Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 198

++ In Albania there have been many letters sent covertly from inside the MEK written by people who want to leave. They talk about the mobile telephone system given to MEK leaders by the Pentagon enabling them to track their movements and communications. They say the UNHCR is under the thumb of the CIA and only says whatever the MEK tells it to say. Maryam Rajavi is holding brainwashing sessions and forcing everyone to sign a new oath of allegiance. She is trying to work out who she can use to put pressure on others and who is wobbly and needs to be controlled. For the time being everyone is forbidden from going outside. Meanwhile, Rajavi has brought three US Senators to Albania. Everyone says this is because the Senate is closed and they are getting an all-expenses paid holiday. In the media, Albanians are writing to say they are sick of being the new ‘Baghdad’ for the Americans who are now calling for regime change from Albania instead of from their own country.

++ The article by Dr Raz Zimmt from The Moshe Dyan Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel, about the citizen use of social media in Iran to reject the MEK has been translated into Farsi and Arabic and published widely. Comments on the article point out that even the Israelis, who are anti-Iran, say the MEK is not a tool to use and in fact support for the MEK works against Israeli interests. Those who support the MEK are not patriotic Americans. They are paid but have no input in policies toward Iran. Those Americans who develop or influence policies don’t support these people.

++ The demand for the expulsion of Maryam Rajavi from France and Europe has gained momentum to the point that the MEK are reacting viciously. This reaction was exacerbated when former advocate Alameh Hosseini Lobnani turned against the group. The MEK now accuse him of being sent by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Sepah Qods), to curtail their activities in the European Parliament. The MEK openly threaten not only him but also former members, critics and others as they used to, that they will be assassinated. This week the MEK also threatened openly to assassinate two Iranian journalists who interviewed several people who spoke against the MEK and exposed them. Some of these say that that MEK have attributed false quotes to them and they have now spoken out to deny ever saying such things.

++ Seyed Javad Hasheminejad, CEO of Habilian Association, speaking in the University of Tehran, mentioned the MEK. He said the Americans have shifted their mercenaries (MEK) from the nuclear issue, which is over and done with, to human rights. Hasheminejad says that ‘considering the situation and history of the MEK, we knew this would not work but that doesn’t mean we won’t keep exposing them and their masters so that Iran’s younger generation will know who they are dealing with. The Americans use terrorism, then apologise and then use terrorism again. Iran is capable of dealing with this behaviour. Indeed, already the Americans and MEK have turned their backs on human rights and are pursuing regime change in Albania.

In English:

++ Madawi Al-Rasheed, writes in Middle East Eye about the meeting of Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh as part of Saudi Arabia’s confrontation with Iran. However, Sadr is depicted as a loose cannon. And “Mohammed bin Salman’s strategy to reach out to opposition groups in Iraq may echo his bid to support multiple opposition movements to his rivals. After supporting the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and more recently reaching out to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvania, the crown prince’s strategy may backfire.”

++ Dr Ankit Srivastava, Editor-in-Chief of the New Delhi Times, examines ‘Why the US is always at logger heads with Iran on bilateral issues’. “America’s visceral hatred of Iran, especially of its clerical regime, knows no bounds. Such hostility, nay loathing, could be traced back to siege of the US embassy in Teheran in 1979 which heaped humiliation that has left an indelible mark. Washington got over far greater humiliations at the hands of the North Vietnamese as subsequent US presidents visited Hanoi thereafter, why can’t it forgive Iran.” Srivastava gives the example of US support for the MEK as evidence of this implacable hatred.

++ An article by Dr Raz Zimmt of the Moshe Dyan Center, Tel Aviv University, talks about the use of social media by Iranians to express their hatred of the MEK. He says that the MEK’s Villepinte event “sparked angry reactions and public criticism on Iran’s social networking sites (SNS). This anger was exacerbated by Saudi and US representation at the conference, which was seen as evidence of Saudi and American efforts to instigate political change in Iran through compromising support of a terrorist organization widely considered traitorous by Iranians.” Zimmt concludes, “the angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime during the Iran-Iraq war, which remains a traumatic memory for Iranians. Therefore, Iranians consider any support for MEK to be an illegitimate offence against national pride. The Iranian public’s aversion to foreign interventions and allies of Iran’s enemies sporadically captivates SNS discourse as exhibited by the conference’s backlash.”

August 11, 2017

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