In the fight between supporters of the Islamic Republic and partisans of the Mujahedin, I side with neither: Partisans of Tehran support a terror-sponsoring Islamist dictatorship that claims to be a democracy, while the Mujahedin al-Khalq aspires to lead a terror-sponsoring Islamist dictatorship that claims to be a democracy.
Now that the smoke has cleared as to the allegations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, the Iranian government has come up with its line of defense: According to both Mehr News in Persian and PressTV in English, the Iranian government is saying that Gholam Shakuri, the deputy to the cousin in the Qods Force who Mansour Arbabsiar allegedly telephoned, is actually a member of the Mujahedin al-Khalq. To see how Shakuri allegedly fits in, see Maseh Zarif’s able outline of the plot:
The network behind the plot included: Arbabsiar; Arbabsiar’s Iran-based cousin who is an unnamed “high-ranking member” of the Qods Force; an Iran-based member of the Qods Force named Gholam Shakuri who served as the cousin’s deputy and one of Arbabsiar’s interlocutors in Iran; and a third unnamed high-ranking member of the Qods Force.
It would be useful for the Islamic Republic to provide some proof to the allegation, but at the same time it would behoove the Department of Justice and Department of State to disprove the Iranian claim. Certainly, we can add a lack of information about Iranian MKO members to the list of our intelligence failures regarding Iran.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It would not be the first time the Mujahedin al-Khalq has forced intelligence agencies and the press to scramble with an elaborate hoax. And, even if the evidence against the Islamic Republic is overwhelming, the fact that Iranian leaders can seize on past Mujahedin al-Khalq fabrications is ample reason not to trust anything the MKO says today either, no matter how many American and European officials are willing to embrace them.