Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 233

++ Two topics dominated Farsi commentary and writing this week: Maryam Rajavi’s Villepinte show in France and the suspicious death of MEK member Malek Shara’I in Albania.

++ Thematically, Rajavi was condemned for spending huge amounts of money on her show, with exorbitant fees for speakers and a paid for audience, while at the same time the members in Albania live in conditions of modern slavery, without money and with frugal resources.

++ Rajavi was also condemned for trying to falsely link the MEK with the economic protests in Tehran.

++ The suspicious death of MEK member Malek Shara’i provoked comment about the MEK’s mercenary behaviour; they kill for money.

In Albanian / English:

++ Massoud Khodabandeh wrote about Shara’i in Balkans Post saying the MEK want to rebrand their image by killing off members who have a violent past or are witnesses to MEK crimes. The article lists other covert assassinations and internal killings over the history of the group. The piece concludes that the MEK “has become the pattern for how other defeated terrorist groupings can be reinvigorated, rebranded and reused”. This indicates that as ISIS members arrive in Albania, there will also be “mysterious murders, suicides, disappearances, bizarre interventions to prevent investigations”.

++ Gjergji Thanasi in Albania’s Gazeta Impakt (also translated into English for Iranian dot com) examines the mystery surrounding Shara’i’s death. The police report of clothes found at the water front conflicts with the MEK version that he jumped into the irrigation channel fully clothed. In spite of expert divers spending three days searching the small, shallow stretch of water, no body has been found. Thanasi accuses Prime Minister Edi Rama of treason because he has apparently granted the MEK extraterritoriality on Albanian soil, something even diplomats do not enjoy. The piece also raises the possibility that the victim is alive and has been trafficked to Europe. From here, argues Thanasi, he could be involved in terrorism.

++ Ebrahim Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, reveals that MEK commander Mahnaz Salimian in Paris has been tasked to link MEK with Iran’s economic protests during the Villepinte event, writing it into Rajavi’s speech. She has told MEK members ‘this is an opportunity which we cannot afford to lose as it is imperative to show that we are alive inside Iran’. Khodabandeh points out however that “Clearly Maryam Rajavi’s cult has no relation whatsoever with the protests inside Iran and is only, as usual, trying to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of, and derail if possible, the just demands of Iranian citizens. It is also clear that the demands of the demonstrators have never been, nor ever will be, to bring about support for the likes of Maryam Rajavi. The name of Maryam Rajavi or Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) was never heard in any part of any demonstrations as Iranians in general see Maryam Rajavi and the Mojahedin Khalq as an organisation which is proud of being part and parcel of the enemies of Iran and Iranians. Iranians see her as a cheap and sad mercenary who is trying to promote herself for her masters whatever the price.”

++ Elliott Gabriel, Mint Press News, deconstructs neocon efforts to promote and facilitate regime change against Iran, including engaging the MEK to chant ‘democracy’ at Villepinte.

June 29, 2018

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