Iran Regime’s Fake News Against PMOI (MEK)
By Mahmoud Hakamian
The term “fake news” is thrown around a lot lately, sometimes by people who wish to deny accurate facts in a news story that do not fit in with their accepted narrative of the world, but it is a troubling phenomenon that must be rooted out in order to trust the media to act as a watchdog.
One case of fake news has hit the very core of European journalism. Claas Relotius, an editor of Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine, has been printing fabricated news articles in the Spiegel over the past seven years, often not bothering to visit the places or interview the people he wrote about.
However, in a statement condemning his conduct, the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) questioned how Relotius’s behaviour differed from other deliberate international misinformation campaigns, specifically those targeting the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The ISJ tweeted: “Is #spiegelgate the Western press’ worst scandal? What about #Iran’s misinformation campaign?”
After all, while Relotius was a profound peddler of lies, he is far from the only journalist doing so.
Over the past few months and years, The Guardian, The Independent, Channel 4 News, and Al Jazeera have all published articles on the MEK, which only relied on information from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). Anyone can see that collecting information on the MEK from the Regime that has banned its existence and seeks to eradicate it is a bad idea.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, wrote in the ISJ statement that it was time to “break the silence” regarding the Iranian Regime’s “malign influence” in the Western press.
He wrote: “The media outlets responsible for disseminating the Iran articles based on distorted facts and dishonest sources seem unwilling to do so. Shame on them.”
These so-called journalists published the Iranian Regime’s propaganda, including outright lies about the MEK, without bothering to fact check long-disproved claims or contact the MEK for a response, meaning that their articles lack the balance necessary for news items. These articles, which are in essence complete propaganda, promote a hostile view of the MEK in supposedly reputable news outlets.
One example is “journalist” Arron Reza Merat who published an anti-MEK hit piece in the British newspaper, The Guardian, where he regurgitated claims of murder and kidnap. These claims come directly from the Regime and any journalist worth their salt would have found out that these accusations are baseless and have long been debunked. He used MOIS agents as his sources, all of whom he claimed were ex-MEK members.
Thankfully, these anti-MEK articles have failed to convince international governments to change their positions on the MEK and the Iranian Regime. More and more governments are recognising the role of the MEK in the Iranian Resistance, as well as the malign ways that the Regime uses to attack the MEK and the rest of the world.
Just one month after Merat’s hit piece on the MEK was published, the Albanian government expelled its Iranian diplomats for conspiring against the MEK refugees in the country. This was applauded by Donald Trump who expressed the US’s gratitude to Albania for its “steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents [including the MEK] around the globe”.
The Regime is terrified of the MEK, especially given the wave of MEK-organised protests that are putting pressure on them domestically, so they will resort to any measures to silence the MEK. That means that media outlets and Western governments should be wary of any anti-MEK hit pieces that they find.