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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 200

++  Sahar Family Foundation (SFF) along with some families of MEK members met with Albanian officials in the Interior Ministry of Albania. Officials told SFF that there are now around 240 former members who have left the MEK. One official said that in addition, tens of families have come to Albania and that his department has tried to put them in contact with their loved ones. ‘Some we could, others not’, he told SFF. He also said that the MEK has insisted on moving its members to a closed camp outside Tirana. ‘In one way, this is good for the Albanian people. They don’t like to see them on their streets because their behaviour is weird and anti-social and they are afraid of them. On the other hand, there are official reservations about the creation of a new closed camp which is inaccessible and operates outside the law. We don’t want that’, he stressed. He assured the families that on the issue of formers, relations between Sahar Family Foundation and Albania’s government are ongoing.

++ Reports from inside the MEK say that Maryam Rajavi has finished extracting signatures from members to promise they will stay with the organisation. A phase is now underway to separate those who did sign from those who refused and will not be taken to the new camp. Some members have already been sent to the new camp which, like Camp Ashraf in Iraq, is isolated and closed. The members are given an ultimatum that ‘if you don’t go to the camp you will no longer be considered a member of the MEK’. [This is not the same as being expelled from the MEK polity, these people will still be under MEK jurisdiction but treated as sympathisers not members.] This is the same situation which pertained to the TIPF in Iraq which ran parallel to Camp Ashraf. The TIPF was created to get rid of people who might ‘infect’ the others with their disaffection and complaints. The TIPF allowed the Americans to remove 800 dissidents from Camp Ashraf and then drip, drip them out to get rid of them. This was so they wouldn’t all leave together and talk publicly as a group. The MEK need this arrangement again because of growing disaffection. The person in charge of making this happen is the former head of the Albanian Intelligence services, Fatos Klosi. He has been placed by the CIA to do this. As a notorious gang leader who has allegedly killed in the past, the government and their officials are afraid of him. He is reportedly putting direct pressure on the Interior Ministry to do his bidding and they can’t say no. The people who report this have said that for MEK members who manage to stay in Tirana and not go to the new camp, even though their life in the short term will be difficult, there is a glimmer of hope that one day they will be able to escape the MEK. But for anyone who goes to the new camp there is no hope. It is not like Camp Ashraf, this is controlled by the CIA and is inaccessible. They will never get out.

In English:

++ Breitbart reported that Iran’s parliament voted almost unanimously to increase spending on its missile programme and the Revolutionary Guard. “The Iranian parliament also bans visas for American officials who have met with an Iranian dissident group called Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK)… Contacts between American officials and the group, which has been listed and de-listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government over the years, have long been controversial.”

++ Guido Fawkes in the UK exposes a British MP who declared that his trip to Paris was “was paid for by an Iranian exile group which has been described as the front organisation for a ‘bizarre cult’. Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins accepted £800 worth of accommodation, meals and transport from the France-based National Council for Resistance (NCRI) in Iran for a two-day trip in July.”

++ Laura Rozen of Al Monitor’s report that several of Steve Bannon’s allies have been removed from the National Security Council indicates (without saying so) that the MEK’s chances of White House sponsorship are severely diminished.

++ Habilian Association writes an article criticising Senator John McCain as “called ‘hawkish’ even by his [own] party”. “McCain has a long record of backing unsavory and vicious people that happen to support regime change or that share his hostility to certain other governments. He was a cheerleader for the KLA during the Kosovo intervention, he was a fan of the rebellion in Libya from the start despite the presence of jihadists in their ranks, and he has been one of the most outspoken advocates of sending weapons to rebels in Syria on the pretense that they were ‘moderates’. In addition to misjudging the ‘moderate’ rebels, McCain has been a leading advocate for a policy that has sent weapons into Syria when they have been seized by Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS. Those are just the most obvious examples of McCain’s terrible judgment. McCain doesn’t discriminate when it comes to choosing allies of convenience in pursuing unwise and reckless goals, so it was probably just a matter of time before he started associating with the MEK.” The article then describes McCain’s relations with the MEK and links this with an unprecedented move by a 23-member bi-partisan group of senior former US officials who “signed a critical letter and delivered it to President Donald Trump. The letter suggested new policy options regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran and the need for the US to open up a meaningful channel of communication with the Iranian opposition, namely the coalition, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).”

++ Nejat Society says that the North Korea/America stand-off reminds us that the MEK was founded on an intensely anti-American platform. The group went on to murder several Americans. “However, American supporters of the MKO rarely mention the group’s violent and anti-American past, and portray the group not as terrorists but as freedom fighters with values just like them, as republicans and warmongers of Trump administration are ready to serve as vanguards of regime-change in Iran. In addition, some of them acknowledge that they know little about the group before they were invited to its events or to their trips to France or Albania but the fee the MKO pays them is good enough to forget or ignore the entire anti-American and violent background of the group.

“Definitely, American friends of Maryam Rajavi should be concerned about her as if they are concerned about Kim Jong Un. Camps of the MKO are run by an authoritarian cult-like system very similar to the one ruling North Korea. MKO members just like North Koreans are ‘raised to be soldiers’ with the sole purpose of serving their great leader.”

++ In an interview with Habilian Association, Dr Seyed Hossein Mousavian spoke of the MEK’s nature as a terrorist cult. After describing the erroneous thinking of real and potential patrons of the MEK among anti-Iran elements, Mousavian concludes that “France is playing a hypocritical and destabilizing game by hosting the MEK, a group that has no place in any democratic or civilized society. If France wants to signal to Iran that it is serious about its intention to improve its political and economic relations with Iran, it must stop allowing the group to operate on French soil.”

++ An article by Belen Fernandez in Middle East Eye ‘Does Albania have an America problem?’ describes the problems for the country as a client state of America. The MEK is apparently just one of the many destabilising problems foisted on the country by the USA.

Iran Interlink, August 25 2017

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