Following persecution and harassment in the first two years after the theocracy came to power following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, members of the regime’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) left Iran for France in 1981. Five years later the MEK left France for the Iran-Iraq frontier, where it built Camp Ashraf, in Iraq’s Diyala province, on a barren piece of land. In the next two decades, Ashraf grew into a modern mini-city.
In 2003, the MEK and Camp Ashraf fell under the protection of the United States Army, following the US-led invasion of Iraq, which lasted until the end of 2008. On January 1, 2009, under the new US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, the US government passed the protection of the camp over to the Iraqi government, a decision that violated its written commitment to protect them until their final disposition and had disastrous consequences.
Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s then-Prime Minister, an Iranian regime puppet, launched two deadly attacks on Camp Ashraf in 2009 and 2011, killing 47 defenseless residents and wounding nearly 1,000 residents. In 2012, at the behest of Tehran, al-Maliki demanded the closure of Camp Ashraf. Ultimately, through a quadripartite agreement, brokered by the United Nations and the United States, MEK members began to relocate to Camp Liberty, a former US base near Baghdad International Airport in 2012.
Some 100 residents remained at Ashraf as custodians of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of MEK’s moveable and fixed properties, including thousands of vehicles and other equipment. Attacks on the MEK, however, continued in both camps. In a deadly ambush by Iraq’s Interior Ministry Special Forces, 52 MEK members were shot, execution-style at Ashraf on September 1, 2013. Several missile attacks followed in Camp Liberty. Altogether, 141 MEK members were killed and more than 1,300 wounded during seven attacks on camps Ashraf and Liberty.
By 2016, with help from the international community, the MEK members were relocated to safety to Europe, mostly to Albania, where they built Ashraf –3.
In Albania for five years, the MEK are now in a position where they can fight back against the regime’s propaganda, putting the mullahs on the defensive, and at the same time enabling Iran’s new generation to get acquainted with the organization and its ideals, which explains why Iranian youth are joining its ranks in Iran in droves.
An article published on January 22, 2022, by the state-run news agency Fars, entitled ‘Incomplete defense of the lonely oppressed’, spoke to the reality of the regime’s failure in spreading lies and propaganda. “Winning because of the ‘dominant narrative’ is interpreted as victory without war.
A war waged with the ability to produce content and narrative and the power of the media, and it is natural that in the age of media and the Internet, the dominant narrative determines who is the ultimate winner of a battlefield,” it wrote.
But it should be noted that what Fars describes as the ‘dominant narrative’ is the label for the ‘truth’ something that the regime fears most.
The Fars News agency later expressed its anger about the regime’s utter failure in the realms of cyberwar, judicial, and human rights issues. It wrote, “In less than four years, from 1979 to 1983, the hypocrites (regime’s pejorative term to describe the MEK) assassinated more than 17,000 Iranian citizens, both officials, and ordinary people, but we see that the same criminals of yesterday and the bloodthirsty of today arrested one of our citizens in Europe and used a false pretext and are prosecuting him for being present in the executions of 1988 holding in a sham trial, relying on several fake court sessions, false narratives about those executions. These are the very same false narrative in the presidential elections against the officials of the regime.”
It also asked, “What have we done except sitting for a few months and witnessing only these false narratives without any serious movement from all these wide and large government bodies that have such budgets, for example, to defend the dignity of the Islamic Republic and pursue the cases of oppressed Iranians who are in custody for defending the revolution.”
The grievances of the regime via this media did not end here, but what this does show is that the regime is the main loser especially in three fields of cyberwar and propaganda, legal and human rights issues, making it clear that the truth has now reached Iran’s society and the regime propaganda has become worthless.
After 43 years, the regime’s status has changed from the ‘lonely oppressed’ as it claims, to the ‘lonely and isolated oppressor.’ This represents a major victory for the Iranian Resistance.