Friday, August 26, 2016

Persian Letters

Camp Ashraf Escapee Says MKO Bans Marriage, Radio, Internet

Residents of Camp Ashraf demonstrate in front of reporters touring in a bus on April 9, a day after their clashes with the Iraqi security forces.
Residents of Camp Ashraf demonstrate in front of reporters touring in a bus on April 9, a day after their clashes with the Iraqi security forces.
Iraq's Defense Ministry has announced that several residents of Camp Ashraf have fled the camp and appealed to Iraqi military forces for help.

Camp Ashraf, which is located some 60 kilometers from Baghdad and 100 kilometers from the border with Iran, is home to some 3,500 members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, aka People's Mujahedin of Iran). Iran has banned the group, and like the United States, considers it a terrorist organization. Iraq has said the camp must go.

Last week, 34 camp residents were killed during a raid by Iraqi forces under circumstances that are not clear.

The MKO says camp residents were killed by Iraqi forces. The Iraqi government, however, says it believes about 30 people were shot dead by guards at the camp.

The UN and rights groups have called for an independent investigation into the deaths.

Amnesty International has said that video clips of the April 8 clashes that the MKO has uploaded to YouTube appear to show Iraqi soldiers indiscriminately firing into the crowds and using vehicles to try and run others down.

Iraq's Defense Ministry said that three MKO leaders were among the camp residents who escaped.

On April 19, Defense Ministry spokesman Muhammad al-Askari reportedly told a press conference in Baghdad that "three leaders of the People's Mujahedin of Iran managed to escape Camp Ashraf." He named them as "senior leader Maryam Sinjari, leader Abdul Latif Shardouri [Abdollatif Shadvari], and leader Ibrat Kikhai."

I interviewed Shadvari last week. He told me he escaped from Camp Ashraf two months ago and turned himself in to Iraqi forces. He also said some of the other residents of the camp were being held there against their will.

Former MKO members have described the group as a cult that promotes celibacy and martyrdom, takes away members' children, and uses psychological methods to pressure members and force them to remain obedient and follow orders.

The MKO has rejected the claims and accuses former members of being tools of Tehran.

Shadvari, who spoke to me from Baghdad where he said he's staying at a hotel, said he joined the MKO when he was 15 years old. Here's some of our conversation:

Persian Letters: Can you tell me something about yourself and describe how you came to join the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization?

Abdollatif Shadvari: My name is Abdollatif Shadvari, I'm from Baluchistan. I've been with this organization for 25 years. I joined the MKO from Pakistan and through a friend who has been martyred.

I haven't had any contact with my family during the [past] 25 years because there was no possibility of contacting them. My family thought I was dead. Using the telephone, mobile phone, Internet, and even listening to radio is forbidden in the organization.

During these 25 years I was under a lot of pressure and I decided to hand myself over to Iraqi forces. I did that two months ago and now I'm at a hotel. I've been in touch with the Red Cross and also with the Iraqi government. I hope to go to another country.

Persian Letters: Do you know which country you might go to? What will be your situation once you get there?

Shadvari: I'm supposed to discuss it with the Red Cross and the United Nations. The issue is, as [MKO leader Massoud] Rajavi has said many times, whoever wants to escape from Ashraf will be punished with death and execution. Not only me, but many of my friends who are now in Ashraf don't have the possibility to leave the camp. Escape is the only way.

Escaping from there requires two or three months of preparation. I thought a lot about it and planned it so I could finally escape. [MKO leaders] always tell us: "You can't enter any [other] country. Ashraf is the only place you have."

Persian Letters: Are you saying that some people are held in Ashraf against their will? They're forced to stay there?

Shadvari: Yes, many are under pressure. They're worried about their future; they don't know what will be with them. I call on the Red Cross and international organizations to talk with each of the camp residents individually. This issue must be solved and the bloodshed must be stopped.

Persian Letters: Why do you think the MKO wants to keep people in Camp Ashraf? Why don't they let those who don't want to be there go?

Shadvari: It's obvious. If people [leave Ashraf], the organization will fall apart, there won't be any Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization anymore.

Persian Letters: Are you married?

Shadvari: No. I was 15 when I joined the organization. Now I'm 40.

Persian Letters: Why didn't you get married? Was it your choice?

Shadvari: Getting married is banned in Camp Ashraf. Not only getting married, but talking to women is banned.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
by: Jimmy from: Evin
April 21, 2011 14:05
In Response

by: Freedom4Iran from: USA
April 21, 2011 21:41
Here are 10 documented facts about the MEK everyone should know:

1) Most, if not all, of the MEK’s most prominent supporters are paid handsomely for their efforts.

2) Iran’s opposition Green Movement rejects the MEK:

3) The MEK has no support in Iran.

4) The MEK is a cult.

5) The MEK received most of its financial support and all its material support from Saddam Hussein until 2003.

6) The MEK support Saddam by aiding his deadly crackdown against the Kurds and Shia. Maryam Rajavi, the MEK’s leader, even instructed her followers to “take the Kurds under your tanks.”

7) The MEK strongly supported the takeover of the US Embassy in 1979, advocated for the US hostages to be tried and executed, and even opposed their eventual release.

8) The MEK wasn’t added to the Foreign Terrorist Organization List as a Goodwill Gesture to Iran. It’s been on the list since it was first created in 1997, and was listed in the Patterns on Global Terrorism for years prior to that.

9) The Bush administration determined in 2007 that “MEK leadership and members across the world maintain the capacity and will to commit terrorist acts in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.”

10) The MEK commits human rights abuses against its own members, and even tortured two dissident members to death.

American credibility and goodwill among the Iranian people would be destroyed if the US supported the MEK.
In Response

by: Jimmy from: Evin
April 22, 2011 13:40
Blah blah blah,

at the time when a bunch of murderer criminal gang called Islamic republic have destroyed every beautiful elements of life and value and humanity altogether, people like you or some hired pen come in defense of some criminals indirectly, shame on you, and I hope you can someday see the light, stop supporting these criminals who rape, torture and kill men and women and children, NO MATTER how well you write or dance for them you will never get the right price for selling your sole to them.
May god put some light in your heart.

یاد دارم در غروبی سرد سرد ، می گذشت از کوچه ما دوره گرد
داد می زد:کهنه قالی می خرم، دست دوم جنس عالی می خرم
کاسه و ظرف سفالی می خرم، گر نداری کوزه خالی می خرم
اشک در چشمان بابا حلقه بست ،عاقبت آهی کشید بغضش شکست
اول ماه است و نان در خانه نیست ، ای خدا شکرت ولی این زندگیست؟
بوی نان تازه هوشش برده بود ،اتفاقا مادرم هم روزه بود
خواهرم بی روسری بیرون دوید ،گفت:آقا سفره خالی می خرید؟

by: Jimmy from: Evin
April 21, 2011 14:14
I strongly believe that rather than investing your time and efforts on a group that the late ayatollah Khomeini declared them finished and gone around 30 years ago, you should focus on the miracles of Islamic republic, such as when the current DEAR LEADER Khamenei was born he started speaking, some may argue that his poor mom simply was farting, but don't pay attention to those people as they are the non-believers.

Please watch this video, Ayatollah Saidi, the Imam of holy city of Qom testifying that Ayatollah Khamenei was talking as he was exiting his mother:
In Response

by: John from: Johnstown
April 21, 2011 21:00
The comment on the Supreme Leader Khameni saying the name of the Imam as he was born is absurb. To show it on you tube is silly. First of ally they didn't have the video at that time to video tape his birth. In that time cameras didn't have sound production and most were just still frame black and white. The things that come out of this theocracy make the teachings of Muhammad dishonored. All about who should be the leader of the Ummah. To form a lie to give superiority to someone is illusion and makes that person a fake. So it would appear the supreme leader is a fake. Maybe he should wait for the Hidden Imam to reveal himself or maybe he is the Christ.

by: John Baptist from: USA
April 21, 2011 14:16
These people are whole bunch of nut jobs. They have killed the Americans in 60's and 70’s and they would do it today if they could, they have instigated the US embassy take over in Iran. Furthermore they have aligned themselves with a mass murderer AKA Sadam Hussein to kill their own countrymen and Kurds. They advocate cult type society with no regards for human dignity; they believe in sharing woman as a tool of satisfaction and believe in no God. I ran into few of them in Rome back in summer of 2001 and found them to be totally deranged. I would recommend them to a mental facility in sub Sahara to be cured. They perfectly fit to be in Charles Manson’s cult category.
In Response

by: Mirfenderesky Dariush from: Paris-France
April 22, 2011 05:01
Sir, what you say is absolutly right, and you know if there was one subject between Shah & Khomeiny that they admit both it was the moudjahedins mouvement, they said that it's impossible to be Marxist & Islamist at the same time and that's completly true.Regards
In Response

by: Anon from: Worldwide
April 23, 2011 20:52
You are right. A dear friend of mine who "defected" from the MKO after being born into it essentially confessed to me that the MKO requires 30% of their memebrs' income. No wonder they've got dough to roll in.

The problem now is reminding Europe and other countries that NO, the MKO is NOT Iran's largest opposition movement -- they are not representative in the Iranian people in the slightest. Many in Iran say "If the alternative is Rajavi, we'll keep our mullahs."

by: farid from: london
April 21, 2011 14:45
I am a bit puzzled whether you are a spokesman for Iranian regime or an independent reporter. At the time the residents of camp ashraf are brutally slaughtered and many of them are still in comma resulting from bullet wounds or being crushed with US gifted humvees, echoing the voice of agents of Iranian secret service is disgraceful and make me sick. I do not know how radio free Europe is carrying this name while it has become the voice of oppressors

by: ali from: California
April 21, 2011 15:00
The whole story of "several residents of Camp Ashraf have fled the camp and appealed to Iraqi military forces for help" is fabrication by raq's Defense Ministry under supervision of Mullahs.

This fabricated "news" didn't get any attention in media except your radio.

I have noticed your reporting on PMOI related issues has been biased in favor of Mullahs.
In Response

by: Freedom4Iran from: USA
April 21, 2011 21:39
Attacking the messenger. Classic move for the MEK. Problem is that the MEK's abuses are very well documented.

Human Rights Watch, for instance, has documented how the MEK tortures dissident members, even killing two:

Next you'll accuse Human Rights Watch of working for the mullahs...

by: Mike from: USA
April 21, 2011 16:25
Is this the same gentleman that was interrogated by Iranian officials at his hotel in Baghdad? It is now fact that Iranian intellgience officials are interrogating former MEK member and not the Iraqi government.

More importantly, his call for investigation has already occurred. The US (Army, FBI, and CIA) interviewed every Camp Ashraf resident and all indicated that they were not being held against their will. All of them had the opportunity to leave.

The author should refrain from publishing the Iranian Regime's propaganda, especially at a time where the residents of Camp Ashraf are at war with the Iranian Regime and its proxies in Iraq. Numerous Iraqi officials that are part of criminal Nouri Al-Maliki's political party were invited to Iran for an intelligence briefing on Camp Ashraf. Amongst the criminals is Ahmad Chalabi, a well known agent of the Iranian Regime, who is wanted in Jordan and sentenced to over 20 years in prison for embezzling 300 million dollars. A handful of US Generals have confirmed his involvement with the Iranian Regime.

by: Anonymous
April 21, 2011 16:36
I read last week this interview on Radio Farda website in Farsi, I'm so glad you translated it into English especially at a time when there is talk of removing MEk from the US balck list. MEK and its leaders are worse than the current mullahs that are ruling in Iran. Iranians have no sympathy for them,

by: Nima from: London
April 21, 2011 17:09
What a shame, at a time when the world is outraged on the dimentions of the crime committed by Iraqi forces at camp ashraf, your reporter is busy feeding the world with Iranian regime's disinformation and demonization campain. My sister has been at Camp Ashraf for the past 11 years and I regularly speak to her on the phone. These are the most committed people for democracy and freedom in Iran. It's a shame that this scarp is published on the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty which seem to have allowed itself to be a tool of the mullahs's notorious Inteligence Services

by: Zohre from: Europe
April 21, 2011 17:17
It seems that Iranian regime's paid agents have mobilized all their resources to vomit rubbish against Rans heroic freedom fighters.

many thanks to "Radio Mullahs!!"

by: Mostafa from: NY
April 21, 2011 18:00
Is this an independent site or just a puppet tool of Iranian mullahs? This interview has been done to promote the interest of mullahs. EU has officially accepted MKO as a political party. US will soon too. They are the main opposition political party in Iran and are the leader of a coalition of Iranian opposition parties in US and EU. Even most of green movement have already accepted them as their only hope.
In Response

by: anon from: worldwide
April 23, 2011 20:53
Political parties don't typically take up arms.
Comments page of 3

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Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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