Iran: MEK Responds to Misleading Associated Press Story
By Rob Roberts
Feb 11, Tehran: The Associated Press released a story on February 5, 2017, which rehashed old and mis-leading allegations against the Iranian opposition. In response, the Iranian opposition provided (1) a rebuttal to the Associated Press, but the story has not been corrected or rescinded as of February 7, 2017.
Thus, the rebuttal was released to the public detailing the facts and adding insight into what they feel is “the crux of the matter”.
“The AP story, “Trump Cabinet pick paid by ‘cult-like’ Iranian exile group” (2) of February 5, is a rehashing of old and long-debunked allegations aimed at disparaging the principal Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and its bipartisan supporters,” said Shahin Gobadi, press spokesman of The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). “The religious dictatorship ruling Iran and its lobby abroad have tried for years to discredit the Iranian opposition in an effort to proffer the appeasement of the ruling mullahs as a viable policy.”
The opposition (3) noted that the AP reporter Jon Gambrell chose to ignore “facts regarding the conduct and history of the Iranian resistance. Instead of reporting the views of a large (number of) bi-partisan lawmakers in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, and the decisions by the highest U.S. and European Courts,…he has chosen to rely heavily on only two individuals, both of whom have been proponents of the appeasing (of) the murderous mullahs of Iran,” said Gobadi.
Both of his sources have been shown to have little to no experience in the region, with no up-to-date writings or reports about the issues facing Iran and the Middle East. Many independent scholars and experts have published more updated reports, books and studies about the history, accusations and current conduct of the MEK, but none of these sources were cited in the AP article.
Information about the day to day life at Camp Ashraf was not verified by the military officers (4) who have testified before Congress that allegations against the MEK were propaganda concocted by the Iranian regime’s intelligence services. The rebuttal also called the opening paragraph an example of “editorializing” that “makes one wonder whether ulterior political motives by the ‘echo chamber’ crowd tasked to sell the Iran nuclear deal to [the] U.S. Congress and American public was at work here.”
In a letter (5) to President Trump by 23 bi-partisan signatories, the officials wrote about the discredited allegations, noting that “Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security has for many years impaired the exiled opposition by covertly spreading false and distorted claims through third parties in the West. Other governments…closely monitor Iran’s influence operations on their soil; a thorough counter-intelligence investigation by the U.S. is clearly needed and long overdue.”
The U.S., UK and France all have findings that show there is no evidence that the group was involved in terrorism. Even the deaths referred to in the article have not been credited to the MEK, as reports from independent sources, as well as the U.S. State Department and well-respected Iran experts. Yet none of these sources were mentioned in the article, noted the rebuttal.
As reported by the New York Times in 2004, a 16-month investigation by seven different U.S. agencies, including the Departments of States, Defense, Treasury, Justice, the FBI, the CIA and the DEI “found no basis to charge any member of the group with the violation of American law.” Moreover, the U.S. military commanders have testified before Congress that MEK members never engaged the U.S. forces during the invasion of Iraq.
“The local cease fire agreement of mutual understanding and coordination” (6) signed between the U.S. military and the MEK in 2003, makes it clear that the MEK had not fired a single bullet against U.S. forces in Iraq.
For the past three decades, bi-partisan majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and a very large group of bi-partisan Senator have lent their unequivocal support to the MEK, describing it as a “legitimate resistance movement,” despite being fully aware of these stale and threadbare accusations.
The AP story also didn’t reference what the MEK has done to expose the Iranian regime’s terrorism and reveal their major nuclear sites, which triggered the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspections of the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz for the first time. Since then, the majority of the visits by the IAEA inspection teams have been to the sites first uncovered by the MEK.
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) told a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing that, “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the MEK for bringing this information to the world, and causing the United States and the world to focus on the problem.”
In former Secretary of State John Kerry’s farewell speech, (7) he stated, “And one of the things that I am very proud of is the effort we made – I remember going to hearing after hearing, and you remember all those folks you’d see up there in those yellow jackets representing the Mujahedin-e Khalqu – MEK as we’ve known them – and we got 3,000 of them out of Camp Liberty and to places where they are safe and their lives are saved from being attacked regularly, as they were.”
“Why would the U.S. Secretary of State and his Department undertake such a massive effort to save the lives of members of a ‘cult-like’ group that has been engaged in ‘terrorism’ and ‘killing Americans’ in the first place, if they believed such allegations were true?” said Gobadi.
The Oslo Times International News Network