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Iran Interlink Weekly Digest – 258

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++ The main issue in Albania has been the closure of the UNHCR office in Tirana and withdrawal of RAMSA charity support for the dissociated MEK members. Commentators say it is ridiculous that Rajavi is so excited about it that she is claiming the MEK closed the UNHCR office as if they had overthrown the Iranian government. Some write that ‘40 years ago you started saying you want to topple the Iranian regime and before that you wanted to destroy imperialism across the globe. Now you are jumping up and down to claim as a victory that your ex members will be hungry and homeless’. Others say it really is a victory because the MEK’s only raison d’être now is to stop people leaving and this will help deter them.

++ To mark International Workers Day on May 1st this week, some older people wrote about their memories of the original MEK. They relate that long, long ago, the MEK was pro-worker. What the MEK is now has no relation to the original beliefs and purpose of the organisation.

++ After the election in Spain, several people have been translating articles into Farsi and writing about the MEK’s involvement with Vox. They point out that the far-right Vox is Islamophobic, yet the MEK, who claim to be Shias, have given it support. The MEK have travelled from anti-imperialism to the far-right they say; evidence that MEK is a purely mercenary group which gets paid for these jobs.

In English:

++ Sohail Jannessari and Darren Loucaides, writing for Foreign Policy, examine the rise of the Vox party in Spain and the controversial contribution of almost one million euros to its election campaign. “The MEK is billed by U.S. politicians like Rudy Giuliani and current National Security Advisor John Bolton as the legitimate opposition to the current Iranian government. But the MEK also happens to be a former Islamist-Marxist organization that was only taken off the U.S. list of terrorist organizations in 2012—raising the question of why supporters of such a group would want to back an Islamophobic, hard-right Spanish party like Vox.”

++ During his visit to the UN in New York, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif took part in several interviews, including with the right-wing Fox News. His swipe at John Bolton for supporting the MEK was reported in several media – CNS News, the Washington Examiner and Press TV.

++ Mazda Parsi in Nejat Bloggers took aim at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton who want to exert maximum pressure on the Iranian people ‘no matter how much it hurts’. Pompeo denied supporting the MEK, while Bolton is well known for his support, but Parsi points out “whether the MEK is embraced by the US administration or not, one thing is for sure. The MEK is not the representative of the Iranian “Khalq” [people] but it is against the Khalq. It is always supporting the most hostile policies and actions against Iranian nation.”

++ Scott Peterson in The Christian Science Monitor says ‘Europe is again a battlefield for Iran’s internal wars’, explaining “Why We Wrote This: Under increasing pressure from the U.S. and regional rivals, the Islamic Republic feels like it is fighting for its survival. One result appears to be the revival of a long-dormant covert war against insurgents based in Europe.” Terrorist attacks inside Iran have prompted “like clockwork” European accusations that Iran is plotting terrorist acts in Europe. The article exposes the mixed messages coming out of Iran, with one narrative denying any such activity, and top officials reportedly saying “ their intelligence agencies have shifted from defensive to offensive operations amid an American “maximum pressure” campaign that imposes ever-tougher sanctions and a renewed covert war with the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.” Why this would lead Iran to launch attacks in Europe is not examined in the article. Unsurprisingly the MEK are involved. Draw your own conclusions.
May 03, 2019

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