As the movement for calling for justice in regards to the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners grows, the Iranian regime is fighting back in an attempt to discredit the movement. Recently, the state-run Basij News wrote, “The People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI) has organized the maximum propaganda and military activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The unresolved issue is how some of the political circles support the MEK’s measures in the current situation and they question the events of the 80s, while trying to call the hangman a martyr.”
Various members of the leadership of the regime have also spoken out against France for hosting the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) annual event. “France hosts Iran’s enemies, whereas it established economic relations with Iran after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” said Foad Yazidi at a meeting entitled “The Islamic Human Rights’ Conference”.
He also noted, “We had a lot of sanctions before the Iran Nuclear Deal. However, the question is that who is left out sanctions after this deal? According to this law, even the President could be sanctioned. The U.S. has enlisted us as the enemy country. Consequently, it doesn’t make much of a difference to give or not to give concessions as long as we are on this list.”
The focus of the regime has been to discredit the movement by discrediting the MEK, which is seen as the backbone of the protests and domestic uprisings within Iran. Members of the regime argue that the state needs to confront the MEK, versus brushing them under the rug. Many argue that the regime’s unwillingness to talk about the massacre has given the MEK a foothold with the youth and others, because of the questions they are able to raise.
“We should have given people as much information about the MEK that there was no ambiguity about the executions in 1988,” said Mohammad Sadeq Koushki, an international affairs expert in Iran.
The regime seems unable to stop or derail the popular position of the MEK with the younger generation in Iran, despite all the efforts through the state-run media, lobbyists in the international community, and outright suppression of the group. Throughout these efforts, the MEK/PMOI have continued to focus on the rights of the Iranian people and advocate for human rights and the freedom to express a political opinion that is not in agreement with the regime.
Even within the regime, there is talk about how films about the MEK must reflect the views of the regime. If they are historically accurate, then the filmmaker must be a supporter of the MEK. One filmmaker was quoted as saying, “Many people, even at the government level, go along with these deceptive slogans.”
The MEK/PMOI has been a voice of political opposition, questioning the actions of the Iranian regime. Working with their network within the country, they have exposed the actions of the regime to the international community, making it clear that the regime can’t be trusted.
In addition to the MEK/PMOI, other voices in opposition to the regime have built a coalition, known as the NCRI. This group has become the democratic alternative to the fundamentalism of the regime. Their 10-Point Plan is the basis for building a free, non-nuclear, and democratic country in place of the fundamentalism and exporting of terrorism that is the regime’s bread and butter.