The Iranian regime is targeting the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in its recent misinformation campaign. The point of the campaign is the need to break the increasing level of influence that the opposition has within Iran but also on the international level. Sanctions from both the U.S. and Europe have targeted the regime’s terrorist activities, as well as its revenue streams.
Despite this, the regime’s focus is not on improving relations within the international community or addressing the needs of its people, but attacking the democratic opposition, in hopes that it will distract from their human rights abuses and terrorist activities throughout the world.
What defines Iran during the past year has been the continuation of anti-government protests and the increasing number of calls for regime change, not just reform on behalf of the mullahs. These protests began at the end of 2017 and have only continued to expand throughout Iran over the intervening months. It has shaken the mullahs and the regime, as their suppression tactics no longer appear able to make the Iranian people cower.
The social base of the protests is growing and primarily consist of those whom the regime describes as “the army of the hungry and unemployed”. Figures suggest that unemployment is at least 30%, although there are concerns that the number could be even higher. Poverty is the new way of life in Iran, to the point that young people cannot support families, as they are hard pressed to find stable employment at all.
The currency in Iran is also losing value at a rapid rate. Iranians who can leave are doing so, and the Iranians that are left have to deal with the increasing fallout from the actions of the regime internationally and domestically.
In response to the perceived threat by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) opposition group, the regime has done what it believes is the best defense, which is a campaign of misinformation against the PMOI/MEK, which is one of the opposition groups that makes up the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Focus is Destabilizing the Opposition
An investigation by Reuters revealed that last month alone a Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries throughout the world. The lies that they are spreading were fabricated by the former Supreme Leader Khomeini, but they are still being used by the regime today.
The demonizing campaign involves the use of social media, dissemination of fake news, provision of grants for biased and slanderous reports, and even hiring reporters directly or through middlemen. All of these pieces depend on special sources, particularly individuals who claim to be “former members” of the PMOI/MEK. However, many of these individuals are in fact well-known agents of the regime and continue to spread its lies and focus on broadcasting the agenda of the mullahs and the Supreme Leader.
One of these recent efforts is an article in the German Der Spiegel article, which included over 60 lies and baseless accusations against the PMOI/MEK. The claims of the article are at best questionable and there are concerns about how the information was obtained and vetted. There also appears to be a connection to the Iranian MOIS, as they published parts of the article months before it was published officially.
If the PMOI/MEK is not a threat to the regime, and is such a troublemaker that does not have the support of the Iranian people, then why would the mullahs work so hard to discredit them? It is because the control and power of the regime is being weakened and no efforts of suppression are going to stop the demands of the Iranian people for regime change.
Repression Is Woven Into History of Regime
To stop the opposition, the regime also attacks the Iranian people and anyone who supports change in Iran. One historical example of this repressive effort by the regime is the crime against humanity that occurred in 1988. During that summer, 30,000 members and associates of the PMOI/MEK, an opposition group in Iran, were executed under a Fatwa issued by then Supreme Leader Khomeini.
Despite the fact that members of the regime were active in those executions, they have not been held to account. In fact, many have continued to receive high positions in the regime and the rewards of being part of their corruption. Amnesty International wrote in a report on this crime, “that the failure to bring the criminals to justice, in this case, makes the 1988 massacre an ongoing crime against humanity and so the international community is obligated to seek justice on the behalf of the victims.”
Creating Change Through the Voice of the Iranian People
For the Iranian people, these actions by the regime have demonstrated that they are unwilling to change and stop the corruption and mismanagement. Free Iran rallies throughout Europe demonstrate that there is increasing international support for this democratic alternative. Now is the time to support the will of the Iranian people for freedom.