Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 213

++ Among the comments about Ashraf Three, many scoffed, ‘It didn’t take long for Rajavi to show that the MEK’s ideology is non-existent. They talk rubbish. In Iraq they claimed they had to retreat behind a wall because of a security risk. But in Albania there is no security risk. The only conclusion we can come to is that they are building a terrorist training camp to keep the members busy so they don’t all leave.

++ Faramarz Dadras – security analyst – has come under a systematic attack and defamation campaign by the MEK due to his writing. This is not a surprise for him. He predicted some weeks ago this would happen. Dadras writes that in the last two weeks he was sent messages – direct and indirect – threatening that ‘either you stop, or we will come to get you’. Some messagers have gone so far as to say ‘there are hundreds of ex-members of the NCRI who left us but don’t talk or don’t say much, like Karim Ghassem and Hedayat Matin Daftary etc. They stopped exposing the MEK and therefore MEK has left them alone.’ In a long interview with Mihan TV talking about the Middle East, Dadras touched on this situation as well. He says it is typical MEK behaviour to make intimidating threats against their critics. He says he is glad to be with the people who attack them. Dadras emphasised that as a security analyst in France ‘I can confirm that the French security services still treat the MEK as a serious terrorist organisation and a threat to national security, no matter if they are on a political terrorism list or not.’ He also touched on the speech by MEP Ana Gomes in which she demanded the European Parliament ban the group and its head Maryam Rajavi from the premises because of the security threat to the EU parliament.

++ Mehdi Khoshal who was attacked by the MEK on EU parliament premises, wrote a short note in Fanous website explaining that between the door of the EUP to reaching Luxembourg Square he was attacked three times by MEK thugs. The attacks were systematic, using some kind of gas canister which burned his eyes. They tried to kidnap him he says. One of his eyes was damaged and still hasn’t regained full sight. The other victim, Abdul Karim Ebrahimi, has sustained a serious back injury and has not recovered yet. Khoshal as a poet and writer went back to the scene after some days and took a picture. Alongside it he wrote: “This is the place my blood dripped on the pavement. They were shouting and screaming ‘if you come back here we will kill you’. I came back not to fight with them, but to make sure that if there is blood being spilled it will be the blood of the injured wolves rather than the slave dogs.” Khoshal explains, “I am sorry for dogs because I come from a family who always owned dogs. My father never ate without feeding his dogs. I am talking about the politically owned slave dogs and the politically injured free wolves.” (The original 19th Century Hungarian poem by Sándor Petőfi which inspired these thoughts was translated into Farsi by Mehdi Akhavansales – a famous Iranian modern poet, who commented that, after centuries, apparently the situation of the dogs and wolves hasn’t changed much.)

++ Many people wrote in Farsi about this incident involving Khoshal. Those who know him say that what has emerged from this whole situation is that Mehdi Khoshal is a thoroughly decent, kind and gentle person who was viciously attacked outside an icon of democracy, the European Parliament.

In English:

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Bloggers writes about the document MEK members are being forced to sign before being transferred to a remote, closed camp north of Tirana called Ashraf Three. The document – which an escaped member recently made public – contains ten clauses outlining commitments which the members must abide by. The most crucial of these, Parsi points out, is ‘irrevocable membership of the MEK’. Parsi refers to the work of Dr Alexandra Stein, a cult expert, to show that this document describes membership of a cult.

“The ten points that are included in the commitment paper of the Cult of Rajavi meet the very criteria that Dr Stein defines as features of a cult-like system. She has a five-point definition of a cult: ‘One: The leader is charismatic and authoritarian. Two: The structure of the group isolates people. The third thing is total ideology, like, ‘You only need me and no other belief system has any relevance whatsoever’. The fourth thing is the process of brainwashing. The fifth point: creating deployable followers who will do what you say regardless of their own self survival interests.’

“…According to Dr. Stein, in the isolated atmosphere cults operate on a cycle of fear and attachment. Members are extremely dependent to the group because they have no other choice. For instance, in case of the MKO members, having signed the ‘irrevocable membership’ paper, they would be taken as hostages as long-life hostages of the group.

‘You can’t confide in anyone in a cult’, she says. ‘If you say, ‘There seems to be a problem here,’ you will be likely to be punished, so there’s nowhere to go. You’re scared but you’ve got nobody else left in your life, so you cling to the very people who are causing you that fear.’”

++ An article by Massoud Khodabandeh in Iranian.com describes how Maryam Rajavi’s attempt to waylay Federica Mogherini in the EUP and have a photo take for propaganda purposes went horribly wrong. Not only did Mogherini avoid Rajavi and rebuke her for her pretentions, but Rajavi’s thugs just outside the building viciously attacked two former members who had exited the parliament after giving testimony about MEK human rights violations. A case of actions speaking louder than words. “To give context to this escalation of violent behaviour, it is worth mentioning that two days before this incident Anne Khodabandeh briefed MEPs on the results of her fact-finding visits to Albania, where the MEK combatants are now based after being expelled from Iraq. Khodabandeh raised the issue of security, asking why a NATO country – Albania – was permitting a foreign terrorist organisation to construct a terrorist training camp on the edge of the European Union?

“Khodabandeh had previously briefed British and American security services about additional issues concerning the MEK’s behaviour and the impact this has on security concerns across the Balkans and Europe.

“Allowing the MEK to conduct its mafia like behaviour with impunity in the European Parliament is offering a green light to the group’s further ambitions to grow its presence as a terrorist group in Albania.”

++ Iran Interlink posted a video and reported “For the first time in a parliamentary debate, the MEK presence in the European Parliament was denounced as a security issue. MEP Ana Gomes spoke during the debate on Iran’s nuclear deal demanding that MEK agents who work in the parliament must be expelled. This followed a violent incident the previous week in which agents of MEK leader Maryam Rajavi – who was inside the building at the time – viciously beat a group of Iranian oppositionists who were leaving parliament after giving testimony to MEPs as witnesses of human rights violations in the MEK. The MEK agents were waiting to ambush them as they left the building. Such violence is intended to prevent MEK critics from speaking to parliament.

“The MEK has a long history of infiltrating Western parliaments and, on a daily basis, stalking, harassing and intimidating the members of parliament, their researchers and other staff. This latest incident of violence has clearly crossed a line of democratic tolerance among MEPs who applauded the speech by Ms Gomes.”

December 15, 2017

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