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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 256

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++ Most Farsi commentary around MEK this week concerned the listing of Sepah (IRGC) as a terrorist entity. MEK’s reaction was condemned as selling your country (MEK being paid for anti-Iran work). But you won’t gain anything but the hatred of Iranians say critics.

++ Joke of the week is that Maryam Rajavi took credit for Trump’s designating Sepah as a terrorist entity, claiming (without irony) that she had been demanding this “for years”.

++ In response to the devastating floods in Iran, Maryam Rajavi gathered her followers in the half-built back yard of the closed camp in Albania and put on a performance. Rajavi spoke a bit, looked sad a bit, stood by a flag a bit and posed a bit. Really helpful.

++ In response to Maryam Rajavi’s response to the floods, Farsi commentators ask, ‘Why are you not helping in any way? Why don’t you send money? Why, when you claimed that MEK “Resistance Units” are operating all over Iran, do you not have even a single person on the ground? The country is in chaos, there is nobody to stop you from sending at least one person to take a photograph to show that MEK is helping – someone holding a photo of Rajavi for example. This has exposed to the full that everything you say is simply lies. You claim to have support in Iran. You don’t even have a single person.

In English:

++ Emile Nakhleh’s article ‘Hawks Clamoring to Attack Iran’ in Lobelog is well worth careful reading. Not because it is difficult, but because it exposes the really dangerous beliefs and behaviours of those close to Donald Trump who are doing everything in their power to bring about a war against Iran in total disregard to damage to human life and society. So, “Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations.” And “Bolton and Giuliani are as susceptible to MEK’s claims as Cheney and Rumsfeld were to Chalabi’s.” Nakhleh points to the path forward: “Fifty-plus retired American generals and diplomats, in a statement published earlier this month, urged the Trump administration to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and work on resolving outstanding concerns with Iran diplomatically. They advised against a war because they saw no good outcome.”

++ Similarly, Stephen M Walt warns in Foreign Policy that ‘America is Wide Open for Foreign Influence’. Walt argues that although the US may have the most expensive defences in the world, its political system is uniquely open to abuse by foreign agency. Among the examples is the MEK which pays speakers fees to gain influence as well as hiring public relations and lobbyists to promote them (as well as clean up their image). Walt concludes: “Foreign policy is not a philanthropic activity, and even close allies think first and foremost about self-interest, which sometimes means trying to bamboozle the United States into doing what they want, even at some cost to Americans. If the United States is spending all this money securing the borders, leaving the national mind unlocked and ripe for manipulation is a tad short-sighted.”

++ Kim Sengupta in The Independent mentions MEK in an analysis of the tit for tat terror branding between Iran and the US. Sengupta argues that this bolsters the hardliners in Iran at the expense of the reformists. But the focus is on Trump who “is now very much in confrontation with his security and diplomatic establishment” encouraged by Bolton, Pompeo, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Bolton notorious for supporting MEK of course. By forensically linking Trump through his daughter’s business dealings with a corrupt Azerbaijani businessman to a family “ three of whose members were directly associated with the IRGC”, Sengupta concludes that if there is regime change in Iran, “the likelihood is that it will be the hardliners taking over, not a pleasant scenario for the Iranian people or the outside world”.

++ Former MEK member Hassan Heyrani, who lives in Tirana, wrote a short blog piece about the MEK. He says the cult is trying to empty Albania of those who left MEK because their continued presence has a bad effect on the members. It encourages them to leave as well. MEK is prepared to spend 5000 euros per person to illegally smuggle them out of Albania to Greece where they are kept secretly until they can further be taken to western Europe.

++ Nejat Bloggers reported that Nejat Society members visited the Atabay family home in Gilan Province on the occasion of Nouruz. The family are active members of Nejat Society. The mother wants to know why Rajavi does not allow her son Hamid Mohammad to contact his family. They have petitioned international human rights bodies on several occasions to help them visit their beloved son.
April 12, 2019

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