Table of Contents:
Mojahedin's Identity Crisis
By Massoud Khodabandeh
Editorial, April 2006
News in Brief
- Saudinet, Mar. 2, 2006
'Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates are Gaming the Nuclear Threat - New
Yorker, By Connie Bruck, Mar. 6, 2006
abuses in MKO since the fall of Saddam's regime
conference by Iran-Interlink, Mar. 10, Paris
Escapee: Camp Ruled by Violence,
Darik Radio, Mar. 10, 2006
Open letter to
Mike Colle, Ontario Minister of Citizenship & Immigration
Network Association, Mar. 17, 2006
Mohsen Abbaslou -
BBC Interview about Camp Ashraf
Radio, March 10, 2006
Abbaslou; Interview with Radio Farda
Farda, March 15, 2006
Personal View from Evin
Mojahedin's point of view on Women
Mojahedin.ws website, 12 March 2006
Candidate – Redefining 'Clarity'
By Mitra Yousefi
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mojahedin's Identity Crisis
Survivors' Report revealed that a Bulgarian non-combat unit will soon begin
assisting with the dismantlement of Camp Ashraf and removal of its Mojahedin
residents. At the sending off ceremony on March 29, Bulgarian Prime
Minister, Sergey Stanishev said "The Ashraf mission is a delicate one, it
Notwithstanding this, MKO leaders have been in denial for weeks, hoping the
news would not reach members inside the Camp.
years, believing her combat forces to be safely ensconced in Iraq awaiting
re-armament, Maryam Rajavi has dedicated all her resources to removing the
Mojahedin name from the terrorist lists of Europe and North America. News of
the imminent dissolution of the NLA was the harshest blow she and her
co-leader husband Massoud Rajavi have suffered since they lost Saddam
Hussein as their main benefactor.
Rajavi has tried her hand at a duplicitous game called 'the third option' -
a thinly disguised ploy to have her forces in Camp Ashraf resurrected as an
armed force. Some weeks ago, she ordered a handful of supporters recruited
in the UK's House of Lords and her lawyers in Luxemburg - who were following
a legal case against the European Union for placing the MKO on its terrorist
list in 2002 - to announce behind closed doors that her organisation has
"given up armed struggle" and is committed to only peaceful means to achieve
its political goals. Exposure of this false position by Survivors' Report
was so costly to the morale of her combatants that, before her pronouncement
had its desired effect, she was forced to retract it. In a rare interview
with the LA Times she admitted that violence could not be ruled out as an
option for the Mojahedin. Rajavi's recruits in the House of Lords who had
passed her message to the Foreign Ministry were humiliated when a spokesman
for the Foreign Ministry reminded them of that interview in a parliamentary
was not enough to restore morale among her followers, Rajavi ordered the
captives in Camp Ashraf to mark the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution
with a military parade using mock-up arms and artillery made of wood and
plastic. Interestingly, the uniforms of Saddam's Private Army had been
replaced by uniforms resembling those of the American and British armies.
Then in late February Human Rights Watch published a Statement to answer the
criticisms of its initial report 'No Exit' in May 2005. The Statement not
only reaffirmed HRW's original findings, but exposed the MKO to further
enquiry. Maryam Rajavi's recruit in the European Parliament, Paulo Casaca,
had claimed that no human rights abuses had taken place after 2002. Since
the original report had not considered any abuses taking place after that
time, the defence against something it had not been accused of was enough to
alert observers to the possibility of an ongoing situation of human rights
abuses behind the closed doors of the camp.
It was in
this context that, in a press conference on March 10 in Paris, Rajavi's
propaganda machine was completely back-footed by the revelations of former
MKO member Mohsen Abbasslou.
escaped from Camp Ashraf only a few months ago, reaching Europe through
Kurdistan and Turkey. He told reporters that although US military police
were guarding the perimeter of the camp, they had little presence inside it
and this allowed the MKO to continue its systematic suppression of dissent
and disaffection as well as its enforced program of brainwashing. Abbasslou
stressed that the Bulgarian troops' mission inside the camp was long
overdue. He talked about conditions of forced labour and likened Camp Ashraf
to a concentration camp.
Mohsen Abbasslou in Camp Ashraf
to this unexpected revelation of continuing human rights abuses in Camp
Ashraf, the Mojahedin issued a communiqué under the name of National Council
of Resistance in which it claimed:
Abbasslou is an agent of the Iranian regime who infiltrated the Mojahedin in
early 2002.' The communiqué claimed that Abbasslou had not been there more
than five months (they retracted this claim in later announcements). It also
claimed to have Abbasslou's signatures on various letters in which he has
accepted that he is indeed an agent. (One of Mr. Abbasslou's claims in the
press conference was that signatures were forced from him at gun point, by
injecting chemicals into his body and by suspending him over a septic tank
and threatening to let him go).
communiqué also claimed that the press conference had been "boycotted" by
the media – even though an exclusive interview with Abbasslou had been
broadcast prior to the press conference by Bulgarian Darik Radio.
A few hours
after this announcement, the BBC Persian Service broadcast its own interview
with Mr. Abbasslou in which he spoke about the current situation in Camp
Ashraf and his own experience of human rights abuses. The BBC report ended:
"we could not reach MKO officials to have their
Mojahedin's response to the BBC interview was another communiqué, this time
signed by the "spokesman of the MKO in Europe", posted in Persian language
on its various web sites claiming that:
operation by Ayatollah BBC and Mullah Ajei (Iran's Intelligence Minister) in
broadcasting this interview has been the work of the agents of Iran's
Intelligence Ministry in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)."
communiqué, the Mojahedin's spokesman claimed that Mr. Abbasslou had been
handed over to the American Military Police in charge of Camp Ashraf in
early 2004, contradicting the previous NCRI communiqué which claimed he had
entered the camp in early 2002 and was handed over to the Americans in less
than five months. A basic calculation shows that, even by its own account of
events, there is a year missing, which does not make any sense, except to
add weight to Abbasslou's claim to have been imprisoned somewhere in the
camp. In this communiqué, the MKO could not hide its anger against human
rights personalities such as Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Member of
the European Parliament and founder of AMAR Charity organisation, referring
to her as "an English woman called Emma Nicholson".
on the power of propaganda to nullify inconvenient facts, Maryam Rajavi
summoned her recruits from the UK House of Lords and yet more lawyers to her
residence in a Paris suburb. This was a display of power geared to
convincing her members that she has the political clout to have the MKO
removed from the terrorist lists, and have her fighters re-armed to be used
in the west's nuclear stand-off with the Iranian government. Shortly after,
British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, in a Channel 4 television interview,
spoke of the Mojahedin as a globally recognized terrorist organisation,
reminding the interviewer that they were listed in the UK in 2000 when he
was Home Minister.
Baroness Nicholson visiting Ebrahim Khodabandeh in Tehran
response was to air for the viewers of the sect's satellite channel, a
message read in English to the assembled gathering in her residence in which
she was 'convincing' the UK Government to remove the Mojahedin from its
addition, a fresh communiqué emphasised that: "Jack Straw as exposed in 2004
by the National Council of Resistance (MEK) as the middle man who
facilitated the bombardment of the Mojahedin military camps (during the
invasion of Iraq by coalition forces) as an appeasement to the mullah's
regime. Also, he has announced the hanging of 20 members of the Mojahedin in
Iran as acceptable."
interesting that all the above communiqués have only been published in
Persian and have been used for internal purposes. The idea that you can
commission some recruits from the House of Lords and pay lawyers to beg the
neoconservatives to use the Mojahedin as "good terrorists", while swearing
left, right and centre at politicians, officials and even independent media,
could not be a more ridiculous concept.
Significantly, the communiqués were removed from the MKO's websites as soon
as they had been seen by its supporters. But this was not the end of the
issue as Rajavi had hoped. On March 13, Radio Farda (an independent Persian
language radio sponsored by the USG) broadcast that the Bulgarian Parliament
had agreed the mission of Bulgarian troops to take charge of the internal
situation of Camp Ashraf. Radio Farda also interviewed Mohsen Abbasslou
about ongoing human rights abuses inside the camp and the Bulgarian army's
mission inside the camp. Abbasslou told listeners, "Coalition
forces are outside Camp Ashraf and have no control over its internal
affairs. The problems of this cult continue and therefore human rights and
freedoms are violated."
Mojahedin's response was to put back all the communiqués it had previously
withdrawn and to issue another, signed this time by "the legal
representative of the Mojahedin in Camp Ashraf". This communiqué claimed
that: "the agents of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in the administration
of Radio Farda commissioned this report because a newspaper which is against
the presence of the Mojahedin in Iraq has referred to this report in its
Baghdad edition." Contrary to the announcement of the Bulgarian Interior
Ministry, which emphasises that its solders will be deployed to take charge
of the internal security of the camp, the Mojahedin claims that the
Bulgarians would not enter the camp and would be deployed only on its
perimeter. The Mojahedin again stressed that the internal matters of the
camp have been in the hands of the Mojahedin for the past 20 years and will
remain so under the memorandum signed by the American army. The communiqué
again emphasises that the report made by Radio Farda was the work of the
agents of the Iranian regime in this American radio station.
What we are
witnessing is the Mojahedin suffering a severe identity crisis. Its sudden
changes of face and clothing according to the scene and the actors in it,
creates the impression of a comedic farce more worthy of the theatre rather
than the political stage. Is the MKO an autocratic armed resistance
movement, is it a destructive cult which can order its recruits – including
those from various parliaments – to push its agenda in political circles, is
it a secular, democratic, feminist organisation, is it a news agency, a
human rights defender, is it the only opposition, is it the only threat, is
it the only resistance movement…
Rajavi has so many guises she is becoming dizzy with the effort of switching
from one to another and shoring up leaks and gaps as she continues to try to
hoodwink and brainwash the multifarious players integral to fulfil her (and
her husband's) ambition for power.
time Maryam Rajavi appears to be making headway in her quest to have the MKO
resurrected and rearmed, some inconvenient person or fact emerges to
sabotage her efforts.
month it was the revelations of Mohsen Abbasslou which upset her applecart.
article this month details the reaction of Rajavi's publicity machine to his
allegations of continuing human rights abuses inside the Mojahedin. What was
significant about this latest information was that Abbasslou was in the
Mojahedin's camp only from early 2002. He says that, in spite of the US
presence around Camp Ashraf after the summer of 2003, the Mojahedin's human
rights abuses continued unabated until the time he escaped only several
months ago, last summer.
the Mojahedin did not become aware of the source of this new information
until the day of the press conference itself, the organisation was unable to
react with its usual fanfare of false information and forged documents.
Instead, Rajavi was forced to react to a series of media reports, and as
usual, being totally reliant on propaganda to assert her position, a lot of
contradictory, angry and embarrassing material spewed out of Auvers-sur-Oise
over the following days.
becoming embarrassingly obvious is that Rajavi's cult has recruited
supporters in various western parliaments. She has tried to use them to show
her political power in front of her hard-core cult members. But has failed
month's article 'The Mojahedin Candidate' shows why. When the cult's members
are so indoctrinated that they are able to read lies about their own past
and about their own family as if they were in a film, then it is clear that
no one can believe a word that they utter.
Khodabandeh goes some way in his notes from Evin prison, to explaining how
the system of brainwashing works. But, as he admits, it is sometimes hard
even for those who lived through it to explain how it works. What is clear
is that this cult is able to use sophisticated methods of psychological
manipulation to recruit even politicians - with impunity. The implications
for democracy are dire. Let us be clear, this is the real danger to the west
from this organisation, not its potential for terrorism.
News in Brief
Resistance or Terror?
Saudinet, March 2, 2006
article "Resistance or Terror" in Saudinet, Iraqi author Dr. Mohannad Al-Barak,
has discussed the issue of terrorism in Iraq and terrorist groups supported
"There are many questions for Iraqi people regarding the measures taken by
the government to fight violence and terrorism. For instance, was it out of
mercy to free thousands of criminals and murderers from prison? Or was it
planned in order to execute the plans of Saddamist against Iraq's
resistant people? Is leaving thousands of explosives and weapons in AlGha'Gha something out of ignorance? Where are thousands of Saddam's
fedayeen and spies, who were pillars of his regime? Why isn't there any
comment on Saddam's Fedayeen, Mojahedin-e Khalq of Iran and pro-Saddam
Palestinians? And who's this Zarqawi?"
Mr. Albarak continues as follows:
"Iraqi's will never forget that Saddam and his murderous regime are
responsible for terrorism in our country; they planned the assassination of
our people. They enjoyed beheading, killing with axe and wild tigers and
dogs as well as establishing and supporting terrorist organization; such as
horrible spying organization tied to Estekhbarat, and other terrorist
organization like the Mojahedin-e Khalq that targeted liberation movements of
Arab and Muslim people."
'Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates are Gaming the Nuclear Threat
By Connie Bruck, March 6, 2006
Paris, Rajavi formed the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which
initially was a genuine "council," including other opposition groups in
addition to the M.E.K., but the other groups subsequently dropped out.
Rajavi's style of leadership was autocratic from the start, but by the
mid-eighties the signs of a personality cult were unmistakable… "In short,
the Mojahedin had metamorphized from a mass movement into an inward-looking
sect in many ways similar to religious cults found the world over," [Ervand]
Abrahamian wrote [in his authoritative book], "The Iranian Mojahedin".
demonstrating its long-honed talent, was wresting opportunity from this
latest misfortune [disarmament in Iraq, 2003]. Having lost its Iraqi patron,
narrowly escaped annihilation by U.S. forces, and come close to being
delivered into the hands of its bitterest enemy, it was promoting its
candidacy as an agent of regime change. In Camp Ashraf, M.E.K. fighters
being interviewed by American intelligence officials struck consistent
themes, according to a former U.S. military officer. First, they should be
taken off the F.T.O. list. Their forces could then assist the Coalition
Provisional Authority, patrolling the border between Iraq and Iran. And,
more broadly, this former officer continued, "they saw themselves as the
equivalent of the Iraqi National Congress, the Chalabi group that was used
so heavily in prewar planning. They wanted to be like that, and part of the
solution of a new Iran." A person close to the M.E.K. said that it offered
to provide intelligence, both on Iran and on Iranian activity in Iraq.
Human rights abuses in
MKO since the fall of Saddam's regime
conference by Iran-Interlink, March 10, Paris
conference introduced Mohsen Abbasslou, the most recent member of the
Mojahedin to have escaped Camp Ashraf in Iraq. He was in Camp Ashraf until
only a few months ago. With documents and other evidence to support his
claim, he alleges that he suffered various forms of torture and mistreatment
up to the time he escaped.
Mr Abbasslou's interviews with Bulgarian Darik Radio, BBC Persian Service
and Radio Farda were broadcast over several days.
The Mojahedin responded with a webcampaign to discredit Mr Abbasslou.
Camp Ashraf Escapee:
Camp Ruled by Violence
Radio, March 10, 2006
Human rights in the
Ashraf refugee camp in Iraq are being violated on a daily basis, an escapee
Mujahideen leaders in the camp still have power over the rest of the people
there, Mohsen Abbasslou has told private Darik radio. "I had no future in
this camp, that's why I escaped," Abbasslou says.
People were often beaten, forced to work for the leaders, although it wasn't
their responsibility, the escapee explains. He claims that most of the
people did not want to stay in the camp, and those who disobeyed orders were
beaten constantly and yelled at a lot.
There was no one to turn to when all this happened, Abbasslou said, because
the only troops guarding the camp were stationed outside of it. Americans do
control the outside and they let no outer threats reach the population of
the camp, but there is no one to help with the violence inside, the man
Although he confirms that camp refugees have been long ago stripped of all
weapons, Abbasslou says that claims that there hadn't been an incidence [of
human rights abuses] in the camp for three years are false. "I myself was
severely beaten by the leaders of the Mujahideen organization within the
camp nine months after the American troops took guard," he says.
Open letter to Mike
Colle - Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Network Association, March 17, 2006
Golestaneh has been denied citizenship in Canada
because according to one newspaper:
"In 1994 he
was convicted over an attack … when a mob armed with sticks, mallets and a
sledgehammer ransacked a building just a few blocks south of Parliament
Hill, … Golestane was convicted of breaking and entering and of an attack on
internationally protected premises. A woman suspected by the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service of masterminding the attack was deported in
1993. CSIS identified her as the Canadian leader of the Mujahedin e Khalq of
MEK…Canada designated the group a terrorist entity under federal law…
Golestaneh denies being involved with the MEK."
Family Network Association, based in Sweden wrote an open letter to Ontario
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Mike Colle, outlining Golestaneh's
current, ongoing membership and promotion of the MEK. "Documents
and evidence of his activities in promotion of the heads of this cult-like
terrorist organisation in Canada could be submitted in any court of justice
said the Association in its letter. Recent photographs were also provided
showing Golestaneh backed by MEK and NCRI banners in a promotional
Mojahedin cult member Golestaneh speaking at a rally recently
Association to Support Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq has nominated April 8th
to be the day each year which will commemorate the victims of internal
suppression by the Mojahedin. This year, the day will be commemorated in
Paris with a series of films and speeches followed by an evening meal.
Mojahedin has claimed the lives of several thousand victims in its forty-one
year history, we have chosen specifically to commemorate the victims of
internal suppression because in the parlance which describes the terrorist
Mojahedin's history as that of an opposition or resistance movement, or
tries to define its terrorist acts as legitimate armed struggle, their
voices have been rarely heard.
In no struggle
for freedom is there place for suppression and torture. Yet, this is what
the Mojahedin has inflicted on its own members when they have dared to
disagree with the leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.
The victims of
this internal suppression include those who have been killed, those who have
lost their sanity and those who remain under the organisation's control.
April 8 is a day on which those who have been fortunate to escape can give
voice to their suffering.
that in the coming years, more and more of the victims of internal
suppression and victims' families will be able to join us in freedom.
information, contact Anne Singleton by emailing
[email protected] or telephone +44 113 278 0503.
Mohsen Abbaslou - BBC Interview about Camp Ashraf
Radio, March 10, 2006
One of the
MKO's members has recently escaped the group's camp in Iraq. We asked him
why he escaped.
Abbaslou: I had some friends in the camp. I had no
future in the American camp. We faced an uncertain future, therefore I and
four of my friends escaped the camp July 6, 2005.
I personally thank the US forces, but the reality is that the cult has
remained in Iraq due to the problems of the coalition forces.
BBC: you mean MKO officials tortured MKO members in coalition camps?
Abbaslou: Well, US forces had surrounded Camp Ashraf and had no control over
its internal affairs and this had allowed the MKO to apply their cult-like
ideologies. I myself was beaten by the MKO officials, they injected
sterilizers into my body, I was virtually executed, they hanged me, forced
me into the septic tank, they forced me to admit to what I had not done.
There are others like me, such as Amir Abbas Mashour (known as Mahmoud
Moshtaghi). They had forced him to divorce his wife. He loved his wife and
so, he set himself on fire. Other friends were on hunger strike for a long
time, they had sewn up their lips only because of the situation….
Well, this is the violation of human rights….
BBC: this was our conversation with Mohsen Abbaslou, former member of the
MKO. We could not reach MKO officials to have their comments.
Abbaslou; Interview with Radio Farda
Radio Farda, March 15, 2006
to the news agencies, Bulgarian forces have taken control of Camp Ashraf, 60
miles north of Baghdad, since a week ago. This camp houses nearly 3000 MKO
remnants in Iraq who have been supervised by American [military police]
after the Iraq war. Last week, a former member of the MKO, Mohsen Abbaslou
who has escaped from Iraq, took part in a press conference and talked about
the difficult situation of MKO remnants in Camp Ashraf and the violation of
human rights by this organization.
In an interview with Radio Farda's Ali Sajjadi, he
referred to his membership in the MKO and said: "if a window is opened to
the outside world, all MKO members would leave and barely a 100 would
The MKO announced that Mr. Abbaslou has never been a member of the
organization and that he had been expelled to the US-run camp (TIPF, next to
Camp Ashraf). The U.S. State Department lists the MKO as a FTO.
"The remaining members in the MKO camp have no hope for the future,"
Ali Sajjadi (Radio Farda): First, I asked Mr. Abbaslou about the
history of his cooperation with the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization.
Abbaslou: I was a supporter of the MKO inside Iran for nearly 10
years until Afghanistan was freed by a US-led coalition, then the MKO
pressed me to go to Iraq to continue my campaign there; so, I went to Iraq
in June 2002 and joined the MKO. Nearly ten months after the fall of Saddam
Hussein, I was still in the organization. In January of 2004, after 45 days
of hunger strike and being beaten by the MKO, they sent me to the US-run
Camp (TIPF) and on July 6th I and four of my friends escaped from US-run
camp and Iraq to Europe.
Sajjadi: What about your differences with the MKO in Iraq?
Abbaslou: I joined the MKO with the goal of fighting dictatorship and
achieving freedom, democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, since the
first day I entered the organization, I understood that the organization was
clearly much different from what it advertised. I witnessed violation of
human rights on daily basis, politically, organizationally and individually.
They forced us to do what we didn't like. They forced members to divorce
their spouses; we had no contact with our families and there was no access
to free media and press; everything was under censorship. Most of the forces
there had been taken to the camp by promises of a good job, life and … These
convinced me to leave the organization. Every week, I wrote requests for
leaving and they always refused. Now, they have announced that "we expelled
him from the organization after 5 months". This is not true. I was on hunger
strike for 45 days. I didn't eat for a week and after 45 days of hunger
strike, beating me hard and a week of solitary confinement, they agreed to
let me go.
Sajjadi: How is the situation of the MKO, particularly after Iraq war
and the presence of coalition forces in Iraq?
Abbaslou: The presence of coalition forces in Iraq was a window and I
really thank them. Nearly 600 members left the organization and joined the
US-run camp; some others escape the MKO's camp and went directly to Europe
and I saw some of them here in Europe; others joined the US camp. But the
violation of human rights continues despite the presence of coalition
forces. I myself was beaten by MKO officials and people like Mashrouf
Dianati and Behrooz Mohammed Khojini. That was ordered by Vajiheh Karbalayee
and Mahnaz Shahnazi. After the coalition forces took control of Iraq, they
beat my friends Faramarz and broke the teeth of Ali Dehghani. They thrashed
a man called Atta in the middle of the camp and in front of other members.
Another member, Mahmoud Moshtaghi was forced to set himself on fire because
he was under pressure to divorce his wife; this still continues despite the
presence of coalition forces in Iraq. Coalition forces are outside Camp
Ashraf and have no control over its internal affairs. The problems of this
cult continue and therefore human rights and freedoms are violated.
Sajjadi: How many are there now in the camp?
Abbaslou: There must be nearly two thousand members or so in the camp
of Mojahedin. When I was in US camp, there remained 250 out of 600 who had
defected; others had gone to Iran or had to go to Iran.
Sajjadi: What do they do?
Abbaslou: Nothing. The situation is disappointing. The morale is low.
They have to work for the MKO with no rewards. They have no hope for the
future but I want to tell them that we are pursuing their case here. We try
to press human rights groups to find a way for our friends there. The
situation is far better for those in the US-run camp. They are free, they
are in touch with their families and hereby I say to them that "don't worry
and keep your morale."
Sajjadi: You said the organization forced them to work without
Abbaslou: According to the rules of the cult, the time of these
members has been pre-planned for 24 hours of the day. From the time they
wake up in the morning they have to work in the farm, building, road making,
kitchen, sanitary duties and…MKO officials try to make them tired so that
they don’t think of other things.
Sajjadi: Mr. Abbaslou said that 100 members would reluctantly remain
in Camp Ashraf if a window is opened to the outside world. After Mr.
Abbaslou's press conference in Paris, the MKO released a statement claiming
that Abbaslou has never been in the MKO and after 5 months of joining the
MKO he had been deported to US-run camp in 2002. The US State Department
lists the MKO as a foreign terrorist organization.
A Personal View from Evin
Ebrahim in Iran, 2005
Any account of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of
Iran (PMOI) will reveal a black record of destroying family relationships
and misappropriating various people’s lives and belongings. All of the
organisation's terrorist actions inside Iran after they fled the country
have been planned, facilitated and directed from inside Iraq with the
intelligence, training, weapons and equipment provided by Saddam Hussein.
The people of Iran will not disregard this under any circumstances. In their
eyes, not only is the PMOI not a freedom fighting organisation, it is a
betrayer which stood alongside Iran's enemy throughout the war and through
the Iranian people’s hardship.
In his book, A Shared Pain, Antoine Gessler
refers to the people who have suffered from the misdeeds of the organisation
led by Rajavi:
“. . . their lives should have continued differently.
All were promised an uneventful existence. That is, until the day their
destiny was turned upside down because somebody stole their body or their
soul, sometimes both. Their dreams ruined; their flesh ravaged; they will
not be able to forget.”
From mental prison to physical
I believe that
imprisonment degrades any person’s human dignity. Particularly a person who,
whether right or wrong, has sacrificed everything for his goals and has not
sought anything for himself; and who from the beginning until now had no
other motivation in his life but to fulfil his duty toward God and his
I also believe
that the relationship between a prisoner and his prison warden, no matter
how good and respectful it might be, consists of barriers which, one way or
another, divide them from one another. Surely you could not establish a warm
and friendly relationship with a person who has denied you your freedom and
has demeaned your beliefs.
The quest for
liberty and an independent identity is in the nature of every human being.
Throughout history, no other demand or requirement of human society has been
more paramount than the mutual demands to live in freedom and enjoy self
determination. A person can define themselves as human to the extent that
they have the right and the power to choose freely, and to the extent that
their independent identity from which to make their own decisions is fully
A prison is a
prison, even though it might look like a palace. And above all else, it
damages your human feelings. But, for a person who has spent over two
decades of his life as a full-time member of the People’s Mojahedin
Organisation, and has passed through the different stages of the Internal
Ideological Revolution and never possessed anything of his own, a physical
prison has no hardship compared to the mental prison which has no bars and
some extent it has its own advantages.
In a physical
prison, a person can move only within the small boundary designated to him,
is only allowed to do specific things at predetermined times and is, of
course, deprived of many facilities.
In the mental
prison, by using sophisticated, complex and sometimes abnormal methods and
mechanisms, the person is inculcated into a specific way of thinking. He is
eventually trained to control his own mind within a narrowly defined
framework and not to let his thoughts escape from it. In such prison there
is always the possibility that the smallest hole to the outside, free world
could lead to the flight of the mind. Then the prisoner would no longer be
in the hands of the prison warden. Therefore he must continuously be
Mojahedin, this is done in the daily Current Operational Sessions (a daily
session of self-criticism practiced inside the organisation for all its
members at different ranks) so that both the outlets and the inlets of the
mind are blocked up and closed. The Internal Ideological Revolution, which
places the leader in the position of absolute right, has this functional
effect that it first establishes mental boundaries in one’s mind and then
makes the person perform actions which would, according to a sound mind,
look totally lunatic. The acts of self-immolation in June 2003 in Europe are
eminent examples of this behaviour. Alain Chevalérias in his book Burned
Alive refers to these horrendous acts. Wouldn't it be interesting to
know how the victims are persuaded to perform these sorts of actions
In such a
system, people cannot be permitted anything like a normal life and are not
even free to associate freely with their surroundings, otherwise their
mental insulation would be opened up. One should under no circumstances be
exposed to the realities of the outside world, nor be permitted to think
Function of the mental prison:
In the year
1985 in Paris, the cornerstone of the Mojahedin's so-called Internal
Ideological Revolution was laid down. A pseudo revolution which above all,
was the basis for extending the strict limitations and restrictions already
imposed upon the organisation's cadres, leading eventually to their complete
isolation from the outside world. Gradually, using complex methods, members
became more bound within their own mental margins so that they were deprived
of the ability to make even the simplest decisions.
I ask, was
there any threat from their side? Why was it necessary to isolate the
members from the outside world and practically imprison them in order to
keep them within the framework of the struggle? What sort of threat could
have been expected from or against people who had joined the organisation by
leaving everything behind and who had accepted every kind of hardship over
the years? The cadres now had to learn to walk not on their own feet but on
those of the leader and were taught to consider their souls and minds as
belonging to him and empty their brains from any thoughts except those
dictated by the leader and bear love only for him in their hearts. Everyone
who submitted to this process reached the understanding that whatever exists
outside the organisation is surely Satanic and corrupt and that reality is
only within one man’s grasp; that he is the only one who tells the truth,
and that we, collectively, are the most fortunate generation to understand
his potential and then struggle under his guidance.
frightened of the outside world and they were openly warned that if just for
one moment they leave the bounds of the Internal Ideological Revolution and
the daily Current Operational sessions they would be cursed. In the theory
of the Internal Ideological Revolution, the value of any member is directly
related to the extent of their devotion to the leadership and their
submission to him, heart and mind.
through time, a system was established in which values specific to itself
evolved. So that, the normal contact of an ordinary member with his close
relatives or friends who happened to be travelling to Iran was considered a
betrayal and an unforgivable sin. Yet, dealing with Tahir Habush, the chief
of Saddam’s Intelligence and Security Agency, and the leader himself
receiving boxes of money, along with assassination orders to be carried out
inside Iran, was measured as humble service toward Iran, Islam and humanity.
The topics of the Internal Ideological Revolution one after another isolated
any slit towards the outside world and strengthened all the mental fences.
Members were bound in such a closed mental prison that they would never
allow themselves to even think about anything but what the organisation
organisation announced that the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic
Republic of Iran had abducted Jamil Bassam and Ebrahim Khodabandeh from
Syria, transferred them to Iran, and jailed them in Evin prison, they did
not mention who had already stolen their minds and souls over the years, had
physically and mentally imprisoned them, had denied them their human
identity and turned them into powerless objects who had no will to make any
What is past is prologue:
Once upon a
time, in the year 1965 under the deposed Shah’s regime, some revolutionary
Moslem youths decided to struggle against his dictatorship. They identified
armed struggle as the means to topple the regime and free the oppressed
people of Iran. To do this they needed to establish a covert organisation
which, in order to be safe against the Shah’s security system, would be
based on minimising the information given to its members. Since this
organisation was vulnerable to detection by SAVAK, people had to leave their
homes and families and live communally in safe houses and act without
question on the organisation’s commands with an iron discipline. They had to
attend self-criticising sessions in order to rid themselves of
non-revolutionary and liberalistic manners, so that they would be better
prepared to accept the leaders’ orders. And this is how the PMOI was formed.
The members and the cadres became so isolated from their surroundings and
they practiced so hard to dissolve into the organisation that in time the
Central Committee could, by a simple decree, change the ideology and even
the religious beliefs which had once been the motivation for joining the
struggle, and face no objections. Of course those few people who had not
rooted out their liberalistic manners and had not become obedient enough,
had to be eliminated or be given up to SAVAK. This was a unique phenomenon
in the contemporary history of Iran in any group, organisation or party. Ms
Tahira Baqirzadé, Mr Ahmid Ahmid and Mr Mohsen Nezhad Husseinian, prominent
members of the organisation in those days, have dealt with this issue in
their memoirs which I had the chance to read inside prison. I believe a
considerable number of today’s members of the organisation have never heard
of the above mentioned people let alone read their books.
Ebrahim visiting with his mother in Iran
Development of mental prison:
process - being isolated from society and normal social life - continued
more rapidly after the 1979 revolution and then outside Iran. In the new
phase of the organisation’s history, under the phenomenon of the Internal
Ideological Revolution, not only had people to leave their homes and
families but they also had to consider their parents, spouses and even
children as enemies; obstacles on the path to reach understanding of the
noble position of the leadership. Members, even in the west, had to avoid
the internet or satellite television and be fed information by the
organisation only. Iraqi territory provided a perfect opportunity to
establish a huge safe-house with no opening to the free world so that
members could have their brainwashing performed step by step without any
interference. Members in the west would also spend some time there to
acquaint themselves with the internal atmosphere of the organisation and
become pure and obedient elements.
People’s Mojahedin’s school of teaching, religion, home country, emotion and
everything else are all concentrated in one man only. 'Islamic' means what
he has said, 'popular and nationalistic' mean what he has expressed, and
'emotions' should be exclusively directed towards him. The cornerstone of
this teaching is of course based on a big lie. The sort of lie which is so
enormous that for some people it leaves no doubt that it is the whole truth
and nothing but the truth! All ideologies based on monopoles; such as
Fascism, Zionism or Communism, which stand on the guidance of a moral leader
are based on the belief that “we are better than all”. A person who enters
the People’s Mojahedin Organisation must accept that the organisation and
its leader stand above the whole universe and are the peak of evolution.
They should truly believe that in the present disastrous and dreadful world,
the organisation and its leader are the only hope left for the salvation of
mankind and the only guide for the oppressed people of the world toward
blessing. If you believe this you would believe anything. Surely this is not
the first time that someone has tried to impose his authority upon people
under the cover of inviolability and it will probably not be the last time.
understanding the mechanisms behind enforcing such an unreal belief system
is difficult even for those who have had personal experience of
it. It is achieved by the intensive imposition of
logic around justifications and by continuous slow abrasion of people's
trust, nationalistic and religious feelings. And finally one reaches a state
of fake judgement that whatever he does is absolutely right because the
leader ordains it.
Who is the victim?
popular, controversial mayor, Ken Livingston, suggested that in the ceremony
held for the families of the victims of the London Underground blasts, the
families of the terrorists should also participate in the same way as the
other families of victims of sabotage and violence. In thinking anew about
the present era and examining the subject of terrorism with appropriate
humanity, it is possible to realise that the terrorists themselves are in
some ways also victims who have been caught up in a mental trap and lost
Mehrnaz Foroughi Shad, a high-school girl, was on her way home in the
teachers' residential district. Suddenly there was an explosion…a shell
launched by the Mojahedin wounded her and she lost the use of her right eye.
years later, Arash Sametipur, a member of the People’s Mojahedin
Organisation who had been sent from inside Iraq was arrested during an
operation. He used his hand grenade to eliminate himself so that he would
not be captured alive as he was instructed by the Organisation. The
explosion took off his right arm.
If we look at
the issue objectively, putting aside bias or dogmatism, we can conclude that
these were both, to the same extent, victims of an ideology that uses
terrorism as a tool to reach its political goals and does not count the
human cost. We must bear in mind that some of the most honest,
self-sacrificing and vulnerable youth of society have been brainwashed and
then misused for these kinds of aims.
when the Mojahedin's so-called armed struggle against the Islamic Republic
of Iran began, the story of the victims of terror and violence is still
continuing. Some were assassinated directly or lost their lives in
explosions, leaving many families bereaved. Some victims were permanently
disabled or disfigured by the acts of terror.
On the other
side, some were either executed or killed in clashes with security forces,
some became refugees in western countries or holed-out in the Mojahedin's
bases in the deserts of Iraq, leaving their waiting families in unfathomable
sorrow. The black account continues, and Rajavi's organisation still insists
on using terror and violence to pave the way for its other policies.
Victim or criminal!
constitution provides that members of Saddam’s Ba’ath Party, regardless of
their rank, who were not directly involved in killing, would not be
prosecuted. In the case of the Mojahedin, should the members, who are
actually themselves victims of the real mastermind behind these actions, be
put on trial and be charged? Wasn’t it enough that on one hand they lost
their whole youth and on the other hand their families suffered their
absence for years. Should we now add to their misfortune. Can we correct the
cause by punishing the effect?
I am writing
not for myself, but on behalf of all those who are still in the mental or
even physical prison of Rajavi’s organisation. I know full well that they
have not given me the authority to be their advocate. But, I believe that so
long as one has not stepped out of the organisation and has not made contact
with the outside world and has not dared to think independently, they would
hardly be able to free themselves from the obstacles and limitations of the
organisation and think differently from what they have been positioned for.
I believe that these people certainly are themselves victims, and before
being put in jail to face trial and punishment, they should be helped and
saved. I strongly believe and insist that a member of the People’s Mojahedin
organisation in any rank, even if they have directly committed murder,
before being a criminal is a victim.
Experience of salvation:
I wish I was
not in Evin prison awaiting my own trial so that I could write more openly
and show the way to my previous colleagues in a more appropriate manner.
Perhaps it is best if I write something of my own recent experience to start
2002, my mother came to England to visit my brother who had left the
Mojahedin some years before and had regained a normal life. I learned about
this visit through my daughter and yearned to see my mother while she was
there. Our visit happened after 23 years of separation. Perhaps it is hard
to believe that my mother was the first Iranian person whom I had met with
outside the framework of the PMOI since I joined the organisation. Whatever
she told me about Iran and what was going on there, I did not believe. I
even openly accused her of working for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence
and that her mission was to persuade my brother to go to Iran and work with
them. I admit that although I rejected my mother at that time, the sort of
crack of which the organisation has always been afraid, was opened in the
margins of my mind creating the grounds for further developments.
In April 2003,
Jamil Bassam and I went to Syria to accomplish a mission for the
organisation which resulted to our detention there. In the two months that
we spent in prison in Syria, during which we were away from the internal
atmosphere of the organisation and our supervisors and the daily Current
Operations sessions, a channel between my mind and the outside world was
gradually opened. The organisation always foretold that 'if we were left
alone for a moment without the guidance of our supervisor within the
establishment we would be totally lost'. So, for me, the first doubts
towards the organisation’s acts and policies and what they had inspired in
me, occurred in my mind.
In June 2003,
we were transferred from Syria to Iran and directly to Evin prison. There I
suddenly faced some realities which, to be honest, I first tried to deny,
since they were absolutely contrary to my indoctrinated beliefs.
Ebrahim with his late father, his daughter and his grandchildren in 2004
remember when I first visited my late father after 26 years. He said that he
would not have recognised me if he had passed me in the street.
Increasingly, I began to feel that there are other elements apart from the
leadership, such as parents and nation and country, that I could love. My
mother said that she would have preferred me to be in Evin prison rather
than be inside the organisation in Iraq. Perhaps this may look odd to
someone who does not have a good understanding of these concepts, but for
those families who have suffered for over two decades without even knowing
the whereabouts of their beloved ones, this makes sense completely. My late
father also told me that he could close his eyes to everything about the
PMOI but he would never disregard the mere fact that they went to Iraq and
cooperated with Saddam in the war against Iran. And of course I was amazed
how I - thanks to the Internal Ideological Revolution and the acceptance of
the absolute authority of the Leadership - could accept such an obvious
betrayal and consider it as in the best interests of the people of Iran.
The image that
the organisation had painted for us of the situation inside Iran - by means
of the massive fake propaganda in the west - was entirely opposite to what I
experienced for myself. To describe a condition in which the structure of
one’s mind falls apart bit by bit is rather difficult. Sometimes inside the
prison I used to reach the point that I could not find a single good reason
to carry on breathing. Many actually break down at this stage and lose the
ability to find their real identity again. They would rather stay in prison
for the rest of their lives and not step out to the open world again. I must
truly confess that I had some bitter experiences in this regard until I was
able to achieve some sort of stability.
I read and
heard and observed a lot about the PMOI’s transgressions. Surely a thick
book could have been written about the misdeeds of the organisation, quoting
thousands of witnesses. But as far as I am concerned, what troubles me
gravely is the very fact that the Organisation so misused the honesty and
devotion and particularly the nationalistic and religious feelings of its
members and betrayed their hopes and their trust.
What must be done?
In short, to
save the mentally imprisoned colleagues is the duty and obligation of every
person who has been saved today. The task is of course critical, sensitive
and somehow dangerous. It should be considered that the victim would first
line up on the opposite side. As soon as you step in this field you face an
enormous amount of accusations and claims and false labels. If you lay your
finger on the sensitive part – if you try to somehow break through the
mental isolation of the members and try to familiarise them with the outside
world - you will immediately be targeted with such ferocious accusations
that it is unbearable for most people, unless they have high motives and are
absolutely determined to try to help their friends and save them from their
I say to all
my old colleagues inside the organisation that if we are opposed to
dictatorship then we should start from home. It is not possible to abolish
totalitarianism by imposing it upon our own members. To establish a
democratic system and grant it to the people, you cannot first deny it to
them; and of course you could never topple one dictatorship and then restore
democracy with the aid of a much harsher one.
Evin prison, Tehran, March 2006
The Mojahedin's point of
view on Women
Omid Pouya, Mojahedin.ws website, 12 March 2006
Pic: Hoary MKO combatants warm their hands by the light of the latest female
To mark the anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8th,
the Mojahedin’s Television channel broadcast a series of programs about
'women'. The programs focused exclusively on issues pertaining to female MKO
insiders, in particular those active in Camp Ashraf, with emphasis on their
military potentialities. Earlier, over the course of many meetings and
political gatherings in the MKO, the cadres talked enthusiastically about
women’s role in various social and political movements – Iran's historical
Constitutional Movement, for example – and portrayed the women in those
movements as 'armed combatants'. In a Direct Contact TV program aired on
March 5, 2005, Mohammad Reza Ruhani, a member of the NCRI, gave a detailed
description of the role of a female militia in the Constitutional Movement.
Regardless of the historical accuracy of this claim – for this is the first
time Mojahedin have ever made reference to this – discussing the historical
involvement of women in armed struggle indicates an organized, pre-planned
objective. It would appear that the glaring paradox which exists between the
Mojahedin’s fixed ideological tenets on the one hand (armed struggle serving
an autocratic leader), and its overnight, tactical transmutation on the
other hand (into a pseudo-peaceful, pseudo-democratic group), has led the
Mojahedin to the verge of being engulfed by the earthshaking challenges
presented by trying to answer to and satisfy western partners and growing
opposition from within its own forces.
In its latest engagement with the west, the Mojahedin has tried to
'prove' its adopted pretence that it is moving on the same parallel line of
feminist theory as the west, by stressing bourgeoisie teaching in respect to
the freedom of women. But in practice, this is in absolute discrepancy with
what is actually practiced in Camp Ashraf, and the leaders have to fabricate
justifications and excuses in order to convince the female insiders to
continue with their suffering there. Frankly speaking, the Mojahedin has
never underlined the importance of dealing with the issue of women as
individuals. A passing look at the group’s media blitz on women justifies
its controversial ideological view in respect to women, which is in no way
in accordance with the internationally accepted principles that respects the
rights of women. International Women’s Day celebrates the need for a
worldwide movement to accomplish what women were deprived of in the past, to
end hegemonic control and domination, inequality, violence, humiliation,
exploitation and much more.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes no differentiation
between male and female individuals. In its articles it uses the term
“everyone” without distinction of sex. Violation of either sex’s rights by
anyone is condemned by the Universal Declaration. The Mojahedin Khalq has
proved to be a serious violator of these rights in many forms, but in
particular those of women. The Internal Ideological Revolution can be
referred to as one of the most delinquent acts by the Mojahedin to exploit
women in order to justify the failure of its strategy of armed struggle. The
Mojahedin's Ideological Revolution abolished the pivotal role of women as
the pillars of familial stability. In place of the family, since women
comprise about half of the total insiders, the leader introduced a fake
program to 'unloose the yoke of historical gender discrimination'. With this
excuse, the leader imposed a gynaecocracy (gynocracy) on the organisation,
with the actual objective of isolating and monopolizing its women members
both ideologically and politically.
Genuine feminist movements have been formed to defend the axiomatic
rights of women because they have been the victims of patriarchal societies
which have violated their most evident social, political, and economic
rights. Indeed, women have been, historically, largely regarded as men’s
possessions and as objects absolutely deprived of thought and freedom to
make decisions. Yet, surprisingly, this is exactly what has been duplicated
in Camp Ashraf, albeit utilizing a modernized format. However, let us not
repeat what has been stated recurrently. Let us identify a number of the
violations against women in the Mojahedin organization to see how insincere
the leader is in his presumptuous claims. (It must be remembered that the
leader of the Mojahedin, Massoud Rajavi, is male, and that his wife, Maryam
Rajavi, who fronts the organisation in the west, is his second-in-command.)
For women in the Mojahedin:
As victims of a past patriarchal
domination their new frame of reference is no longer a social construct,
instead they are now framed
The leader makes all the
decisions and women are deprived of the right to think and decide freely for
In contrast to patriarchal
systems, Rajavi dominates and possesses not a single but all women insiders.
They are separated from their
They are abused to attract and
manipulate male members.
They are ordained to divorce and
Their matriarchal role is
heavily under the bond of the cult interests.
They are called gorgons, hags
and many other names as a punishment.
The couple’s natural relation is
referred to as intercourse of brutes.
They are accused of immoral acts
as the means of subjugation.
While they are forced to dance
and chant slogans in gatherings in western countries to achieve
organizational objectives, those in Camp Ashraf are punished by standing
long hours in the sun while facing a wall because they have merely walked
before the eyes of the male brutes (as Rajavi calls men).
They are believed to be the same
as a coin with two faces; one face is Camp Ashraf with all its limitations
and ideological pressures and the other face is the completely different
Those residing in Camp Ashraf
are represented as the symbols of a tough revolutionary woman who marches to
strengthen the strategy of armed struggle; those active in the west wear
fashionable dress and arrange concerts to advance the Mojahedin's 'third
option' for regime change in Iran.
So many contradictions are the outcome of regarding women as
instruments to accomplish the leader's objectives. Such a view is the
residue of the same reactionary, historical view that regards women as
instrumental, sexual creatures devoid of any individualistic entity.
That is evident in Mojahedin cult because;
The most ordinary organizational
affairs are assessed according to a sexual point of view,
The leadership has a sceptical
attitude towards any male and female relations,
Women are forced to have
Women are banned from marrying
freely and forming a family,
Affection and love are denounced
as big sins,
Under the banner of struggle for
the freedom of women, they are exploited in a modern format.
What differentiates between female liberation movements and
imperious, modern oppression against women is the objective content of the
movement rather than the instrumental abuse. The Mojahedin’s cult-like
teachings clearly depict the group’s real outlook on women; they remain a
historical problem making an obstacle in the path of an assumed evolution.
The Mojahedin Candidate
– Redefining 'Clarity'
By Mitra Yousefi
November 2004. Yet again we see the notorious terrorist group Mojahedin-e
Khalq (MKO or MEK) flaunting themselves in the USA's capital city. Yes, as
themselves! The USA's sworn ideological enemy whose history is littered with
slogans and mantras against the USA, whose stance on the American embassy
occupation in Tehran was of the most extreme and uncompromising. Infamous
for being in cahoots with Saddam Hussein’s genocides; recipient of vouchers
in the Oil-for-Food scandal; charged with imprisoning and torturing its own
members, abusing its members' children; enslaving contemporary slaves;
exploiting and manipulating women. The MKO's multitudinous crimes still
they could hardly believe it themselves; the terrorist Mojahedin permitted
to hold a rally even after 9/11 and the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime
and exposure of just a few of its heinous crimes. Certainly we – who have
fled the Mojahedin's Hell - would not have expected it.
with what bitterly amusing irony we discovered that the Mojahedin rally, in
the heartland of the USA's democratic institutions, coincided with the
release of Denzel Washington's movie The Manchurian Candidate; a modern
version of the Korean War story of brain-washing and thought reform.
Far-fetched as it may appear to cinemagoers, for us this story is not a
fiction. This is how real lives are lived inside the Mojahedin.
marvellous coincidence between fantasy and reality, the film provided the
perfect backdrop from which to examine and critique the Mojahedin's own
real-life version 'The Mojahedin Candidate', with the appearance of the
young brainwashed queen of the Mojahedin’s carnival, Zolal Habibi.
player in the real-life fiction 'The Mojahedin Candidate' in this instance
was female. In typically cynical style the Mojahedin manipulates the image
of women to hide its ugly fundamentalism. But the mind's eye can easily
detect this lie. I am a woman, and it was as a woman inside the Mojahedin
that I received the most contemptuous, degrading treatment I have
experienced in all my life.
the rally in November 2004, the Washington Post said, "…Zolal
Habibi thought of her father. She said Mohammad Hossein Habibi, a writer
and human rights activist, was killed in 1988 in Iran for speaking
out against the Iranian government." [my emphasis, ed.]
Zolal Habibi reading from the Mojahedin script
queen of the carnival. Her name in Persian means 'clarity'. Unlike Denzel
Washington's character, the lead actor in The Mojahedin Candidate with the
name meaning clarity, does not show any awareness of having been
brainwashed. Yet the lines she has been given for her part clearly defile
her own father's memory and whitewash his murderers' hands.
It was in
1987 when I first met a sweet little girl in a suburban Parisian villa
belonging to the Mojahedin. Along with her good hearted father, her kindly
mother and a tiny baby brother, they had just arrived from the USA. They
were exhausted, having travelling through the long distance of places and
hours. The little girl, named Zolal, was still vivacious. That night and
over subsequent days, I discovered the beautiful and affectionate clarity in
her eyes and in her smile. She looked a lot like her father and tremendous
love was shown in her looks and gestures toward him. I remember wondering if
her father, who seemed a humble, deeply poetic man, really knew the
Mojahedin that well. Habibi had a big heart, brimming with wishes and hopes
for bringing freedom and democracy, knowledge and education to his people.
He always behaved with kindness and respect.
could not continue working with the Mojahedin. He was too honest to believe
in what they really were. That was the same for all of us; not knowing the
Mojahedin well in the beginning, especially with its talent for hypocrisy,
we only touched its ugliness with our deeper involvement; such a damning
ugliness that it inspired in us the huge courage needed to escape its
clutches. The Mojahedin leader, Massoud Rajavi, and his wife, Maryam, always
told us they wanted to burn our bridges behind us. Only when the bridges
were already burnt did they allow us to discover that returning back to our
lives would entail traversing strange mountains and valleys of immense
unfortunate. He made his decision to return with his family to his life in
the USA when it was too late. Shortly after I met the Habibi family, the
Mojahedin made its controversial Forough-e Javidan (Eternal Light) attack on
Iran. What the intellectual critics called “committing suicide all
Javidan was a ruthless, random, opportunist act. It jeopardized the lives of
each and every civilian supporter of the organisation, who were all,
including Mr. Habibi, summoned to Iraq to submit to Rajavi's power crazed
ambition. Habibi left Paris with some other supporters and, without the
slightest training, was sent to 'fight' with Iran's Revolutionary Guard
hardened by eight years of war with Iraq. He died with his pen and notebook,
ready to write a new chapter in the Mojahedin’s odyssey!
himself knew how remote the chance of victory was. He stayed in Iraq with
his wife in safety, waiting until the victorious Mojahedin fighters could
carry them to Tehran.
This is the
real story of how Zolal lost her beloved father. He died at the behest of
Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, a poet massacred on their battlefield, for their
soon after, Massoud Rajavi gave Zolal's widowed mother to another man. (At
that time marriage was still compulsory in the sect, though the marriages
were not legally registered so they could be just as easily abolished
whenever the leader decided.)
getting to know her step-father, Zolal was sent away from her mother, along
with her brother and all the Mojahedin’s children, from newborns to 12 years
old. The decision was made during the bombardment of Iraq during the first
Gulf war in 1991. The allied attack on Iraq did not affect the Mojahedin,
and nor did the subsequent sanctions. The Mojahedin never shared in the
misery inflicted on the Iraqi people. Rajavi had secured a huge sum from the
fortune made accessible to Saddam Hussein by his allies. Massoud Rajavi just
wanted to get rid of the members' children as the first step in tearing
apart the families altogether. To accomplish this he faked a crisis by
moving the children from the safety of the bomb shelters inside the
Mojahedin's camps, into exposed buildings in the heart of Baghdad, the main
target of the allied bombardment. He frightened the parents into agreeing to
Exceptionally, along with a very few others, Habibi’s children had some
devoted aunts in the USA. Perhaps they were able to ease their bitter grief
for their poor brother by taking care of his children. In the meantime,
Zolal’s mother was made to leave her new husband in a most brutal way; the
leader had ordered everyone in the Mojahedin, by confronting one another
other with hideous insults, to undertake mass, compulsory divorce.
turned for Zolal as for everyone, and she became a teenager. Obeying the
organization’s order to return to its camp in the Iraqi desert, she was
surely motivated by a dream of being reunited with her mother again. Alas,
she was wrong in the extreme. Separated from her mother, both remain as
slaves of the Mojahedin.
who, like Zolal, yielded to the Mojahedin's highly sophisticated pressure
for them to return, have shown various reactions to the manipulations of the
Mojahedin sect. Some committed suicide, like Alan Mohammadi. Some, with
great courage, like Yasser Ezzati, fled the demonic Rajavi’s Hell. Some,
like Zolal, succumbed to the brainwashing machine.
about her own father’s memory, Zolal is playing her scripted part in a
real-life fiction: The Mojahedin Candidate. Recently the Mojahedin has used
Zolal more and more to enforce its fictional propaganda version of what is
happening in Iran – giving a whole new perspective to the beautiful name her
parents chose for her, Zolal, meaning clarity.