By Pooya Stone
The Iranian Regime is terrified that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is becoming increasingly popular on the internet, especially on social media sites that are officially banned in Iran, and thus have increased the ability to mobilise the Iranian people, in particular, young people.
Over the past few months, numerous Iranian politicians, including President Hassan Rouhani, have voiced their fears over the threat that the MEK poses to the continued rule of the mullahs, especially when the MEK continually uses social media to disseminate information that would weaken the mullahs.
Abbas Ali Moghithi, the representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Nahavand said: “Today, the weapon that can eliminate our state is keyboard and Internet, which are in the domination of [MEK] members. They spread news against us, one after another.”
While the Friday prayer leader in Isfahan, Yousef Tabatabai Nejad, said: “Some people have ruined the reputation of clergy on the internet and social media. These measures are conducted by some PMOI/MEK channels and platforms. They are intending to wage a soft war to make the people pessimistic about the clergy and changed their minds against us. We must do something against such measures.”
It’s important to note the Friday prayer leaders are also considered the mouthpieces of Khamenei, so their fears about the MEK are his.
Even the state-run media has got started to express fears about the MEK’s influence through the banned Telegram app, which is evidence of how concerned the government is.
The Tehran Press wrote: “We were always lagging behind our enemies on social media and have been defeated by them. Now we can say undoubtedly that [MEK] is dominating the Telegram messenger platform. We can dare say that the enemy, especially the [MEK] organization, is in control of the Telegram platform. For those who should be familiar with this organization’s tactics, these remarks are not exaggerations at all and are in fact a reflection of our status quo.”
They said that the MEK’s message of regime change is widely used on the internet and how this will only continue to spread.
The Tehran Press wrote: “If not 100 per cent, the mentality of toppling [the regime], seen very active today in social media platforms, is very much influenced by the literature and terms of overthrowing that is used very vividly by the [MEK]. This culture and vocabulary are witnessed in most Telegram groups, including political groups and even social groups.”
They fear that ever those who appear loyal to the Regime may be swayed by the MEK’s influence, despite the Regime’s desperate censorship and propaganda.
This is all true, of course. The MEK are increasingly popular, something linked to the deep hatred the Iranian people have for the Regime as a whole. The MEK has also shown a great ability to use the internet and social media to share information and mobilise followers. The MEK will help the people to overthrow the mullahs.
The MEK responded to this: “The MEK is using the Internet to bypass these measures and bring free information to the people. The mullahs have no way to stop the people from expressing their will, and their will is to overthrow the regime.”