analysis and background on the people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran
CHAPTER 18/By Bomb Blasts Seeing the failure of any attempt to invade Iran militarily and to “free” a nation they hoped would welcome them as liberators, Massoud Rajavi’s People’s Mojahedin had to rethink their strategy. They were forced to replace their military offensives with terrorist attacks carried out by small commando groups. The PMOI returned to its origins, terrorism placed at the revolution’s service. Careful to polish their image on the international level, the People’s Mojahedin denied any recourse to these extraordinarily cowardly methods: “The position of the Iranian resistance on blind terrorism and blind violence has always been clear. It strongly condemns activities that endanger innocent people. Contrary to the reports and allegations, the Mojahedin never took part in activities, in Iran or elsewhere, that threatened the lives of innocent civilians “. (163) It was not very easy to defend themselves, since the facts so abundantly show another reality. This is much more cruel and happens to be right in line with classic subversive movements. As Mao recalled: “The revolution is not a dinner party: it is not produced like a literary work, a drawing or embroidery. It cannot be carried through successfully with so much elegance, tranquility and delicacy, or with so much sweetness, amiability, courtesy, poise and soulfulness. The revolution is an uprising: a violent act by which one class overthrows another”. (164) Moreover, solid testimony abounds. Let us merely recall this Agence France Presse dispatch: “With 10,000 to 15,000 fighters the National Liberation Army of Iran has several bases in Iraq. It has claimed responsibility for several operations inside Iran. The most spectacular were carried out against eight oil pipelines and the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, the late Guide of the Revolution, near Teheran. Several Guardians of the Revolution were wounded”. (165) implicated in the hostage taking at the American Embassy and in the assassination of six American citizens, Massoud Rajavi’s supporters have always had a weakness for using explosives. “Bombs are the Mojahedin’s weapon of choice. They have used them frequently against American targets. On the occasion of President Nixon’s visit to Iran in 1972, for example, the PMOI set off bombs at more than 12 locations throughout Teheran”. (166) In their press, they take credit for their actions: “The explosion of the American military advisor’s car. The explosion in the centre of Anierican military espionage activities. The explosion at the gates of Reza Khan ‘s tomb where Nixon was planning a wreath laying ceremony. The explosion at the British Embassy. Several explosions along the way that were so many slaps to Nixon. Each of these operations had its own characteristics which celebrate anti-dictatorial combat and the anti-imperialist approach of our organisation’s struggle “. (167) The French Government does not act by chance. It knows exactly what it is dealing with concerning the real nature of the PMOI: “The leaders of the People’s Mojahedin are accused of having planned, at the time of the end of the Iraq War, of creating their ‘World HQ’, an ‘operational centre’ with terrorist aims... In France the Iranian opposition movement has already been threatened by the authorities, notably in 1986, then during a police operation in October 1999. Yet, its members have never been prosecuted for ‘belonging to an association of criminals in relation to a terrorist enterprise...’ (168) A Few Examples Dead and wounded litter the field during the recent past. The PMOI, which has no problems with contradicting itself, refutes the charge of using terrorism, yet regularly claims responsibility for its actions on the ground. It involves an organisation in permanent panic of being forgotten, a threat that grows day by day, and must, therefore, motivate its militants who have never witnessed the victory announced thousands of times in the past. On the ground, it is innocent civilians who pay the price of this bloody madness as we can see from some dispatches from the Western press: “A new explosion took place in the night of Tuesday-Wednesday in Northern Teheran. The blast caused material damage to a public building, Iranian Radio announced. The explosion took place in the administrative offices of the Pasdaran, in the capital’s Northern residential neighbourhood. The radio gave no other details”. “A violent explosion took place Tuesday afternoon in the offices of the Revolutionary Court in Northern Teheran. Two people lost their lives and two others were wounded, according to State television. The count seems to be five dead and several dozen wounded, announced several newspapers on Wednesday. The blast caused major damage to the entry hail of the Court. According to pictures shown on television, the room is completely destroyed. . .The People’s Mojahedin have claimed responsibility for this action”. (169) “The Number 2 of the Iranian Armed Forces, General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, was assassinated Saturday morning, announced the official press agency, IRNA. According to IRNA, General Shirazi, one of the highest ranking Army commanders in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, was killed by ‘terrorists’, a term usually applied to describe the opposition Peopie’s Mojahedin movement, based in Iraq. The attack took place at the moment when the victim was going to work, stated the Iranian agency, which provided no additional details on the circumstances of this crime. The Associated Press Bureau in Cairo received a telephone call from a People’s Mojahedin spokesperson in Paris claiming responsibility for this action. The spokesman, Shahin Gobadi, read a statement emphasising that General Shirazi was a ‘war criminal’. It was claimed that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Iranian opposition members. The spokesman did not for now add any details on the way in which the Iranian official was killed, indicating only that he was escorted by heavily armed body guards”. (170) “Mortar attacks, claimed by the People’s Mojahedin, left One dead and four wounded Saturday night in Teheran. This took place in the neighbourhood of the Iranian President’s residence, the Parliament and other official buildings. According to Iranian television, a man 29 years of age, an employee in a publishing company situated across from the offices of the Judicial Services, was killed, while four others suffered wounds. The windows of the publishing house were broken and the walls damaged. Two cars were destroyed. The Office for the Coordination of Friday Prayers is the only official building to have been damaged: windows blown out, mortar shrapnel in its walls. The remains of the mortar shells were visible at the site, at the corner of Vali-Asr and lmam-Khomeini avenues For the television, the explosions are the work of ‘hypocrites’, or, in other words, the People’s Mojahedin, who oppose the Teheran regime and have camps in Iraq not far from the Iranian border. In a press release faxed to the Associated Press in Cairo, the Mojahedin claimed responsibility for these attacks which, they stated, targeted the residence and office of the Guide of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei”. (171) ‘Several mortar shells exploded inside a residential complex in Northern Teheran, close to a military installation on Monday. According to witnesses, there were two wounded. More than 10 mortar shells hit the Noor complex which has 360 apartments, according to them. You could see blood on the sidewalk. Ambulances and fire engines were sent to the scene. Teheran Radio also reported these explosions, pointing out that they were from mortar fire. The Government has made no comment. The opposition party, the People’s Mojahedin (Khalq) claimed responsibility, claiming that the shelling hit the barracks of the Guardians of the Revolution (Pasdaran), the elite military force which operated separately from the Iranian Army. In a release received by the Associated Press in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the People’s Mojahedin stated that the target was the Pasdaran’s Commander, General Rahim Safavi. According to witnesses, however, the shells fell about 100 meters short. Journalists saw eight cars destroyed in the complex. One person lost a leg, and a woman who was in a car, was slightly wounded, declared a resident of the Noor complex under cover of anonymity. A little earlier, IRNA announced a series of explosions in Northern Teheran without any additional details. A security official, who requested anonymity, confirmed that it was a mortar attack from a nearby park. The People’s Mojahedin claimed in December that mortar fire had killed two and left eight wounded, all civilians, in Ahvaz, Western Iran”. (172) “The People’s Mojahedin, the armed opposition based in Baghdad, carried out mortar attacks on Friday and Saturday against three cities in Western Iran: Qasr-e-Shirin, Delohran and Shalamsheh. No one was hurt, reported the Teheran Times: ‘The Mojahedin fired 18 mortar shells at Qasr-e-Shirin in the night of Friday to Saturday, wrote the English language newspaper, which is close to conservative circles. They cite ‘an informed source’. Then, Saturday morning, the ‘terrorist group’ fired a mortar at Delhoran... Saturday, the Mojahedin announced an ‘important skirmish’ in which they fought the 23’ Iranian Airborne Division on the IraqIran border. They stated that three of their soldiers were killed during this operation. Fighting has increased for a year between the Mojahedin and the Iranian armed forces. Moreover, the Mojahedin are accused of being the source of mortar attacks against Iranian institutions in Teheran itself. Iran made the end of the Mojahedin’s operations one of the conditions for the normalisation of Iran-Iraq relations, who were at war between 1980 and 1988”. (173) “Five mortar shells fell early Monday morning on a barracks in East Teheran. No one was hurt. The People’s Mojahedin, the main armed formation of the Iranian opposition Army, claimed responsibility for this action in a press release. The five shells fell on the lawn of the Hechmatieh Barracks, in the popular neighbourhood of the same name. These are the barracks where numerous Iraqi soldiers were held prisoner in the past. This is the eighth mortar attack since the beginning of the year, each targeting official military or political buildings. Each of the attacks, many of which left victims in their wake, has so far been attributed to the People’s Mojahedin, the armed opposition based in Iraq. They have claimed them. Mojahedin actions have accelerated in recent months”. (174) “The Iranian opposition announced Tuesday violent fighting between its forces and the police and Army of the Islamic regime. Dozens of victims fell in Western Iran. The People’s Mojahedin Organisation, based in Iraq, states in a press release in Paris, that it attacked the city of Ham, in the Province of the same name, on the Iraqi border”. (175) Tuesday, Radio Teheran confirmed the attack, which left one dead and seven wounded. It stated that the aggressors were ‘destroyed through the people’s cooperation with the paramilitary forces and the police’. Arms and other material were captured. (176) According to a second press release from the opposition, the local commander of the Guardians of the Revolution (Pasdaran), the regime’s elite forces, was killed, with a number of his men, during the fighting that began on Sunday and lasted 24 hours: the Mojahedin say they lost 3 dead and several wounded in their own ranks. Last month, the Mojahedin, who want to overthrow the present regime, fired mortar shells at a Pasdaran facility in Teheran”. “A bomb exploded last night in Teheran, near the University. The People’s Mojahedin Organisation claimed responsibility for this attack. They added that it had carried out rocket grenade attacks on a centre where Islamic courts inflict corporal punishment, like flogging. The targeted building was ‘seriously damaged’, according to the Iraq-based organisation”. This list of attacks carried out by the PMOI is far from exhaustive. But their use of terrorism has not succeeded in winning the Mojahedin the audience they seek. Hardening the Movement by Lock and Key To channel the growing discontent of their base the Mojahedin need diversionary actions. Incapable of forging unity in the opposition, they must, above all, avoid desertions by activists who are sick of good words that are never followed by any effect. As Ahmad Ghoreishi and Dariush Zahe note: “It is important to note that the forces opposed to the present regime remain fragmented, without hope, with a weak organisation, deprived of any charismatic leaders and of an ideology able to orchestrate the coordinated action needed to separate the people from the regime... There are several opposition groups, from absolute Monarchists to revolutionary Communists, seeking the death of the current j Iranian political system. Most of them operate from exile.. .None of them seems to be a serious threat to the survival of the Islamic Republic”. More and more isolated and with declining numbers in the domestic and foreign Iranian communities, the Mojahedin metamorphoj, sed into a cult, praising the virtues of their “infallible Chiefs”. (177) From the moment that the leadership’s edicts took on a sacred character, any questioning of orders began a crime of heresy. As in the sects throughout Europe, we have yet to fully measure the damage done.

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