Amirfarshad Ebrahimi, Global Institute for Democracy & Strategic Studies, September 21 2017:… The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MKO, MEK) is one of the Iranian political-military groups formed, in the mid-1960s, with the purpose of armed struggles against the Pahlavi regime. At that time, the organization was a political, radical Islamist group with a military structure. Continuing its …
HALF A CENTURY WITH MKO PART I
The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MKO, MEK) is one of the Iranian political-military groups formed, in the mid-1960s, with the purpose of armed struggles against the Pahlavi regime. At that time, the organization was a political, radical Islamist group with a military structure.
Continuing its activities, the organization moved further away from the Islamic approach in 1978 and turned closer to Marxist trends instead. The abovementioned period, as well as the ideological gap within the organization, led many imprisoned members of the organization to split up. In addition, religious movements such as Islamic Coalition (Mo’talefeh-e Islami) and the clerics affected by Ayatollah Khomeini also stopped their support.
The Islamic Revolution in 1979 was a turning point for the organization, but the honeymoon did not last long since the MKO had taken the other way.
After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Mujahedin Organization of Iran considered itself the main pole and axis of the revolution. They believed that the ruling revolutionary forces were not able to lead the anti-imperialist struggle; therefore, people should only follow the MKO. Accordingly, based on occurring incidents and consecutive crises in the revolution, MKO insisted on continuing its monopoly jurisdiction, questioning other political currents while declaring its loyalty to Ayatollah Khomeini.
As an example of their various reactions toward the genuine stream of the Revolution, we can mention their non-returning of the weapons seized from bases during the revolution. They then started to set up an armed underground network, apparently to protect themselves; then training for guerrilla warfare in their safe houses was placed on their agenda.
Some of the most important attempts of the MKO’s opposition to the regime were their support for separatist revolts in Kurdistan, Turkmen Sahra and Gonbad, army disbandment plan, breach of the peace in the Assembly of Experts’ elections, and their non-participation in the constitutional referendum.
After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Mujahedin Organization of Iran considered itself the main pole and axis of the revolution
In spite of participating in the referendum in 1979, and voting in favor of the Islamic Republic, MKO did not attend the referendum on Islamic Law and denied it. However, they did not accept the Islamic Republic’s constitution; they were determined to attend the first presidential election.
Masoud Rajavi was nominated as a presidential candidate. The announcement of Rajavi’s nomination was confronted with opposition from various individuals and groups. Eventually, Ayatollah Khomeini, with a clear mandate, banned candidates who did not enact the referendum on the constitution. This was an explicit pretext, or order, for the newly established military institutions of the Islamic Revolution, such as the Revolutionary Guards and the Islamic Revolutionary Committees, to suppress the gatherings and meetings of the Mujahedin Organization.
Although the Mujahedin was suppressed and did not allow the taking part in the presidential elections, they were allowed to attend the elections for the first parliamentary term. In that election, none of their dozens of candidates, including Rajavi, was selected.
It is still unclear whether the Islamic Republic of Iran and its security institutions planned an engineering vote for the failure of the Mujahedin organization to enter the parliament, or if the society was strongly influenced by Ayatollah Khomeini not to vote for the candidates of the organization. But whatever was the cause, these two failures created another ground for victimization for their long-term organized disturbances in public and the terrorist activities of the organization. Eventually, in June 1981, Mujahedin and their loyal members raided the streets with all their military forces.
Since June 19, 1981, to the summer of 1982, MKO made every effort to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s regime through military actions, and assassinating the authorities of the regime; a set of actions that caused the heaviest damage to the Iranian government. Some of the most striking impacts of these actions were: “bringing a failure for the regime’s future” (eliminating the heirs of the revolution for the future of the Islamic regime), “breaching of the peace, security and the political stability of the country”, “stablishing the MKO’s military situation”, and “introducing themselves as the alternative for the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
At this point, after the departure of Rajavi and Bani-Sadr from Iran to Paris, the organization entered a military phase and carried out terrorist operations. At the same time, attempts were made to track the “failure future for the regime” through operating terrorist activities inside the country, and assassinations of high ranking officials and influential Friday Imams.
The two major terrorist operations of this group were: bombing the Iranian prime minister’s building and the simultaneous assassination of the president and the prime minister on June 26, 1981, and bombing the Islamic Republic Party of Iran on August 29, 1981, which led to the martyrdom of 72 Islamic leaders such as Dr. Beheshti, some of the representatives of the Parliament, and some of the senior judges of the Supreme Court. In addition, the terrorist operations continued to the assassination of Mohammad Kachouei, the assassination of Friday Imams in various cities (assassination of Ayatollah Madani, Dast Ghegib, Sadoughi and Ashrafi Esfahani, and etc.), the assassination of Hasheminejad and Ayatollah Ali Ghodousi and so on.
The organization did not end up with terror and bombing attacks. In order to introduce themselves as an alternative for the Islamic Republic system of Iran, they gathered some overseas opposition groups against the Islamic Republic to expand political propaganda against the regime, setting up the National Council of Resistance in France.
Some other parties associated with the council, alongside the MKO, were: the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, the National Democratic Front of Iran, the Left United Council (Shora-ye Motahed-e Chap), the Organization of Associate Professors of Iranian Universities, Towhidi Merchants Guild, the Union of Freedom of Work, Aghameh Organization, and later, the Labor Party of Iran, the Labor Movement of Gilan and Mazandaran, and the Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran). Considering the limited number of members of many of these organizations, Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization had the role of Godfather for the council. The establishment of the council has been the only democratic exercise of the MKO over the past 50 years.
Since the organization’s method and policy were entirely monopolistic and dictatorial, all the political parties and groups opposing the Islamic Republic, which was attracted from all over the world, left the National Council of Resistance soon, one after another. At last, after only two years, it was just the MKO and the National Liberation Army remaining with the organization and the name “National Resistance Council” practically turned meaningless.
In the 1980s, the more the terrorist activities of the MKO increased, the more reason was there for the Islamic Republic’s military and security forces to crack down on them and other political opposition and critic groups against the Islamic Republic. It was assumed that the two sides had been involved in a marathon race of killing each other. For instance, according to Masoud Rajavi’s interview with an Arab-language publication, Al-Mosawar, the number of Iranian citizens who were killed by MKO was announced as more than 6,000 people since the entry of the organization until the end of 1983. Based on the organization’s sources, this number raises to 7,000 people, including those killed in Kurdistan and the borderlines. There were 1,200 attempts of operations and destructions in cities during the mentioned period.
Masoud Rajavi And Maryam Ghajar Azdanloo
On the other hand, unofficial statistics about killing detainees and suspects, as well as in street fighting and team houses by the Islamic Republic’s security and military forces, reached over 3,000 people. The MKO had moved to Iraq when Iran and Iraq were involved in a full-scale military battle.
Due to the pressures from the French government, and the rejection of other European countries, the People’s Mujahidin Organization of Iran moved its headquarter from Paris to Baghdad in 1986. Saddam Hussein, who was involved in a war with Iran at that time, welcomed Masoud Rajavi. All members of the organization were settled down at a location 80 miles from the Iranian borders, in Diyalah province.
The camp was named after Ashraf Rabiei, the first wife of Masoud Rajavi, who was killed along with Moussa Khiabani, the second-authority of the organization, and more than twenty other members in an attack to the team house of the Mujahidin Organization on February 8, 1982.
With the arrival of the Mujahedin to Ashraf, a complete quarantine of the members was carried out by the heads of the organization. In the videos of the MKO about life in the Ashraf Camp, the camp was introduced as a modern city campus with residential complexes, clean streets and educational facilities, with a museum, mosque, university and a graveyard.
A number of members of the MKO, who left or literally “escaped” from the Ashraf Camp, talked about the pressure of the commanders on the forces. They also admitted the lack of communication with outside of the base since they entered the camp, and the fact that they had been deprived from accessing telephone, mobile, internet and media, except the organization’s television, throughout their stay at the camp. They also called exiting the camp something costly and difficult.
At the end of the Iran-Iraq War, after the weaknesses and subsequent defeats of the Iranian armed forces, MKO, supported by the Iraqi Army, carried out two operations called Sunshine (Aftab) and Chandelier (Chelcheraq) in early 1988, which brought them some major successes such as the seizing of Mehran city.
Following the adoption of Resolution 598 by Iran, before the ceasefire was launched, the organization operated its most extensive attack called “Forough-e Javidan” against Iran. In this operation, the members of the MKO were able to quickly seize the cities of Qasr-e-Shirin, Sar Pol-e-Zahab, West Karand and West Islamabad, moving toward Kermanshah. However, before reaching Kermanshah, they encountered the Iranian forces’ attack at Charzebar Pass Camp and the Iranian Air strikes at the same time (called Mersad Operation) and were defeated.
Chasing the remained forces continued for a few days. According to Iranian government sources, more than 2,500 Mujahedin were killed during the Mersad Operation. MKO announced the number of 1,300 killed.
Failure of the Forough-e Javidan Operation was an end to the military operations of the “Military Liberation” affiliated to the MKO. In fact, with the implementation of the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq, under the supervision of the United Nations, on August 20, 1988, the use of Mujahedin from Iraqi territory to attack Iran was generally ruled out.
One of the most controversial issues regarding the presence of the MKO in Iraq is about their involvement with the Iraqi army in suppressing the Kurdish and Shiite forces after the First Persian Gulf War, which resulted in the death sentence for Saddam Hussein and Masoud Rajavi in courts. The former president, Saddam Hussein, was executed and Masoud Rajavi disappeared.
For further study on the MKO’s terrorist acts against the Islamic Republic of Iran:
Mohammad Sadegh Koushki, Assassins, Tehran, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Documentation Center, 2008, p. 403 – 331
Mohammad Sadegh Koushki, previous, p. 220
Mujahedin Khalgh Organization, The advent to the end (1965-2005), A summary of the Three-volume, p. 277
Interview with Ayatollah Mahdavi. The head of the time Islamic Revolutionary Committees with Qavamin Publication, June 1991
From start to the end, Revolutionary Guards War Research Center. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi. C 8, P. 164
In 1991, after coalition forces invaded Iraq, Kurds and Shiites rebelled against Saddam Hussein in the north and south of Iraq, which was repressed with much intensity. According to various statistics, 100 to 200 thousand people were killed and more than 2 million people were displaced in the crackdown.
Documentations and evidences about the MKO’s cooperation with Saddam’s regime in killing of Shiites have not been yet collected. For example, the prosecution of Saddam Hussein’s charges against him for the slaughter of Shiites in Dajail, occurred in 1982, was sentenced to death; however there is no evidence available that Saddam and Mujahedin collaborated with each other in other crimes against Shiites.
Iraqi Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Maryam Rajavi and 39 members of the MKO on the charges of crimes against humanity in July 2012, but in response to this ruling, MKO called the court “under the influence of the Maliki government”, the Iraqi prime minister, and the sentence as “a gift from the Iraqi government for Iran”.
HALF A CENTURY WITH MKO PART II
Street assassinations in Tehran, Forough-e Javidan in Bagdad
During the 1980s, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran attempted bombing attacks and assassinations in the streets of Tehran and other cities in Iran; however, they practically continued their activities in Paris after the death of their military leader, Moussa Khyabani, in June 1981. In 1986, after the French government’s pressure, and not being accepted by any other European country, the MKO’s headquarters was moved from Paris to Baghdad.
Saddam Hussein, involved in a war with Iran at that time, welcomed Masoud Rajavi and ordered all the members of the organization to be stationed in Diyalah province, 80 kilometers from the borders of Iran. The camp was named after Ashraf Rabiei, Masoud Rajavi’s ex-wife, who was killed along with Moussa Khyabani and twenty other members of the MKO in an attack on Monday, February 8, 1982.
There is not much information about the way in which the MKO was living or managing in Ashraf. Most of the current information is based on the memoirs of members separated from the organization, or limited videos released by the organization about Ashraf Camp’s living style. In the videos released by the organization, the camp is introduced as a modern city campus with residential complexes, clean streets, educational and sports facilities, a museum, mosque, university and a graveyard.
A number of former members of the MKO, who escaped from the Ashraf Camp, talked about the commanders’ pressure on the members. They also talked about the lack of communication with outside the camp and not having access to telephone, mobile, Internet and media. They announced that they were only allowed to watch the organization’s TV. Additionally, they also admitted that exiting the camp was something costly and difficult.
Numerous detention centers, individual cells, interrogation rooms, as well as quarantine sections, were revealed when the Mujahedin was forced to leave Ashraf and the camp was eventually evacuated. Revealing such places in Ashraf Camp confirmed the former members’ claim about psychological stresses and physical torture on dissatisfied members and critics of the organization. 1
Ashraf Camp 21 years ago
The Members of the organization arrived in Iraq in the 80’s and were organized in the “Liberation Army of Iran”. The actual number of the organization’s headquarters and camps in Iraq was announced at about sixteen. A number of them, which the MKO identified as official and independent bases, were basically inside the Iraqi military barracks and army camps. Except for the buildings in Baghdad, the rest of the camps and bases were on lands and areas belonging to the army or the presidential guard of Iraq. These sixteen bases were as follows:
Ashraf Camp (the headquarters of the organization): About 100 kilometers from the western borders of Iran and 100 kilometers from the north of Baghdad in Diyalah province and 40 kilometers from Khalis city; the camp was handed over to the Mujahedin by the Presidential Guard of Saddam in 1986. Other camps were: Anzali Camp, Alavi Foundation Base, Habib Base, Homayoun Base, Faizah Camp, Border Base (Persian, Hanif, Saeed Mohsen) Badia Camp, Jalula Camp, Debes Camp, Zakeri Camp, Khyabani and Zabeti Camp, Khaneqin Camp, and Jordan border headquarters. More than 15 bases were also announced by the organization as the urban headquarters.
Thus, with the financial and military support of the Iraqi Ba’ath regime, the small military units of the MKO were quickly organized and equipped. The organization claimed that thousands of Iranian armies were killed in 1982 and 1988 after the establishment of the National Liberation Army. MKO’s exaggerated statistics claim the death of thousands of fighters of the Islamic Republic of Iran in three operations of “Aftab, Chelcheraq, and Forouq-e Javidan”. In this regard, however, the two sides have undoubtedly presented exaggerated statistics; the more reliable sources in Iran estimates 1500 to 2000 Iranians killed in the last years of the war. The number of Mujahedin loss was announced as 2000 to 3000 killed. (2)
During the last days of the Iran-Iraq war, after the frequent defeat of Iran’s military forces, MKO, supported by Iraq, carried out two operations in mid-1988, named Aftab and Chelcheraq, seizing Mehran. The operations were preceded by the adoption of Resolution 598 and the announcement of a ceasefire between the Iraqi and Iranian forces. Following the adoption of Resolution 598, and prior to implementing the ceasefire, the organization launched its most extensive operation called Forough-e Javidan. MKO’s members were able to seize the cities of Ghasr-e Shirin, Sar Pol-e Zahab, West Karand and West Islamabad, moving toward Kermanshah; however, before arriving in Kermanshah and at Charzebar Camp, they were defeated as they encountered the Iranian forces’ strike, Mersad Operation, alongside the Iranian air strikes. Chasing the survived forces continued for a few days later. According to the Iranian government resources, more than 2,500 Mujahedin members were killed during the Mersad Operation. Mujahedin announced the number of 1,300 killed. The failure of the Forough-e Javidan operation was the end of the military operations of the “Liberation Army of Iran”, affiliated with MKO. Implementation of the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq, under the United Nations’ supervision on Saturday, August 20, 1988, banned Mojahedin from using Iraq to invade Iran.
Prior to the Forough-e Javidan operation, Mujahedin’s leaders gathered a large number of their supporters and beneficiaries from Europe to Iraq through a massive call without any prior notification about a military attack against Iran or any military training. They were sent to the Forough-e Javidan Operation with minor training in using Kalashnikovs.
The lack of military training, as well as the basic military equipment in a symmetric military warfare such as a tank, was the main reason for the operation’s failure. Most of the military equipment was wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier suitable for street battles and urban rebellion control.
Satisfied with the military equipment, air and ground support, and the endowed Iraqi forces, Masoud Rajavi presented delusional talks such as: “If you believe in strength, your power will increase metaphysically one and a half times”. On the night of the operation he said: (3) “based on the plans and the divisions, we will arrive in Tehran in 48 hours, and what we are going to do is something as powerful and unique as a superpower. Do not be afraid of the Nojheh Base. Iraqi fighter jets will be targeting Nojheh and Tabriz air bases every three hours. Iraqi Airline is our backbone. In addition to that, we have anti-aircraft and the Sam 7 missiles. The Iraqi airborne will be with our forces to Sar Pol-e Zahab, and all our combat vehicles will be arranged in columns.” (4)
He sent his troops all over to the abattoir within the next three days and, alongside Saddam in Persian Palace, he observed his mess. He named the failure the “organization’s insurance policy”, in order to escape from his dishonor. Concealing his accusations and mistakes, after a while, when his defeated troop returned from the operation, in a general meeting with the tired and defeated troops, Rajavi described the cause of the defeat as “the forces’ unwillingly fighting in the battle, thinking about women and life issues”; he considered these thoughts as the obstacles of effective combat and victory. In this scenario, those who had previously been brainwashed and forced to support Rajavi’s nonsense claims spoke out (5): “Yes, at the time of fighting in Chahar Zebar, and being involved in armed conflict, much of our minds were obsessed with women, life and our family issues; we did not think of leadership and victory, getting back alive for our desires was our preference.” Thus, Rajavi condemned the poor, captured soldiers for being ineffective and useless, establishing the belief of the founders’ mentally effeteness in an unbelievable act, so that the seat of the plaintiff and the accused was simply changed and the poured out blood was simply forgotten.
On the chart of the operation, the commander in chief was the lead and directed the operation through the authorities of the axis. Based on the importance of the mission, two or more brigades were assigned for each axis. The commanders and missions were as follows:
1-Mehdi Baraei, commander of the First Axis and responsible for conquering Islamabad.
2. Ibrahim Zakeri, commander of the Second Axis and responsible for the seizing of Bakhtaran.
3- Mahmoud Mahdavi, commander of the Third Axis and responsible for capturing Hamedan.
4- Mehdi Eftekhari, commander of the Fourth Axis and responsible for capturing Qazvin.
5-Mahmoud Ataee and his deputy, Hussein Abraisham Chi, commanders of the Fifth Axis and responsible for seizing Tehran.
In addition to the mentioned axis, Soraya Shahri was in charge of logistics; Mohammad Ali Jaberzadeh Ansari, Advertising Manager, Mohammad Seyed Al-Muhadethin, Chief Political Officer, and Shahrzad Haj Seyed Javadi, as the head of the office.
Mujahedin forces marched on 90 miles of Iran’s soil without any major obstacle. They had predicted that people would support them after seizing the area. Despite the prediction, the Kurds of the region, which had previously been repressed by Saddam Hussein, resisted them. The local resistance limited the speed of MKO’s military progress. Nevertheless, Rajavi forces were able to occupy and destroy the cities of Qasr-e Shirin, Sar Pol-e Zahab, West Karand, and West Islamabad, and marched quickly toward Kermanshah through the highway. (7)
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic launched the Mersad Operation and set off its troops against the Mujahedin forces. The operation lasted three days. On the first day, the goal was to block the invasion of the MKO; Air Force did not take part. At that time, the Nojheh Base was bombed, and the runway clearing operation took time; therefore, the Air Force commenced the operation with a one-day delay. On the second day, the Army’s movement was accompanied by the Air Force’s support. On the third day, Mujahedin’s units were completely destroyed. Forough-e Javidan’s failure broke the glory of Rajavi in a large number of the force’s mind and led to the collapse of the organization so that a large number of members and supporters left the organization.
One of the consequences of the operation was questioning the organization’s strategy, as well as Rajavi’s leadership. The organization had tested various strategies and programs since its establishment, especially after the Islamic Revolution’s victory. Starting the new phase, and the formation of the Liberation Army, all the various strategies were considered to be dismissed and the only way to fight and overthrow the regime was assumed through the armed battle and the modern warfare by the Liberation Army. The organization launched the operation and was defeated based on the idea of “Peace is Iran’s executing halter and they never go for it”. The Forough-e Javidan Operation was the end of the Liberation Army’s military movements at the borders of Iran. But more importantly, something happened on the members’ spirits in Ashraf to continue the psychological operations and brainwashing of MKO’s members.
As mentioned above, after the Forough-e Javidan Operation, a dispute on Rajavi’s competency started; however, Rajavi considered the dispute the main cause of the organization’s failure.
Returning from the operation, anyone who looked for their spouse was immediately marked as the “accuser” and was reminded that his spouse “belonged to the leadership” and they, therefore, had no right to enquire. Instead of questioning the leadership, the members of the organization ought to respond to the question why they were stuck behind the “mental trap of family” and could not take Maryam Mehr-e Taban of Freedom ( a title of Maryam Qajar Azdanlou, the wife of Masoud Rajavi) to Tehran.
Another consequence of the operation was the condemnation of the organization and the Forough-e Javian operation by opposition groups. The majority of the opposition groups of the Islamic Republic, such as the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, the Left, and the Monarchists, considered the Forough Operation as a result of Rajavi’s illusions and fantasies; even the MKO was declared as the cause of unity in the Islamic Republic.
The other consequence of the Forough-e Javidan Operation was the massive loss of the operation. MKO officially confirmed 1304 killed and even published their photos and biographies. From a total of 51 executive boards of the organization (headquarters), at least 33 of them were involved in the operation, and 16 of them were killed. The total damage to the organization was 50 to 60 percent, and the total damage to the headquarters was approximately 30 percent. The number was in addition to the wounded and victims who were transported back.
Aims of attacking Iran
Establishing a “transitional Islamic Democratic Republic government” in Kermanshah after seizing the citybreakthrough the repression in Iran, signing a peace treaty with Iraq, seizing of Tehran and the abolition of the Islamic Republic of Iranwere the Mujahedin’s major goals of attacking Iran. On the other hand, Iranian military commanders gained comprehensive information about the axis and objectives of the operation and the number of involved forces. MKO reacted quickly by moving the units which had light and fast moving features. The forces controlled a number of mountains and intersections between Islamabad and Kermanshah and confronted the front lines of the Mujahedin. They were able to defeat the MKO’s forces and cut off their commuting routes in several roads when they were gearing up for the operation.
“The current strategy of the MKO and Iraq seems to be creating a free zone for Mujahedin so that the opposition organization of the Iranian regime will play a role in the final peace deal,” said Independent newspaper analyst Harvey Maurice, analyzing the goals and strategy of the MKO.
About one month prior to the joint operation of Iraq and Mujahedin, the Le Monde newspaper had stated that the “National Liberation Army of Iran” was an integral part of the military arrangement of the Iraqi army, and its military activity, without the permission of the Supreme Command of Iraq, could be impossible. In this regard, the Reuters news agency also quoted diplomats saying: “Given the peace talks at UN Headquarters in New York, diplomats suspect Baghdad using the National Liberation Army to maintain the military pressure on Tehran.”
The prompt destruction of the organization with such dimensions would be impossible except under the leadership of Masoud Rajavi.
The great lesson of history to the MKO and its leadership was that the outcome of implementing a misguided strategy by a leader, and his conspiring with a potential enemy of a nation, would bring nothing but disaster and extinction of the strategy.
1 Ashraf Base Photographs by Bashgahe Khabarnegaran
2 Mujahedin Khalq Organization, Appearance to the End (1965-2005) Summary of the Three-volume Period, pp. 278 and 236-307
How can these lawmakers (Senator Roy Blunt, Brad Sherman, Joe Lieberman , Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce….) sleep at night and where is the media!
Houman Fakhimi, Facebook page, August 17 2017:…The Iraq War Resolution of 2002 was not only based on Saddam’s alleged possession of WMDs. The Resolution also claimed Saddam had links to terrorism and both Congress and President Bush named People’s Mujaheddin Of Iran (MEK) then based in Iraq as proof that Saddam was harboring terror groups (see photos1-2). 15 years later thousand of $$$ have been spent on lobbying by MEK and …
Houman Fakhimi added 13 new photos
The Iraq War Resolution of 2002 was not only based on Saddam’s alleged possession of WMDs. The Resolution also claimed Saddam had links to terrorism and both Congress and President Bush named People’s Mujaheddin Of Iran (MEK) then based in Iraq as proof that Saddam was harboring terror groups (see photos1-2).
15 years later thousand of $$$ have been spent on lobbying by MEK and the same lawmakers (many now in the private sector) that voted for the Iraq Resolution (see photos 3-6) AND even “experts” that called for the vote that sent 6,000 US soldiers to their graves and over 30,000 inflicted with life long debilitating injuries are now actively promoting the same MEK as the “freedom fighters” US needs to install in Iran via regime change !
Who is looking out for America?
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
Iran’s Social Network Sites (SNS): We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
Dr. Raz Zimmt, The Moshe Dyan Center, Tel Aviv university, August 08 2017:… The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime …
We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq: SNS Respond to a Conference of the Iranian Opposition
In early July, Iran’s National Resistance Council, the political wing of the opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), held its annual conference at the Villepinte Exhibition Center in a suburb of Paris. The conference sparked angry reactions and public criticism on Iran’s social networking sites (SNS). This anger was exacerbated by Saudi and US representation at the conference, which was seen as evidence of Saudi and American efforts to instigate political change in Iran through compromising support of a terrorist organization widely considered traitorous by Iranians.
MEK’s ideology combines Shi‘ite Islam with Marxism. During the early 1970s, the organization emerged in opposition to the Iranian monarchy. The United States and the European Union previously designated MEK as a terrorist organization due to its involvement in terrorist attacks in Iran, with several attacks against Western (including American and Israeli) targets. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, MEK and the new regime fell into severe conflict, with the regime implementing strongly suppressive measures against MEK. As a result, the organization transferred most of its activities to Iraq, where it aligned itself with the Saddam Hussein regime. In the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, MEK even participated in several Iraqi army operations against Iran. As a result, MEK was left with very little support in Iran proper, with many Iranians considering MEK activists traitors. In recent years, there has been no evidence of the organization’s involvement in terrorism. Instead, it focuses mainly on political activity in Europe and the United States aimed at enlisting support for regime change in Iran. Nonetheless, critics believe this political activity is merely a façade.
This year’s annual MEK conference was chaired by the organization’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, and attended by hundreds of participants from around the world, including Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, who formerly served as head of Saudi intelligence, as well as largely hawkish former US officials, including the former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former US Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-Conn.), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In their speeches at the conference, these senior officials harshly criticized the Islamic republic, accused it of supporting terrorism, and called for regime change in Tehran.
The conference aroused strong reactions in Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who ended an official visit to Paris on the eve of the conference, criticized France for permitting the opposition group to operate within its borders, saying that regional and European countries are well aware of MEK’s terrorist activities. Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s advisor on international affairs, emphasized that hosting terrorists would not contribute to regional or international peace. On SNS, thousands of Iranian users mobilized a virtual campaign against the organization using the English and Persian hashtags “Iran hates MEK” and “No to MEK.” The posts included insults and slurs against members of the organization accused of causing the death of thousands of Iranian citizens. Users contended that MEK is a terrorist organization entirely unrepresentative of the Iranian people, and devoid of popular support. They stressed that opposition to MEK unites Iranians, regardless of ideology or political outlook. As one user tweeted, “There is no difference between conservatives, reformists or independents! We all agree on hatred for Munafakin [a derogatory term for the MEK, meaning hypocrites or false Muslims].”
Predictably, the main criticism of the organization was based on its alignment with the Iraqi regime during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian users called MEK members “betrayers of the homeland” and “traitors,” accusing them of collaborating with the Ba‘ath regime’s chemical attack on the citizens of Iran during the summer of 1987. “When Iranian women and children trembled in fear of Iraqi missiles, the MEK drank faludeh [a cold Iranian beverage],” wrote one commenter. Many users emphasized that the Iranian people would neither forget nor forgive the organization for its historic misalignment.
Along with expressions of hatred towards the opposition group, users also attacked its supporters in the West and Saudi Arabia. Many users compared MEK to ISIS, arguing that there was no difference between supporting the Iranian opposition group and supporting the Islamic terror organization. Western support for MEK, spearheaded by American politicians close to the current administration, was considered further proof of the West’s hypocrisy. Critics contended that while Western countries claim to defend democracy and human rights against terrorism, they perpetuate a terrorist organization responsible for thousands of innocent civilians’ deaths, and for serious human rights violations in internment camps it operated in Iraq. “Trump administration wants to back an Islamist terrorist cult (MEK) to bring democracy to Iran. What a sick joke,” tweeted one user. Meanwhile, Saudi support for this opposition group reignited Iranian hostility towards Saudi Arabia, which has been the target of Iranian users’ hatred and racism for the past several years of worsening relations between the countries. “Saudi Arabia supports Maryam Rajavi as leader of Iran, but within Saudi Arabia women have no right to drive!” read one tweet.
The angry reactions aroused by MEK’s conference in Paris attest to the intensity of the hostility towards the organization among Iranian citizens, including critics of the regime. Most of the Iranian public view the organization’s conduct since the Islamic revolution as a series of treacheries that climaxed with the organization’s support of the Saddam regime during the Iran-Iraq war, which remains a traumatic memory for Iranians. Therefore, Iranians consider any support for MEK to be an illegitimate offence against national pride. The Iranian public’s aversion to foreign interventions and allies of Iran’s enemies sporadically captivates SNS discourse, as exhibited by the conference’s backlash.
 “Iranian FM decries France green light to MKO activities,” Press TV, July 1, 2017.
 “Velayati Blasts France for Hosting MKO Terrorists,” Fars News Agency, July 3, 2017.
 #IranHatesMEK and-#No2MEK
 In this context, see Iranians’ responses to a letter in which Iranian activists in exile urged US President Trump to adopt an aggressive policy towards Iran .Raz Zimmt, “Critics or Traitors? Responses to Iranian Exiles’ Letter to Trump,” Beehive, 5(1), January 2017,
Dr. Raz Zimmt investigates Iranian social media responses to the annual conference of Mojahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group whose support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War remains a searing national trauma.
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
Massoud Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, June 20 2017:… The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh… As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger. My shame and guilt stem …
ISIS Drew On MEK Expertise For Terror Attacks On Tehran (Mojahedin Khalq, Rajavi cult)
The following piece has been written by somebody I know well. He does not want his real name to be used because that would jeopardize the sensitive nature of his current work in counter terrorism in Europe – Massoud Khodabandeh.
As a former member of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organization (MEK), I followed the news of terrorist attacks on Tehran with shame, guilt and anger.
My shame and guilt stem from having been involved in such attacks in the past as a member of the MEK. My anger springs from what I see as the MEK’s ongoing influence in these current attacks. Based on my inside knowledge of the MEK I believe this organization has now helped the most notorious terror organization in the world to attack our country and our people.
As I followed news of the attacks I was forced to remember my own role in a similar mission and how my membership of the MEK had almost cost me my life. While analyzing the details of the ISIS attack as they emerged, it was easy to see that these operations in Tehran had been based on the expertise of MEK operations in several ways. I have identified some of these similarities which I have given in outline below.
The targets selected by ISIS were sites constantly targeted by the MEK. The Iranian Parliament and its members had always been primary targets for the MEK since the 1980s. The group had managed to assassinate several members of the Parliament and tried to plant a bomb there at one point. They were unsuccessful and some members were killed by security forces while other terrorist teams were arrested. Similarly, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine was created, Massoud Rajavi, the late MEK leader, announced that “Khomeini’s grave must be exploded”. It became a mantra among MEK members which they would chant in indoctrination sessions. The MEK tried unsuccessfully to send terrorist teams there in 1991 and 2002.
While ISIS and the MEK have the same interests in attacking Iran, ISIS could have caused much greater anti-government fear and hatred among the civilian population in line with its regime change agenda if they had bombed a civilian target like transport infrastructure or a shopping mall. They could have done more damage by targeting the Revolutionary Guards whose forces are in Syria. Instead, the ISIS targets matched those which had been constantly under attack by the MEK for thirty years.
ISIS used locally recruited Iranians for this attack. Their main challenge was to get their weaponry to Tehran without being detected by Iranian security forces. This had always been the main challenge for MEK terrorists. They used different methods to get their weapons to Tehran. For example, hiding the weapons in a small truck loaded with food or inside an empty computer case. The MEK experiences were helpful to the ISIS attackers. They paid a female acquaintance to join them to go to Tehran, pretending it is a family visit. This was to raise less suspicion. Between 2000-2003, the MEK used the same approach to get their terrorists from Iraq to Tehran. The first suicide bomber in Iran was a female MEK member. Since then, the MEK used women in suicide operations to ‘normalize’ their terrorist teams.
The suicide mission
An important similarity is the human factor. Just like the MEK, ISIS terrorists selected and trained for suicide missions are thoroughly brainwashed first. They undergo intensive indoctrination and psychological manipulation sessions and afterwards they are not allowed to think of anything else but their mission; terror. From the videos and reports, it is clear that the terrorists are numbed and fearful people who are prepared to use weapons as a first resort against innocent unprepared people. The ISIS terrorists exploded their vests in their first moments of contact with security forces. A couple of them even exploded their vests as soon as they just saw the security forces. This is similar to MKO terrorists who were brainwashed to assassinate unarmed civilians or perform a mortar attack in a large city like Tehran. They were also armed with cyanide pills and a hand grenade and ordered that rather than risk capture they must commit suicide and hurt as many of the people around them as possible.
It has been widely reported that, just like the MEK, ISIS also gets support from inside Saudi Arabia. After the Tehran terrorist attacks neither Saudi Arabia nor the MEK condemned the events. This echoes MEK behaviour under the Saddam regime. The MEK could not and would not condemn any action of Saddam or the Saudis because they were being paid and supported by them.
The MEK needed governmental level backing to move across national borders. Saddam arranged for MEK operatives to get inside Iran from Pakistan and Turkey rather than cross the Iraqi border which was under international scrutiny. ISIS has also been able to cross borders and move weapons and fund its activities in a way that indicates governmental level of support.
There is no indication that the MEK were directly involved in the Tehran attacks. But from my inside knowledge and based on having performed a similar style of suicide attack in Tehran myself some years ago, there is little doubt in my mind that ISIS have been able to use MEK expertise to pursue this modern terrorist attack.
MEK’s Maryam Rajavi blackmails Albania to become the new ‘Saddam regime’ for them.
Massoud Khodabandeh, Top topic, May 08 2017:… Rajavi then publishes these alongside letters signed by American personalities in support of the MEK. The letters from the Americans are addressed to the Albanian Prime Minister and bear the familiar hallmark of MEK authorship. (One letter published by the MEK is signed in blue ink. We can only speculate how the MEK obtained the original letter which should have been sent directly from the Americans to the Albanian PM!) …
MEK’s Maryam Rajavi blackmails Albania to become the new ‘Saddam regime’ for them.
The forced relocation of the MEK organisation from Iraq to Albania resulted in drastic changes within the group. No longer forced to endure the extremes of heat and cold in Baghdad, living alongside ordinary family neighbours for the first time in two decades and the loss of their leader Massoud Rajavi have all profoundly affected the members. They now have the ‘luxury’ to think and their changed environment and circumstances have led them to challenge the leadership.
Defections started almost immediately and the MEK is now in the grip of a crisis of disaffection. The problem was exacerbated when Sahar Family Foundation moved its operation from Baghdad to Tirana. Sahar was created to offer support and help to families of MEK members who were trying to get in touch with their estranged loved ones in the MEK while they were based in Iraq. The MEK leaders regard families and familial relations as “poison” and have tried every way possible to prevent these families contacting their loved ones in the group.
Now that Sahar has begun its work in Albania, the new MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has panicked. Sahar began by reminding the UNHCR and Albanian authorities of the international laws governing refugees, in particular UN human rights conventions and articles, and how the MEK rejects these norms.
Maryam Rajavi reacted by shooting herself in the foot. https://www.mojahedin.org/news/197420
Maryam’s counter campaign is based on the tactics used by Massoud Rajavi in Iraq – blackmail and coercion – but it is too little and too late and has lost its potency.
Soon after Sahar started its campaign to inform Albanian authorities of the MEK’s illegal and scandalous behaviours, Rajavi announced that three disaffected individuals, Hadi Sanikhani, Gholamreza Shokri and Sarfaraz Rahimi, had made contact with their families in Iran and declared them therefore to be ‘agents of the regime’. For this reason, she said, “we will cut their refugee allowances from now”. The MEK then said that the only way for their UNHCR money to be restored was for these individuals (and others) to write whatever the MEK dictates. In Saddam’s prisons the MEK also used such coercive tactics to force compliance and silence.
The three individuals went to the UNHCR office and explained what had happened. The UNHCR advised them to go the MEK’s HQ and talk to them. There they were threatened and attacked by MEK operatives. Two of them have since published their account of the events, but Sarfaraz Rahimi has given in and accepted to write for them. He writes what they dictate against the other two – who are understandably complaining about having no food or money in Tirana – condemning them as agents of the Iranian regime.
Rajavi then publishes these letters of Rahimi alongside letters signed by American personalities in support of the MEK.
The letters from the Americans are addressed to the Albanian Prime Minister and bear the familiar hallmark of MEK authorship. (One letter published by the MEK is signed in blue ink. We can only speculate how the MEK obtained the original letter which should have been sent directly from the Americans to the Albanian PM!)
This combination of letters (forced confessions alongside Americans letters to the Albanian PM claiming Iran is operating against the MEK in Albania under the guise of cultural centres, etc) had two aims. One was to warn dissidents inside the MEK what will happen if they leave or disobey orders. The other aim was to get the Albanian government to back the MEK and replicate the role played by Saddam Hussein in the group’s survival by punishing dissent, only this time in Albania.
Reactions were not as Rajavi wanted or anticipated. Inside the MEK and among ex-members there has been outrage. It seems to everyone that after three decades of unpaid work for the MEK and Saddam Hussein, the day someone leaves they instantly confess, in their own writing, to being an agent of the Iranian regime. There are only two possibilities: the organisation is lying and takes forced confessions, or the organisation is a training ground for agents of the regime.
Others complain that although the Americans have the right to recruit people as mercenaries, they do not have the right not to pay them and force them to be gladiators in Albania.
Albanians themselves see this MEK presence as yet further evidence that America is using their country for any and every form of corruption and illegal activity. Albania is still notorious as a centre for narcotics, arms smuggling and people trafficking in spite of efforts to clean up the country so it can join the EU. Albanians complain that their country is reportedly being used to smuggle US arms to Syria and other places for so-called ‘moderate’ rebels, that NATO uses Albania to conduct activities it can’t perform in the US or EU and that the CIA and the Pentagon have turned Albania into an extra-judicial base for nefarious activities. And now John Bolton and Senator John McCain alongside others use Albania as a springboard to pursue unclear political agendas which may include training terrorists and providing land and logistic for groups which are to be deployed in other countries.
Along with dumping nuclear waste and Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Albania now has had the MEK dumped on it. Instead of getting advice and support to de-radicalise these fanatics the government is being blackmailed and corrupted into performing the same role as Saddam Hussein undertook to protect and deploy the MEK.
National Geographic, March 04 2017:… Leading MEK members squirm under the knowing gaze of Michael Ware. Watch the shifty looks and glances as the MEK representatives try to lie about their true intentions. They admit to wanting regime change, but claim to be pacifists. Ware asks ‘Why does a political organization still need to have a para-military organization?’ He then cleverly gets them to …
Associated Press, February 16 2017:… The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center. In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. …
Iran Interlink, February 15 2017:… The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement
Gazeta Impakt, Albania, Translated by Iran Interlink, January 01 2017:… According to Fatos Klosi, former director of the National Intelligence Service, the American CIA chief has warned Albania that Donald Trump will renounce support for the MEK terrorists and it will be the Albanian Government itself which must deal with internal security and must confront a group trained militarily from the time of Saddam Hussein …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
Iran Interlink, October 30 2016:… Local observers in Tirana are reporting that the Mojahedin Khalq cultic terror group (MEK) is buying and creating several sandwich and kebab shops in the city and is using the MEK members to work in these fast-food businesses. On the surface this may look like a positive move. In an article titled ‘Albania: What would a de-radicalization program for the Mojahedin Khalq involve’, it was …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, October 16 2016:… In spite of American promises, no de-radicalisation programme is in place to deal with over 2500 members of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group who have relocated to Tirana from Iraq. The MEK has a long history of violent and criminal activity. This has not stopped now they are in Tirana. Unless the Albanian government introduces its own programme, it must accept …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington post (and Top Topic), October 09 2016:… For the local citizens, mystery surrounds their arrival and their lifestyle. Should these secretive and covert neighbours be treated with suspicion or kindness? At a local level, the first thing neighbouring families need to be aware of is that among all MEK members, sexual relations have been banned for over 25 years. This means there are no marriages or children or young people in the organisation. More troubling …
Massoud & Anne Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 14 2016:… Whether Rajavi is already dead or now killable is not known – only he can answer this – but he and his whole organisation are certainly now, body and soul, in the capable hands of the Saudi Prince. If he is still alive, Rajavi’s only role is to act as go-between to instruct his wife what she must do on behalf of the Saudis. If he is dead
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? Fro