1988 Massacre,Amnesty International Report on 1988 massacre,Iran human rights,MEK,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

The UN Must Investigate the 1988 Massacre

1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

More than 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK activists were slain during the summer of 1988, a crime against humanity that has yet to be accounted for.

Patrick Goodenough published an opinion piece on CNS news on Friday, December 7th. The piece, entitled, “New Report: UN Should Investigate Secret Execution of Thousands of Iranian Dissidents 30 Years Ago”, referred to Amnesty International’s latest report on the 1988 massacre.

Amnesty International collected witness testimonies, audio and video evidence, as well as extensive documentation on the extra-judicial killings that took place in the summer of 1988. The report found that the Iranian regime systematically rounded up and killed members of the Iranian opposition, including members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Around 30,000 dissidents were executed during the summer of 1988. The regime dumped their bodies in mass graves. The mullahs then worked tirelessly destroy evidence of their atrocities. To this day, they have refused to come clean about the events that took place that summer and refused to reveal the locations of the mass graves.

Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity

Patrick Goodenough quoted Amnesty International’s Middle East and Africa research and advocacy director, Philip Luther, who said, “until Iran’s authorities come clean and publicly reveal the fate and whereabouts of the victims, these crimes against humanity are ongoing”.

Amnesty International is calling for a UN investigation into the forced disappearances and killings.

The report, Goodenough says, suggests that there may have been 32 execution locations used in the killings, spread out across Iran. Prisons during the period were placed on “lockdown” and family visits were suspended, leaving many victim’s families unsure whether their loved one was dead or alive.

Many of Those Responsible Hold Positions of Authority Today

Goodenough laments that many of the regime’s “death commissions” responsible for the abduction and execution of political dissidents in 1988 still hold positions in the regime’s political leadership.

The Justice Minister, Alireza Avaei, has strong links to the 1988 atrocities. As does, the former Justice Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, the head of a supreme disciplinary court for judges, and Ebrahim Raeesi, Iran’s former prosecutor general.

All three men where present at a “death commission” meeting in 1988, of which secret recordings were leaked to the public in 2016. During the meeting, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montarezi is clearly heard warning those in attendance that the extra-judicial killings would bring international criticism. He called the crime, “the biggest crime in the history of the Islamic Republic”.

Montazeri’s defiance of the regime and criticism of its crimes led to his house arrest before he died in 2009.

Goodenough’s report acknowledged that it will take significant public pressure to bring about the opening of a UN investigation into the matter. He quoted Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who said that it would take “a major public pressure campaign, perhaps a strong push at the UN by the United States to call on the UN secretary general to initiate an independent inquiry into the massacre”.

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Professor Sascha Sheehan

How Tehran Manipulates Journalistic Independence in the West

Professor Sascha Sheehan

Professor Sascha Sheehan, Executive Director at the School of Public & International Affairs, the University of Baltimore speaking at Capitol Hill during a conference about the correct policy towards Iran.

Ivan Sheehan penned a piece for US news outlet, Townhall on Thursday, December 6th. The piece, titled “Tehran’s Influence Operations a Threat to Journalistic Independence”, explored the great length the clerical regime has gone to influence and infiltrate Western media.

Sheehan wrote, “these efforts have been so successful that many such organizations are now threatened from within by assets- often disguised as journalists- portraying Iran as the victim”.

Sheehan’s piece is particularly timely. It comes just weeks after the British newspaper, The Guardian, published a three-page article attacking the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the most popular and well-organized resistance movement.

The Guardian Spreads the Iranian Regime’s Propaganda

 

Its author, Arron Merat, has close ties to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and is widely seen as a regime stooge, who promotes Iranian interests and regime talking points to discredit the MEK and legitimize attacks on the Iranian opposition.

Many “journalists” cut their teeth in the state-run media

Sheehan goes on to explain how many of these “journalists” working for news outlets around the world previously worked for Iran’s state-run media. “Some parrot the regime’s talking points as if they are still on the payroll”, Sheehan wrote.

Al-Jazeera recently aired a program attacking the Iranian opposition living in exile, including the MEK and its president-elect, Maryam Rajavi. Will Yong, the producer, and host of the program, once hosted Press TV, an Iranian state-run media outlet with close ties to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

These regime stooges are working in some of the West’s most prominent media outlets including MSNBC, Al-Jazeera English, Channel 4 News, The Guardian, and The Independent.

The regime ensures it keeps a tight control on the reporting coming out of Iran by requiring local assistants and translators that help foreign journalists to secure a permit from the Ministry of Media and Culture. This allows the regime to hand pick the personnel that works with foreign journalists in the country. These assistants control journalists’ access to information and shape the reports they produce.

NCRI Report Shows the Iranian Regime Used Channel 4 to Further its Objectives and Sway Public Opinion

Many of these assistants and translators have previously worked within the Iranian MOIS. As they strengthen their relationships with foreign media outlets, many are later taken on as reporters themselves, allowing them to disseminate regime talking points directly to Western readers and listeners.

Sheehan writes, “though some of these journalists do, from time to time, reference human rights abuses in Iran, seldom- if ever- do they contradict the regime’s fundamental positions in critical areas”.

These critical areas include the calls for regime change, the effect of international sanctions, and the role of grassroots movements in organizing an effective resistance movement.

Instead, they promote the idea that sanctions harm ordinary Iranians, the Iranian population would rally behind the mullahs if the US supported the Iranian opposition, and that the MEK is a violent cult that tortures its members and holds people against their will. Sheehan correctly asserts, “there is not an ounce of evidence to support these claims”.

Rebuttals have been limited

There has been limited engagement among the Western media and governments to discredit these regime mouthpieces that have infiltrated the Western free press.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did tweet a response to a Newsweek article that claimed US sanctions would prevent Iranians accessing basic humanitarian needs. His tweet called Newsweek out as #FakeNewsweek and accused the media outlet of spreading Iranian Foreign Minister, Javid Zarif’s lies. He said, “the truth is, the US does not, and never did, sanction food and medicine”.

Sheehan concludes his piece with a word of warning. “These pro-Iran writers and their syndicates are not ordinary journalists,” he wrote, “they are PR agents for a regime that jails reporters, censors free media expression, and enslaves a restless nation”.

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Iran HRM's Annual report on human rights in Iran

Iran Human Rights Monitor Releases Damning Assessment of Iranian Human Rights in its 2018 Report

Iran HRM's Annual report on human rights in Iran

Iran Human Rights Monitor published its annual report on the violations of human rights in Iran

ran Human Rights Monitor has released its annual report on the domestic situation within Iran. This year’s 24-page report is of particular importance as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The report outlines how the people of Iran are systematically having their basic human rights violated by the brutal and bloody clerical regime. Public hangings, floggings, and forced amputations have become commonplace. Those that are arrested suffer intolerable and inhumane conditions in the Iranian prison system.

The regime’s judiciary institutions have been used to promote the regime’s aims, including arresting and imprisoning political dissidents, including members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), civil rights activists, students, journalists, with no regard for international law and basic human rights.

The Report’s Findings

Iran Human Rights Monitor found the regime’s 2018 record to be particularly concerning. The group reported that last year there were 285 executions, 8,000 arbitrary arrests, and cases of 12 jailed protesters killed while enduring torture in Iran’s prisons.

Among those arrested were four women, and six individuals who had committed the crimes they were convicted of when they were under the age of 18.

Limited Freedom of Expression

The report found that Iranian freedom of expression has deteriorated in 2018. The national uprising at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 was met with violence. More than 58 protestors died while exercising their right to express their opinions publicly, and 8,000 others were arrested and thrown in jail.

Protesters in Europe Condemn Regime’s Terrorism and Surge in Executions

Those that were arrested were denied access to legal representation, the Iran Human Rights Monitor found. There were also verifiable reports of the regime administering methadone to protestors in regime custody to depict them as drug addicts.

Torture

Once arrested, many of Iran’s prisoners are subjected to torture during interrogations. At least 20 people were tortured to death across Iran in 2018, with a variety of torture methods being employed against prisoners including, mock executions, beatings, burnings, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement.

Taymour Khaledian, a civic activist who was held at a State Security Force base last winter, reported being severely beaten and “sexually tortured” while in regime custody. His injuries were so extensive he was unable to sit afterward. The majority of Iran’s prisoners do not receive medical care for their injuries.

Kangaroo Courts

The report found that the Iranian judiciary system consistently failed to hold fair trials to those accused of crimes. Confessions used to convict those on trial were often obtained during torture, even in cases which resulted in death sentences.

For those accused of national security crime, including political crimes and civil disobedience, the regime will only allow legal representation for the defense if they use one of 20 regime-affiliated lawyers. Therefore, these trials are never fair or independent.

Freedom of Religion

In addition, the regime frequently violates the rights of religious minorities in Iran. They face reduced education and employment opportunities, harassment, lengthy prison sentences, and restrictions on their ability to practice their religions.

In a particularly high-profile case this year, two Christians, Saheb Fadaei and Fatimeh Bakherti, who had converted from Islam, were sentenced to over a year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the regime”. Many other Christians are often imprisoned on similar charges.

Gender Discrimination

Women and young females receive some of the worst treatment in the country. The Global Gender Gap in 2017 ranked Iran among the bottom four countries on earth for its treatment of women.

Women’s wages are lower than their male counterparts. They are also not permitted the same access to divorce, employment opportunities, political representation, and representation in both criminal and family lawsuits as men are.

The unemployment rate among women stands at double the rate among men. As a result, many women holding college degrees are forced to accept employment that pays less than one-third of the minimum wage in Iran.

Child Soldiers

The Iranian regime also engages in one of the most deplorable crimes in existence in the modern world. It uses children as soldiers in combat situations.

Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN publicly revealed that the US had evidence of the regime using children in combat roles since early 2015. The children were sent to fight in Syria in support of the violent Assad regime. Some of the children were just 14 years old.

Holding the Barbaric Regime to Account

In its report, Human Rights Monitor also urged the international community and supporters of democracy around the world to hold the mullahs to account for their crimes against the Iranian people.

The downtrodden and oppressed citizens of Iran are routinely silenced and ignored. They need their international supporters to be their voice and assist them in fighting the regime and bringing justice against those committing crimes against humanity.

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Amnesty International's report on the 1988 massacre

Amnesty International Holds Press Conference Following its Landmark Report on 1988 Massacre

Amnesty International's report on the 1988 massacre

Amnesty International published its report on the crime against humanity, the massacre of the political prisoners in Iran during the summer of 1988.

Amnesty International held a news conference today following the release of its new landmark report on the 1988 massacre in Iran.

The report, entitled “Blood-Soaked Secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacres are Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity”, compiled testimonies, documentary evidence, and audio-visual evidence to illustrate the Iranian regime’s barbaric and systematic slaughter of tens of th members of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

A Carefully Planned and Systematically Executed Mass Murder Operation

The report found that the regime targeted members of the Iranian opposition, including the MEK and groups, keeping their families in the dark about their whereabouts and ultimate execution.

 

The regime then falsified death certificates and carried out secret burials to hide its atrocities and absolve itself of any blame or scrutiny. Amnesty International found the regime guilty of several crimes under international law, including enforced disappearance, torture, and crimes against humanity.

A Lingering Injustice

For the families of the victims of the 1988 massacre, the report marks a landmark moment in the fight for justice.

They have suffered 30-years of distorted truth and lies about the fate of their loved ones. “To this day, their families are denied [the] truth,” said Amnesty International’s David Griffiths. “[The] new Amnesty International report demands truth and justice now”.

For a long time, the authorities treated the killings as state secrets, the Amnesty report found. Any time the wall of secrecy was penetrated, the regime responded with harsh reprisals and levied charges against those accused of “disclosing state secrets”.

In a press conference following the report’s release, Amnesty International’s Iran researcher, Raha Bahreini said, “authorities have never acknowledged even one of [the] mass grave sites where they dumped bodies”.

The regime has actually hailed those responsible for the 1988 killings as heroes. Alireza Avaei, the regime’s current Minister for Justice was part of the “death commission” for Dezful and oversaw executions in that city.

The current Head of the Supreme Court for Judges, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, was also part of a “death commission” in 1988, as was Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, who was a representative for the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

In a statement, Amnesty International said, “families and survivors have been grossly failed by the UN and the international community. The lack of condemnation from the UN Commission of Human Rights at the time and the failure of the UN General Assembly to refer the situation to the Security Council emboldened Iran’s authorities to continue to deny the truth and inflict torture and ill-treatment on the families.”

The ongoing lack of accountability and justice means that families still do not know where their loved ones’ bodies are located. The regime will not acknowledge the existence of mass grave sites, let alone disclose their locations.

Holding Those to Account

In the report, Amnesty International recommended that the UN establish an independent and impartial international mechanism to hold those responsible within the regime to account for their crimes.

This sentiment was echoed by its Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf who said on Twitter, “Amnesty International considers the extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances to be crimes against humanity”.

The MEK and other campaigners for democracy and justice across the globe will welcome Amnesty International’s investigation of one of the bloodiest and most evil chapters in Iran’s history.

However, it is only effective if international legal mechanisms and the UN can work to pressure Iran into investigating the matter and putting those responsible for these heinous crimes on trial. Those responsible must be made to answer for their crimes before civilian courts. Only then will justice have been served for the families of the 1988 victims.

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Simaye Azadi telethon-November 2018

MEK reports: Supporting Independent News Outlets is More Important Now Than Ever

Simaye Azadi telethon-November 2018

Simay Azadi Telethon held from November 30th to December 2, 2018- A parade of support for MEK and the Iranian opposition at home

Given the extent of the Iranian regime’s campaign of disinformation, lending support to trustworthy Iranian news outlets is now more important than ever, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

In September, Twitter announced the closure of 770 regime-affiliated accounts, in one of the regime’s largest disinformation campaigns to date. The accounts spread deliberately inflammatory content, often demonizing the MEK and other members of the Iranian opposition.

Shortly afterward, a three-page article appeared in the British newspaper, the Guardian. The piece, written by Arron Merat, a known regime affiliate with ties to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), also spread lies and falsehoods about the MEK.

The most recent example of the regime’s disinformation campaign came from a Reuter’s report which identified 70 websites dedicated to spreading the regime’s lies and propaganda.

These misinformation campaigns are particularly damaging to the MEK and the Iranian resistance. The regime uses its propaganda outlets to legitimize terror attacks on resistance groups, much like the bomb attack planned at the MEK’s Grand Gathering event in Paris.

Domestic Propaganda

These misinformation campaigns targeted independent observers and citizens abroad. For example, many of the 770 regime-affiliated Twitter accounts were regime affiliate posing as foreign journalists and citizens.

But perhaps the most extensive misinformation campaign is being waged at home, within Iran. Hassan Rouhani has systematically dismantled the free press. He has shuttered independent news outlets, tightened restrictions on social media access and restricted the news people reach online.

Lending Support to Free and Independent Media

Although many large independent news outlets have been shuttered, there are still sources of reliable, independent information on offer to the Iranian public.

Supporting these independent outlets is more important now than ever before. Since the nationwide uprisings in December and January, the clamor for regime change among the Iranian people has intensified.

However, without an independent free press, these demands go unheard. Free and independent media outlets give voice to these demands and show citizens across Iran that they are not alone.

One example of Iran’s independent media was on display in the Simaye Azadi’s telethon (Iran National Television-INTV). Despite the intense constraints surrounding the media in Iran, Azadi has consistently given the Iranian people a voice in these dark times. This has earned him the support of the Iranian people.

The financial independence of Iran National Television allows it to operate in an environment where many other independent outlets are forced to cave to regime oppression.

INTV holds regular fundraising telethons through which finances are raised. Even in times of extreme economic hardship, like those facing Iranians today, the Iranian public digs deeps and gives what it can to INTV during these difficult times to ensure Iran’s free press lives on and gives hope to millions.

This does not come without risk. Unfortunately, the regime has put to death activists accused of supporting media outlets, yet many Iranians will not be deterred and are willing to risk it all to ensure Iranians are kept abreast of the latest human rights abuses, protests, and incarcerations of the Iranian resistance movement.

INTV also receives extensive support from the Iranian diaspora across the world. At the channel’s latest telethon, Saeed in the United States donated $250,000 to the outlet. He said, “as a physician, I have dedicated a large part of my career to be able to support the movement and consider this as part of my share to free Iran”.

https://twitter.com/4FreedominIran/status/1068969825823797250f the Iranian people”.

Several high-profile politicians also called on people across the world to support Iranian freedom of speech and the free press by donating to INTV. Struan Stevenson, a former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP) told supporters over Twitter, “I encourage everyone to support the 30 Nov-2 Dec telethon”.

“Our sole weapon… are our truthfulness and our honesty”

Senior MEK member, Ehsan Amin praised Azadi for his tireless devotion to upholding the principles of a free and independent media organization. Amin said, “Azadi has always been in the front line of the struggle against the regime’s smear campaign against the Resistance, and plays a vital role in revealing the true nature of such allegations”.

Amin added, “our sole weapon in the face of the regime’s demagogy is our truthfulness and our honesty”.

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Simaye Azadi Telethon on its second day-December 1

Simaye Azadi Holds Second Day of Telethon

Simaye Azadi Telethon on its second day-December 1

Moslem Eskandar Filaby, world wrestling champion, and the chairman of NCRI’s Sport Committee, participated in Simaye Azadi Telethon

December 1st was the second day of the most recent telethon hosted by Simaye Azadi, Iran’s National TV (INTV). The satellite television station, known as the Voice of Iran, regularly hosts these telethons to bring attention to the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime and to give a voice to the people of Iran who have been silenced by the mullahs.

The telethon also offers an opportunity for supporters of the MEK and the Iranian Opposition to make donations to Simay Azadi, this beacon of hope and inspiration to millions who receive the news of activities and positions of the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) via this progressive media via satellite.

On Saturday, supporters of the MEK from across the world called into the telethon with donations. The callers described their motivations for supporting the Iranian Opposition. Here are some of their words:

“Iranian people have a slogan: ‘Our shame, Our shame, is our television and radio (referring to the state media, and their misinforming programs) .’ Ashrafis say that is our pride and you are part of this pride.”

Omid Ehsani from Sweden said, “Simaye Azadi⁩ is like a school showing us how to fight against the Iranian regime.  This makes me happy and that is why my friends and I donate 32,000 Kronas.”

Jaromir Stetina, a Member of European Parliament, tweeted in support of the telethon, “I wanted to add my support for the great work which is being done by Simay-e-Azadi, which is an independent satellite TV channel that brings out news of the repression and human rights violations in Iran.”

A Swedish supporter said this: “We are a group of supporters of the Iranian people and resistance.  We are going to collect a group donation for you to help the downfall of the tyrants’ rule.”

Saeed from the U.S. donated $250,000. He had this to say about his donation: As a physician, I have dedicated a large part of my career to be able to support the movement and consider this as part of my share to a Free Iran and the MEK.

The telethon will conclude on Sunday, December 2nd.

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Iranian regime's terrorism and extremism infography

The West Must Organise a United and Organised Response to Iranian Terror

Iranian regime's terrorism and extremism infography

Credit to NCRI- “The IRGC is a Terror Group Spreading Violence and Extremism” infographic published on February 2017.
The infographic call on the U.S. to designate the IRGC as an FTO.

Alireza Jafarzedah, the Deputy Director of the Washington D.C. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and spokesperson for the Iranian opposition, published a thought-provoking piece on US news site, Townhall.

The piece, entitled “Europe and the US Must Confront Iran’s Terror On Their Soil”, highlights the escalating threat Iran poses to the West and the need for Washington and its European allies to address increasing Iranian terrorist activities.

A Year of Terror Plots

“Over the past year, Europe and the United States have seen an unprecedented increase in terrorist threats”, Jafarzedah begins.

The Iranian regime has orchestrated attacks against the Iranian resistance group, the People’s Muhajedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), in Paris, Albania, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the US. It attempted to carry out a truck bomb attack in Paris, an assassination in Denmark, and a bomb plot on the MEK’s compound near Tirana, Albania’s capital.

“For decades, Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has orchestrated terror plots abroad, using diplomatic facilities as cover”, Jafarzedah continues, and this year has been no different.

Following the regime’s foiled terror attack on the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris, a diplomat working out of the regime’s Austrian embassy was arrested over coordinating the attack and supplying the would-be attackers with the explosive material.

The MEK revealed in a press conference later that the diplomat, named Assadollah Assadi, had been acting on the orders of the regime leadership, indicating that the elaborate web of Iranian terrorism runs from the upper echelons of the Iranian regime, and relies on diplomats working out of regime-affiliated embassies to execute the violent attacks.

Iranian Diplomat-Terrorist and Accomplices Arraigned in Belgian Court on Terrorism Charges

Uprisings at Home

Alireza Jafarzedah believes that the surge in Iranian terror activities can be explained by the mullahs weakening grip on the political landscape at home.

Iran has been racked by a wave of protests which began with the MEK-organised nationwide uprising in December and January. Major strikes in Iran’s key industries spread across the countries, and since January the mullahs have had to deal with a series of anti-regime strikes and protests among Iran’s truck drivers, teachers, steelworkers, factory workers, and students.

“Unable to crush the unfolding uprising at home, the mullahs are striking overseas”, Jafarzedah writes. This certainly makes sense as the targets in the majority of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism abroad have been MEK members living abroad.

“Western governments need to take several concrete steps”

Jafarzedah goes on to outline several concrete steps that Western governments must take to protect their own citizens and end the regime’s terror machine in Europe and the West.

150 MEPs Sign Statement Calling for Expulsion of Regime Intelligence Agents from E.U.

“Firstly, begin arresting or expelling Iranian agents acting illegally”, he writes. There is no shortage of agents operating on foreign soil. In the last 12 months, four diplomats have been accused of illegal conduct or engaging in plotting terror attacks against the MEK. Three were expelled by the Dutch and French governments, the last was detained and will face charges for the Paris terror plot in Belgium.

There is some appetite within the EU for a firmer stance against diplomats engaged in nefarious activities. 150 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recently signed a letter calling for the expulsion of Iranian intelligence agents from EU soil.

“Secondly, Western governments should seriously consider shutting Iranian diplomatic facilities”, Jafarzedah suggests. Tehran has consistently demonstrated contempt for international and domestic law. The regime cannot be trusted to maintain facilities on Western soil without engaging in violence. Therefore, the West should consider limiting Tehran’s diplomatic activities.

“Thirdly, Western governments should work together to enact sanctions on firms that fund the terror”. The US has reintroduced sanctions against the Iranian regime and its affiliated companies. The EU must join the US the avoid Iranian companies bypassing these sanctions.

The only way to end terrorism is by cutting off its financing. This is why it is imperative the West stands firm and brings the full weight of sanctions against the Iranian companies involved in funding terrorism.

Jafarzedah concludes his article by suggesting that the regime is weaker than it portrays itself. With uprisings occurring on a daily basis, the regime in on the brink of collapse. He concludes, “the Iranian people’s desire for a new future is stronger than their fear of the regime. The West should recognize this and stand with them instead of their oppressors”. Only then will the West ensure that the Iran threat is neutralized once and for all and protect their citizens from terror attacks.

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INTV's 3 day telethon started on November 30, 2018

Simaye Azadi Hosts Latest Telethon

INTV's 3 day telethon started on November 30, 2018

Iran NTV (Simaye Azadi or Voice of Freedom) started it’s 3 day telethon on Friday Nov 30th.

From November 30th until December 2nd, Simaye Azadi, Iran’s National TV (INTV) the satellite TV that is known as the voice of Free Iran is running a telethon to give voice to Iran’s suppressed and silenced population. Much like previous telethons, Simaye Azadi will host the event.

IranNTV uses its telethons to broadcast the realities of the Iranian regime’s atrocities to the world. MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) supporters also take the opportunity to offer donations and messages of support for the main Iranian opposition, the MEK.

MEK’s former Secretary-General, special guest of the 1st day of the Telethon

The special guest of the 1st day of the telethon, was Mrs. Zohreh Akhyani, MEK’s former Secretary General, and one of MEK’s distinguished leaders. In her speech, with regards to Simaye Azadi and its role in distributing information, she said: It’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by its vital role. Today’s telethon is like a “popular
parade of financial support” for the one that is reflecting the voices of the Workers, Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers, and Ahwaz workers, the voice of all truckers and all the people of Iran.”

For example, an early message read, “I’m Bahareh from Mashhad. I declare my support and help out with a little donation”.

Another, from Mohammad, said “I hope with our aid, this voice will always stay on”.

Past telethons have been a major success

In the past, the amount of donations received has been a strong indication of the MEK’s popularity. In 2013, the group had 22 phone lines set up to receive donations and the generous MEK supporters from within Iran and around the world gave $4.1 million.

Many of these donations were small figures, whatever people could spare, but when added together, they make a huge difference and provide the opposition with the resources to challenge the Iranian regime wherever it can.

Some, like Firoozeh in Mashhad, gave $54. Others, like Shahryar from Karaj, gave more than $200. Many donors give as little as one dollar. But every single one of them goes towards the MEK’s fight for democracy in Iran.

Several of the MEK’s high-profile political supporters also participate in the group’s telethons. Political figures from across Europe and the US often make an appearance and urge supporters to keep making donations.

Telethons Keep Hope Alive for the Youth of Iran

It is young Iranians who overwhelmingly turn to telethons to voice their opinions. For Iran’s youth, living in a world where simply voicing anti-regime sentiment could be enough to get you arrested or worse, the telethons offer an outlet and a way to connect with like-minded individuals.

One, named Amineh Gharaei said, “Iran is like a prison for us- Simaye Azadi gives us hope”.

The telethons show the Iranian youth that they are not alone in their disappointment and dissatisfaction towards the regime. They let them know that the MEK is with them.

Gharaei captured the feeling in a panel show on a telethon in 2015. The young Iranian said, “Even though we are far, we are beside you. We feel your pain. Be strong”

 

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3 day visit by German delegation to Ashraf 3, MEK's compound in Albania

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

3 day visit by German delegation to Ashraf 3, MEK's compound in Albania

The former President of the German Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth leads the German delegation in their visit to MEK Compound in Albania

3 day visit by German delegation to Ashraf 3, MEK's compound in Albania

A 3 day visit to Ashraf 3-MEK’s Compound in Albania – by a high profile German delegation , consist of the former President of the German Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth
Member of the German Parliament, Martin Patzelt, and Christian Zimmerman, a known human rights activist in Germany

From the 21st to the 23rd of October, the former President of the German Bundestag, Rita Süssmuth led a delegation to Ashraf 3. The group visited the exiled members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) living in the compound near the Albanian capital of Tirana.

Whilst there, Süssmuth, the head of the Board and Advisory Council of the German Solidarity Committee for a Free Iran (DSFI), addressed the MEK members. She told them, “I admire you deeply because you repeatedly rebuild from the rubble”.

Rebuilding from Rubble

That is precisely what the MEK did. In 2013, the MEK was living and working at two camps in Iraq, Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty. The Iranian regime, in its attempt to eradicate the Iranian opposition and liquify their camps, carried out coordinated assaults, killing 168 MEK members and injuring more than 1,700.

As their homes burned and their friends lay slaughtered, more than 3,000 MEK members were airlifted to Albania, where they found respite and safety.

There, they purchased some land outside the capital and set about rebuilding. They constructed a compound complete with shops, offices, sports facilities, kitchens and dormitories. The MEK named the compound, Ashraf 3.

High-Profile Visits

The MEK has drawn a series of high-profile visitors. Mrs. Süssmuth and the visit from the DSFI came shortly before the former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP) Struan Stevenson paid the Iranian resistance group a visit.

Delegation from European Parliament Meets with Maryam Rajavi in Tirana

The MEK enjoys extensive support among international politicians and journalists. Among their supporters are members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, including the former speaker, Newt Gingrich, and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

Süssmuth and her delegation spent five hours at the MEK’s new compound, during which time they were able to speak extensively with MEK members. At a meeting in the evening, the delegation and MEK members discussed the inaccurate representation of the MEK in the press and the unjust prejudices and rapprochements of some European governments towards the group.

The Mullahs Disinformation

Many of these prejudices stem from the extensive disinformation campaigns organized by the Iranian regime leadership.

Among the deliberate falsehoods fabricated by the regime are the claims that MEK members are held at the compound against their will and that they are kept away from their families.

Süssmuth and her delegation quickly saw that is not the case. MEK members can enter and exit the compound as they please, with hundreds leaving the compound each day. Family visits are also welcome and even encouraged.

Words of Encouragement

The DSFI delegation had plenty of words of encouragement for the MEK members living at the compound. Süssmuth told the MEK members, “you are more alive today than you were in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty”, adding, “continue your struggle!”

Another member of the delegation, MP Martin Patzelt asked, “how can people fight for decades for freedom and democracy without losing their courage?” The answer was in front of him, “today my question was answered- here in your new settlement”. He added, “I wish you and all of us victory on this way”.

Christian Zimmerman, director for Human Rights and the interests of minorities in Berlin and a member of the DSFI said, “if anyone wants to know the alternative [to the mullahs], come to this settlement”.

Good Hosts

The delegation also held meetings with the Albanian government. They discussed the government’s efforts to keep the MEK safe and thwart the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’s plots and nefarious plans to attack the MEK and its members.

Rita Süssmuth praised the Albanian government’s efforts and said the MEK’s progress “would not have been possible without the constructive cooperation of the government and citizens of Albania”.

Several in the delegation also stressed the importance of a unified and firm European stance against the Iranian regime. Otto Bernhardt, a member of the board of directors of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation and Chairman of the DSFI, echoed recent calls from the MEK and other protest movements to expel Iranian officials and secret service members from European countries.

“DSFI is convinced that it is important for Albania to prevent Iranian secret agents from entering the country”, adding that “a regime overwhelmed by the crisis and whose future is very much in question is trying to discredit and attack the resistance”.

“We must do all we can to ensure that this resistance is recognized in Europe”, Bernhardt concluded.

Staff Writer

 

 

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Eueropean delegation participate at a conference in Tirana, Albania, discussing the Iranian regime's rise in terrorist activities in Europe.

Former Scottish MEP Describes His Visit to Ashraf 3 in Albania and the Regime’s Vicious Misinformation Campaign

Eueropean delegation participate at a conference in Tirana, Albania, discussing the Iranian regime's rise in terrorist activities in Europe.

Conference held in Ashraf3, the residence of MEK in Albania. A delegation from the European Parliament give their accounts on the Iranian regime’s terrorism in Europe and their campaign of disinformation, after visiting Ashraf3

The former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP), Struan Stevenson recently wrote a piece for UPI exposing the full extent of the Iranian regime’s misinformation campaign to vilify and demonize the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).

Leaving Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty

Stevenson traces the MEK’s exodus from Iraq in 2013 when the first Iranian dissidents arrived in Albania. They were “plucked to safety from the hell they endured in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty”, he writes.

The Iranian regime had launched a campaign to liquify the camps and slaughter the MEK. In deadly attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, the regime killed 168, injuring more than 1,700.

Around 3,000 MEK members escaped the ordeal and were airlifted to Albania. Once there, the UN High Commission for Refugees granted them special accommodation in the Albanian capital, Tirana, where they found respite and safety.

“The Iranian mullahs were appalled”, Stevenson writes, “their attempts to liquidate the MEK… had been thwarted”. Now the mullahs became obsessed with preventing the Iranian opposition from establishing another Camp like Camp Ashraf on foreign soil.

A Campaign of Demonization

Almost immediately the mullahs embarked on a campaign designed to demonize the MEK. Their intention was to attack the MEK in the Western media, thereby legitimizing its frequent use of violence against the resistance group and hoping Western governments would believe their lies and deny MEK members sanctuary on their soil.

The regime has orchestrated extensive social media campaigns aimed at spreading misinformation. In its most recent campaign, Twitter was forced to close 770 regime-linked accounts. Many accounts pretended to be foreign journalists and citizens, publishing regime-affiliated, anti-MEK content.

Alongside this vicious demonization campaign were violent attacks against the MEK and its members. In June, a regime plot to attack the MEK’s Grand Gathering even in Paris was exposed. Similar attacks were also planned against MEK members in Albania and the US.

Taking Measures into their own Hands

Before long, the MEK members living in Albania realized that to protect themselves, they had to take matters into their own hands.

Stevenson writes, “the MEK refugees had purchased some farmland near Manez and began the hurried construction of living accommodation.” They accommodation became Ashraf 3, a fortified compound where MEK members could live in peace, protected by security, and come and go as they pleased.

Stevenson had the opportunity to spend three days at this new facility. He writes, “these hard-working and resilient freedom fighters have constructed a small city with shops, clinics, sports facilities, kitchens, bakeries, dormitory blocks, meeting halls, offices and studios”.

His description stands in stark contrast to the picture the mullahs paint of the compound. They suggest it is like a prison where members are forced to remain against their will and even basic human rights are violated.

“They claim that defectors are tortured and even murdered”, Stevenson writes, “it is an absurdity”.

The Story of Somayeh Mohammadi

One of the most deceitful stories promoted and disseminated by the Iranian regime is that of Somayeh Mohammadi. The regime leadership asserts that the 38-year-old is being detained in the camp against her will.

“I met Somayeh on my visit on my visit to Ashraf 3”, Stevenson describes. “She was alone and unaccompanied by the “minders” that her father claims always accompany her”.

Stevenson went on to describe how Somayeh told him that she had disavowed her father many years ago when it became apparent he had become an agent of the regime. She told Stevenson that she is free to leave the compound whenever she so desires, adding that she is a “proud and committed member of the MEK”.

Countering the Mullahs Disinformation

Stevenson called on Western media outlets to be more discerning in their publishing of reports attacking the MEK. He described how a recent national newspaper in the UK published a three-page article attacking the group and furthering the mullah’s vile objectives.

The Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers Issue a Statement on the Guardian’s MEK Hit Piece

The same article appeared on a pro-regime website weeks before it appeared in print, demonstrating that the source of the article was not the Guardian itself, but a pro-mullah group.

Stevenson writes, “it is for me a great sadness that there are journalists today who ignore… the truth, preferring instead to abuse and traduce men and women who have given up their professional careers and family life to devote themselves to the cause of ending oppression and tyranny in Iran”.

Stevenson concluded with messages of hope and optimism. “But no one will be fooled”, he proclaimed. “When this evil dictatorship is toppled, history will record the names of those journalists who played this dishonest game in a roll call of shame”.

Staff Writer

 

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