Mullahs' new propaganda scheme against PMOI, Iranian Resistance
The Iranian society’s explosive situation and the escalating internal feuding among the ruling mullahs foretell of the “countdown” for the clerical regime in Iran. The unprecedented wave of public executions and the implementation of inhuman punishments such as stoning, eye-gouging and limb amputations have failed to thwart the expansion of popular protests and uprisings (numbering more than 1,000 just this year).
In the aftermath of September 11 tragedy, while the ruling mullahs seek to divert attention of the international community from their ominous terrorist record in the past two decades which include some 450 terrorist assaults outside Iranian borders, their Interior Ministry (MOIS) has spent exuberant sums and engaged in a misinformation campaign against the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance.
To this end, last spring and summer a number of MOIS operatives were dispatched abroad. Posing as “former PMOI members and leaders,” these agents were aiming to accuse the PMOI of human rights abuses and terrorism. The plot was revealed at the time in letters by the Iranian Resistance to international human rights organizations and those defending human rights as well as through revelations by the PMOI and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Through its agents abroad, the MOIS also mailed a number of English language booklets – published in Tehran - in the name of these functionaries and bogus associations abroad to government officials, political personalities and parliamentarians in Western countries, including Britain, Sweden, Luxembourg, the United States and the European Parliament.
One such booklet is a full-color, very expensive English-language pamphlet, Insight, which a so-called Damavand cultural association, has published in Canada. An Intelligence Ministry operative, Ali-Akbar Rastgou, representing the so-called DENA cultural association in Germany, has mailed this pamphlet to thousands of people. A detailed statement by another MOIS agent Mohammad Hossein Sobhani, acting on behalf of Peyand Association, and accompanied by a letter signed by a dozen or so already spent MOIS operatives, is another example of MOIS mailings.
This is not the first time that the clerical regime resorts to such transparent ploys. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran would like to make the following brief presentation concerning those involved in the production, publication and the distribution of such nonsensical publications:
1. These booklets are produced in Tehran under the supervision of the MOIS and Brig. Gen. Hossein Shariatmadari, a senior interrogator and henchman, who is the managing editor of the state-controlled Kayhan daily. The paper’s printing facilities put out these booklets. Earlier, during the internal power struggle, the regime’s officials and media revealed that the Intelligence Ministry, Kayhan and Shariatmadari prepare many of the anti-Mojahedin publications and books distributed abroad.
2. These booklets are replete with lies and slanders the MOIS has been putting out against the PMOI since early 1990s. A former Intelligence Ministry agent abroad Jamshid Tafrishi wrote a letter to then-United Nations Special Representative on human rights in Iran Professor Maurice Danby Copithorne and sent an affidavit to the District of Columbia Appeals Court in 2001. He wrote: “I actively participated in the Iranian regime conspiracy to accuse PMOI of human rights violations. I was also engaged in other plans such as providing false information about PMOI to foreign governments… Alleging human rights abuses against the PMOI and the NCRI was one of the most serious projects the Ministry was pursuing outside Iran with me and a number of its other agents. The Ministry was convinced that if it were successful in neutralizing the PMOI and the NCRI in their actions that exposed human rights abuses in Iran, the United Nations would no longer condemn the Iranian regime. They felt that the only way to achieve this was to accuse the PMOI of human rights abuses. Thus, acting as disaffected members of the PMOI, our responsibility was to accuse the organization of human rights abuses in order to disarm them of the human rights weapon.”
3. The British All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group wrote in Iran: State of Terror (Published in London in June 1996):
Another method is using the small number of defectors who had at one stage co-operated with opposition organizations and individuals. These persons, due to their low or non-existent motivation to continue the struggle and maintain their principles, allowed themselves to be bought by the regime at a later stage. Such people have so far provided the regime's terrorists in Europe with most extensive intelligence and political services. In addition to providing information on the assassination targets to the regime, they prepare the political grounds for the murders of dissidents by spreading propaganda against the individuals or organizations they had previously co-operated with, defaming them and accusing them of being worse than the ruling regime. (emphasis added).
4. In its 2001 report, published on May 28, 2002, the Dutch Security Service wrote: "The Intelligence Ministry tries to gather information on the Mojahedin through its members and ex-members as much as possible. Intelligence Ministry officers are instructed to spread negative information against the People's Mojahedin Organization (and its members)."
5. Forming cultural associations to disseminate false propaganda against the Iranian Resistance is an all too familiar ploy by the Intelligence Ministry. In its annual 1999 report, Germany’s Office for Protection of the Constitution wrote: “The People’s Mujahiddin of Iran (MEK) and its political arm, the Nationaler Widerstandsrat Iran (NWR-National Resistance Council of Iran), continued to be the focus of the intelligence interest of the Iranian intelligence service. In its fight against the Iranian opposition – in exile - VEVAK makes use of so-called “culture associations”. These are cover organizations founded and directed by VEVAK and acting in accordance with Iran’s interests and wishes. In addition, the Iranian service initiates anti-MEK publications which in part are published by former MEK activists and have the aim of persuading the readers of these publications to turn their backs upon this organization.”
6. The signatory of the cover letter sent along with “Insight” to its recipients, is an MOIS operative by the name of Ali-Akbar Rastgou. Under the guise of an Iranian oppositionist, he works actively on behalf of the Iranian regime and against Iranian political refugees, and travels frequently and secretly to Iran. In February 2000, the police in Germany, the Netherlands and several other European countries interrogated and warned Rastgou and a number of other MOIS agents in Europe over their contacts with the MOIS and receiving payments from it. This was so scandalous that MOIS publications abroad were compelled to acknowledge it. (Peyvand publication, February 2000).
7. As far as another MOIS agent Mohammad Hossein Sobhani is concerned, NCRI’s Committee on Security and Counter-terrorism issued statements on April 30, 2002 and June 24, 2002, revealing: “Mohammad-Hossein Sobhani... ran away from a Mojahedin base in the Iran-Iraq border region three years ago, after it became known that he was an intelligence agent. He was arrested in Iraq and sent to Iran in a completely legal manner. The Intelligence Ministry sent him to Germany recently on an assignment to work with other Ministry agents in Europe." In this regard, an Iranian refugee, Mahmoud Massoudi, who was in contact with MOIS agents for seven years, wrote a letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers on Augusts 18, 2002. Massoudi unveiled the MOIS plot against the PMOI and presented a brief report on his eight-hour long meeting with Sobhani in the German city of Doblen. He also provided the text of the interview he had recorded on tape with Sohbani. The letter stated in part: “Sobhani claims that his 'mission' abroad is to fight against the Mojahedin and the person of Mr. Massoud Rajavi and the most important thing, he says, is to attack Mr. Rajavi. He also said that he was responsible for organizing other 'Mojahedin defectors' who 'escape' from Iran.”
8. Mojahed weekly, issue number 592, dated July 2, 2002, has dealt extensively with the case of individuals whose names appear at the end of a booklet that carries Sobhani’s signature and who are claimed to have been among “Mojahedin defectors” or “held in Mojahedin prisons in Iran” or “handed over to Iraqi officials.” In separate letters, international human rights organizations have been informed of their status. A number of those on the list were MOIS agents who were sent to Iraq to infiltrate the ranks of the PMOI and the National Liberation Army of Iran and carry out sabotage operations. Their names and missions were exposed in Mojahed weekly, issue number 380, dated March 2, 1998 and issue number 592. After their contacts with MOIS were exposed, they were repatriated the same way they had come. Another group were former POWs who are totally unrelated to the PMOI. A third group requested or personally took the initiative to ask legal authorities to return to Iran to lead a normal life. A large number of these individuals were ordinary criminals or smugglers who had been arrested in Iraq and had no contact whatsoever with the PMOI.
9. For example, one person whose name appears on that list is Bahram Khajavi. The booklet put out by the MOIS under Sobhani’s name states in part: “Bahram Khajavi who was a member of the Mojahedin Organization, committed suicide by setting himself on fire in 1988 while being kept in solitary confinement by the Mojahedin. I have precise information that he has been kept in Rajavi's solitary cells since 1988.” The fact is that Bahram Khajavi left the PMOI 10 years ago and went to live in Pakistan. A copy of the receipt for 1,800,000 rials, which was given to him by the PMOI, together with his letter of appreciation and farewell to the PMOI on the day of his departure to Pakistan 10 years ago is available.
10. The PMOI consists of entirely volunteers and the Iranian Resistance (for obvious reasons) exercises no judicial authority on Iraqi soil. Despite being engaged in a ferocious struggle against the mullahs’ tyranny, the PMOI has refrained from bringing to justice enemy infiltrators. Whereas elsewhere around the world, including Europe and the United States, which are not at war, spies receive the harshest of sentences. Despite 120,000 martyrs, including those murdered by infiltrators, consistent with guidelines set by the Resistance’s Leader Mr. Massoud Rajavi, not even one of these agents have been punished outside Iran and, instead, have been let go to continue with their lives.
11. On October 30, 2002, the clerical regime dispatched a group of its agents, posing as families of the Mojahedin members, to stage a gathering outside the United Nations Development Office in Tehran to complain about the imprisonment of their children in Iraq by the PMOI. Commenting on this ludicrous stage-managing, Mr. Rajavi said: “If the mullahs are true to their words, they should allow anyone who is concerned about the status of their children or relatives in PMOI camps, to rush to meet them at the Mojahedin’s expense. We guarantee the safety and return of these guests. As an assurance, the clerical regime can send representatives of Tehran’s U.N. office along with these families. Even if any of the Mojahedin wished to return to Iran along with his/her family, we would facilitate that… The gates of PMOI bases are not only open to PMOI families but all Iranians.” Previously, NCRI’s President had repeatedly called on Professor Copithorne and Amnesty International to visit NLA bases along the border strip to see for themselves the falsity of the mullahs’ claims. The Iranian Resistance has also called on the U.N. Secretary General to dispatch fact-finding mission to investigate the lies churned out by the mullahs and their operatives. But, they have chosen not to conduct such visits.
12. Finally, the freedom of action enjoyed by the Intelligence Ministry’s spies, terrorists and agents against the Iranian Resistance and refugees in Europe, while the masterminds and perpetrators of the murders of dozens of Iranian dissidents on European soil, including the April 1990 assassination of Professor Kazem Rajavi in Geneva and the cold-blooded murder in March 1993 of Mohammad Hossein Naghdi in Rome, have yet to face justice, clearly contradicts the recognized human rights values and only serves as encouragement to terrorism across the world today. The Iranian Resistance calls for the expulsion of the mullahs’ intelligence agents from European countries and the continuing violation of the rights of Iranian refugees and asylum-seekers.
Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 12, 2002