By Mahmoud Hakamian
The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK) have been the victims of a brutal crackdown by the Iranian Regime in recent months, for the MEK’s role in organizing anti-regime protests to help the Iranian people express their hatred of the mullahs.
The Regime has long dismissed the MEK as a fringe group with little support, so it is strange that the mullahs would invest so much time and money in demonising the MEK in media, locking up MEK members, or otherwise persecuting the MEK.
This is the argument outlined by Ali Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee in a recent op-ed but agreed to by all logical people. Safavi said that the Regime’s crackdown on the MEK, even calling the MEK an “existential threat”, stems from the MEK’s rapidly increasing support among the Iranian people.
In 2018, in response to the nationwide MEK-led protests in Iran, the Regime launched a string of terror attacks and assassination attempts against the MEK, even attempting to bomb the MEK’s Grand Gathering in Paris, which was attended by over 100,000 MEK supporters, and the MEK’s Albania compound during the Iranian New Year celebrations.
Safavi explained that over 120,000 MEK members have been killed by the Regime since 1979, including 30,000 in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, most of whom were MEK members and supporters.
What is different now is that the Regime has begun to publicly acknowledge the threat they face from the MEK.
In April alone, Mahmoud Alavi, the Minister of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), has claimed that the Regime has “dealt with” 116 MEK resistance units across Iran in the last twelve months, while the MOIS Director General for East Azerbaijan Province announced that 60 MEK members had been arrested in a crackdown.
While a few weeks ago, one MEK member in Tehran was sentenced to death and three others received prison sentences for engaging in peaceful demonstrations against the regime.
These are just “a small sample” of the true numbers of MEK activists languishing behind bars.
Safavi said that Regime is nervous, which is why they’re “on the hunt for anyone associated with the MEK”, noting that the Regime did the same thing in 2009, following mass public protests. The Regime has even upped its claims that the MEK are terrorists, something proved not true by many different courts over the years.
The MEK has vowed that they will not be silenced by the Regime and has even looked into expanding its operations and establishing Resistance Units across the country to confront the Regime’s suppression.
But the international community ought to support the MEK. International governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and human rights groups must pressure the regime to release MEK members in regime custody for peacefully protesting. International governments must add the MOIS to its international terror blacklists over its involvement in plots to assassinate and maim MEK members. International governments must recognise the Iranian Resistance as the true voice of the Iranian people.