Habilian’s effort to take advantage of journalists/reporters

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By Iran Probe staff
Saturday, 1 April 2017
Iran’s MOIS resorts to various methods, including holding a series of conferences and meetings, and hiring journalists and think tanks to write articles and raise allegations against the PMOI/MEK…
Shane Harris, an internationally recognized reporter, wrote a piece in The Daily Beast on June 14th, 2015 explaining how Iranian intelligence, through Habilian, attempted to invite him to a Tehran conference and hire him. He writes:
“Iran’s spies tried to recruit me: An Iranian activist group, backed by the country’s intelligence service, is trying to enlist American journalists and academics in a propaganda campaign meant to criticize the United States and Israel. I speak from experience, because the group recently tried to recruit me….
 “In a series of subsequent emails, my contact explained that top papers chosen by the organizers would be published in a book and that “decision-making institutions will have access to it.” If I wanted to attend the conference, “we will strive to facilitate it and provide you funded travel to Iran.” The organizer also offered, in principle, to pay me, but asked me to name my price first. (I didn’t.). Throughout my exchange, the question of who, exactly, was organizing this event was difficult to nail down. While the conference has the support of high-level government officials and ministries, it’s nominally run by a group called the Habilian Association. That group is run by family members of people who died in terrorist attacks, notably those that Habilian alleges were committed by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an exiled Iranian resistance group that wants to see democratic, non-theocratic rule brought to Iran. Habilian is a group featuring a few MEK defectors and run by the MOIS,” the acronym for the Iranian intelligence service, Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank in Washington, told me. “They have previously produced English language booklets (in print) but this is the most professional online English language material I have seen.” Another Iran analyst, who asked me not to identify him, said Habilian has recently sent him several well-designed and expensive-looking books, written in English, that he presumes were paid for by the Iranian government. (Iran’s Fars news agency also publishes a website in English, though the organization describes itself as independent of the government….
Shane Harris
“The MEK counters that Habilian is a puppet of the Iranian regime, which “has organized dozens of photo exhibitions, published hundreds of books, and produced many television series in a futile attempt to tarnish the image of the Iranian Resistance,” Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, under which the MEK sits, told me. “Similarly, it has tried to influence journalists, opinion leaders, and Iran observers through a steady diet of misinformation disseminated by its paid and unpaid surrogates outside Iran.”
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