Posts Tagged ‘Disinformation by MOIS’

Disinformation by MOIS,Free Iran rally,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mohammad Mohaddessin,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),PMOI

Mohadessin addressing Free Iran Rally in Brussels

Mohaddessin to EU: “Do Not Tie Your Destiny to this Regime”

Mohadessin addressing Free Iran Rally in Brussels

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Foreign Affairs Committee, addresses the Iranian opposition rally in Belgium-June 15, 2019

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), spoke to MEK supporters and members of the Iranian diaspora at June 15, 2019, Free Iran rally and march in Brussels. He was one of more than a dozen prominent dignitaries who delivered remarks in support of the Iranian Resistance on Saturday. Mohaddessin touched on a number of topics, which are summarized below:

The Final Days of the Iranian Regime

“Today, the inhuman mullah regime ruling Iran is in its final phase, and the Iranian people and their Resistance are determined to topple this regime and establish a popular and democratic government in our shackled country,” Mohaddessin began.

Mohaddessin then praised the MEK’s Resistance Units, saying that they are on the “front lines of our battle with the regime” and calling them “the organizers of the Iranian people’s uprising.”

End the Era of Appeasement

Mohaddessin then turned his attention to the recent attacks in the Persian Gulf.

“The Iranian regime is engulfed by the escalating outrage of the people. Fearing the end of the appeasement era, the regime tries to regain its stability by increasing oppression, attacking ships and launching missiles and drones. But these actions will only expedite its downfall,” he said.

.

“The recent attack on oil tankers while Khamenei met with the Japanese Prime Minister once again showed that negotiations and placating the regime will achieve nothing and will have opposite results,” Mohaddessin added.

 

Mohaddessin stressed that the “only solution is the overthrow of this regime; this is an absolute need for peace and security in the Middle East and across the world.”

“Let me remind the EU that the regime’s time is up. Do not tie your destiny to this regime. Put an end to appeasement. Do not fuel this regime’s terror and war machine,” he emphasized.

A Dead End for the Regime

FreeIran Rally Belgium-Supporters of the MEK-June 15, 2019

Thousands of supporters of the MEK attend Free Iran Rally, Brussels-June 15, 2019

Mohaddessin explained that the regime is in an unsustainable position.

“Every day the mullahs’ regime further sinks into the swamp of collapse; after 40 years of murder and crimes, it is now stuck in a dead-end,” he said.

 

“The regime doesn’t have the capacity to back down in its confrontation with the U.S., because if it does, the Iranian people, with the Resistance Units leading the way, will overthrow the regime. In addition, the regime has no power to confront the U.S. Therefore, this regime has to choose between ‘worse’ and ‘worst,’” he added.

Propaganda against the MEK

Mohaddessin concluded his speech by discussing the mullahs’ efforts to discredit the MEK through a demonization campaign.

“The regime sends forth its agents and mercenaries inside Iran to spread propaganda against the PMOI [MEK]. And it spends huge sums to hire well-known agents abroad to demonize the Iranian Resistance. The goal is to say that Iran has no alternative and the world must cope with the mullahs’ regime,” he said.

“The antidote to the demonization campaign is in your hands. Your active presence will prove to the world that the choice of the Iranian people is the PMOI [MEK] and the NCRI,” he concluded.

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Dagens Næringsliv,Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,Eskil Engda,Iran Terrorism,MEK,MEK Abania,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

Tulip square- Ashraf 3, Albania

The Regime Finds Another Willing Mouthpiece in Norway

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)

Several weeks ago, members of the Iranian resistance group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), noticed an individual acting strangely near their compound. The stranger was Eskil Engdal a “journalist” working for Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

The journalist was in Albania with Gjergji Thanasi, a regime-affiliate with ties to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). The pair were lurking around the residential settlement, taking photos of the entrance gate and ignoring signs stating that photo and video recording on the premises was prohibited. When approached by the Albanian security team, the pair refused to stop taking photos.

A History of Terror

To understand the inherent danger and suspicion in the pairs’ activities, we have to look to 2018. Over the course of the 18 months, the regime has aggressively hunted MEK members, planning terror attacks and assassinations against their ranks.

Last year, during the Persian New Year celebrations, the Albanian authorities thwarted a regime-sponsored terror attack on the MEK compound. Just a few months later, the regime again sought to carry out a terror attack against the MEK, this time in Paris at the group’s annual Grand Gathering.

Albanian President Expresses Support for Expulsion of Iranian Regime Diplomats

The Iranian regime has pursued and attacked the MEK at every turn. Its members have been the target of plots and assassinations in the US, and the EU.

Aiding and Abetting the Regime’s Terror Agenda

This suspicious behavior prompted the MEK’s legal team in Ashraf 3 (MEK’s residence in Albania) to write to the editor-in-chief of the paper. It read: “We would respectfully ask you not to allow your newspaper and journalist to become unwantedly tools of the Mullah’s regimes to enhance its objectives and prepare the grounds for assassinations of the Iranian refugees in Albania”.

Additionally, representatives from the MEK’s umbrella organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), penned a letter to the Norwegian Justice Minister on May 27th.

If the reporter had wanted to gain access to the compound and produce an impartial, unbiased story about the Iranian opposition group, why did Eskil Engdal not contact the organization? Why would he arrive in the country with an MOIS agent?

If he had contacted the MEK, he would have been able to gather source material that disproved the lies fed to him by MOIS agents. He would have been made aware of the relentless demonization campaigns against the MEK that the Iranian regime carries out each year. He would have been aware of the slaughter of MEK members that have taken place within Iran, including the summer of 1988 when the regime killed more than 30,000 MEK members across the country.

Even if he did not wish to reach out to the MEK, he could have spoken to impartial authorities in the UK or Europe. Instead, he spoke to known regime affiliates and lobbyists. He could have referred to the North Rhine Westfalen State office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany, which concluded in 2017: “These agents conduct espionage, disseminate false information, and recruit new spies. In the last four years, in particular, they have been spying on members of the Iranian opposition who have been transferred from Iraq to Europe as part of a humanitarian project.”

A Mouthpiece for Regime Lies

The fact that Eskil Engdal did none of these things suggests the work of a regime mouthpiece designed to spout the regime’s poisonous and violent ideology and promote its political objectives in the international media.

In publishing propaganda and lies, Eskil Engdal could become an active participant in the regime’s demonization campaign, paving the way for further terror attacks and legitimizing violence against MEK members.

The international media must learn that to publish the regime’s lies without scrutiny or due diligence is not only an affront to the principles of a free, independent media, but it emboldens the regime to continue to carry out terror attacks against an already persecuted Iranian opposition.

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Tulip square- Ashraf 3, Albania

NCRI Publishes Letter from MEK Legal Counsel to Dagens Næringsliv Newspaper

Tulip square- Ashraf 3, Albania

The entrance to Ashraf 3, MEK’s place of residence in Albania

On Friday, May 24th, the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) released a letter written by Behzad Saffari, legal advisor for the MEK in Albania, to Amund Djuve, the Editor-in-Chief of the Dagens Næringsliv newspaper on April 1, 2019.

The letter referred to an incident on March 27, 2019 in which a journalist from the newspaper, later identified as Eskil Engdal, accompanied by a regime Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) agent from the Iranian regime’s Embassy in Albania, Gjergji Thanasi, photographed the MEK compound in Albania. The compound, which houses MEK members who have been repeatedly targeted by terrorist attacks from the Iranian regime, explicitly prohibits photography at its entrances because of security concerns. The photographer and MOIS agent ignored the clearly posted signs and continued to aggressively take photographs even after they were asked to stop by Albanian security guards.

Continuous Terrorist Threats

 

The letter explained that the MEK has been subject to continuous terrorist threats by the Iranian regime, who see the opposition movement as an existential threat to their rule. In March 2018, Albanian authorities foiled a terrorist plot to bomb a Nowruz celebration at the MEK compound. An investigation resulted in the expulsion of two Iranian regime terrorists, the Iranian ambassador, and a high-ranking regime diplomat from Albania.

 

Saffari also referred to the foiled terrorist attack on the annual gathering of the MEK in June 2018 and the arrest of two MOIS agents in the United States in August 2018 for spying on MEK members.

Prior Espionage Activities

 

Saffari’s letter described Gjergji Thanasi’s prior espionage activities against MEK members in Albania, noting that he has posed as a journalist, chauffeur, and interpreter in order to get close to the MEK compound to film and collect information about security systems that have been put in place to protect residents from attack from regime terrorists.

 

Saffari questioned the newspaper journalist’s association with an Iranian regime agent, calling it “an increasing disturbing matter.” He also noted that the MEK had become aware that Engdal had met with MOIS agents claiming to be former members of the MEK who are on the payroll of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Albania.

False Claims against the MEK

Saffari contradicted false claims that the MEK compound is isolated and closed to outsiders, stating that since the group moved to Albania in 2018, “dozens of Albanian and International reporters and US and European personalities including Albanian Ministers have freely visited the compound.” He went on to add that “Albanian citizens in large and small groups come to the compound to visit their friends.”

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

Saffari included documentation regarding the false and inflammatory article published by Der Spiegel magazine about the MEK. In March 2019, a German court ordered the magazine to remove false allegations against the MEK or pay a fine of up to €250,000 or face a six month prison sentence if the fine was not paid.

Saffari concluded his letter by respectfully asking

Dagens Næringsliv and Eskil Engdal not to unknowingly become tools of the mullahs’ regime used to “enhance its objectives and prepare the grounds for assassinations of the Iranian refugees in Albania.”

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Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Der Spiegel to Pull Unsupported Claims Against the MEK

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

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

On Tuesday, March 26, the New York Times reported on the decision from a German court ordering German magazine Der Spiegel to pull passages of an article for unsupported allegations. Der Spiegel published a feature on the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) last month. In it, the magazine made brazenly false allegations that the group engages in activities that amount to torture.

In a statement, the group categorically denied the allegations. The MEK accused the publication of promoting the Iranian regime’s international objectives and deliberately participating in the mullahs’ disinformation campaign against the political opposition.

Published at NYT on March 26, 2019

Analyzing the Claims

In the piece, Der Spiegel accused the MEK of practicing massacres and torture at its compound in Albania. It also accused the group of holding members against their will.

Both are claims often repeated by the Iranian regime. The regime wants to sway international opinion against the political opposition. The MEK is a pro-democracy group that stands opposed to the mullahs’ brand of religious fascism. By painting MEK members as bloodthirsty savages, the regime attempts to legitimize its violent terror campaign and assassination attempts against the MEK membership both within Iran and abroad.

The MEK, upon hearing of the article’s impending publication and its contents, invited Der Spiegel’s journalists to visit its compound in Albania and witness the conditions there for themselves. They refused. Had they have taken the MEK up on its offer, they would have seen that they do not engage in the activities they stand accused of.

International court cases brought against the MEK by regime stooges for allegedly holding members against their will have been dismissed. This information is widely available online. Even a rudimentary observance of basic journalistic fact-checking principles would have revealed many of the allegations laid out in the article to be categorically false. But Der Spiegel published it anyway.

Deep Ties with the Iranian Regime

There were also indications that the magazine conspired with the Iranian regime in the publication of the hit piece against the Iranian opposition group. Before the article was published, sections appeared on an Iranian state-affiliated website.

A journalist working on the piece was also hosted in Iran and granted access to the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Justice

A court in Hamburg ordered Der Spiegel to remove the unsupported allegations from its website. The magazine will have to pay a 250,000 euro fine (US$282,000) if it fails to adhere to journalistic standards, and repeats the claims on any of its publications.

The MEK celebrated the ruling. The group released a statement accusing the magazine of “spreading a wealth of lies and false allegations.”

In the age of fake news and rampant disinformation online, the ruling represents a victory for truth and justice. Western media outlets must be held accountable for journalistic standards. Their reporting can have very dangerous implications for political groups like the MEK, who are a constant target of Iranian state-sponsored violence and terrorism. The media must remain a guardian of truth, not a political mouthpiece. Der Spiegel has demonstrated that its lack of commitment to truth, instead choosing to become a political tool to a violent and repressive foreign dictatorship.

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Hamburg court rules against misinformation targeting the MEK

A Hamburg Court Rules Against Der Spiegel in Blow to Regime’s Misinformation Campaign

Hamburg court rules against misinformation targeting the MEK

The court in Hamburg rules against the spread of false information against MEK, Iran’s main opposition.

A Hamburg court struck a blow to the Iranian regime’s misinformation and demonization campaign against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). On Thursday, March 21, a Hamburg court ruled that German Magazine Der Spiegel acted illegally by spreading false accusations against the MEK. It determined that the magazine had failed to adhere to the basic principles of journalism and adequately fact check information it received from the clerical regime in Iran.

Vile Lies and Falsehoods

In an article published in the magazine on February 19, Der Spiegel printed a host of lies and falsehoods about the Iranian pro-democracy organization. In particular, it repeated regime lies that accuse the MEK of engaging in brutal violence and torture, which were proved to be incorrect, the court order says.

The MEK pointed out that Der Spiegel’s “journalist” who researched the piece, worked closely with the Iranian regime and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The magazine also ignored the MEK’s requests to visit its compound in Albania, Camp Ashraf, the alleged site of torture and violence. Der Spiegel’s unwillingness to visit the MEK’s site at the invitation of the group demonstrated a lack of interest in uncovering the truth and reality of the situation in Albania. It showed the magazine preferred to spout fabrications at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Part of the article was even published before its release on a website controlled by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). This illustrates the deep cooperation between Der Spiegel and the clerical regime.

Legal Ramifications

Following the article’s publication, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella organization which includes the MEK, applied for an injunction in the Hamburg courts against the magazine.

The court ruled that Der Spiegel is now prohibited from publishing allegations of torture against the MEK at its settlement in Albania. The court decided that the NCRI had “substantiated the false nature” of the allegations. It also prevented the magazine from publishing any further allegations that accuse the group of practicing “cutting throats with knives, breaking hands, piercing eyes with fingers” and, “tearing corners of the mouth.”

The court determined that Der Spiegel’s investigation methods did not meet national journalistic standards, making the information unlawfully reported.

The court threatened Der Spiegel with a €250,000 fine. In the event that the magazine cannot, or will not, pay the fine, the court invoked a custodial sentence of up to six months.

Der Spiegel removed the illegal statements from its article online.

Emboldening the Iranian Regime

The original article repeated regime mistruths and lies. It was welcomed by the regime’s state-run media. The Mehr and Fars news agencies both ran pieces echoing Der Spiegel’s claims to much fanfare and many other Iranian media outlets published translations of the article.

In a statement from the NCRI, its representative office in Germany explained the danger of allowing regime misinformation to propagate. “By spreading false information, the regime justifies its domestic massacres of the PMOI/MEK and prepares the ground for its terrorist operations on European and foreign soil,”. Referring to the reasons for a rise in the misinformation campaigns against the MEK, the statement says:

“After the safe and organized relocation of the PMOI/MEK from Iraq to abroad, and after popular uprisings in Iran in January 2018 and the end of US appeasement of this regime, the Iranian regime has resorted to intense terrorism and disinformation campaigns against the PMOI/MEK and Iranian Resistance, believing this to be a remedy to its existential crisis. By spreading false information, the regime justifies its domestic massacres of the PMOI/MEK and prepares the ground for its terrorist operations on European and foreign soil. Additionally, it messages a lie to Western circles that there is no alternative to this regime and that if it were overthrown, conditions in Iran would worsen.”

As a result, the ruling in Hamburg must be viewed as a victory. Not just for the MEK, but for truth, democracy, and stability both in Iran and in the West. The regime must not be permitted to hijack Western media outlets to advance its own objectives and undermine regional security. It is our collective responsibility to challenge regime lies, wherever they occur.

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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 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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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.

Staff Writer

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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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