Open Letter to Win Griffiths MP
|Massoud Khodabandeh, April 2005|
Mr Win Griffiths, MP
Dear Mr Griffiths,
I discovered the open letter to President Chirac of France dated 6 April 2005, signed by you alongside three non-elected members of the House of Lords, posted only on Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation web sites. I was curious to know exactly what you could have said to the President of France. Unfortunately, the accompanying 'picture' of your original letter on Lord Corbett's headed paper is unreadable and so we must rely entirely on the Persian language translation.
Apparently, you have openly alleged that the demonstration organised by the victims of the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MKO) in Paris was the work of the intelligence ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the co-operation of the French authorities. Although I accept that if even four members out of over 1400 members of the Houses of Parliament do not hold different opinions on an issue, one should doubt about the whole arrangement, but still I cannot help wondering about your motives and if you have really read what you have signed.
Sir. The letter is no more than a copy of the latest Mojahedin statement published two days before your letter in an attempt to politicise the recent developments in the court case against Mrs Maryam Rajavi so as to either stop or at least influence the judicial procedures against her. I am sure you will remember that less than two years ago, in a similar appalling act, several cult members were ordered to set fire to themselves in the capital cities of European countries, including London, in a bid to derail the first judicial procedure against her. In London one young girl died needlessly and another young man has been permanently disabled by his injuries.
The cult publicity machine of Mrs Rajavi (who is, after all, under investigation by the French police for her involvement in criminal and terrorist activities in France and elsewhere, and who is the head of such an organisation that it is listed as a terrorist entity in more than 30 countries, including the UK, USA and countries of the European Union) has been in overdrive in the last two weeks after she was informed that another four individual cases against her, including my own case, have been accepted by the French judiciary for investigation. In her publicity Mrs Rajavi claims that that Radio France ("loudspeaker of the mullah's regime"), the BBC ("Ayatollah BBC"), Radio Farda ("Irangaters"), Voice of America, an overwhelming number of officials in France (including President Chirac) and in Britain (including Foreign Minister Jack Straw), Germany, Russia, China, the US Department of State, are all working for the Islamic Republic of Iran! Or should I say are "agents of the Intelligence Ministry of the mullahs" as mentioned in your letter (as copied from your friends' statement).
Your suggestion that the victims of a terrorist organisation (in practically the whole globe) should have been prevented by the French Government from expressing their demands could not be in any greater contradiction with the democratic freedoms and procedures of the free world which you as an MP must be familiar with.
Sir. Your total devotion to the residue of the Intelligence services of Saddam Hussein of the past 25 years is astonishing enough, but your demand for the use of repression against free speech in France in favour of remnants from Saddam Hussein's regime is bringing disgrace to the Labour Party of which I am a member.
As you know, in the last 6 months, on several occasions, we have asked your good self to arrange an open discussion (on you own terms and conditions, when and where it is convenient for you and for your friends) between the Mojahedin and their critics. In an interview with Voice of America on 1st April 2005 at a Seminar in Paris, I again extended this invitation, in the spirit not of revenge but of reconciliation. There has not been any response from you to date. What are we to make of this silence?
As far as the court case of Mrs Rajavi and the allegations against her, including violations of her own members' human rights, torture, murder, crimes against humanity and war crimes, are concerned, I am sure that you, unlike your friends, who have become used to living in a lawless society under the protection of Saddam Hussein for the past two decades, would agree that the judicial system of France (or indeed our own country the UK) should not be interfered with by politicians, especially from non-expert, unaccountable Lords of another country. Of course, you have the right to attend the court if you wish to give evidence in support of the MKO and defend their past reputation of 25 years under the patronage of Saddam Hussein. But please leave the job of the Judiciary to the judges and remind your friend that she is being prosecuted in France because she ran away from Iraq to France and that anyway, the laws of the UK or other countries of the free world, are not that much different from the laws in France.
And as far as your claim that this organisation is part of a democratic opposition against the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned, I can no more than quote from the 1992 report on your friends by the US Department of State (long before the true nature of your friends was exposed to the rest of the world), which I am sure you would not accuse of working for the Intelligence Ministry of Iran. The report of course is the basis for why your friends - whom you are desperately trying to protect - have been designated a terrorist organisation since 1997.
"…The Mojahedin collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the former Shah of Iran. As part of that struggle, they assassinated at least six American citizens, supported the takeover of the U.S. embassy, and opposed the release of American hostages. In the post-revolutionary political chaos, however, the Mojahedin lost political power to Iran's Islamic clergy. They then applied their dedication to armed struggle and the use of propaganda against the new Iranian government, launching a violent and polemical cycle of attack and reprisal…"
"… The NLA's (the MKO army in Iraq) last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991, when it joined Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion. In addition to occasional acts of sabotage, the Mojahedin are responsible for violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians. They also engage in violence against Iranian government targets in the West…"
"… Exploiting Western opprobrium of the behaviour of the current government of Iran, the Mojahedin posit themselves as the alternative. To achieve that goal, they claim they have the support of a majority of Iranians. This claim is much disputed by academics and other specialists on Iran, who assert that in fact the Mojahedin-e Khalq have little support among Iranians. They argue that the Mojahedin's activities since the group's leadership fled from Iran in 1981-- particularly their alliance with Iraq and the group's internal oppression -- have discredited them among the Iranian polity. The clerical regime in Tehran, aware of the Mojahedin's unpopularity, attempts to discredit many of its opponents by falsely linking them to the MKO. The Mojahedin, for their part, often dismiss their critics as "agents of the regime…"
I should remind you and your three other friends that this report as well the proscription of the Mojahedin Khalq Organisation under the UK's Terrorism Act 2000, occurred well in advance of the September 11 tragedy which your friends never publicly condemned, and well in advance of the fall of Saddam Hussein which your friends never gave any opinion about.
I should also remind you that had it not been because of the overwhelming evidence produced against the organisation over the past 25 year of its existence under the protection of Saddam, you would certainly find somebody else who would favour the use of these people against the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Centre de Recherché sur le Terrorisme, Paris
Office of President Jacques Chirac