The clerical regime in Iran is grappling with a significant predicament. To be precise, it’s facing a multitude of challenges. However, a particularly noteworthy issue stands out as the primary source of distress: an organization that is adept at leveraging various challenges and weaknesses. This organization is directing all efforts towards bringing about overthrowing Iran’s regime.
Despite the regime’s public efforts to undermine the relevance and societal connection of Iran’s most organized and experienced opposition movement, it’s evident from the statements of Iranian state officials that they consider the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK/PMOI) as a serious threat. They have even gone as far as publicly warning about the dangers it poses to the ruling establishment.
The following is a translated transcript of a conversation, where the speakers’ words render any further analysis or explanation unnecessary:
State-affiliated Radio Dialogue
August 22, 2023
“Political Discourse” Program
The threat posed by the Mujahedin-e Khalq is much greater than before
Host: We are with you, esteemed listeners of Radio Dialogue, with the Political Discourse program. We are joined by Mr. Mehdi Rouhani Far, an expert in political affairs and terrorism, and Mr. Mehdi Najati, an active figure in cyberspace.
Mehdi Nejati, a cyber political activist: In 1986, Mr. [Massoud] Rajavi goes to the revered shrine of Imam Hussein and recites the Ziyarat Ashura, affirming that the MEK seeks refuge with him. … Perhaps the banished Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) is the most vivid embodiment of the saying of the late martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani [former commander of the Quds Force]. Soleimani once said, ‘By God, whoever stood against the Islamic Republic, and if they slapped the Islamic Republic, they would become fugitives and outcasts.’ This example can be applied to the MEK clearly. … I would like to address a topic that forms the basis of my analysis. … These images, which have been extensively circulated, sometimes, in my opinion, warrant critique; they attempt to portray [the MEK as] elderly individuals, retired from the world, sitting behind computers in a certain base, engaging in activities. These images are being circulated. … But in my view, we have been facing a new organization since the early part of the year 2000. The MEK has rebranded itself. You can easily find this rebranding on social media, evident in their behaviors in their protests, and in their gatherings outside the country; this is entirely evident.
Mehdi Rouhani Far, an expert in political affairs and terrorism: I also believe that a significant and vital aspect of analyzing the MEK’s trajectory pertains to the rebranding and credibility restoration of this organization. The organization hasn’t undergone any substantial changes in its messaging and manifesto in terms of its goals and objectives. Nevertheless, changes are being brought about in its methodologies. … The MEK possesses financial and capital capabilities, as well as human resources and assets, along with alliances in various countries that have conflicts with the Islamic Republic system and are striving for its overthrow. There have undoubtedly been collaborations behind the scenes. … Taking the example of the protest issue surrounding the late Ms. Mahsa Amini, you can observe that almost all factions critical of the Islamic Republic and the opposition seeking overthrow are using an influential method. This method is the same as that of the MEK organization, which indeed has experiences and history, organizational experience, and very effective tools that can be employed in the field. Other opposition factions can use this method. Overthrow at any cost…
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2023
Nejati: Look, the point that was raised, particularly in the virtual realm, actually emphasizes that we shouldn’t casually overlook the MEK’s change in strategy and transformation. Their current approach is far more dangerous than the previous one. …
You see, when you’re communicating with hidden layers, which might reach an unsuspecting audience within society, it finds an audience. These protests, a portion of which incurred costs not only for the people but also for the security forces. … A portion of it was aligned with the people’s rightful demands. But why did they move in this direction? They went in the wrong direction because of MEK forces on the ground.
Nejati: I want to critique domestic media right now, perhaps offering criticism directed at domestic media figures. They are diligently attempting to portray the MEK as dormant. … like these images of individuals sitting behind computers have become quite iconic. You always come across them on social networks, depicting the organization in this manner. This critique is very significant. These images present the MEK as so weak that it’s ineffective and it cannot do anything. But these accounts fail to address that senior officials from the U.S. government board planes to go to Camp Ashraf, meeting with the MEK, and participating in their conferences. If this group were ineffective and inconsequential, why would it be so important for U.S. administrations that high-ranking officials attend their gatherings? Do you recall Mr. John Bolton, who attended their meetings during a period when he actually had official responsibilities within the U.S. government? This critique of domestic media and the narrative being propagated about the MEK today is indeed pertinent. We are now faced with a reincarnation of the organization, undoubtedly more dangerous than the first version. The first version was a notion that took root in our understanding and is virtually gone.
Rouhani Far: The MEK is one of the most significant factors contributing to tensions. Anyone with government responsibilities, resources, and authority must pay extremely close attention, and is necessary to consider two key aspects:
One – The threat posed by the MEK is much greater than before.
Two – Developing an analysis of the reincarnation and transformation of this organization is of utmost importance. …
All organizations and relevant authorities must meticulously monitor the MEK. Whenever you witness any instability in the country, whether on border issues or obstructions on the international stage, you undoubtedly observe traces linked to the MEK. I believe that today’s MEK is against the people. … In my opinion, no other entities have worked as extensively as the MEK against the Iranian people.
Rouhani Far: Yes, that has been quite direct. Today, you see the sanctions in place. Thousands of people are currently suffering the repercussions of these sanctions. Consider who is the architect of these sanctions. Who stands behind the support for these sanctions? The MEK. It does so by spending money and working with opposition factions. It is pursuing disruptive activities in the realm of the country’s negotiations, leading to these sanctions remaining in place.
Iran Regime Officials Acknowledge Failing to Demonize the Opposition MEKhttps://t.co/MkSrVr57pb
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) January 6, 2023
Host: They are casting a net, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Anyone they communicate with, in a way, is drawn into their web of actions. They might secretly recruit members, perhaps without those individuals even realizing, unknowingly falling into their trap, or things occur that they didn’t want to happen. Maybe that person never had any intentions or plans, but in any case, it’s happening.
Nejati: Here, tools are required. Who can create this insecurity, this instability, this turmoil? Who can be more forceful than the MEK? Well, they find their tools. The MEK provides them.
Host: The outward signs that were once recognizable are no longer present.
Nejati: Yes, and here, perhaps, we are witnessing the most dangerous form of the MEK.
Rouhani Far: In my closing remarks, I want to emphasize that today, the anti-people MEK poses a deeply concealed danger. You can perceive it as having multiple branches and dimensions. Identifying its operations is challenging because it operates under the cover of other individuals, other factions, and other platforms. Ultimately, I hope more attention will be given to this category of issues, which has targeted our security.