Iran Alleges Saudi Plot Story is MEK Sting

The state-backed Iran Times carries a report from Iran’s Mehr news service that alleges that it learned from Interpol that Gholam Shakuri is a member of the People’s Holy Jihadis guerrilla group (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or MEK). The MEK wants to see the rule of the ayatollahs in Iran overthrown.

Shakuri is the second person named in the Department of Justice case that holds that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was involved with expatriate Manssor Arbabsiar in a plot to blow up the Saudi Ambassador in Washington.

The paper says that Interpol has evidence that Shakuri was in Camp Ashraf, the compound where members are virtually imprisoned (in inhumane circumstances and with occasional attacks on them) by the now-Shiite government in Iraq. Saddam Hussein had given the base to the MEK so as to allow them to carry out spying, sabotage and terrorist missions against the Islamic Republic.

The People’s Holy Jihadis was one of two prominent guerrilla groups active in Iran in the 1970s against the government of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, the then king and a close US ally. The other was the Fedayan-i Khalq or ‘those who sacrifice themselves for the people,’ a Marxist group. The MEK for its part mixed Islam and Marxism and was headed by the charismatic Massoud Rajavi, to whom members had a fanatic devotion. I remember when I was in Iran in summer, 1976, the newspapers were full of jeremiads about the Islamic Marxists, and I was shown a bombed-out second story apartment in South Tehran, allegedly MEK work.

The organization played a role in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but was marginalized by Imam Ruhollah Khomeini when he came to power. They then turned to terrorism, conducting a number of large bombings (one, in the early 1980s against the government, killed 81, including high government officials). The regime waged a vicious dirty war against them, killing some 10,000 in the 1980s (see the important study by Ervand Abrahamian). Because of the bombings, the group became extremely unpopular inside Iran, and was reduced to expatriate plotting.

Rajavi was succeeded by his wife Maryam. The MEK is nowadays a manipulative and authoritarian political cult that has taken in otherwise canny US politicians such as Howard Dean and many Congressmen on the Hill. There is some reason to think that it is secretly supported by Israel (presumably MEK leaders have privately assured Tel Aviv that they will recognize Israel if they come to power). Prominent right wing Israel apologists such as Daniel Pipes have campaigned to have the MEK taken off the State Department terrorist watch list. The Neoconservatives in the Pentagon used Camp Ashraf in Iraq to spy on Iran and on Shiite political groups in Iraq. The MEK continues to try to overthrow the Iranian government. It is highly intolerant of criticism and has bought well-placed US politicians and flacks, so it is dangerous to criticize it.

If Shakuri is an MEK double agent, then that would blow the FBI case against Iran out of the water, since they are constantly plotting against Tehran and are entirely capable of trying to frame the ayatollahs.

Iran is sourcing this allegation to Interpol, so it should be easy enough to confirm or falsify the claim– we can just ask Interpol if it is well founded.

Of course, Shakuri might not be MEK and Iran could be trying to muddy the waters by alleging an FBI/ MEK conspiracy against it. But then why bring in Interpol, why not just source the accusation to Iranian intelligence?

We’ll see.

38 Responses

  1. Interesting story. One wonders, naturally, how “proof” of “facts” ever develops in the murky world of ” ” intelligence ” ” (I use double quotes to indicate my doubt of the appropriateness of this title, especially in the USA). Perhaps INTERPOL will be a help?

  2. Besides the bombings that are mentioned in the article, they have killed thousands of innocent civilian Iranians and Iraqis and fought alongside Saddam against Iran. I think the Iranian government of the time had every right to marginalize them and even execute themas as their hands were already stained with too much innocent blood.

  3. The story of the left opposition to the Shah is both sad and tragic, and should not be retrospectively formulated to accord with its current bizarre deformation. The left played a very significant role in the Shah’s overthrow. As Misagh Parsa has shown, in much of the prelude to the Shah’s departure clerical opposition lagged behind left action, particularly strikes by unions, student organizations and their supporters, remarkably. After the Shah’s overthrow, Khomeini moved to take state power and went on the offensive against all sectors of the left, which had strong support in Iranian society. (While we’re at it, let’s not forget that there was once a socialist clerical faction around Ayatollah Taleghani.) Khomeini “marginalized” the MEK and the People’s Fedayeen through murder and imprisonment. They fought back, in part through a campaign of assassinations against the Khomeini supporters who were killing them. Over time, as the MEK tried to maintain itself within the limited options open to it, a perverse process of cultification set in, likely conditioned by having to discipline its members as the leadership sold their souls to ally with Sadaam. However grotesque the finale, the early history of these groups was heroic and should not be retrospectively marginalized to simplify the story.

  4. Off Topic – Chris Hedges video that OWS will take them all down. He has covered similar uprisings throughout the world. This one is real.

    A must watch video.

    Chris Hedges has covered similar movements around the world.

    This one is real.

    In all his writing he has never addressed HOW to bring about change.

    A must watch video.

    link to dailykos.com

    • If Chris Hedges says that OWS is going to change the world by sitting in Zuccotti Park, using the bathrooms of the businesses that service the Wall Street firms and having donated food delivered via UPS…then it must be true, because Chris Hedges is entirely, like, rational.

    • Sad so many of us no longer trust the word of the AG or FBI.

      If Iran’s story on Interpol is correct, expect the US to stomp on Interpol’s throat to change the story and rewrite the investigation to match our indictment.

      • I don’t know about that, you would have to be exceedingly stupid to believe that an intel organization as advanced and secretive as Iran’s would use a car dealer from Texas with drug cartel acquaintances as proxies; and pull a stunt aimed at Saudi on American soil.

        I mean, like, Michelle-Bachman-supporter-level stupid.

  5. This story needs to be cleared-up sooner rathe than latter.

    Because I am a glutton for punishment, I watched the Republican Presidential debates last night. They were engaging in some serious sabre-rattling on Iran-they were 100% convinced about this DOJ suit is directly sponsored by Iran. I think the chances go up dramatically that an attack or ever worse will occur against Iran if a Republican become President in 2012.

    Frank

  6. If you have any doubt who is pushing the agenda to bomb Iran, (cough…Israel) watch about four minutes America’s Christian warmonger Pat Robinson, lie thourgh his dentures as he demonizes Iran.

    After his propoganda tirade, he featured a slanted report that was followed up by a so-called author,Mr. Rosenberg, who has written a novel casting Iran in some type of messiah role? The end result is to impress on the Robertson sheep that bombing Iran would be, what else, God’s Work. Watch the first four minutes of the CBN broadcast and you’ll have enough.

    Warning! Pat Boone will try to sell the brothers and sisters gold for the first thirty seconds.

    link to cbn.com

  7. Does the history of MEK support the style of this crude operation with its paltry 100,000 down and easily discovered manipulations?

  8. In June 2004, then Defense Secretary
    Donald Rumsfeld designated MEK members as “protected persons” under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This designation would not have been made if there was any indication that it retained the intent to engage in acts of terrorism. For six years, the MEK at Camp Ashraf, Iraq was under the protection of coalition forces, a responsibility they transferred to the Iraqi government in early 2009. (Source: link to 64.78.33.77)

    “The MEK is nowadays a manipulative and authoritarian political cult that has taken in otherwise canny US politicians such as Howard Dean and many Congressmen on the Hill.”

    I challenge this assertion. Gov. Dean believes that the US remains morally responsible for the people of Ashraf and he is right. There are 74 days left until Ashraf is closed, until all the American troops are withdrawn and there is no protection for them left. The residents are being assessed individually by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees after applying for refugee status, to allow them to resettle elsewhere, but that the process likely cannot be completed within the time frame set by Baghdad.

    Every time the Department of State was required to assess the MEK’s activities to determine if it should remain on the FTO list, it has refused to delist it, presumably to be used as a bargaining chip with Iran. That is wrong and an abuse of power.

  9. Interpol has gained information about the second suspect in the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States indicating that he is a key member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).

    A source told the Mehr news agency on Monday that Interpol has learned that Gholam-Hossein Shakouri, aka Ali Shakouri and Gholam Shakouri, the second suspect in the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington, is one of the senior members of the MKO, which is an anti-Iranian terrorist group.

    Shakouri has travelled to numerous countries with many fake identity documents, including forged Iranian passports, and he was last seen in Washington and at Camp Ashraf, where MKO members are based, the source added.

    One of the passports used by Shakouri was issued on November 30, 2006 in Washington with the number K10295631.

    The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border.

    Over 3,000 MKO members are currently residing at the camp. In addition, the group has sent elements to Iran on spying and terrorist missions.

    The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has committed numerous terrorist acts against both Iranians and Iraqis.

    Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been putting pressure on the Iraqi government to block the expulsion.

    Earlier in the day, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said that the prime suspect in the alleged plot, Mansour Arbabsiar, who is also a cousin of Shakouri, had received forged identity documents from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

    On October 11, the US Justice Department accused Iran of plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, with help from a man suspected of being a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

    Tehran says the media hype created by Washington is an attempt to deflect international attention from the anti-corruption and anti-corporatism protests currently rocking the country.

    Iran’s envoy to the UN, Mohammad Khazaei, has filed a complaint against the US for what he called the “evil plot.”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has described the US accusation as an immature scenario and says US officials will ultimately be forced to apologize.

  10. For Frank – Unfortunately it would not appear that the Obama administration is much protection against an attack on Iran, either by the US or by its “ally,” Israel. Hillary Clinton has been rattling sabers against Iran for years, and most of the Congress, Democrat as well as Republican, is ready to do whatever the Israeli government says.

    • The Clinton’s have been on the Saudi gravy train since, well at least since Bill set up his foundation – and we all know how loyal Hill is to Bill.

  11. Might fit given the sloppiness of the plot and the MEK’s recent endeavors to buy US politicians. One (minor) correction however, the Iran Times is based in DC and is not, to my knowledge, in any way affiliated with the regime. They have been around since at least the early 80s in English and Farsi. You may be confusing them with the Tehran Times, which I believe is regime-sponsored.

  12. And then……

    We hear the PKK has just made a raid and the Turks are in hot pursuit into Iraq.

    When (!!!) we finally get to the bottom of all these unfolding developments I suspect there may be more than a little agitprop involved. It clearly is the way to go in the today’s world, if you find yourself on the short end of the stick.

    The thing is, that in todays world, a smart coordinated set of moves can set events in motions that nobody ever could’ve anticipated. It doesn’t take more than a committed and creative guy/group with a very nominal amount of resources beyond guile and guts. Not to minimize that business about commitment, and for the fully committed the ends certainly justify the means.

    In fact, that was the essential proof offered by OBL and the 911 attacks.

  13. Well, the Iranians’ story is certainly more plausible than the U.S. version.

    It it turns out to be true, and the FBI thought they were nailing Quds but it was actually a frame job by the MEK, it will be much too embarrassing for the Obama administration ever to admit it.

  14. Thanks for translating the name. First time I noticed any one has done so. The name says it all about this dangerous cult.

  15. Beautiful observation. Please, keep on writing on the subject if there is new info on the case (e.g. Shakuri truly being an MEK agent)

  16. o Though Iranian news agencies (be they pro or anti government)and websites aren’t reliable, MKO involvement is inherently plausible, certainly more so that Iranian government involvement. The MKO may have tried to perform the assassination while leaving some clues leading to Iran. Picking an incompetent person like Arbabsiyar would fit nicely in that plan.

    o Putting the word Jihadi in their name as a translation for mujahideen is not technically wrong, but it seems a bit unfair, as it implicitly treats mujahideen as a dirty word, and it buys into fashionable MSM terminology and caricaturing of the world. The group’s history should speak for itself, and it is not necessary to focus on their name to make a point.

    o The MKO before the revolution: To the gentleman who in the comments claimed a heroic past for the MKO before the revolution: not really, unless one considers killing enemies heroic. MKO leaders didn’t even have mercy on their own members. When two of the three leaders converted to Marxism and atheism, they assassinated the third, Majid Sharif Vaghefi, who had remained an Islamist, and they also killed some Muslim associates of Sharif.

    As for other violent leftists, like the Fadayian-e Khaq, I fail to see what is so heroic about murdering policemen and soldiers during the Shah’s reign. Non-violent leftists like the communist Tudeh party were definitely more worthy of respect, though as atheists their support base was more among the intellectuals and university educated class than the general public, and they simply could not mobilize the masses in the way the clerics could.

    o The same commentator hinted that the MKO played a big role in bringing about the revolution. Actually, by the time of the revolution the organization had been almost completely liquidated. Its Muslim leaders had been killed by the Marxist members, and the Marxist leaders had been killed by the Shah (except those still in prison from many years earlier who had been spared execution due to cooperating with the Shah). The few surviving MKO Marxists had changed their organization’s name to Peykar. It was actually the revolution that gave new life to the MKO, not the other way around.

  17. Meh. Not to put too fine a point on it but the Iran Times is an out-and-out bootlicking rag. This conspiracy charge may yet unravel but these clowns would be the last source I’d use. They have little credibility other than to propagandize on behalf of Ahmadenijad and the regime

  18. —- But then why bring in Interpol, why not just source the accusation to Iranian intelligence?—-

    because it would insult everyone’s ? and Interpol is not instantly dismissible.

  19. This follows a recent surge in activity from the MEK paying BIG BUCKS to high-profile American military and politicians, like Rudolph Guiliani, to give speeches in support of the MKO.

  20. Good geo political perspective of Gulf Regional disputes here link to geocurrents.info

    Human Rights Watch report on MKO here link to hrw.org

    HRW response to criticism of above here link to hrw.org

    Saudi Claims Gholam Shakuri Also Orchestrated Bahrain Unrest link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

    In 2003 the NYT wrote “When Saddam Hussein used the PMOI and its tanks as advance forces to crush the Iraqi Kurdish people in the north and the Iraqi Shia people in the south, Maryam Rajavi the then leader of PMOI’s army is said to have commanded: “Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.””

    Whatever the PMIO/MEL/MKO may have been, it now seems they’re Islamic Maoists with a side serve of Pol-Pot, drizzled with a coulis of Jim Jones, and they have been for some considerable time.

  21. MEK is the group presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants off the terrorist list. Mitt likes the political ‘cult’ MEK.  Guess, “political cult” doesn’t need the politically correct “high demand group” word for a ‘cult’.

    Mitt Romney must want to start WWIII with Iran. If Iran gets destabilized the region will also become destabilized putting Turkey will also be at risk. Mitt needs to realize Iran is not Iraq.

  22. Former high level MEK official confirms in Gulf2000 listserve that there IS a Gholam Shakuri who’s a member of MEK. While Iranians I know have tried assiduously to find any Shakuri affiliated with the IRG & done so without success.

    Read further in my post linked to this comment.

  23. It would be a shame if NATO went to war with Iran’s government.

    The honor of stamping out the nest of snakes that is the theocracy belongs to the Iranian people.

  24. Interpol is just an organization for sharing information, it is not itself a police or intelligence organization, so I would be curious how Interpol knows where someone is located at any particular point in time.

    • Perhaps because the agency that knew about Shakuri’s links with MEK did not want to be identified. EG Iraqi police/intelligence might not want to annoy the occupying power by revealing the information directly – so it had a word in Interpol’s ear.

  25. The fact that the US government spread this story is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that Clinton and Obama are neither intelligent or honest. Well if you measure their intellegence on a curve against the US population maybe they are intellegent but certianly not honest. They certianly had
    unstated dishonest motives for spreading this story.
    Rick Fromm

  26. It looks like Israel, her Neocons, and her Israeli Lobby have just been exposed for trying to run a ‘False Flag Operation’ against Iran (as well as the US) for the benefit of the Israelis

    This is similar to what Israel and her Neocons did when they pulled off the false flag operation against the US that got us into the Iraq War using the Neocon’s ‘Curveball’ and the Neocon’s ‘Yellowcake Uranium Fraud’ which they used to lie us into Iraq, using Feith’s Office of Special (Mossad) Plans

    How can we chase this MEK Gholam Shakuri to ground?

    Can someone please hire Blackwater to go check out Camp Ashraf and catch him and rendition him somewhere where we can get a confession that he conspired with Avigdor Lieberman and Max Boot to run a ‘False Flag Operation’ against Iran?

    There’s a Pulitzer in it for Seymour Hersch or any other investigative journalist who wants to report this historic story.

    It was Michael Ledeen and the ‘Italian Intelligence’/Mossad that created the whole Niger Uranium Forgery False Flag Operation that they stovepiped thru Feith’s Office of Special Plans to commit America to the warcrime of invading Iraq for Israel – why can’t we EXPOSE the Israeli Lobby and Israel for this operation?

    Is it possible that this ‘False Flag Operation’ can be TURNED and used to stop what will almost certainly be an Israeli/and or US attack on Iran?

    How is it possible to make sure this Israeli Plot is TURNED around and used to publically indict the Israelis and the Israeli Lobby?

  27. If Gholam Shakuri is a member of MEK and has been traveling in the US (Washington) – then I want to know where he went, whom he met, when he arrived and left, EVERYTHING

    If this is an Israeli Lobby or Israeli ‘False Flag Operation’ I want it EXPOSED. The Israeli Lobby/Neocons have been tryng to use this as a causus belli – I want them EXPOSED

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