In 2007, the Iranian regime created an organization, under the guise of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), for the sole purpose of demonizing the opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) was founded by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and filled with its agents to make up criminal allegations against the PMOI/MEK and prevent them from being removed from blacklists in Europe and the United States.
The PMOI/MEK was only ever placed on these lists in an attempt by the West to appease the regime and the PMOI/MEK was removed from all watch lists by 2012, after winning multiple court cases and proving that there was no evidence to back up the regime’s claims.
Here are just some of those who work in the ADVT:
- Deputy Attorney General Mohammad Javad Heshmati
- Quds Forces commander Mohammad Abdollah-Pour
- Deputy IRGC Coordinator Mohammad Reza Naqdi
- IRGC commander Javad Mansouri
- The representative of the Supreme Leader in the Martyrs’ Foundation Hassan Rahimian
- Commander of the IRGC’s 27th division Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Kousari
Despite the clear violation of NGO conventions, the ADVT was still able to enter the UN Human Rights Council and three other NGOs – the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparency, the Women’s Human Rights International Association, and the Mouvement Contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples—protested this in 2017.
“The Iranian government has resorted to creating NGOs in order to whitewash its systematic and widespread violation of human rights by abusing the NGOs’ consultative status and other facilities at their disposal to tarnish the image of the democratic opposition and Iranian independent NGOs who are in exile,” the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote.
“The ADVT and similar ones that have come from Iran to participate in the Human Rights Council, in addition to disseminating false information and news, engage in intimidating and identifying Iranian human rights activists on the sidelines of the session, and under the supervision of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), which is responsible for suppressing the opposition, intimidate the families of these activists in Iran and pressure them,” the NCRI added.
The ADVT is of special interest now because Iranian diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi is currently on trial in Belgium for attempting to blow up the opposition’s Free Iran rally in 2018. Not only that, but the Belgian prosecutor said that the plot was conducted on the orders of high-ranking regime officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
This shows how the regime will use any means to spread terrorism and why the regime’s embassies, cultural centers, and NGOs should be shut down.