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Terribly biased article on the Guardian against the MEK

Falsehoods and Lies: Debunking the Guardian’s Piece on the MEK

Terribly biased article on the Guardian against the MEK

Biased article bashing the MEK in the Guardian raises outrage among the Iranian diaspora. The piece is considered a reaction to the recent surge in protests and strikes in the country and a preparation for more terrorist activities against the main opposition, the MEK.

Aaron Merat’s long-awaited hit piece was finally published in the Guardian on Friday. Under the headline ‘Terrorists, Cultists- or Champions of Iranian Democracy’, the piece pedaled the regime’s brand of lies and misinformation. It was a clear example of Tehran’s smear campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) that it has used to undermine the Iranian opposition and legitimize its use of violence against political dissidents.

The Death of Independent Journalism

Even before the article’s publication, the MEK expressed its misgivings over its content. MEK spokesperson, Shahin Gobadi, wrote two letters to the editor of the Guardian in recent weeks. In the letters, he aired his concerns over Aaron Merat’s ability to conduct objective journalism on the MEK.

Merat has close ties to the Iranian regime and its lobbyists. He worked for the Economist between 2011 and 2014, during which time he was an outspoken advocate for the regime. He has written previous articles with the explicit intention of demonizing the MEK and condemning the Iranian resistance.

Who is the MEK?

It came as little surprise then that his piece for the Guardian was no different. It was essentially a hit piece against the Iranian resistance group and was full of inaccuracies, falsehoods, and barely concealed attacks on the MEK.

In his very definition of who the MEK are, Merat is incorrect. He described the organization as a “fringe Iranian revolutionary group”.

The MEK is far from a “fringe” group. They are the oldest, largest, and most popular Iranian resistance group.

The group organized nationwide protests in January and December which spread across every major city in Iran. At its annual Grand Gathering event, it draws an attendance of more than 100,000 supporters, including high-profile political figures such as former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and President Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton.

The Grand Gathering of over 100,000 MEK supporters at VillePinte Paris-June 30, 2018

The resistance group enjoys widespread support inside Iran and abroad.

Merat later seems to admit that the MEK does enjoy the support of international political figures but seeks to explain this by suggesting that the MEK pays “western political influencers fees to pen op-eds and give speeches”.

This is untrue. Professor Raymond Tanter debunked this myth with the help of the US Treasury Department. The Treasury Department investigated the allegations that its political figures had received cash to write opinion pieces and give speeches at MEK-organised events, but found them to be “unsupported claims”.

Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi

Merat’s piece begins by describing Mostafa and Robbie Mohammadi’s journey to Albania to “rescue their daughter”. Merat alleges that Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi, the couple’s daughter, is being held against her will by the MEK.

These allegations are false. Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi joined the MEK in 1990 and has been a member for more than two decades. She has previously been interviewed by Canadian and US officials, and each time she has maintained that she is in Albania working for the MEK out of her own free will.

Somayeh Mohammadi, one of distinguished members of MEK, now living in Albania

She has previously written a book about the regime pedaling lies about her situation and using her case to legitimize terror attacks against the MEK. She even went as far as to write an open letter to Albania’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Fatmir Xhafaj, publicly calling for an end to his lies.

Repeating Lies to Demonize the MEK

The Guardian piece goes on to blame the MEK for the deaths of six Americans in Iran in the 1970s.

However, subsequent investigations by both the US State Department and the Washington Post newspaper found this to be false. The 2005 State Department report clearly states, “a splinter organization with ties to Marxist groups in Cuba and Oman… appropriated and modified the MEK name and symbols, clashing with original MEK members, and killed Americans in Tehran”.

The report describes that the individuals responsible for the murders were later caught, tried, and executed for the killings.

Merat also attempts to blame the MEK for killing Iraqi Kurds in the North of Iraq. He claims Saddam Hussein used MEK members to quell the Kurdish armed resistance during the 1990 Gulf War.

The Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) provided a written statement in 1999 that unequivocally stated the MEK was not involved in the killing of the Kurdish people. The statement read “the KDP can confirm that the Mujahedin were not involved in suppressing the Kurdish people neither during the uprising nor in its aftermath”.

Delisting the MEK as a Terror Group

Merat goes on to suggest that the MEK’s delisting as a terrorist group was not because the group was deemed mislabelled and was a non-violent organization, but because if the US didn’t delist them, the group would have been wiped out in Iraq.

Once again, this claim is unfounded. The Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit actually threatened to court order Hillary Clinton’s State Department unless she removed the group from the country’s terror list.

Burying the Regime’s Terrorist Plots

Merat then furthers the regime’s interests by attempting to cast doubt over the regime’s terror activities in Europe. In June, European authorities foiled a plot to detonate a car laden with explosives at the MEK’s Grand Gathering in Paris.

After a thorough investigation, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat working at the regime’s embassy in Vienna was found to have orchestrated the plot. The French government froze the assets of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.

Merat attempts to shift the blame away from the regime. He quotes the Iranian Foreign Minister directly in his piece, who called the allegations of the Iranian terror plot a “sinister false flag ploy”.

If the plot was nothing more than a “false flag ploy” it seems unlikely that the French government would have taken such forceful actions against the Iranian regime.

On top of seizing assets, the Emmanuel Macron’s government expelled an Iranian diplomat and is currently refusing to nominate a new French ambassador to Iran. France’s foreign ministry also confirmed that following its own investigation, it was in no doubt that the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind the June 30th terror plot.

The Regime is Fearful

Aaron Merat’s piece goes on to spout all of the regime talking points against the MEK. However, his piece does provide some insight into why the regime spends so much time, money and effort on demonizing the MEK and its supporters.

He wrote, “politicians openly called for bombing the Islamic republic, amid growing panic over Iran’s nuclear program- the existence of which had first been exposed by the MEK”. In this sentence, Merat demonstrates why the regime despises the MEK. It works tirelessly to bring the regime’s atrocities and illegal behavior to light.

Merat writes that the MEK and its supporters around the world “openly call for the overthrow of the Islamic republic and the installation of Maryam Rajavi as the leader of Iran”.

In this one aspect, Merat is correct. But in drawing this to attention, Merat is also drawing to attention why both he and the regime relentlessly pursue the MEK.

The MEK represents the single greatest existential threat to the mullahs’ regime. It has orchestrated nationwide protests that have crippled Iranian regime’s key industries. Even regime officials have admitted publicly that the MEK is a direct threat to the regime.

The MEK has resistance units working inside Iran, that mobilized in the nationwide uprisings in December and January of this year. This has the Iranian regime terrified and explains why they use mouthpieces like Aaron Merat to undermine and demonize the MEK in international media outlets.

New Report Details Iran Regime’s Demonization Campaign Against the MEK

The piece in the Guardian is little more than the mullahs lashing out at the MEK out of fear. The MEK is gathering momentum. Strikes and protests are now a daily occurrence in Iran and the mullahs future in power is growing more uncertain by the day. The fact is, regime change is on the horizon. When it comes, the world will look at Merat’s piece, and others like it and wonder how they got away with such blatant lies and deceit.

Staff Writer

 

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Report on Iranian regime's demonization campaign against MEK in Albania

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

Report on Iranian regime's demonization campaign against MEK in Albania

A new report by the NCRI, reveals details of the Iranian regime’s demonization campaign, using friendly “journalists” producing propaganda programs against Iran’s main opposition. The propaganda is used to prepare for terrorist attacks against the MEK members residing in Albania.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a report on Friday the 20th of October. The report shed new light on the Iranian regime’s nefarious activities in conjunction with Britain’s Channel 4 surrounding the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) compound in Albania.

The MEK play an integral role in the Iranian opposition movement.

The NCRI’s report concluded that Channel 4 and Al-Jazeera News were involved in a smear campaign, at the behest of the clerical regime, designed to vilify the MEK and influence international and public opinion.

The Mullahs’ Are Working to Manipulate Public Opinion

The revelations come just one month after the regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called on Twitter’s CEO to close the MEK’s Twitter accounts.

The Iranian regime’s own social media activities have also been under scrutiny in recent weeks. Twitter recently released more than 10 million tweets from 770 Twitter accounts with suspected links to the Iranian regime.

Among the Tweets linked to regime-run media outlets and Tweets deliberately designed to turn public opinion against the MEK.

The accounts masqueraded as foreign journalists and US citizens to influence public opinion in the US.

Using Mullah-Friendly Journalists to Further the Regime’s Objectives

The NCRI report revealed that Britain’s Channel 4 referenced a fabricated Albanian police report to portray the MEK in a negative light. In Channel 4’s program on the MEK, which was aired on September 6th, Oli Zola, the former head of the Albanian Intelligence Agency claimed that the MEK is “building a government within a government in Albania”. He also claimed that anyone who violates the MEK’s laws “may be killed by other members of the group”.

The NCRI revealed that Oli Zola was dismissed from the Albanian Intelligence Agency for smuggling and is a close associate of Vincent Trist, an Albanian citizen with ties to the Iranian regime who was arrested for secretly filming the MEK compound in Albania.

The regime is working tirelessly to demonize the MEK’s activities in Albania. It believes that is doing so, it can legitimize its terrorist operations against the organization, which included a foiled terror attack during the group’s Iranian New Year celebrations (Norooz) in Albania.

Following the failed attack, the Albanian government arrested and deported two agents of the Iranian regime for their involvement in the terrorist plot. The Albanian media reported that the pair were operating in Albania under the masquerade of foreign journalists.

Perpetuating the lie that the MEK kill their own members also strengthens the regime’s narrative of the events that occurred at Camp Ashraf in Iraq in 2011. The Iranian regime killed 36 members of the MEK during an attack on Camp Ashraf, the MEK’s compound in Iraq. It has since claimed that 33 of the 36 members were killed by the MEK themselves!

A Fabricated Police Report

The Albanian government has distanced itself from Oli Zola and the fabricated police report that featured in Channel 4’s reporting. The Albanian government denied governmental involvement in presenting the report. It also expressed its desire to fully investigate the report’s origin.

The NCRI believes the report came from a false report which originally appeared on the Albanian Fax Web TV Channel in March without official police letterheading. When Channel 4 presented the report in September, it appeared with Albanian police letterheading.

Forged statement on Albanian police letterhead

An Albanian Police official confirmed the report’s fabrication. The official pointed to the report’s use of terms such as “Islamic Marxist” as evidence of its inauthenticity. The official confirmed that official police reports never use this term.

The report’s sources also cast doubt over the report’s legitimacy. Four mercenaries are cited as sources in the report. All four have ties to the Iranian regime, several are currently serving within the regime’s Intelligence Ministry inside Iran.

The NCRI previously reported in January 2018 that the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) was paying mercenaries in Albania to spy on the MEK and orchestrate terror plots against its members.

Following the regime’s evident fabrication of official Albanian police documents, the NCRI’s Security and Anti-Terrorism Committee urged the Albanian government to investigate the Iranian agent’s responsible and bring them to trial, or at least expel them from the country.

The regime’s nefarious activities within Albania and the wider European region undermine national governments and demonstrate the regime’s engagement in plotting and carrying out violent terrorist attacks.

The regime and its agents, therefore, pose a very real threat to international stability and its diplomatic activities must be thoroughly investigated anywhere they are being carried out.

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MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

American Reporter Visits MEK Camp in Albania

MEK's congress in Albania - September 2017

MEK members during September Congress during which they elected their secretary general.

A report published in the Washington Times on September 19th sheds light on the lives of MEK members living in Albania. Reporter L.Todd Wood researched the article while traveling in Albania. Wood was invited to visit the new MEK camp that is being built outside of Tirana while in Albania and learned about the MEK and its members. His report separates fact from fiction and explores the kinds of people who join the MEK and their reasons for doing so.

The new MEK camp, named Ashraf 3, houses around 3,200 members of the Iranian opposition movement. The group built the camp after being forced out of their old home in Iraq by a series of attacks by the Iranian-backed government.

The Iranian government is extremely fearful of the MEK, as it sees the group as an existential threat. As a result of this fear, the regime has repeatedly carried out brutal and reckless acts against the MEK in a series of failed attempts to destroy the organization and all opposition to the mullahs’ rule. In June, an Iranian diplomat was arrested for planning a foiled terrorist attack on the Iranian resistance’s Free Iran gathering in Paris. In August, two Iranian intelligence agents were arrested in the United States and charged with spying on the MEK on behalf of the Iranian regime.

According to Wood, the Iranian regime has taken its demonization campaign against the MEK all the way to Albania, employing its intelligence agents to recruit former MEK members to spread propaganda against the group in an attempt to ruin the organization’s reputation within Albania.

Wood’s visit to Ashraf 3 took place against the backdrop of the regime’s hostile attacks against the MEK, as well as the popular uprising currently taking place in Iran, which is being organized by MEK resistance units; the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, which are exacerbating Iran’s escalating social and economic crises; and a regime that is teetering on the verge of collapse through its own corruption, incompetence, and mistreatment of its people.

Wood described his entrance to Ashraf 3 in terms of the security measures that were required to ensure the safety of camp residents. Any time he left the camp during his visit, two cars had to travel together. Local security services were employed to provide perimeter defense and to inspect all cars who entered the camp gates.

According to Wood, Ashraf 3 resembles a small city in various stages of construction. It has lodging, robust cooking facilities, assembly halls, a medical facility, and an administrative building. He said that the MEK has done a remarkable job in recreating their home in Iraq in such a short time, noting that the facilities were already very functional, if still somewhat barren.

Wood met the leaders of the camp and was immediately struck by their openness. The MEK has been the subject of a number of recent journalistic attacks by BBC Channel 4 and Al Jazeera, ending in a flyover of the camp by a drone owned by Channel 4. The false reports have left the MEK eager to set the record straight. Wood indicated that he would be willing to keep an open mind, and he received full and detailed answers to all of his questions. In some cases, additional members were brought in to provide more detail on a response. No subject was taboo during the two-day visit, and Wood left with positive feelings about the MEK and a commitment to come back and learn more about the organization.

Wood was interested in the members of Ashraf 3. He wanted to know who joined the MEK, who chose to live at Ashraf 3, and why they joined the organization. He found that most of the camp residents were older, as the children of MEK members were moved out of Iraq and sent to Europe and the U.S. over the last decade when Camp Ashraf and Liberty became the targets of missile attacks. There were, however, quite a few younger members, some of whom were part of the group of children who were evacuated from Iraq in 2009. These children grew up and joined the MEK as adults, following in their parents’ footsteps.

Wood interviewed approximately 50 MEK members during his stay at the camp, speaking to people both young and old about their experiences and what led them to join the organization. Some of the people he interviewed joined because their loved ones suffered violence at the hands of the regime. Others joined because the regime executed a loved one. Many became members because they couldn’t envision a future in Iran and chose to commit themselves to bring regime change for the generations to come.

Wood acknowledges that the MEK has been described as a cult, but he pushes back against this idea, saying instead that it is a “fanatically committed group of individuals who have given their lives for an idea: a free Iran.” He describes the members of the MEK as individuals who want a better life for their brothers and sisters in Iran. He said that this was especially prevalent amongst the young people at the camp, many of whom carried physical scars from their time at Camp Ashraf or Iran. Many of the MEK members Wood spoke to “had a deep sense of loss and pain from their dealings with the regime-murder, assault, deceit, torture. Their overriding principle was to prevent future generations of Iran from having to go through the same horrific experiences.”

Wood pointed out that the camp residents are mostly intellectuals and were very successful before joining the MEK. These are people who could have settled anywhere in the West and done well for themselves, but they chose to sacrifice everything to work toward a free Iran. Wood emphasized that everyone in the camp is singularly focused on freedom, that the idea of freedom permeates the camp itself. He spoke of the focus and determination of every member of the camp in completing their tasks. The members of Ashraf 3 have one goal—freedom—and they are determined to achieve it. Wood said that everyone he spoke to knew why they were fighting and why it was important that they do so.

Wood also referred to recent propaganda pieces published by the Iranian regime lobbies or paid agents saying: “Albania has nothing to fear from this group. I did not see any weapons or military training. They want to become good citizens of Albania and to build a life in the former communist country. In fact, it is the MEKwho has to be worried about violence. The regime has shown it will stop at nothing to destroy them. Iranian Ministry of Intelligence agents are active in Albania. They are the ones the Albanian public has to fear, not the people in the camp.”

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Lindsey Hilsum filming MEK residence without permission

Channel 4 News Report Serves as Tool for Iran Lobby

Lindsey Hilsum filming MEK residence without permission

Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 editor shows up next to the camp of the place of residence of Iranian refugees in Albania, filming the compound and individuals to be used to vilify Iran’s principal opposition the MEK.

One of the keys to a successful lobbying campaign is to get your point across through the use of surrogates and third parties, especially if those entities are not even aware of being manipulated for a specific purpose.

In politics, the tactics are well-worn and timeless as the third party, grassroots organizations, think tanks and other groups spring up like weeds to advocate a specific position, recruit like-minded people and then activate them to write letters, post on comment boards, give money or man phone banks.

The Iranian regime recognized the effectiveness of those tactics, even though it bans them within its own political world, and utilizes them to advocate abroad, especially in the U.S. and Europe. Those tactics have taken shape in forms both legal and illegal.

Iranian regime made significant investments in building a political lobbying and PR machine to help rally support for the nuclear deal during the Obama administration. Messages were carefully crafted to coincide with the projection of a moderate in the form of Hassan Rouhani’s election as president.

Many news organizations bought it hook, line and sinker as they dutifully spit out the concepts of Iranian moderation and ignored the excesses of the regime in its crackdown on human rights at home.

Predictably it all fell apart as Iran sank billions in supporting the Assad regime even as it gassed hundreds of men, women, and children and killed over half a million people and turned another five million into refugees that swamped Europe and spread Islamic extremism that Europe still wrestles with daily.

But now as the regime is facing more and more demonstrations against its corrupt and repressive rule, and as Trump administration has decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal and impose economic sanctions, the regime is under the greatest stress economically and politically it has ever been. Predictably, the regime has gone looking for a scapegoat as well as stepped up efforts to stomp out any dissension.

Given the role of MEK in recent uprisings in Iran, the mullahs in Tehran have decided to focus their efforts on the Iranian opposition, and its principal member, the MEK, and sought to bring all of their lobbying and PR tools to bear. In the U.S., the effectiveness of that lobby has been severely retarded and advocates for the regime have found it tough sledding to get their editorials and commentaries placed.

Whereas before you could see editorials in prestigious publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post, those same editorials can now only be found on obscure blogs or those already controlled by the regime’s state news apparatus.

But periodically, someone gets taken in and in this case, it was Britain’s Channel 4 News and international editor Lindsey Hilsum.

She produced a piece that dutifully checked off all the boxes for the regime in attacking the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the oldest and principal opposition group to the Iranian regime and failed to provide many contexts to the realities of the regime’s actions.

In it, she attempts to vilify the Iranian opposition by showing visually arresting visuals of her attempt to enter the main camp in Albania where displaced MEK refugees were relocated after suffering continued attacks at another camp in Iraq by Iranian forces and affiliated Shiite militias – many of whom would later go on to fight in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime.

While the video depicts security guards trying to deter the crew from filming the camp and security measures being put in place, she never provides the context of why those measures are necessary.

Hilsum gives some lip service to prior attacks on the MEK refugee camp in Iraq and to the mass execution of MEK political prisoners by the Iranian regime but neglects to mention how relentlessly the regime continues to pursue attacks on these harsh critics of the mullahs’ rule.

She mentions the MEK’s annual gathering in Paris but doesn’t mention the arrest of Iranian diplomats and operatives by French and Belgium police who were planning on smuggling a bomb to the MEK’s convention this summer.

Nor does she mention the recent disclosure by cybersecurity firm FireEye of a sophisticated operation by Iran Ministry of Intelligence Services (MOIS) to influence U.S. and European opinion about economic sanctions on Iran through the use of false front social media profiles who were also involved in massive vilifying campaigns against the MEK.

Taken in context, it’s understandable why the MEK in Albania are nervous about any video showing the layout, security, and location of the camp and its facilities. Remarkably, Hilsum adds with emphasis that this is Albania, how can they be in danger here?

Obviously, she must believe that Paris, Brussels, Sydney, Ottawa, San Bernardino, Nice, Orlando, Berlin, and other cities are immune from Islamic extremism. The fact that Iranian diplomatic personnel was attempting to smuggle a bomb from Belgium to France to bomb the MEK must have slipped her attention.

While Hilsum conveniently mentions the MEK’s placement on the U.S. terrorism list, she neglects to mention that it was taken off that list by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during Obama administration.

That bipartisan support of the MEK is also neglected by Hilsum who makes a big show of discussing support from the MEK by Trump legal counsel Rudy Giuliani and National Security Advisor John Bolton, but never mentions support from Democratic senators Robert Menendez, Richard Torricelli and Joseph Liberman, not to mention a slew of Democratic representatives and ex-administration officials.

Hardly a club of extremists.

Oddly, in the video of the MEK gathering, Hilsum prominently displays videos and name tags for American officials attending, but curiously in one scene, blurs the nameplate for a prominent British official.

Why? Afraid to showcase support from Channel 4’s home country?

The truth is Hilsum has served as a useful tool by taking as gospel the key messages churned out by the Iranian regime’s PR machine. Her ultimate condemnation of the MEK is to claim there is no support for it within Iran.

Her most serious omission is that the MEK has long campaigned on one simple platform: open and fair elections in Iran allowing for all political parties to participate.

Hilsum never mentions membership in the MEK is banned in Iran.

She never mentions active participation in MEK activities in punishable by imprisonment and even death.

She never mentions the Iranian regime outlaws the MEK from participating in any election.

She never mentions the regime’s ruling council regularly disqualifies dissident candidates from election slates by the hundreds.

As the statement by the Iranian opposition mentioned, “Demonizing the Iranian regime’s main opposition concurrent with the visit of the UK Foreign Office’s Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, to Iran is another objective of Ms. Hilsum’s upcoming report. Burt’s visit to Iran is the first by a European minister subsequent to the foiled Paris terrorist plot” states the NCRI.

It also rightfully warns, “Experience has shown that offering concessions to the main state sponsor of terrorism in the world that has made hostage-taking into its most lucrative trade for the past four decades, would only encourage it to continue its despicable policies. Proffering concessions to the clerical regime by jeopardizing the safety and security of 2,500 refugees, members of the PMOI (MEK), is tantamount to the promotion of terrorism and hostage-taking.”

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Channel 4 news possible colluding with Iran's intelligence Ministry against the Iranian opposition

Iran Opposition Issues a Warning over Upcoming Channel 4 Report

 

Channel 4 news possible colluding with Iran's intelligence Ministry against the Iranian opposition

Iranian opposition, warns against spreading disinformation by Channel 4 News.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) issued a warning, it has reason to believe the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and the British television network, Channel 4 are working together to defame against the MEK.

An Eleventh-Hour Warning

Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4’s Foreign Editor, submitted a letter to the MEK on August 31st, 2018. In the letter, it warned the Iranian opposition organization that the television network would air a report on the MEK’s activities in Albania.

The report will carry the much-touted falsehoods and accusations pedaled at the behest of the Iranian regime. In his letter, Hilsum declared that if the MEK had a response to the allegations, it should submit them to Channel 4.

Hilsum’s actions beg the question: why wait until the eleventh hour to warn the MEK and solicit a response? The preparation and production of such a report would have taken weeks or even months, yet the network waited until the last moment to contact the MEK.

This decision was likely made to prevent the MEK from mounting a legal challenge against the allegations made in the report.

The MEK had prior knowledge of the report after the detention of three Channel 4 reporters on August 10th for illegally filming the MEK compound in Albania without permission.

Britain’s Channel 4 is Working with the Iranian Regime in Albania

On August 10th and 13th, the MEK and NCRI wrote to Channel 4’s editor-in-chief. In the letters, the groups expressed concern over the detained reporter’s footage ending up in the hands of the Iranian regime (which was later confirmed when photos and footage of the MEK in Albania were posted on the Facebook page of regime agents). However, they received no reply.

On August 16th, the NCRI released a statement revealing the cooperation between Channel 4 and regime MOIS agent, Massoud Khodabandeh. The NCRI expressed concern that the cooperation indicated the regime’s exploitation of Channel 4 to further its terrorist objectives.

A justification for Foiled Terror Plots

In a statement, the NCRI suggested that the Iranian regime would use the Channel 4 report to provide justification for its foiled terror attacks. The MEK were the targets of a failed bomb attack during the Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebrations and at the organization’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris this summer.

By demonizing the MEK, the regime would attempt to justify the attempted terror attacks. The timing of the Channel 4 report is also deliberate. The UK Foreign Office Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, visited Iran this weekend.

A One-Sided Narrative

Channel 4 did not cover the foiled terror attacks carried out by the Iranian regime. It has made no attempt to offer accredited, impartial journalism. The report on September 3rd has used well-known regime agents as sources, including Mostafa Mohammadi.

The report comes at a time when the regime seeks justification, recognition, and above all, stability. Protests rack Iran every week. The Iranian population has clamored for regime change in the streets. The regime’s very existence is under threat. It needs to utilize its allies and media connections now more than ever. The upcoming Channel 4 report is the product of a regime in crisis. It is the verbal manifestation of Rouhani and Khamenei’s uncertain future.

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Channel 4 journalist used to produce a hit piece against Iran's main democratic opposition

Britain’s Channel 4 is Working with the Iranian Regime in Albania

Channel 4 journalist used to produce a hit piece against Iran's main democratic opposition

Disgusting attempt by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence to use UK media to try to demonize its main opposition.

Last week, on Friday, August 10th, 2018, a television crew in Albania stood on land adjacent to the headquarters of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and began secretly filming the compound. The group had not obtained prior permission to film and were filming members and their residences without the MEK’s knowledge.

When local Albanian security guards noticed the three-person film crew acting suspiciously, they approached the group. The trio introduced themselves as reporters from the UK working for Britain’s Channel 4 television, at which point the security agents asked the group to stop recording and hand over the footage. They refused, and the security guards were left with little option but to call the police, reports the statement by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Once the group were taken into custody, it became obvious that everything was not as it seemed. One member of the trio had an expired press card from Britain’s ITN. The other two, after failing to provide identification, turned out to in fact be Albanians.

Two of the groups’ members have a history of collaborating with Iranian intelligence agencies and mercenaries. They had been involved in several projects to create propaganda material attacking the MEK.

The Footage

The group’s intentions became clear the following day when the footage they had collected from the site turned up on the Facebook page of the Iranian regime agent, Massoud Khodabandeh, and the Iranian intelligence community’s state-run website, Iran-Interlink.

It is widely believed that the team from Channel 4 working within Albania had been contracted by the Iranian intelligence services to create a television program vilifying the MEK.

Research into the project has exposed Darius Bazargan’s involvement in the project. Bazargan has worked for both NBC and ITN and is a well-known stooge of the Iranian regime in the Western media.

The Regime’s Use of the Media to Vilify the MEK

The regime frequently uses its state-run media networks to disseminate anti-MEK propaganda. They have also used television networks in the West to spread their malicious lies and propaganda.

Most recently, on May 25th, 2018, America’s MSNBC demonized the MEK. Its “On Assignment” program accused the MEK of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists and US servicemen based in the country. The program used unnamed sources and did not offer a single shred of compelling evidence for its claims.

The United States State Department was evidently unconvinced; a senior official sought to distance the US government from the network’s claims, stating explicitly, “the United States Government has not claimed that the MEK was involved in the assassination of scientists.”

The program based its claims on interviews with Massoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Anne Singleton. However, a study from the University of Baltimore, further corroborated by a separate report from the Council of Foreign Relations, categorically concluded that the MEK had no involvement in the murder of six US servicemen in the early 1970s.

On top of this, there have been several court rulings in the US over the last decade which have concluded there is no evidence of terrorism within the MEK. It was these rulings that led to the MEK’s delisting as a terrorist organization in 2010, despite the Clinton administration’s own admission that it only put the MEK on the terrorist list in the first place as a “goodwill gesture” to the Iranian regime.

In reality, the MEK was also adversely affected by many of the acts ascribed to it by the regime. The same individuals who murdered the US service members in the 1970s also murdered several prominent members of the MEK.

Channel 4 Must Answer Pressing Questions

Given the sensitive nature of the situation, the responsibility now rests on Channel 4 to explain their activities in Albania. The network must release information regarding the trio responsible for filming and their reasons for carrying out this assignment. It must also detail why it opted to film the compound covertly rather than contact the MEK and request permission. Lastly, the network should release the details of everyone the footage has been shared with.

A MEK spokesperson contacted the Channel 4 editor on August 10th for a response to these questions. However, Channel 4 has not issued a response.

A follow-up query was also sent on August 13th following Khodabandeh’s publication of the images and footage. The query outlined Khodabandeh’s record as an agent for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), including reports from a UK Parliamentary Group and the Library of Congress highlighting his connections to the MOIS. Still, the editor did not respond.

Staff Writer

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