Open Letter: Protest at Appeasement Reportage on MEK Iran by BBC
Iranians Action, Supporter PMOI-MEK in Australia to Protest Executions by Iranian Regime. file photo
The Committee of the Australian Supporters of Democracy in Iran (CASDI), protested British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), for its appeasement reportage on the MEK, the principal opposition to the dictatorship ruling Iran, also referred to as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).
CASDI in an open letter addressed to Tony Hall, the Director-General and Editor in Chief of BBC, writes:
“ We are writing in response to two radio podcasts broadcast by the BBC Sounds on November 7, 2019, (Albania’s Iranian Guests) and November 9, 2019 (Iran’s opposition movement in exile) , and a text posted on the same site on November 11, 2019 (The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex).
We have both visited the MEK in Tirana, in 2017 and 2019, and confidently refute the assertions made in your programs that there is no internet at Ashraf-3 and that people are not free to speak or to come and go. Ashraf-3 certainly does not look like a military base, since it has no parade ground or arsenal of weapons. It is a modern urban development.
The broader account of the MEK given in the program – that it is “Islamic Marxist Radicals” – is well-known to be false. The MEK ideology is “democratic Islam”. The implication in the pieces that MEK is terrorist because of the previous terrorist listing is an embarrassment to BBC journalism since it was the UK Supreme Court in 2008 which found the terrorist tag to be “perverse”. Between 2003 and 2009, when Camp Ashraf in Iraq was under US military control, it was completely safe and visitors were able to come and go, and so Gholam Mirzai was blatantly lying when he said his family was turned away at Camp Ashraf by the MEK. Iranian government attacks after the US withdrawal in 2009 were numerous and deadly. From the time of the US withdrawal, virtually no one could enter Camp Ashraf because of the directives of the Iraqi government and its guide in Tehran.
A repeated assertion in the program that the MEK refused a recorded interview is a direct lie, because Linda Pressly and Albana Kasapi, the journalist and producer, had over 5 hours’ discussion with MEK representative Ms. Dowlat Nowrouzi, on October 10, 2019. Moreover, they were offered free movement inside Ashraf-3 and the opportunity to interview whoever they wished.
WHY BBC HAS BECOME MULLAHS MOUTHPIECE?— Dowlat Nowrouzi (@DowlatNowrouzi) November 12, 2019
Mass uprisings in Iraq,Lebanon,#IranProtests &activities of Resistance Units,intl sanctions,visit to Ashraf3 by 350MPs &polititians undermined regime’s strategic pillars,Mullahs grasping at BBC straws 2survive#FakeNews#StopYellowJournalism pic.twitter.com/nZV7KryF42
Instead, they interviewed two Iranians in Tirana who was no longer MEK members but suppressed the fact that both of these are working with the Iranian intelligence service.
One of them, Hassan Heyrany, was expelled from the MEK on April 9, 2018, and had apologized to MEK and asked for assistance on April 20, 2019.
The other, Gholam Mirzai was released from the MEK in September 2016 and they assisted him to reach Albania then, and he had re-applied to join the MEK in Albania.
This information was available to the BBC but was ignored. Between the two broadcasts of Nov 7 and November 9, all positive comments about the MEK in Albania by Albanian politicians and
neighbors at Ashraf-3 were removed, strongly suggesting that the Iranian government made a successful intervention to obtain those changes.
At no stage did your podcasts inform listeners that serious terror bombings against the MEK in Tirana and at Ashraf-3 had been foiled and that on October 23, 2019, the Albanian Police reported the Iranian government’s terrorist plots against the MEK members in Albania through the services of “former members”. Yet this was during the production of these podcasts.
References to Iranian government assassinations and attempted bombings in Europe were made, but only to downplay them as “accusations”. There was no mention of the massive loss of life through political executions in Iran over the last 40 years.
Overall, the impact of these podcasts was to discredit the MEK as an alternative to the current theocratic dictatorship in Iran, precisely at the moment when the Iranian government is losing
control in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and facing massive internal protest. Genuine service to Tehran.
The programs’ repeated assertion of sexual repression in the MEK– completely uncorroborated - is the strangest aspect of an argument that somehow the current dictatorship is preferable to the democratic Islam promoted by the MEK.
This is a real scandal for the BBC, which I urge you to take action to correct at the earliest opportunity.
The Hon Dr. Meredith Burgmann
CC Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC
The Honourable Dr. Meredith Burgmann - Claire Moore - Doug Cameron - Penny Sharpe MLC - Sylvia Hale - Sonia- Hornery MLA – Don Nardella - Rev Brian Medway - Stephen Pitt Walker – Fr Claude Mostowik - Dr. Arthur Chesterfield- Evans - Bruce Childs - Dr. Jocelynne A. Scutt - Dr. Nina Burridge - Phil Glendenning - Professor Stuart Rees - Richard Walsham
Treasurer - Mohammed Sadeghpour
Secretaries - Peter Murphy & Fr Claude Mostowik