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Tehran’s contradictory statements on Free Iran rally highlight MEK’s growing influence

The annual Free Iran Global Summit of the Iranian Resistance connecting 30,000 places in 102 countries, including Iran and Ashraf 3, residence of PMOI/MEK members in Albania.
The annual Free Iran Global Summit of the Iranian Resistance connecting 30,000 places in 102 countries, including Iran and Ashraf 3, residence of PMOI/MEK members in Albania.

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 3, 2020—Following the annual Free Iran Global Summit of the Iranian Resistance, this year held online, many Iranian regime officials made contradictory statements regarding the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

On the one hand, the regime tried to portray the MEK as a small, ineffective, and unpopular group, while on the other, its officials are constantly warning about the threat of this “small forgotten cult.”

“The MEK is a small and hopeless group,” deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said in an interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo news on July 20 after being asked about the Iranian Resistance’s Free Iran Global Summit.

“It has been years that nobody talks about the MEK anymore,” Youssef Ghorbani, commander of the Army Air force, said on July 26.

“The support of Iran International TV for the MEK, is just artificial respiration to a group that has no social base in Iran. The MEK was destroyed many years ago during the Mersad (Eternal Light) Operation,” Mohammad Hassan Asafari, member of the Majlis (parliament), said on July 30 in reaction to the broadcasting of the Free Iran conference by one of the most-watched Iranian satellite networks.

But while trying to downplay the Iranian opposition’s great conference, the regime can’t hide its fear of the effectiveness and role the MEK is playing in shaping the political atmosphere of Iran.

“The MEK is the most dangerous movement,” Mehdi Aali, the Friday prayer of Tabriz and representative of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei, said on July 24.

“Today, the enemy is pursuing a cyberwarfare against us, which is not a joke. They are seeking social unrests to bring people to the streets,” Abolhassan Mahdavi, the Friday prayer Imam of Isfahan, said on July 24..

“Reviewing MEK’s history and keeping their case open is necessary for the knowledge of the younger generation,” the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said in a July 26 statement, a precursor to possibly another wave of demonization campaigns against the Iranian opposition.

“We will not forget the past and present support of some countries for these hated terrorists,” Abbas Mousavi, Spokesperson for regime’s Foreign Ministry said on July 27, revealing the regime’s frustration about the growing global support for the MEK’s struggle for freedom and regime change in Iran.

“For 40 years this group is engaged engineering operations against our establishment, and it has now gained new allies,” the state-run website Shohaday-e Iran wrote on July 19.

“Today, the enemies of our establishment have gathered all around the world and take all efforts to destroy us,” Gholamreza Marhaba, member of the Majlis, said on July 19.

“MEK’s gathering will not force the Judiciary to retreat,” Ali Vahdanifar, the Friday prayer imam of Dehdasht, said on July 22, referring to the death sentences for three youths arrested during the November 2019, which triggered widespread backlash across the world.

These contradictory remarks only further highlight the mullahs’ growing frustration and despair of the momentum that the Free Iran gathering has built against their rule.

The MEK’s growing support among the younger generation is intolerable for a regime that has lost all its credibility and legitimacy and facing economic, social, political crises and most importantly is on the brink of being overthrown.

The policy of regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was to use the coronavirus crisis and its high death toll as a tool to maintain his regime and spread despair in the society after November 2019 nationwide uprising.

In this respect, the annual Free Iran Global Summit was a boost of hope, inspiration for those people that yearn for freedom and democracy. It also showed the organizing power, capability, and competence of a true and viable alternative to the mullahs’ rule.

In an article in International Policy Digest on August 1, Adam Ereli, former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, explained that since the mullahs took power in Iran, they have claimed the MEK is a cult and lacks meaningful support in Iran.

“If that is the case, how can they logically claim that the group is responsible for the ongoing protests in Iran? Why would Tehran spend massive sums of money and decades of political energy on demonizing a movement that allegedly has only a marginal impact? Why would the regime risk its already heavily damaged relations with the international community by using its embassies and diplomats in 2018 to execute terrorist attacks on the MEK in Europe?” Ereli said.

“The greatest testament to the MEK’s effectiveness as a counterweight to the depredations of the Islamic Revolution is the obsessive and long-standing animosity that Iran’s leaders have demonstrated towards it,” Adam Ereli wrote.