Meet Iran's Secular Opposition — and the American Trying to Take It Down

Michael Rubin is at it again.

Days after 100,000 Iranians staged the largest gathering outside Iran to support the main party opposed to the Islamic regime, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), Rubin once again rushed to pack his virtual diary in Commentary magazine with anti-MEK propaganda. Desperate and agitated (picture him in his pyjamas punching the keyboard with two fingers), he titles his latest diatribe, "Yes, the Mujahedin al-Khalq is a Dishonest Cult." If that impeccable reasoning fails to convince you, Rubin references the diary of a Kyrgyz girl to prove his allegation! Apparently desperation has catapulted him back to high school.

Michael Rubin's animosity against MEK stems from his support for the return of monarchy to Iran. In a piece he wrote a few years ago, he clearly and cleverly talked about the shah and his son being popular in Iran. The article was titled "Monsters of the Left"  and appeared in Front Page magazine. Rubin spent two years in Iran when the so-called reformist Mohammad Khatami was president, and it's very likely he was influenced by the propaganda of the Iranian intelligence services. What he said in his latest piece is a short version of what he has written against the MEK in the past few years. 

In light of the MEK's growing international prestige, Rubin probably cries himself to sleep every night, saying over and over again, "Yes, the MEK is a cult." But the facts — and the MEK's millions of supporters — say otherwise. The June 22 rally, which supported the MEK's struggle for a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic in Iran, was attended by over 600 distinguished political dignitaries from 50 counties. Among the speakers were several American military generals, President Obama’s former national security adviser, prominent diplomats, two former U.S. presidential candidates, a former FBI director, three former governors, and several sitting members of Congress. The Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Robert Menendez, and Armed Services Committee chairman, Carl Levin, both sent messages of support to the rally and called for the protection of thousands of MEK members in Camp Liberty, Iraq.

All this support for a "cult"?

The fact is that the world is increasingly seeing the MEK, long declared as Iran’s legitimate opposition by Congress, as the sole alternative to the despicable regime currently in power in Iran (just look at the impressive roster of attendees at the latest rally). 

Facts are stubborn things, though. And Rubin has been kicked out of the universe of facts by the astonishing intensity of his own ignorance. So, he seeks to contrive an alternate universe ruled by his duplicity and prejudices.

It is not my intent here to argue against his foolish claims. Mark Twain said it best: "Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." Several years ago, Rubin's Iranian-regime inspired propaganda was completely debunked in full detail. But, Rubin will continue his bizarre MEK obsession, complete with a whiff of desperation, because reality will never mesh with his ulterior political motives.

Those following Iranian politics know full well that the originator of the “cult” label is the Iranian regime’s intelligence service. Tehran hands out large amounts of cash to willing “academics” and “journalists” to perpetuate such accusations in a bid to ostracize and demonize the MEK in the West, because it views the organization as an existential threat.

Don’t just take my word for it: On July 5, 2010, the Canadian daily Toronto Sun reported that John Thompson, head of the Mackenzie Institute, a security minded think-tank, “was offered $80,000 by a man tied to Iran’s mission in Canada. ‘They wanted me to publish a piece on the Mujahedin-e Khalq,’ he said. ’Iran is trying to get other countries to label it as a terrorist cult.’" Thompson turned down the offer. One can only wonder what Rubin might have done.

And that’s not all. The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service wrote in its 2011 report: “In a campaign co-ordinated and financed by the Iranian intelligence services, the media and a number of politicians and other public servants were approached with a view to portraying the MEK in a highly negative light.”

And a Pentagon-funded report by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress wrote in December 2012, “After the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security) made anti-MEK psychological warfare one of its main objectives.”

It is no wonder then that the official news outlet of the regime’s terrorist arm, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), ran head over heels to trumpet “ex-Pentagon official” Rubin’s latest anti-MEK propaganda. Birds of the same feather flock together, as the saying goes.

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits," the great Albert Einstein once said. Rubin's stupidity about the MEK has no limits. But can you expect anything less from someone with a track record of lying, ignorance, and hidden agendas?

Reflect on his infinite wisdom about Iraqi politics and “opposition.” Before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Rubin and his like-minded colleagues paraded a charlatan-turned-politician, Ahmed Chalabi, around the world as Iraq's "president-in-waiting." But during Iraq’s December 2005 election, Chalabi's party could not muster more than 0.36% of the vote. The man Rubin claimed had popularity in Iraq was apparently so “detested” that Iraqis didn’t even consider him worthy of half a percent.

Still, even after that episode, Rubin continued to champion and idolize Chalabi. His persistent ignorance was truly bewildering and is reminiscent of his anti-MEK stance today. In his diary, he even described Chalabi as "Iraq's Comeback Kid"! 

Just like he lied through his teeth about Chalabi's popularity in Iraq then, he is lying about the MEK's unpopularity in Iran today, as the June 22 gathering of tens of thousands of Iranians proved.

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible teaches us that, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." After the embarrassing Chalabi fiasco, Rubin is repeating his folly, this time in Iran. For the sake of all of us watching, let’s pray he doesn’t overindulge.