Posts Tagged ‘Disinformation Campaign’

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Arab news article on MEK and debunking the demonization campaigns aimed at discrediting the MEK

The Regime’s Strategy to Suppress the Uprising and Destroy the MEK

Arab news article on MEK and debunking the demonization campaigns aimed at discrediting the MEK

Article by Dr. Rafizadeh, responding to allegations against MEK, the principal opposition to the religious dictatorship in Iran

The Iranian people have been protesting against the oppressive regime since December of last year, and the widespread protests and strikes have grown and spread since then. The economic crisis in Iran, which has been exacerbated by the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, has fueled the protest movement, led by the MEK.

A new article by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh describes the Iranian regime’s attempt to suppress this widespread uprising. Dr. Rafizadeh is president of the International American Council and an expert on Iranian and American foreign policy. His article explains the regime’s propaganda campaign against the MEK, as well as its attempts at terrorist attacks on the organization.

The Iranian regime is faltering under the weight of the Resistance and is in danger of being overthrown. The mullahs are willing to take extreme measures to suppress the ongoing rebellion by the people. Further, the regime sees the MEK as an existential threat and is willing to go to any lengths to destroy the organization. According to Dr. Rafizadeh, the regime has adopted a three-pronged approach to preserving its rule.

The first prong, according to Rafizadeh, is suppression at home. Iran Human Rights Monitor reported an increase in executions this month, which including a staggering 22 executions in two weeks. This strategy has backfired, and protesters have only become more willing to stand up against the repressive regime.

Rafizadeh’s article says that the second prong of the regime’s strategy to put down the uprising is to target the MEK overseas. Just this year, the regime has been implicated in three foiled terrorist attacks against the MEK.

Regime terrorists attempted to attack a MEK camp in Albania early this year. Regime diplomat Assadollah Assadi masterminded a foiled terrorist attack on an Iranian Resistance gathering in Paris in June and is now awaiting trial in Belgium. Two Iranian intelligence agents were arrested in the United States in August for spying on MEK members on behalf of the Iranian government. And recently, a regime spy associated with the regime’s ambassador to Norway attempted to infiltrate the MEK in Denmark in order to carry out an assassination. Three Iranian diplomats have been expelled from France and Norway over the past weeks.

To date, none of these attacks have been successful, leaving the regime with one final strategy. The third prong, according to Rafizadeh, is an old strategy that has been employed by the regime for the forty years of its reign: discredit the MEK through an organized campaign of misinformation and paint the only viable alternative to the mullahs as a terrorist cult.

Rafizadeh writes that regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei refers to the MEK as the “ foot soldiers” of the uprising and is desperate to find Western journalists and media outlets willing to spread negative information about the group. The Iranian regime has also set up false social media accounts and employed Iranian nationals to pose as journalists to spread misinformation about the MEK.

In August, Facebook detected and shut down 652 accounts operated by agents of the Iranian government.  Twitter followed suit, shutting down 770 accounts. The accounts were all found to have been used to spread propaganda and misinformation. Some of these pages specifically targeted the MEK. Smear articles about the MEK also began showing up in the U.S. and Europe around the same time. According to Rafizadeh, the articles were mostly written by  pseudo-journalists or people associated with the regime. “Former MEK members” with documented connections to the MOIS were often cited as sources.

Rafizadeh writes that the citizens of Iran are being denied a future and that a majority of the people of Iran have made a choice to rise up for change, despite the risks to their safety. He notes that half of the population of Iran is under the age of 30. Finally, he points to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the only viable democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime.

Rafizadeh ends his article with a quote from Voltaire, which he uses as a warning to journalists who repeat the mullahs’ propaganda: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

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The Guardian gives voice to the notorious Ministry of Intelligence in Iran

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

The Guardian gives voice to the notorious Ministry of Intelligence in Iran

The Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers (CAIL) issues a statement, condemning the Guardian, for publishing a hit piece on the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK)

The Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers (CAIL) issued a statement today condemning the decision from the British newspaper, the Guardian, to publish a hit piece on the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The legal organization called the regime’s campaign of vilification against the MEK “unprecedented” and denounced its decision to orchestrate terror plots, arrest MEK members inside Iran and use what CAIL calls, “friendly journalists” to spread malicious lies about the opposition group.

Relaying the Slanders of the Regime

The lawyers’ statement accused the Guardian of relaying “the slanders of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)”.

The MOIS has been actively attempting to discredit and demonize the MEK for the last four decades. Its most recent campaign saw the use of 770 regime-affiliated Twitter accounts posting anti-MEK material online under the guise of foreign citizens and journalists. Twitter has since closed the accounts and removed the material.

However, recent attempts have intensified. In 2018, the regime has increased its terror activities designed to target the MEK.

Foiled terror attacks in Albania and France narrowly averted bloodshed. Another likely plot was unravelled in the early stages in the US as two regime agents were detained for engaging in espionage against MEK members on American soil.

The Regime Sees MEK as an Existential Threat

Part of the intensification of attacks on the MEK’s credibility and physical threats to MEK members can be explained by the MEK’s surging popularity within Iran.

In Iran, CAIL says, “civil society is exploding, and the regime is exhausted and helpless”. Strikes rack the country weekly, spreading across key demographics, including teachers and logistics workers.

The MEK-organised protests are bringing Iran to its knees.

The mullahs are also finding themselves increasingly isolated on the international stage. Earlier this year, President Hassan Rouhani spoke to his French counterpart and urged him to crack down on MEK activities on French soil. French President Emmanuel Macron resolutely refused.

The demonization campaign and Arron Merat’s article in the Guardian are the regime’s way of legitimizing attacks on MEK members. “The task of a ‘friendly journalist’”, CAIL says, “is to give the impression that the PMOI [MEK] has no popular support in Iran, that it is undemocratic, and that there is no viable alternative in Iran, so it would be only wise for the international community to hold onto the current barbaric regime”.

The International Community Will Not Be Fooled

The situation the ‘friendly journalists’, like Arron Merat, describe could not be further from the truth. The Iranian people have supported the MEK for 53 years, with many joining its ranks and making generous donations of wealth to the cause.

The international community will not be fooled. Arron Merat is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime. His close ties to the MOIS and the regime leadership has been well-documented in his previous articles and Tweets.

His piece is littered with factual inaccuracies designed to absolve the mullahs of their atrocities and vilify the Iranian opposition.

For example, Merat claims it was the MEK that accused the clerical regime of plotting the foiled terror attack at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering this summer. He writes that “one day after the conference, the MEK accused Tehran of plotting a bomb attack against the event”.

Pulling Back the Curtain on the Regime’s Foiled Terror Attacks

In reality, the accusations made against Tehran came not one, but two days after the Grand Gathering event. It also was not the MEK that levied the accusations, but the Belgian General prosecutor and the Federal Police following the arrest of a Belgian-Iranian couple traveling to the event in a car laden with explosives.

In another example, Merat tells the story of Ms. Somayeh Mohammadi, a 38-year-old member of the MEK. The regime has often touted lies about Somayeh’s position in the MEK, asserting that she is being held at the group’s compound in Albania against her will.

Merat interviewed Somayeh’s parents, who serve the regime’s interests and disseminate the same lies. In reality, Somayeh has been a voluntary member of the MEK for many years. She even wrote a book entitled, “An End to a Conspiracy” in which she describes how she is not being held against her will and expresses her sadness at seeing the regime use her parents in their campaign to demonize the Iranian opposition.

Merat’s article is littered with many more factual inaccuracies, mistruths, and outright lies.

CAIL’s statement concludes with a defiant and determined challenge to the regime. “We are ready to prove this in any court of law”, adding, “not even a single one of these lies is new to us Iranians”.

The MEK and their allies are well-versed in the lies of the regime. It has the necessary evidence to debunk these allegations and is will relish the chance to expose these lies to the world.

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Dr. Vidal Quadras writes to the Guardian objecting its article in bashing the MEK, Iran's main opposition

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament: The Guardian has Stabbed the Free Press in the Back

Dr. Vidal Quadras writes to the Guardian objecting its article in bashing the MEK, Iran's main opposition

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice President of the European Parliament, writes an open letter condemning the recent demonization campaign by the Guardian on behalf of the Iranian dictatorship.

In an open letter titled “If You Know the Truth and Call It a Lie, You Are a Criminal”, The former Vice President of the European Parliament, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras strongly condemned the Guardian’s long article penned to demonize the MEK, Iran’s main democratic opposition.

New ISJ report: “Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence Active in Europe”

The Guardian’s publication of its recent piece designed to attack the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) represents a threat to Europe’s free press. The three-page article by Arron Merat entitled, “Terrorists, cultists- or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild story of the MEK” pedaled unfounded lies about the Iranian opposition group and its members.

“Tell a lie that’s big enough, and repeat it often enough, and the whole world will believe it”

These words were once uttered by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Hitler’s propaganda machine disseminated vile lies, aimed at attacking Jews and legitimizing the Nazi attacks on the Jewish population of Europe.

As the regime intensifies its attack on the MEK the main Iranian resistance groups, both inside Iran and abroad through elaborate terrorist plots, it is using Arron Merat and the European media in the same way.

Its planned attacks against the Iranian opposition in Denmark, France, and Albania were all thwarted by European authorities in the final stages. The Iranian regime is now dealing with the political fallout of this, including a jailed diplomat, the expulsion of three diplomats in France, and frozen assets.

The regime needs to vilify the MEK to stay in power

On top of legitimizing the regime’s terror plots, demonizing the political opposition also helps shore up the regime’s power at home.

The MEK’s popularity in Iran is surging. Its role in the nationwide protests in December and January spread across every major town and city and recent truck driver protests, merchant protests, and teachers strikes have crippled Iranian society.

In an effort to curb the rising call for regime change, the regime has sought new ways to undermine its largest political opponent; the MEK.

Twitter recently closed 770 regime-affiliated accounts in September. The regime used the accounts to publish to demonize the MEK, publishing more than a 1.1 million Tweets between 2012 and 2016.

The Guardian was less eager to take action against the regime’s deliberate spread of misinformation. It published Merat’s article despite its editor receiving two letters from the MEK’s Press Spokesman expressing its concerns with Merat’s biased reporting.

The letters outlined Merat’s close ties to the Iranian regime and members of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

In the piece itself, Merat exposed his lack of impartiality in the glaring lies he spouts. For example, he claims that the MEK accused Tehran of plotting a bomb attack at its Grand Gathering event in Paris the day after the conference.

In reality, it was the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office and Police that first reported the foiled bomb attack two days after the event when it disclosed the arrest of a Belgium-Iranian couple who had been travelling to the event in a car laden with explosives.

A Full Rebuttal

If the Guardian wishes to absolve itself of grossly unprofessional journalism and aiding and abetting the Iranian regime and its campaign of violence and terror against the MEK, the newspaper should publish the MEK’s rebuttal of Merat’s piece.

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament, Alejo Vidal-Quadras also questioned the Guardian’s journalistic integrity. He said, “the Guardian has stabbed the free press in the back with its helping hand to the religious fascism which 80 million Iranians are determined to overthrow”.

He added, “this is as shameful as a British paper acting as a mouthpiece of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s”. The Guardian has the chance to redeem itself by letting the MEK share its rebuttal. It would be well-advised to grab the opportunity with both hands, lest it finds itself on the wrong side of history.

Staff Writer

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The Guardian news paper used by the Iranian regime to demonize its main democratic opposition

The Guardian Spreads the Iranian Regime’s Propaganda

The Guardian news paper used by the Iranian regime to demonize its main democratic opposition

The Iranian Communities and supporters of the MEK, express outrage over the demonization campaign by the Guardian in-favor of Iran’s dictatorship

Following the Guardian’s publication of Aaron Merat’s article attacking the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the Iranian resistance and its allies lined up to condemn the piece.

The British newspaper published the 3-page piece on Friday, November 9th. It targeted the MEK and its allies and spouted the regime’s lies and falsehoods to demonize Iran’s political opposition.

Aaron Merat is far from an impartial journalist. He has close ties to the Iranian regime and has an extensive history of publishing articles sympathetic to the Islamic Republic and attacking its political opponents.

The Backlash

Struan Stevenson, the Coordinator of Campaign for Iran Change and former member of the European Parliament (MEP), wrote an open letter to the Guardian expressing his concerns over the article’s publication. He challenged the assertions in Merat’s article and said they had been “lifted directly from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

Stevenson’s letter questioned Merat’s ability to perform objective journalism on the subject. “He lacks the minimum journalistic standards regarding the issue of the Iranian regime and its opposition. His interviews and opinions during the run-up to the “presidential election” of the clerical regime, as well as his articles and tweets against the PMOI [MEK] are available and well-publicized”, he wrote.

He also called the article’s allegations, “so wide of the mark that it brings to mind Voltaire’s statement: ‘those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities’”.

Regime Ties

Merat’s ties to the Iranian regime were evident in the manner in which he carried out research for his article. Merat visited the MEK’s residence in Albania in August. Two MOIS agents reported extensively on the visit, indicating that they had received a copy of Merat’s notes.

On the day Merat’s article was published on the Guardian site, the article was also translated within hours and posted across regime-controlled websites. This also indicates that Merat had provided the MOIS with a copy of his article prior to publication.

A Climate of Fear

The article, for all of its lies and falsehoods, does offer a glimpse into one aspect of Iran’s political climate. It demonstrates the mullahs’ fear of the MEK and its need to vilify and demonise the group internationally.

The MEK played a major role in the organisation and execution of the nationwide protests in December and January, a role that was acknowledged by the regime’s Supreme Leader.

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-resistance/25492-the-guardian-demonises-iran-s-democratic-opposition-to-the-benefit-of-the-ruling-regime

The MEK also enjoys extensive support across Europe and the United States. Its annual Grand Gathering event draws crowds of more than 100,000 people, including former politicians from France, the UK, the US, Germany, and Canada.

In an attempt to curb the rise of the MEK the mullahs have spent millions on demonization campaigns across the Middle East region and beyond. It has also orchestrated several terror plots against the MEK and its members. A recent plot to attack the MEK’s Grand Gathering event with a car laden with explosives was foiled in the final stages by European law enforcement.

With the introduction of the latest round of sanction, the Iranian regime is in a panic. The Guardian article can be seen as a knee-jerk response to rising inflation, increasing public unrest, and the rising clamour for regime change inside Iran.

Iran Human Rights Monitor has documented an increase in executions and human rights abuses within Iran as the mullahs attempt to get a grip on the situation.

Aiding and Abetting the Iranian Terror Machine

In publishing an article like Aaron Merat’s on Friday, the Guardian is aiding and abetting the Iranian terror network by legitimizing its attacks on the MEK. It also discredits itself as a bastion of free and independent journalism.

The mullahs use of the international press to attack its opponents will not save them. The regime’s days are numbered. Strikes are spreading across the country as a result of the repressive and inhumane policies of the ruling elite, while the regime is engulfed by deadly crises, Iran’s key sectors are crippled, and the national economy is only set to further decline.

The Iranian people are ready for change. No amount of regime propaganda in the international media can change their minds.

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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.

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MEK supporters

MEK Spokesperson Pens Two Letters to the Editor of the Guardian

MEK supporters

MEK supporters in the Free Iran gathering

The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) revealed on Thursday that it had sent two letters to the editor of the Guardian, a UK-based newspaper. In the letters, MEK spokesperson Shahin Gobadi warned that the Iranian regime is trying to use its newspaper as a political mouthpiece to advance its agenda.

Under the guise of “journalists”, the regime attempts to demonize the MEK the main Iranian opposition movement. Smear campaigns are a regular occurrence, designed to legitimise attacks, kidnappings and assassination attempts made against the group.

A Slanderous Article

The first letter drew attention to the “slanderous article by Arron Reza Merat against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran”. It warned the Guardian’s editor that Merat’s article would “be riddled with lies, slander, and baseless allegations against the Iranian resistance”. Warning that these, should they appear in print, could provide the foundations for legal action.

Arron Reza Merat is preparing an article on the MEK and has reached out to senior members of the MEK for an interview.

However, Merat is far from an objective journalist. He is a public advocate of the clerical regime in Iran. He also has an extensive history of publicly criticizing and condemning the MEK and other Iranian resistance groups.

A Future Attack?

In the letters, the MEK spokesperson laid out its concerns that in giving Merat an international platform to spout the regime’s propaganda, the Guardian would be setting the stage for a future terrorist attack against MEK.

The Iranian regime has increased its terror activities in recent months. In March, Albanian authorities foiled a planned terror attack against the MEK during the Persian New Year celebrations. Then, in June, Belgian authorities intercepted a couple driving a car laden with explosives. Their target was the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering in Paris.

Most recently, Danish officials revealed a regime-sponsored plot on Danish soil to kidnap and murder a political dissident.

In a letter dated October 3rd, the MEK spokesperson called the Guardian’s coverage of the June Paris attack, full of “wild allegations, slander, and smears that totally tarnished the image of the PMOI (MEK), which was used to justify and legitimize this criminal act”.

The spokesperson also called out the newspapers “hysterical enmity towards delisting of the PMOI [from the US, UK and EU terrorist blacklist]” as, “utterly shameful”, reiterating that the “highest courts in the UK, EU, and the US had repeatedly determined that the terrorist designation was unjust and perverse”.

Shoring Up Regime Power

In addition to legitimizing attacks against the MEK, the MEK spokesperson reiterated that the article would bolster the regime’s power at a time when it is at its most vulnerable.

The MEK’s popularity is rising. It now represents a significant domestic threat to the regime. External threats are also mounting as the latest round of US sanctions is due to hit in a matter of days.

The regime needs an article like Merat’s to shore up its leadership and cement its position in power.

Gobadi concluded his letters by reiterating that the MEK had no objection to the Guardian reporting on its activities. But it wants the newspaper to exercise “primary journalistic principles” and correct the lies it has previously reported about the regime, as well as using actual objective journalists in its future reporting.

Using mouthpieces of the regime only serves to increase the danger for MEK members by increasing the likelihood of future attacks allow the regime to shore up its power. A newspaper of international acclaim like the Guardian should understand its journalistic obligations and consider them before publishing future articles on the MEK.

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Iranian regime's fake accounts in Twitter to demonize MEK

Iranian Regime Used Twitter to Demonize the MEK

Iranian regime's fake accounts in Twitter to demonize MEK

Twitter has terminated 770 accounts used by the Iranian regime to demonize its main opposition, the MEK

In September, Twitter deleted 770 accounts linked to the Iranian regime after discovering that they were used to spread propaganda and misinformation. Facebook, Google, and Instagram had also removed Iranian-regime accounts from their platforms in the around the same time.

On October 17th, Twitter released the content of the deleted accounts. A total of 1,122,936 tweets, along with embedded photos and videos, were released to the public. Although most of the tweets were aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 election, a disturbing number of the messages were directed at the MEK and the Iranian Resistance. The newly-released tweets confirm the MEK’s long-held assertion that the Iranian regime considers the MEK to be an existential threat and sees the destruction of the resistance organization as the only way to maintain its claim to power.

In early 2018, the Iranian regime stepped up their Twitter campaign in response to the people’s uprising, which had begun the month before. The misinformation campaign, along with simultaneous acts of suppression inside of Iran set the stage for acts of terrorism against the MEK and the Iranian Resistance abroad.

The majority of the tweets regarding the MEK are in Persian. Other tweets are in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, Albanian, and Pashto, in descending order of prevalence. The tweets first appeared in 2012 and multiplied until 2018, when the accounts were detected and shut down. The accounts published more tweets in 2018 than in all six previous years combined.

The released tweets are an example of the ways in which the regime uses the media and “friendly correspondents” to create a false narrative. The WashingtonPost summed up the regime’s strategy with this headline from October 17th: “Iranians masqueraded as foreign journalists to push political messages online, new Twitter data shows.”

In a television interview on July 9, 2017, Former Iranian regime Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian acknowledged that the Ministry of Intelligence uses this tactic. “In order to gather intelligence,” he said, “the Ministry of Intelligence needs a cover, whether inside or outside the country. We do not send an intelligence officer to Germany or the United States to say, ‘Hey, I am from the Ministry of Intelligence.’ [Rather,] a business or journalism cover is needed.”

Along these lines, one of the published tweets reads:

  • NBC On Assignment with #RichardEngel commissioned these exclusive drone shots of the #MKO’s secret new base near Tirana in Albania. The #MEK are a shadowy group with a terrorist past they killed Americans in Iran in the 1970s and then fought alongside Saddam Hussein. Widely hated. https://t.co/F019t3iuvh

According to the recent disclosure, the regime set up multiple accounts and created at least 70 hashtags related to the Resistance. Prior to the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance in June, the regime created the hashtags #BanTerrorOrg, #BanMEK, #IranHatesMEK, and #No2MEK. The regime claimed in many cases that the hashtags were created by people who hated both the regime and the resistance movement. This is a well-known tactic by the regime’s intelligence meant to confuse outsiders looking for information. The MEK has called agents of the regime out for these ploys many times, but the most common response is that MEK members claim that anyone who opposes them must be an intelligence agent but provide no proof. Now there is an abundance of proof.

The regime focused a great deal of attention on Ashraf 3, the MEK camp in Albania. These are some of the tweets that were disclosed that concern MEK members in Albania:

  • Senior US Senators meet Iranian terror group leader in Albania https://t.co/eID2iLGZ3b #realiran https://t.co/lBWuvkd4Wz
  • #MEK terrorist camp in #Albania poses grave risk to Albania, the #Balkans and the #MiddleEast’ https://t.co/0mmMAgYtT8 https://t.co/X2NJx7a9do
  • RT @noiranwarorg: An Eye-opener: Camp Ashraf three, relocated from Iraq to Albania: “Trump, along with Israel, has a clear plan and this i…
  • Forget #politics, investigate #MEK #humanrights abuses in #Albania https://t.co/ta70Ax82Wo #Iran #JohnBolton #Tirana
  • A speech last week by Trump’s legal advisor Rudy Giuliani in #Washington demonstrates fully that he, John Bolton, John McCain and the Trump administration hawks are able, without reservation, to exploit #Albania as a failed nation state. https://t.co/5YKNBkCnIu
  • The #MEK is a terrorist group. #Albania cannot host a terrorist group without consequences. This is not #Afghanistan or #Iraq or #Syria in which groups hide in the chaos and violence. This is a peaceful, democratic country which wishes to join the #EU. https://t.co/5YKNBkCnIu

A number of tweets that are known to have originated from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Intelligence Ministry either link to an Intelligence Ministry-affiliated site known as Iran-Interlink or quote intelligence agent Massoud Khodabandeh or his wife, Anne Singleton. These known agents of the Iranian regime were formerly instructed to focus on Camps Ashraf and Liberty and have now been asked to refocus on the presence of the MEK in Albania. The troll accounts retweet the agents and amplify their message, which is a common tactic.

The following are some of the disclosed tweets which follow this pattern:

  • RT @IranInterlink: Massoud Khodabndeh: The mysterious disappearance of a member of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) terrorist group in Albania has…
  • RT @ma_khodabandeh: Albanian media fooled by MEK ‘misdirection’ https://t.co/tScZMXWOAJ
  • RT @AnneKhodabandeh: Trump Administration exploits Albania as a failed state, Rama is silent https://t.co/MzbZc7KQet
  • #Albanian PM offends the #Jews by comparing their suffering to #terrorists ( #MEK) https://t.co/G6OvAVT88k by @AnneKhodabandeh @ma_khodabandeh https://t.co/wqD2hPf9rq
  • RT @ma_khodabandeh: My latest in Bakanspost. Albania: MEK rebrands by assassinating unwanted members https://t.co/73WdjnGbSU
  • #IranFreedom? #Iran_Maryam? Mojahedin Khalq thugs beat-up Mostafa Mohammadi and his daughter (Photos) http://t.co/rHQOBgUBlc

Other tweets targeted the MEK’s presence in France or condemned the Iranian Resistance’s annual gathering in Paris:

  • We condemn that French government is hosting MKO #NoToMKO #TrumpSupportsTerrorism #GiulianiSupportsTerrorism #BanTerrorOrg https://t.co/ZFwc4vbJVd
  • Mr president @EmmanuelMacron the so-called #MEK group which has carried out numerous #terrorist activities in Iran, which has acted as mercenaries of Saddam Hussein and killed thousands of Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurd is living freely in your country expel them please #BanTerrorOrg https://t.co/PTcGpQXAwk
  • Just imagine what would happen if Iran hosted an #ISIS gathering (the murderer of more than 700 French citizens from 2015)? Now #France is hosting a gathering of #MEK terrorist organization (responsible for the murder of 15,000 Iranians) in Paris! #BanTerrorOrg https://t.co/mi2PfOa5W9
  • Paris is hosting a gathering of #MEK terrorist organization (responsible for the murder of 15,000 People) This is like how France supported #ISIS in Syria. https://t.co/AE04kFO7oK
  • Why are France, the US, and some other countries like Saudi Arabia are supporting MEK terror group? Do you know MEK? “Since 1981 the [MEK] has claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of Iranians,” the report said. Among victims, there are many kids and women #TuesdayThoughts https://t.co/WyYGEdIxZW
  • France’s safety is the main victim of MKO’s traffic https://t.co/P9dAPc2bCJ

According to a regime parliamentarian, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif traveled to France in a failed attempt to cancel the Iranian Resistance gathering. When he was unable to do so, the regime tweeted this message, claiming to be from the MEK:

  • MKO announcement: annual “resistance” conference in Paris canceled for security concerns https://t.co/iLm8vqJzjD

It does not appear that anyone was fooled by the message.

Some tweets showed the regime’s furor over American support for the Iranian Resistance:

  • RT @Zolfegar12: @Mojahedineng @nikkihaley Shame upon shame @nikkihaley ambassador of #America obviously retweeted from mek/mko terrorist ac…
  • RT @tparsi (Trita Parsi): With Bolton in the White House, the MEK terrorists are one step closer in doing to Iran what Bolton did to Iraq. Make no mistake…
  • When Rudi Giuliani support a Terrorist Group Americans have a more negative view of former New York City Mayor today https://t.co/5h3kTju2W2 #NoToMKO #Trump #TrumpSupportsTerrorism #NoToMEK #GiulianiSupportsTerrorism https://t.co/S9WbzSJjMg
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and informal adviser Newt Gingrich are listed as headliners for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq conference in Paris.For 15 years,the U.S. designated the MEK a terrorist group #NoToMKO #Trump #TrumpSupportsTerrorism #NoToMEK #GiulianiSupportsTerrorism https://t.co/ODqSd3uz67
  • Stop supporting terrotist group dumpy #NoToMKO #GiulianiSupportsTerrorism #TrumpSupportsTerrorism #BanTerrorOrg https://t.co/Ld8Qnhtit0
  • @N0_H8_EVER You’re right! Maryam Rajavi is their leader. They are officially from the MEK. These guys were officially trained by USA gov…They have the blood of thousands of Iranians on their hands. They’re an old Marxist cult, renounced Marxism only recently to receive USA aid a few yrs ago.

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

The regime’s hostility toward Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, and Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Iranian Resistance, is clear in the disclosed tweets. The vulgarity and crudeness masks a deep fear though. The regime spent a great deal of time, effort, and hate demonizing not only the MEK but Mrs. Rajavi specifically. These are not the actions of confident, competent leaders. These are frightened children lashing out.

  • RT @YJC_ir: What makes #Rajavi and #ISIS brothers? https://t.co/b5AVIyWbLi #No2mko #RajaviCrimes https://t.co/G8ZysjkP0m
  • RT @YJC_ir: Maryam #Rajavi openly supported #ISIS from French parliament https://t.co/pxv0oeSTrn #No2mko #RajaviCrimes https://t.co/hNGcK8W…
  • Iranian youth, young men whose roots and civilization go back to Cyrus the Great (good speech, good thought, good behavior), not Maryam Rajavi, who has ugly speech, wrong thought and terrorist behavior.
  • Why did the Saudis promote #IStandwithMaryamRajavi? They gave her money. They don’t want their investment to fail.
  • The #MEK is NOT a simple opposition group. It’s a terror organization. More than 16,000 Iranians have been killed by the People’s Mujahedin of Iran since 1979! Read again: 16,000 people!including 1 President&1 Prime Minister #BanTerrorOrg #FreeIran2018 #IStandWithMaryamRajavi https://t.co/uPkftShOxw

As the officials of Twitter stated on October 17, 2018, “It is clear that information operations and coordinated inauthentic behavior will not cease.”

The mullahs will attempt to deceive until the day they are overthrown. Let that day be soon.

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Statement by the MEPs call on blacklisting the Iranian regime

Ten MEPs Issue a Statement Calling for the Iranian Regime to be Added to an EU Blacklist

Statement by the MEPs call on blacklisting the Iranian regime

A statement signed by a large number of MEPs express concerns about the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities in Albania, targeting MEK, and call on EU to blacklist the Iranian regime.

On October 20th, ten members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from nine different countries came together to issue a statement on the Iranian regime’s vilification of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Members of the Iranian opposition group are currently living in exile in Albania. They have been the subject of extensive social media campaigns aimed at discrediting and demonizing them and their President-elect, Maryam Rajavi.

The ten MEPs called on the European Union to add the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to its terrorist blacklist over its persistent deployment of violence against the MEK.

A Campaign of Violence

The statement comes at the tail-end of an aggressive campaign of aggression towards the MEK. In June, an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, was arrested by European authorities for his involvement in a plot to attack the MEK at its annual Grand Gathering in Paris.

Assadi, an explosives expert, had provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with homemade explosives and detailed instructions on how to carry out the attack, which planned to use an explosive-laden car to wreak death and destruction on the members of the Iranian opposition in attendance.

Iranian agents had also previously been arrested and expelled in Albania. The Albanian authorities uncovered a similar plot to attack MEK members at their compound near the Albanian capital during the Persian New Year celebrations.

In conjunction with the regime’s campaign of violence, the regime has embarked on a coordinated online campaign aimed at demonizing the MEK and swaying international opinion.

Twitter recently suspended 770 accounts with suspected ties to the Iranian regime. Many of the accounts posted damaging and derogatory content about the MEK and other Iranian opposition groups.

The accounts were operating under the guise of foreign journalists or US citizens to influence public opinion in the United States and across the Western world. Between the 770 accounts, 10 million anti-MEK and pro-regime Tweets were published. Some of the Tweets also attacked the regime’s enemies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. They also shared links to regime-affiliated media outlets.

A Threat to the Refugees in Albania

The MEPs’ statement called on the Albanian government to expel the Iranian agents operating in the country and place the Iranian regime on the EU and the US list of international terror organizations.

As the world saw with the case of Assadi, many agents operate outside of international law. Their covert operations undermine the Albanian government’s authority. The presence of the regime’s agents has a destabilizing effect on any country they operate in.

Should the European Union heed the advice of its MEPs, it would strike a blow to the Iranian regime at a time when it already faces increasing domestic and international pressures.

Inclusion on a European blacklist would mean visas are no longer granted to the regime’s agents, and those already operating on EU soil would likely be expelled.

This would go some way towards dismantling the regime’s web of terror across Europe and curb its ability to launch an international terror attack like the one it had planned in Paris.

The European community and the world cannot afford to postpone its action until after there is a devastating attack on European soil resulting in a significant loss of human life. The EU and its heads of state must be proactive and add the clerical regime to its terrorist blacklist.

If it doesn’t, there is no predicting how catastrophic the next terror attack could be, both for the MEK, and native European citizens caught up in the chaos.

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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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Iranian regime disinformation campaign against MEK, using fake Twitter accounts.

The Iranian Regime May Have Been Working to Influence the 2016 US Election

Iranian regime disinformation campaign against MEK, using fake Twitter accounts.

Among 770 Twitter accounts that were closed by Twitter, due to their activities to manipulate policies in favor of the Iranian regime, there were many tweets that target MEK, the main opposition to the dictatorship ruling Iran

As commentators in the US explore the degree to which Russia may have influenced the 2016 Presidential election, worrying developments indicate that the Iranian regime also attempted to sway US voters.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab confirmed that the Iranian regime used hundreds of Twitter accounts to spread pro-regime messages in the US. Although it appears to have been less intrusive than Russia’s campaign, the accounts posed as journalists and US citizens to influence public opinion in the United States.

770 Suspended Accounts Operated from Iran

The news comes just two months after Twitter announced the suspension of 770 Iran-based accounts for violating its terms and conditions.

Following an investigation by cybersecurity firm, FireEye, Twitter found that the accounts had deliberately engaged in “coordinated manipulation”. While it could not confirm that the accounts were directly linked to the regime, the investigation found that since 2009 the 770 accounts had posted over 10 million tweets and 2 million images, GIFs and videos, many of which promoted regime messages.

Iranian Regime Fake Accounts Target MEK

Many of the accounts posted content attacking and demonizing the Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). They also explicitly referenced Iranian state-run media outlets and attacked the Saudi Arabian government, Israel, and the rebel groups in Syria.

What made many of the Tweets particularly damaging is that the bots and regime-supporters posed as credible foreign journalists. Many of the 770 accounts with alleged regime ties claimed to be reporters from France, Croatia, and Spain.

The only solace comes from the fact that the social media accounts were not as influential as the Russian accounts. They drew little support, with many Tweets receiving less than 12 engagements from other Twitter users.

The Atlantic Council concluded, “they were ill-adapted to the platforms they sought to use”.

Moving Forward

Twitter announced that it would make the tweets public, “with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviours from researchers and academics around the world”.

The news was welcomed by the director and managing editor at the Digital Forensic Research Lab, Graham Brooke. He said, “I think more transparency around this information is better than less transparency”, adding, “and that’s not strictly limited to foreign influence operations or domestic advertising. Consumers have a right to have a lot more information about the things they see”.

The timing of the findings is particularly relevant. In less than a month the United States will go to the polls to vote in the Congressional elections. There are already concerns from US intelligence agencies over foreign governments working to influence the upcoming elections.

To avoid a repeat of 2016, and subversive elements undermining US democracy in 2018, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have to come together to protect the election process.

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