One of the methods used by the Iranian regime to pursue its demonization campaign against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) has been to publish books presenting a false narrative. The Iranian regime’s oppressive institutions, such as the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), are involved in publications of books and reports against the MEK. While no one can find books by the MEK in libraries across Iran, there are plenty of books by the regime that demonizes the MEK.
These books are a repeat of the same baseless allegations the regime has used for the past four decades to tarnish the image of its only viable alternative. A glance at the excerpts of some of the books published in the state-run media elucidates the true nature and purpose of these books.
- The Possessed, stealing the name of Dostoevsky’s novel, “The Possessed, The Devils.” This book has 204 pages. The writer of this book, Mina Shaulizadeh works in contact with the IRGC. In an interview with Fars News Agency, a news agency affiliated with the IRGC, on May 18, 2020, she said: “Whether this story is based on a true story or not, I have to say no. “The Possessed” is the product of my imagination as the author.” She then described the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s remarks, during which he said, “don’t allow the place of martyrs to be replaced with the executioner,” as her motivation for writing this book.
- The wronged 80s book (1360s in the Persian calendar, when the Resistance to overthrow the mullahs’ regime began): The regime’s intelligence service published this book following Khamenei’s order to twist the reality of the 1980s, changing the place of the victims with the executioner.
- The Portentous (162 pages): Habilian, one of the MOIS branches, published this book. In its introduction, in order to justify the 1988 massacre of 30,000 Iranian political prisoners, the book reads: “Thirty percent of the MEK [martyrs] during the operation ‘Eternal light’ [MEK’s major offense] were former political prisoners who were in prisons between 1981 and 1987.”
- Iran’s history after the Islamic Revolution: The author of this book is Gholamreza Behdarvandiani. Javad Mansouri, the IRGC’s first commander, has supervised the editing of this book.
Publishers of books containing disinformation
The regime has allocated a huge budget for the publication of these books containing disinformation even as the Iranian people are grappling with poverty and both the regime and its apologists whine about international sanctions. The following is an example of the organizations and foundations in charge of publishing the books containing disinformation against the MEK.
Islamic Revolution Document Center: This center, published “Iran’s History after the Islamic Revolution.” The 5th volume of this book contains disinformation against the MEK and its history. In addition, this center has published dozens of other books against the MEK. This center was founded by Hamid Rouhani, with Khomeini’s direct order in 1989. In 1995, Ruhollah Hosseinian became the center’s president. Hosseinian was at the time the Deputy Prosecutor of the so-called “Islamic Revolutionary Court” of Tehran. He was simultaneously active in the MOIS. The regime’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appointed Hosseinian as his political and security advisor. Hosseinian recently died. He was active in oppressing the MEK members in the 1980s. The state-run Sobh-e Emrooz daily, on September 19, 1999, quoted Hosseinian as saying: “We were also killers once.”
The organizations involved in funding these publications are the regime’s huge financial institutions, in connection with and under the supervision of the highest authorities in the country, including the Supreme Leader. Some of these organizations are:
- Ghadr-e Velayat (The value of the Supremacy) Publications.
- Astan-e Quds Razavi: Iran’s largest financial institution. This huge holding is under Khamenei’s direct supervision.
- Islamic Development Organization: This center oversees the spread of the mullahs’ reactionary interpretation of Islam in other countries and the funding of terrorist groups.
- The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance: This ministry is part of the regime’s propaganda regime. During the Iran-Iraq war, this ministry and its Minister, Mohammad Khatami, played a key role in manipulating and sending innocent children to war and on minefields.
- IRGC Publications Center.
- Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office.
A glance at the statistics of books published against the MEK and Iranian Resistance
The books published against the Iranian Resistance from 1979 to August 2020 are a total of 538 volumes, of which:
- 461 volumes have been published between 1979 and 2016, which is an average of 12 volumes per year.
- But starting 2016, until now, the number of published books is 77 volumes, with an average of 19 books per year.
Now it bears asking why the regime spends such an amount of time and energy on publishing these books which demonize the MEK? Why does the regime not allow the Iranian people to read the MEK’s own publications? And why from 1981 until now is having a MEK publication considered a crime punishable by death in Iran?
The statistics above show the number of books published against the MEK has increased by 73%. All the while, this is far less than the real statistics of the regime’s efforts for demonizing the MEK and spreading disinformation.
For example, the state-run Young Journalists Club on July 18, 2020, reported that on the anniversary of the MEK’s “Eternal Light” operation, only in Shahrood, in central Iran, “at least 400 programs” were on the agenda, including “introducing books and software, and playing documentaries, etc.”
The question is: Why has the regime increased its demonization campaign, particularly publishing books containing disinformation, against the MEK from 2016?
In 2016, after a successful international campaign, the MEK members and officials relocated to Albania. For years, the regime had used its terrorist proxy groups or its puppet government in Iraq to launch attacks on the MEK or to put pressure on them, to annihilate its viable alternative, but it had failed.
After the MEK members were relocated to Albania, the regime increased the level of its demonization campaign, to not just tarnish the image of the MEK, but also pave the way for terrorist activities against them. The regime’s foiled bombing plots against the Iranian Resistance in Albania in March 2018 and Paris in June 2018 are two examples of the regime’s failed terrorist attempts against the MEK.
In addition, and more importantly, more and more people, particularly youths and women inside Iran, are attracted to the MEK and its values. Despite the mullahs’ oppression, the MEK’s “Resistance Units” continue to spread across Iran, and they have played a leading role during the major Iran protests in 2018 and 2019. This has very much terrified the regime.
In this regard, some of the so-called “authors” of the aforementioned books reflected the regime’s fear of the Iranian resistance.
- Mina Shaulizadeh, author of the “The Possessed”: The MEK has an attracting propaganda. (The state-run Mizan News agency, April 27, 2020)
- The state-run Nasim-e Kermanshah on August 18 wrote: “The PDF version of the ‘Tabien Jahan’ [Explaining the Universe] of Massoud Rajavi [The Iranian Resistance Leader] circulates among students and seminary students. They share this book with each other.”
- The state-run Erja News on May 17, while referring to Mr. Rajavi’s message to the risen people of Iran and the MEK’s Resistance Units role, warned the regime’s officials of the MEK’s growing influence inside Iran. “For two years, we have witnessed the MEK awakening thousands of their sleeper cells one cluster after another, describing them as Resistance Units and delegating missions for operations and destruction through a concentrated [central] command. Even after the riots of November 2019, the leader of the MEK issued a message and said: ‘The triumphant strategy of the army of freedom passed its test successfully in the rebellious units, neighborhoods, and cities’ (Massoud Rajavi, November 2019). In this way, he is confessing to the fact that there is no riot or plot in which the MEK does not play an influential role,” read the article.
- Most importantly, Khamenei himself, following the 2018 uprising said that MEK activists had “planned for months” to organize public demonstrations and popularize anti-government slogans.
In a nutshell, the regime’s ongoing demonization campaign against the MEK and the publication of books containing disinformation about the Iranian Resistance are testaments to the regime’s defensive attitude and weakness in facing the MEK and its growing influence inside Iran.
The regime’s demonization campaign against the Iranian Resistance has three intentions: First, as to the outside world, the mullahs try to tarnish the image of their viable alternative, thus spreading the false notion that there is no alternative to their medieval and terrorist regime. Therefore, the western government should continue appeasing the ruling theocracy in Iran.
Second, by demonizing the MEK, the regime tries to justify its oppression inside Iran and its terrorist activities abroad against the MEK and the Iranian Resistance.
Third, and most importantly, the mullahs try in vain to prevent people from joining the MEK. The ongoing activities by the MEK Resistance Units and their spread across Iran show the regime’s strategy has failed.