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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 208

++ Among the reactions to Maryam Rajavi’s support for Donald Trump’s speech, many referred to the MEK as mercenaries and claim ‘this, as other issues, will go away’. But many others remarked on what happened after the speech and that nothing came out of what Trump said. As we know, they say, this means that the Iranians don’t take them seriously. But even those who regard the MEK as a tool are distancing themselves from the group. The MEK is becoming more and more irrelevant, as much as they like to shout about themselves.

++ In Albania there is a constant stream of people leaving the MEK and they are consolidating around Sahar Family Foundation so that a community of formers is taking shape. On the other side, the MEK are digging in and establishing further connections with the underworld of Albania; drug smugglers, arms dealers, traffickers etc. New MEK bases are being established between Tirana and the port of Durrës for smuggling purposes, along with smuggling people and drugs from other routes. The MEK has established its presence in the country in this way and is now involved in the task of corrupting politicians.

In English:

++ In a blog which concludes, “The vast majority of terrorism that is shaking the world today is conceived and nutured [sic] by radical Sunnis bent on destroying Iran. That is a fact that is largely ignored in the United States” Colonel Pat Lang’s analysis of Donald Trump’s Iran policy encompasses the lies and misinformation which illustrate Trump’s delusion. Lang says, “Author Sean Naylor, Relentless Strike, which details the history of operations and missions carried out by U.S. Joint Special Operations Command aka JSOC over the last 30 years, sheds light on an uncomfortable truth regarding our support to terrorists. To quote an old cartoon, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’

“JSOC personnel also worked with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian exile group that had based itself in Iraq after falling afoul of the ayatollahs’ regime in Tehran. The State Department had placed the MEK on its list of designated terrorist organizations, but that didn’t stop JSOC from taking an attitude of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ toward the group. ‘They were a group of folks that could transit the border, and they were willing to help us out on what we wanted to do with Iran,’ said a special operations officer. The MEK were classified as a terrorist group until the United States decided that as long as the MEK would help kill Iranians rather than Americans that they were no longer terrorists.”

++ Jason Ditz’s post in Anti-War attacks President Trump’s “increasingly fantastical and absurd accounting of Iran’s history”, in his “long-anticipated anti-Iran speech”. Referring to Trump’s claims about Iran’s military and nuclear activity Ditz reminds us: “The IAEA has in recent days clarified multiple times that they don’t need or want to visit any military sites right now. The only allegations about the sites are from the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which has been the source of repeated false accusations in the past.”

++ A lawyer acting for former MEK members in Albania visited the office of the UNHCR in Tirana this week with one of them. They asked the UNHCR to clarify the status of individuals who have been left destitute after they separated from the MEK. The report of the meeting reveals that the MEK do not have refugee status and were brought on ‘humanitarian grounds’ under an agreement struck between America, the Albanian government and the MEK. Under this agreement, which has not been made public, the MEK is responsible for paying the upkeep of all its members and former members. The MEK however does not pay anyone who does not continue to obey its dictates. The UNHCR suggested that a court case could clarify the status of these dissidents.

++ Mazda Parsi of Nejat Society ridicules Maryam Rajavi’s dream of ruling the Iranian nation. While she insists “it is imperative that the NCRI be recognised as the sole democratic alternative” to Iran’s government, the people of Iran hold the opposite view of the JCPOA to that of Trump and Rajavi. Parsi compares Rajavi’s rule inside the MEK to that of the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, pointing out that she “has been a president for over three decades with no alternative”.

++ Jason Rhode in Poste Magazine has no problem denouncing Howard Dean by examining “a pair of Dean’s positions: one in foreign policy, one domestic. Then we can examine why Dean has ended up on the short end of the progressive stick.” With regard to foreign policy, when Dean described Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group, many Twitter replies pointed to his support for the notorious MEK. Rhode says “Within the District, MEK is famous for its aggressive lobbying efforts. They spent with wild abandon to get their names stricken from the terrorist list. Nobody’s sure how much. Who received those funds? Among others, Howard Dean. Dean is a Democrat, and the MEK are equal-opportunity spenders.”

October 20, 2017

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