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March for regime change in Iran by Iranians, the second in series of demonstrations by supporters of MEK on June 21, 2019

Regime’s Fear of MEK Leads to Escalation of Cyber-Terrorism Campaign by MOIS

 

March for regime change in Iran by Iranians, the second in series of demonstrations by supporters of MEK on June 21, 2019

Free Iran rally in Washington D.C. held on June 21, 2019- Over 10,000 supporters of MEK rallied in the streets of Washington D.C. and ended up their rally in front of the White House.
The rally was in solidarity with the Iranian people’s uprising and to voice the Iranian people’s quest for regime change by Iranians in Iran.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Committee on Security and Counterterrorism released a new report on Thursday detailing the cyber campaign against the MEK by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Security and Intelligence (MOIS).

According to the report, the regime is reeling from the effects of this summer’s Free Iran rallies in numerous world capitals and the five-day conference held at Ashraf-3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, which was attended by more than 350 prominent political figures and human rights activists from 47 countries. These events, combined with increasing resistance activity within Iran and tightening sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry and regime leaders and entities, have led the clerical dictatorship to the brink of collapse.

Influence at Home and Abroad

Regime leaders are now openly voicing their concerns about the MEK’s power and influence both inside Iran and abroad. On August 8th, the Kayhan daily newspaper wrote that the MEK “has penetrated deeply into our homes and its impact is being felt.”

 

In a July 29th interview on state-run television, IRGC Brigadier General Assadollah Nasseh said: “We must know that everything that takes place in the world against us is the result of their [MEK’s] lobbying effort somewhere or a price that they have paid… On the issue of missiles, we witness that it was based on the information that they provided to the Americans. Regarding human rights, they makeup dossiers and files and provide them to Europeans and they put pressure on us in this way. They use every leverage against us.”

Influence on Social Media

Regime officials have also expressed alarm at the MEK’s presence on social media.

In a July 28th interview with the state-run ISNA, IRGC Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, who heads the regime’s civil defense forces, said: “Their [MEK] fingerprint is on many of the controversies that we face. Many of the news cycles in cyberspace that are orientated against the state and the revolution are their psychological warfare [read: expose our crimes] against us… [MEK] incite people to rise up… During last year’s events,… They try to influence public opinion and perception in society negatively, and to instill despair, disappointment and a sense of failure of the Islamic Republic.”

On August 2nd, Brigadier General Abolghassem Forootan told the state-run Mizan news agency, “This time they [MEK] want to harm the values of our nation and system through the use of cyberspace and soft power.”

The NCRI report cites the growing alarm by the Iranian regime as a reason for its escalating cyber campaign against the MEK. According to the report, “the MOIS, IRGC, and Qods Force have embarked on a futile campaign to counter the growing resistance to the regime by using their propaganda and cyberwarfare machine.”

Cyber attacks against the MEK

The NCRI report lists a number of specific examples of online attacks against the MEK and the Iranian Resistance by the regime.

 

  1. The English language website Iran Front Page (IFP) claimed that it had access to a “private meeting of the MEK in Albania.” As evidence for this false claim, the site posted a two-minute clip featuring the voice of Mr. Mehdi Abrishamchi reviewing the policies of past US administrations in appeasing the clerical regime. The clip in question was taken from a public meeting with Iranians after the annual NCRI gathering in Paris on July 1, 2017. The two-minute segment was not private, did not pertain to Albania, was not new, and was taken out of context. The website has been registered to an owner in Tehran since 2014.
  2. The MOIS claimed to have access to a second audio clip of Mr. Abrishamchi in another internal meeting in Albania, which they published on a website called Mozahemin.org [Nuisances]. The audio clip featured a photograph of Mr. Abrishamchi in a public meeting in Paris over the voice of a woman saying, “In 2013 a message announced that the regime would be overthrown in six months…” Neither the photo or the voice (which has not been verified) have any connection to Albania. The website is openly owned by and registered to the MOIS.
  3. The state-run Khorasan daily ran an article on June 3, 2019, acknowledging the regime’s inability to counter the MEK within Iran. The article published transcripts from an audio recording of “a secret internal meeting of the MEK in January 2018 in which Mehdi Abrishamchi, second in command of the group, explicitly revealing the terrorists’ role [dragetory for MEK] in the riots of December 2017.” The article quotes Mehdi Abrishamchi stressing the importance of activating 1,000 Ashraf bases, or resistance units, to inflame the uprisings taking place in cities across Iran. The regime has spent 40 years publicly denying that the MEK is an existential threat while spending millions to try to eliminate the group. The days of denying the threat of the MEK are over.

    Time to Support MEK, in Its Quest for Freedom

  4. On August 8, the Daily Beast wrote, “American intelligence officials are monitoring a social media disinformation campaign that attempted to falsely implicate the White House National Security Adviser in a global money laundering and drug trafficking operation. On Monday, a Twitter user claiming to be a high-ranking Canadian law enforcement official posted records supposedly showing a $350,000 wire transfer from a Canadian children’s apparel company to a Swiss bank account owned by National Security Adviser John Bolton’s daughter…   Twitter suspended the fake Belanger account and Toronto Police Service spokesman Alex Li confirmed to The Daily Beast that it was ‘a fraudulent’ persona. The real police official the account had impersonated has never had a Twitter account. A U.S. official familiar with the apparent disinformation campaign said intelligence community officials were aware of the effort. And Lee Foster, an information operations intelligence analyst at the cybersecurity firm FireEye, told The Daily Beast that the hoax’s techniques are ‘consistent with what we’ve seen with previous pro-Iranian influence operations.’ Bolton is among the Trump administration’s most aggressive critics of the Iranian regime. The U.S. official, while not commenting on this week’s disinformation campaign specifically, said Bolton has been the target of state-sponsored influence operations designed to weaken his standing in the administration.  Though Twitter quickly removed the tweet on Monday and suspended the account, it had already been picked up and covered by a handful of websites with editorial positions sympathetic to the Iranian government. News outlets such as Iran Front Page blared ‘Belanger’s’ claims that a Canadian business had supposedly transferred the funds at issue had been caught smuggling ‘a significant amount of opium” and “has close ties with the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group.’”
  5. In July, the MOIS began using fake email accounts to send messages to supporters of the Iranian Resistance. The accounts are either similar to emails of well-known Resistance figures, or they carry the names of those people. The messages are used to disseminate false and misleading information about the Resistance.
  6. In July, the regime’s cyber army used a fake telegram account, @SetareganZamini, to contact friends of the Iranian Resistance in order to request financial support for resistance units in Iran.
  7. In July, the regime’s cyber army used the name and email of MEK supporter Zahra Asl Rousta (Zahra.aslerousta@gmail.com) to send a message with a pdf attachment containing a series of questions. The pdf contained a virus that would give the hackers access to recipients stored data if opened.
  8. In April and May, a woman who introduced herself as Arezoo, an official with the MEK, contacted a number of MEK supporters, claiming that she would be busy with demonstrations and was going to be replaced by a person named Homa. Homa was an MOIS agent who repeatedly asked for information about the Resistance. For example, she wrote, “I want to know whether you know anyone in Iran who you can introduce and with whom I can speak? Let us know about anyone, anywhere, who you think could be in touch with us or give us any news or carry out even a small task. I would be very grateful.”
  9. In April, the regime sent a pdf file through the email account ashraf3.albani@gmail.com with the title “a visual report on the residents of Ashraf in Albania.” The file contained a virus.
  10. In April, a regime cyber agent used a fake email account bearing the name of a Resistance official to send messages to a number of Resistance members claiming that his/her emails were hacked. One of these messages read, “Hi, I would like to inform you that email of——has been hacked. If he/she sends you an email, don’t click on it because it is a virus and will infect your computer and cellphone. Please let all friends know.” Shortly thereafter, the agent sent messages asking recipients to contact a different email and requesting personal information, such as phone numbers, saying that it had been lost.
  11. In April, a regime cyber agent sent a series of false reports about “infiltrators” to the group. He copied a text which had previously been sent to MEK supporters and added, “The collection of these issues in recent days speaks to the presence of infiltrators among the ranks of PMOI supporters and the PMOI itself, which only adds to the need for awareness about those around us and about drawing lines and being vigilant.” He also included a number of false reports about regime agents posing as MEK members asking for donations. The MEK does not collect donations in this manner.
  12. A man received a Telegram message from his brother in Iran asking him to travel abroad to visit. After following up on the message, the man discovered that his brother had been arrested and that the regime had sent the messages from his brother’s account in order to lure him to Iran.
  13. A regime cyber agent used the email account h_meli896@gmail.com, which is similar to Hambastegi Meli’s email, to spread disinformation about the MEK and the Iranian Resistance. Meli’s actual email address is hmeli896@gmail.com.
  14. MOIS agents used two accounts, toufan2019@gmail.com, and emzamahfoz@gmail.com to email MEK supporters and Iranians, posing as dissidents. The emails would start with a series of questions and then progress to anti-MEK propaganda.
  15. Regime cyber agents used a Skype account that was similar to one that was used by a member of the Resistance to obtain information from MEK supporters.
  16. The MOIS sent threatening messages to MEK members on Telegram. One such message by “didban fazaye majazi” reads, “Dear telegram user, you have joined the telegram group nationwide uprising, which belongs to the PMOI. So far your membership appears to be out of ignorance. If you continue to be a member, it would be perceived as deliberate membership and would have legal repercussions for you.”
  17. Over the past few months, regime intelligence agents have used the telephone number 3-393-750-2075 to call Iranian Resistance supporters in France in order to steal their Facebook and email account information.
  18. An MOIS agent recently attempted to procure an interview with a MEK supporter by using an email account similar to the one used by a U.S. journalist. The agent copied the journalist’s picture and information and sent a dangerous virus to the MEK’s supporter’s computer in an attempt to hack his computer. The attempt was unsuccessful on all counts.

Avoid Unknown Contacts and Emails

The NCRI’s Committee on Security and Counterterrorism calls on all supporters and friends to expose the regime’s cyber campaigns. It further urges all supporters to be cautious in responding to emails or social media contacts, including Telegram, WhatsApp, and Skype. Do not respond to an unknown or suspicious email or social media requests, and report suspicious cases to NCRI representative offices or PMOI chapters in different countries.

Staff writer

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120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

Day Two of Conference at Ashraf-3 Features Speeches from International Dignitaries

120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

120 Years of Struggle by Iran’s People for Freedom – MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

The MEK hosted the second day of an international conference on Friday at Ashraf-3, the home of the Iranian Resistance’s headquarters in Albania. The conference, entitled “120 years of struggle of the Iranian people for freedom,” was attended by thousands of MEK members and prominent politicians and dignitaries from around the world.

The conference’s focus was to condemn the Iranian regime for its suppressive and inhuman actions at home and its terrorist activities abroad and to call on the international community to end the policy of appeasement that allowed the regime to act without consequences.

Speakers at the conference also emphasized that the international community must recognize the MEK and NCRI as the democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

The following are some of the highlights from the speeches at Friday’s event:

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

From Mrs. Rajavi’s keynote address:

“One of the missing links in previous movements of the Iranian people was a coherent organization and an organized struggle, coupled with a determined and battle-hardened force prepared to make any sacrifice necessary. As a result, the people’s previous struggles did not succeed despite all their sacrifices,” she said in reference to the failure of past uprisings.

Mrs. Rajavi also spoke about the many crimes perpetrated against the MEK by the mullahs’ regime.

“Despite all the crimes and massacres he committed, Khomeini failed to extinguish the flames of freedom. Over the past 40 years, 120,000 persons have given their lives for the cause of freedom. That includes the 30,000 people who were massacred in 1988 for insisting on their political identity as a member of the Mojahedin. Another half-a-million people were arrested and viciously tortured,” she said.

“The mullahs continued their crimes against Ashraf and Liberty by setting 22 deadlines in 10 years, through a medical blockade, through psychological torture using over 300 loudspeakers blaring into Ashraf for two years, and through 29 ground and aerial attacks, using armored vehicles and missile launchers, including the commission of seven bloodbaths and massacres,” she continued.

Mrs. Rajavi concluded on a hopeful note, saying, “But today, we have reached a historic turning point. An Ashraf which has once again risen up, proud and powerful, shining bright at the zenith of this Resistance. This Ashraf has been replicated 1000 times in the form of resistance units all over Iran. And a volatile society which is no longer willing to put up with the mullahs, yearning to overthrow them.”

Suda

MEK member and resident at Ashraf-3

“I grew up in Sweden and was about to travel to France to study, but a video that I’d seen couldn’t leave my mind; a video of someone being stoned to death in Iran. I saw myself at a crossroads. I could live my own life and fulfil my dreams or I could put everything aside and fulfil my people’s dreams. That’s why I joined the MEK, to live for others. I thank all of you for being with us,” she said.

Ingrid Betancourt

Former Colombian Senator and Presidential candidate

“It’s just amazing what the MEK has done to transform this place since the last time I visited. I am proud to be your friend,” said Ms. Betancourt. “Your decision to confront the tyranny and pay the highest price. This sacrifice today is bearing its fruit. I see that here in Ashraf 3. It’s a miracle. I have been with you for a couple of years and I am amazed by your support and your political savviness. As a woman, I feel very proud and that in the world there is no organization like the MEK that gives women this power.”

“We are making history today,” she added. “Your victory is our victory and we will be very soon with you in Tehran!” Ms. Betancourt proclaimed.

Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor

“There is an alternative to the theocracy and dictatorship in Iran. It is a government-in-exile, and it gives us the confidence that if we help overthrow the Iranian regime, there will be prosperity and democracy in Iran,” said the former mayor.

Giuliani referred to the numerous terrorist plots against the MEK by the Iranian regime in 2018, saying, “They tried to bomb us in the US. They tried to bomb us here in Tirana a year and a half ago. They tried to bomb us in Paris a year ago. They’re the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and we let them sit in the UN and talk to them like they’re decent people.”

“I thank Madam Maryam Rajavi for letting me be part of this, and this is something that I am proud of and probably my children will be proud of…I wish to have this meeting in Tehran before I die,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani encouraged the MEK to continue their struggle for freedom. “You keep trying and you fail, you keep trying and you fail, and then the Berlin Wall comes down. It will happen eventually, but let’s make it happen now before another 100,000 deaths,” he said.

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Former U.S. Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate

“You in the NCRI have given us the opportunity to be true to our national principles. When I’m here I feel that I’m representing the spirit of my great friend, the late Senator John McCain, who was warned by the establishment to stay away from this organization, but he spent time learning about it. He came to Ashraf 3, believing in this organization and its cause,” said Lieberman.

“Ashraf 3 has become something magnificent. Coming here and seeing this magnificent community that you’ve built is miraculous. It teaches us lessons,” he continued.

Lieberman praised the Ashrafis for their perseverance, saying, “The citizens of Ashraf never gave up despite the atrocities they faced imposed by the Iranian regime.”

He also talked about the exhibition of the history of MEK members who have been killed and persecuted by the Iranian regime that he and other speakers viewed before the conference began: “This exhibition, despite the mourning, is inspiring. And the whole story of the Ashrafis is inspiring,” he said.

“With the kind of leadership that the MEK and Maryam Rajavi are giving and will give in Iran; with the support of people from around the world who are represented here and with the resistance of the Iranian people inside of Iran, we will have a meeting some day in Iran and come together and have a great party,” Lieberman concluded.

Michèle Alliot-Marie

MEP; former French Foreign, Defense, Justice and Interior Minister

Alliot-Marie referenced the MEK memorial, saying, “I have to say that I’m very moved. What a contrast between the dramatic, horrifying images that we saw a few minutes ago. To be in contact with men and women who have given their lives for such a cause. To see what you have been able to achieve. You wish to give so much to the Iranian people.”

“You have people who have been tortured yet you still pave the path for freedom. This visit to Ashraf 3 was very moving for us,” she continued.

“I have the privilege of being able to speak and think freely. Yet I also know that today this liberty is not available everywhere across the globe,” Alliot-Marie said.

“We are also obliged to all people who are being subjugated to dictators around the world, and in Iran. We are here today, Mrs. Rajavi, to tell you that you are not alone,” she said.

“We have to give the Iranian people courage and the help they need so they can get their future back,” Alliot-Marie concluded.

Matthew Offord

MP (United Kingdom)

“You are the proof of a proud brave nation that will never succumb to the atrocities of the regime,” Offord said, addressing the MEK members at the conference.

“We have always argued that decoupling the regime’s human rights violations from the nuclear deal was a mistake,” he said.

“We have been proven right that there is no moderate faction inside the Iranian regime.” he added.

“There are two issues that we continue to raise in our debates,” Offord said:

  1. “We need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its atrocities in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.”
  2. “The U.K. government needs to blacklist the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and all its subsidiary as a terrorist organization.”

“This measure will signal to the Iranian people that they are not forgotten and we stand with them,” he emphasized.

Offord added, “We want to recognize the right of the Iranian people and the resistance led by Madame Maryam Rajavi to establish a democratic and free republic in Iran.”

“Iran’s current regime is not just a threat to the Iranian people but to the peace around the world,” he concluded.

General James Conway

Former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

“I participated in a policy panel in Ashraf 3 and we were invited to dinner with the ladies of Ashraf 3. And some of them shared with me their stories of sacrifice and suffering. What I saw last night in terms of the ability to endure loss and yet move on was the sense of unit cohesion and dedication to each other that was the same as you see in the military. The sense of mission and dedication to accomplish it, said General Conway.

“I’m absolutely confident that with those ladies, you will make your country free someday,” he added.

Ms. Mojgan Parsaie

Former MEK Secretary General

“The story of the supporters of Ashraf who helped rescue the MEK members is the story of honorable people,” said Ms. Parsaie.

“Time has shown that you stand on the right side of history. The future will show more appreciation,” she added.

“Mayor Giuliani was correct that the solution to Iran is not appeasement but regime change. Throughout history there are always tyrants and for a period they seem invincible. However, they all fall at the end. Always.” Ms. Parsaie concluded.

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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.

Staff writer

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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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Ambassador Adam Ereli

Former US Ambassador of Bahrain Debunks Hit Piece Against the MEK

Ambassador Adam Ereli

Amb. Adam Ereli, the former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, speaking at the panel of experts titled “the current policy of the U.S. and Europe toward the Iranian regime and policy recommendations to support the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran” organized by the Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies (FEMO)-June 2018, Paris

On March 28, 2019, The National Interest published an op-ed by Michael Rubin. The piece, entitled ‘The Mojahedin e-Khalk Aren’t America’s Friends’ was a hit piece against the largest Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).

Rubin claimed that the MEK had limited support inside Iran, even among those that do not agree with the methods of the clerical regime and are in favor of regime change.

The piece was so inaccurate in its portrayal of the pro-democracy group that it inspired Joseph Adam Ereli, the former US Ambassador to Bahrain and Deputy State Department Spokesman under President George W. Bush, to write an op-ed of his own.

In the op-ed, also published on The National Interest, Ereli accuses Rubin of missing a crucial point;

“the reason this Iranian opposition group has survived for so long is precisely because it has support inside Iran.”

Considering the Evidence

Ereli implores his readers to consider the evidence instead of taking Rubin’s piece at face value. In 1988, the Iranian regime Supreme Leader Khomeini considered the MEK such a threat to the regime’s future in power, he had 30,000 political prisoners rounded up and killed, the majority of which were MEK activists.

If, as Rubin claims, the MEK was “unable to win any support from Iranians inside Iran”, why would the Iranian leader carry out such a widespread, and potentially damaging, crackdown on the opposition group, write Amb. Ereli?

There are also signs within Iran today that the MEK enjoys support from the Iranian population. Since 2017, protests have swept across Iran’s towns and cities. All segments of Iranian society have rallied together and taken to the streets in protest at the regime’s repressive policies, routine human rights abuses and gross economic mismanagement.

“Since December 2017, the government of Iran has been facing unprecedented waves of protests throughout the country. Iranians from all classes, social backgrounds, age demographics from every one of the country’s thirty-one provinces have been engaged in demonstrations against clerical rule. Students, merchants, truck drivers, young and old, educated and illiterate have called for an end to the Iranian revolution, which has brought them little beyond isolation, privation and corruption.

Video evidence from inside Iran shows that many of these protestors are MEK supporters. They hang pictures of Maryam Rajavi, the head of the MEK’s parent organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) from highway overpasses. They parade with signs condemning the regime and endorsing the MEK in front of mosques and major squares in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz and even Qom, the seat of mullahs’ power. These people are putting their lives on the line. They know that if caught, they and their family members will be arrested, tortured and—some at least—probably executed. Yet despite the risk, they persist. These are not the actions of paid shills.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani even acknowledged the MEK’s role in the protests. In January 2018, when the wave of domestic protests reached its peak, Rouhani phoned French President Emmanuel Macron and requested that he limit the MEK’s operations in France. The French President declined to act.

A Costly and Extensive Demonisation Campaign

To further demonstrate his point, Ereli reminds his readers that the clerical regime devotes vast sums of money and extensive resources to demonizing the MEK both at home and abroad.

“Iran’s state media has produced a total of nineteen movies, series and documentaries- some of them consisting of up to twenty-eight segments of thirty to forty-five minutes each- that demonize the MEK.”

Referring to Michael Rubin’s efforts in trying to promote the Monarchists as an alternative to the MEK, Ereli writes:

“He [Rubin] then marshals a series of anecdotes and assertions in romanticizing about the make-believe world in which Iranians once again become subjects of the Pahlavi monarchy. He says that one storekeeper asked: “Oh my shah, my shah, where is my shah?” It is unclear if he is trying to be funny or just disingenuous.

To my knowledge, the regime has not spent a dime on demonizing the elderly remnants of the monarchy, but it does pay journalists abroad to publish fake stories against the MEK. The head of a major Canadian think tank revealed that the Iranian regime embassy offered him up to $80,000 to refer to the MEK as a “cult” in his publications.”

Ereli concludes that “This unprecedented demonization campaign tells me that the regime views the MEK (and only the MEK) as an existential threat.”

The Spectre of Terror

Ereli also cites the string of failed regime terror plots against the MEK as further evidence that the regime views the MEK and its increasing popularity among young Iranians at home and abroad as a direct threat to its future in power.

In 2018, the regime planned terror attacks against MEK members in France, Albania, and the United States. In response to these plots on European and US soil, France, Belgium, Germany, and Albania expelled diplomats from Iranian embassies in their countries.

Ereli concludes,

“suffice to say, that the MEK’s base of support does not lie in Washington, Paris or any other capital. It lies in the hearts and minds of the legions of Iranians who have and continue to be the target of the murderous policies of a ruthless and unrepentant Iranian regime.”

 

Staff writer

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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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Spiegel hit piece against MEK

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

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

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

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

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

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

Shoddy Journalism

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

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

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

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

Laying the Groundwork for a New Massacre

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

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

Iranian Incentives Inspire Der Spiegel Writers

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

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

Why Der Spiegel is Little More than a Regime Mouthpiece

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

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

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