News : Terrorism

Iran Regime’s Demonization Campaign Against MEK: Part 1

Iran’s Heightened Fears of MEK Dissidents Are a Sign of Changing Times

The Iranian Regime has spent decades demonizing dissidents, like the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), in order to make any and all opposition to the regime seem illegitimate.

Since 1979, the regime has been using its state-run media, including TV, radio, film, newspapers, magazines, websites, and books, to distort the world’s perception of the MEK. With the advent of social media, the regime has seized upon sites like Twitter and Facebook, which are banned for ordinary Iranians, and created thousands of fake accounts that parrot the regime’s anti-MEK narrative.

Twitter removed around 2,800 such accounts in May 2019, while in March, Facebook had removed 513 accounts. This was not the first time they were forced to do so.

The uninformed reader could see these accounts, pretending to be ordinary Iranians and not stooges of the mullahs, and believe that the MEK is weak, corrupt, unpopular, or whatever the regime is claiming this week. They might believe that there is no alternative to the regime and advocate the failed policy of appeasement, which has only ever emboldened the regime.

The regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK started early, attacking MEK offices in various cities, lying about improper relationships between MEK members, and generally discrediting them. As the MEK grew in popularity, the lies became more blasphemous, as the regime needed to destroy its main political and ideological opponent.

Here are just some of the lies the regime told about the MEK:

  • The MEK was involved in the “killing of Iraqi Kurds and Shiites”
  • The MEK trained “women for suicide attack”
  • The MEK instituted “compulsory divorces” and “forced separation of children from their parents”
  • The MEK held people in the group “against their will”
  • The MEK collaborated “with ISIS and al-Qaeda”
  • The MEK were spies for the Soviets, the US, and Israel (sometimes all at once)

The regime did this in tandem with their assassinations of MEK members, with the idea being that no one would press too hard for an investigation. They even claimed that the MEK would “torture themselves” in order to blame the regime.

This ramped up particularly during the MEK’s 50th anniversary year when the regime published 14 anti-MEK books and the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) published a special edition of their anti-MEK magazine. Also, during that year, the regime created 332 anti-MEK movies, documentaries, and TV series.

In addition, the MOIS manages over 13 different anti-MEK websites; most in Farsi-language, but they have a number of sites for different languages, while the IRGC and other Iranian regime entities operate many more. They are experts in fake news, often hiring a foreign reporter to publish an MOIS hit piece on a low-ranking website. The regime even pays foreign media outlets to interview one of their agents and describe them as a “terrorism expert” or “MEK expert” without mentioning any regime affiliation.

The regime’s media cites this as an independent fact. It’s a vicious cycle. In our next piece, we will look at the regime’s anti-MEK actions during the 1980s and 1990s.

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