Private Eye on the West’s Support of Anti-Iranian Paramilitary Group

This is ominous, as it looks like the Neocons are setting up another paramilitary group, like Ahmed Chalabi’s in Iraq, to pose behind as the liberators in yet another imperialist invasion for the American-Saudi oil industry and western multinational businesses.

In the ‘Letter from Paris’ article in this fortnight’s Private Eye for 12th-26th July 2018, there’s a discussion of a meeting in Paris late last month of the MEK, or People’s Mujahidin of Iran. Or what sounds very much like the old Mujahidin-e Khalq under another name. The MEK/ Mujahidin-e Khalq were a Marxist Islamic revolutionary group. They fought a paramilitary war against the Shah, and were expecting to have a role in the new Islamic Revolutionary regime after the Shah’s overthrow in 1979, but were forced out by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters. Since then, according to the Eye, it’s become a personality cult controlled by Maryam Rajavi, who shares the leadership with her husband Massoud. Massoud Rajavi hasn’t been seen since 2003, and according to the Saudis is dead.

A US-commissioned report published in 1979 stated that the MEK was responsible for scores of terrorist attacks against state officials and civilians in Iran. It also described the grim conditions within the militia, in which members were forced to divorce their partner and devote their lives to compulsory celibacy. Ex-members have also spoken about being forced to announce lurid sexual fantasies and having their children forcibly adopted.

4,000 people attended their conference under the hashtag #IranRegimeChange, although many of these were Polish, Czech and Slovakian students and Syrian refugees from Germany, who were bussed in with 25 Euro Facebook offer of a holiday in Paris with bed and board paid.

The article goes on to report that for the last 13 years Maryam Rajavi has been trying to get the support of the American right as Iran’s next leader in waiting. The MEK have paid up to $40,000 per speech to John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, and the orange buffoon’s personal lawyer, Rudi Giuliani.

The group, according to the Eye, is funded by Saudi Arabia, and has additional funding carrying out black ops for Israel. It was the MEK that was responsible for the assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012. At the Paris conference Giuliani suggested that the US government, under its campaign of “maximum pressure” imposing sanctions against any company trading with Iran, is coordinating MEK ‘resistance units’ inside Iran in order to topple the government. In fact, although the country has experienced a wave of protests recently, the MEK has precious few supporters in Iran because of its legacy of domestic bombing and the fact that it fought with the Iraqis against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.

Also speaking to the terrorist group were four Tory MPs – David Amess, Bob Blackman, Matthew Offord, and Theresa Villiers, Tory peer Lord McInnes, and Labour MP Roger Godsiff. Amess declared that ‘We need to talk about regime change’, while Villiers discussed Iran’s poor human rights record and claimed that the MEK would create ‘a peaceful and democratic future for all’. The Eye stated that this was unlikely, as it is a movement whose only strategy is destabilising the country and fomenting civil war. Nor is it very likely it would win through conventional elections, as there is no evidence that it has any kind of mass support in Iran.

The Eye suggested that the reason this group of British politicos turned up was because they were a bunch of ideological carpet-baggers determined to further destabilise a highly volatile region, with no plan or understanding of the likely consequences. (Page 20).

This sounds almost exactly like George Dubya Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Bush and the neocons put their weight and confidence behind a pretender, Ahmed Chalabi, who claimed to have a huge army and massed supporters waiting for him in Iraq. When the Americans invaded, and installed him as the rightful ruler, they would be hailed as liberators. In fact he had no support whatsoever. As for the neocons themselves, they knew absolutely nothing about the Middle East, and hated those who did. American Conservative opponents of the Iraq invasion describe how they had state and Pentagon officials, who actually had a deep understanding of the region and its peoples removed. This included General Zilli, the chief officer in charge of American forces in the area.

The Neocons have wanted for decades to overthrow the Iranian Revolutionary regime. It was on the list of countries America should invade, along with Somalia, Syria, Libya and three others. They despise it because of its virulent opposition to Israel. Other plausible reasons include the fact that it nationalised its oil industry to take it out of the hands of western companies, such as BP, while I’ve no doubt that American multinationals are hungry for the web of state industries controlled by the bonyads, the Islamic charitable foundations. I also have no doubt that the Saudis want Iran destroyed as it’s a Shi’a state which assists the other Shi’a groups and countries, like Syria, in the region.

Let’s have no illusions: Iran is an extremely intolerant theocracy, which is responsible for very severe human rights abuses against dissidents. But it’s far better than Saudi Arabia. At least Iran has a democratic component, in which the Iranian people can vote for a president even though political parties are banned. Unlike the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia. There is also a greater degree of religious tolerance. Three per cent of the population are Armenian Christians, and there are other communities of Jews and Zoroastrians. There are about 4 seats in the majlis – the Iranian parliament – reserved for these minorities.

Contrast this with Saudi Arabia, where the only permitted religion is Wahhabi Islam and where, a few years ago, the grand mufti of Mecca declared that the Shi’a were heretics and ‘worthy of death’.

Like Iraq, Iran is a civilisation over 3,000 years old, going back to the dawn of civilisation in the Ancient Near East. For millennia it was a centre of art, literature, historical writing, science, mathematics and medicine. It is also a country of a variety of different ethnic groups. The main ethnic group are the Farsi-speakers, who comprise 51 per cent of the population. But there are also Baluchis, Kurds, Loris, ethnic Arabs and a number of nomadic peoples speaking languages related to Turkish.

Far from giving the Iranian people peace and democracy, any western invasion would result in the same chaos and carnage as has occurred in Iraq: massive sectarian or ethnic violence, the seizure of the country’s state assets and its oil industry and fields, and the destruction of priceless monuments and art works, including the country’s historic mosques.

Iraq was one of the most prosperous countries in the Middle East. Iraq similarly is one of the most, if not the most developed, westernised nations in the region. And you can bet that after the invasion of Iraq and the civil war in Syria created a wave of refugees desperate to enter western Europe, so an invasion of Iran would do the same.

No western politicians should be listening to or supporting the MEK and their fantasies of overthrowing the Iranian regime. And we definitely should not be planning the invasion of Iran. The politicians who are, should be exposed and thrown out of office.

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