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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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Iran Policy AND a viable alternative - MEK Compound- Albania-July 11, 2019

Ashraf-3 Hosts International Panel on Iran Policy and MEK’s Role in Iran’s Democratic Future

Iran Policy AND a viable alternative - MEK Compound- Albania-July 11, 2019

Iran Policy AND a viable alternative – MEK Compound- Albania-July 11, 2019

Ashraf-3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, hosted an international conference on Thursday, July 11th entitled “Policy on Iran and a Viable Alternative.” A panel of prominent politicians and dignitaries from the United States and Europe offered their perspectives on the best approach to dealing with the Iranian regime. They also discussed the need for the international community to support the MEK as the democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

Moderator:

  • Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield

Panelists:

  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
  • Former Commandant of the U.S. Marines Corps James Conway
  • University of Baltimore Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan
  • Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ambassador Robert Joseph
  • Former Foreign Minister of Canada
  • Former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli

The following are some of the most notable moments from the day’s event. (Questions in bold type were asked by panel moderator Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield.)

What is the Achilles heel of the mullahs’ regime?

Sen. Torricelli “There’s a fundamental belief that things will work out. The future is not as bad as the past. Even a despotic regime will reform itself over time. That’s a handicap for us. The Iranian regime is not going to reform. It’s not going to change.”

“The second handicap is, those who would accommodate the regime take the high ground because they’re speaking out against war. Here’s the problem: first of all, there is a war. There’s no one fighting back. Tens of thousands of Iranians were killed by their own government. There’s been a war waged on the Iranian people since 1979. Those who would argue for patience and time have no moral high ground.”

Where can we have the maximum effect on pushing the regime back?

Amb. Joseph: “The right policy is whatever accelerates the end of this regime. The wrong policy is what prolongs the life of this regime. Appeasement has turned out to be not just a failure but also counter to American interests. We should start with maximum pressure, and the administration has been doing a good job. The sanctions are having a deep impact on the Iranian economy.

“If we show weakness, it’s provocative. When we show strength, the regime backs down. It’s important that we always keep in mind that the show of strength is key to success.”

“Land invasion is not what’s necessary. Change has to come from within [Iran]. A more effective policy would include calling out the regime on its gross human rights violations. We don’t do that often enough.”

“We should negotiate on nuclear affairs, but we have to keep in mind what our principles are. We should not be victim of the mindset that negotiations mean compromise and giving the other party concessions. That is what happened in the JCPOA.

“Our focus ought to be calling them out, and combining these tools, whether its sanctions or the military, that will facilitate the end of this regime.”

What’s the right strategy to impair the military of the Iranian regime? Is it something we should be looking at? What else could we be thinking of that would undermine the cohesion of this criminal enterprise?

Prof. Sheehan: “The contest is ultimately over the right to think freely. The regime fears the truth, they fear facts. We must hold panels like this and expand the truth. We must give the Iranian people a sense of what’s going on around them and the idea that there is this viable alternative.

“The Iranian opposition does not fear the truth, and they know ultimately that it is on their side. With time these ideas will lead to the revolution that we’d all like to see take place.”

Should we be more specific about the guilt of the Iranian regime?

Baird: “We can exploit the regime’s vulnerability, to support the people of Iran. The regime realizes that when it falls, they will have no place to go. The senior members of this regime know that they will have nowhere to go and they will be held to account for their crimes such as the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and the bombing of the Jewish center in Argentina.”

Sen. Torricelli: “No one can seriously believe this regime will last long. It’s an unsustainable situation. If you’re in the leadership today, there’s going to be a moment in your life when you’re going to be held accountable.”

What messages are the ones that really hurt the regime the most and isolate them among their people?

Amb. Joseph: “We must continue to push forward on exposing the regime’s brutality and its human rights violation. In the information space, we ought to focus on how this regime has failed the people. Just look at their inability to respond to the recent flooding. It is an incompetent regime. That is a vulnerability that would further deteriorate support for this regime in Iran, which is already decreasing day after day, month after month, year after year.”

Do the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) deserve to wear a uniform at all, given their unprofessional behavior?

General Conway, “Iran’s regime invariably gets greedy. Every one of the leaders of this regime have Swiss bank accounts that are growing while the people of Iran are living in poverty. We should expose that and let the people know who their leadership is.”

What will do the trick [to overthrow the mullahs]?

Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan “The regime in Tehran fears internal pressure more than it fears external threats. The people of Iran don’t need the world to rescue them. The regime change will be led by you.”

Are we playing strong offense and defense?

Sen. Torricelli: “Not enough.”

“It happens all the time. In Tehran, they have carefully disseminated false information into the mainstream media. We’re fighting back, and it’s been a long climb. What the mullahs are doing with misinformation in Washington, London and Paris, you can do with the truth. “

Baird: “The fact that the European authorities uncovered a plot by the regime that tried to attack the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2018, the rashness just shows how fearful the regime is of you.”

How do we amass the power of the many outrages about the regime and put it all into a powerful mixture?

Amb. Joseph: “The process that I’ve seen is that reporters tend to go to the same sources over and over again. If you look at who they’re going to in the world of think tanks, most of these people are doing the work of the regime.”

“This is where the MEK and NCRI can make a difference.”

Is the world taking notice of the regime’s terrorism in their countries? When did it become acceptable behavior? What should we do about it?

Prof. Sheehan: “There are some groups and individuals that you simply can’t negotiate with, and the regime is emblematic of that group.”

“In Washington, DC, we found a deeply entrenched pro-regime lobby, and that lobby exists in other places of the world. But the tools and power of ideas that we have at our disposal today are much stronger than the tools we had before.”

“We don’t have to wait for Washington to change its policy. Every citizen around the world can help contribute to this change.”

A lot of people in Washington fear that what happened in Syria and Libya will repeat in Iran.

Baird: “They need to understand who the Iranian people are and what their capacity is. We have to push back against the elite foreign policy view in the West. In the West, regimes start to do crazy stupid things and the type of behavior we’ve seen in this regime. They are not being rational in their final days, and the more we see this, the closer they are to their end.”

The Iranian people have had this aspiration from at least the beginning of the 20th century. How can we convince the West that we can trust them if this regime collapses?

Sen. Torricelli: “Tehran is desperately trying to keep the Europeans in a dialogue to keep an economic lifeline. They do not want military confrontation but they are attacking the U.S. drone. These are irrational acts. When the regime becomes this irrational, it means that the sanctions are working. Those irrational actions tell me that we’re reaching a point. If I were Trump or Merkel or Macron, I would press my foot on the pedal because they’re telegraphing that what we are doing is working.”

How do we direct western policy in the right direction? What could we do that we are not doing enough of?

Giuliani: “We had an opportunity a few years ago when the sanctions were working. There are strong indicators that the protests in Iran are becoming political.”

“People have said bad things about you because you support the MEK and Madam Rajavi. What does Washington need to know that this group is entirely misportrayed in Washington?” asked Amb. Bloomfield.

Giuliani: “We need a massive public relations campaign. When people find out what this group really stands for and they get past the allegations, it all starts to make sense. We’ve got the same goal that is a free democratic Iran.”

Is there a potential for Canada, the U.S. and Europe to find common ground on how the regime is gaming the west and escaping accountability?

Baird: “After Iraq, President Obama and other European leaders were so desperate to make diplomacy work rather than military force. What we need is leadership. The weakness in 2009 in not standing up for the Iranian people will go down in history as a lost opportunity. We must do all we can to stand up for what’s right. We need leadership. That is what Madam Rajavi is trying to provide.”

Sen. Torricelli: “The people are realizing that this regime will not moderate. The regime’s behavior is also deteriorating all the time.”

What can we do to show there’s a democratic alternative? How do we find that next gear in Washington?

Giuliani: “In the past year, the regime has become more frightened and irrational. Striking the drone and what they’re doing with the tankers, maybe they want us to attack them and they hope that it would rally the people behind them. We’re so reluctant to take military action, and the world would also react badly, that the mullahs could push us along if they engaged diplomatically. But their poking their finger in our eye.”

“I think the mullahs are going to fall, with these protests going on, the crazy things they are doing. I think they are desperate. What they are doing sounds like a regime that is not thinking in clever ways.”

Let’s assume the Iranians will continue to lash out desperately. What’s your advice in Washington for a legitimate response?

Amb. Joseph: “One of the things we need to do is recognize that revolutions are very messy. What is missing in those revolutions is a viable alternative that would be beneficial not only to the Iranian people but also to the U.S. and the world in general.”

“What we need to do is to think strategically and integrate our tools in an effective strategy. The only solution to the nuclear issue in Iran is regime change and the viable alternative is a key component to that.”

“I spoke to many people in Ashraf. The sacrifices that the members of MEK in Ashraf have endured are many. But they do not have a sense of revenge. That, I think, will deliver the people of Iran their freedom.”

Do we have the ability to select surgical targets as an acceptable response?

Prof. Sheehan: “What unifies us here in this panel and this room is that the mullahs are not irrational when it comes to one thing, which is their fear of the organized resistance. What I wish U.S. officials knew is the democratic aspirations and inclinations of the Iranian people, which run very, very deep. The Iranian people are not the slightest bit irrational. I have come to appreciate how sophisticated and educated they are. I have come to appreciate that the NCRI’s platform and Madam Rajavi’s plan is the future of Iran. That’s the viable alternative that we need Washington to realize.”

People have been in the streets since the late 2017. They are admitting that the MEK and NCRI are organizing the demonstrations. Are we making progress here?

Giuliani: “The fact that the protests continue is a very good sign even though the regime has tried to harm them. The biggest frustration is getting the European governments to do the right thing. Whatever their economic interests and fear, we should all be together in eliminating this regime. We have to keep up the pressure, try to put more sanctions. And the important point is, some of these revolutions have happened without an alternative. Here you do not have to let that happen. We must get Americans to understand that there is an alternative and let them see it.”

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Maryam Rajavi at a conference in Ashraf-3

Highlights from MEK’s International Conference in Albania

Maryam Rajavi at a conference in Ashraf-3

Maryam Rajavi, addresses the large crowd of MEK members living at Ashraf-3, Albania

European and Australian lawmakers and human rights activists joined the MEK in Albania on Saturday for an international conference at Ashraf-3, the MEK’s headquarters. Conference attendees declared their solidarity for the Iranian people’s uprising and their support for the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the democratic alternative to the theocratic regime currently in power. Speakers at the conference urged their governments to end the policy of appeasement toward the regime, saying that it would only embolden the mullahs and lead to war.

The following are some highlights from the evening’s  speeches:

Australian Senator Meredith Burgmann

Senator Burgmann described the MEK members in Albania as “proud, confident, and strong,” and praised the residents of Ashraf-3 for the construction of their new headquarters. “What you have done in just 12 months in Ashraf-3 is extraordinary.”

Referring to Maryam Rajavi, she said, “The NCRI is a movement in which women are treated as equals. It is headed by a woman and is committed to democracy.”

French Bishop Jacques Gaillot

Bishop Gaillot described his warm feelings toward the residents of Ashraf-3. “When I’m in this city of the Resistance, I feel like I’m among family. You are living for others, for the future of your people. This is extraordinary,” he said.

Cornelia Mitterrand, France Libertés

Ms. Mitterrand addressed the MEK, saying, “Your struggle for a free Iran has many supporters around the world. We hope you’ll soon be victorious in the fight for freedom and democracy in Iran.”

She also vowed to continue to fight to hold the regime accountable for the mass executions of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. “We will not tire in calling on the International Criminal Court to hold Iran’s regime accountable for the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners,” she said.

Eric Sottas, former head of World Organisation Against Torture

Mr. Sottas also discussed the 1988 Massacre. “The rule of law can only be established if justice is served. The perpetrators of Iran’s 1988 Massacre must face justice. We urge the UN to set up a tribunal for this war crime.”

Paulo Casaca, Director, South Asian Democratic Forum

Mr. Casaca spoke of the need to end the mullahs’ regime to achieve peace in the region. “We’ll only achieve peace when there’s a democratic government in Iran, when people view Iran not as a threat but as the great nation that it is. Iran is represented by Sattar Khan, Mohammad Mossadeq & Massoud Rajavi, not by the mullahs,” he said.

Christiane Perregaux, Swiss Human Rights Activist

Ms. Perregaux stated that the MEK has always led the fight against the regime, despite the mullahs’ demonization campaign against them. She called for an end to the policy of appeasement to the regime that has let Iran act without consequences.

 

Malcolm Fowler, The Law Society

Mr. Fowler referred to the regime’s foiled terrorist attack on the 2018 Free Iran rally outside of Paris, saying, “The brutality meted out by Iran’s regime & its attempts to bomb and sabotage the Free Iran gathering in 2018 have come to nothing. The regime’s time is up.”

Former MEP Anne Ferreira

Ms. Ferreira spoke about the regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK, noting that the mullahs sow misinformation because they fear the MEK’s Resistance Units who organize anti-regime protests by teachers, truckers, and people from all sectors of society.

https://twitter.com/iran_policy/status/11450796288030351360.

Phil Glendenning, Director, Edmund Rice Centre

Mr. Glendenning advocated Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point Plan for Iran’s democratic future. “Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a Free Iran is a peace offering and the way forward, not just for Iran, but for all of us. I am here to say I stand with Maryam Rajavi, the most courageous woman on earth.”

 

 

 

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Maryam Rajavi Speaks at International Conference at MEK Headquarters in Albania

International Conference in Ashraf 3 titled, “Mullahs’ regime source of war and instability in the region-Iranian resistance messenger of peace and freedom”-June 29, 2019

The MEK hosted an international conference on Saturday at their headquarters in Albania, Ashraf 3. The conference was entitled “Mullahs’ regime, source of war and instability in the region; Iranian Resistance, messenger of peace and freedom” and included speeches by European and Australian parliamentarians, politicians, lawyers, and religious figures.

An international delegation visited Ashraf 3, the MEK headquarters in Albania, in conjunction with the conference.

Speakers at the conference expressed solidarity with the Iranian people and their desire to end the mullahs’ rule, and they stated their support for the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the viable democratic alternative to the theocratic regime currently in power. They also condemned the regime for its terrorist activities and destabilization of the Middle East, as well as its gross human rights violations against the Iranian people, and called for a firm policy to hold the regime accountable for its actions.

Maryam Rajavi’s Speech

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi gave the keynote address at the conference. Her speech was a fiery condemnation of the regime and the policy of appeasement, coupled with an appeal to the international community to take a firm stance against the Iranian regime.

She thanked the international dignitaries in attendance, noting that their presence at Ashraf 3 “sends a message of solidarity to the people of Iran who are fed up with the ruling theocracy, and are poised to topple it.”

Aggressive Actions

Mrs. Rajavi described Iran’s aggressive actions over the past few weeks, which have included attacks on four commercial ships, the destruction of two major oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia, a rocket attack intended for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, missile attacks on airports in Saudi Arabia, and an attack on a Japanese tanker during a diplomatic visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The latest act of aggression came when the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace.

She noted the hypocrisy of those who have accused the Iranian Resistance of trying to push the U.S. into waging war with Iran in the past. “For their part, an assortment of regime apologists, lobbyists, operatives and agents, who for years had accused the Iranian Resistance and their freedom-loving and humanitarian supporters of being warmongers, claimed that those advocating for human rights and freedom in Iran seek to lure the U.S. to wage war. What a disgraceful lie!” she said.

Mrs. Rajavi asked, “Now, have these attacks made it clear to proponents of appeasement that the Iranian regime is the very source of conflict in the Middle East? Or this time, do they want to give the mullahs a peace prize?”

The president-elect of the Iranian opposition, addressing the International conference at MEK’s compound, Ashraf 3 in Albania- June 2019

“Freedom, democracy and human rights are the Iranian people’s inalienable rights,” Mrs. Rajavi emphasized. “The main question is: Are the Iranian people not entitled to freedom, democracy, and human rights?”

Mrs. Rajavi questioned why European governments have remained silent about the fate of Iranian political prisoners who were arrested for their participation in the December 2017 uprisings.

“During your visit to Tehran when you were taking selfies with regime officials, should you not have at least asked the regime’s president Rouhani to allow you to visit, albeit symbolically, the prisons?” she asked.

Mrs. Rajavi said that the Iranian regime’s attempts to suppress dissent have had the opposite effect. Iran is now a “powder keg” of protests, and the MEK Resistance Units have become a powerful force within the country.

“This explosive situation has compelled the mullahs to resort to crisis-manufacturing,” she said, reminding her audience that regime Supreme Leader Khamenei described the wars in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon as “an important part of the regime’s security.”

“He and other regime leaders have repeatedly acknowledged that without waging wars abroad, they would have to confront the arisen people of Iran “in Kermanshah and Hamedan” or “in Sistan, Azerbaijan, Shiraz, and Isfahan,” Rajavi added.

Failure of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Mrs. Rajavi then turned her focus to the Iran nuclear deal. “Political and commercial partners of the mullahs’ rule on both sides of the Atlantic deliberately cover up the obvious reality that the regime’s warmongering intensified after the July 2015 nuclear accord,” she said.

“On the day of the signing of that agreement, I emphasized on behalf of the Iranian Resistance, that in order to avoid war in the region, the P5+1 ‘should … firmly insist on evicting the regime from the Middle East and prevent its interferences all over the region. This is a fundamental necessity that needs to be included in any agreement as a foundational principle.’”

Mrs. Rajavi stated that she had renewed her concerns in December of 2017, telling European Parliament that “if the ruling religious fascism is not dealt with decisively, it would inflict a deadly conflict on the region and the world.”

Rajavi then described the many times that the Iranian regime violated the deal since 2017, test-firing missiles, distributing weapons to terrorist proxies, and firing ballistic weapons at Saudi Arabia.

She also pointed out that by furthering the policy of appeasement, Europe was allowing the mullahs to continue their bloody wars in Syria and Yemen and their growing meddling in Iraq.

The International conference at MEK’s residents (Ashraf3) in Albania-June 2019

They are also complicit in the regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK, which included a series of attempted terrorist attacks on European soil in 2018.

Mrs. Rajavi went on to emphasize that the Iranian regime is not acting from a position of power but from “a hollow show of force.”

“In reality, the mullahs do not have a reliable military force, and they lack popular support and a sound economic system,” she said.

“At home, the mullahs derive their ‘power’ from executing, torturing and suppressing the defenseless population. Abroad, they act with impunity because no one has challenged their warmongering and terrorism.”

Mrs. Rajavi reiterated that “overthrowing this regime is the sole responsibility of the Iranian people, the great army of liberation, the Resistance and Units of Rebellion.”

The Policy of Appeasement

The overarching theme of Mrs. Rajavi’s speech was the danger of continuing the policy of appeasement, and she spent a portion of her address specifically reaffirming this message.

“The policy of appeasement has portrayed the mullahs’ empty rhetoric and warmongering as a reflection of their power,” she said.

“The policy of appeasement has given the mullahs free rein to engage in misinformation and demonization campaigns against the Mojahedin [MEK] and the Iranian Resistance, and to prevent the formation of a front against the mullahs’ religious fascism, with the Iranian Resistance at its core,” she continued.

“And finally, this is a policy that has deliberately turned a blind eye to the de facto war the regime has been waging against other countries in the region,” Mrs. Rajavi added.

Rajavi urged European leaders not to repeat the damage done to the Iranian people by making concessions to the mullahs again. She said anyone partnering with the regime to circumvent sanctions was complicit in preserving their dictatorship.

Calls to Action

Mrs. Rajavi closed her speech with several calls to action.

“Blacklisting the corrupt and vicious core of the regime, the Office of the Supreme Leader Khamenei, which took place after a three-decade delay, has been welcomed by the Iranian public. The blacklisting must be extended to the regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani,” she said.

“The UN Security Council must declare that the clerical regime in Iran is a threat to global peace and security,” she went on.

“The dossier of human rights abuses and massacre of political prisoners in Iran must be referred to the UN Security Council and international tribunals,” Mrs. Rajavi continued.

“We call on all countries to join the international front against the religious fascism,” she said.

“The International community, and specifically the European Union, must recognize that resistance is the Iranian people’s right to establish the sovereignty of the people of Iran,” she concluded.

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Tulip square- Ashraf 3, Albania

MEK Iran: 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 Iran), noticed individual acting strangely near their compound. The stranger was Eskil Engdal a “journalist” working for Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

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

A History of Terror

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

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

Albanian President Expresses Support for Expulsion of Iranian Regime Diplomats

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

Aiding and Abetting the Regime’s Terror Agenda

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

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

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

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

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

A Mouthpiece for Regime Lies

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

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

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

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Iranian regime's embassy in Albania

The Iranian Regime Is Planning to Send Spies and Terrorists to Albania

Iranian regime's embassy in Albania

The Embassy of the Iranian regime in Albania, last year Iranian regime’s ambassador and his deputy were expelled from Albania for their involvement in failed terrorist plots against MEK members in Albania

In December 2018, the Albanian government expelled Gholamhossein Mohammadnia, the Iranian ambassador, and Mostafa Roudaki, the head of the Iranian regime’s intelligence station in the country. At the time, the decision was applauded by governments across the globe, including the Trump administration in the US.

The decision came on the back of a string of foiled Iranian state-sponsored terror plots on European soil. The Iranian regime had been using its web of European embassies to coordinate terror attacks against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest Iranian opposition group.

One such attack, planned during the Persian New Year celebrations in 2018, was due to be carried on in Albania. The regime had planned to detonate a bomb at the MEK’s compound in the country. The plot was foiled by Albanian authorities in the late stages of execution.

Renewed Attempts to Infiltrate Albania

Now, just six months later, there have been reports of renewed regime attempts to infiltrate Albania. The regime is once again trying to send spies and assassins to the country to target MEK members.

Based on reports obtained by MEK sources inside the Iranian regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have prepared a delegation of spies and terrorists that will attempt to enter the country under the guise of businesspeople and journalists. Gholam Hossein Kazemi, a senior figure in the IRGC and director of Asia-Kar Bakhtar, a contracting company, will likely head the delegation. The regime will secure visas and residence permits for IRGC agents under the name of Kazemi’s company.

A Tried and Tested Technique

Senior officials in the regime have publicly revealed that this is a favorite tried and tested strategy for regime agents. They apply for visas and residence permits under the name of state-affiliated companies or as foreign journalists. Once inside the country, they connect with other agents and coordinate terror attacks and assassinations.

Ali Fallahian, the former head of intelligence for the Iranian regime, said: “The Ministry of Intelligence needs cover to gather information, whether inside or outside of the country.” He added, “we do not send an intelligence officer to Germany or the United States saying I am from the Ministry of Intelligence. It is necessary to have [a] business or journalism cover.”

An Albanian TV network named Report TV revealed that Albanian counterintelligence agencies had been actively monitoring 10 persons of interest in the country. “Law enforcement agencies in Albania are particularly concerned about Iranians who may be employed by Tehran’s secret services to take steps to compromise the protection of 3000 Iranian PMOI refugees in Albania,” it said.

Now Is the Time

In a statement, the Iranian opposition reminded governments around the world that the Iranian regime’s terror activities across Europe have deadly consequences. In light of recent planned terror attacks in the US, Albania, France, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, the MEK urged European and US government to include both the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and the IRGC on their international terror blacklists.

Only through the IRGC and MOIS’s complete exclusion from the international financial system and collapse of their donor base will the international community be able to mitigate the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism. To eliminate the threat in its entirety, nothing short of regime change in Iran will succeed.

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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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Mario Baldasaro releases new report on the Iranian regime funding terrorism.

Italian Politicians Hold Conference on Iranian Regime Terrorism

Mario Baldasaro releases new report on the Iranian regime funding terrorism.

Conference at the Headquarter of Italy’s Radical Party, introducing a report by the former Deputy Finance Minister of Italy, Mario Baldasaro entitled “What if Iran spent its terror group budget on domestic issues?”

On Friday, Mario Baldasaro, former Deputy Finance Minister of Italy, released a report entitled “What if Iran spent its terror group budget on domestic issues?” at a conference held at the headquarters of Italy’s Radical Party and hosted by former Italian MP Elisabetta Zamparutti. Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Senator Lucio Malan, Senator Roberto Rampi, former Italian MP Nicola Chirachi, Hands Off Cain Secretary Sergio Dalia, and Iranian community spokesman Behzad Bahrebar also spoke at the conference.

Elisabetta Zamparutti

Former MP Zamparutti opened the conference by reminding attendees of the lengths that the Iranian regime has gone to in its attempts to eliminate the MEK and continue its rule. She noted that the regime’s ambassador and one of its diplomats were expelled from Albania because of their roles in an attempted terrorist attack on the MEK headquarters in Tirana (Asraf 3). She added that Iran executes more of its citizens per capita than any other country in the world.

Mario Baldasaro

Baldasaro presented his report on the Iranian regime’s financial support of terrorist groups, which found that the mullahs budget at least $1 billion per year to its proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Latin America. Baldasaro stated that over the past four years, this money could have created 2.4 million jobs and reconstructed the country’s infrastructure if it had not been spent on terrorism.

Lucio Malan

Senator Malan’s speech concerned financial corruption and human rights violations under the regime’s rule. He stressed that the mullahs stay in power through their use of executions, torture, lashing, and crackdowns against religious and ethnic minorities. He emphasized that Western countries should not ignore these acts and should stop doing business with the Iranian regime.

Roberto Rampi

Senator Rampi, who sits on the Italian Senate Human Rights Committee condemned the regime for its oppression of its own people and its aggression toward neighboring countries. He pointed out that the Iranian regime is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world and that global stability cannot be achieved without taking a firm stance against the mullahs.

Giulio Terzi

Giulio Terzi cited several studies which describe Iran as a global threat. He condemned the mullahs for plundering the wealth of the Iranian people to maintain its rule and reminded conference attendees of the Iranian regime’s role in propping up Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. He called for a firm policy toward the mullahs and an end to the policy of appeasement.

Nicola Chirachi

Chirachi praised the tough stance by the United States against the Iranian regime and encouraged Europe to take a stand against the mullahs as well. He emphasized that the regime has been forced to its knees politically, socially, and economically, and it is necessary to take a firm approach in confronting its policies.

Behzad Bahrebar

Behzad Bahrebar thanked Mr. Baldasaro for his research, saying that the report about the economic crisis caused by the mullahs’ corruption and plundering of the people’s wealth paints a sobering picture of the catastrophic effects of the regime’s rule. Bahrebar pointed out that the Iranian Resistance has said for forty years that the regime cannot be reformed.

Sergio Dalia

Hands Off Cain Secretary Sergio Dalia wrapped up the conference with a speech about the regime’s human rights record, which includes more than 3,800 executions during regime Hassan Rouhani’s tenure as President. He also described the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners over the course of a single summer, a crime against humanity for which no one has ever been held accountable. Many of the perpetrators of this atrocity have risen to high-ranking offices within the regime, including the current judiciary chief. Dalia concluded that Europe’s policy of appeasement jeopardizes regional and global security.

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Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson: “Eighty Million Iranians Have Lost Their Fear”

Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson, the former MEP, considers the #IRGC FTO designation by the U.S. a further nail in the coffin for the clerical dictatorship ruling Iran.

The former member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson published an op-ed in the Scotsman. In the piece, entitled ‘Donald Trump is intent on Downfall of This Fascist Regime’, Stevenson welcomes the US governments recent pressure on the Iranian regime and describes how ordinary Iranians are increasingly turning away from the regime and protesting its mismanagement of Iranian resources and rampant human rights abuses.

“Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the temporary waivers that had enabled countries like Iraq, Turkey, India, Japan, and China to continue purchasing Iranian oil without breaching US sanctions has hammered the final nail into the mullahs’ coffin,” Stevenson writes.

The decision constricts the flow of finances into the mullahs’ coffers and prevents them from increasing their spending on repressive mechanisms and efforts to destabilize other Middle Eastern nations.

The Iranian regime, through its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has funneled money to the militia and terrorist groups across the Middle East and beyond. Its proxies have been active in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. The abrupt end of its oil exports will reduce its ability to provide these financial resources to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Tightening the Pressure

Stevenson describes how President Trumps decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement signed under Obama and reintroduction of economic sanctions against the Iranian dictatorship is putting increased economic strain on the regime. “the Iranian economy was already in freefall,” he writes, “with the rial collapsing and inflation soaring against a background of nationwide protests.”

The US government’s most recent move to isolate the Iranian regime and cut off the resources at its disposal was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week. Pompeo revealed that the US would add the IRGC to its international terror blacklist.

The listing will effectively make it a crime for any US citizen or organization to provide advice, services, assistance, money, or resources to the IRGC. Given the IRGC controls around 90% of the Iranian economy, “it will be virtually impossible for anyone to trade with Iran without breaching US sanctions or facing severe penalties for dealing with a listed terrorist organization,” Stevenson predicted.

The Next Step

For Stevenson and the Iranian opposition including the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), the US must go further and add the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to the same foreign terrorist organization (FTO) blacklist.

The MOIS coordinates Iran’s elaborate global network of spies and terrorists. Last year it was behind a number of failed attacks in the US, France, and Albania, the most severe of which was thwarted when a Belgian-Iranian couple was found carrying 500g of homemade explosives destined for the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris. An Iranian diplomat had provided the couple with the explosive device along with precise instructions of where and how to coordinate the attack on the Iranian opposition group and its allies.

While disaster was narrowly averted, for the more than 100,000 attendees, including President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, it was undoubtedly a traumatizing ordeal.

In a similar incident, Albanian President Edi Rama expelled the Iranian Ambassador and his First Secretary. The president cited national security concerns, suggesting that the pair posed a risk to Albanian security and the country’s inhabitants.

“Once again, these ‘so-called’ diplomats were revealed as trained MOIS agents who had been plotting bomb attacks and assassinations of regime opponents in Albania,” Stevenson writes.” There are growing demands for Iran’s embassies, which are clearly being used as bomb factories and terrorist cells, to be closed down throughout the EU.”

An Increasingly Angry Public

At home, the international isolation of the regime is becoming a source of frustration for the Iranian public. Protests rack Iran’s cities on a near daily basis, with the Iranian population calling explicitly for regime change.

The public is demonstrating. They will no longer tolerate the regime’s violence, economic mismanagement, and lies. They chant, “the enemy is here, not in America!”

“They have watched as the elderly, bearded, misogynistic mullahs have corruptly enriched themselves while also sponsoring international terrorism and proxy wars,” Stevenson writes. They will no longer stand by while Iranian finances are funneled to despots and terrorists abroad.

In response to the growing protest movement, the mullahs have sent the IRGC, its main repressive organ, to silence and arrest protestors. Several of those arrested have been tortured to death in regime custody. Many more languish in squalid conditions in Iranian prisons and are subject to show trials and routine beatings.

In the wake of recent flooding, the mullahs even resorted to contracting foreign mercenaries to silence protestors and quell public dissent. Rather than make the IRGC’s helicopters, boats, and shelters available to the Iranian public, they withheld them, leaving the public to organize relief and rescue efforts themselves.

A Tipping Point?

“Eighty million Iranians have lost their fear,” Stevenson writes, “they have watched as the appeasement policy of the Obama administration and his EU allies has been consigned to the dustbins of history. They long for the freedom, justice, human rights, women’s rights, an end to the death penalty, an end to the nuclear threat and the restoration of a secular democracy that is being offered by the main and best-organized opposition movement, the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK).”

With the US president taking a firmer approach against the brutal dictatorship in Iran, the Iranian public feel empowered to protest and defy the regime’s tyranny. MEK resistance units are active across Iran offering hope and opposing the regime’s crimes wherever they occur.

Stevenson concludes: “The Iranian population now recognizes that they have support in the West. They know that the US administration will continue to turn the screw until this evil regime is replaced and peace and stability in the Middle East and worldwide can be restored.”

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Regime Apologist Publishes Falsehoods and Propaganda 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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