Over the past few months, more and more evidence about the Iranian regime’s belligerence and terrorism on European soil is coming to light. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that back in November, the Iranian regime’s terrorist diplomat was tried for attempting to bomb the opposition, ’s gathering outside Paris in June 2018. It came to light that Assdollah Assadi headed up the regime’s terrorist and spy network in Europe.
And earlier this week, more light was shed on the regime’s activities in Europe when Hadi Sani-Khani, a former operative of the Iranian regime in Albania, wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In his letter, Sani-Khani gave details about his past collaboration with the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). He gave details about a network of MOIS operatives in Europe, in particular in Albania. The regime’s mercenaries there, he said, are “divided into two groups” – those that are overtly in contact with the embassy that must “prove their allegiance” to the MOIS and the ones that secretly work for the embassy and the MOIS to gather information about the regime’s opposition – the MEK.
The first group, according to Sani-Khani, are paid €500 per month and have to have at least one Facebook and Instagram account and they must publish 12 articles slandering the MEK per month. The other group, he explained, gathers information about the MEK and is paid €300 per month, perhaps more.
The regime uses these operatives to spread misinformation about the MEK. “Friendly” journalists are used to spread the information further, with renowned international media outlets sometimes falling into the trap of believing their sources.
Sani-Khani said that he sometimes used pseudonyms for his articles against the MEK. He became involved in a hit piece against the MEK in 2019 and it was published by Der Spiegel. There were many false allegations against the MEK and eventually a German court ordered the publication to remove its comments from its website.
The information provided by Sani-Khani shows just how extensive the Iranian regime’s network of operatives is and how much effort and resources are put into slandering the opposition. It is clear that the operatives working against the Iranian Resistance are coming straight from the regime and its intelligence service.
A number of international media outlets have published allegations made by operatives of the MOIS. There are hopes that these outlets will not just recognize that the supposed former members of the MEK that they quoted or referred to are in fact MOIS operatives, but that they will also acknowledge what is happening, and most importantly not make the same mistakes again.
The misinformation campaign can be hugely damaging and the MEK has been drawing attention to the regime’s tactics for many years. The fact that major publications are still able to fall for the deceptions is something that should not be happening in this day and age.
For now, we can hope that moving forward, some important lessons have been learned and that due diligence is carried out on future occasions.