The gates to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) compound, situated on a gently inclined hillside in rural Albania, are usually firmly closed, guarded by two sculpted lions atop stone pedestals and a large team of Albanian security guards. Unannounced visitors are not welcome at the fenced-off, secretive site, where more than 2,000 MEK members live.
The history of the MEK, or the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, is long and complicated. Critics and many of those who have left the group in recent years describe it as a shadowy outfit with little support inside Iran and many cult-like attributes, condemned to die out at the obscure base in Albania because of its enforced celibacy rules.
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