’s hand was up and said ‘what’s the matter with you, do you have a death wish’. As far as Saddam’s elections are concerned, 98% or more voted for him every time. And Salman is of course of king, there is no need to talk about them.”

++ Abbas Mohammadpour recently returned to Iran from Albania. He had been with the MEK for two decades and was in Tirana for over a year. In Iran, he has been meeting families in Khuzestan province and other places. He talked about what is happening inside the MEK and for the ex-members in Tirana. Members have no access to information and are under a huge amount of pressure from the MEK. Alongside that, reports from Sahar Family Foundation and ex-members in Tirana reveal that the MEK has increased pressure on members and ex-members by saying the MEK has the patronage of the CIA and Pentagon and they are free to do what they like. When one ex-member asked, ‘why don’t you give me the UNHCR money that I’m entitled to?’ The MEK replied ‘this is Albania, you are not entitled to anything unless we or the CIA say so. That includes your breathing as well.’

In English:

++ An article by Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh in the Huffington Post ‘Albaina’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elona Gjebrea praises Maryam Rajavi for keeping modern slaves in Tirana’, says Gjebrea’s support for the MEK can only be because of ignorance or corruption. While she travels to the UK and US to denounce modern slavery, back home in Albania she shows no compunction in supporting Maryam Rajavi in spite of it being public knowledge that the members are living in a state of modern slavery. While John Bolton and John McCain support the MEK for their own political agendas, the article questions what Gjebrea’s agenda could be as a representative of the government of Albania.

++ Trend reported that Iran had prevented a terrorist attack “by what the country’s Ministry of Intelligence has called ‘an anti-revolution group… whose hand is stained with the blood of thousands of people,’ a possible reference to the People’s Mujahedin group, known as MKO. Through painstaking planning and operations, the intelligence forces managed to preclude the attack and confiscate explosives of various types and other equipment, IRNA news agency reported May 13. The news comes only six days before Iran holds a round of presidential elections on May 19.”

++ In an interview with Balkans Post, former US Army officer Joachim Hagopian said US Senator John McCain is using MEK, a terrorist cult, as his proxy war ally in the US covert war against the current Islamic Republic of Iran government.

++ M. Reza Behnam examines ‘The anti-Iran bias’ in an article which questions why the US ‘continues to mischaracterize the Middle Eastern country as a terrorist nation’.

“Iran has been fighting terrorism since 9-11. Its national security depends on stable borders and a stable region. To that end, it is fighting in Syria and aiding the Iraqi government to recapture territories held by the Islamic State. Iranians know all too well the egregious effects of terrorism. For decades, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies have covertly financed, equipped and trained opposition groups that have fomented and carried out terrorist attacks inside Iran. Thousands of civilians and political figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, have suffered injury at the hands of terrorists. U.S. intelligence agencies have supported the acts of violence committed by the Mujahedin-e Khalq — listed by the State Department as a terrorist group (now delisted) that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, as well as the Baluchi militant Salafi group Jundullah. An Iranian ethnic minority, Jundullah is a Sunni group aligned with the thinking of al-Qaeda.

“Terrorism is a cudgel used to engender fear. And fear, grounded in erroneous information, can result in destructive government policies, and in the worst case, war. This is especially true of the U.S.-Iran relationship. After almost four decades, Iran and the Middle East have substantially changed, while American policy has not. Iran’s evolving and nuanced political system does not fit into Washington’s outdated, hegemonic good guy-bad guy worldview.”

May 19, 2017

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