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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 194

++ Many former MEK members have written personal memories of the events of 30 Khordad, 7 Tir and the 2003 self-immolations. They remind us that this is what is behind the Villepinte event – it is a celebration of armed struggle and violent extremism. Others have exposed further information about Villepinte over the past few years: how the MEK paid the audience, speakers and how the recruitment drives were organised and by whom. Most writers remark that the money spent now is nothing compared to the days of Saddam Hussein and that year on year it is getting less as the MEK’s money dries up. Some, however, comment that while this is true, the money the MEK does spend comes from Saudi Arabia and Israel and is intended to create hysteria against Iran. The lesson we can take from this though is that the anti-Iran pundits have no other tool to spend their money on or they would not be so silly.

++ Several former MEK members write regularly from Albania for Iran Interlink and Sahar Family Foundation. Some are completely out of the organisation, others have separated but are still dependent on the MEK for accommodation and living expenses and therefore write underpseudonym. The latter have informed us that the MEK held an Iftar gathering for them. Everyone who attended was taken aside by the MEK and asked individually to become an informer on the others. The MEK will pay, they are told. They are asked to say if anyone is in contact with Iran Interlink, Sahar or their own family. If they are, the MEK will cut their payments. As a result, some ex-members have been identified as team leaders of these informants working for the MEK. Their names have been published to warn everyone who they are. (The same situation developed in the American run TIPF in Iraq.) The situation is now chaotic since nobody trusts anybody else at all. Ironically though, everyone has learned to trust Iran Interlink and Sahar. ‘If you want to talk to anyone who will not sell you to the devil, it is Iran Interlink’ people are saying.

++ In Albania, the MEK has put up posters in the places that formers accumulate – including round the UNHCR offices – showing drug addicts and homeless individuals who left the MEK, sometimes fifteen years ago, with the message ‘this is what will become of you if you turn your back on your leaders’. The person who sent this information to Iran Interlink said: “We don’t see this as the MEK’s work. Instead we believe that McCain and the Pentagon and the UNHCR are behind this”.

++ In Albania the MEK have named the price they will pay to former members (current members have to do it for free) if they publicly denounce their families. This is especially aimed at those whose families are actively trying to contact them. Iran Interlink has issued a message saying ‘don’t worry, if you are desperate and need the money then go ahead and do this, your families will understand, they know what is happening there. We had the same experience in Iraq and we gave the same message then. Many of those who did this are now established in Europe as normal citizens with families of work and homes of their own. When they wrote bad things about their families in Iraq not a single family – including Iran Interlink – complained or did not understand. It became standard that when the members escaped, their families would immediately joke with them, asking ‘what were the worst things you said about me? Let’s laugh about it!’

++ This week’s political joke: After Iran launched its missile attack against ISIS in Syria and after every news agency in the world reported it, the MEK came out three days later with a statement claiming the [fake] missile attack was a bluff by the Iranian regime because they were shaking in their shoes over US sanctions. This attracted a lot of ‘Crying with Laughter’ reactions on Facebook.

In English:

++ Mazda Parsi for Nejat Bloggers examines remarks made by American Congressman Rohrabacher following the ISIS terrorist attack in Tehran. It is no surprise that Rohrabacher is an advocate of the Mojahedin Khalq as are several other Congressmen and Congresswomen. Their support for regime change in Iran ‘allows’ them to give vocal, public advocacy to groups (proxy forces) which use extremism and violence for political aims. Parsi concludes that such activity only causes the Iranian people to become more united.

++ A former MEK member who cannot be named asked Massoud Khodabandeh to publish his analysis of similarities between ISIS terrorist attacks in Iran with those of the MEK over the past thirty-five years. The writer concludes that while the MEK were not involved in the incidents, ISIS clearly drew on MEK expertise to conduct the attacks.

++ Patrick Henningsen in 21st Century Wire, quotes Massoud Khodabandeh (from the article mentioned above), in a long analysis of what the repercussions will be for the US after Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria last week. Under the heading ‘Tehran Attack: Who Did It?’ Henningsen says that “The MEK factor is extremely worrying because it signals a new leg in Washington’s asymmetric war in the region. History shows us that when great powers sow this level of chaos, the chances for a multi-country conflagration becomes more likely.”

June 23 2017

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