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Massoud Khodabandeh, former MKO member, has said in a press conference that Mojahedin has no information about Iran's nuclear sites and that what it has disclosed had been provided by the US
PARIS, 20 Oct. (IPS) The Mojahedin (Khaq Organisation, MKO) have no secret information about secret Iranian nuclear sites, contrary of what the group pretends”, a former high-ranking commander of the outlawed organization said. “The Mojahedin have not satellite to monitor secret Iranian military sites and what they have revealed is in fact nothing more than installations the Iranian authorities have created for enriching uranium without informing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Mas’oud Khodabandeh told Iran Press Service in the sidelines of a press conference in Paris. The conference, held at the Foreign Press Centre in Paris was called by Mr. Alain Chevalerias to present his new book, “Burned Alive”, on the secretive organization, listed by all major Western countries as a terrorist group. Asked if he believes that the MKO has inside information about Iranian military installations producing atomic bomb, Mr. Khodabandeh who, until 1996, was in charge of the security and communications of the Baghdad-based organization said it were the Americans who in fact revealed the installations at Arak and Natanz. He was referring to the so-called revelations made three years ago by the Council of Iranian National Resistance, the political branch of the MKO in Washington about sites the group said were secret military installations for making nuclear weapons. One day after, an American specialized agency affiliated to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) published satellite pictures of the incriminated places. However, IPS had latter learned from well-placed experts and intelligence sources that the “revelations” where in fact a “scenario” worked out by “hard liners” at the Pentagon to promote the case of MKO as a “lever” against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, until the American attack on Iraq, the MKO used to be a favourite of many US lawmakers, branding the organization, working mostly under the label of National Resistance, as a movement fighting for democracy and secularity in Iran. Formed in the sixties, the MKO, hand in hand with a Marxist-Leninist group, killed at least six American military advisors in Iran while fighting against the Iranian Monarchy regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, America’s closest ally in the region except Israel, then also a friend of Iran. Formed in the sixties, the MKO, hand in hand with a Marxist-Leninist group, killed at least six American military advisors in Iran while fighting against the Iranian Monarchy regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, America’s closest ally in the region except Israel, then also a friend of Iran. A close ally of the Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution and founding father of the Islamic Republic up to the fall of the Monarchy in 1979, the MKO, then at a zenith of popularity in Iran, was crushed by Mr. Khomeini and Mr. Rajavi fled to France alongside with Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Republic’s first elected president, dismissed the ruthless Grand Ayatollah. Mr. Rajavi moved from France to Baghdad and with hundreds of followers, took part in the war Mr. Hussein had started against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran in 1981, buying at the same time for himself and his secretive organization the label of “traitors to the nation”. “A blend of Marxism and Islamism, the MKO, led by Mas’oud and Maryam Rajavi, worked closely with the former Iraqi Saddam Hussein and participated actively in the terrible massacre of the Iraqi Kurds and the Sh’ites by the now toppled dictator”, said Mr. Chevalerias, an investigating journalist and writer, adding that his findings were the result of more than a year of researches on the MKO in Iran, Iraq and Europe. He also confirmed that the MKO was the subject of divergences in the Bush Administration, with some, at the Pentagon around Defence Secretary Donald Rimsfeld looking to the group and its well-trained members, estimated at between 2.000 to 5.000, and military equipments provided by Mr. Hussein as a source of information concerning agents infiltrated in Iraq by Tehran as well as a mean of pressure over the Iranian theocracy against the State Department that has listed the group as a terrorist organization. Pressed by journalists to explain why the West, mostly France, -- where the Organisation has its international head quarter in the peaceful and picturesque small city of Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris since 1981 -- allows the group they have listed as “terrorist” to operate more or less freely, like organizing open demonstrations against the Islamic Republic in American and European major cities and suddenly cracking down on them, Mr. Chevalerias has a diplomatic answer, advancing “raisons d’Etat”, or State’s interests. The question was referring to the pre-dawn raid the French police’s special anti-terrorist special units carried last year against the MKO’s head quarters, arresting all the leaders of the group, including Mrs. Rajavi, seized sophisticated communications equipments and millions in cash. To protest the arrest, tens of the MKO members flew to Auvers-sur-Oise and some immolated themselves in Paris, London and other European cities, “inspiring” Mr. Chevalerias to investigate at the movement, intrigued by the immolations, “an act that has nothing to do with Islam, but more with secretive associations taking their roots from Hasan al Sabbah, the legendary Iranian leader and founder of the Isma’illiyah, a shoot out of the Shi’a sect better known as the Assassins in 1090. According to Mr. Khodabandeh, the megalomaniac and authoritative leader of the MKO not only operated as a branch of Iraqi army, but also ruled ruthlessly over the organization, jailing and assassinating hundreds of his critics. Asked about Mr. Rajavi’s whereabouts, not heard or seen since the invasion of Iraq by American forces last year, Mr. Khodabandeh said he is now living in the huge Ashraf Camp near Baghdad among other members “protected in fact by the American”. “Not only the MKO fought against Iran, but also carried out operations against other Iranian opposition forces opposed both to them and the Islamic Republic”, Mr. Khodabandeh sakid, accusing the MKO of having “destroyed” the overall Iranian national opposition to the regime. As the conference went on, MKO’s supporters distributed a communiqué accusing the former official, -- as well as other members who have cut with the movement -- of being an “agent” of Iranian intelligence services and Mr. Chevalerias a “collaborator” of the ruling ayatollahs, hence confirming assertions that the group uses violence against its opponents. ENDS MKO 201004

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