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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 193

++ Among reactions to the MEK’s planned event at Villepinte in France on 1 July are those who point out that the MEK first became a mercenary force on 30 Khordad (21 June 1981) because from that time the decision had already been made that the MEK could not survive as an opposition group but only as a mercenary force for sale to foreign powers. What is happening now therefore is not a surprise. Other Farsi commentators ridicule the MEK’s advertising campaign. Saber from Tabriz writing in Iran Interlink selects an MEK piece titled ‘The Great Wave of People of the World in Villepinte’ and asks “are you deluded or do you think the people of the world are deluded? What ‘great wave of people’ are you talking about? You have lost the plot. You might believe this inside the organisation, but the rest of the world is laughing at you.”

++ On the subject of Villepinte, yesteday new documents were exposed by several Arab academics in Paris along with former MEK members. These documents show the MEK price list for hiring speakers and audience at the Villepinte event. For hiring an Arab minister or MP the price is 10,000 Euros for 100 minutes attendance including a speech. For academics and lecturers the price is 5,000 Euros for a ten minute speech. For a Team Leader who can recruit audience members, the pay is 1,500 euros. Individual asylum seekers who attend will be paid 30-50 Euros per day. On top of this, expenses for transport, hotel accommodation and meals will be paid according to the hired person’s ranking whilst in Paris.

++ Several articles following the terrorist attack in Iran identify similarities between the MEK and the so-called Islamic State’s (IS) modus operandi. None claim that the MEK were involved but say that IS learned from them tactics. The techniques and ideological systems have a lot in common; the MEK were the first to use suicide bombing in Iran for example, the actual targets, the involvement of women, etc.

++ There are reports from Tirana that the MEK are inviting ex-members who are still under their control to gather for meals under the pretext of the evening Ramadan meal of Iftar. During these gatherings MEK agents recruit and groom people to fight with each other or to follow each other or report on each other. There are some ex-members who refuse to remain with the MEK and are vocal about these conditions and don’t bow to MEK threats. The MEK tells controlled dissidents not to speak to three specific people. They ask the controlled ex-members to write to the UNHCR and Albanian government to complain against these three people.

In English:

++ Tony Cartalucci writing in Activist Post says that the terrorist attacks on Tehran are “the literal manifestation of US foreign policy”. Examining the Brookings Institution document ‘Which Path to Perisa?’, Cartalucci identifies the MEK as a proxy force that could be used to engineer regime change in Iran. Similarly, Al Qaida was used as a proxy force in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia. This time a template for a new proxy war is being created against Iran and Islamic State now substitute AQ.

++ Paul Pillar, The National Interest, ‘Terrorism in Tehran: Reality Confounds Rhetoric’. “For anyone looking beyond rhetoric and at reality, the attack is no surprise. Iran has been one of the staunchest and most active foes of ISIS. Probably the main reason an attack like this had not happened any earlier is the difficulty that ISIS has had in finding recruits among Iranians… The principal perpetrator of terrorism in Iran over the past four decades has been the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the Marxist/Islamist cult/terrorist group that prior to the revolution had claimed Americans among its victims. Thanks largely to the MEK’s activity, Iran necessarily has had much experience in countering terrorism.”

++ Ali Vaez, International Crisis Group, ‘Iran Unites as Tehran Struck by Middle East’s Proxy Wars’. “If this indeed was, as it claimed, an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it would constitute the first time the organisation has been able to strike Iran inside its borders. But terrorist attacks are not new to Iran. In the early years of revolutionary turmoil, the leftist-Islamist Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) resorted to violence. In the 1980s, up to 120 terrorist attacks occurred in Tehran perpetrated by MEK and other violent groups…

“Consequently, the Islamic Republic developed a powerful counter-terrorism capacity through intelligence and security forces that, along with its paramilitary Basij militia, turned Iran into one of the most stable countries in the region – at the cost of highly repressive methods. The only exception to Iran’s successful counter-terrorism record was the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists at the height of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. But those were targeted assassinations as opposed to indiscriminate terrorist attacks.”

++ Eric Draitser, Mint Press News, ‘The Sordid History of State Sponsored Terrorism Against Iran’. The article details the long-term use of the MEK as a proxy force to commit terrorism and violence against Iran and Iranians. “For instance, take the oft-touted “freedom fighters” of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK; also known as MKO), a terrorist group hailed as heroes by the U.S. neoconservative establishment, despite having been officially recognized by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization from 1997 through 2012.  Indeed, so warm and cozy were these terrorists with policymakers, including key government officials, that through an intensive lobbying campaign, including advocacy from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the MEK was officially removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

“Never mind the fact that MEK was implicated by the Obama Administration itself as having colluded with Israel in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, a blatant violation of international law. But of course, this was nothing for MEK, whose history is one of assassination and terror against Iran.”

++ An analysis by Adam Garrie in The Duran ‘A communist terrorist group in Albania must be condemned by all friends of Iran’, claims that “the Albanian based MEK could have helped Saudi funded ISIS to carry out the terrorist attack on Iran”. Garrie’s article points out that the ideological differences between the groups could be overcome because both are mercenary forces. Although no-one believes the MEK are capable of carrying out such an attack using its own forces, there is scope for an alliance on things like intelligence sharing. “Furthermore, studies have shown that like ISIS, the MEK also receives funding from Saudi Arabia…  the NATO member state of Albania is guilty of harbouring and facilitating terrorism, something that Serbia has warned of for many years. Albania is the place where the MEK, ISIS, NATO and Europe meet. If Iran wants to truly avenge this atrocity, it must focus on not only its traditional Middle Eastern enemies, but also on Albania.”

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Society writes about ‘The legacy of the MKO in ISIS attacks in Tehran’ finds traces of MEK influence in the ISIS attacks on Tehran. “ The role of the MKO terrorists in the bloody parts of the Iranian modern history is so highlighted that no journalist could conceal the fact. Any news report that covered the recent terrorist acts in Tehran had to name the MKO as the first suicide terrorists to launch massive acts of violence against Iranian civilians and authorities… A lot of MKO operations were suicidal. Firing grenades in public places, throwing fire into public places and other violent acts by the MKO agents were the shocking scenes that the Iranian citizens eye-witnessed repeatedly during the 1980s. In case the MKO operatives were at risk of being arrested by the security forces they would swallow cyanide capsules. And now after four decades the MKO methods is exactly used by the ISIS terrorists in Tehran assaults.”

June 16, 2017

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