Nahal Toosi, Politico, July 20 2018:… One Iranian diaspora faction that has supported many Trump policies is the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a group with leftist roots that the U.S. previously listed as a terrorist outfit. But the MEK has few backers in Iran, even though it has major defenders among Trump’s aides and confidants. Among those who’ve spoken at MEK events are Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton. It’s not …
Trump has tough sell recruiting Iranian-Americans in campaign against Tehran
Divisions in the community and opposition to the administration’s travel ban face Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he addresses leaders this weekend.
By NAHAL TOOSI
As President Donald Trump looks for ways to pressure the Islamist government in Tehran, he is seeking the support of Iranian-Americans in the U.S. — even though his administration has barred their Iranian relatives from visiting, imposed sanctions on their ancestral homeland and is suspected of sidelining an Iranian-American official partly due to her heritage.
Prominent members of the Iranian-American community have been invited to a gathering on Sunday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Simi Valley, California, where he will deliver a speech, titled “Supporting Iranian Voices,” and engage in a Q&A, according to the State Department.
The unusual outreach to Iranian-Americans is a facet of a ramped-up public diplomacy campaign the Trump team is pursuing as part of a broader, if still fuzzy, strategy on Iran, a country that the White House maintains is a major threat to America and its Middle East allies.
Already, the administration has issued 12 demands of Iran’s clerical leaders, a list so broad that some analysts say it amounts to a call for regime change. The administration has also increased its use of social media targeting Iranians, using Twitter and other platforms to cheer on protests in Iran, highlight the government’s economic mismanagement and, especially lately, challenge its abuse of human rights.
In a May speech in which he unveiled the 12 demands, Pompeo promised that the Trump administration would “advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people,” adding: “The regime must improve how it treats its citizens.”
But trying to get Iranian-Americans on board with Trump’s agenda will be a tricky task.
Iranian-Americans, while generally well-educated, economically well-off and unhappy with the government in Tehran, hold diverse political views. Many support gradual reform in Iran and disdain what they see as Trump’s ethnic and religious chauvinism. Some support a change of leadership and are happy to see a U.S. president stand up to the clerics in Tehran. There are monarchists and hard-core secularists among them. And many simply try to avoid politics altogether.
“I don’t think that anyone in U.S. politics really understands the fractures in the Iranian-American community,” said Kia Hamadanchy, an Iranian-American from California who recently mounted an unsuccessful Democratic bid for Congress. “But I do think it is smart for the administration, as public relations, to seek Iranian-American voices who support their policies, even if their policies are wrong-headed or dumb and not supported by the majority in the community.”
The divisions have become apparent in recent days as prominent Iranian-Americans have debated among themselves whether to accept the invitations to the Pompeo speech.
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans told POLITICO that some of its representatives would attend. PAAIA stressed that it disagreed with many of the administration’s policies, including Trump’s decision to scuttle the nuclear agreement, which gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
Still, “it’s important for Iranian-Americans to have a direct line of communication with officials that create and implement policy that affects our community,” the group said in a statement.
The National Iranian American Council, on the other hand, said its staff appeared to have been blackballed by the administration and that it might stage protests against Pompeo’s speech. The organization, a major defender of the Iran nuclear deal whose leaders have vociferously criticized Trump, has not gone so far as to urge Iranian-Americans to decline the invitation.
But it is warning them not to get used as props.
“Just as the Bush administration cultivated a few Iraqi exiles and talked about human rights to provide legitimacy for a disastrous invasion of Iraq,” the group said, “the Trump administration appears intent on using Iranian exiles to advance dangerous policies that will leave the Iranian people as its primary victims.”
Sunday’s event is being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs. A State Department spokesman said Pompeo would take questions from the audience, although an invitation to the gathering indicated that questions must be submitted in advance.
The audience is not limited to Iranian-Americans, and lawmakers are expected to be among the attendees. Choosing to hold the event in California, however, is logical given the large number of the state’s residents with Iranian ancestry, estimated in the hundreds of thousands at least.
The State Department declined to say who among the Iranian diaspora it had invited, but the guest list appears to include a range of activists, analysts and business leaders, as well as representatives of the Iranian-American Jewish community and other minority groups.
An Iranian-American community organizer said invitees had been assured there would be an opportunity to talk to Pompeo and other administration officials beyond the speech and Q&A. The invitations sent to the Iranian-Americans include an after-program dinner.
Some Iranian exiles targeted by the Islamist government have also been invited, although it’s not clear how many will attend. They include Masih Alinejad, who has fought the Iranian leadership’s rules mandating that women wear headscarves and who recently released a book about her efforts.
Alinejad won’t attend because she doesn’t want her cause to be affiliated with any political faction, said Nazee Moinian, a well-connected Iranian-American consultant who spoke on Alinejad’s behalf.
Moinian, who is Jewish and advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Iran policy, plans to attend. She noted the diverse views held by Iranian-Americans but maintained that the “common denominator for all who are going is that they know this regime in Tehran does not serve the interests of the Iranian people.”
Others who plan to attend said they were doing so partly out of curiosity, even if they are deeply unhappy with some Trump administration policies on Iran.
The travel ban in particular has galled Iranian-Americans. The ban covers a handful of mainly Muslim countries, but Iranians are the largest group affected. Trump says the ban is an anti-terrorism measure, but, although it has some exceptions, the way the administration has implemented it has effectively kept out of the U.S. numerous ordinary Iranians, including some who’d hoped to go to college here and many who simply wanted to visit relatives.
Opponents of the travel ban say it is a cruel, bigoted and hypocritical policy by an administration that insists it cares about the people of Iran.
“If the administration really cared about the human rights of Iranians, it would lift the travel ban,” said one Iranian-American who plans to attend Pompeo’s speech but asked not to be identified by name.
Iranian-American activists have also been troubled by other moves the Trump administration has made that smack of discrimination against Muslims or others from the Middle East.
One case that caught the community’s attention was that of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, an accomplished U.S. civil servant who was pushed out of a top State Department position after discussions among Trump administration officials that included the false assertion that she was born in Iran. Nowrouzzadeh was also attacked by the conservative media, which questioned her loyalty to Trump and her role in helping craft the Iran nuclear deal.
Most Iranian-Americans, according to surveys commissioned by PAAIA, supported keeping the nuclear deal, which was negotiated under President Barack Obama.
Trump’s decision to scrap the agreement, and thus reimpose sanctions, has many Iranian-Americans worried about the effect those sanctions will have on ordinary Iranians who already deal with a shaky economy. But, anecdotally at least, some hope that the sanctions will help prompt the collapse of the clerical leadership, and they point to recent protests in Iran as signs of the strain.
One Iranian diaspora faction that has supported many Trump policies is the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a group with leftist roots that the U.S. previously listed as a terrorist outfit. But the MEK has few backers in Iran, even though it has major defenders among Trump’s aides and confidants. Among those who’ve spoken at MEK events are Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.
It’s not clear whether anyone affiliated with the controversial group has been invited to Pompeo’s speech. A spokesman for the MEK did not respond to a request for comment.
Some Iranian-Americans, meanwhile, support restoring the monarchy in Iran, whose shah fled amid the late-1970s revolution that brought the Islamists to power. Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah, lives in the U.S. and describes himself as an advocate for secular democracy in Iran. His office said on Wednesday that it is aware of the event and that Pahlavi “supports and encourages” such dialogue. It did not say whether Pahlavi was invited.
Among those hoping to attend is Goli Ameri, an Iranian-American businesswoman who served as an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs during the administration of George W. Bush.
“We are fortunate to call a country home that respects and solicits the voice of its citizens,” Ameri said.
Pompeo and Trump Plan to Exploit and Silence Iranian Americans
National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Washington, D.C. July 17 2018:… It should be abundantly clear that Secretary Pompeo, who called for bombing Iran instead of negotiations, is no friend of the Iranian people. Similarly, Trump – whose national security advisor and lawyer have elevated the voices of an undemocratic, human rights abusing cult, the MEK, to become the next leadership of Iran – does not have the Iranian …
Pompeo and Trump Plan to Exploit and Silence Iranian Americans
Washington, D.C. – Jamal Abdi, the Vice President for Policy of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that he will address Iranian Americans in Simi Valley later this month:
“The quest for human rights and democracy in Iran can only be owned by the Iranian people. It cannot be owned by the U.S., Israel, or Saudi Arabia. It cannot be decided by Iran’s government or even Iranian exiles.
“What President Trump and Secretary Pompeo want is to exploit Iranian Americans and co-opt the Iranian people to provide legitimacy for the Trump Administration’s Iraq War redux for Iran. Just as the Bush Administration cultivated a few Iraqi exiles and talked about human rights to provide legitimacy for a disastrous invasion of Iraq, the Trump Administration appears intent on using Iranian exiles to advance dangerous policies that will leave the Iranian people as its primary victims.
“If Sec. Pompeo really wants the Iranian-American community to embrace the Trump agenda, he must start with a sincere apology and rescind Trump’s ban that is dividing Iranian Americans from their friends and loved ones in Iran. He should apologize for the Administration’s move to banish the most prominent Iranian-American national security official from policymaking decisions due to her heritage. Moreover, he should apologize for the decision to strip the Iranian people of their hope for relief from sanctions and greater connections with the outside world, instead ensuring they will be crushed between U.S. sanctions and resurgent hardline forces in Iran’s government that have benefited from Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord.
“It should be abundantly clear that Secretary Pompeo, who called for bombing Iran instead of negotiations, is no friend of the Iranian people. Similarly, Trump – whose national security advisor and lawyer have elevated the voices of an undemocratic, human rights abusing cult, the MEK, to become the next leadership of Iran – does not have the Iranian people’s best interests at heart. The Trump Administration’s close coordination with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman, who are motivated by their own political gain and regional power dynamics rather than any love for democracy or the Iranian people, should dispel any notion this campaign is about helping ordinary Iranians.
“As Americans, we have a vital role to play in ensuring our democratically elected government does not start wars on false pretenses or destroy lives in our names. As Iranian Americans, our voices are particularly vital when it comes to the U.S. government’s efforts regarding our ancestral homeland. We will not be exploited or silenced at this critical moment in history.”
Special Report: Giuliani Fronts for Terrorists
Amil Imani, Capitol Hill Ousider, July 07 2018:… In Giuliani’s case in particular, the deception is rather striking. “America’s mayor” has shown himself as a crusader in the fight against “Islamic terrorism” Yet he appears to feel that feasting at the table of Islamo-Marxist terrorists who have assassinated Americans is in no way inappropriate. Outrageously, Giuliani said the current ruling system in Iran “must be replaced by …
Special Report: Giuliani Fronts for Terrorists
Last Saturday, June 30, 2018, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a number of high-ranking dignitaries, including generals from countries in the Middle East, Europe and North America participated in a propaganda event in Paris, hosted by NCRI (The National Council of Resistance of Iran or People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an Islamic Marxist group to support the NCRI’s standing as government in exile.
Giuliani was joined by former U.S. House Speaker (an informal Trump adviser) Newt Gingrich, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former U.S: Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, two former French foreign ministers and five members of the British Parliament.
This is not the first-time U.S. officials have attended MEK events. Despite the fact that Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) had been formally designated for 15 years by the US State Department as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Giuliani, along with Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton and former Obama administration National Security Adviser James Jones, have been known to appear in MEK events for years.The MEK was instrumental in the success of the Islamic revolution and in particular, installing the Ayatollah Khomeini. This group has plenty of American blood on its hands, as well as that of thousands of Iranians killed while the group was a strike force serving Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and ’90s.
The MEK has paid Giuliani handsomely for years—$20,000 or more, and possibly a lot more—for brief appearances before the group and for lobbying to have it removed from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), which occurred in 2012 under then, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. “Other American advocates have been well paid, hired through their speaking agencies and collecting fees of $10,000 to $50,000 for speeches on behalf of the Iranian group. Some have been flown to Paris, Berlin and Brussels for appearances.”
In Giuliani’s case in particular, the deception is rather striking. “America’s mayor” has shown himself as a crusader in the fight against “Islamic terrorism” Yet he appears to feel that feasting at the table of Islamo-Marxist terrorists who have assassinated Americans is in no way inappropriate. Outrageously, Giuliani said the current ruling system in Iran “must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents”. This is like saying Adolf Hitler’s regime should be replaced by Joseph Stalin.
The History of MEK
MEK history stretches back to the 1960s, when it was founded by a group of Iranian (so called) students who opposed the shah and espoused an ideology that mixed Shiism—particularly the cult of martyrdom—and Marxism. Along with the group’s anti-regime sentiment came a hefty dose of anti-imperialism and hatred of the United States and Israel. Some of its members trained in PLO camps in Lebanon and Jordan.
Human Rights Report
According to Human Rights Watch who interviewed several former MEK members, the organization is a cult that has kept its members virtually imprisoned in a compound in Iraq and controlled them psychologically. They eliminated anyone who expressed their intent to leave.
A RAND report commissioned by the US DOD found that the MEK is a cult that utilizes mind control and practices mandatory divorce, celibacy, authoritarian control, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and confiscation of assets.
Mujahedin-e Khalq cultists
Most Iranians inside Iran believe that if Rajavi is given the chance to return to Iran, the MEK would become the Pol Pot of Iran. The expatriate Iranians in the U.S. are indeed diverse. A great majority support a democratic republican form of government. Some support a constitutional monarchy. A very small minority are of the communist-extreme left persuasion. And a few belong to the Islamist-Marxist gang of the People’s Mujahidin. This latter group has about zero support among Iranians, both in Iran as well as abroad. They are thoroughly despised by the overwhelming majority of the people for being cultists, Islamists and at the same time traitors for being in league with Saddam Hussein against Iran during the past Iran-Iraq war.
Assuming that money is not a factor, why would such prominent Americans support once an officially designated Iranian terrorist group? It’s a straightforward, enemy-of-my-enemy proposition: the MEK opposes the theocratic government in Tehran, and so do we. But, the enemy of my enemy is still not my friend.
If we are going to support an overthrow of the Iranian Islamic Republic, we have to pick the right partners who will lead to a secular democracy in Iran. Not this group. This would be worse than the instalment of the Ayatollah Khomeini by former President Jimmy Carter. And not to mention, who has given Mr. Giuliani and others the right to impose a terrorist group on the Iranian people after 40 years of compulsory Sharia Law? Haven’t we learned the lessons of history?
Iranians who are living under the Islamic regime in Iran, truly despise the MEK. Even more so than the current Islamic regime. They are asking for a referendum on the theocratic ruling system in the Islamic Republic.
The best option to dislodge the mullahs is to support the Iranian people. We have invaluable allies on the ground in Iran. There are some 50 million Iranians who are the best hope of the world in that part of the world. These enlightened Iranians despise both the Mullahs and the MEK while having no animosity toward Israel or the United States. Most of these people are well-educated, smart and have broken away from the slavery and fraud of Islamism.
They are in the best position to send the Mullahs packing for good. Instead of throwing a lifeline to the sinking ship of the Mullacracy, or supporting terrorist groups, we must act resolutely in doing everything non-violent to help them defeat the Mullahs. It is our best bet.
© Copyright by Amil Imani, 2018. All rights reserved.
Email Amil: [email protected]
HALF A CENTURY WITH MKO (aka Mojahedin Khalq, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult …)
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.
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