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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 219

++ After the UNHCR said it will pay living allowances directly to individuals in Albania, several ex members reacted. They are celebrating this as their victory over the MEK. Comments say ‘Maryam Rajavi! You tried to take us hostage for the sake of a few hundred dollars a week. But you failed.’ Some of these formers have worked for decades without pay for the MEK. Now they are increasingly speaking out about this situation. One who spoke this week gave a long, detailed interview to Faryad Azadi.

++ Mohammad Hossein Sobhani wrote an article in Iran Pen Association remembering his experience as a prisoner in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. He talks about the celebration of the 50 MEK prisoners released from Abu Ghraib when Saddam fell. He was one of them. Sobhani reports, ‘They were kept there as Rajavi’s ‘deposits’. How thankful we were when suddenly we found out we were not going to die.’

++ An article by Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh published by LobeLog was translated into Farsi. The article ‘The Iran Protests, Regime Change, And MEK’ was widely distributed and praised. People for or against the regime alike agree that the MEK are a bad group. Some commentators mention that although there is a fight between various oppositions, that doesn’t mean that drug smugglers, mercenaries and such like the MEK can get involved in it as well.

In English:

++ Mohammad Hashemi, writing for the Tehran Times, says it is ‘Time for reflection on unrest in Iran’. The article starts by denouncing major foreign media outlets “from the U.S. to France and Germany seeking to hype the situation by disseminating sensational information, and assertions under the guise of news reporting.” What Hashemi attributes to “the ‘post-truth’ world which Oxford Dictionary defined as ‘circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.” What defined the protests were their working class character and the fact that months earlier 41 million Iranians turned out to vote in an election.

Anti-Iran warmongers and the Monarchists and MEK sought to exploit the unrest for their own purposes. The author asserts however that Iranians are politically savvy and do not take the MEK or Monarchists or other external opposition or activists seriously.

++ In an article titled ‘MEK/NCRI, the Revolution Hijackers: Iran 2018’ published by Medium.com, the writer, Johnny, begins by pointing out vital differences between the recent protests in Iran and the previous Green Movement of 2009. He then talks about Maryam Rajavi’s attempts to hijack the unrest even though “The vast majority [of Iranians] have made it clear that ever since the 80s, the Mujahedin have no place in Iranian politics — even going as far as to label them as the ‘Khmer Rouge’ of Iran; after the Cambodian terror group headed by Pol Pot.” He goes on to describe Rajavi’s attempt to position herself as a leader and criticises western politicians for taking her seriously. This, he says, “seems eerily similar to the consensus determined by politicians in 2011 toward the FSA and ISIS”.

++ Albania’s TemaTV broadcast a short video report about “A training manual, which has already been used to train teachers in the country, will also be used in schools to educate children. The manual, published by the Center Against Violent Extremism, warns against the threat to society posed by Mojahedin Khalq organisation.” The MEK is described in the manual as a violent extremist group.

 January 26, 2018

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