Iran: Why Are Mullahs Targeting Opposition MEK Families?

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While the regime in Iran bogusly boasts of having widespread popular support and no opposition threatening its rule, the scope of pressure Tehran’s security apparatus is placing on dissidents’ family members is astonishing.

The notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Revolutionary Guards have long records of arresting, imprisoning, torturing and even executing individuals for the sole reason of having family relations with opposition members.

This shows a clear weakness in the regime ruling Iran, and it must be exploited by supporting the opposition to bring about democratic change in one of the first cradles of humanity.

Mullahs Afraid Of Opposition

Woman holds photos of her relatives
Woman holds photos of her relatives

The Mullahs in Iran have for years now focused on a campaign arresting family members of opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI aka MEK). The main bulk of this movement is based in a camp near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, while its headquarters and political wing is stationed in Paris.

Aimed at increasing its pressures against these dissidents, Tehran has continued its ongoing pursuit of psychological warfare against them, seeking to use this as leverage to break the will of MEK members that have not given in to the ayatollahs’ demands and are continuously struggling for freedom and democracy in Iran.

There are many cases of how the regime ruling over Iran with an iron fist has imposed a heavy crackdown over the society, especially the families and relatives of the main opposition of MEK.

Ali Saremi Executed For Visiting Relatives

Ali Saremi
Ali Saremi

Ali Saremi, known as the most prominent political prisoner of Iranian history serving over 24 years behind bars under the Shah and the ayatollahs’ reigns of terror. Despite the fact that Amnesty International issued a number of Urgent Action statements asking for his death sentence to be suspended, the Iranian regime paid no attention and hanged him on December 28th, 2010. He was executed for the sole reason of visiting his son in camp Ashraf Iraq, home to several thousand members of MEK.

The case of Jafar Kazemi is also another such horrifying example of how the ayatollahs take their revenge from a father for his son’s membership in camp Ashraf. Amnesty International issued yet another Urgent Action call on April 30th, 2010 expressing concerns about his possible execution and calling for his death sentence to be suspended.

Another Urgent Action statement on August 5th, 2010 reported his death sentence being upheld by the regime’s so-called courts, and once again, Amnesty requested his death sentence be suspended. However, the ayatollahs executed him on January 24th, 2011 for the sole “crime” of visiting Ashraf and his relatives.

144 Opposition Members Killed In Camp Liberty

The policy of making political prisoners literally suffer to death is yet another method resorted to by this regime. In fact this is practiced not only in Iran but also carried out by its proxies in Iraq, especially the government committee missioned to kill and repress the MEK members in Camp Liberty, adjacent to Baghdad international airport. This policy has to this day taken the lives of 144 MEK members in Camp Liberty Iraq, and continues to this day.

Mullahs Kill Opposition By Medical Neglect

In Iran, another political prisoner by the name of Mohsen Dokmechi, 53, a known Tehran bazaar merchant and former political prisoner back in the 1980s, was arrested on September 7th, 2009. The MEK’s political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), issued a statement saying Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence loathed him after his daughter had joined the MEK in Iraq.

Suffering from pancreatic cancer, he needed to undergo urgent medical care. However, the regime took revenge over the fact that he refused to say the MEK is keeping his daughter in Ashraf against her will. The ayatollahs deprived him of medical care and he suffered grueling pains for 7 months. Dokmechi finally died because of his illness.

It is worth noting that following his death, the regime has to this day summoned his wife to the prosecutor’s office many times and placed her under immense pressure. His father, Mr. Ali Dokmechi, also a known Tehran bazaar merchant, passed away due to the pressures imposed on his son and other measures carried out against his family.

Maryam Akbari Monfared Imprisoned Due To A Phone Call

A political prisoner’s husband says his wife, Maryam Akbari Monfared, was arrested in autumn 2009 in their house and has been imprisoned for more than 6 years without any furlough. This 40-year old housewife was sentenced to 15 years for having a phone call with her family members in Camp Ashraf (MEK base before Camp Liberty) which is tantamount to “enmity against God.”

“She had no political activity and Judge Salavati told her that she had to suffer instead of her sisters and brothers who are in Ashraf.”

“Monfared is now in Evin Prison and her brother, Reza Akbari Monfared, is in Rajaee City Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran. Two of her brothers were executed in 1981 and 1984 for being MEK members. One of her brothers, along with her sister, were executed in the summer of 1988 during the massive massacre of political prisoners.”

Failed U.S. Policy of Appeasement

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities the ayatollahs are resorting to against the MEK and their families and loved ones inside Iran. One truly cannot imagine a human being imprisoned for merely making a phone call to relatives, but this does take place in Iran. And it will continue as long as the West, especially the United States, continues its failed policy of appeasement, rapprochement and concealment with Iran and its ruthless ayatollahs that only understand the language of force and true will.

Standing Up To Fascism

Yes, this comes with a price. However, the forefathers who founded the country we call America today, and inspiring leaders of Europe who defeated the fascist Nazis, have major expectations from us to stand firm now, against modern day fascism: the Islamic fundamentalism ruling Iran that is making a mockery of all human rights values, conventions and laws.

Editor’s Note: Ali Saremi’s wife, Mahin Saremiwrote some stories at NewsBlaze.

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.