Disinformation Agents

MOIS disinformation agents include agents who infiltrated the PMOI then left and former members who were recruited after departing or being expelled from the organization.  In the later case, the members are pressured to join the intelligence agency with bribery and coercion.  Family members in Iran are threatened with jail and other punishments if the former resistance members refuse to cooperate.  The MOIS then uses the agents to disseminate disinformation to discredit the PMOI.  As explained in a 2002 report by the German Interior Ministry: 

"VEVAK (MOIS) is directing and financing a misinformation campaign which is also carried out through former opponents of the regime.  As in previous years, the Iranian intelligence service is trying to recruit active or former members of the opposition groups.  This in many cases is done by threats to use force against them or their families living in Iran.1

In a May 2005 report, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, said the MOIS recruited agents from resistance organizations such as the PMOI: 

“For collecting information and spying activities, Iran’s intelligence service (MOIS) uses a network of agents who defected from these organizations.” 2

The MOIS agents give false testimony about the PMOI during interviews with government officials, NGOs, and journalists. 

 

Jamshid Tafrishi

Much of what is known about the MOIS recruitment of former resistance members comes from {ln:Jamshid Tafrishi}, a MOIS agent who defected and made public his activities to discredit the PMOI. 

Tafrishi pretended to be an opponent of the Iranian regime, while carrying out assignments by the MOIS.  This included distributing false information to foreign governments, NGOs, and the media.  He also gave lectures on the "imprisonment, torture, and harassment of former PMOI members."  Tafrishi claimed the PMOI was hiding weapons of mass destruction for Saddam Hussein and alleged the resistance group had assisted Iraq in putting down the Kurdish revolt in 1991.

Tafrishi regularly claimed to be a senior officer of the PMOI, but in fact was never a member of the organization.  He briefly was a member of the National Liberation Army of Iran, but then left after citing "personal problems and preoccupations."  He traveled to Baghdad, the to Turkey, where he was recruited by the MOIS.

Tafrishi worked for Iran's Intelligence Ministry for about a decade.  He grew disillusioned with the MOIS and its operations and defected in 2000.  On August 30, 2001, Tafrishi submitted an affidavit to the U.S. Court of Appeals in which he confessed to being an agent at Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

"From 1995 until 1999, I received a total of 72,000 dollars from the Intelligence Ministry as payment for my work on their behalf," Tafrishi declared in the affidavit

Tafrishi said alleging human rights abuses against the PMOI “was one of the most serious projects the Ministry was pursuing outside Iran with me and a number of its other agents."4

Below are other former resistance members recruited by the MOIS who have participated in disinformation campaigns against the resistance group.

 

Anne Singleton

Massoud Khodabandeh

Hossein Sobhani

 

 

   

Ali Ghashghavi

 

Karim Haqqi Moni

 

Javad Firouzmand

 

 

   

 

Nowrouz-Ali Rezvani

 

Jahangir Shadanlou

 

 

     

 

   

 1) “Spying for the Mullahs: Iran’s Agents in UK.” British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.  October 2007.

2) “People’s Mojahedin of Iran.”  Mission Report.  Friends of a Free Iran – European Parliament.  September 21, 2005.

3) “Affidavit of Jamshid Tafrishi.”  U.S. Court of Appeals.  August 30, 2001.

4) Ibid.