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Michael Rubin’s MEK-phobia Serves Iran’s Tyrants

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Every time the regime in Tehran faces a major crisis, such as the nationwide uprising that entered its second month, the self-proclaimed Iran pundit Michael Rubin rushes to the mullahs’ rescue by bashing the main opposition movement Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). This threadbare pattern has positioned him as a habitual purveyor of the regime's propaganda and misinformation campaign. He seems to have taken a page right out of Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’s handbook, who said, “Tell a lie that’s big enough and repeat it often enough and the whole world will believe it.” 


I have already debunked his baseless assertions, cheaply copied from Iranian intelligence service (MOIS), in 200620112021 and 2022. Rubin has now turned into Johnny-one-note when it comes to the MEK. He's got nothing new but to repeat the stale and repeatedly debunked allegations. 

Rubin tried to undermine the credibility of the MEK in August 2021 after the movement made new revelations about the clerics' clandestine nuclear program. And in August 2022, he relayed familiar regime propaganda against the MEK, accusing it of being a "terrorist group." 

No wonder why virtually all state-controlled media outlets in Iran reprint Rubin’s gossip columns. The daily Kayhan, the Supreme Leader’s mouthpiece, wasted no time in reprinting Rubin’s earlier anti-MEK piece on the second page of its July 19, 2021, issue. Rubin's MEK-bashing has also been embraced by the terrorist IRGC Qods Force's Young Journalists Club.

His latest tirade is no different.

The question is: Why would anyone in their right mind carry out an unsolicited attack on the opposition that the regime fears the most - the MEK -when Iran’s tyrants are crumbling in the face of a nationwide uprising? 


Rubin's behavior is so abrupt and inexplicable that one also wonders: Who gives Rubin his marching orders? 

The source of his zeal to demonize the MEK and throw the regime a desperately needed lifeline every time Tehran is in trouble remains unclear. Nobody knows what Rubin did when he spent some time living and “studying” in Iran in the 1990s. Nevertheless, his rehashing of slurs the Tehran intelligence services disseminate certainly raises questions. 

The clerical regime has spared no effort in its disinformation campaign against the MEK in the past four decades, employing the services of friendly ‘journalists’ or ‘scholars.’ In July 2017, in an interview with a state-affiliated TV station, former Iran regime’s Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, boasted, "We don’t send an agent to Germany or America and for example say, ok, I am an agent of the intelligence ministry. ... Obviously, he would work under the cover of business or other jobs including reporters. You know, many of our reporters are actually ministry agents." 

In 2021, an Iranian intelligence agent and three others were tried and convicted in Belgium for trying to bomb an MEK rally in Paris in 2018. The agent, Mehrdad Arefani, had been an Iranian intelligence asset and sleeper cell for more than 20 years. 


According to court documents, Arefani had been collaborating with the terrorist plot mastermind and regime diplomat Assadollah Assadi in the formation of the terrorist cell. He had face-to-face, e-mail and telephone communications with Assadi and was supposed to report on the execution of the terrorist plan to Assadi by being present at the Villepinte exposition hall. Searches of Arefani’s house turned up a large set of equipment for spying against the MEK. 

Arefani had been working for the regime's intelligence since at least 2000 when he traveled to Belgium. To cover up his affiliation with the regime, he introduced himself as a secularist and an atheist poet as well as a "human rights activist." While in Iran, Arefani had received training in some professional skills as part of his training for his missions. 

Suffice it to ask, if the MEK is inconsequential, as Rubin has been claiming for at least 15 years, why did the regime openly threatened to launch missile and drone attacks on its home, Ashraf-3, in Albania and to hatch plots bomb its rallies in Albania and France in 2018, using an ambassador and a serving diplomat? The “ambassador” was expelled from Albania, and the "diplomat" was convicted of terrorism in Europe and is spending 20 years in a Belgian jail, the first such ruling in Europe's modern history. The proof is in the pudding.  


Michael Rubin should learn some new tunes. 

Ali Safavi (@amsafavi) is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) 

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