Why senior regime officials can’t remain silent on the MEK’s role
In 1980, the mullahs’ regime founder and former supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini told his loyalists in a speech: “Our enemy is neither in the East nor West, nor in Kurdistan. The enemy is right here, under our nose, in Tehran.”
Khomeini’s confidants later admitted that Khomeini and his entire regime were terrified of that main enemy. In 2020, Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Assembly of Experts, recalled that at the time, the regime was afraid, “the MEK will bring the people to the streets.”
And now, regime president Ebrahim Raisi is voicing the same trepidations, further admitting to the prominent role the MEK played in countering the regime’s tyranny in the past four decades. Raisi, who on June 27 was attending a ceremony to pay homage to Assadollah Lajevardi, notoriously known as the “Butcher of Evin, said, “The group of hypocrites (regime’s pejorative reference to the MEK) shall eternally be cursed because wherever you see evil and sedition in the country in the last 40 years, there has been a footprint of the [MEK]. There has been no movement or action against this revolution where the hypocrites were absent. With the backing of dominant powers (one of the regime’s terms for referring to the West), the hypocrites have always tried to continue with their evil deeds.”
Of course, what Raisi means by “revolution” is the tyrannical rule of the mullahs, and what he means by “evil” and “sedition” is any act that challenges the mullahs’ tyranny.
On the same day, Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesperson for the regime’s foreign ministry, futilely tried to downplay Mike Pence’s recent trip to Ashraf 3, Albania, and his meeting with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, by saying in a press conference, “They are broke people who are trying to pose as real people and set up conferences.” Khatibzadeh also admitted that “this is not the first, nor will it be the last time” that MEK will be supported.
Khatibzadeh did not explain how these “broke” people have been—according to his own president—behind “every sedition” in the past 40 years.
Three days earlier, the regime’s deputy for international affairs and human rights Kazem Gharibabadi explained on state TV on June 24: “Perhaps at some junctures, the belief was that [MEK] has no support… and that there’s no need for us to refer to them any longer. But this is not our view anymore. In the (Iranian year) 1400 (beginning March 20, 2021), a very good and joint campaign began, and heavy pressure was brought to bear on countries that were hosting [MEK].”
Gharibabadi added, “There has been no meeting between us and European delegations where we haven’t discussed [MEK]. At the Human Rights Council meeting in February, I devoted at least 2-3 minutes of my seven-minute speech to the [MEK].”
This is why since the ban was posed on mentioning the MEK’s name during the presidency of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, senior regime officials can’t avoid mentioning the Iranian opposition’s name.
These admissions are happening at a time that the regime is desperately trying to dampen the explosive state of society by steering the protests toward support for the remnants of the disposed Shah’s regime. This tactic aims to divert attention from the main alternative to the mullahs’ tyrannical rule.
But even as they are sparing no effort to discredit the MEK, the regime’s officials can’t avoid saying that no other movement has stood up against their tyranny consistently during the past four decade.