Iran's Ministry of Intelligence Exposed
A top priority of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is the demonization of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran to undercut its domestic and international support.
To discredit the resistance organization, the VEVAK / MOIS publishes materials that falsely portray the organization's history, aspirations, and achievements. It operates attack websites that daily spew negative propaganda. And the Intelligence Ministry recruits former PMOI / MEK activists through bribery and coercive measures and then uses them as witnesses to disseminate disinformation about the PMOI / MEK to government officials, NGO's, and the media.
Iran's mullahs often claim the PMOI / MEK has limited support within Iran. But the enormous energy and resources expended by the Intelligence Ministry to undermine the legitimacy of the resistance group belies this assertion.
Ministry of Intelligence and Security
The Ministry of Intelligence and Security 1 was created by Ayatollah Khomenini in March 1982 to safeguard the Islamic Revolution.2 A top priority of the organization - then as well as today - is to identify and eliminate political opponents in and outside of Iran.
The VEVAK / MOIS has 15 directorates,3 one area of which is a special section called the Department of Disinformation, also known as "nefaq" or discord in Arabic.4
The Department of Disinformation was created in the early 1990s and "is charged with the task of creating psychological warfare and misinformation about enemies of the regime."5 It has several thousand employees,6 including "former resistance members that were either seduced (with money, etc.) or coerced into assisting the regime."7
Estimates on the total number of VEVAK / MOIS employees range from 15,000 to 30,000. The organization has a "comparatively large budget" (some experts say an "almost unlimited budget") and operates under the guidance of Iran's Supreme Leader.
1) In Farsi, the MOIS is known as Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar or VEKAK.
2) "Khomeini To Set Up Own SAVAK." Associated Press. March 11, 1982.
3) The directorates are: Security; Counterintelligence; Foreign; Security Investigation; Technology; Politics; Evaluation and Strategic Affairs; Education; Research; Archives and Documents; Manpower; Administration and Finance; Legal-Parliamentary; Economy; and Cultural-Social.
4) "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile." Library of Congress. December 2012.
5) "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear." By Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zuker. http://www.globalpolitician.com/print.asp?id=3386
6) Statement by VEVAK / MOIS chief Hojjatol-Islam Ali Younesi. See "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear." By Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zuker.
7) "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear." By Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zuker. http://www.globalpolitician.com/print.asp?id=3386
Discrediting the PMOI / MEK
Iran's Intelligence Ministry from its inception has aggressively targeted the PMOI / MEK. As explained by Members of the European Parliament, the VEVAK / MOIS has a “long-running and sophisticated information campaign against the PMOI / MEK with the aim of tarnishing the organization within Iran, and more importantly, in the international community."1
This assessment is shared by the intelligence agencies in the Netherlands and Germany.
A 2011 report by the General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS) of the Netherlands stated "Tehran's efforts to undermine the opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran...in the Netherlands continued unabated in 2011."2 Specifically,
"In a campaign coordinated and financed by the Iranian intelligence services, the media and a number of politicians and other public servants were approached with a view to portraying the MEK in a highly negative light."3
Dutch intelligence has long monitored VEVAK / MOIS activities directed against the People's Mohahedin. In a May 2002 report, the agency stated the PMOI / MEK was the main opposition group of interest for the VEVAK / MOIS, which sought to:
“...exert pressure on Western countries to condemn and ban this group [PMOI / MEK]. The Intelligence Ministry tries to gather information on the People’s Mohahedin Organization [and its members]. They are trying therefore, to destabilize the organization and demonize the Mohahedin in the host country and thus end their political and social activities.”4
Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz – BFV) has also tracked VEVAK / MOIS activities in Europe. In a 2000 report, it said:
"The exiled Iranian opposition in Germany continues to remain in the focus of the reconnaissance activities of the Iranian Intelligence Services, VEVAK. As in the past years, the Iranian Intelligence Service tries to recruit active or former members of opposition groups. In many cases, this effort is accompanied by intimidation to put pressure on the person or on his relatives who live in Iran...."5
Using former resistance members to spread false information about the PMOI / MEK became a high priority for the VEVAK / MOIS after the 1991 Gulf War. At the time, the Intelligence Ministry dramatically increased operations against the PMOI / MEK , hoping to completely shut down its main adversary. It boosted its output of publications and articles attacking the PMOI / MEK and sent thousands of anti-Mojahedin letters to government officials accusing the resistance group of terrorism and murder of innocent civilians.
The following section highlights key attack websites linked to the VEVAK / MOIS that daily pepper the Internet with misleading and false information about the PMOI / MEK. The publication section displays some of the books produced by the VEVAK / MOIS , or relay heavily on VEVAK / MOIS disinformation, that demonize the resistance organization.6
1) "People's Mojahedin of Iran." Mission Report. Friends of a Free Iran. European Parliament. September 21, 2005.
2) "Annual Report 2011." General Intelligence and Security Service, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. 2011.
4) "Spying for the Mullahs: Iran's Agents in UK." British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom. October 2007.
6) "The Clerical Regime's Disinformation Agencies." NCRI. June 14, 2005.