Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, February 19 2022:… In 2003, Maryam Rajavi inherited, or at least became de facto leader of, a political mind control cult, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, after her husband Massoud Rajavi disappeared. Fortunately for her, Massoud Rajavi had already spent over two decades creating the cultic conditions inside this anti-Iranian group that have guaranteed its survival: modern slavery based on misappropriated devotion to an outdated, unachievable cause enforced through a punitive regime of isolation, fear and punishment. Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader
Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader
In 2003, Maryam Rajavi inherited, or at least became de facto leader of, a political mind control cult, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, after her husband Massoud Rajavi disappeared. Fortunately for her, Massoud Rajavi had already spent over two decades creating the cultic conditions inside this anti-Iranian group that have guaranteed its survival: modern slavery based on misappropriated devotion to an outdated, unachievable cause enforced through a punitive regime of isolation, fear and punishment. Phew. This is certainly outside Maryam Rajavi’s competence. She is neither a charismatic leader, nor a political strategist, nor anything other than a face and name to trigger obedience among Rajavi’s followers. However, she has been able to use his formula and foreign money to keep the MEK going.
Maryam clearly learned from her husband how cultic abuse could keep the MEK members obedient, using lieutenant enforcers, loyal devotees and useful idiots. As part of the lessons she learned, she has, for two decades, used the label ‘agent of the Iranian regime or intelligence services’ to denounce and demonise and thereby frighten her critics; the majority of whom are former members who have spoken out since leaving about the atrocious human rights abuses they suffered and which are still being inflicted on the trapped membership. The label, which also applies to non-Iranian critics such as western journalists, has become so widely spread that it is not only ludicrous to imagine that the current MEK is harbouring ‘agents’ who simply haven’t left yet, but also to imagine that the Iranians are so powerful they can recruit thousands of specifically anti-MEK agents whose only goal is to infiltrate then destroy the MEK by leaving, someday – a claim even more ludicrous considering all the real-world problems Iran faces. And they still haven’t been able to destroy the organisation.
So, in this context it is interesting that after all this time Maryam Rajavi has suddenly become upset over the description of MEK as a cult and has published on the MEK internet outlets denials and denouncements that the Iranian regime has created this label to destroy the MEK.
But here’s the thing. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s rulers and media have consistently referred to the MEK only as Monafeqin, a Quranic phrase which translates as ‘Hypocrites’, i.e. not true Muslims. There is no track record of publicly, persistently accusing the group of being a cult. Something else is going on here.
Could it be that Maryam Rajavi felt so safe in her tick box method of cult leadership – defame every critic as an agent of the regime – that she neglected to listen to what her critics were actually saying and the public impact that has had. For years, former MEK members have explained and exposed the internal dynamics to anyone who would listen. Compelling and consistent evidence has led experts in cultic abuse such as ICSA and FECRIS as well as human rights organisations, to recognise the organisation as a cult. Simply put, that means the members are suffering abuse. Investigative media reporting has reflected this reality. This has now reached legal recognition as a German court has determined that MEK behaviour toward underage members amounted to abuse. This has led to the MEK being recognised as a toxic brand in international parliaments and forums.
A quick look into the MEK’s recent history might explain Maryam Rajavi’s dilemma. While the MEK was based in Iraq just off the border with Iran and had weapons and the military backing of Saddam Hussein, the leaders could ignore labels or criticism. Rajavi had the support – financial and political – of various anti-Iran parties not least Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and John McCain which allowed her to brush off criticism. She had access to parliaments in Europe and North America, she held fancy rallies in which she posed as the saviour of Iran. These have all gone. After its move to Albania, the MEK was reduced to churning out misinformation and false narratives about Iran, swapping guns for clicks, so that the MEK have become the equivalent of porn stars in fuelling the political fantasies of the pundits who consume their political trash.
But the organisation itself is becoming weak and diminished. It is shrinking with deaths and defections, unable to recruit and replenish its ranks. Unable to stop the ageing process of its current members. Unable to hide the obvious fact that after forty years the MEK is no longer a player in the political scene of Iran.
The MEK brand for Maryam also carries an extra burden. She has already appointed her Qajar relatives to leadership roles and sidelined Massoud Rajavi’s family and friends. The continued reference to the MEK as the Rajavi Cult reinforces his name. She needs to have the organisation associated with her family name Azodanlu.
Finally, a home goal by then President Donald Trump – the assassination of general Qassem Soleimani – means that regime change or a colour revolution is completely out of the question. Now with the election of Ebrahim Raisi, Iran is looking East, not West. Raisi’s Iran regards the west as a distraction, not a problem. Russia and China are opportunities for Iran. Now everyone is left with the question, ‘what is the MEK for?’
It’s as though Maryam Rajavi – and or her sponsors – have only recently woken up to this desert of opportunity and paucity of relevance. Her reaction has been to blame everyone except her own cruelty and incompetence.
In the end, the labels and where they originate are not too important. Instead, it is deeds not words which will continue to determine the future of the MEK. As long as it remains on this dysfunctional path the members will suffer. Then they will die. Those who have the power to dismantle the MEK safely and humanely in the short term should choose to do so. If they choose to leave the members to rot and their families to grieve, the reputation of western democracies will be dragged deeper and deeper into the mud. The result will be the same. But just a little hard headed, cost free humanity on the part of western political leaders now would make all the difference.
Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader
MEK – From Fanatical Terrorists to Fanatical Followers
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Iran Interlink, October 14 2021:… Clearly, the MEK are no longer needed as a brand either for funding or fronting anti-Iran efforts. To make matters worse, in Albania, Maryam Rajavi is beset by internal dissatisfaction among the members. Whether as a reaction to losing political and monetary support or as a distraction to divert the attention of the member from her failures, she has resorted to one of her husband’s old tricks – shake up the leadership line up. MEK – From Fanatical Terrorists to Fanatical Followers
Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader – From Fanatical Terrorists to Fanatical Followers
Experts and informed observers will be aware that over the past few months the MEK has been absent in public discourse regarding Iran. For a group which touts itself as the main opposition, this is nothing short of disaster. After being expelled from France three years ago and setting up her headquarters in Albania, Maryam Rajavi has worked hard to keep the MEK relevant. This meant continuing with the annual rallies in which paid speakers speak to rent-a-crowd audiences. Even though due to the COVID-19 crisis, even these events have been severely curtailed and forced online. It also meant accepting a new role for the MEK members in Albania. But, aside from the MEK slave members tapping and clicking into cyberspace, the MEK has been unable to make any breakthrough in the new political landscape concerning Iran.
The new president in America, Joe Biden, himself dithered and eventually failed to re-join the JCPOA and lift sanctions, in the process losing a key policy win. However, Iran also has a new president, Ebrahim Raisi, whose first foreign policy announcements defined Iran as looking toward its neighbours and beyond that, looking East. Usually, the MEK would slip itself between the two enemies. This time, Iran has turned its back and the MEK have simply fallen into the gulf and into obscurity. Much to the dismay of anti-Iran pundits, Iran’s newly appointed foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, met with many countries during the UN General Assembly – including the UK’s Liz Truss. The MEK were not able to stage any protest at the event.
In the past weeks, Maryam Rajavi has also failed to take any position about Iran, which for various reasons, political, social and economic has been in the news: Iran became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; the US agreed to withdraw combat troops from Iraq (something Iran’s leaders vowed to make happen after the illegal killing of general Soleimani, deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and eight others); Iran’s naval commander highlighted the navy’s various successes; Iranian fuel successfully arrived in Lebanon to ease shortages there; Ali Landi, a 15-year-old boy who heroically rescued two women from a fire, died of severe burns; Iran’s women’s football team qualified for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup; Iran’s volleyball team beat Japan to win the 21st Asian Volleyball Championship. Maryam Rajavi and the MEK maintained complete silence over all this news, pretending none of it happened at all. Not even a word of criticism or scorn. Nothing. Just sliding rapidly into irrelevance.
Instead, the MEK personnel are being utilised behind the scenes. MEK members are being lined up to give witness testimony in a politicised court case in Sweden. The unstated aim of the trial is to dredge up events that took place three decades previously at the end of the Iran Iraq war in which political prisoners in Iran were executed. The defendant is accused of involvement in unlawful killings while Ebrahim Raisi was a judge in the trials. In this way, Raisi will be tarred with the same brush. But although this activity is straight out of the MEK playbook, this time the organisation is not being promoted. Indeed, it appears that efforts are being made to keep the toxic MEK/NCRI brand out of the reporting. Former MEK stooge, Struan Stevenson’s demand that Raisi be arrested does not mention the MEK, referring to one of its members in the UK only by his name. Even the Saudi backed Iran International TV fails to mention the MEK brand.
Clearly, the MEK are no longer needed as a brand either for funding or fronting anti-Iran efforts. To make matters worse, in Albania, Maryam Rajavi is beset by internal dissatisfaction among the members. Whether as a reaction to losing political and monetary support or as a distraction to divert the attention of the member from her failures, she has resorted to one of her husband’s old tricks – shake up the leadership line up.
Rajavi has introduced a profound change to the organisation of the MEK by appointing her own daughter and her niece to leadership roles. According to MEK expert, Massoud Khodabandeh, this effectively spells the end of the Rajavi Dynasty started by her husband Massoud Rajavi in the 1980s and replaces it with the beginnings of the Qajar Dynasty as members of her own family – Qajar-Azodanlu and her former husband, Mehdi Abrishamchi – are positioned to take control of the cult.
Significantly, several of the family and loyal aides recently promoted to lead the MEK, are French citizens. Unlike Rajavi herself, they will be able to move to Paris and restore the headquarters there. While there is no indication that the MEK will be able to resurrect its role as provocateur and mercenary force against Iran from Auvers-sur-Oise, it would surely be easier to take control of the vast personal wealth Rajavi has inherited from her husband through this change in personnel and location.
As the MEK appears destined to slide further into irrelevance and obscurity, we must ask what will become of the rank and file members languishing in Albania without hope or help. It cannot be that they continue to be exploited as modern slaves, without recourse to health or family. Hopefully, as the MEK’s role diminishes they will become more burdensome. In time, hopefully a short time, they may be dropped entirely and pushed out into the wider community. As for the leadership cadre, there is precedent for violent, destructive cults to fade into social cults. The Ismailis, who began with the Al Sabbah cult of assassins and are currently led by the Aga Khan, are a case in point. In time, the MEK will evolve from fanatical terrorists to fanatical followers. Followers without a struggle.
Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader
MEK celebrates its 57th anniversary as what?
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton) , September 06 2021:… On 5th September the People’s Mojahedin e Khalq celebrated its 57th anniversary. But here’s a serious question: ‘As what?’ Is the MEK a terrorist group; a propaganda merchant; a mercenary militia group; a resistance movement; a liberation force; a democratic, feminist opposition group; a government in waiting? These are some of the descriptions attached to it by observers and by itself over its five-decade history. Sometimes it’s hard to pin down this chameleon like group. Just what, specifically, is the MEK? MEK celebrates its 56th anniversary
MEK Fanatical Terrorists celebrates its 57th anniversary as what?
Fanatical Terrorists – Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader
On 5th September the People’s Mojahedin e Khalq celebrated its 57th anniversary. But here’s a serious question: ‘As what?’ Is the MEK a terrorist group; a propaganda merchant; a mercenary militia group; a resistance movement; a liberation force; a democratic, feminist opposition group; a government in waiting?
These are some of the descriptions attached to it by observers and by itself over its five-decade history. Sometimes it’s hard to pin down this chameleon like group. Just what, specifically, is the MEK?
Until recently, the MEK kept company with extreme Neocons, Israeli Zionists and Saudis; John McCain, John Bolton, Rudi Giuliani, even Mike Pompeo headlined the MEK’s act. Basically, anybody who took an extreme anti-Iran stance and was prepared to embrace the MEK was welcomed as an ally. Money, of course, changed hands. With a new Democratic president in the US and a new Israeli prime minister, it remains to be seen which version of itself the MEK needs to publicly promote. Whatever that may be, its current attachments, loyalties and pay masters place the MEK at the very heart of what used to be described as American Imperialism.
So, the irony cannot be lost on us that the MEK of today purports to celebrate its 57th anniversary as an armed anti-Imperialist group. The MEK was created in response to the deadly oppression of the Shah and US Imperialism in Iran. The MEK’s founders believed that peaceful protest would not bring about the profound change needed to oust the Shah and his western backers and declared armed struggle. As part of this armed struggle, the MEK assassinated six American personnel in Iran and targeted western interests such as airline offices in Tehran with violent attacks.
After the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the MEK declared victory over US Imperialism. Its newspaper declared its extremist stance: ‘Let’s Create Another Vietnam for America!’ In its first two decades, the MEK attracted militant youth, prepared to kill and die for this cause. Those who have survived from those days make up the majority of the current MEK membership. After the mid-1980s, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi converted the group into a personality cult, using sophisticated psychological manipulation techniques to brainwash current and new members into obeying his whims. At this point, the terms of struggle became irrelevant, as every member’s real struggle was to stay loyal to an increasingly autocratic and unhinged set of terms: divorce your spouse and send your children away in order to focus solely on my leadership. Avoiding punishment and shunning became the fundamental preoccupation of every member.
Today, five decades on, it is unclear now whether these radicalised (brainwashed) members are able to think and gain the perspective needed to assess their predicament. Which is, the organisation they joined and devoted their whole lives to is built on the shifting sands of political and financial expediency and the base cowardice of Massoud Rajavi. The MEK of today is almost the opposite of the one they joined. Its ideology has evaporated and been replaced by mercenary expediency in the service of American Imperialism. So, by all means, let them celebrate 57 years of the MEK’s existence. But defining what that existence means has become an impossible dissociative conundrum for each and every member.
Maryam Rajavi Cult Leader