Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Reza Merat
The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) revealed on Thursday that it had sent two letters to the editor of the Guardian, a UK-based newspaper. In the letters, MEK spokesperson Shahin Gobadi warned that the Iranian regime is trying to use its newspaper as a political mouthpiece to advance its agenda.
Under the guise of “journalists”, the regime attempts to demonize the MEK the main Iranian opposition movement. Smear campaigns are a regular occurrence, designed to legitimise attacks, kidnappings and assassination attempts made against the group.
2 Letters to the Guardian, Warning Against #Iran Regime's Plans to Exploit the Newspaper and Set the Stage for Terrorism Against the Oppositionhttps://t.co/RBUCyxTt9z #PMOI #MEK pic.twitter.com/ekY0ZUzoGM
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 1, 2018
A Slanderous Article
The first letter drew attention to the “slanderous article by Arron Reza Merat against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran”. It warned the Guardian’s editor that Merat’s article would “be riddled with lies, slander, and baseless allegations against the Iranian resistance”. Warning that these, should they appear in print, could provide the foundations for legal action.
Arron Reza Merat is preparing an article on the MEK and has reached out to senior members of the MEK for an interview.
However, Merat is far from an objective journalist. He is a public advocate of the clerical regime in Iran. He also has an extensive history of publicly criticizing and condemning the MEK and other Iranian resistance groups.
A Future Attack?
In the letters, the MEK spokesperson laid out its concerns that in giving Merat an international platform to spout the regime’s propaganda, the Guardian would be setting the stage for a future terrorist attack against MEK.
The Iranian regime has increased its terror activities in recent months. In March, Albanian authorities foiled a planned terror attack against the MEK during the Persian New Year celebrations. Then, in June, Belgian authorities intercepted a couple driving a car laden with explosives. Their target was the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering in Paris.
Most recently, Danish officials revealed a regime-sponsored plot on Danish soil to kidnap and murder a political dissident.
In a letter dated October 3rd, the MEK spokesperson called the Guardian’s coverage of the June Paris attack, full of “wild allegations, slander, and smears that totally tarnished the image of the PMOI (MEK), which was used to justify and legitimize this criminal act”.
The spokesperson also called out the newspapers “hysterical enmity towards delisting of the PMOI [from the US, UK and EU terrorist blacklist]” as, “utterly shameful”, reiterating that the “highest courts in the UK, EU, and the US had repeatedly determined that the terrorist designation was unjust and perverse”.
Shoring Up Regime Power
In addition to legitimizing attacks against the MEK, the MEK spokesperson reiterated that the article would bolster the regime’s power at a time when it is at its most vulnerable.
The MEK’s popularity is rising. It now represents a significant domestic threat to the regime. External threats are also mounting as the latest round of US sanctions is due to hit in a matter of days.
The regime needs an article like Merat’s to shore up its leadership and cement its position in power.
Gobadi concluded his letters by reiterating that the MEK had no objection to the Guardian reporting on its activities. But it wants the newspaper to exercise “primary journalistic principles” and correct the lies it has previously reported about the regime, as well as using actual objective journalists in its future reporting.
Using mouthpieces of the regime only serves to increase the danger for MEK members by increasing the likelihood of future attacks allow the regime to shore up its power. A newspaper of international acclaim like the Guardian should understand its journalistic obligations and consider them before publishing future articles on the MEK.