Amid protests in different cities of Iran, Albanian media reported this Tuesday that Israeli ambassador in Tirana met with anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalqh Organization (MEK), one of the biggest opposition groups to the Islamic Republic.
It was on this Tuesday that the Tirana Web, a state-run news website in Albania, reported that in a suspicious move, a public meeting took place between the Israeli ambassador to Albania and the Head of the anti-Iran MEK group, Maryam Rajavi.
The meeting was suspicious because since the Islamic revolution of 1979 in Iran, both Israel and MEK have been Tehran’s sworn enemies, and the ongoing protests in Iran can very well be a ground for hurting the Islamic Republic in one way or another.
The meeting between Galit Peleg, and Rajavi, happened during Peleg’s trip to southern Albania. During the meeting, as the Tirana Web reported, the two discussed the possible ways to develop bilateral cooperation between Israel and the MEK.
This is not the first time the two faces meet. It was indeed last month on September 27 that Rajavi went to Israel’s embassy in Tirana to take part in the Jewish New Year celebration.
What is the MEK?
Also known as People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, MEK was founded more than 50 years ago and was first a tough opposition to the Shah regime. After the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran back in 1979, however, the group followed advocating overthrowing the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and installing its own government.
Unable to defeat the new Islamic establishment in Iran, the MEK plotted and carried out indiscriminate attacks against revolutionary forces as well as common people in Iran as an act of revenge. According to Iran official records, nearly 15,000 Iranians were killed by the MEK in terrorist attacks over the past four decades.
The MEK group, which Iran considers as a terrorist organization, is currently based in Albania, where it enjoys freedom of activity after being delisted by the European Union and the United States in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Albania agreed in 2013 to take in members of the group at the request of Washington and the United Nations.
Which countries support the MEK against Iran?
Regardless of its disrepute around the world, the MKO has in recent years held numerous big events to counter the Islamic Republic of Iran. Most of these events have been attended and supported by senior American, Israeli and Saudi officials, including former US Senator John McCain, former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, former US national security advisor John Bolton, former US Senator Joe Lieberman, and former director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency Turki bin Faisal Al Saud.
Proving the role of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel in backing the MEK against Iran, Spiegel Online security experts issued a report back in 2017, noting that the three above-mentioned countries provide the group with financial support, something that the MEK denies categorically.
Among the three, the US has more openly expressed support for the MEK and what they want. In 2017, for example, the year before John Bolton became President Trump’s National Security Adviser, Bolton addressed members of the MEK in a gathering in Albania and said that they would celebrate in Tehran before 2019.
Also on 30 June 2018, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, lectured in an MEK gathering in Paris, supporting the group’s anti-Iran efforts and calling for regime change in Tehran.