Olsi Jazexhi, an Albanian historian, reveals that the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) was not embraced but imposed on Albania in 2016 by the Obama administration.
"MEK was imposed on Albania in 2016 when the Obama administration demanded the Edi Rama regime to host 3000 foreign fighters in Albania," Jazexhi tells the Tehran Times.
Jazexhi also says while the majority of the Albanians are Muslim they are “marginalized and demonized by the present American backed regime" in the country.
The following is the text of the interview:
Q: Please tell us what the people in Albania know about MEK?
A: Albanians know that MEK has been a terrorist organization listed by the United States and the European Union until 2012 as such. Albanians are very worried and afraid of their government for hosting MEK. Many have protested in the past and have asked for their expulsion, but the Albanian government has intimidated and scared the citizens not to protest or question their presence. On the other hand, MEK and its supporters try to depict their ex-terrorist group as "the democratic opposition" of the regime in Iran. MEK spends a lot of money to misinform the Albanians and demonize Iran in Albania. In the past months, it has started to radicalize some Albanians, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra did before and make them join their terrorist activities against Iran.
Q: Why did Albania accept to embrace MEK?
A: Albania is not an independent country. After the Americans instigated a coup in 1998 and brought the Socialist Party to power, Albania lost its independence and democratic freedoms that we enjoyed after the collapse of communism. Since 1998 the elections are stolen, and the U.S. embassy certifies their theft as "democratic." Even though the majority of the Albanians are Muslim, Albania's ministers, prime minister, mayor of Tirana, and the president come or have converted themselves into Catholics or Zionist Evangelists. Muslims are marginalized and demonized by the present American backed regime, and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama has jailed dozens of Muslims for their political beliefs since coming to power.
The Socialist Party of Albania has stolen the last parliamentary elections of 2017 and municipal elections of 2019. The opposition has abandoned the parliament, and the municipal elections were also abandoned. The U.S. government and its ambassador in Tirana, who behaves like a supreme leader, treats Albania worse than they treated Iran in Mossadegh's time. Albania's Prime Minister, Edi Rama, is like Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua. The Americans know that he is an Islamophobia autocrat and a thief, but they treat him like Franklin Roosevelt treated Somoza.
Since Edi Rama's government steals the elections, has destroyed the country's economy, and most of his ministers are corrupt and some face drug smuggling charges, they are indebted to do anything the Americans ask them to.
If they do not obey the orders of the U.S. ambassador, they face jail and persecution. These things can be easily learned if someone reads the Wikileaks cables on Albania or learns the history of Albania's prosecutor general Adriatic Llalla who dared to reveal the U.S.'s media dictates towards his institution.
Hence MEK was not embraced but imposed on Albania in 2016 when the Obama administration demanded the Edi Rama regime to host 3000 foreign fighters in Albania. Our government took this decision without asking the Albanians or doing any referendum about this dangerous act.
Albanians have protested and demanded that MEK should not be located in our country. However, the Americans and the regime they support did not allow our people to do a referendum and express their democratic will regarding the MEK.
Nowadays, MEK acts like an occupying army in our country. They have taken control of Albania's foreign policy towards Iran, as well as putting pressure and blackmailing our government to expel Iranian diplomats.
They spread fake news as if the Iranian government does terrorist bombings in the country, discriminate the defectors, arrest, and jail Iranian asylum seekers.
They order our politicians to read their fake news against Iran and prohibit Albanian authorities from inspecting the crimes and illegal activities that Maryam Rajavi and her gang commit inside Manza's paramilitary camp.
Q: What do you know about the countries or institutes which fund the Rajavi cult?
A: The main supporters of MEK in Albania are the Americans, Emiratis, Saudis, and Israelis. When the MEK army was relocated to Albania in 2016, the Americans, UNHCR, and our government cheated the Albanian public by telling them that MEK is coming for humanitarian reasons in Albania, like many Syrians, Palestinians, Afghanis, etc. However, after their relocation was secured and Albanians were neutralized from protesting their presence, many American senators and politicians like John McCain, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani started to come to Tirana and demand the Albanian government to give MEK anti-constitutional and illegal powers to fight against the government of Iran. Since 2017 the Americans, Saudis, Israelis, and Emiratis have sponsored MEK, Albanian security services, the media, and many NGOs to depict MEK as "the Iranian opposition," which will "bring democracy to Iran." The same tactics that were used in Syria to promote Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS or the Free Syrian Army are used in Albania to show these ex-terrorists ' foreign fighters as "freedom-loving democrats." If until 2017, Albanian security services and anti-terror police depicted MEK as a dangerous terrorist organization with power and possibilities to commit terrorist acts and killings, after 2018, our security agencies have been forced to side with MEK and its illegal activities.
Q: Why did the U.S. State Department formally remove MEK from its list of terrorist organizations while it has been involved in assassinating many Iranians?
A: The Americans have a long history of supporting terrorist organizations for their imperialist interests. They supported and created al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army, and many other terrorist organizations in the past. After the destruction of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, etc., the next war of the Americans and Israel is against Turkey and Iran, who are the last remaining pillars of resistance against the Evangelical-Zionist imperialism in the Middle East (West Asia). The Americans support MEK like they support the Gulenist movement against Turkey. These organizations are the best terrorist tool they have to destabilize Turkey and Iran. Like Osama Bin Laden, they are the "good terrorists" of the West during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Q: What methods do the Rajavi cult use for spreading fake news?
A: The Rajavi gang uses fake news in many ways. They are masters of lies and deception. They use the internet a lot, twitter, fake websites, publication, and bribes. When I visited the European Parliament in 2018 to give my testimony about MEK, many European MPs showed us how one country was granting them access inside the EU institutions where they were spreading lies against Iran on daily bases (and) were trying to cheat European MPs.
In Albania, they use a lot of money to propagate anti-Iran news. They pay journalists, force media owners to spread their fake news about Iran, and pay many civil society organizations to promote their fake stories.
Top Albanian politicians like Ilir Meta, the President, Edi Rama, the prime minister, Lulzim Basha, the leader of the opposition, who have ongoing corruption court cases and live with the fear of going to jail, are approached by MEK who promises them favors with the U.S. State Department if they visit the MEK camp and read MEK-made anti-Iran declarations. They use blackmail too. Some TV owners and journalists who have published news about MEK crimes in Albania have been approached by MEK commanders who have blackmailed them to removing their news, or otherwise, MEK has claimed that they will face attacks by the Americans.
MEK has produced a number of fake news in the past years, which have been verified by me and my friend Gjergji Thanasi as fake. They claimed in 2018 that Iran planned a terrorist attack in Albania, a fact that we have proven to the media to be totally fake. However, their fake articles are later taken by major U.S. news outlets, like Fox News or Washington Times, and are sold to the world as true.
Q: How do they deal with their formal members as there are many reports indicating pressure on members to crack down on any dissent?
A: MEK is a paper tiger organization. Most MEK soldiers who live inside the Manza Camp hate Maryam Rajavi and would like to defect. However, they are not allowed to defect and abandon terrorism by MEK and the Albanian government.
If a MEK soldier can escape Manza's paramilitary camp, which is guarded like a prison by armed Albanian security police and MEK guards, the defector will have a very difficult life in Albania. Albanian anti-terror police will blackmail them and ask them to go back to Maryam Rajavi. The government will not give them a work permit. At the same time, MEK will accuse them of Iranian agents and will ask the government to jail the defector. MEK soldiers have no travel documents or money to smuggle themselves into Europe. As a result, they will face starvation and slow death if they decide to abandon war and live in peace. The UNHCR, which has a duty to protect these refugees, is afraid of the Americans to do her work. MEK has extraterritorial powers in Albania. If MEK commanders torture, imprison, or even kill the defectors, the Albanian police have no power and are afraid to enter the camp and implement the law.
One example of the tragedy of the defectors is the story of Ehsan Bidi. He was proclaimed an Iranian agent by Maryam Rajavi for opposing her crimes. MEK paid many media to demonize him as an Iranian agent. They pushed Albanian authorities to remove his UNHCR granted asylum in 2019 and imprisoned him for one year on orders of Maryam Rajavi. After spending one year in jail, on orders or bribes by MEK, Albanian police illegally threw him to the Greek border where he might have been killed should not, we, a group of Albanian journalists and MPs, have protested in Tirana against his illegal expulsion.
Maryam Rajavi would love to kill her defectors in Albania. However, she is not doing that for the time being since she is afraid of an Albanian and European backlash, which would alert the European public opinion about the monstrous nature of the Rajavi cult.
For the time being, Maryam Rajavi is bribing the Albanian government to destroy her opposition in Albania by poverty, imprisonment, and character assassination. Rajavi needs to fight and destroy the defectors who denounce war and terrorism and have escaped the MEK camp since their defection threatens MEK's future. If Albania can restore its authority over the MEK Camp, many defectors will escape and denounce the crimes that happen inside this death cult.
Q: What do you think about double standards by Western countries, including the U.S. and some European states, which call resistance groups in West Asia "terrorists" while defend crimes committed by Israel and MEK?
A: The answer to this was given by your Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, on his twitter account a few days ago: Mr. Zarif said:
Thanks to @SecPompeo, we now know the country's criteria to be removed from—or included in—State Dept's terror list:
Relations with Israel.
Nowadays, the West is hostage to Israel and its fanatical American Evangelic narrative as "God's chosen people." Evangelical Zionism has made the West to descend back to Medieval Ages. The U.S. government has a medieval mindset. This is the reason why they support medieval regimes like Israel or psychopathic death cults like the MEK.
Q: As an Albanian, what can you say to the Iranian public about the presence of MEK in Albania?
A: I want to tell the freedom-loving people of Iran that we, the people of Albania, love Iran. Iran is a very important country in the Islamic world that supports Palestine.
We share the same culture and history with Iran. We are a Muslim majority country which has inherited many Iranian words and culture. Iranian culture has been very instrumental in enlightening the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans. I want to apologize to Iran's wonderful people for having my country turned into a base for an anti-Iran terrorist cult. Iran has done no harm to Albania to get the MEK threat from us. I hope the Iranians understand that we do not like MEK. MEK threatened the national security of Albania and was imposed on Albania by the Americans. MEK has taken extra-national powers in our country, and it treats Albania as an occupied territory.
Since their coming, MEK has endangered the security, sovereignty, and democracy of Albania. Many European neighbors see Albania with fear because of MEK. MEK has blackmailed many journalists, media, and politicians into supporting their illegal activities. Albania, Iran, and our European allies and partners should work together to save Albania and Europe from the threat of terrorism and extremist organizations. MEK must be disbanded, deradicalized, and forced to accept peace, democracy, and international law.