Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 167

++ The death of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani from cancer attracted condolences from all over the world. Ironically Maryam Rajavi said nothing. Some commentators said, ‘knowing her, it’s just jealousy, not a political stance’. Others attribute this silence to Massoud Rajavi’s hatred of Iranians because they didn’t choose him as their leader. According to this POV, the MEK propensity to dance and sing to celebrate the deaths of Iranian soldiers and Iranians killed in earthquakes and disasters is an indication of Rajavi’s sick mentality – hatred of Iranians.

++ Dr Mohammad Sahimi, a prominent Iranian political analyst in the US, published an article detailing the history of relations between the MEK and Israel, including the assassinations of nuclear scientists. The article said that Daesh and Israel are helping each other through the MEK which facilitates this kind of relation.

++ In Albania two new people, Siavosh Seifi and Mahmoud Mambini both with over 39 years’ membership, have run away from the MEK camp and joined other ex-members there. Some speculate that they escaped because they had reached their limit over the Villepinte event.

++ In Albania ex-members have reported on the efforts of the MEK to infiltrate the ex-member community. They have named a few people who had come to them and pretended to be ex-members but at same time tried to disconnect people from their families. One of these, who did finally leave the MEK, has confessed that the aim is to get rid of families at any price. The MEK say that ‘because the families forced us out of Ashraf and into Liberty and then to here, if they come here we will be finished. We must cut off relations between ex-members and their families’. According to this report, one of the MEK infiltrators talked to his brother in Iran and asked him to perform some illegal acts and then called the authorities to arrest him. This was done so that families would be afraid of contact with or acting on behalf of MEK members.

++ MEK outlets are stuck what to do with their critics like Dr Alireza Nourizadeh and Lebanese cleric Allameh Sayed Mohamad Ali El Husseini who acted as an advisor to Rajavi before leaving them. Such people enjoy very good relations with Saudi Arabia which is also supposedly supporting the MEK. While swearing at these people, their critics, the MEK cannot answer how it is that the Saudis are happy to use the MEK but don’t hint to these others not to attack them. Commentators say this only reveals their true level for the Saudis – well below the others.

++ This week marked the anniversary of the foundation of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in 1981. Several people write that it was all just a pretence from the start and even those serious personalities who had joined with Rajavi at the start soon ran away. At this point of time the NCRI is just another name for the MEK.

++ As the 90-day JCPOA compliance announcement became due again, Maryam Rajavi jumped on the bandwagon and said Trump should abolish the deal and attack Iran instead of Syria, as usual over-hyping the pro-war talk. Some commentators point out that when the deal was being negotiated Rajavi said ‘nobody should even talk to Iran’. When the agreement was signed Rajavi claimed that it was ‘the kiss of death and the regime will collapse because they signed something that will topple them’. Now she has changed her tune again saying ‘no, America should tear it up’. Farsi commentators say that Americans having followers like this don’t really need enemies. The US has to pay the price of this because they consider this group as their allies.

In English:

++ Three delegates from Nejat Society attended a meeting of Interpol’s Project Kalkan hosted by Iran. 29 Interpol member countries attended to review cooperation on security and terrorism. Ebrahim Khodabandeh talked with most of the counter terrorism officials, informing them about the menace of the Rajavi cult. He warned the representatives of Greece, Italy and Romania about the threat that might arise from the 2700 brainwashed members of the MKO who are located in their neighbouring country Albania. The Greek representative replied that the issue is really crucial and not enough attention has been paid to it yet. A representative from France told Khodabandeh that French Counter terrorism police are still supervising the group after its leader was brought to trial in June 2003. He admitted that unfortunately politics took precedence over security and for that reason Maryam Rajavi is free now.

++ Columbia University’s Gary Sick spoke to The Iranist about conspiracy theories pertaining the Islamic Republic, Tehran’s trajectory, and Donald Trump’s Iran policy. Asked “do you think the Trump administration could be considering the formerly designated terrorist organization, the Mojahideen Al-Khalq (MEK), as an option for regime change”? Sick responded: “I don’t know how much influence the Mojahideen Al-Khalq has. One question that is asked often but has no answer is, “Where is all that money coming from?” The MEK is paying $50,000 to $100,000 for people to deliver a speech that basically preaches their message of violent overthrow of the Iranian government. We would understand the MEK better if we understood the sources of its revenue. Those sources are significant and they have a wealth of political influence.”

++ Tehran Times revealed that following a private screening in February, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “praised The Midday Event, a political drama that features the terrorist atrocity of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iran of the 1980s. ‘This film was very good. Everybody played his part very well; the directing was great, the acting was very good. The plot was great. It was a well-made film’, the Leader said in his February 20 meeting with the film cast and crew.

++ AlMonitor wrote a highly critical article about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying, “Abbas has played a weak hand as badly as one could imagine it being played”. One aspect of this was to send “a parliamentary delegation to take part in a conference [Villepinte] organized by the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (Mujahedeen-e-Khalq), perhaps as a sop to Saudi Arabia, upon which Abbas depends for support.”

++ As the Trump administration thrashes about trying to cobble together a coherent foreign policy toward Iran, critics from various unrelated backgrounds and beliefs echoed the same concern: that the official policy toward Iran is regime change and that the MEK would be top of the list as partners in this endeavour. Ted Galen Carpenter in The National Interest, Professor Michael Axworthy in Foreign Policy, Dr Mehrdad Khonsari in Huffington Post and Michael Rubin in AEIdeas all express their horror that American foreign policy could make such a dumb and damaging mistake.

 July 21, 2017

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