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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 211

++ The MEK’s television channel has aired many programmes asking supporters for money. The adverts present various individuals who have already paid. The response among Farsi speakers is that ‘there is no need to go to this pretense, we all know you are doing money laundry’. For many years the MEK has pretended that its members and supporters are the source of its income. But it is public knowledge that the money is from Saudi Arabia and Israel. Even in the years 1995-6 when the UK Charity Commission investigated and closed the bogus Iran Aid charity, it was obvious to everyone that this was a money laundry front. Clearly, the MEK now has new money coming and these TV programmes are aired to disguise where it’s from.

++ Iran’s Day of Koroush (Cyrus the Great) came and went before the MEK suddenly realised they had missed the bandwagon. So, this week they tried to catch up. The Commentariat ridiculed them. Most pointed out ‘you were anti-monarchist when you started, now what’s all this about Koroush’? Some went on to say that ‘Koroush didn’t sell his country for pennies, didn’t lick his enemies’ boots and didn’t force his soldiers to divorce or use them as forced labour etc. In fact, he was symbol of human rights and tolerance. You are famous for abusing human rights’.

++ This week a group of MEK formers had a meeting in the European Parliament exposing the MEK. They acted as an echo for the voices of the people in Albania about the human rights abuses going on inside the MEK.

In English:

++ Anne Khodabandeh visited Tirana last week to investigate the scandalous situation of former MEK members in Albania. She had an opportunity to speak with some officials responsible for the MEK, though all were afraid to speak on the record. Khodabandeh was interviewed by several media outlets, television, internet and newspapers. Some had their output censored by senior editors and media owners. (Ironically, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations was in Tirana from 8 to 10 November to participate in the EU-Western Balkans Media Days – aimed at strengthening freedom of speech and media independence.)

++ Gazeta Impakt broadcast a two-part interview on the MEK in Albania. In the first, Anne Khodabandeh talked about a range of issues, including the illegal trafficking of the whole MEK to Albania. She said that since they do not have UN refugee status they have no legal status in the country. She also mentioned that there is already evidence of the MEK recruiting young people in Albania to join their cult. The second part involved the testimony of three former MEK members. Adel Azami, Bahram Azami (cousins) and Sadollah Seifi, who all come from the same village in Iranian Kurdistan and joined the MEK together twenty-six years ago. They each explained how they had been deceived by false propaganda by the MEK and spent all those years trapped in the organisation. Adel escaped five years ago and is now resident in the UK. The other two escaped the MEK only weeks ago and are now on the difficult road to recovery. Anne Khodabandeh was on hand to clarify certain issues and to say that anyone leaving the MEK would be supported by the families’ Sahar Family Foundation.

++ “Nejat Society members of Khuzestan branch met Sheikh Mansuri family. Their beloved son; Nesar was a POW of Iran-Iraq war when the MKO recruiters deceived him into joining the cult. He is taken hostage by the Cult of Rajavi now for long years.

I am sure my brother loves his family; says Ms. Samira Mansuri, Nesar’s sister. She recounted the story of their last visit to the MKO Camp Liberty in Iraq:

‘we were picketing in front of the Camp Liberty gates along with other families. All the families wrote and signed petitions to the UNHCR asking for a visit with our loved ones’. The UNHCR representative, however, quoting the MKO cult leaders, said that the members were unwilling to visit you. And we can do nothing…  We were all sure that the cult leaders do not tell the truth. And our beloved family members were under severe pressure and manipulation of the cult.’

Nesar regularly wrote letter to us when he was captive in the Baath prison Camps. However as soon as he transferred to the MKO Camps, the Rajavis didn’t allow him to write a letter or contact his family.”

++ Mazda Parsi of Nejat Bloggers writes to answer the question ‘What caused the decline of the cult of Rajavi?’ by explaining how cults work. He starts by explaining that people do not join cults but are deceptively recruited and often spend years trapped in the group afterwards. He says the process is gradual. “The leaders of the group Massoud and Maryam Rajavi ran very meticulous methods of brainwashing to indoctrinate their cult-like ideas. The more the group members endured cult-like practices, the more they lost their trust to the outside world.” Parsi tells why forced celibacy is used in the MEK. However, after 2003, the MEK’s hypocrisy became clear for the members and many began to escape the cult a process that is still ongoing. Parsi concludes: “Doubts about the group’s leaders and their ideology was enhanced when members found themselves in a rather free world in Tirana. They could see the normal life of ordinary normal citizens whenever they could manage to get out of the group’s camp –although under sever supervision and control of their superior ranks. Hence, they got informed of the aspects of violations of human rights that the leaders of the Cult of Rajavi committed against them. This instigated the second and hopefully last stage in the decline of the cult of Rajavi.”

++ Richard Silverstein in Tikun Olam mentions the MEK’s role in the Iran nuclear deal now that Donald Trump is trying to scupper the deal. (Trump and Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘On the Road to Nowhere’.)

“Many analysts believe that MeK’s mysterious largesse originated in the treasury of the Saudi regime, a sworn enemy of the Iran’s Shia regime.  NBC, quoting Obama administration sources, claimed the Mossad was an important funder as well.  Meir Dagan, Israel’s former Mossad chief, publicly boasted of Israeli acts of terrorism sponsored inside Iran.  Clearly, these sorts of operations need Iranian insiders and MeK is a likely culprit.  The same NBC report asserted that the MeK participated in the assassination of five Iranian nuclear scientists.  I reported here, based on a high-level Israeli former military officer, that the Mossad and MeK jointly coordinated the attacks.  Other journalists have reported that the Saudis gave Israel $1-billion for various operations to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program including the assassinations and the Stuxnet malware attack.

“It would be totally in character for the MeK to accept funding from Iran’s enemies, as it was once sheltered in Iraq by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.”

 November 10, 2017

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