MEK Iran: New Report Reveals Regime’s Hypocrisy in Condemning/Condoning Assassinations
The Iranian regime has been called out for its treatment of dissident groups (the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran)) on foreign soil in a new study.
Freedom House Says Iran Uses Violence Against Dissidents
The non-profit Freedom House described a pattern of “transnational repression” by authoritarian countries in a report released on February 3. According to Freedom House, the authoritarian regimes cited in the report (including Iran) target critics living outside of their borders for harassment, direct attacks, and assassination.
The report stated that the same authoritarian regimes that harassed and assassinated dissidents living outside of their borders were quick to condemn the United States and Israel for targeted assassinations.
Condemnation of the U.S. and Israel
Iran was cited in the report, both for its status as the target of assassinations and as a regime with a robust program designed to seek out and destroy members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
During the presidency of Donald Trump, Iran portrayed itself as a victim of U.S. and Israeli aggression. Admittedly, Trump’s grandiosity and lack of diplomacy made the regime’s job easier.
Regime loyalists were particularly enraged after the U.S. assassination of Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020 and the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh outside Tehran in November. Israeli agents are widely considered to be responsible for the shooting.
‘Transnational Repression Tactics’
According to the Freedom House report, the Iranian regime has denounced these assassinations by the United States and Israel, but at the same time it has been using a “full spectrum of transnational repression tactics.”
“Iranian leaders frequently portray its attacks on exiles as part of the same struggle against the United States and Israel, which they accuse of supporting terrorists,” the report said.
“The Iranian campaign is distinguished by the total commitment it receives from the state, the level of violence that it employs, and its sophisticated application of diverse methods against a similarly diverse set of targets,” the report added.
According to the Freedom House report, the Iranian regime has been linked to at least five assassinations or assassination attempts since 2014. Additional plots were interrupted before they could be completed.
Two former militants were assassinated in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017. A self-exiled former intelligence officer was shot in Istanbul, Turkey in 2019.
Terrorist bombing plot against the 2018 Free Iran gathering
European authorities foiled a terrorist bombing plot against the 2018 Free Iran gathering In Villepinte, France. The bombing was intended to target National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi. Thousands of MEK members were in attendance, as were dozens of prominent politicians from around the world.
Albanian authorities have foiled several attacks on Ashraf 3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania.
Iranian regime used renditions to silence critics living abroad
According to the Freedom House report, the Iranian regime used renditions to silence critics living abroad. It cited Ruhollah Zam as an example. Zam was an Iranian journalist living in exile in France to avoid imprisonment for publishing news that was critical of the regime. Zam continued to run his website and Telegram channels while in France, angering regime officials.
Zam was lured to Iraq in 2019 and kidnapped by Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) agents and forcibly brought back to Iran. He was then made to stand trial and was convicted of charges stemming from his journalism. Zam was executed in December 2020, despite pleas from the international community.
#MEK and #NCRI reported that the response to the latest execution in #Iran of a French resident, Ruhollah Zam, by several European nations, including France, Germany, Italy, and Austria, withdrew from the Europe-Iran Business Forum. https://t.co/X1jRE40moy
— StopFundamentalism (@SFundamentalism) December 17, 2020
Kidnapped by (IRGC) agents and forcibly brought back to Iran
“The Iranian state’s transnational repression reaches far beyond those who have been kidnapped, killed, or detained, exerting other forms of pressure on anyone involved in opposition politics or independent journalism,” the report said.
According to Freedom House, Iran’s tactics against dissidents “collectively amount to a constant barrage of harassment, intimidation, and surveillance.”