Posts Tagged ‘Disinformation by MOIS’

Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News

Louisa Hommerich

Der Spiegel’s lost credibility in the service of Iranian religious fascism

Louisa Hommerich

Louisa Hommerich, DerSpiegel writer who traveled to Iran and studied there for two years and earned the Iranian regime’s trust to a degree that she was given permission to participate in Basij military practices. Basij forces, part of the Iranian regime’s repressive forces, responsible for cracking down on protesters in Iran.

The German magazine Der Spiegel in an article on Feb. 16, 2019, entitled “Prisoners of the Riots”, gave a very unfair report on the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and its new compound, Ashraf 3. The group, which is the largest and most serious opposition force to the Mullahs’ ruling regime, relocated to Albania on the site of Ashraf 3 following intense persecution and violent attacks in both Iran and Iraq.

The Der Spiegel article is based on the widely discredited and false testimony of ex-members of PMOI (MEK), who today openly serve the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) of the Iranian regime.

For a better understanding of the issues raised in this article, we need to have a brief look at the regime’s history and origin.

The clerical regime’s leadership from Khomeini to Khamenei had decided that the survival of their regime depended on the physical annihilation of the PMOI (MEK) members and their supporters. To make this a reality the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of the mullahs decided to create an “Anti- Hypocrisy Division”(the derogatory name used by the regime to describe its main opposition) and has steadily advanced this policy for the past 30 years inside and out of Iran.

The regime adopted a two-pronged approach to eradicating the MEK. The mullahs carried out the arrests, imprisonments, torture, and execution of MEK supporters inside Iran. Simultaneously, they embarked on an extensive propaganda campaign to demonize the group through the dissemination of fake news and false allegations abroad.

False Allegations Against MEK

False allegations made against the MEK included tales of the imprisonment and torture of members who left the group, compulsory divorce of members and the disintegration of the family unit, restricted communication with the outside world, and the existence of a financial-political association with Saddam Hussein.

Former Scottish MEP Describes His Visit to Ashraf 3 in Albania and the Regime’s Vicious Misinformation Campaign

Alongside these serious and malicious accusations, the MOIS carried out assassinations of key figures in the Iranian resistance group. It killed Prof. Kazem Rajavi, Mohammad Hossein Naghdi, Zahra Rajabi. The MOIS also attempted to kidnap many other activists connected to the MEK.

Those that followed the events during the political phase (1980-1981) will remember Khomeini’s statements about the MEK. Khomeini used to say that “PMOI (MEK) members are worse than infidels,” and he even referred to MEK as the “enemies fifth column” during the destructive Iran-Iraq war.

False and negative allegations about the MEK that have been published on international media outlets like Der Spiegel, started with the inception of this regime and the roots of the allegations can be traced to the intelligence and security apparatus within the Iranian government. The MOIS uses paid agents under the guise of ex-MEK members, former political prisoners, activists, researchers, authors, and journalists to spread the falsehoods and allegations as part of a large-scale disinformation campaign.

Der Spiegel’s “bad journalism”

In the Der Spiegel article, we see the same pattern of reporting visible in other regime hit pieces.

The Der Spiegel article that was scheduled to be published on November 24, 2018, was delayed, without explanation for around three months. Its final publishing date coincided with the Warsaw conference. The hit piece was likely designed to overshadow the political victory of the resistance and help the Mullahs regime in the international arena.

A Persian translation of Gholamreza Shekari’s interview (An agent of MOIS), which was included in the final Der Spiegel article, was posted on a Ministry of Intelligence website on November 24, long before the full text was published on the Der Spiegel site, indicating that there had been extensive collaboration between the MOIS and Der Speigel’s writers and “journalists”.

Journalism is responsible for informing society. The facts they report help shape public opinion. Therefore, journalists have the moral obligation to work within a strict ethical framework. Journalism should question and criticize where appropriate. It should challenge inaccuracy wherever it finds it and stands committed to the pursuit of truth. Journalists have the obligation, at least in the fact-finding stage of investigations, to observe neutrality and remain objective until the facts are revealed. This is one of the main criteria of the ethics of journalism.

According to evidence and photographs available, the author of the Der Spiegel article, Ms. Louisa Homerich, studied in Iran for two years and spend a significant amount of time in the country carrying out research for the piece. It is not possible for a foreign citizen to spend so much time in Iran without the direct coordination and approval of the regime intelligence agencies. During her stay in Iran, she enjoyed the hospitality of the revolutionary guards and was allowed to accompany the Women Basseij forces on a military maneuver called “Women on Path of Light”. She last visited Iran in January 2018.

Her extended stay in Iran, including her university studies, and close ties to the political, military and security apparatus in the country have raised serious questions over her “impartiality” and the agenda behind her reporting on the Iranian opposition.

Louisa Hommerich studied in Iran and was trusted enough to be given the chance to participate in Basij (Notorious security forces responsible for repression of Iran Protesters) in their tactical maneuvers.

Upon becoming aware of the intentions Ms. Homerich and the upcoming Der Spiegel article, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the umbrella organization of the MEK, in Germany tried to contact the magazine on several occasions to invite them to Ashraf 3 in Albania. The NCRI invited Der Spiegel to send reporters to speak to the residents in person and continue their fact-finding endeavor. However, the NCRI’s calls remained unanswered.

Instead of interviewing current members of the MEK, Der Spiegel drew conclusions based solely on the testimony of individuals who have actively sought to vilify the Iranian opposition at the behest of the mullahs for years. As expected, they cited false information and fake documents that contradict publicly available court documents. The end result is an article lacking a shred of truth or credibility.

In the article, a person named Mostafa Mohammadi is referred to as a witness. He is another known MOIS operative and regime insider. He has been claiming for years that his 39-year-old daughter, Somayeh Mohammadi, is being held captive by the MEK! Mostafa Mohammadi filed complaints in Canadian, Iraqi and Albanian courts seeking the “release” of his daughter from “the clutches of Rajavi’s cult”. All three courts ruled that the claims were baseless and rejected his complaint.

Another person referred to as a witness in this article is Gholamreza Shekari, who claims he was a member of PMOI/MEK for 27 years and was jailed and tortured by the group 24 years ago. He claims the group brainwashed him and that is why he remained with the organization after the torture took place! Mr. Shekari admits that he kept receiving monthly financial help from MEK for as long as he had not visited the regime’s embassy. The financial help was discontinued after his ties to the regime were revealed. He is now an active intelligence operative advancing the vilifying policies of the regime against the MEK. His interview with Der Spiegel appeared in several MOIS websites three months prior to Der Spiegel published its article!

In the end, it should be noted that the author of the article “Prisoners of the Riot”, in repeating the persistent falsehoods and lies of the Mullahs regime’s security apparatus served to further the Iranian regime’s propaganda objectives. It violated the core principles of journalism and sought to demonize a pro-democracy group fighting for the fall of the tyrannical religious fascism of the mullahs.

Reza Mohammadi

 

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Ashraf 3,Ashraf III,Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,Human Rights,Iran human rights,Iran Opposition,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Struan Stevenson

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.”

Staff Writer

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1988 Massacre,Ashraf III,Disinformation by MOIS,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,Struan Stevenson

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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Ashraf III,Der Spiegel,Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,MEK,MEK Abania,MOIS,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News

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.

Staff Writer

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Disinformation by MOIS,Ingrid Betancourt,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Ingrid Betancourt: Maryam Rajavi is There to Replace the Regime

Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Hon. Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian Politician, and former presidential candidate speaks at the conference “Iran’s Perspective in 2019” held  in the Colbert hall inside the French National Assemblee-February 2019

During a recent conference in the French Parliament, Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian-French politician and supporter of the Iranian opposition movement, addressed French MPs on the threat the regime poses.

Asking the Right Questions

Betancourt began by calling on French politicians to ensure they will be on the right side of history and give voice to the downtrodden and repressed Iranian population. She said, “be the voice of the Iranian people, the voice that asks the right questions about the attacks, the executions, the imprisonment.”

Ms. Betancourt reminded that the Iranian regime has run roughshod over the basic human rights of the Iranian people. Pro-democracy activists in Iran, gender equality activists, trade unionists, ethnic minorities, Christians, and women, amongst others, are frequently repressed, arrested, and executed without fair trial and due process.

The Iranian people have endured four decades of the clerical regime’s blatant and violent human rights abuses. Nobody has been on the receiving end of these abuses more than the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most active opposition group, Ms. Betancourt emphasized.

A Thorn in the Regime’s Side

Ms. Betancourt, the former candidate for Colombia’s presidential campaign, outlined that the MEK has been a thorn in the side of the clerical regime since day one. Resistance units operate across Iran’s cities, organizing protests and opposing the mullahs’ violent tyranny wherever it occurs.

In response, the mullahs have launched a series of bloody crackdowns on the opposition group. In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime rounded up and executed more than 30,000 MEK members in what amounted to one of the largest crimes against humanity of the twentieth century.

Most recently, the regime launched a state-sponsored terror campaign against the MEK. It plotted a series of violent attacks on MEK members living in Albania. Then it plotted to bomb the group’s annual Grand Gathering event in France. Shortly afterward, two regime agents were arrested in the United States for carrying out reconnaissance activities against MEK members in the US ahead of a planned terror attack.

Speaking about the attacks, Ms. Betancourt asked, “why”, “what is the purpose of removing Ms. Rajavi and removing the Iranian Resistance Council?” The “answer is simple,” she explained. “The mullahs want to convince the world that there is only one viable interlocutor in Iran.”

Weaponizing Word

Ms. Betancourt pointed out that the regime has not limited its fight against the MEK to physical attacks. It uses international media outlets to spout lies and disinformation against the MEK and the Iranian opposition and turn public opinion against pro-democracy groups.

One of the most recent regime-originated hit-pieces appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. The article spewed a series of falsehoods and lies, all of which have been extensively disproved in international courts. The piece drew criticism from politicians across the globe. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former vice-President of the European Parliament, called the piece, “a laundry list of baseless accusations.”

Why Devote Time and Resources?

The regime frequently insists that the MEK is a small and unpopular organization and that it has limited support among the wider Iranian population. But if that were the case, why would the regime devote such resources to attacking the group both at home and abroad?

The 2018 terror attacks demonstrated that the regime was willing to risk bilateral relations with European nations in order to kill and maim MEK members. Why would the regime go to such lengths over an insignificant organization?

The reality is that the MEK poses a significant existential risk to the regime. Its ranks swell by the day. The MEK-organised protest movement is expanding, and each time the group and its supporters take to the streets, the calls for regime change get louder.

There have been signs that the regime is growing uneasy. Privately, many of the regime’s leadership have made comments expressing concern, and the Supreme Leader himself blamed the group for the nationwide protests that took place across Iran in early 2018.

The MEK represent a democratic alternative to regime rule. The Iranian people know this, and now, at last, international governments are beginning to take note. Betancourt concluded her speech in the French Parliament by urging French MPs to “ask until when will we continue to believe that our only legitimate interlocutor is the tyrannical regime ruling Iran.”

Maryam Rajavi (the president-elect of the MEK) is there to replace them,” she concluded.

Staff Writer

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1988 Massacre,Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),PMOI

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament: The Regime Spouts “a Laundry List of Baseless Accusations” Against the MEK

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

The Spiegel Magazine joins the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine against Iran’s main democratic opposition the MEK. The Iranian communities expressed their outrage over the lies and fabrications reported by Der Spiegel-February 2019

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish professor of atomic and nuclear physics and a former vice-president of the European Parliament, published an op-ed for the Eurasia Review. His op-ed highlights the Iranian regime’s obsession with the democratic opposition and the extraordinary lengths it will go to discredit and vilify them in the international media.

His op-ed comes just weeks after German magazine, Der Spiegel, published a hit piece against the largest democratic opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). Vidal-Quadras described how the magazine “repeated a laundry list of lies and baseless accusations against the group’s “war footing” and its treatment of more than 2,000 members now living in Albania.”

A Demonization Campaign Across International Media

Vidal-Quadras expressed concern that those reading Der Spiegel’s article who are not familiar with the Iranian regime and its blatant attempts to discredit pro-democracy groups in Iran and abroad would fall victim to believing the regime’s lies. “They do not realize that every item on the list can be traced back to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and other purveyors of Iranian propaganda,” he said. Since the regime’s inception, the mullahs have devoted time and resources to spreading falsehoods and lies about the MEK and its members.

The regime has systematically rounded up and killed members of the MEK. In 1988 alone, the regime killed around 30,000 MEK members, burying them in unmarked mass graves. But according to Vidal-Quadras, events like the 1988 massacre “only scratch the surface of the Iranian regime’s violence against political dissenters.” In total, more than 100,000 members of the Iranian opposition have met their end at the hands of the regime. Many were tortured in custody, then hanged. In many cases, they were assassinated by agents while living in exile abroad.

The regime has also coordinated terrorist attacks against the MEK. Last year, a Belgian-Iranian couple was arrested while traveling to the MEK’s Grand Gathering event in Paris with homemade explosives. The regime also coordinated terror plots against the MEK in Albania and the US.

The MEK: A Threat to the Regime’s Future in Power

Vidal-Quadras explains the regime’s obsession with the democratic opposition as the result of a deep concern over the capabilities of the MEK. The group has drawn a great deal of international support. At its annual Grand Gathering event, it draws crowds of more than 100,000 supporters and high-profile political figures from across the globe, including Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

Within Iran, the MEK has a vast network of resistance cells across Iran’s towns and cities. The group was responsible for coordinating many of the protests that quickly spread across Iran in 2018. Its groups counter the regime’s lies, oppression, violence, and human rights abuses wherever they occur and enjoy widespread popularity across the Iranian population, especially among young Iranians.

Vidal-Quadras concludes, “in contrast to the picture that Tehran has tried to paint of the Iranian democratic opposition, the NCRI (and MEK) President Maryam Rajavi has outlined a 10-point plan for the country’s future.” In her plan, Maryam Rajavi provides a detailed roadmap for the country’s transition to democracy, including the holding of free elections, respect for human rights, the separation of religion and state, and a commitment to gender and ethnic equality.

Finally, Vidal-Quadras calls on governments across the world to lend their support. “It is time for our governments to recognize the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran.”

Staff Writer

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Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,French Nationale Assemblee,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Maryam Rajavi addresses the French MPs in a conference held at the Parliament building.

Maryam Rajavi Addresses Conference entitled “Iran Perspectives: 2019”

Maryam Rajavi addresses the French MPs in a conference held at the Parliament building.

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition, addressed MPs and attendees at the Conference, “Iran Perspective 2019” held at Colbert Hall in the French Parliament building-February 21, 2019

On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran at the French National Assembly held a conference, entitled “Iran Perspectives: 2019.”  The event called for a firm policy in Europe toward the Iranian regime in light of its terrorist activities on European soil and its human rights abuses of its own people.

French Committee of Parliamentarians for a Free Iran Holds a Conference Discussing Future Policy Towards Iran

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi was one of several speakers at the conference. In her speech, she refuted the idea that moderates exist in the Iranian regime, then discussed the regime’s terrorist activities in Europe, the role of the MEK in the ongoing protests in Iran, and the regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK. She also urged the French government to recognize the right of the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the mullahs’ regime and create a free Iran.

No “Moderate”

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi said that many Western leaders initially saw regime President Hassan

Rouhani's record of terror and executions in Iran

Rouhani’s record on violations of human rights during his tenure.

Rouhani as a “moderate” who was “able to bring about positive change in the theocratic regime.” Mrs. Rajavi disputed this idea, saying, “It was under this pretext, that western governments gave great concessions to the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.”

Rajavi noted Rouhani’s record as regime President: “Thousands of executions; several massacres in camps Ashraf and Liberty where members of the PMOI/MEK used to reside; wasting of Iran’s revenues on fomenting wars in the region; terrorist operations by the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) which he commands; and the missile program of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). As a result of which the majority of the people of Iran have become destitute.”

Terrorist Activities

She then enumerated the many terrorist plots by the regime that have occurred under Rouhani’s leadership: “He assigned his Ministry of Intelligence and diplomats to launch a major terrorist operation against the Iranian Resistance’s grand gathering in Villepinte. The sanctions imposed on the mullahs’ Intelligence Ministry by France and the European Union further confirmed that Rouhani’s government was the perpetrator of the plot.

“Although their attack in France was ill-fated, they did not give up. They hatched further schemes. A terrorist plot in Denmark; an espionage and terrorist plot against members of the Iranian Resistance in the U.S.; espionage in the army of Germany and attacking the supporters of the Iranian Resistance in that country; and in March 2018, they failed in another major terrorist attack against a PMOI/MEK gathering in Albania.”

December 2017 Uprising

Mrs. Rajavi then described the uprising and subsequent nationwide protest movement that began in Iran in December 2017 and continues today, “drastically destabiliz[ing] the regime.” She further discussed the economic catastrophe facing the country in terms of high inflation, slow economic growth, and high unemployment. “These are the characteristics of the Iranian economy in the present circumstances,” she said. “It is reminiscent of a building on the verge of collapse. Nevertheless, the regime has increased its next year’s budget for military and security expenditures.”

MEK Resistance Units

Rajavi went on to discuss the MEK’s Resistance Units. “A new force has emerged to counter the mullahs, the Resistance Units. These units are made up of members and supporters of the Iranian Resistance. They come from among the younger and freedom-loving generation of Iranians.”

Mrs. Rajavi emphasized the influence that the Resistance Units have had on organizing the Iranian people in their anti-regime protests. “In the past year,” she said, “the Resistance Units have spread their anti-regime activities to dozens of cities across the country. They have turned into beacons of hope for the people of Iran.”

Demonization Campaign

The Iranian regime is very aware of the MEK’s power and influence, according to Mrs. Rajavi, and has stepped up its efforts to spread “falsities against the Iranian Resistance.”

“The theocratic regime ruling Iran spends exorbitant sums of money on creating a network of reporters who are friends of the Ministry of Intelligence,” said Mrs. Rajavi. “Through them, the regime deploys the foreign press against the Iranian Resistance to project that the regime does not have any alternatives and the interests of western countries are best served by dealing with their regime.”

End the Era of Appeasement

Mrs. Rajavi argued that it is clear that Rouhani is no moderate and that the time for appeasing Tehran is passed.

“Turning a blind eye to the Iranian Resistance is not only to the detriment of the people of Iran but also to the detriment of the Middle East and the world who are in this way deprived of the key to the Iranian problem,” Rajavi said.

She continued, “It is wrong to worry about regime change by the Iranian people and resistance. Iran will not crumble in the course of such change. Rather, the main obstacle to Iran’s progress and the main cause of wars and crisis in the region will thus be removed.”

Mrs. Rajavi urged the French government to recognize the right of the Iranian people to rise up against their oppressors and initiate a “bold policy” in the E.U. She described this policy as one that  “places France and Europe besides the people of Iran and would respect the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and democracy. The right of the Iranian people’s Resistance to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship must be recognized.”

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, addressing the conference “Iran Perspective 2019” held at the French Assemblee Nationale building- February 21, 2019

Rajavi emphasized that the NCRI and the MEK represent a well-organized movement with a plan for the orderly transition to a peaceful democracy in Iran after the fall of the mullahs’ regime. “This is the message of the Iranian people’s liberating uprisings and the Resistance Units,” she said. “I must stress that our Resistance is an accountable, dedicated and qualified movement which has a modified plan for the future of Iran.”

Mrs. Rajavi concluded her speech with a brief description of the NCRI’s political platform, which forms the backbone of her ten-point plan for Iran’s democratic. future. She said, “We enjoy our people’s support in seeking to establish a republic based on the separation of religion and state, gender equality, the abolition of the death penalty, an independent judiciary, autonomy for ethnic groups, a foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence, and a non-nuclear Iran.”

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Protests in Iran

Der Spiegel’s Reporting Makes Them Accomplices in the Regime’s Human Rights Abuses

Protests in Iran

Archive photo-Demonstrations in front of the offices of the education ministry in protest to the government’s lack of response to their demands.-January 2019

Under increasing pressure at home, the Iranian regime has intensified its misinformation campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). The Iranian regime faces widespread protests each and every day. Since Sunday, there have been nine protests across the country attacking the mullahs’ mismanagement of the economy, soaring inflation, and unpaid wages.

These are the latest developments in a wave of protests that have washed across Iran over the last 14 months. What began in a nationwide uprising at the tail end of 2017, shows no sign of letting up.

An “army of hungry and unemployed” Iranians are taking to the streets and calling for regime change. Youth unemployment is above 50%, Iranian purchasing power is falling, and wages are stagnating. Iranians are struggling to put food on the table, meanwhile, the mullahs are living lavish lifestyles, funneling money to militia and terrorist groups abroad, and spending vast sums on clandestine missile programs.

The Regime Looks Outward

Rather than look inward at its own failings, the clerical regime has looked outwards and responded to the intensifying protest movement by cracking down on political opponents. As sanctions start to bite, targeting the regime’s oil revenue and crippling its finances, the regime has intensified its attacks on the MEK, the largest and most organized pro-democracy group who has played a crucial role in mobilizing the population.

The regime has deployed a misinformation campaign targeting the opposition group. Last year, Twitter removed 770 regime-affiliated accounts that the mullahs were using to spread disinformation about the MEK. A separate investigation from Reuters found that the Iranian regime used more than 70 websites to spread anti-MEK propaganda across the world, many of which are still in operation today.

Regime Hit Pieces

The mullahs’ latest attacks have come through Western media outlets. Its most recent hit piece against the MEK has published in German magazine Der Spiegel. As with previous hit pieces, including one published last year in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the regime uses former members of the MEK to spread lies and deceit about the group, often touting the frequently disproved claim the MEK is a violent group that keeps members against their will.

The pieces usually allege that the MEK is not a threat to the regime and does not command the support of the Iranian population. This begs the question if the MEK is not a threat, why does the regime devout such resources and time to attacking them online, in print, and through violent terror attacks and assassinations?

The regime’s most recent propaganda piece in Der Spiegel made no less than 60 false claims against the MEK. Its publication raises questions, not only about the regime’s conduct but the journalists and editors that failed to carry out even basic fact-checking procedures. If they had vetted the information, they would have found that many of the allegations and baseless lies have been debunked many times in courts around the world.

Distracting the Global Media

What is perhaps more troubling is that while the world’s media laps up the regime’s bile and propaganda, frequent and severe human rights abuses are going unreported in Iran. Political, environmental, and human rights activists suffer attacks, arbitrary detention, and torture at the hands of the regime’s agents, yet the international media let them pass unnoticed.

The regime has a rich history of repressing, silencing, and exploiting its population. Iran has endured 40 years of regime rule and has come to expect it from the mullahs. But now, the international media and Der Spiegel is doing the same thing. Repeating the regime’s lies and failing to hold the mullahs to account for blatant and barbaric human rights abuses is tantamount to being an accomplice in these human rights abuses.

It is the international media’s role to give voice to the downtrodden and stand up for justice. Instead, in its most recent piece, Der Spiegel gave voice to the oppressors and only served to tighten the shackles the Iranian people find themselves in.

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Conference "Future of Iran in 2019"

French Committee of Parliamentarians for a Free Iran Holds a Conference Discussing Future Policy Towards Iran

Conference "Future of Iran in 2019"

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition (NCRI), addressing a conference at Colbert Hall at the French Parliament -February 21, 2019

On Thursday, the Committee of Parliamentarians for a Free Iran (CPID) organized a meeting in the Colbert Hall at the French Parliament on the Iranian people’s fight for freedom. The meeting’s purpose was to chart Iranian human rights abuses and the role the clerical regime plays in state-sponsored terror and explore the role the French Government can play in the Iranian people’s journey towards a democratic Iran.

A Dire Situation in Iran

Andre Chassaigne opened the speeches with a scathing review of the Iranian regime’s human rights record. “The human rights situation in Iran is catastrophic,” he said, “between 2013 and 2019 more than 3,600 people were executed.”

He lamented the fate of Iran’s lorry drivers. “During last year, at least 268 lorry drivers were arrested in Iran,” he said, referring to the string of lorry drivers’ strikes that saw protestors arrested and threatened with death sentences for their involvement in the protests.

When Member of the French Parliament, Mr. Herve Saulignac took the floor, he outlined the regime’s involvement in murders on European soil. “It’s necessary to have a demanding approach to the regime,” in the wake of the regime’s violent and nefarious schemes on French soil. “But the strength of France is to stand alongside the Iranian people and their aspirations for a free Iran”, he stressed.

In June last year, the Iranian regime plotted to detonate a car bomb in Paris at the annual Grand Gathering of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), a prominent Iranian opposition pro-democracy group. The would-be assassins, a Belgian-Iranian couple traveling to the event in an explosive-laden vehicle, were apprehended by European authorities en-route to Paris.

The Need for Firm Action

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, addressed the French Parliamentarians at the conference on Thursday. She had a message for the French government in the wake of the failed attack. “I urge the French government to initiate a bold policy in the EU,” she said.

She argued that the regime today is in a vulnerable state. “The mullahs are badly in need of political and commercial relations with Europe. Nonetheless, they cannot forgo terrorist operations in the heart of Europe… they are much weaker than is conceived,” she said.

She described how MEK resistance units are mobilizing the Iranian people and Iran’s “younger and freedom-loving generation.” She added they “have spread their anti-regime activities to dozens of cities across the country.”

“The policy of appeasement must be terminated,” Maryam Rajavi said, adding, “tying hopes to investments in and commercial deals with Iran is an illusion.” Pursuing a policy of appeasement, she argued, “is not only to the detriment of the people of Iran but also to the detriment of the Middle East and the world.”

Member of the Parliament, Frederic Reiss followed Maryam Rajavi at the podium and pledged his support to the Iranian people’s cause. “You have our support,” he said. “The Iranian people deserve Freedom and Democracy,” he added.

Two Types of Terrorism

Ingrid Betancourt, the Columbian politician, accused the regime in Iran of “practicing two kinds of terrorism”. “Hard terrorism,” she said,” to kill, and mild terrorism, to dis-inform and slander the NCRI and the resistance(The MEK).”

Tahar Boumedra echoed Ingrid Betancourt’s sentiments. He denounced the regime’s use of the Western media to spread lies and disinformation. “The media should apologize for their wrongdoings,” he added.

Boumedra went on to call for a UN investigation into the regime’s crimes against humanity, including its execution of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

Madame Vaucouleurs, the president of the CPID, closed out the speeches. She concluded the event by welcoming the committee’s progress, particularly its decision to meet with victims of repression at the hands of the Iranian regime. Her final words were to reiterate that the goal of the MEK and its allies, “is not to monopolize power in Iran, but to hand it over to the people for that it has been structured and has a program.”

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Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Why Der Spiegel is Little More than a Regime Mouthpiece

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

Der Spiegel, a German magazine, published a hit piece against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The piece, entitled “Prisoners of the Rebellion”, went to press on February 16 and contained a host of mistruths and lies about the Iranian opposition groups.

The article spouted the regime’s propaganda without meeting even the basic principles of journalistic integrity. The authors declined to visit the MEK’s compound in Albania and ignored correspondences with the NCRI in which the pro-democracy group sent documents disproving the regime’s allegations. Instead, the writers spent time with the regime’s Basij agents in Iran, interviewed members of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) disguised as former MEK members without dealing with the group itself directly.

Waiting for the Perfect Time

Nothing demonstrates that the piece was little more than a poorly-informed hatched job against the MEK more than the timing of the piece.

In a statement released following the article’s publication, the NCRI revealed that it had been in communication with Der Spiegel’s deputy foreign editor, Mr Mathieu von Rohr, who had confirmed that the article was due to be published on November 24, 2018.

The article’s publication was delayed until “a time that the Iranian regime needed such “support,” the NCRI’s statement read. The recent conference in Warsaw which saw more than 60 governments from nations around the world come together to explore ways of dealing with the Iranian threat clearly prompted Der Spiegel to believe that this was the time the regime needed the “support” the article could lend.

The article was immediately picked up by all the Iranian state-run media outlets, which centered their coverage on the baseless allegations that the MEK carried out massacres and brutal acts of torture at its base in Albania.

Snubbed Invitations

The NCRI’s statement shows that the MEK and the NCRI had been in contact with von Rohr in the run-up to the article’s publication and were aware of the allegations about to be levied against them.

In a gesture of transparency, the MEK invited Der Spiegel to visit the group’s residence in Albania. The group frequently invites politicians and dignitaries to the compound, most recently former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson and former Bundestag President Rita Sussmuth both visited the compound. However, Der Spiegel did not reply to the group’s invitation. The magazine clearly had no inclination of getting to the truth of the matter and instead preferred to accept the regime’s lies at face value.

The regime sent a letter instead. The NCRI’s statement claims that Mathieu von Rohr sent a letter with ten questions for the MEK and gave a deadline of one week for the group to answer said questions.

The NCRI’s statement reports that the questions included several regime-originated mistruths and propaganda statements. For example, the first question asked if MEK members were not permitted to use cell phones, clocks, and calendars, an often-touted regime lie.

The NCRI and MEK replied to the ten questions in a 6,600-word reply just four days later. In this letter, they once again extended an invitation to Der Spiegel and implored them to visit the MEK compound. Given that this letter was sent on November 18, and the final article was not published until February 16, there was ample time for Der Spiegel to dispatch reporters to the compound to conduct journalistic due diligence and investigate the regime’s lies.

A Close Relationship

Although Der Spiegel did not publish the article on the intended date of November 24, it did share the article with the Iranian regime. On November 24, the Nejat Association, an offshoot of the regime’s MOIS published a Der Spiegel interview with former MEK member, Gholamreza Shekari. The interview was eventually included in the final Der Spiegel piece.

The fact that the Iranian regime was able to publish segments of the article several months before Der Spiegel published the piece, demonstrates close ties and deep cooperation between the German magazine and the Iranian regime.

Following the publication of the interview, in which Gholamreza, a close regime affiliate, repeated the regime’s usual lies, the NCRI reached out to Der Spiegel once more. The letter read, “what the Iranian people will not forget and will not forgive are the war crimes and the crimes committed by this regime against humanity.” The letter reiterated that these crimes had gone unnoticed and unreported by Der Spiegel.

“The appeasement of the mullahs at the expense of the Iranian people and their suffering and the blood of hundreds of thousands of tortured and executed political prisoners are truly disgusting,” it added.

Finally, the letter concluded, “the regime may reiterate its vile defamation of the PMOI (MEK) with labels such as personality cult, domination, anti-democratic structure and sect as often as it wishes: this will not stop the fall of this regime, a process in which the PMOI (MEK) is at the forefront. The process that will lead to the demise of the mullahs has begun and is irreversible.”

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