The recent massive investigations in Albania of a group of Iranian regime spies did not grab headlines in the US. But its revelations are truly newsworthy.
Unable to crush the unfolding uprising at home, the Iranian regime is striking overseas. Terrorist plots targeting the MEK in Albania, France, the US and Denmark have been foiled. One Iranian diplomat is jailed in Belgium, three have been expelled from France and the Netherlands, and the terrorist arrested in Denmark has been exposed as closely linked to the regime’s ambassador in Norway. Thankfully, those attacks have been to no avail.
What recently happened in Albania? In July, the country’s Special Structure for Combatting Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) acting on the request of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, detained and interrogated several Iranian nationals for espionage reportedly on behalf of the Iranian regime. Albanian Police raided apartments and offices where they conducted prohibited activities.
According to the Albanian Police, these individuals had been under investigation for several years. Their espionage activities reportedly occurred on Albanian territory on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an entity designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The Albanian special courts approved the investigation and raids in order to prevent possible terrorist attack against the main Iranian opposition The National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which has its headquarters near Tirana, in Ashraf 3.
Recently, two successive visits by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the 48th Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, in May and June of this year, to meet with the oppositional group leader, Maryam Rajavi, at Ashraf 3, Albania, are indicative of the pressure that Tehran feels as it faces immense unrest in Iran fueled by the MEK’s resistance units. These events are not happening in a vacuum. They coincide with dueling visits to the region by President Biden to acknowledge the geopolitical reality of regional opposition to the current Iranian regime’s ambitions to dominate the region, and President Putin’s visit to enhance his alliance with the rulers in Tehran against any change to the status quo.
The Iranian regime seeks to discredit and demonize the oppositional group internationally to blunt the spotlight the organization has put on its human rights violations, its secret nuclear weapons programs, its terrorist-sponsoring activities, and its meddling in the Middle East. Some journalists may all be too willing to naively, or perhaps maliciously, lap up every shred of misinformation about the Iranian opposition and augment every iota of pro-regime propaganda.
Misinformation about the Iranian oppositional group is probably aimed at sowing distrust and confusion in the minds of the Western public and maybe to make it difficult for Western policy makers and public figures to support the movement against the Iranian regime. And so we arrive at the other front: The misinformation campaign demonizing the oppositional group, whom Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has described as the “foot soldiers” of the uprising. Tehran is desperately seeking Western journalists and media outlets that can be persuaded to smear the oppositional group, in conjunction with a widespread campaign to manipulate Facebook and Twitter. Tehran is also employing the services of Iranian nationals posing as journalists to do the bidding of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). For example, Facebook closed 652 accounts and Twitter shut 770 accounts, declaring them false profiles for Iranian government advertising and disseminating fake news and lies. Some of these accounts were used to smear the Iranian opposition.
By highlighting alleged behavior that the public associates with anti-social cults, the Iranian regime seems to be manipulating the mainstream media which would damage the reputation and integrity of a long established progressive political movement against the regime. An image that was the polar opposite of what many public figures who had contact with the movement’s members and leadership had formed through direct experience.
It should be of concern to all reputable social media giants how the Iranian regime is spreading misinformation and using biases against the oppositional group developed to gain coverage for its disinformation campaign against its opponents.
Reprinted From Townhall.