Iran Intelligence Ministry - a report by The Pentagon and The Library of Congress

Struan Stevenson has authored a report on behalf of the Euorpean Parliament Friends of Free Iran Intergroup summarising key points made in a recent review of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence produced by The Pentagon and The Library of Congress in the United States.

Please click here to view  the joint Pentagon and Library of Congress paper in full.

Please click here to view Struan Stevenson's response and conclusions, also published below.

Iran Intelligence Ministry - a report by The Pentagon and The Library of Congress
Summary by Struan Stevenson, MEP

A recent investigative report prepared by the Pentagon and the US Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, makes striking revelations about the extent of activities by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) against dissidents, in particular efforts to discredit the main opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MEK).

The report Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security: a profile stresses that “The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) uses all means at its disposal to protect the Islamic Revolution of Iran, utilising such methods as infiltrating internal opposition groups, monitoring domestic threats and expatriate dissent, arresting alleged spies and dissidents, exposing conspiracies deemed threatening, and maintaining liaison with other foreign intelligence agencies as well as with organisations that protect the Islamic Republic’s interests around the world.”

It continues: “According to Iran’s constitution, all organizations must share information with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The ministry oversees all covert operations. It usually executes internal operations itself, but the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for the most part handles extraterritorial operations such as sabotage, assassinations, and espionage. Although the Quds Force operates independently, it shares the information it collects with MOIS.”

“The Iranian government considers Mojahedin-e-Khalq to be the organization that most threatens the Islamic Republic of Iran. One of the main responsibilities of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security is to conduct covert operations against Mojahedin-e-Khalq and to identify and eliminate its members. Other Iranian dissidents also fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction.

“The ministry has a Department of Disinformation, which is in charge of creating and waging psychological warfare against the enemies of the Islamic Republic.”

In other part of the report it is stressed that: “MOIS recruited former members of MEK in Europe and used them to launch a disinformation campaign against MEK.”

“After the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, MOIS made anti-MEK psychological warfare one of its main objectives, but MEK nonetheless has remained a viable organization.”

The report also identifies two MOIS agents operating from abroad, and explains how they got recruited and trained by the MOIS in Tehran to run a demonization campaign including launching a MEK-defamatory website: Iran-interlink.

“The recruitment of a British subject, Anne Singleton, and her Iranian husband, Masoud Khodabandeh, provides a relevant example of how MOIS coerces non-Iranians to cooperate. She worked with MEK in the late 1980s. Masoud Khodabandeh and his brother Ibrahim were both members of MEK at the time. In 1996 Masoud Khodabandeh decided to leave the organisation. Later, he married Anne Singleton. Soon after their marriage, MOIS forced them to cooperate by threatening to confiscate Khodabandeh’s mother’s extensive property in Tehran. Singleton and Khodabandeh then agreed to work for MOIS and spy on MEK. In 2002 Singleton met in Tehran with MOIS agents who were interested in her background. She agreed to cooperate with MOIS to save her brother-in-law’s life—he was still a member of MEK at the time. During her stay in Tehran, she received training from MOIS. After her return to England, she launched the iran-interlink website in the winter of 2002. After she made many trips to Iran and Singapore—the country where the agency contacts its foreign agents—MEK became doubtful of Singleton and Khodabandeh’s loyalty to the organisation. In2004 Singleton finally met her brother-in-law, Ibrahim, who was sent from Syria to Iran after the Syrians arrested him (it appears that Syrians closely cooperate with MOIS). Eventually, MOIS forced him to cooperate as well.”

This report proves several points:
1- The claim that the PMOI is an irrelevant group or has no support within Iran is a myth. 
2- The PMOI has always been and remains the most serious threat to the Iranian regime and therefore the suppression of the PMOI has always been and remains a priority for the Iranian intelligence services.
3- The Iranian regime is the source of all disinformation against the PMOI.

It also shows that contrary to EU’s official directives adopted in 1999, Iran’s known agents have enjoyed freedom of activity in Europe. In light of this recent revelation, it is high time that EU member states take legal actions against known agents of Iran and expel them from their soil. The fact that the report reveals that "the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for the most part handles extraterritorial operations such as sabotage, assassinations, and espionage" is extraordinary. The report goes on to say "One of the main responsibilities of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security is to conduct covert operations against Mojahedin-e-Khalq and to identify and eliminate its members."

These allegations, contained in an official Pentagon Report, make it clear that the Quds force and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, together with the MOIS who control their activities, are involved in conspiracies to murder citizens and residents of the EU. These surely provide grounds for immediate police action in EU Member States.

Struan Stevenson, MEP
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran intergroup
European Parliament, Brussels

Useful background information:
The annual report by Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) published in September 2012 stated that: “The MOIS’ main duty is to stake out and keep watch over opposition groups inside and outside the country. The Iranian regime’s spying activities against Germany are mainly carried out by the MOIS. Another main subject of this regime’s spying activities includes identifying exiled dissidents among Iranian communities living in Germany numbering over 50,000. In this regard, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) are specifically in the centre of the Iranian regime’s spying activities.”

In Enemies of the Ayatollahs, published in 2004, Mohammad Mohaddessin writes: “The clerical regime’s propaganda campaign against its opponents was originally modelled, to a large degree, on the activities and modus operandi of the former Soviet KGB’s disinformation department. Foreign instructors who trained Iranian operatives in ‘psychological warfare’ and propaganda techniques in the early 1980s were mainly from the Eastern bloc countries. Many Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry officers who rose to prominence in the latter half of the 1990s as journalists, editors or politicians, were among the first generation of trainees in these special courses.”

The late Lord Corbett of Castle Vale in a letter to his colleagues in 2006 wrote: “I know that MPs and Peers have been sent literature from organisations describing themselves as NGOs or human rights organizations seeking to discredit the PMOI. The most active of these is Iran-Interlink run by the husband and wife team Masoud Khodabandeh and Anne Singleton in Leeds.”

In another letter by former MEP Paulo Casaca, a co-founder of Friends of a Free Iran intergroup, to his colleagues in 2006, he wrote: “Once my efforts on behalf of the Iranian resistance became public, I began to receive dozens of dubious letters from unknown individuals who claimed to be opposed to the regime but also criticised the PMOI. It did not work. The next stage was somehow more sophisticated. This time it was not the Iranian regime or unknown individuals, but people who claimed to be former members of the organization, whose aim was, to put it bluntly, justifying the crimes committed by the terrorist regime ruling Iran.”