Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 251

++ Edvard Termador wrote an open letter to the Pope explaining how he was forced as a POW to join MEK in Iraq, and how he managed to escape. He tells of two other Christians who were killed by MEK. They were being forced to renounce their religion before they were killed. Termador writes that MEK is still repeatedly threatening to kill him because he speaks about these things. He says the group is basically living on mercenary means and what a shame it is that people pay them for promoting war and sanctions. More important though is the situation of the people in Albania. Termador says he managed to escape, but these people have no opportunity. He asks the Pope to help the people trapped there.

++ There were two more deaths this week in Albania. Every week two or three members are dying. On one side it can be put down to their age, but on the other hand some deaths are suspicious. There is no oversight or inspections to find out what happened to them. We have only to accept what MEK say about them. Behzad Massoudi, who died this week, was with MEK for over forty years. Everyone who knows him says he had no illness as the MEK claim. But he was a critic during all his time with them. His death is suspicious. Albania is such a country that there is no authority to appeal to and ask them to investigate. Who issues the death certificates in the MEK camp? God knows! The law does not apply to that camp.

++ Criticism of the flawed Amnesty International report on the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran has picked up. More people are now complaining about AI’s cosy relation with the MEK. Some have revealed that this is not new and some of the people in that section of AI have been paid for the past decade by MEK. Some writers have given names, places and amounts of these payments. This criticism has now reached Wikipedia’s ‘Criticism of Amnesty International’ page where this report has now been added as well.

++ Several people have written about MEK suddenly coming out of their shell after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Middle East. Saber of Tabriz explains in more detail. He reminds MEK that ‘if the previous anti-Iran coalitions helped you, this one will surely help you as well’. Starting from Saddam and coming to the recent western efforts to make an Arab NATO or trying to create a Kurdish coalition, Saber says that each time, Rajavi jumps up and says, ‘Iran is finished, they’ll give Iran to me now’. Well, surely this lot will help as all the previous ones did. Isn’t that why you are still where you are.

In English:

++ Several open letters were written in support of comments made by Roald Sturla Naas, former Norwegian ambassador to Iran after he criticised the MEK in Today’s Business publication. Naas stated that Iranians regard MEK as a worse option than today’s regime.

++ Mehr News agency reported an Iraqi MP’s claims that the US has started training MEK members in northern Iraq. Mohammad al-Baldawi told Almaalomah newspaper that the US is seeking to “ignite the region” following its failures in Syria. Farsi News agency reported that the “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani rebuked members of the Trump administration for speaking more of their dreams than realities …He also blasted US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Israel for making decisions and devising strategies on Iran based on the bulletins released by the Mojahedin-e Khalq … terrorist group, advising them to at least change the terms and words used by the MKO in their bulletins and not to insert the same words exactly in their National Security Strategy.”

++ Giovanni Giacalone wrote a lengthy analytical piece in Italy’s Gli Occhi Della Guerra asking ‘Were the Iranians really ready to carry out an attack in Europe?’ Giacalone examines the evidence behind such claims, quoting Albanian investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi who showed that the MEK’s claims have no substance. As such this casts doubt on why two Iranian diplomats were suddenly expelled from Albania as per MEK and American demands. The article concludes that the clash between Israel and Iran which is now taking place on Albanian soil, with the MEK playing a major role, threatens to increase destabilization in the Balkans… to the detriment of Europe.

++ Nejat Bloggers said that letters of complaint to Amnesty International over its flawed report have gone unacknowledged. When approached in person, AI staff referred the complainants to the authors of the report – some of whom are known to be working for or sympathetic toward the MEK. Complainants point out that there is no mention of the MEK’s war crimes in 1988, nor its current human rights abuses against its own members. Nor does AI show any interest in the fact families continue to be denied contact with their loved ones in the MEK.

++ Press TV reported remarks by Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who “lambasted the European Union (EU) for harbouring notorious MKO terrorists, warning that ‘accusing’ Iran and imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic will not ‘absolve’ Europe of responsibility for housing members of the terror outfit.” His remarks came after Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said in a tweet that the ‘EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil’. “Tehran has time and again strongly denied any involvement in the purported plots, saying the accusations were merely intended to damage EU-Iran relations”, said Press TV.

++ According to Nejat Society another MEK member publicly announced his escape from the cult in Albania. Abdorrahman Mohammadian said he had been a POW in the Iran-Iraq war before being deceptively recruited by the MEK. Discovering that MEK’s propaganda was completely false was “like the collapse of a mirage”, he said. “It was a pity that we had no way out despite the entire hypocrisy we witnessed there,” he asserts. After being held hostage for 28 years he finally could not tolerate the situation and walked out in November 2018.

++ Press TV reported Ayatollah Khamenei’s address to a gathering in Qom. Khamenei asserted that Iran would not be cowed by American sanctions. He mocked John Bolton’s claim that he and the MEK would celebrate in Tehran before 2019, saying “Christmas was a few days ago. This is how US calculations work …Some US officials pretend that they are mad. Of course I don’t agree with that. Rather, they are first-class idiots,” he said.

 January 11, 2019

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