Anne Singleton who introduces herself as a human rights activist who separated from the Mojahedin group, said in an interview with Ora News that this group is terrorist and is extremely dangerous for Albania. Singleton said the Mojahedin are recruiting young Albanians to use for their purposes. On the other hand, the Mujahedin group in Albania calls Anne Singleton an Iranian intelligence agent who spreads propaganda against the democratic opposition of Iran.
In May 2013, the first opposition group in Iran, the so-called Mojahedin, arrived in Albania. Today, more than 3,000 Mojahedin are being protected in Albania. Their arrival in Albania was accompanied by great debates due to poor public knowledge about their activities and after allegations of their designation as terrorists. But with the United States mediation, Albania accepted an agreement to shelter them. Anne Singleton, a British activist and human rights consultant, arrived in Albania to raise concerns about this group. Anne says she was part of this group and separated after having realized that their intention to oppose the Iranian regime democratically was deceptive. Singleton said the Mojahedin are currently recruiting young Albanians to use for their purposes. On the other hand, the representatives of the Mojahedin in Albania call her an Iranian agent who is trying to demonize the democratic opposition to the Iranian regime. According to the Mojahedin in Albania, Anne Singleton, and her husband Massoud Khodabandeh, are two agents of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS), who are based in London. According to the Mojahedin, the Pentagon has also called them agents of the Iranian intelligence services who were recruited by the Mojahedin group and who were used as anti-opposition activists.
What is the purpose of your visit to Albania?
I came to Albania because of the scandal, if we can call it this, caused by the presence of the Mojahedin in Albania. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on and trying to help members who want to leave this organization to do so safely.
What is this organization to you?
I was a member of this organization for 20 years. I was recruited as a student. My visit is about a terrorist group which believes in the violent overthrow of the Iranian government and for 40 years has a history of violence. For the past 15 years I have been trying to expose the true nature of this group and to help members who want to leave.
Why did they come to Albania?
The Mojahedin have come to Albania because they have been expelled from Iraq. After 2003 they lost Saddam Hussein’s protection and therefore had to leave. The Iraqi government thought the group should be broken up, however the Americans thought the Mojahedin were in favor of their anti-Iran agenda and apparently found a third country to host them, which was Albania.
Because no one else was prepared to accept them. Your government has received money from the Americans to shelter a former terrorist group in your capital.
We do not know much about the agreement Albania has made with the United States. Why are they so mysterious? Why do we not know much about them?
The first thing that goes through my mind is to say that whatever they do is illegal. Originally, they came from Iraq to Albania under a secret deal between the US, Albanian government, and the Mojahedin. Nobody knows what this agreement is or if it exists. What we are concerned about is that the Mojahedin have come, through this agreement, as a group, which means they do not have individual status and in fact they have no status in Albania. A piece of paper said they were brought on humanitarian grounds, but that does not mean anything. You cannot work with it, you cannot access anywhere, you cannot have a passport with it. If we follow this logic, they were brought to this country illegally as if they were trafficked. They were trafficked as a group without any status through this deal about which no one knows anything. And the Mojahedin themselves are a secret organization because of the cultic nature of the group – what you call in Albanian a sect.
Then why are they living in bad conditions? Are they funded and by whom?
The Mojahedin have never been an independent group. They were funded by Saddam Hussein. He paid for them, supplied arms, they were under Saddam Hussein’s patronage. But in addition, Saudi princes have always funded the group. There have been funds from anti-Iran elements, from America, Israel, support from the anti-Iran front, but I can assure you that this money never goes to the members. They are not paid, they are somehow, modern slaves, gladiators.
What is the risk that Albania is taking by protecting them?
The risk that Albania is taking is greater than you understand, or even what your government understands. At superficial levels, the Mojahedin present themselves as democrats, as human rights defenders, and want to introduce themselves as an alternative to the Iranian regime about which they tell many lies, about how repressive it is. I am not saying that the Iranian regime does not use repressive methods but not to the extent that the Mojahedin say. The reality is very different. The Mojahedin have never given up on their belief, and it is the blind belief of the entire organization, in violent regime change. How can you say they are democratic if they believe in changing the regime by force? Within the organization, their structure is hierarchical. They have the leader who is there for life. This is a criminal organization. Their expertise, apart from terrorism, assassinations – because they were involved in the killings of nuclear scientists in Iran, and their history of American assassinations before the revolution – this expertise has been used by ISIS, AL Qaeda, and it facilitates terrorism. Although they are not now in a position to undertake terrorist acts in Albania, they are experts in human trafficking, money laundering. They have the expertise to teach organizations how to manipulate their members, to use suicides, which they were the first to invent. In addition, as a result of its cultic nature, this group poses a risk to society. You may ask how? Why? We look at them in the streets and they do nothing to anyone… But they are recruiting your youth, young Albanians, to join this organization, as I did years ago, and work for them for nothing in return.
What do you suggest? To drive them out?
The Mojahedin leadership is very close to the Americans, and the Americans are very close to your government, so… The European Union is very concerned about the Mojahedin in Albania for two reasons, one because Albania has applied to join the EU, which will not will happen for as long as this group is in Albania. But besides this, they know the Mojahedin well. They know this group is dangerous, they know it represents a threat to parliamentary democracy and to society, and they want to see it dismantled, or not in Albania.
Sonil Frashëri, Ora News, Tirana, Albania ,Translated by Iran Interlink