Europe should prevent Iran’s secret service from acting against Iranian refugees in Albania

International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) is alarmed about a new malicious campaign launched by the “Islamic Republic of Iran”, against its opposition members residing in Albania.  It believes given the dangerous consequences of this campaign for the safety and security of Europe in general and the Iranian dissidents in particular, it is imperative to take proper and immediate steps to nullify Tehran’s plots.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), the principal Iranian opposition that strives to establish a parliamentary democracy in Iran, has been the prime target of the ruling theocracy, the number one executioner per capita and the main state-sponsor of terrorism the world over.  More than 100,000 activists of this movement have been executed over the past three decades, including 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 alone. The systematic campaign of assassinations and executions has been complemented by a massive demonization operation by Tehran and its agents and lobbyists.

In recent years, the Iranian regime, exploited the situation in the neighboring Iraq and repeatedly attacked the members of the MEK who had taken refuge in that country, using Iraqi agents and proxies. As a result of numerous rocket attacks, massacres, and an inhuman medical siege on Camps Ashraf and Liberty that continued for years, 178 defenseless residents lost their lives. Iran’s regime was bent on killing all 3,000 Iranian refugees in Iraq.

Subsequent to a massive international campaign involving bipartisan efforts of American dignitaries, US Senators, Congressmen, European politicians, members of the European and national Parliaments and international entities including the United Nations, regime’s efforts were quashed and the Camp Liberty residents were finally transferred to safety, the largest number to Albania. The ISJ played a very active role in this humanitarian effort.

On 12 September 2016, John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, described the transfer as “a major humanitarian achievement,” that entailed “a significant American diplomatic initiative that has assured the safety of more than 3,000 MEK members whose lives have been under threat.”

The recent nationwide protests and uprising shook the Islamic fundamentalist regime to the core. Iranians, chanting “down with [Supreme Leader] Khamenei,” and “down with [President] Rouhani,” protested in more than 140 cities and towns throughout the country in late December and January. On 9 January, when the mass anti-government protests were at their height, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a televised statement acknowledged that the MEK had played a major role.

As the signs of regime’s growing crises and profound isolation and the MEK’s growing popularity at home have become more vivid, Tehran has stepped up its campaign against the opposition, this time in Albania.

In line with Iran’s well-established modus operandi, its full-fledged operation against the Iranian refugees in Albania involves both terror and demonization that function in tandem.

On March 22st Albanian media reported that the Albanian security police had arrested two Iranians who had come from Iran for espionage and intelligence gathering against the Iranian refugees. Past experience has proven these sorts of activities to be preludes to terrorist acts. And to complement this effort, the Iranian regime is preparing actions at the European Parliament, with the help of some pro-Iran MEPs, designed for disseminating lies and allegations against the opposition.

Tehran has been utilizing the very same agents against the Iranian refugees in Albania who were carrying the same task in Iraq.

One of the characters playing a pivotal role for Tehran in its demonizing campaign is a British national by the name of Anne Singleton. According to a Pentagon-commissioned report in December 2012, Singleton and her Iranian-born husband Massoud Khodabandeh were recruited by the Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in 2002 with the sole objective of demonizing the MEK. According to the report, they “appear to lead a small number of individuals in an aggressive demonization campaign against the MEK.”

In November 2005, this couple tried to organize a meeting in the British Parliament to distribute misinformation about the MEK.  Subsequent to protests by members of the parliament, including the “British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom,” they were not ultimately permitted to hold the meeting. She also made several trips to Iraq from 2011 and parroted regime’s allegations and lies about the MEK.

Following the successful transfer of the Iranian refugees to Albania, Singleton travelled there at least three times last November. In all these trips she kept repeating the very same allegations that she used to make about the presence of the MEK members in Iraq.

According to reports, Singleton and a number of notorious agents of the Iranian regime are scheduled to participate in a meeting at the European Parliament next week, to demonize the Iranian democratic opposition.

In light of years of experience, this could very well be a prelude to a deadly attack by Tehran, as it happened several times in Iraq, and is indeed very worrisome.

The ISJ calls on relevant authorities to take this seriously and to undertake proper steps to prevent the regime from pursuing its ominous objectives in Europe, which endanger the safety and security of the Iranian refugees and Europe as well.

 

Alejo Vidal-Quadras
President, International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)
Former Vice-President of the European Parliament (1999-2014)