Posts Tagged ‘Iran Diplomat Terrorist’

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran Protests,Iran Terrorism,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Former Vice-President of European Parliament Urges the West to Take Stronger Action Against the Iranian Regime

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras

Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament and the president of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, wrote an op-ed for Eurasia Review on the need for international sanctions against Iran.

Vidal-Quadras outlined the European Union’s recent decision to impose sanctions against the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) after it plotted an assassination attempt against an Iranian dissident living in Copenhagen.

He also charted the string of terror plots that have emerged from the MOIS over the last 12 months, including a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb at an event in Paris, and the arrest of two Iranian operatives that planned to attack a compound in Albania where 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) live.

Following the attempted terror attacks, France expelled several diplomats and froze MOIS assets. An Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind behind the foiled plot, Assadollah Assadi, is awaiting prosecution in Belgium.

The French Government Seizes Iranian Assets Over This Summer’s Foiled Terror Attack

The resulting investigation launched by French authorities found that senior members of the Iranian leadership were behind the Paris plot. It found that the Iranian regime’s diplomatic infrastructure, including European embassies and consulate buildings, had been involved in the planning process and harbored terrorists who would carry out the attacks.

Vidal-Quadras quotes a Belgian judiciary official who told reporters,

“nearly all Iranian diplomats in Europe are in fact members of the Iranian secret service.”

A Move Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition

Following the EU’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be imposing sanctions against the MOIS, “the NCRI quickly released a statement calling for further action,” Vidal-Quadras writes.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI, is the umbrella group of the MEK and, along with its leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, is one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian regime.

Its statement in response to the EU sanctions read,

“it is time for the EU to adopt a firm policy towards the mullah’s regime by expelling all of its mercenaries and agents from Europe.”

https://twitter.com/amsafavi/status/1085116260680126464

The First Step Towards Meaningful Action

Vidal-Quadras echoed the words of the MEK and the Iranian opposition. He called the sanctions, “a positive sign,” and, “a symbol of an ongoing trend toward greater recognition of the Iranian threat.”

However, Vidal-Quadras acknowledged that “that trend is still proceeding at too slow a pace. Meanwhile, the danger is growing much more quickly.” He cited the presence of further terrorist plots targeting Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany that were disrupted in 2018. He said, “Europe cannot count on its luck holding out over the long term, especially if lawmakers fail to take measures that will truly disrupt the regime’s terrorist infrastructure.”

The terror attacks have been targeted against the MEK and the Iranian resistance movement. As domestic protests increase in volume and intensity, the Iranian regime is lashing out at the MEK abroad. As a result, Vidal-Quadras says,

“the clerical regime is desperate to undermine any and all networks of support for domestic activism.”

“Under these circumstances,” Vidal-Quadras continued, “Iranian expatriate communities in every corner of the world are potential targets, and their host countries are in severe danger of suffering collateral damage alongside the dire insult of having their autonomy violated by terrorists dispatched by the Iranian government.”

It is in this context that Vidal-Quadras calls for “the expulsion of Iranian diplomats, the implementation of stronger sanctions, and other such firm policies.” He argues, these measures, “will not only help defend the Western world against Iran-backed terrorism, but it will also help the Iranian people to even more strongly assert their demands for civic freedoms and democratic governance.”

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Claas Relotius, Spiegel's recently sacked writer

The Western Media Is in the Midst of an Integrity Crisis

Claas Relotius, Spiegel's recently sacked writer

Claas Relotius, an editor of Der Spiegel Magazine in Germany that had been providing false and fabricated news in his articles in the Spiegel

In what has been called the “biggest fraud scandal in journalism since the Hitler diaries”, Claas Relotius, an editor of Der Spiegel Magazine in Germany, has been stripped of his journalism awards by CNN and other outlets.

During his seven-year career at Der Spiegel, Relotius published lies in his stories, often not bothering to visit and interview the places and subjects he wrote about. His features were at times, pure fabrication, and the case has rocked European journalism to its foundations.

A Systematic Campaign of Lies

Responding to this scandal, the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) published its own statement. While it unequivocally and forcefully condemned Relotius’ behavior, it posed the striking question: how does his conduct differ from other deliberate international misinformation campaigns?

Relotius pedaled falsehoods and invented feature stories, but he is far from the only international journalist doing so at this moment. In recent months and years, The Guardian, The Independent, Channel 4 News, and Al Jazeera have also published pieces based on information and sources from within the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), which is viciously hostile to opposition groups like the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Each article has spouted the same falsehoods and lies that originated through the Iranian propaganda and state-run media networks. These “journalists”, like Relotius, publish this information as though it is fact, without fact-checking or investigating the merit of their sources.

Former Vice-President of the European Parliament: The Guardian has Stabbed the Free Press in the Back

Most recently, Arron Reza Merat published a hit piece against the MEK in the British newspaper, The Guardian. He repeated regime accusations of murder and kidnap, often levied at the group, all of which have been extensively disproved in the public sphere.

The Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers Issue a Statement on the Guardian’s MEK Hit Piece

Merat’s sources were MOIS affiliates who introduced themselves as former MEK members.

In Contrast to the International Community

One sign that Merat’s piece failed to paint an accurate picture of the situation in Albania is that a month after the piece was published, the Albanian government expelled the Iranian diplomats working out of the regime’s embassy in Tirana for conspiring against the MEK.

Following their expulsion, US president Donal Trump expressed his gratitude to the Albanian government for its “steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe”.

Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration

Given the increasing pressure the clerical regime faces in Iran through MEK-organised protests and resistance group activities, the regime is particularly eager to find international journalists willing to publish hit pieces against the opposition group.

The ISJ statement, penned by Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, concluded that “it’s time to break the silence vis-à-vis the Iranian regime’s malign influence in the Western press”. He added, “the media outlets responsible for disseminating the Iran articles based on distorted facts and dishonest sources seem unwilling to do so. Shame on them.”

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BCFIF conference in support of Iran Freedom

British MPs Issue Letter Supporting Expulsion of Iranian Regime Diplomats from Albania

BCFIF conference in support of Iran Freedom

The British Committee For Iran Freedom (BCFIF), consist of dignitaries and Parliamentarians in UK, that support a free and democratic Iran during a conference on the occasion of the Human Rights Day in London-December 10, 2018

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom recently added its name to the list of those supporting the decision by the Albanian government to expel two Iranian diplomats from its borders.

The group of MPs released a letter applauding the unprecedented move to expel the Iranian regime’s ambassador to Albania and another regime diplomat and further calling upon the British government to “publicly extend support to the Government of Albania and to work with other EU member states to thoroughly investigate and expose the danger of Iran’s diplomatic missions supporting and engaging in terrorism in Europe, in particular against Iranian dissidents and pro-democracy activists. Those found involved in such act of state-sponsored terrorism by the regime in Iran must be prosecuted and expelled from European territories.”

Threat to National Security

In December, the Albanian government announced that they had expelled Iranian regime Ambassador

Gholamhossein Mohammadnia and another Iranian diplomat because of their “involvement in activities that harm the country’s security” and “violating their diplomatic status.”

Reaction from U.S. Officials

U.S. officials were quick to support the measure by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is a longtime supporter of the MEK, issued the first public words of support for the expulsion of the regime’s diplomats. He tweeted: “Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated. We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.”

Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration

His tweet was soon followed by another message of support by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who tweeted: “European nations have thwarted three Iranian plots this year alone. The world must stand together to sanction Iran’s regime until it changes its destructive behavior.”

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom’s Statement

The British MP’s statement detailed the numerous attempted terrorist attacks by the regime and its operatives against the MEK and the Iranian Opposition that have been thwarted over the past year. Since March 2018, regime agents have been arrested for espionage or attempted terrorism in Albania, Belgium, the United States, and Norway.

Iranian Diplomat-Terrorist and Accomplices Arraigned in Belgian Court on Terrorism Charges

According to the statement: “The surge of terrorist activities and espionage by Iran’s regime against dissidents and the NCRI in 2018 comes amidst growing popular dissent and anti-regime protests in Iran, which senior Iranian officials blame on the opposition movement, the NCRI, and the PMOI.”

The statement goes on: “These foiled plots show that the Iranian government has taken a decision to use its embassies and diplomats to plan and carry out terrorist activities and espionage on European soil, especially against those who oppose the theocratic regime, in clear breach of international law.”

The British MPs conclude: “The Albanian decision to expel Iranian diplomats sends the right message to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, that European countries will not accept such unacceptable and illegal behavior by the regime”.

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German delegation visits Ashraf3- MEK's residence in Albania

Martin Patzelt Praises Albania and Urges EU Leaders to End Policy of Appeasement

German delegation visits Ashraf3- MEK's residence in Albania

The German delegation consist of present and former members of the Germany’s Bundestag (Parliament) visit Ashraf3, the residence of Iran’s principal opposition, the MEK-October 2018

Martin Patzelt, a member of the German Bundestag for the Christian Democratic Union Party, wrote an op-ed piece in Online Focus. The politician praised the Albanian government for their role in the fight against the Iranian regime and called on Europe to do more to oppose Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism.

He began by describing the important role Albania has played in welcoming persecuted communities. They housed Jews persecuted by the Nazis, and today, the country hosts the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), an Iranian pro-democracy group living in exile.

Patzelt praised Albania for its “contribution to peace and humanity”, remarking that “after decades of dictatorship, the Albanian people know… the value of freedom”.

However, Patzelt lamented, the European Union has not shared Albania’s enthusiasm for upholding Iranian human rights and protecting democracy.

Intensified Terror Activities

Following Albania’s admission of the MEK, the Iranian regime intensified its terror activities on Albanian soil. The Iranian embassy in the Albanian capital of Tirana nearly doubled its personnel numbers and devoted a section of the embassies activities to planning attacks against the MEK and its members.

Albania Expels Iranian Regime Ambassador and His Deputy For Terrorism

But the MEK was not deterred and channeled its efforts into the construction of a compound outside the capital. In just twelve months, a compound complete with dormitories, dentists, meeting rooms, a sports center, stores, and hairdressers has been constructed. The MEK and its members live in the compound in relative safety behind its walls.

However, the Iranian regime has attempted to violate this haven. In March, two regime agents were arrested in connection with a plot to bomb the MEK compound during the Persian New Year celebrations.

In response to this attempted terror attack on Albanian soil, the Albanian government expelled the regime ambassador to Iran, as well as other high-profile diplomats in a stern message of defiance to the Iranian regime.

A Muted EU Response

Despite Albania’s strong stance, few other European governments are willing to follow suit. Many would prefer to maintain a policy of appeasement to the Iranian regime. Patzelt lamented, “this is all the more inconceivable since just this year, in France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark assassination plans or dangerous intelligence activities were conducted by the Iranian regime”.

Patzelt asserts that the regime’s surge in terror activities is due to the mounting domestic pressure it is facing at home. 2018 has seen a wave of protests break out across Iran, affecting many of its key sectors including logistics, education, and manufacturing.

Patzelt concludes that “Iranian expansionist policy” and its “chaos in the Middle East and unbridled expansion of fundamentalist ideas and ideologies” should be countered wherever it occurs.

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

“This includes the support of people who risked their lives for freedom” who “now need to be protected themselves”. The heads of state in Europe should adopt a tougher stance against the Iranian regime, not just to protect dissidents and Iranian human rights, but to protect their own national security interests from Iranian terrorism.

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Ilir Meta supports the expulsion of Iranian regime's diplomats for terrorism involvement.

Albanian President Expresses Support for Expulsion of Iranian Regime Diplomats

Ilir Meta supports the expulsion of Iranian regime's diplomats for terrorism involvement.

Ilir Meta, the President of Albania, expressed his support for the expulsion of the Iranian regime’s diplomats.

On Saturday, December 23rd, Albanian President Ilir Meta stated his support for the recent expulsion of Iranian regime diplomats from his country. Meta said that the regime’s ambassador and the head of Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security branch in Albania’s activities posed a threat to national security and that their expulsion was necessary.

Albanian Interior Minister Sandër Lleshaj also spoke about the expulsion of the regime diplomats in an interview on the same day.

He said, “The Iranian regime is recognized as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

He added, “The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has been threatened in other countries. This is a method used by the Iranian regime’s security agents under the cover of diplomats. We don’t consider the PMOI/MEK as a threat to Albania’s security. This is the position of the Albanian government, police and security officials. Our viewpoint about the PMOI/MEK is without any bias or prejudice. They are friends that have been welcomed to reside in Albania and this has nothing to do with their political activities.”

Support from Opposition

According to Albania Daily News, Lulzim Basha, Albanian Democratic Party leader and head of the opposition, also expressed support for the expulsion of the Iranian regime diplomats, citing national security concerns.

“On behalf of the Democratic Party and the Albanian opposition, I express my support for the government’s decision to announce Iranian diplomats as unwanted elements and back measures to see to their expulsion,” he said. “They carried out activities in violation of their ‘diplomatic status’ and endangered our national security. The Democratic Party considers governmental national security infrastructures, ongoing commitments and honest cooperation with our allies as the only solution to prevent and neutralize such measures on the soil of the Republic of Albania.”

On Wednesday, December 19th, Albania’s Foreign Ministry announced that it had expelled Iran’s ambassador to Albania and an unnamed diplomat for “damaging its national security.”

Support from United States

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has been a longtime supporter of the MEK, was the first public figure to express support for Albania’s decision, tweeting on Wednesday afternoon:

“Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated. We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.”

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama thanking him for “standing up to Iran.” He wrote:

Albania’s Decision to Expel Regime Diplomats is Welcomed by the Trump Administration

“Thank you for your steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe. The leadership you have shown by expelling Iran’s Ambassador to your country exemplifies our joint efforts to show the Iranian government that its terrorist activities in Europe and around the world will have severe consequences.”

The Iranian regime has been directly implicated in a number of foiled terrorist plots against the MEK this year. Since the MEK relocated its residence to Albania, its members have been under constant threat by regime terrorists. In March 2018, a terrorist plot by regime agents against a MEK Nowruz celebration in Albania was foiled.

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The U.S. President's letter to Edi Ram, Albania's PM in support of expelling Iranian regime's diplomat terrorists

Albania Expels Iranian Regime Ambassador and His Deputy For Terrorism

The U.S. President's letter to Edi Ram, Albania's PM in support of expelling Iranian regime's diplomat terrorists

Donald Trump’s letter to Albania’s Prime Minister, supporting his firm decision against the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities in Albania.

On Wednesday, Albania announced that it had expelled two Iranian regime diplomats from the country, citing a threat to national security.

A spokesperson for Albania’s Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that the diplomats were expelled for “violating their diplomatic status.” According to the spokesperson, the decision was made after meeting with a number of other countries, including Israel.

John Bolton’s Response

The first public words of support for the expulsion of the regime’s diplomats from Albania came from John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor. Bolton, who is a longtime supporter of the MEK and the Iranian Resistance, tweeted in support of the decision on Wednesday afternoon, writing:

“Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated. We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.”

Mike Pompeo’s Response

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also tweeted in support of Albania’s decision to expel the Iranian diplomats. He wrote:

“I commend PM Edi Rama’s expulsion of two Iranian agents who plotted terrorist attacks in #Albania. European nations have thwarted three Iranian plots this year alone. The world must stand together to sanction #Iran’s regime until it changes its destructive behavior.”

Donald Trump’s Response

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, thanking him for “standing up to Iran.” He wrote:

“Thank you for your steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe. The leadership you have shown by expelling Iran’s Ambassador to your country exemplifies our joint efforts to show the Iranian government that its terrorist activities in Europe and around the world will have severe consequences.

“Albania has always been a great friend to the United States, and I look forward to growing our partnership as we confront the many important issues facing our two countries.”

This vocal support from the leaders of the United States marks a dramatic departure from the policy of appeasement toward the mullahs of past administrations. It sends a strong message to European leaders that the time has come to stand up to the Iranian regime and to stand beside the Iranian people.

Suspected Involvement in Foiled Terrorist Plot

On March 22nd of this year, Albanian law enforcement arrested two Iranian operatives suspected of terrorist activities in Albania. These agents claimed to be journalists. The Albanian news reported:

“These two Iranian citizens were arrested for further investigation by anti-terrorism agencies after information was received from Albania’s international partners stating that they were planning to carry out a terrorist operation.”

Terrorist Plots by Iranian Regime Threaten MEK and NCRI Groups Abroad

This is not the first time an Iranian diplomat has been implicated in a foiled terrorist plot. Former regime diplomat Asadollah Assadi is currently awaiting trial in Belgium for masterminding the foiled terrorist plot against the Iranian Resistance gathering in Paris in June of this year. The regime and its diplomats have unsuccessfully tried to carry out several attacks against MEK members in Europe over the past year alone.

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Lord Maginnis a longtime supporter of MEK

Lord Maginnis Urges Western Lawmakers to Seize the Opportunity to Confront the Iranian Threat and Stand with the Iranian People

Lord Maginnis a longtime supporter of MEK

Archive Photo- Lord Maginnis (right) speaking at a news conference organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposing the Iranian regime’s rise in terrorist activities in Europe- September 2018

On Sunday, December 16th, the Daily Caller published an op-ed by Kenneth Maginnis, a member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords. Maginnis’ article, entitled “2019 Brings New Opportunity to Topple the Iranian Regime”, urges policymakers and legislators around the world to re-examine their stance towards the Iranian regime in light of the developments of 2018.

A Year of Change

Maginnis points out that one year ago, “the 2015 nuclear deal was in full effect”, “Iran’s domestic situation appeared relatively stable”, and “the Iranian threat to Western nations was largely theoretical and vaguely defined”.

Now, twelve months later, the Us has re-imposed sanctions, Iran’s domestic situation is increasingly unstable, and “the United States and Europe have faced down at least four terrorist plots targeting Iranian activists on Western soil”.

The Trump administration’s shift away from appeasement and adoption of a tougher stance towards the Iranian regime has been welcomed by the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). However, Europe has been reluctant to follow T

Sanctions Could be on the Horizonrump’s lead.

That could be changing. Following further ballistic missile testing from the Iranian regime, the UN Security Council conducted a meeting which Maginnis says was at the request of the French and UK governments.

Following a foiled Iranian terror attack in Paris this summer, the French government conducted an investigation into Iranian state-sponsored terrorism in Europe. The investigation concluded without any doubt that the Iranian regime’s leadership was involved in the planning and execution of the June 30th plot.

Assadi’s Extradition Follows Months of Lies and Drama from Iranian Regime

After the conclusion of this investigation, there have been signs that the European Union may be rethinking its position and considering sanctions. 150 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recently signed a statement calling for the expulsion of all regime agents involved in state-sponsored terrorism from European soil.

The Iranian Regime’s Position in Power Look Increasingly Precarious

In addition to international isolation, the regime’s position in power looks increasingly uncertain. The Iranian opposition and the MEK has had a major role in the spread of mass anti-government demonstrations in 2018. Demonstrations that Maginnis asserts, “the Iranian regime has been struggling to contain”.

What began as a huge nationwide protest that affected all of Iran’s major towns and cities in all 31 provinces, has splintered into numerous demonstrations affecting all of Iran’s key industries, including the steel industry, sugarcane, universities, teachers, logistics, and retail sectors.

Prior to 2018, the MEK’s leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, called for 2018 to be a “year full of uprisings”. It has not disappointed.

Even with the rampant protests taking place daily across Iran, Western policymakers have been slow to react. However, the situation is reaching a tipping point. Maginnis writes, “the evolution of Iran’s domestic situation has provided the world with an unprecedented opportunity to effectively confront this threat while also helping the Iranian people to bring about change in their country”.

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Maryam Rajavi receives a warm welcome from MEK members in Tirana

Maryam Rajavi to Iranian Communities: “Wall of Repression Will Fall Apart with the Force of Sacrifice and Unity”

Maryam Rajavi receives a warm welcome from MEK members in Tirana

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) enters the conference hall – December 15, 2018

On December 15th, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed an International simultaneous conference organized by the Iranian Communities, which took place simultaneously in 42 cities across North America, Europe, and Australia. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the ongoing popular protests taking place in Iran, the need for a firm approach when dealing with the Iranian regime, and the goals of the NCRI, MEK, and Iranian Resistance in restoring democracy to Iran.

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi referenced regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s recent remarks that the U.S. planned to sow discord in 2019 by assisting the MEK in their activities. She questioned why the regime was so afraid of discord in the New Year. “Because,” she said, “In the year that is ending soon, not a single day went by without protests against the theocratic regime, and without cries for freedom. So, I would tell Khamenei and the rest of the mullahs:

‘Yes, you (Ali Khamenei) should fear, and you should tremble, because your overthrow is imminent at the hands of the Iranian people and their Resistance. They are passionately going for it and they will definitely make it come true.’”

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) addressing the International Conference of Iranian Communities gathered in 42 different locations around the world-Tirana-December 15, 2018

Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that “the clerical regime has no way and no solution to thwart it’s being overthrown. Since 40 years ago, we have sincerely wished to see the clerical regime change its behavior. But as they say, they will not commit suicide in fear of death.”

She further noted that the regime’s strategy “to survive and break out of the crisis, is further crackdown and suppression inside Iran, and more export of terrorism, war and crises to other countries.”

Mrs. Rajavi described the regime’s numerous attempted terrorist attacks on the MEK in Europe and detailed how each plot was foiled by European governments. “Indeed,” Mrs. Rajavi said, “Isn’t it regrettable that despite disclosure of the mullahs’ terrorism on European soil, the regime’s appeasers are still trying to find a way to deal with the regime and seeking to aid the murderers of the Iranian people?

“We tell them: ‘Gentlemen, if you don’t want to stand by the people of Iran, at least do not victimize the security of your own citizens. Why do you aid a regime that poses threats to European capitals?

“This is our word: Respect the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime and establish freedom and democracy.’”

Mrs. Rajavi stressed that buying Iranian oil comes at the expense of the Iranian people, saying:

“Let the hands of this criminal regime be cut off from Iran’s oil revenues which is our national asset. Every barrel of oil the regime sells is a lash on the back of the people of Iran and a bullet piercing the heart of the people of the region.”

She also questioned the regime’s missile program: “Furthermore, what are the regime’s successive missile tests about? What is their aim? Anything but blackmailing and threatening regional and global peace?” she asked.

Rajavi then listed actions that must be taken against the regime: [T]he IRGC, the MOIS, and the regime’s state propaganda machine must be placed on the U.S. List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and the terror list of the European Union.”

She added, “The regime’s financial lifelines which fund Khamenei’s apparatus, the IRGC, the terrorist Quds Force, and the religious Gestapo must be blocked.”

Finally, she said, “The dossier of the regime’s continuing crimes against humanity must be referred to the UN Security Council, and Khamenei, Rouhani and other regime leaders must face justice.”

Mrs. Rajavi noted that the most important task ahead is the overthrow of the regime and the restoration of democratic rule, which is in the hands of the Iranian people. “Of course,” she said “As I have repeatedly declared, the regime’s overthrow, democratic change, and the establishment of a free Iran, task already undertaken by the Iranian people and Resistance. They are impatient in fulfilling this duty and will most definitely make it come true.”

To the supporters of the MEK, Mrs. Rajavi said: “The secret to your tirelessness, hopefulness, livelihood, and firm resolve is your power to give and sacrifice for the freedom of the people of Iran. And I am confident that you are going to bring about a beautiful and glorious future for your people and your country.”

Mrs. Rajavi also saluted the protesters inside Iran, who continue to rebel against the oppressive regime.  She said: “And hail to our compatriots in various provinces who continue their protests and uprisings and have kept the flames of uprisings alight.

“The demonstrations of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane workers and the start of the second month of strikes and protests by the brave steel workers of Ahvaz have incited more resistance and protests all across the country.

“Those who addressed the mullahs, calling them monkeys who are sitting on the Prophet’s pulpit.
Steelworkers wore shrouds and took to the street, chanting, ‘Down with the oppressor, hail to the worker,’ and ‘we will never surrender!’

“We also hail the honorable truck drivers and truck owners who tirelessly continue their strikes and recently held the fourth round of their nationwide protests. And hail to the poor but steadfast farmers of Isfahan who rose up again. We hail the conscious students of Iran who staged sit-ins and protests on the Student Day on December 7th.”

Mrs. Rajavi concluded her speech with words of hope. “The truth is that today, the regime’s existence is in danger more than any other time in its history,” she said. “Iran’s society is also more prepared than any other time and simmering.”

“The wall of repression will fall apart with the force of sacrifice and unity,” she vowed. “So, onwards to a free and democratic Iran!”

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Maryam Rajavi joins the panel of speakers in Tirana Conference

Iranian Communities Simultaneous Conference Demand Hault on Iran’s Terrorism

Maryam Rajavi joins the panel of speakers in Tirana Conference

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition, arrives at the main conference hall in Tirana, Albania. Rajavi greets distinguished speakers of the conference before joining them on the panel.

On Saturday, December 15th, the Iranian Communities, supporters of the MEK, held a joint video conference in 42 cities across Europe, North America, and Australia. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the ongoing popular protests in Iran and the regime’s terrorist actions against the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi gave the keynote address. Speaking to the Iranian communities, she said:

“The regime’s recourse to terrorism is not a transient or tactical reaction, but a strategic outlet for it to confront the uprisings and its overthrow. Today, the regime makes use of terrorism to confronting the Iranian people’s uprisings. The arrests and expulsions of the regime’s diplomat-terrorists and terrorists with ties to their embassies show that the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the terrorist Quds Force, the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), the Foreign Ministry, and the regime’s embassies are all parts of the clerical regime’s terrorist network.”

https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_Eng/status/1074046440949862401

Mrs. Rajavi called for the international community to adopt a firm approach toward the Iranian regime. She said:

“The IRGC, the MOIS, and the regime’s state propaganda machine must be placed on the U.S. List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and the terror list of the European Union. The regime’s financial lifelines which fund Khamenei’s apparatus, the IRGC and the terrorist Quds Force must be blocked. And the dossier of the regime’s continuing crimes against humanity must be referred to the UN Security Council, and Khamenei, Rouhani and other regime leaders must face justice.”

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Rajavi then urged the international community to end the policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime.

“If you don’t want to stand by the people of Iran, at least do not victimize your own citizens’ security. Why do you aid a regime that poses threats to European capitals? This is our word: Respect the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime and establish freedom and democracy. Let the hands of this criminal regime be cut off from Iran’s oil revenues which is our national asset. Every barrel of oil the regime sells is a lash on the back of the people of Iran and a bullet piercing the heart of the people of the region. The regime’s successive missile tests aim at nothing but blackmailing and threatening regional and global peace,”.

Mrs. Rajavi directly addressed the MEK resistance units who have organized and led the protest movement in her speech, saying:

“Today, the regime’s existence is more than ever in danger. Iran’s society is also more prepared than any other time and simmering. The establishment of a free Iran is on the shoulders of the Iranian people and Resistance. It is your willpower that is going to determine how the present volatile conditions will evolve into the overthrow of the mullahs’ dictatorship. The secret to victory is the united struggle of the people of Iran and the evolution of uprisings pioneered by resistance units and councils.”

Mr. Patrick Kennedy has been a longtime supporter of the MEK and the Iranian Resistance. In his speech, he spoke about the bipartisan support for the Iranian Resistance within the United States. He said:

“Contrary to the Iranian regime’s propaganda, both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. are united in supporting a firm policy on Iran and to stand with the Iranian people in their desire for change and to have a republic based on free election, separation of religion and state and gender equality. It is within this context that we support Maryam Rajavi and her ten-point declaration for a free Iran. The regime’s propaganda against the MEK, echoed sometimes in the Western media, is the best sign of regime’s fear of the MEK’s popularity in Iran and its role in the anti-regime protests. It is time for Europe to also stand up to regime’s growing terrorism in Europe and its malign activities in the region.”

Former Colombian Presidential Candidate, Ingrid Betancourt spoke about the need for European governments to adopt a firm approach toward the Iranian regime in light of its terrorist activities, saying: “Over the past year the Iranian regime has increased its terrorist activities in Europe and simultaneously, intensified its propaganda against the MEK. This clearly shows the fear of the regime from the MEK and its decisive role in the continued anti-regime protests in Iran and their desire for regime change.  It is time the European governments adopt a firm policy against the regime and side with no ambiguity with the Iranian people. Finally, free Western media has to be alert in order to avoid spreading the dictator’s propaganda against democratic opposition.”

Representatives from over 300 Iranian associations across the world also spoke at the conference in order to reaffirm their support for the NCRI, the MEK, and Maryam Rajavi’s Ten-point Plan for re-establishing democracy in Iran after the fall of the mullahs’ regime.

In declaring their support for the MEK and its goal of restoring democratic rule to Iran, they said: “The Iranian Resistance, led by Mr. Massoud Rajavi, enjoys a broad social base of support in Iran, has a strong organization, offers a clear platform and has adopted progressive and democratic plans for future Iran. It is able to bring about regime change and is capable of transferring the sovereignty to people. They have unique capacities and potentials for rebuilding future Iran, offer social justice, and returning hope and trust to a nation which has suffered numerous treasons over the past 100 years and has been viciously suppressed and discriminated against under the dictatorships of the shahs and the mullahs.”

They went on to say: “It is because of these capacities that the clerical regime considers this Resistance as its only existential threat, and in addition to brutal suppression inside Iran it is resorting to terrorism and carrying out extensive demonization and misinformation campaigns against the Iranian Resistance to justify and prepare the grounds for domestic suppression and terrorism abroad.”

Speakers and participants at the conference included President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Mrs. Maryam Rajavi; former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Patrick Kennedy; Minister of State for Diaspora and former Prime Minister of Albania Pandeli Majko; Republican Party Leader and former Albanian Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu; former Algerian Prime Minister Syed Ahmad Ghozali,; former Colombian Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt; Deputy Leader of the U.K. Liberal Democratic Party Lord Navnit Dholakia; French Governor and former Director of DST Yves Bonnet; Chair of the Committee on Equality of Men and Women in the Parliament of Romania Christina Luristina; Deputy Chair of the Financial Committee in the Senate of South Ireland Gerry Horkan; Member of Italian Parliament Antonio Tasso; and Member of the Norwegian Parliamentary Judiciary Committee Peter Eide. A number of other politicians, legal, and religious figures also attended the conference, as well as members of the Iranian communities.

The conference was held in 42 cities including Ashraf 3, the MEK camp in Albania; Brussels, Belgium; Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, Canada; Copenhagen and Arhus, Denmark;  London, Liverpool, Bristol, Sheffield and Birmingham, U.K.; Helsinki and Turku, Finland; Paris, France, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt, Germany; Rome, Italy; Luxembourg, Luxembourg; The Hague, Zwolle, and Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway; Bucharest, Romania, Zurich, Switzerland; Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Boras, and Solleftea, Sweden; Washington, D.C., Berkeley, Orange County, Atlanta, and Dallas, U.S.; Vienna, Austria; and Sydney, Australia.

Staff Writer

 

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What we are not seeing in Iran

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition, joins the general election of the MEK Secretary-General, September 2017. After her election as PMOI/MEK Secretary General, Zahra Merrikhi pledges to bring freedom to Iran

The wind of change blows in Iran. A lot of people feel it. A few people try to ignore it, not daring to face the consequences. But generally, it seems to be a proven fact that change is on its way. There are however important factors which are being ignored in the process…

In its bid to survive, the ruling regime seems to be eking out every last drop out of its legitimacy and is on the verge of an internal conflict of power among its warring factions. Public support is shrinking to new depths. Political unrest calling for regime change is now an everyday phenomenon.

The regime’s intervention in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere have bled the regime financially. Demonstrators in Iran are calling for their money invested in banks related to the Pasdaran Army (Revolutionary Guards Corps), but the institutions are bankrupt because of the continuous funding of extraterritorial military projects.

Politically, different political clans within the regime are at each other’s throats on specific issues such as the defunct nuclear deal with the West and the rejected FATF agreements on monetary transactions, among others.

The regime’s popularity, limited to a very thin social circle consisting of families of those under arms and the feared paramilitary Bassij (popular mobilization) force, is at its lowest point. Some two hundred towns across the country have experienced unrest against oppressive measures undertaken by the regime.

The international situation has never been so bad. Donald Trump seems convinced to go to the very end with the rejection of the nuclear deal, while European and other support seems unable to balance the American rejection.

This is not the first time the regime has faced grave difficulty. In 2009, Iran came close to social chaos following presidential elections leading to a second presidential term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But at that time, the stakes were only political and limited to Tehran, the capital. The opposition movement was led by dissident elements from the power’s inner circle. Also, on an international level, a reluctant Barak Obama was far from today’s Donald Trump who supports the popular movement in Iran.

The current unrest has lasted ten months. It stems from an unprecedented political and economic situation with no way out and with too many victims. Demonstrators do not hesitate to call for regime change, and a large number of towns now engaged in political unrest marks a significant break from 2009. Oppressive forces have to control vast territory and numerous cities, above all, they cannot afford to give an inch in Tehran.

Additionally, an important internal element is playing a role in the regime’s latest existential crisis. Organized groups are coordinating political unrest in cities across Iran. Social media is allowing for the grassroots mobilization of the Iranian opposition.

In February, the regime’s president Hassan Rohani called Emmanuel Macron, the French president, to ask for his support in muzzling the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, or the MEK. Rohani claimed the MEK was engaging in planning and organizing activities in France. MEK’s umbrella organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI, is based in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise. In any case, the French did not bother to answer Rohani’s call.

Later in June, a mass assassination plan was defused in Belgium. The attack targeted a huge meeting organized by the NCRI in Villepinte, north of Paris. An Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was arrested with three other individuals found with 500 grams of a powerful explosive and detonation mechanism. The four will go on trial in Belgium on premeditated murder charges.

Youth Vow to Make a Free Iran Possible At NCRI Gathering

In the meantime, Iranian leaders including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have not hesitated to point to MEK as the main instigator of the domestic unrest in Iran. The MEK’s leadership is the making the real difference between the current opposition movement in Iran and its previous ones.

Massoud Rajavi, the historical leader of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/ MEK)

Founded in 1965, MEK spent a dozen years fighting the Shah’s regime. MEK’s historical leader, Massoud Rajavi spent eight years in the Shah’s prisons before being liberated by the people’s uprising a few days before the Shah left Iran, for good.

Ideologically, the MEK is known for its modern, tolerant interpretation of Islam, its patriotism, and its social program calling for social justice and respect for Iran’s history and culture. The founding members were executed by the Shah in early 1970s. Their struggle for freedom and their tolerant Islam earned them much respect, even among religious circles close to the actual ruling clique.

Many of Iran’s current officials sympathized with the MEK at the time when the organization was bravely fighting the Shah. Clerics currently ruling the country kept a low profile under the Shah to avoid persecution by the feared SAVAK, the Shah’s oppressive secret police. Meanwhile, MEK members were being tortured and executed in the SAVAK’s prisons.

After their rise to power, the mullahs had a single serious opponent; the MEK. The organization underwent the most severe oppression in Iran’s modern history. More than a hundred thousand of its members and sympathizers were eliminated.

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras Speaks at Geneva Conference Commemorating 1988 Massacre

In 1988, following the Iran-Iraq war, some thirty thousand members were massacred while serving time in the regime’s prisons. But the organization managed to keep many of its cadres out of the regime’s reach. It formed a National Liberation Army during the Iran-Iraq war in Iraq and finally evacuated its members in a spectacular operation in 2016 when more than 3,000 members were relocated to Albania.

Thus, in the regime’s worst days currently unfolding, its sole political opponent is very much present on the political scene. At the MEK’s last great gathering in Villepinte in France, the one targeted by the regime’s terror operation, more than a hundred thousand members of the Iranian diaspora gathered, as well as political figures including Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and many other internationally known political figures.

The most important issue the MEK champions is a total regime change in the country. The never fading presence of MEK has had an important political effect on the regime. It has made any halfway or reformist bid to modify or moderate the same regime utterly meaningless.

Most revolutions have changed course, towards more moderate rules, with objectives diverging from those held at the beginning of their campaign. When faced with an absence of opposition, even well-meaning revolutionary groups can evolve into a brutal regime once in power.

The Iranian revolution was no exception. However, in the case of the clerical regime, brutal repression was not able to eliminate the real opposition. This has had a by-effect: there can be no transmutation towards a more moderate version of the same regime while a total opposition is still alive.

In other classical cases, a compromise can be found, some sort of provisional or long-lasting solution emerging from the national social demands. But this Iran is no classical case. In fact, no compromise is possible between the opposition and the regime in power in Iran. Regime change is an integral part of the founding declaration of the National Council of Resistance, the political umbrella for MEK’s struggle against the regime.

This is one of the essential elements that a great number of people interested in the Iranian problem ignore: the ever-growing role and effect of the MEK on the course of events in Iran. The continuous denial and suppression of any opposition movement in Iran are triggering a domestic backlash.

A smear campaign aiming to discredit the opposition movement by the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence, along with vast lobbying efforts by preachers forms part of this systematic denial effort. But the whole house of cards began to tremble when the most important authorities in the country, beginning with the supreme leader, pointed to the MEK as the main factor behind this year’s civil unrest in the country. In his speech on January 9, Ali Khamenei stated:

“The incidents were organized and carried out by the MEK (although he used a different pejorative term). They had prepared for this months ago, and their media outlets had called for it.”

Prior to this defining moment, the regime’s leadership had publicly ignored the MEK’s presence in Iran. Khamenei’s speech indicated that the regime has thus changed its policy. It can no longer afford to ignore the danger the MEK represents. It is now clearly identifying the real danger the MEK represents in order to direct its repressive forces against the group.

Regime Official: The Threat Knows No Bounds

The change is not limited to words. For years, the Iranian regime has shown self-restraint when it comes to the assassination of opponents abroad. The regime had initiated more than 400 assassination attempts against opposition members outside its borders until the late 1990s. Then, Iranian rulers were condemned in absentia, by European courts for having ordered opponents to be killed on European territory.

With the failed explosion attempt at Villepinte in France, the sleeping dragon seems to have been awakened. At least two other such attempts have been discovered since the failed Paris attack, and there remains little doubt that the tacit agreement not to take such action in the West has breathed its last breath.

The changing stance of the mullahs towards the MEK is an important indicator of the threat the regime now faces. For years, a line of appeasement has prevailed among international governments. However, this approach has proved fruitless.

Another approach is necessary, one which endorses total regime change as the solution. Those wishfully thinking that a moderate force will emerge within the regime and amend its behavior and policy are ignoring the real influential factors on the ground, particularly the MEK and the traction it is gaining both inside and outside Iran.

Iran State Media Acknowledges MEK Can Topple Regime

The MEK and the Iranian regime’s disinformation

The Iranian public has been protesting in ever greater numbers and in an expanding list of localities since December 2017. Iran’s people are making it clear that they seek a regime change. This is key to understanding the developments in the domestic situation in Iran.

MEK has enjoyed unrivaled success in undermining the regime’s actions and strategies by sustaining complex anti-government campaigns such as exposing the regime’s nuclear sites and terror networks in the Middle East and across the world. It is now exposing the corruption and repression carried out by the theocratic regime in Iran. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the mullahs are so desperate to demonize the MEK, especially at a time when they are rapidly losing their international appeasers and their string of terror plots to physically damage the MEK have been unsuccessful.

Three full pages in the Guardian, a British newspaper, is part of the Iranian regime’s desperate attempt to hit its strongest opposition group. Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, once said: “Tell a lie that’s big enough, and repeat it often enough, and the whole world will believe it.” But we say there is a limit to this. You cannot fool and trick the whole world forever just by repeating a very big lie in paid international media outlets.

The Guardian article “Terrorist, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy?” written by Arron Reza Merat, a known anti MEK element of the Mullahs’ Intelligence Ministry who has infiltrated the Guardian, is an attempt to depict a violent, wild and power-thirsty picture of the MEK in a bid to evaporate Western sympathies to the Iranian opposition.

But it is too little too late. Today, MEK is not an unknown name that can be adequately vilified in a Goebbels-style article by Reza Merat. Its history is already known to many Iranians who wholeheartedly support it, and it is widely renowned by many prominent international politicians who have offered it unfettered support for over 15 years.

MEK History

The 1950s and 1960s were marked by severe repression against dissidents in Iran. After conducting a coup in 1953 against Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, Iran’s popular Prime Minister who nationalized the country’s oil industry, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran’s monarch, forced all opposition groups and movements into silence and submission.

However, on September 6, 1965, three Iranian intellectuals, Mohammad HanifnejadSaeid Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badizadegan, founded a new opposition movement that later became the MEK. They were inspired by the authentic interpretation of Islam that rejects all forms of fundamentalism, which had previously been the dominant interpretation of the religion in Iran.

Since its founding, the MEK has been opposed to the atheist/Muslim conflict that the fundamentalist mullahs promote. Hanifnejad and the other founders of the MEK stressed that the real conflict was not between faiths but between the tyrants (the Shah regime) and the oppressed (the people of Iran, regardless of their faith and ethnicity).

In the first five years, the MEK’s founders concentrated on recruiting new members and creating a network of elite cadres that could lead the movement through the hard times that would come. They engaged in thorough studies of all doctrines to gather everything that could help in their struggle because they viewed the struggle for freedom as a science to be studied and acquired in order to succeed where their predecessors had failed. After thorough examination and studies, Hanifnejad and his comrades eventually chose democratic Islam as the ideology that could best serve the aspirations of the Iranian people.

Thus, the MEK founders embarked on a long journey to establish freedom and democracy in their country and they paid a heavy price to defend the rights of their people. Their conduct has set an example of persistence and loyalty that is still admired by Iranians to this day.

Massoud Rajavi, the popular candidate for the presidency in Iran in the wake of the 1979 revolution. Rouhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s religious dictatorship prevented him from running, since he felt a big threat, given rajavi’s popularity among all sectors of the society, and religious and ethnic minorities. He was known as the candidate of the new generation.

The MEK’s founders also recruited people who were willing to dedicate every hour to help advance the organization’s goals. They concluded that the fight for freedom and democracy can’t be a part-time job. The first people to join the movement were young intellectuals and university students. Among them was Massoud Rajavi, a young student who later became pivotal in shaping the organization’s future.

In August 1971, while the Iranian monarchy was preparing for its much-advertised festivities to celebrate its longtime rule, more than 80 percent of MEK’s members, including all of its leaders were arrested. This was a hard strike against the nascent organization, but it also led to the widespread recognition and popularity of the MEK among the Iranian people.

Stories of the MEK’s resistance in the Shah’s prisons and courts circulated among Iranians by word of mouth. Soon the organization had managed to build a solid and widespread support base in Iranian society, with supporters from all walks of life.

The ruling mullahs of today, who themselves did nothing efficient against the Shah, are well aware of the history of popular support for the MEK in Iranian hearts and homes. But they disgracefully pretend the opposite is true in their demonization campaigns.

On May 25, 1972, the Shah’s regime executed the MEK’s founders and of all its leading members. Only Massoud Rajavi was spared. He was saved from imminent death thanks to an international campaign by his brother, Kazem Rajavi who was a renowned jurist and politician in Switzerland. Kazem managed to get Massoud’s death sentence revoked by rallying several international organizations and politicians in support of Massoud. Among those politicians was Francois Mitterrand, the leader of the French Socialist Party and the future President of France.

A failed coup within the ranks of the MEK

In September 1975, the MEK was still recovering from the execution of most of its leadership cadre. During this period, a separatist Maoist group tried to change the ideology of the MEK and hijack its name and emblem. They went as far as intimidating, oppressing and even killing the MEK members who remained loyal to the organization’s original mindset and ideology. This group was responsible for killing several Americans in Iran in those years, something which is mistakenly being attributed to the MEK members in the mullahs’ demonization campaign against the MEK, also repeatedly used by the Iran lobbies.

Thanks to the efforts of Massoud Rajavi, the organization was brought back from the brink. In the fall of 1976, while Massoud was in the Shah’s prison, he issued a 12-point declaration, in which he reasserted the true foundations of the MEK’s ideology and its principles. The declaration became the basis upon which all MEK members resist the world’s most brutal regime and number one executioner.

Since Khomeini’s rise to power, the MEK has constantly warned of the new regime’s human rights abuses, including the repression of women, minorities and all opposition forces. As the main defender of freedoms, the MEK quickly built up an expanding base of support across the Iranian population, especially among young people and intellectuals. In less than two years, MEK became the largest political movement in Iran.

Mek Political Platform

However, during these two years, Khomeini’s regime carried out a brutal and merciless crackdown that spared neither women, nor students, nor minorities. In the same period, Khomeini’s henchmen murdered 70 members and supporters of the MEK at peaceful rallies, meetings, and protests. The regime’s conduct in this period was deliberately deleted from all its state-published and affiliated media reports, including the Guardian article.

On June 20, 1981, the MEK tested Iran’s democratic environment a final time by launching a peaceful demonstration to remind the Khomeini regime of its responsibilities to respect the fundamental freedoms of the Iranian people. In Tehran, more than 500,000 attended. In response, Khomeini ordered the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), his personal army, to open fire on the unarmed and peaceful protesters.

The following day, the Iranian regime launched a ruthless crackdown against all opposition forces, especially the supporters and members of the MEK. The regime’s forces pursued and executed many of the Mojahedin’s members in the streets, and thousands were dragged into the regime’s prisons, where they were subjected to inhumane methods of torture and were later executed. Women, children, the elderly—no one was spared.

Following the ban of all opposition forces, the Khomeini regime executed and murdered some 120,000 people, most of whom were affiliated with the MEK. In Khomeini’s prisons, his guards and executioners resorted to the vilest and most brutal torture methods. Khomeini’s fatwas gave his torturers free rein to do anything they wanted to torment the MEK members and sympathizers, including rape, severing body organs, gouging eyes, and other deplorable and vile acts.

According to eyewitness accounts, the regime’s guards extracted blood from the MEK members before executing them, so they could use it for the medical needs of their own guards and soldiers. Pregnant women were tortured and executed. Young girls were raped before their execution. The imprisoned MEK members suffered a truly evil fate at the hands of the regime.

Under these circumstances, on July 21, 1981, a month after the beginning of Khomeini’s reign of terror, Massoud Rajavi founded the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of Iran’s opposition forces that aspired to replace the violent brand of religious fascism promoted by Khomeini with a democratic, pluralist and secular state. A week later, on July 29, the leaders of the MEK left Iran with help from the brave and freedom-loving officers of the Iranian Air Force. Rajavi took refuge in France, from where he continued to lead the struggle for freedom against the Iranian regime.

Iran-Iraq War

The regime has massaged the narrative of the Iran-Iraq war to hide its war-mongering activities. In 1980, when the Iraqi army occupied parts of Iran, the MEK was quick to take up arms and defend their homeland.

But as soon as the Iraqi army released its hold on Iranian land and retreated back behind international borders, the continuation of the war was no longer justified and the MEK was also quick to call for peace between the two countries. Meanwhile, Khomeini insisted on continuing the war until and pushed for the overthrow of the Iraqi government. The Iran-Iraq war went on to cause the avoidable deaths of millions on both sides, while peace was totally achievable.

The war provided Khomeini with the perfect pretext to suppress the demands of the people. He used the excuse of being at war as a pretext to crack down on all the regime’s political opponents, accusing them of weakening the government and colluding with foreign enemies.

On September 10, 1982, Massoud Rajavi met with the then Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz at the NCRI’s Paris headquarters and signed a peace agreement with the Iraqi government on behalf of the MEK and the Iranian people. The move proved that peace was achievable and that the Iranian regime was prolonging the Iran-Iraq war against the wishes of the Iranian public.

The MEK’s peace effort gained international recognition and support and was endorsed by 5,000 politicians from 57 countries worldwide.

The rise of women in leadership roles in MEK

In the six years that followed the 1979 revolution, female members of the MEK were active in their resistance against the religious and misogynous rule of Khomeini.

 

Eventually, on March 10, 1985, women found their true place in the leadership ranks of the MEK when Maryam Azdanlou (Rajavi) became the co-leader of the MEK. The event marked a turning point in the history of the MEK in its struggle against the Khomeini’s fundamentalist ideology, which had been particularly harsh towards Iranian women.

It was the MEK’s conviction that if women were the primary victims of the Iranian regime, then they should be given a privileged status in the MEK’s ranks which stands opposed to the mullahs’ rule in every way. This illustrated the MEK’s genuine commitment to equality between women and men.

MEK relocated to Iraq

On June 7, 1986, under pressure from the French government, which was deeply engaged in dealings with the Iranian regime, Massoud Rajavi left France for Iraq. There he founded the National Liberation Army (NLA) on June 20, 1987. The NLA became a major force in opposition to the Iranian regime.

The Iraqi government in Baghdad agreed it would not interfere in the politics and operations of the MEK and its NLA. The MEK predicated its presence in Iraq would preserve its independence.

On July 25, 1988, the NLA launched its largest operation, called “Eternal Light,” in which it targeted the entirety of the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime suffered 55,000 casualties, and on its part, the NLA lost 1,304 of its officers and soldiers, heroes who laid down their lives for the freedom of their country. MEK members who returned alive were more determined than ever to bring freedom to their homeland, Iran. There was no sign of defeat and failure in the minds of those who survived.

Middle East analysts and observers attributed Khomenei’s acceptance of the ceasefire with Iraq in 1988 to the efforts of the NLA.

The massacre of MEK members and supporters in Iran’s prisons

In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime began a mass purge of its prisons from political prisoners, executing anyone who refused to repent for their opposition to the rule of Khomeini.

Families of Victims of 1988 Massacre Still Seek Justice

In the span of a few months, the regime’s executioners sent more than 30,000 prisoners to the gallows. This was a genocide, a crime against humanity without precedent, which became known as the “1988 massacre.”

Contrary to what has been said by regime mouthpieces in the demonization campaigns against the MEK, it was later revealed in summer 2016 in an audio tape of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the heir-apparent to Khomeini, that the regime leadership extensively planned the massacre.  Plans for the 1988 massacre began months earlier, as Khomeini became worried of the future of his regime and his tenuous hold on power and it was not the result of the MEK’s largest operation.

The 1990s and 2000s: The policy of appeasement

During the 1990s, western states engaged in a new drive of rapprochement towards the Iranian regime, hoping they could preserve their economic interests and avoid the obvious threats emanating from Tehran. Naturally, it was the Iranian people and the MEK that paid the price of this failed policy.

In 1997, the US administration, under the presidency of Bill Clinton, inserted the MEK into its list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) as a goodwill gesture to Mohammad Khatami, the newly appointed president of the Iranian regime, who presented himself as a “moderate” and “reformist.”

European states followed suit and classified the MEK as a terrorist organization in an effort spearheaded by Jack Straw, then-foreign minister of the United Kingdom. Straw was known for his endorsement a policy of appeasement towards the Iranian regime, an attitude that made him the object of much criticism from the Iranian people inside Iran and abroad. Canada and Australia also soon followed the UK’s lead.

The adoption of a policy of appeasement triggered a wave pressure against the MEK and the Iranian resistance, resulting in the suffering and deaths of many innocent people. The bombing of MEK camps in Iraq during the 2003 US-Iraq conflict, the coup-d’état of July 17, 2003, against NCRI headquarters in France, and the numerous raids and rocket attacks against MEK camps in Iraq were just some of the results of that policy of appeasement.

Having been through many trials and ordeals during their decades-long history, the MEK was not intimidated by the show of power of the Iranian regime and its foreign cohorts. MEK’s victory in getting the organization removed from terror lists or, better put, the victory of justice and truth was the end result of the MEK’s engagement in a legal battle that lasted more than 15 years.

In 2009, the European Union removed the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations. In the years that followed, the US judiciary declared that the MEK had been wrongly designated as a terrorist group, and in 2012, the US State Department removed the label. Canada and Australia also removed the MEK from their lists shortly after the US.

Camp Ashraf and MEK’s relocation to Albania

Camp Ashraf, situated 77 kilometers north of Baghdad, was home to thousands of MEK members for 25 years. Prior to the 2003 US-led war in Iraq, the MEK publicly declared its neutrality and played no part in the ensuing conflict. However, exploiting the post-invasion atmosphere in Iraq, the Iranian regime did its utmost to destroy and demonize the MEK.

Three massacres at Camp Ashraf, five missile attacks on Camp Liberty, two cases of abduction of residents, and the imposition of an eight-year siege, which left 177 residents dead, constituted parts of this inhumane, albeit futile, plan.

The regime’s enormous efforts to create rifts among the ranks of the also MEK failed. Foreigners were astounded at the high morale in Camp Ashraf. Such a level of liveliness under such difficult conditions came from the depth of the residents’ profound belief in freedom.

The main entrance to Camp Ashraf – Iraq, the former residence of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK / PMOI)

During all those years, Ashraf residents enjoyed excellent relations with the communities and people of surrounding towns and villages in Diyala province of Iraq.

Ashraf also invested heavily in infrastructure projects in the region. A water purification plant provided water to tens of thousands of people in surrounding towns. Local Iraqi residents were welcome at Ashraf medical clinics. A new electricity grid and roads benefited the entire region.

Some 5.2 million Iraqis signed a petition in June 2006 warning of the Iranian regime’s dangers in Iraq and describing the MEK as the main bulwark against the regime’s interventions. More than 3 million Iraqi Shiites signed a declaration in June 2008 calling for the eviction of the regime and its agents from Iraq and the removal of restrictions imposed on MEK members residing in Ashraf City.

The Iranian regime launched a campaign to have the MEK dismantled but it ultimately due to the skill and competence of Camp Ashraf’s leaders, of which the large majority were women.

This explains why female members of the MEK were extensively targeted by the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine, including in the recent Guardian article. The mullahs attack the MEK’s women using fake stories featuring a host of female defectors. All the fake stories about women being abused in the MEK and being held against their will are nothing but the mullahs’ lies and propaganda without a shred of truth.

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition, addresses the MEK members after their relocation to Albania- October 2017

In 2016, while the Iranian regime and its Iraqi proxies were trying to exterminate the MEK in Iraq, an international effort led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI, succeeded in relocating all members of the organization to Albania. The event was a major achievement for the MEK, whose members could now intensify their efforts in leading the struggle for freedom in Iran. It was a major defeat for the Iranian regime, whose existence depended on destroying its main opposition.

The Iranian regime now finds itself in a dangerous position. It has started losing its international supporters while the networks of MEK supporters and activists continue to expand inside Iran. The MEK’s resistance units play a major role in keeping the flame of resistance alit and preventing the regime from suffocating the voice of protesters.

As a result, the protests continue in every city and corner of Iran, and protesters are calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime, a goal that the MEK has been striving for since 1981. As the mullahs’ regime inches towards its inevitable collapse, the MEK, which has been through countless trials and tribulations, thrives and aims to fulfill the dreams of the Iranian people.

Staff Writer

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