++ The manager at the hotel where the parents of Somayeh Mohammadi are staying in Tirana invited them to dinner one evening. He told them, ‘today the police visited me and told me you were a dangerous agent and we should ask you to leave the hotel. But our police don’t talk like this, so I guessed they were pretending to be police and I asked them to leave instead. You have stayed here without any trouble for some weeks, and anyway, now that we’re having dinner together, I can tell you honestly, that if you are an agent of Iran’s intelligence ministry, then they must be doing farming because a man with hands like yours is not doing anything but manual work.’
++ Mostafa Mohammadi has reported that when he and his wife first arrived in Albania, the former MEK members were afraid of them, somehow still believing MEK’s lies and deception. But as Mostafa and Mahboubeh walked around Tirana openly, and as the media reported their plight so that ordinary Albanian citizens greeted them with friendly and sympathetic kindness, the former members realised their mistake. They are now happy to meet and talk with the parents of Somayeh Mohammadi and are no longer worried or afraid of MEK.
++ Mostafa and Mahboubeh took part in the Eid al-Adha celebrations to mark the end of Haj in Skanderbeg Square in Tirana. The head of Albania’s Muslim Community, Skender Brucaj, welcomed them and spoke about their situation. He told them he would pray for their daughter. He also added that ‘they call themselves ‘Mojahedin’, that has meaning in Islam. If they are Muslims, why are they not here with us? There is clearly something wrong with their beliefs.’
++ If MEK thought that with the departure of the Channel Four film crew, headed by Lindsey Hilsum, they could carry on as before, they were sadly mistaken. Albanian media called MEK’s assault on the journalists, and a subsequent assault on Guardian correspondent Aaron Merat, a “scandal”. Iran Interlink Google translated a small selection of the reportage – see below for links to the news in Albanian. From LAPSI, Shqiptarja dot com, Tirana Times (in English), City News and Gazeta Impakt the story of MEK’s assault on the journalists wouldn’t go away as it became clear the police and secret services had tried to keep the event secret, not even reporting it in their daily crime communique to headquarters.
++ The Mohammadi parents’ story was again highlighted as they wrote to the Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj and Prime Minister Rama, appealing for their help in liberating their daughter from the closed MEK camp in Manzes.
++ The presence of MEK in Albania has even impacted negatively on the tourist industry. City News reported that a special diversionary pipe has been linked to the main water supply to prioritise the MEK terrorist training camp, leaving one of the most frequented beaches in Durres, Lalzi Bay, without drinking water at the height of the tourist season.
++ Gjergji Thanasi, a veteran and highly respected investigative journalist in Albania and Italy, also waded into the fight after MEK viciously slandered him, ludicrously labelling him “an agent of the Iranian regime”. Thanasi, who is used to investigating the criminal behaviour of mafia and politicians alike, wrote a lively riposte to MEK, promising to reveal much, much more about their criminal activities in future. Thanasi also warned PM Edi Rama that his complicity will be exposed.
++ More concerning were warnings of possible MEK terrorist activity. Olsi Jazexhi wrote a detailed account of MEK’s deceptive behaviour in Albania aimed at demonizing Iran. Jazexhi said that MEK first published false news about the arrest of two Iranian terrorists in Albania. This was replicated by MEK paid websites, and was quoted by the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. This led to US Secretary of State Pompeo to repeat the false news. Investigations by Gazeta Impakt and Gjergji Thanasi quickly and easily revealed last March that the so-called terrorists were retired Iranian journalists invited to a cultural event for Nourouz and “…how their detention created a diplomatic scandal between the Bektashi Community and the Albanian government. Baba Mondi, the Grand Dervish of the World Headquarters of the Bektashis who had personally invited the journalists to Albania, had to personally phone the interior minister and president Ilir Meta and ask for the release of his honorary guests.”
“…The repeated fake news on the detention of the “Iranian terrorists” has been followed by other fake news that the Mojahedin are creating in their news outlets. Another claim that MEK has made against Iran is that Albanian Minister for the Diaspora, Pandeli Majko has been threatened by Iranian agents and that Iran is sending agents to attack the MEK terrorist organization which now portrays itself as the Iranian democratic opposition.”
Jazexhi said that at a time they are mired in scandal, the MEK attack anyone who opposes them in Albania and concludes: “Many Albanian security officials and analysts who are following the extremist behavior of MEK, fear that in the future the Mojahedin will use Albania as a launchpad to create a major incident between the West and Iran. Thus far they have shown themselves capable of eliminating their dissident members, abducting and holding hostages, beating families who want to liberate their abducted children, threatening the media and civil society, blackmailing the local police and distributing fake news on daily basis. The fear is that if the Trump Administration wants, MEK will carry out a major false flag terrorist incident in Albania or in Europe and this attack will serve the Trump – Pompeo administration as a justification for a major confrontation with Iran and the European Union.”
++ James Dorsey in Lobelog writes that ‘Amid Ethnic Protests, Iran Warns of Foreign Meddling’. The article examines the various pressures on Iran from protests and unrest and says the Iranian government has “Iran has raised the spectre of a US-Saudi effort to destabilize the country by exploiting economic grievances against the backdrop of circumstantial evidence that Washington and Riyadh are playing with scenarios for stirring unrest among the Islamic republic’s ethnic minorities.” Dorsey points out that Western officials’ support for MEK adds to Iranian distrust of ethnic unrest as being fuelled by the West.
++ To give an idea of how explosive the scandal of MEK’s controversial presence is in Albania, the following links are from last week. The media have been keen to follow and expose these events. MEK have also said their piece.
Po fshihet skandali? Muxhahedinët në Shqipëri rrahin gazetaren britanike
From Kosova – https://kosovatoday.com/kosovanews/rrahet-gazetarja-britanike-ne-shqiperi/
MEK’s answer – https://www.syri.net/kronike/187132/rrahen-gazetaret-reagojne-muxhahedinet-hyne-fshehurazi-po-perdoren-nga-inteligjenca-e-iranit/
Albania’s English media – http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138268
Another MEK answer – http://shqiptarja.com/lajm/ekskluzive-cpo-ndodh-ne-kampin-e-manzes-streha-e-disidenteve-iraniane-kthehet-ne-nje-vater-tensionesh
Muxhahedinët iranianë ngatërrojnë letrën higjenike me letër zumpara
MEK advocate in Albania justifying his support – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLEt2EQbBSc
MEK answer in English – https://irannewsupdate.com/news/iranian-opposition/5223-iran-regime-plotting-new-terror-attacks-against-mek.html
Looking forward to next week…
August 24 2018