Iran Regime’s Demonization Campaign

Feb 11, 2020
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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.

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.

In our previous piece, we looked at how the regime uses its state-run media, fake social media accounts, and bribed journalists to discredit the MEK, which legitimizes the regime and anti-MEK violence.

The regime showed its true colors during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, paving the way for the mullahs’ brutal rule, which included a crackdown on the Iranian people and their legitimate opposition, who after the Shah was overthrown wanted freedom and democracy.

In the war, 2 million Iranians were killed or injured, while 50 cities and 3,000 villages were destroyed, causing $1 trillion in damages, according to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

At first, the MEK joined the war, defending their homeland from the Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein. The regime’s IRGC shot the MEK in the back, but still, the MEK gallantly fought on.

Soon, the war turned and Iraq retreated, announcing that it sought a ceasefire, something the MEK agreed to because a continuing war was not in the best interests of ordinary Iranians. They launched a peace campaign and this really caught the ire of the mullahs.

For years, the regime’s propaganda outlets had wrongly called the MEK “the enemy’s fifth column” and or accused them of “collaboration with the enemy”. How could they do this when the MEK (and the Iranian people) wanted peace and the mullahs wanted war?

Those in the know, we're always aware of the hypocrisy of the regime accusing the MEK of terrorism when the mullahs were (and still are) the largest state supporter of terrorism. But how could the people know?

After all, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and its affiliates would carry out attacks, like the bombing of a sacred shrine in Mashhad in northeast Iran and murdering Christian priests, and blames it on the MEK. (It should be noted that the regime admitted responsibility for these crimes and blaming the MEK in the 1990s, following the chain murders of dissidents and the arrest of former MOIS deputy Saeed Imami.)

While ordinary people could reasonably be fooled, international governments, with their own intelligence networks, who put the MEK on terror watch lists should never have been. (Arguably, they weren't and this was a way to appease the regime.) The MEK was, of course, removed from these lists following lengthy trials that showed no evidence of terrorism by the MEK.

The regime is built on lies and sustained by dishonesty. If they were, to tell the truth, the regime would collapse, which is why the mullahs are experts in deception. The Iranian people know that everything said by regime officials and news outlets is lies. The international community should come to this conclusion too, as this is the only way to implement the necessary solutions to confront this regime.

 

Last modified on Saturday, 29 February 2020 14:27

External Links

Two Misguided Reports

  • HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    On 18 May 2005, the US based Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) issued a 28-page report (“the HRW Report”) concerning the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (“PMOI / MEK”).  Entitled ‘No Exit: Human Rights Abuses Inside the MKO Camps’, the HRW Report was essentially based on 12 hours of telephone interviews with 12…
  • Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    The RAND National Defense Research Institute published in July 2009 the report The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations). The report focuses on the circumstances surrounding the detention of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) at Camp Ashraf and “whether MeK members were taken into custody…