Since shortly after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran’s theocratic regime has faced serious challenges from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The MEK, contributed to the overthrow of Shah Pahlavi. When mullahs hijacked the revolution, the MEK was on the frontline demanding freedom and justice for people.
Persons familiar with the MEK, its platform, and its leadership understand that it has been the leading voice for democracy in Iran throughout four decades. Therefore, mullahs have tried to tarnish MEK’s image as the leading opposition group. The details of two recent, nationwide uprisings in Iran once again showed the MEK’s extensive social influence. But Tehran can still be expected to fight tooth and nail to preserve a false narrative of the MEK’s unimportance.
The Iranian regime has been pursuing this false narrative and demonizing campaign, in the form of a coordinated disinformation campaigns run by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The MEK successfully has challenged this false reporting in court while releasing various reports of their own which undermine the credibility of sources that Tehran relies upon to spread its messaging abroad.
In this way, the Iranian Resistance has convinced a large and politically diverse supporters beyond Iranian propaganda and see the organized Resistance for what it is: a viable alternative government, poised to guide Iran through a period of transition after the Iranian regime’s downfall. In recent months, many of them participated in a series of international video conferences organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, to keep attention focused on the legacy of recent uprisings while challenging Western policy of appeasement.
The regime, in return, has been trying to use its networks of “friendly journalists,” to discredit both the Iranian resistance and those who support its cause.
Those regime-friendly journalists are often recognizable by their continued reliance on discredited “sources” on Iranian affairs, whose affiliation with the MOIS is a matter of public record. The existence of those disinformation assets has been confirmed by the likes of the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Its research into Tehran’s disinformation campaign against the MEK corroborated pre-existing accounts of misleading activity by the so-called “former MEK member” and current MOIS operative.
These sources continue to occasionally publish articles in the mainstream press or post tweets in social media against the MEK, but their work is invariably a carbon copy of the countless reports and editorials published by Iranian state media for the sole purpose of attempting to chip away at the MEK’s growing domestic popularity.
This propaganda has drastically proliferated in recent years, with the regime publishing 14 entire books on the subject in just a 12-month period between 2016 and 2017. Over the previous year, the regime released more than 300 movies and documentary series for demonizing the MEK while also continuing the publication of a monthly magazine and maintaining more than a dozen website and countless social media profiles dedicated to demonizing the Resistance.
Though recognized as non-credible in the West and even among most of the Iranian people, the sheer volume of these publications, such propaganda pave the way for the mullahs’ terrorist activities. All the while, from time to time, the regime’s own false reports are cited in Western media by the aforementioned friendly journalists, or by semi-professional reporters who simply failed to check the veracity of their sources. This makes the regime’s talking points more accessible while, at the first sight, be able of concealing their sources.
Yet, the only party that truly welcomes such propaganda is the Iranian regime. A good example is the recent article published by the Der Spiegel. This biased and hit piece was based on some allegations by the MOIS, and finally the court ordered the Der Spiegel to remove these allegations from its article. Interestingly, days before Der Spiegel publish this article, the regime’s state-run media published it Farsi version.
The mullahs’ regime yearns for those days when the MEK was designated as a terrorist organization, by the Western governments, due to their appeasement policy toward the regime. Those designations were later removed after 19 separate court cases determined that they were baseless and that the MEK’s political activities constituted legitimate opposition to a repressive government.
Iranian propaganda regularly alleges that the MEK has little support inside Iran. But this claim has been contradicted by none other than the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who delivered a speech in January 2018 that confirmed the MEK’s leading role during then-ongoing anti-government uprising. The uprising encompassed more than 150 Iranian cities and towns, inspired countless protests that repeated its calls for regime change throughout the subsequent year, and set the stage for another nationwide uprising in November 2019, with the MEK playing a leading role.
Tehran will never stop demonizing the MEK and spreading disinformation, calling it a dependent movement. But there are clear records available to anyone who cares to investigate, which demonstrate that the Iranian Resistance is entirely funded by donations from individuals who have personally experienced the MEK’s compassion and commitment to the dignity of all people, who believe in the 10-point plan written by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, and who expect that it will one day allow them to return to a free and democratic Iran.
This is the true story of the MEK and the Iranian resistance. This resistance movement has vowed to topple the mullahs’ regime and that is inevitable.