On June 9, The Intercept published an article by Murtaza Mohammad Hussain in which he claimed I, being an Iranian dissident/activist, am a “persona” and my Twitter account is managed by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main Iranian opposition group.
Following the publication, Iranian regime lobbyists abroad and Tehran’s trolls launched an orchestrated attack against me.
Although Iranians in exile and foreign dignitaries strongly supported me, Twitter temporarily suspended my account and reopened after gaining reassurance. As a result, the Iranian regime failed on an international stage in silencing my voice of exposing the mullahs’ crimes.
More than all parties and in an unbelievable capacity, Iranian regime officials – from its UK ambassador to its oppressive entities inside Iran – were cheering The Intercept article and the suspension of my Twitter account.
The Fars news agency, associated to Tehran’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), praised The Intercept as an “investigative platform.”
“This outlet unveiled a famous account and revealed it to be an anti-Iranian project run by the [MEK]. Twitter suspended this account.”
Prior to this, Twitter had deleted a network of 2,800 Iran-linked fake accounts on May 28.
Two weeks later, nearly another 4,800 Tehran-associated accounts were also deleted, according to Reuters.
In the span of just two weeks, Twitter deleted more than 7,500 Iran-linked accounts. Some of these accounts played an active role in the campaign against me and other Iranian dissident activists.
However, the question is that why did this “investigative platform” (according to the IRGC’s Fars news agency) not write a single word about the 7,500 fake accounts, yet went the distance through a 3,000-word hit piece to claim my account is fake?
The disgraced Iran lobby group, NIAC, and its operative supporting Murtaza Hussain’s Intercept article is yet further proof of its fake nature and direct association to Tehran. The Intercept article provoked NIAC founder Trita Parsi to such an extent that he threatened to hold accountable credible U.S. outlets, that unlike The Intercept, are not in warm waters with Iran’s regime. Trita Parsi intends to silence the voice of all Iranian dissidents.
Who should be associated to this utter shame? Murtaza Hussain or Trita Parsi?
For those not informed, recently Iranians on Twitter once again voiced their widespread hatred vis-à-vis NIAC. In the past, there was the “#Shut_Up_NIAC” hashtag and now the “#NIACLobbies4Mullahs” was trending in powerful manner.
I have asked myself repeatedly about the objective of The Intercept article that is full of obvious lies, and how it was a completely orchestrated effort with the Iranian regime’s troll cyber army and known Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) agents.
Did they seek to force me to come forward and reveal my true name to have the Iranian regime target me, and my family and friends (especially in Iran)? Or was Tehran and The Intercept thinking Heshmat Alavi is an easy tool to target and victimize in order to deliver a blow to the PMOI/MEK? Maybe both.
It is interesting that neither the Iranian regime, nor its lobbyists in the West, nor The Intercept article, were ever able to debunk the facts and revelations placed forward by me through my Twitter account. Instead, they put all journalism standards aside and attempted to portray me as a “persona.”
If we take a close look at The Intercept’s sources, we realize that Murtaza Hussain “coincidentally” interviewed three known Iranian regime operatives: Hassan Heyrani, Reza Sadeghi and Massoud Khodabandeh!
A simple Google reveals that Hassan Heyrani – cited by The Intercept as a high-ranking MEK defector – actually requested MEK membership and was expelled by this organization on April 10, 2018, “due to intelligence and security concerns.”
A German court also rejected claims placed forward by Der Spiegel – citing Hassan Heyrani as their source – as baseless and lies.
An Iranian proverb goes, “Asked for an eye-witness, the fox offered his tail.”
“Collusion is suspected; or, one witness for his own benefit.”
Murtaza Hussain “coincidentally” cites two other Iranian regime operatives.
Reza Sadeghi was an MOIS operative who joined the PMOI/MEK from Canada and relocated to Camp Ashraf, the organization’s former main base in Iraq. Following his expulsion from the PMOI/MEK in 2005, he returned to Iran.
In March 2008, he received a passport from the MOIS and ordered to begin his anti-MEK activities. He returned to Iraq and was arrested by Iraqi police near Camp Ashraf.
Being expelled from the MEK back in 2005, how could Sadeghi have information about an issue relating to the years between 2014 – when I launched my Twitter account – and 2019?
The Intercept says Jebeli lives in Canada. Iranians in Canada have informed me he is so utterly disgraced that years ago he was accused of child abduction.
Massoud Khodabandeh is the third source cited by The Intercept. This individual is a known MOIS operative with a history of cooperating with Tehran going back to more than 20 years.
The Library of Congress issued a Pentagon-requested report describing Khodabandeh and his wife, Ann Singleton, as figures recruited by the MOIS in the 1990s who are now and have been involved in publishing fake news about the MEK.
Veteran Col. Wesley Martin, former Anti-terrorism/Force Protection Officer of all Coalition forces in Iraq, writes this about Khodabandeh – who describes himself as “director of Middle East Strategy Consultants,” which is nothing but a cloak:
“The Middle East Strategy Consultants seemed bogus from the onset and an investigation of its public records reveals it existed for a very short time before dissolving in 2013. The Huffington Post continues to name Masoud Khodabandeh as the entity’s director.
“It is worth noting that all websites used by Khodabandeh, such as mesconult.com, Iran-Interlink and khodabandeh.org are hosted by Ravand Cybertech, an entity run by the Iranian regime, as reported by Stand for Peace, a Jewish-Muslim interfaith organization.”
Due to Murtaza Hussain’s pro-Iranian regime approach, of course using historically disgraced “sources” with known pasts linked to Iran’s MOIS against Tehran’s dissidents is probably very satisfying and not shameful at all.
Especially since the Iranian regime used these very individuals to justify its foiled terrorist plots in 2018 in Albania and France against the MEK.
Murtaza Hussain is also active in Twitter promoting the Iranian regime’s talking points. He specifically describes Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, as a “moderate.”
Interesting how Murtaza Hussain never refers to this horrific reality that over 3,800 individuals have been executed to this day during the tenure of the “moderate” Rouhani.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rightfully said:
“Here in the West, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif are often held apart from the regime’s unwise terrorist and malign behavior. They are treated somehow differently… The West says: ‘Boy, if only [Rouhani and Zarif] could control Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Qasem Soleimani, then things would be great.’”
Iranians are very familiar with such methods. When dictators reach the end of their lifespan and become desperate, they always demonize their dissidents as fake or unreal. And there are always “reporters” who presell their dignity to repeat such ridiculous claims.
During the 2009 uprising in Iran, former Iranian regime president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the millions of protesters pouring into the streets as mere “riff-raff.”
People were heard chanting the next day in their demonstrations:
“Doktor-e Kapshen pareh, khashak ke pa nadare!”
(Doctor with a torn overcoat, riff-raff doesn’t walk!)
Forty years ago, during the last days of the Shah’s dictatorship, due to the imposed martial law people would go to their rooftops at nights to chant anti-regime slogans.
General Azhari, the Shah’s last prime minister, referred to these chants as cassette tapes and not real protesters.
In response, people demonstrating in the streets chanted:
“Azhari Goosaleh, Bazam migi navare? Navar ke pa nadareh!”
(Azhari, you [idiot], still think it’s tape? Tapes don’t walk!”)