Iranian Dissidents

MEK Iran: Foreign Based Iranian Dissidents Increasingly the Target of the Iranian Regime

Iranian Dissidents

MEK: Foreign-based Iranian dissidents especially members and supporters of the (PMOI / MEK Iran), increasingly the target of the Iranian regime.

The Iranian regime has done it before and now it seems it is doing it again with increasing frequency. It is attempting to do what it can to execute any Iranians based outside of Iran who opposes them politically and especially those who are supporters or members of the main Iranian opposition groups, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran). This is just an extension of what they are doing within Iran, but it seems they think that they can get away with it due to the fact that foreign governments are turning a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s disregard for human rights.

The total number of Iranians killed by agents of the Iranian regime since it was formed after the 1979 Revolution outside of Iran has been estimated by the U.S. State Department to be around 360 individuals. The State Department has said that the groups in Iran responsible for these assassinations are the Quds Force, the MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence), or by groups directly financed and aligned to the regime e.g. Hamas or Hizbollah.

Some of the assassinations that have been documented include the following:

  • 1992: 3 opposition leaders of Iranian-Kurdish descent and their translator killed in a Berlin, Germany restaurant. A Berlin court eventually came to the conclusion that the Iranian leadership had ordered the killings. Several countries, including some in the E.U., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, recalled their ambassadors and cut off political ties with the regime. Iran halted assassinations for two decades as a result.

  • The Quds Force has recently created a secret operational unit called “Unit 840” to target foreign-based dissidents.
  • 2015: A MEK member, Mohammad-Reza Kolahi, was shot dead in Almere, the Netherlands.
  • 2012: Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American, confessed to planning to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on orders from the regime. Arbabsiar was sentenced to 25years in prison after being convicted. It was reported that he had links with the IRGC and Mexican drug smugglers.
  • 2018: German authorities searched the property of suspected Iranian spies.
  • 2019: 2 Iranian-Americans confessed to spying on MEK members in the U.S.
  • August 2020: The FBI laid charges against 2 US citizens and a Pakistani who have had links to the IRGC and were allegedly involved in carrying U.S. currency to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, from the U.S.

European governments need to crack down on Iran

Foreign-based Iranian activists think that the Iranian regime has stepped up assassinations and threats against them because European governments are reluctant to be seen to be too critical of the regime’s human rights record and foreign terrorism.

One political analyst, Faramarz Irani, who is based in Kerman, in Iran, thinks that the European authorities are actually concerned about what the Iranian regime is up to, but think that directly attacking them may lead to more overt attacks on European soil as well as the importation of illegal drugs into Europe in an attempt to obtain foreign currency. Irani says that European attitudes towards the mullahs are inconsistent and this could explain the recent rise in attacks on Iranian dissidents outside of Iran as the regime thinks that it can get away with it.

The abridged article was written by Behrouz Laregani for Al-Mashareq.

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