On February 28, Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s monarch dictator, the Shah, ranted against the country’s main opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), where he regurgitated the Iranian regime’s talking points about the organization.
Reza Pahlavi, who tried to market the deposed monarchy in his so-called European tour, attended a self-promoting session in the Belgium parliament. While trying to present himself as the forefront of a “democratic alternative” to the Iranian regime and despite his deafening cries of “unity,” Shah’s offspring used his opportunity to slander the most long-standing opposition to the ruling theocracy by rehashing the mullahs’ allegations against the MEK.
Reza Pahlavi listed several accusations against the MEK, matching those already published or said by Iran’s state media and officials.
One of the most abhorrent lies and allegations Pahlavi regurgitated was accusing the MEK of participation in Iraq, Halabja chemical bombing. Shah’s offspring, who has acknowledged on several occasions that he is in “bilateral” contact with the IRGC terrorists, once again complained about the MEK’s fight with this force and accused the organization of killing “our troops.”
“Inside Iran, the MEK is very ill-perceived because of its terroristic past. The fact that they fought the war against our troops during the Iran-Iraq war and the fact that they did participate in the chemical bombing of Halabcheh against the Kurds and many other aspects that is tied to their history,” Pahlavi claimed.
“The chemical bombing of Halabja was a part of the joint crime between Rajavi and Saddam. This was part of an “Anfal” operation, during which more than 3,000 villages were destroyed. The Iraqi Baath army killed more than 182,000 defenseless people with the cooperation of the MEK terrorist grouplet,” wrote the state-run akharinkhabar on March 17, 2015.
On September 27, the French TV channel ARTE aired an exclusive program on Saddam Hussein’s trial. In the program, Emmanuel Ludot, French lawyer of the former Iraqi president, revealed that the Iranian regime’s ambassador in France invited him to the Iranian Embassy, where he suggested that both Iraq and the Iranian regime avoid accusing one another over the chemical bombing of Halabja. Instead, they would both attribute that measure to the MEK. Mr. Ludot shockingly told ARTE that the Iranian point of contact in the embassy went even as far as to offer him $100 million dollars for the deal to settle.
A 1999 legal document signed by a senior official of a major Iraqi Kurdish group was obtained separately by Reuters. The document, signed by former Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zibari, stated that there was no proof of Mujahideen’s (MEK) involvement in the Iraqi government’s 1991 campaign against the Kurds. The Iraqi Kurds have regular communication with the Iranian government. The document explicitly stated that the Mujahedin had no role in suppressing the Kurdish people during the uprising or afterward. Additionally, there was no indication of any hostility exercised by the Mujahedin towards the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.
This 1999 letter by Hoshyar Zebari, Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq's foreign policy spox, later Iraqi FM, is a definitive affirmation that #Iran regime's allegation of MEK involvement in the suppression of Iraqi Kurds 32 years ago was patently false. #No2ShahNo2Mullahs pic.twitter.com/SmqMJ8Vvkf
— Ali Safavi (@amsafavi) March 7, 2023
In other words, Reza Pahlavi, like other Tehran pundits and “friendly journalists,” relies on sources like the regime’s state media and officials to accuse the MEK of involvement in the Halabja chemical bombing.
The son of Iran’s ousted dictator also accused the MEK of having a “strict cult-like mentality.” This rhetoric is indeed worn-out since all of the regime’s state media and officials incessantly use it.
“The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MEK) is a group that presents itself as a political opposition, but in reality, it is a terrorist organization that operates as a cult by organizing and recruiting individuals,” wrote the state-run qudsonline website on February 13, 2023.
In his litany of lies against Iran’s principal opposition group, Reza Pahlavi also claimed that the MEK members are deprived of “having independent and free access to communication with others.”
It seems that Reza Pahlavi hasn’t been updated with new allegations by his contacts in the IRGC! It has been a long time since the regime used this accusation. Nowadays, Tehran accuses the opposition of having a “cyber army” in Albania, where the MEK members are based.
“The Cyber Unit, also known as the computer room, was not a new concept within the MEK group. It had previously existed in [Camps] Ashraf and Liberty but was only accessible to a select few leaders and organization members prior to the MEK’s change in missions to the use of virtual space. The Cyber Unit in Albania was established as the organization’s main mission, employing over 1,200 users,” wrote the state-run Fars News Agency, an outlet linked to the IRGC, on July 30, 2019.
“Within this unit, more than 1,500 trained personnel work in shifts around the clock to produce professional content against concepts such as Islam, religious authority, hijab, economic corruption, superstitions, religious sanctities, and spreading hatred against the leader of the revolution, authorities, scholars, IRGC, Basij, Naja, radio and television, revolutionary media, jihadi commanders and managers of the country, as well as popular art and media productions of the revolutionary spectrum and hundreds of other axes,” wrote the state-run Iran Students Correspondents Association on May 11, 2020.
Furthermore, Reza Pahlavi accused the MEK of having no popular base inside Iran and being “negatively perceived because of their terroristic past.”
“Sardar Mohammad Ismail Kothari, the deputy of the Sarullah headquarters of the IRGC, stated that the Iranian nation despises hypocrites [regime’s derogatory term describing the MEK]. The reason for the failure of the hypocrites in their plots against the Iranian nation is their lack of recognition of the Iranian nation and its supporters, who will never sacrifice their security and independence for any cause. Iran has gained a lot and will not give it up to these people,” the state-run Mehr News Agency quoted Esmail Kothari, a top IRGC Brigadier General, on August 4, 2018.
“Khamenei stated that today, the people of Iran strongly condemn the MEK and their actions, and repeated offenses will only result in more hatred from the people towards them,” The state-run Khabaronline website quoted the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, on July 24, 2017.
Iran’s nationwide uprising in September 2022 sent a shockwave across the globe. Iranians have clarified that they want to change the ruling theocracy and establish a democratic republic. This desire has been demonstrated by their slogan, “Death to the oppressor, be it Shah or the Supreme Leader.”
Yet, accompanied by several celebrities and former state reporters, Reza Pahlavi has been trying to sell the false notion that Iranians want the return of the Pahlavi dictatorship. Along with his ilk, he has been leaving important issues, such as ethnic minorities’ rights, unanswered. They have been attacking Iran’s principal opposition while incessantly speaking of “unity.” But what message do they send by leaving important issues in a state of limbo, slandering the long-standing regime change advocate, and staying in “bilateral contact” with IRGC thugs? While Pahlavi slanders the MEK and boasts about his “bilateral connection” with the IRGC, a force killing and torturing dissident-mainly MEK supporters- for decades, his supporters abroad physically attack the MEK supporters and the ethnic minorities who demand freedom. The brutal attack on Hassan Habibi, a MEK supporter in a rally in Brussels, is a testament to this fact.
Cloaked in the benign and important issue of “echoing the Iranian people’s voice,” the primary objective of Reza Pahlavi and his ilk is to demonize the MEK and misrepresent the Iranian people’s desire to establish a secular and democratic republic.
The international community should hear and embrace the Iranian people’s real demands by their true representatives, who reject any form of dictatorship.