Mr. Win Griffiths came to Iran and saw the reality of your condition at
first hand; but he evaded, in a way, admitting this reality! Why does a
figure such as him ignore his responsibility and resort to partiality in his
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - There are various reasons for this, the
clearest of which is his formal ties with the [Mojahedin] Organization. In
the end, it's been 25 years that he is working with the MKO and there's a
kind of formality between them.
Many MKO members (like me and others) are the people who have had relations
with the people who are now in the House of Lords. These people have had
contact with the MKO since they were young and were in the Labour Party and
then they had become members of parliament, stood down and became Lords, but
kept their contact.
There are a few such people, such as Win Griffiths, Lord Corbett, and Lord
Clark; they're the products of the 1980s when a big wave was in motion
against Iran (at that time it was said that every 25 minutes an Iranian is
executed). These people came at that time and I saw that Labour Party
formally supported the NCRI. A representative of the Labour Party came and
said that they wanted to support the MKO. Anyway, this was their policy at
These [people] are the products of that period of time and when they retire,
no one replaces them. Most of them are concentrated in the US and the UK; in
other European countries you can't find such similar conditions. This is
because the MKO had strong foreign relations in the US and UK. It had people
on the ground who had made friendship with parliamentarians.
There may be a thousand reasons for Win Griffiths's position; he may have
formal relations with a person in the MKO.
But this is only related to a person. If you look closer, you can see that
support for the MKO has become restricted and limited. At one time, a
majority of the Swedish parliament supported the NCRI, when Maryam Rajavi
was in Paris, but it is now finished.
After that, it was reversed and opponents of the MKO in European Parliament
increased. The MKO has never been able to get good support from the
parliaments in Germany and France.
It also depends on the political situation of the MPs and their record as an
MP. The presence of some people, who were influential, could be decisive;
but Parliament is not an important organ in the foreign policies of these
countries, and so the position taken by a member of parliament is not
If all the MPs of the world gather and sign a petition in favour of the MKO,
nothing will be changed for this organization. All of them together can't
have the value of a diplomat or an expert from a Foreign Office. The
professional views of such experts have always been decisive. No one, even a
simple expert, in any foreign ministry, supports this organization.
Except with Saddam, the Organization couldn't establish solid relations with
other states; it has not had even a simple discussion. Other nations don't
count on the MKO to sit and talk to it. Instead, the MKO has always wanted a
person from any foreign ministry to come and talk to them. This never came
true for the MKO and then the terrorist lists showed up. First, the US list
of terrorist organization and then, the UK, and then it was extended to
Now if you compare the words of Win Griffiths and the [Terrorism] Act 
passed by the UK parliament which introduced the MKO as a terrorist
organization; they're not comparable. I mean the words of Griffiths are not
Interviewer - Your explanations about the diplomacy of the
organization and that where it is going and its propaganda positions have
been very useful. But when we address Mr. Win Griffiths as a human being, he
has taken a position against your case; how should we evaluate this?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - We should remember that Mr. Griffiths is
retired [as an MP] and he would be dealing with the supporters of the MKO.
If I were him, I'd work cautiously because the members of the MKO are
present there in the UK and I would meet them again; in the end, one should
think that he had 20 years of relationship and he needs more caution than
people like Teddy Taylor who has no formal relation with the MKO or Emma
Nicholson who has always taken position against the MKO.
I mean this position taking depends on personal characteristics; it can't be
Interviewer - Another point was that the MKO put pressure on Homa
Khodabandeh and tried to convince her that she should protest and set
herself on fire. Mitra Bagheri had said this, 20 days before organized
self-immolations in France; before Marzieh Babakhani and Sedighe Mojaveri in
Paris and Neda Hassani in the UK set themselves on fire; of course, the
total number of self-immolations was 16 out of which 2 deaths were reported.
But the organization claims that it was not organized by the MKO.
I want to establish a link between what the MKO had said to Homa and the
events in France. Can we say that what happened in France was a move by the
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - I can't believe that even a move is performed
by itself in the MKO; I mean if someone can do something in the MKO by
himself, then the MKO is not the organization that I know.
If someone wants to drink water, it is done under the supervision of the
organization. In most of the cases we couldn't decide and waited for the
organization to give us commands. We couldn't even decide on the simplest
affairs of all human beings.
It is possible that an official of the MKO has not directly ordered someone
to execute the orders, but there are special methods to force the members
indirectly to do something; the MKO is master at such methods.
For instance, in the meetings they didn't tell us to attack a person, but
they prepared the situation so that all the people in that meeting attacked
a person who did not have similar ideas. In that system, ordering members is
If it was something spontaneous, the people who were closer to the center of
the MKO (Maryam Rajavi) should have been more affected; but why didn't the
veterans come to the scene and why were the younger members involved; why
was it limited and why wasn't it wider?
My daughter told met that someone had called her and said that 'if she was
really my daughter, she'd set herself on fire'. When they can say such
things to my daughter, consider the things they may have said after Maryam
They may have said that if something like this happens, we would do so and
so; well, there are a number who are influenced and would do the same…
Let me tell you something; if the MKO didn't want these events to happen it
had the ability to prevent them although the members had become very
Interviewer - When Mr. Griffiths came to Iran, you asked Ms. Elahe
Azimfar to come to Iran and meet with you in person and you guaranteed her
return. Would you repeat this again? Would you ask her or any other MKO
representative to come to Iran?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - Sure; I'm assured that I can guarantee this.
I'm sure about it due to the things I've see here. It's not restricted to
one case. One can see many things, courts, revolutionary courts, judges,
interrogators, intelligence ministry; prison guards…the families, people in
the streets. All this can't be a big theater.
My analysis is that right now, Ms. Elahe Azimfar can come to Iran. She can
go around and see everyone and then she can return to the UK!
Who benefits from this? If you look at it very carefully, you'll see that
the only loser is the MKO. It is the MKO which should answer these
questions: where's the torture, where's the execution, why was x not
tortured, why was y not executed? This is one of the first results of such a
visit to Iran.
Win Griffiths came to Iran and returned; he can say what he wants. That he
came to Iran after 25 years of enmity with the Islamic Republic and
supporting MKO, that he was welcomed like a guest, he went everywhere he
wanted and talked to everyone he liked, and then he returned, that is
He can say nothing; anyone who witnesses this must ask himself "Where are
all those claims?" I mean there's a contradiction.
Once we see a person like Emma Nicholson, who came here to say "don't
execute these people". She didn't ask for anything in return. She was not
given money. My brother asked him and she came to Iran and asked Iran not to
execute us. And then we see how the MKO treats her.
What has she done that the MKO insults her? What has she said that the MKO
is so angry? So, the only loser out of visits to Iran is the MKO and no one
That's why the MKO tries to isolate those who talk about Iran and who go to
the Iranian embassy. It wants to create a situation in which no one thinks
of returning to Iran. A situation in which members think they have committed
a betrayal; they can do anything but they must never approach Iran.
I know that the Iranian government has a good insight into the MKO and knows
that if someone is separate from the MKO for 10 days, then that person won't
be the same again. Iran is always open to such people.
This is not like Europe. The punishment for armed robbery here is death, but
how is that [Iran] pardons MKO members, even those who have participated in
operations? Because they know that if a person leaves the MKO, and the
'Current Operation'" [brainwashing] sessions are stopped, that person can be
reconstructed and sent back into society. It means that these persons have
not been terrorists and criminals but they have been in a situation that has
forced them to be so.
Experience shows that those who survived their own [terrorist] operations in
Iran, made a 180 turnabout during a short time. Unfortunately, some of them
committed suicide or were killed during the operation.
This turnabout can't be achieved through torture, or mental pressure since
they were ready for torture and mental pressure. The thing they were not
ready for was seeing reality. That's why they were told to swallow cyanide
I'm sure that if someone like Ms. Elahe Azimfar comes to Iran, she would be
warmly received and then she can return freely. Then she can return and say
that she was tortured here.
She can say whatever she wants, it's not important. But the only loser will
be the MKO and the MKO won't allow such a thing to happen.
Interviewer - It was announced on behalf of Mr. Griffiths that he is
carrying a message of peace for Iranian officials and whether it is possible
for the government to stop its enmity toward the MKO and issue a pardon or
not. Do you think it was a personal request or was it something which had
been coordinated by the MKO?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - No, I think it was personal. As far as the
system in Iran is concerned it has no problem. What would they want to do if
they return to the country? Would they hold the 'current operation' sessions
in a stadium?
The system's behavior with us shows that it doesn't consider the MKO to be a
Win Griffiths said that he was personally opposed to armed struggle. He said
that he didn't accept that MKO has performed military operations.
Interviewer - Of course, he later withdrew these words.
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - Anyway, this was what he told us. He said that
he wanted to create understanding. But I don’t believe that the organization
will abandon its principles. Mr. Griffiths should know that MKO's basis is
that the regime should be toppled. Well, first of all, it should withdraw
from this position and then there is room for other discussions.
For instance, first I say that I seek your death! Now I want to sit and talk
to you. It's impossible because I have not left any room for discussion.
So, this was something personal. He said that he had something like the
model of South Africa in his mind. But the cases are not similar at all.
Interviewer - Mr. Griffiths and two of his friends had formed an ad
hoc parliamentary committee to save you, "The Committee for the freedom of
Ebrahim Khodabandeh and Jamil Bassam"! But as the MKO's propaganda
decreased, this committee was shut down (although if its purpose was
humanitarian it should have continued its activities until achieving a clear
result). Now the question is, whether these committees and other similar
movements are created at the request of MPs or at the request of the MKO?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - All the activities by these MPs are planned by
the MKO. MPs are very busy. Iran may be at the bottom of their agenda. They
are so busy that they can't enter into such cases. They only let their names
be used by such committees- which are usually fixed and are run by a few who
have old relations with the MKO.
These committees don't have formal or legal aspects. They're not influential
at all. They're more propagandistic and help the MKO in its propaganda
Interviewer - You mean they have internal applications in the MKO?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - Yes, they're used to recruit and keep members.
For example, consider the committee which had been formed for us. It was not
for our freedom. It had propaganda use, up to a point? Up to where? Up to
when Baroness Emma Nicholson came and visited us. Then my daughter came and
visited me. And later, Griffiths came and then the time for using this
committee was expired.
One of the things that was explained here for Mr. Griffiths here was our
case and the accusations against us. The UNCR also said that we should be
returned to Syrian and that the extradition was illegal because we had UK
citizenship. But they couldn't charge Iran because we had threatened Iran's
security and Iran had the right to receive us wherever we had been arrested.
For instance, a number of people were arrested by the US in Afghanistan.
They were taken to Guantanamo Bay. The US says these people were threats to
its security. It was explained to Win Griffiths that there were clear
charges against us.
It was explained for him that we should go on trial court because we had
been arrested and charged.
Anyway, such committees have temporary applications; to fill newspapers and
show activities and ….
They show these to attract new members and keep some people busy.
Interviewer - You mean Mr. Griffiths has accepted Iran's reasoning
on judicial issues?
Ebrahim Khodabandeh - Yes, he had a meeting with Mr. Javad Larijani
about us. They explained our case to him and said that they are ready to
explain it for anyone who has criticisms of the judicial process in this
These are mostly political noises, there's no legal discussion in them. They
lack diplomatic and legal value. They're only for propaganda.
Interviewer - Thank-you.