Stevenson, the Coordinator of Campaign for Iran Change, described the article as lacking journalist impartiality and encouraging support for a Regime that suppresses the Iranian people and promotes terrorism across the world, whilst demonising the MEK refugees in Albania at the behest of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and its cohorts.
In mid-August, Merat visited the MEK residence in Albania, but this was a propaganda mission as evidenced by the fact that he collaborated with Massoud Khodabandeh and Anne Singleton, two well-known MOIS agents, according to the Pentagon.
He wrote: “I am dismayed that the Guardian should pay lip-service to such absurd and disgraceful fabrications, propagated by a pariah regime that is widely recognised as a sponsor of international terror. Indeed, the recent arrest of Iranian agents in Europe and America, [including Assadollah Assadeh, a leading MOIS agent, posing as a member of the diplomatic staff in the Iranian Embassy in Vienna] who were planning assassinations and terror attacks on members of the Iranian opposition, are evidence of this regime’s malign intentions.”
The attempted attacks in Albania, France, the US, and Denmark should be evidence enough that the Iranian Regime is trying to destroy the MEK abroad and it is no surprise that when their violence was thwarted, they turned to propaganda, as they have done multiple times in the past.
While Merat cites former MEK members as his sources, this fails to acknowledge that Iranian Regime agents frequently falsely represent themselves as former MEK members; something noted by many Western intelligence services. The action is not new, but neither are the allegations. The article was a mere rehashing of all of the already-debunked claims against the MEK and should be seen for what it is: an attempt to trick Guardian readers into supporting a fascist regime over its democratic resistance.
Stevenson wrote: “ As a former MEP (1999-2014), I have closely followed the issue of the PMOI/MEK for the last 18 years, from the time they were in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, up to the present and I have seen evidence again and again of how the regime uses its vast resources to smear the PMOI/MEK refugees and their supporters. Arron Merat’s assertion that the PMOI/MEK is largely supported by the right, fits neatly with the general thrust of his narrative, but of course is completely untrue. The PMOI/MEK enjoy widespread support across the political spectrum from left to right in countries across the world.”
Under the mullahs, Iranians suffer human rights abuses, poverty, and starvation; all because the Regime wants to use terrorism and chaos to control the rest of the region. Indeed, nationwide anti-regime protests, organised by the MEK, are happening across Iran, showing us who the Iranian people trust with their lives and with their country.
While the MEK goes from strength to strength, the Regime is spiralling out of control and are increasing their cruel and unusual punishments, including executing protesters and juvenile offenders, and their attacks on other countries. This is not normal.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently wrote: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is not a normal state. Normal states do not attack embassies and military installations in peacetime; fuel terrorist proxies and militias; serve as a sanctuary for terrorists; call for the destruction of Israel and threaten other countries; aid brutal dictators such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad; proliferate missile technology to dangerous proxies; conduct covert assassinations in other countries; and hold hostage citizens of foreign nations.”
Simply, the Guardian should retract Merat’s story for its lack of journalistic integrity, but they should continue to publish well-researched pieces about the MEK by reputable reporters. Unlike the Regime, the MEK have nothing to hide.