BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, November 16, 2023, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director
The recently published book, “IRAN: The Ayatollah’s Hidden Hand – Tehran’s Covert Campaign to Undermine Its Principal Opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK),” offers an insightful look into Tehran’s ongoing influence operations in Washington. It provides a chilling account of the extensive and malign impact of the regime’s operations to demonize its main opposition, which seeks regime change inside Iran, and to distance Western policymakers from standing on the side of the Iranian people as they seek change.
Authored by Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan of the University of Baltimore, the book reveals how Tehran-backed operatives have infiltrated high U.S. government levels to mislead policymakers about Tehran’s nefarious actions and spread disinformation about Iran’s leading democratic opposition, the MEK.
According to the book, these operatives aim to convince U.S. officials that no viable alternatives exist to Iran’s clerical regime, attempting to undermine positive views of the MEK in Washington’s foreign policy circles.
This new release highlights Ariane Tabatabai, a central figure in this network, who transitioned from the State Department to a prominent role as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflicts.
Prof. Sheehan notes the MEK’s significant threat to Tehran, citing its organizational strength, intelligence capabilities, financial resources, committed membership, and wide support base, including backing from U.S. lawmakers, European parliamentarians, and global figures.
The report concludes that despite Tehran’s attempts to quash the MEK through propaganda and violence, the group remains the critical agent of democratic change in Iran. Its enduring presence and resilience underscore its pivotal role in shaping Iran’s future as a free, secular, non-nuclear republic, contributing to regional peace and tranquility.
The need for regional peace has never been felt so urgently as it is today.