12 April 2018-- “Iran’s deep frustration after the organized transfer of thousands of members of the main democratic opposition movement from Iraq to Albania and the loss of the opportunity to massacre them is not a secret.
This transfer was the result of an unprecedented campaign by the Iranian opposition and its supporters in Europe and the United States. It took place under the noses of the theocratic fascist regime while the mullahs in Tehran had put all their efforts into preventing their transfer and orchestrating either their surrender or their annihilation,” said Struan Stevenson, an international lecturer on the Middle East, and the president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA), who was also a member of the European Parliament for 15 years.
In a statement that warned of activities by the agents of the Iranian regime in the European Parliament that are what he called a political cover for terror acts against the Iranian opposition in Albania, Stevenson, who is also the Coordinator for Campaign for Iran Change (CIC) added, “The Iranian regime’s officials have now acknowledged that the main opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI or MEK), played a key role in launching the recent nationwide protests and anti-government demonstrations. According to AFP, on 2 January 2018, President Hassan Rouhani called President Macron and asked him to take action against the Paris-based Iranian opposition and their leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, which he accused of fomenting the recent protests. President Macron rejected his demand.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated on January 9th, 2018 that MEK had organized the uprising and implicitly threatened to execute the arrested protesters. Now, the Iranian regime is citing these events as a reason to exert pressure and instigate terrorist acts against the MEK in Albania, according to Stevenson. In fact, he said, “The appointment of Gholam Hossein Mohammad Nia and Mostafa Roodaki, two senior officials of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), as the ambassador and first secretary of the embassy in Tirana has been a clear indication of the mullah’s malign intentions. Ostensibly, their role is to create religious and cultural institutions, which in fact are guileless covers for the sinister activities of the two branches of the Iranian MOIS in Albania, functioning under the names of the Habilian Center and the Didban Institute.”
It is alleged that local Albanians are employed and trained to demonize the MEK. They have launched websites and purchased several nationwide TV programs on channels in Albania.
The Albanian media reported on March 22nd, that two Iranians had been arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism. Ten others were detained for questioning. Purportedly, the MEK was a possible target.
The Iranian regime have used similar tactics over the past four decades, say observers. Lies are spread, and misinformation sets up repression and acts of terrorism. A campaign of demonization and missile attacks were routinely aimed at terrorizing the unarmed and defenseless MEK refugees in Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq.
“Now Iran is focusing on Albania where the pattern will inevitably be repeated. The MOIS and its affiliated agents, lobbies and pro-regime politicians are determined to undermine the Iranian opposition’s status in Europe and to portray them as a threat to Albania and the Balkans. It is interesting and not surprising to see that many of the main actors of this recent campaign in Albania and Europe are the same ones who worked against the Camps Ashraf and Liberty residents when they were stuck inside Iraq. This is despite the fact that Western security services in 2017 and 2018 found new signs of credible threats against Iranian opposition activists. In 2017, two Iranian dissidents were assassinated in Turkey and the Netherlands,” Stevenson stressed.
Regarding a meeting organized by Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, who is seen as pro-Iran and hostile towards the MEK, Stevenson stressed, “We are alarmed to learn that a meeting is planned to take place in the European Parliament entitled: “Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK) a threat in Albania.” Gomes has recently returned from a visit to Tehran.
Stevenson recalled experience as the former president of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, saying, “In April 2009 when we were going to vote in favor of a resolution in the European Parliament calling for the protection of Ashraf residents, Ms. Gomes proposed 7 amendments to damage our efforts. Had her amendments been adopted it would have given give a free hand to the Iraqi government to suppress the residents. A majority of MEPs rejected all her seven amendments. But her strange behavior and open hostility towards the Iranian opposition raised a lot of protests in the European Parliament and even in the British Parliament at the time.”
Stevenson added, “After her recent visit to Iran, Ms. Gomes said in the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee on 22 February 2018, ‘… I met with relatives of the victims of a terrorist organisation, called the MEK, Mojahedin of the People, and National Council of whatever revolutionary Iran…! They are creating troubles in Albania, trouble that will come to haunt us... (and) are keeping people hostage namely in Albania.’ These remarks are clearly defamations and judicially prosecutable,” he said.
Public information shows that during her stay in Iran she had meetings with the Habilian Institute and Nejat Association, two branches of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence known as MOIS.
According to Stevenson, “The list of speakers scheduled for her meeting on 10 April 2018 clearly reveals the nature of this farce, as it includes Anne Singleton (Khodabandeh), an Iranian agent exposed by a US Pentagon & Library of Congress report in December 2012.”
Win Griffiths, a former Labour Member of the British Parliament, travelled to Tehran in June 2004, to meet a prisoner in Evin prison. He testified in a witness statement: “When I went to Evin, expecting to meet the detainees in private, I was surprised to see Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Ebrahim’s sister-in-law, in Evin Prison. She later claimed that she was there as part of an NGO visit. Yet it was clear to me that the prison guards treated her as a friend and on their side, rather than as a member of an independent NGO.”
In fact, Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) is reported to have visited Tirana no fewer than three times in November 2017. She is said to have discussed, “the threats of the PMOI in Albania” during a meeting in Ms. Gomes’ office in the European Parliament in Brussels on December 5th 2017. Outside Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, Anne Singleton was seen and photographed prior to deadly attacks that took place in both camps.
Olsi Jazexhi and Migena Balla plan to speak at the meeting. The Albanian couple are believed to advocate for the Iranian regime and work closely with Singleton, as well as Vanna Vannuccini, an Italian journalist who has been living in Iran since 1997. Vannuccini is also said to be an advocate of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her Facebook profile photo shows her next to an Iran Air plane.
“I believe it is very unwise to allow the Iranian regime and its agents to misuse the European Parliament. The 1997 decision of the European Union to expel Iranian intelligence agents from Europe must be implemented in the European Parliament with greater emphasis and these agents should not be allowed to appear there,” Stevenson concluded.