The Non-Governmental Organization or NGOs are private organizations that are active at the international level. These international organizations do not have a governmental position and are not affiliated with any government. In Iran, the case is different.
Like many other international terms, such as “justice,” “freedom,” “Human rights,” etc., the Iranian regime has reversed the meaning of an NGO. The regime’s so-called NGOs are meant to parrot mullahs’ talking points against the opposition or oppress dissidents.
In this article, we intend to look at one of these so-called NGOs, known as “Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism,” or ADVT. This so-called NGO’s primary task and the target is to pursue the regime’s demonization campaign of its main opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) founded ADVT in June 2007 to fabricate cases and allegations against the MEK and prevent the MEK from being removed from Europe and United States blacklists.
The regime’s attempts all failed, since courts in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., from 2006 to 2012, revoked all the MEK designations.
Right after it was founded, ADVT sought to meet with the foreign ministries of European countries and UN-affiliated institutions and bodies, under the pretext of an NGO, to spread lies against the MEK.
In this association, the MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence) agents met with the diplomatic delegations in Tehran, especially the delegations that came to Tehran from the United Nations, parroting the regime’s talking points against the MEK.
“The ADVT attended a meeting, which was also attended by officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Red Crescent,” the state-run Khane-e Melat news agency reported on October 9, 2019.
In Tehran, Mohammad Javad Heshmati, the Deputy Attorney General of the regime, generally holds meetings of this association. Also, in other cities, security and officials and oppressive figures hold meetings of the association.
Mohammad Abdollah-Pour, one of the Quds Forces commanders, holds ADVT’s meetings in Gilan province, northern Iran. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, deputy coordinator of the IRGC and former commander of the Basij, Javad Mansouri, the IRGC’s first commander, mullah Hassan Rahimian, representative of the Supreme Leader in the Martyrs’ Foundation, and IRGC Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Kousari, commander of the IRGC’s 27th division, are among frequent speakers of the ADVT’s sessions.
To sell this organization as an international NGO, the MOIS made all possible efforts and finally was able to get this organization to enter the UN Human Rights Council.
In a detailed report about the MOIS activities in Europe, the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ), shed light on how ADVT could enter the UNHRC.
“In the hope of demonizing its organized opposition, the Iranian regime has gone so far as to set up state-controlled ‘non-governmental organisations’ at the United Nations Human Rights Council to disseminate false information about the PMOI. This action has led to protests by other non-Iranian NGOs at the Human Rights Council over the abuse of the NGO framework and mechanism,” read the ISJ report.
On May 15, 2017, three NGOs with consultative status at the Human Rights Council submitted a written statement, which was distributed among all UN General Assembly member states on May 24, 2017.
The statement is issued by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, a non-governmental organization in general consultative status, the Women’s Human Rights International Association, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples, a non-governmental organization on the roster
“Since the civil society in Iran does not enjoy the freedom of expression (as exemplified by the cases of Sattar Beheshti and Narges Mohammadi) the Iranian government has resorted to creating NGOs in order to whitewash its systematic and widespread violation of human rights by abusing the NGOs’ consultative status and other facilities at their disposal to tarnish the image of the democratic opposition and Iranian independent NGOs who are in exile,” reads the statement One of these so-called NGOs supported by the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran is the Association for the Defence of Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) that apparently has no other mission except demonizing and disseminating false information about the best-organized and main opposition group calling for democracy in Iran, named the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, PMOI,” the statement adds.
“The ADVT and similar ones that have come from Iran to participate in the Human Rights Council, in addition to disseminating false information and news, engage in intimidating and identifying Iranian human rights activists on the sidelines of the session, and under the supervision of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, which is responsible for suppressing the opposition, intimidate the families of these activists in Iran and pressure them,” the statement reads in another part.
Friday, November 27, marked the trial of Assadollah Assadi, Iran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist in Antwerp, Belgium, on the charge of terrorism. Assadi has used his diplomatic privileges to transfer explosive material from Iran to Austria, where he worked as a diplomat, and then hand the bomb to two of his operatives.
The prosecutor of Antwerp, in his indictment, underlined that based on the evidence, Assadi carried out the bombing plot against the opposition rally in 2018 at the behest of the regime. In other words, this foiled bombing plot was not Assadi’s initiative.
Assadi’s trial once again highlights how the clerical regime uses different covers to pursue its terrorism and achieve its malign goal. The regime’s embassies, the so-called cultural centers, and the NGOs like ADVT are used for terrorism and espionage. Thus, the international community should shut them all down and expel the regime’s agents.