Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 227

++ Jim Lobe, Lobelog: Even Bill Kristol is Worried about Bolton’. “Kristol, who remains probably the single most influential figure …

++ Last week there were some small protests in Khuzestan against a TV programme which had used a map, with dolls displaying ethnicity, which had omitted to show Arab clothes. The protests soon died away after the producer apologised. All last week the Saudi backed MEK have talked endlessly about the separation of Khuzestan based on that incident. Farsi reaction to this is again ‘Rajavi, shut up!’ Many commentators published documents showing the MEK killing Arabs in the south of Iraq and Kurds in the north of Iraq. They say the last people who can talk about ethnicity with that background are the MEK.

++ In Tirana this week the MEK held a big celebration over the appointment of John Bolton. People inside reported that Mehdi Abrishamchi (Rajavi’s first husband) got up and danced. There was also a statement from (the late) Massoud Rajavi read out saying, “It is done and finished, the war has started, and we have won”. All this has become a gif-worthy joke among many commentators.

++ London Kayhan published an article about Iranian oppositions, saying it is necessary for them to get together and find common cause. The article referred to the past crimes of the MEK but indicated that if the MEK reject what they did, they can still join the opposition. ‘You have wasted people’s energies until now, stop that and become a real opposition with us.’ In response to this article, ex-member Davoud Baghervand Arshad has written a lengthy explanation about how the MEK have always fought against other opposition groups and tried to eliminate them so as to be the only one, instead of opposing the IRI. His article concludes, ‘if you still think there is a one in a million chance of bringing along this cult and integrating it into the opposition groups then you are badly mistaken and still don’t get who they are’.

In English:

++ An article by Ted Regencia in Aljazeera charts the MEK’s violent history, before showing that the group’s claim to have given up violence does not match with its continued support for regime change as expressed by John Bolton and Turki bin Faisal al Saud. Regencia quotes analysts and reports which confirm the Iranian people’s deep hatred and mistrust of the group because of its anti-Iranian behaviour.“I have not heard anyone asking them [MEK] to make a comeback [in Iran] or anything like that,” said Tehran-based journalist Saeed Jalili. MEK advocate Senator Robert Torricelli did not comment for the article, “But in an article published in Politico in 2016, Torricelli said he has seen ‘no evidence’ that the MEK ‘took part in terrorist activities against Iranians or Americans’. Torricelli said the group saved American lives following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, by identifying locations of improvised explosive devices.”

++ Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, writes ‘US National Security Advisor John Bolton Backs MEK Terrorists’. As well as Bolton’s role in George Bush’s Iraq war, his lobbying for a dangerous terrorist organisation – MEK – has greater implications. Even Bolton’s supporters are worried. “A National Security Advisor openly guilty of violating US anti-terrorism laws having provided material support to a US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization for years illustrates just how profoundly compromised US institutions are and reflects an agenda that not only exclusively serves special interests – but does so at the cost of the American people’s actual security.”

++ Jim Lobe, Lobelog: Even Bill Kristol is Worried about Bolton’. “Kristol, who remains probably the single most influential figure in the increasingly fractious neoconservative movement, expressed some serious discomfort about the appointment” of John Bolton. Apparently even the most hawkish anti-Iran pundits find Bolton ‘utterly unfitted’ for office in the White House. Of course, Bolton’s long-term support for the MEK contributes to that view.

++ MEP Ana Gomes and MEP Patricia Lalonde will host a debate in the European Parliament next week about the MEK threat in Albania. Interested persons are asked to contact Ms Gomes’ office. Speakers include Anne Khodabandeh, De-Radicalisation Consultant.

 April 06, 2018

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