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Special Edition of Washington Times covers 5-day Free Iran conference

Washington Times Releases Special Edition on Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3

The cover photo for the Special Edition of the Washington Times on the Recent 5-day conference at MEK’s head quarter in Ashraf3- Albania.

The Washington Times released a special edition on Thursday detailing the MEK’s Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3 in Albania. The five-day event showcased the newly-constructed MEK headquarters and attracted more than 350 high-ranking political figures, human rights activists, and other dignitaries from 47 countries to speak in support of the MEK, the Iranian people and their fight to overthrow the clerical regime.

The featured article in the Washington Times special edition, entitled “MEK will fight Iran regime from new Ashraf-3 base in Albania,” explained the history of the MEK and the significance of Ashraf 3 in the Iranian Resistance’s struggle against the mullahs.

 

Construction on Ashraf 3, according to the Washington Times piece, began 20 months ago on a piece of Albanian farmland. It is now home to more than 3,000 MEK members. The compound is the size of a small city and includes parks, a hospital, conference halls, shopping centers, restaurants, swimming pools, and a luxury hotel. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented on the speed at which the city had been constructed in his speech to conference attendees, saying, “If we tried to do this in New York, it would take 15 years and launch 14 corruption investigations.”

The MEK relocated to Albania after repeated attacks on its previous homes at Camp Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko explained why his country provided refuge to the group in his speech at the conference. “In 1943, the Nazis conquered Albania and had two main demands when an Albanian delegation went to Berlin,” Mr. Majko said. “They wanted our gold transferred to Berlin, and they wanted a list of all the Jews in Albania. Our answer was simple: the gold, yes; the Jews, no. Protecting those in need is part of our identity,” he said.

 

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), noted the significance of having so many world leaders attend the conference at Ashraf 3. “We look at the fact that so many leaders came to our home so far from where they live as a testament to the international support that exists for MEK and the faith they have in what we want to accomplish,” he said.

The Washington Times article wrote that the primary goal of the MEK is regime change but that “its formal aim is to step into the void that a collapsed Iranian government would leave only long enough to hold free elections and establish a secular state.” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi would serve as President-elect until elections were held within the first six months after the overthrow of the regime.

 

The dozens of speakers were united in their praise of Ashraf 3 and their support for regime change. The Washington Times published excerpts of many of the speeches from the event. A few of the most notable quotes are included below:

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect, NCRI

“We will take back Iran and we will build a new homeland.”

Joseph Lieberman

Former U.S. Senator

“The battle to liberate Iran from the radical religious dictators who control it today is a battle that not only has great significance for the people of Iran but for the cause of freedom throughout the world.”

Rama Yade

Former French Secretary of State for Human Rights

“But it’s you, with your hands, your courage, your hopes, that built this place. Also, by the sacrifice of 120,000 of yours… What you did here in less than two years, you can do in Iran in one day.”

 

Tom Ridge

First U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

[S]ometimes in your life you have the opportunity to pursue and embrace causes bigger than yourself. Some 120,000 men and women have died seeking and promoting and embracing a cause bigger than themselves. There will be an open, pluralistic, non-nuclear, democratic Iran, and you — you, your courage, your sacrifice — will be responsible for future generations to enjoy the liberty and freedoms.

 

Sid Ahmed Ghozali

Former Algerian Prime Minister

“What the history will remember is that you are a resistance against repression but also that Ashraf 3 represents a new culture; they are symbols for development and progress. My dream is to see a free Iran and only then, we may have the first democratic government in the Islamic world.”

Louis Freeh

Former Director of the FBI

“One of the things I just wanted to say is listening to the testimony yesterday and viewing the room next door (Martyrs Exhibition), one of the things we have to prepare for is the prosecution and conviction of the thousands of criminals who have murdered, assassinated, killed, not by accident, not by coincidence, but a designed plan to murder, mass murder a group of people.”

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Hon. David Jones meets with

British MP Met with Maryam Rajavi at Ashraf III

Hon. David Jones meets with

Hon. David Jones, British MP, Welsh Secretary in David Cameron’s government, and Minister of State for negotiations with the European Union in Theresa May’s cabinet met with Maryam Rajavi, the leader of Iran opposition in the MEK’s settlement in Albania (Ashraf III), on Saturday, 6 April 2019A senior member of parliament (MP) from the United Kingdom met with the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, on Saturday, April 6. Mr. David Jones, the Welsh Secretary under former Prime Minister David Cameron and Minister of State for negotiations with the European Union in current Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, spoke with Mrs. Rajavi at the end of a whirlwind two-day visit to Albania in which he met with several Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) members.

He visited the MEK’s compound, Ashraf III, outside the Albanian capital of Tirana. His visit comes just several weeks after his colleague, Struan Stevenson a former Scottish MEP, released a book about the compound and the Iranian regime’s attempt to demonize and destroy the MEK.

Jones extended his condolences and sympathies to Mrs. Rajavi and her compatriots in Iran following the widespread flooding in recent weeks. He also expressed his support for the MEK and the important work they are undertaking to oppose the regime’s brutality and violence wherever it occurs.

“It has been a great privilege to meet with you and the members of this resistance in Albania,” he said. “I am impressed by the work and efforts of the members of the PMOI (MEK).”

During the meeting, Mr. Jones also expressed his delight with the US Government’s decision to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on their foreign terrorist organization blacklist. He reiterated the US State Department’s analysis that the IRGC is a terrorist entity and pose a significant threat to stability in the Middle East and beyond.

A Stronger Effort Stance the UK Government

David Jones called on his own government to apply pressure to the Iranian regime and hold them to account for their failure to provide aid and relief to the flood victims. He urged UK and EU politicians not to remain silent in the face of this blatant suppression of the Iranian people.

Maryam Rajavi responded. She said: “The Iranian regime has not taken any serious steps to aid the people faced with this national disaster and unprecedented tragedy.”

She also welcomed the US government’s listing of the IRGC as a terrorist entity and reminded Mr. Jones that the MEK had been calling for the IRGC’s inclusion on the terror list. She described how the IRGC is not only involved in the regime’s export of terror but also a key component in its campaign of domestic oppression. She asserted that the US State Department should have listed the organization on its terror blacklist long ago.

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Ashraf III, MEK's main residence in Albania

Struan Stevenson Calls Out the Western Media for Its Lies and Hit Pieces Against the MEK

Ashraf III, MEK's main residence in Albania

Ashraf III, the main place of residence of MEK members in Albania. The book “Ashraf III – Rising From The Ashes” debunks Iranian regime’s attempts to demonize the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK)

Struan Stevenson’s new book, ‘Ashraf III— Rising from the Ashes’ charts the regime’s attempts to demonize the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). Speaking at a press conference, the former Scottish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) told reporters, “they [the regime] are providing some of the most ludicrous lies and slanders to the press.”

He called out the Guardian and the Independent, two British newspapers, for publishing these lies and falsehoods, and called a recent hit piece in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine “astonishing”. “Der Spiegel last December, admitted that one of their most famous sub-editors and journalists, Claas Relotius, had been writing fake stories made up of absolute fiction.” Stevenson lamented that even though Relotius was fired, “suddenly we see Der Spiegel published a long, ludicrous article about Ashraf III… claiming that, amongst other things, that three times a week PMOI (MEK) are being trained how to cut throats, gouge out eyes with their fingers and tear people’s mouths open.”

Stevenson describes how Der Spiegel’s unsupported and blatantly false claims were made all the worse as the magazine had been invited to visit Ashraf III, but editors rejected the invitation. Any print journalist would know that to carry out due diligence as a reporter and publish a piece with journalistic integrity, Der Spiegel had the responsibility to accept the MEK’s invitation and send reporters to Ashraf III. If they had, they would have immediately seen the claims for the lies and propaganda that they are.

Stevenson visited Ashraf III in 2018 and knows first hand what goes on in the camp.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Reporting in This Way Glosses Over the Mullahs’ Atrocities

“This kind of horrible fake news and attempts to blacken and demonize the PMOI (MEK) simply plays into the hands of the mullahs,” Stevenson continued. “Not a mention in that article about the human rights atrocities that go on, on a daily basis, not a mention of the 30,000 political prisoners summarily executed in 1988,” he added.

When it publishes hit pieces against the pro-democratic opposition, the international media ignores these atrocities and becomes little more than a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime, attacking the opposition and glossing over the regime’s own violent deeds.

A Muted Response from European Governments and Institutions

Stevenson doesn’t lay the blame squarely at the foot of the media, although it has a lot to answer for. His book is also heavily critical of Europe’s institutions. He criticizes Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, for what he calls, “her continued attempts to appease the mullahs” and ignore their blatant human rights abuses in Iran.

For Stevenson, her inaction has been inexcusable. “They [the mullahs] have used their own so-called diplomats in Europe to perpetrate acts of terrors, trying to commit atrocities on European soil!” he exclaimed.

“A Pivotal Moment in World History”

Europe’s inaction is particularly damning because Stevenson asserts, we are at a pivotal moment in the history of the Iranian regime. “We are witnessing the final collapse of the theocratic dictatorship in Iran,” he said, “I think it is a pivotal moment in world history.”

Stevenson asserts that Europe and international governments are faced with a choice; they can choose to back the violent dictatorship in their repression and human rights violations, or they can back the Iranian people in their fight for freedom and democracy.

Stevenson was clear about which side he would back. He concluded, “I know which side I am on, thank you very much.”

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Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

Struan Stevenson Presents New Report on Regime’s Demonization Campaign against the MEK in Albania

Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

The Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), former MEP (1999-2014), at a news conference in London, introducing a new book, titled, ‘ASHRAF III – Rising from the Ashes’ about the recent visit by a delegation of European MEPs to Ashraf III, the main residence of the MEK in Albania-March 5, 2019

On Tuesday, Struan Stevenson presented his new report, “Ashraf III – Rising From The Ashes,” at a press conference in London. Stevenson is a former Member of European Parliament, the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, and a longtime supporter of the MEK and has written extensively about Iran and the Western policy of appeasement toward the mullahs. His latest report describes the regime’s latest efforts to demonize the MEK through propaganda and eliminate the resistance organization through terrorist plots.

Terrorist Plots

During his remarks at the press conference, Stevenson discussed the Iranian regime’s escalating terrorist plots and propaganda attacks against the MEK under the leadership of “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani.

“The regime plotted to bomb a rally in Paris. I was at that rally. Several other terror plots were perpetrated by Iranian regime agents in Europe,” Stevenson said, describing the regime’s foiled terrorist plot on last year’s Free Iran rally outside of Paris, which targeted tens of thousands of MEK members and supporters, as well as hundreds of high-ranking politicians and dignitaries from all over the world. Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime diplomat, was arrested by German law enforcement for masterminding the attempted bombing and now awaiting trial in Belgium on terrorist charges. “But despite all that, we still have Europeans trying to sign trade deals with Iran as part of an appeasement policy,” Stevenson continued. “These countries have shamefully set up INSTEXT to bypass U.S. sanctions in a somewhat barter system.”

Recent Developments in Iran

Stevenson also spoke about recent political developments in Iran. “Only two days ago, Iran appointed Ebrahim Raisi, the notorious executioner of thousands only for their support for the PMOI/MEK. How on Earth can we have dialogue with a regime that appoints a man with such atrocities to head of judiciary?”

Raisi was a senior member of the “Death Committee” who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in kangaroo courts during the summer of 1988. Over 30,000 people, most of whom were MEK members or supporters, were executed in the 1988 Massacre. No one has ever been held accountable for this crime against humanity.

Stevenson also addressed regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s recent resignation and reinstatement, saying, “The sudden resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the uprising show the fragile status of the regime. The insistence of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani on Zarif’s reinstatement show how these two figures are working together on the regime’s foreign terrorist organization.”

Ashraf III

The bulk of Stevenson’s remarks were devoted to the Ashraf III, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, and the regime’s attempts to demonize and destroy Ashraf through propaganda and outright terrorism.

“Following the airlift of over 2,000 Iranian dissidents [from Iraq to Albania], the mullahs couldn’t tolerate it and sent dozens of agents to Albania. The mullahs’ regime began planning bomb plots and assassinations in response,” Stevenson said. “Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and her people built a whole city in a matter of months. Ashraf. That is why I call it ‘rising from the ashes.’”

Stevenson described the role of British citizen Anne Singleton, who was recruited along with her husband, Masoud Khodabandeh, by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to spread false propaganda about the MEK in Albania. “Anne Singleton actually held a press conference in Albania, claiming to work for the UK government as an anti-terrorism expert. Two Londoners, Masoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Singleton, who have sinister records and have been seen outside Ashraf in Iraq planning rocket attacks on the residents, are now regularly visiting in Albania,” Stevenson explained.

Stevenson concluded his remarks by stating the mission of the MEK members living in Albania and their goals for helping the people of Iran to establish a free Iran. “The people of Iran now look to the organized opposition [the PMOI and the NCRI] as the harbingers of a future of democracy, justice, and peace. The fortitude and stamina of PMOI [MEK] members in Albania has acted as a beacon of hope for the 80 million beleaguered citizens of Iran who hope and pray for freedom from oppression,” he emphasized. He went on to say, “The Iranian people have lost their fear and are demanding regime change. We have a regime that has executed 4,000 only during the so-called moderate Rouhani’s tenure. After 40 years of dictatorship, today 80 million Iranians have had enough.”

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Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Statement by Members of MEK Denounce DER Spiegel Hit Piece Against Iran’s Main Opposition

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Spiegel published a full of lies story about MEK, Iran’s main opposition force, raising an outrage among the Iranian communities-February 2019

The ruling regime in Iran uses social media networks and international newspapers and magazines to spread mistruths and lies concerning the Iranian opposition movement. Along with state-sponsored terror, the clerical regime uses it as a weapon to undermine and discredit the opposition and sway public opinion against the principal opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

In a statement published recently, a group of members of the MEK based in Albania emphasize that the defamatory accusations made by Der Spiegel will only prepare the ground for terrorism against MEK, Iran’s principal opposition, especially in Albania. Members of MEK ask all supporters of democracy and those who combat against terrorism to protest against Der Spiegel that has fallen to “the most disgraceful mouthpieces of the Iranian regime.”

The latest hit piece, an article published in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine entitled “Prisoners of Their Own Rebellion”, spouted a list of usual regime talking points and falsehoods. The allegations cited in the piece have been publicly discrediting numerous times, including by international courts, political figures, and legislative bodies.

Shoddy Journalism

The statement of the members of the MEK says, Der Spiegel recently suffered a journalism scandal when an editor, Claas Relotius, was caught fabricating stories. Now, just weeks later, further questions have been asked of the publication’s journalistic integrity.

The magazine published its hit piece against the MEK after interviewing sources within the regime and affiliates of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). A trainee correspondent spent time in Iran with the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij forces.

The MEK extended an invitation to the magazine’s editor, offering to permit its journalists to visit the MEK’s compound in Albania. Despite persistent invitations, Der Spiegel declined, preferring instead to write its piece on the opposition group without speaking to anyone from the organization itself.           

The end result was a piece lacking fundamental accuracy. It demonized the MEK and ignored the regime’s widespread and rampant human rights abuses. There was no mention of the 12,000 political executions, 500 plotted terror attacks abroad, and massacres of MEK members carried out by the regime.

Laying the Groundwork for a New Massacre

The hit piece is more than just an example of shoddy and inaccurate journalism. By demonizing the MEK, the Iranian regime is able to lay the groundwork for a new massacre, much like those that took place in 1988 when the regime killed 30,000 MEK members, and those that happened at Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf in Iraq, states the MEK members in their statement.

If it can rob the MEK of its support through slanderous hit pieces like those that have appeared in Der Spiegel and The Guardian, the regime believes it will be able to kill and maim MEK members across the globe with impunity.

Iranian Incentives Inspire Der Spiegel Writers

The only explanation behind Der Spiegel’s deliberate and contrived rejection of even basic journalistic fact-checking principles is that the regime offered tantalizing incentives in exchange for Der Spiegel turning a blind-eye to the facts.

For example, in the piece, Der Spiegel alleges that former MEK members have described how the group regular practices slitting throats and jabbing out eyeballs. However, the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has repeatedly warned that the MOIS recruits former MEK members and coerced them into publicly criticizing the group. The MEK sent Der Spiegel’s editor the BfV’s findings, however, these falsehoods still appeared in the final article.

Why Der Spiegel is Little More than a Regime Mouthpiece

The testimonies of the so-called “defectors” also expose glaring holes in their narrative. For example, Gholamreza Shekari, one of the “defectors” interviewed in the article, claimed the MEK tortured him in 1994. However, he remained with the MEK until 2016, despite meeting regularly with officials from the US, Iraq, the UN and the UNHCR. If we wanted to leave and the group’s members had “tortured” him, as he claims, why would he not leave sooner?

The statement of the member of MEK stationed at Ashraf III in Albania, calls on the international community to stand against the promulgation of lies and inaccuracies wherever they occur. Der Spiegel must be called out for publishing such an inflammatory and damaging piece, and it should be warned that in publishing a piece of this nature, it is complicit in the regime’s human rights abuses and international terrorism.

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Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

New Book on the MEK and Ashraf III

Book on Ashraf III-MEK residence in Albania

Struan Stevenson Publishes New Book on the MEK and the new residence of the MEK in Albania, Ashraf III .

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of European Parliament representing Scotland and longtime supporter of the MEK, has written a new book, Ashraf III, Rising from the Ashes: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers. The book, which describes the widespread protest movement currently taking place in Iran that threatens to topple the theocratic regime, also details the regime’s efforts to demonize the MEK over the past forty years and its numerous attempts to destroy the organization through missile strikes, smear campaigns, and terrorist plots.

The book’s main focus is the MEK’s struggle to find a safe haven, first at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, then at Camp Liberty in Iraq, and finally at Ashraf 3 in Albania. Thousands of members of the MEK lived in exile at Camp Ashraf and Liberty from 1986 until 2017. After the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the MEK camp was targeted by repeated deadly missile strikes. These strikes were ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian regime. After years of negotiations and deteriorating conditions, the Albanian government agreed to allow the MEK to move its headquarters to Tirana.

Ashraf 3: A New Beginning

The new MEK camp, Ashraf 3, is home to 3,000 MEK members, all of whom have a personal stake in working toward the goal of a free Iran. These “Ashrafis” have worked tirelessly to a home for the Iranian Resistance.

Struan Stevenson visited Ashraf 3 last year, along with two other MEPs, Tunne Kelam & Jaromir Stetina. The delegation toured the camp and spoke to the residents there about their stories and motivations for working for the Resistance.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Stevenson described Ashraf 3 after his visit last year in a piece for UPI. He wrote: “These hard-working and resilient freedom fighters have constructed a small city with shops, clinics, sports facilities, kitchens, bakeries, dormitory blocks, meeting halls, offices, and studios.”

In his book, Stevenson writes about the efforts the Ashrafis have made to forge relationships with the Albanian community. He emphasizes the resilience of the MEK members in rebuilding their home after decades of attacks by the Iranian regime. Ashraf 3, says Stevenson, serves as a beacon of hope to the 80 million Iranian citizens who pray for freedom from oppression. The people of Iran see the MEK as the only viable democratic alternative to the theocratic regime, and the Ashrafis take this responsibility seriously.

Chaos in Iran

Stevenson’s report describes the current unrest in Iran that has arisen since the widespread uprising by the Iranian people in late 2017. The book details the regime’s response to the protests, which has included a massive crackdown on any political activity. Stevenson discusses the arrests, executions, imprisonment, and intimidation of the Iranian people and the failure of the regime to respond to the concerns of the protesters. He also shows how the regime has increased its efforts to censor social media and access to the Internet, as well as its demonization campaign against the MEK.

Stevenson also criticizes Federica Mogherini, the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs, for her failure to address the regime’s human rights abuses.

Struan Stevenson’s book may be purchased from Amazon.com.
ASHRAF III, RISING FROM THE ASHES: Iranian Opposition Terrifies Tehran Rulers; A European Delegation Report Paperback – February 2019

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