The open political relations between Iraq and Mojahedin started in 1982, with the meeting of Rajavi and Tariq Aziz.
Political Exploits (part one)
The open political relations between Iraq and Mojahedin started in 1982, with the meeting of Rajavi and Tariq Aziz.
But this doesn't mean that there haven't been any relations before. But Iraqis had recognized this time is best to reveal their relations, which should have taken political form too. We discuss the reasons in the following lines.
As equations of war turned to be to the benefit of Iran; and immediately after the freedom of Khorramshahr and Iran's military superiority and Iraqi opposition organizing, Saddam started an attack with MKOs cooperating. Mojahedin could have political role against the Iraqi opposition forces.
Iraq was upset by hearing the news of formation of SAIRI (Supreme Assembly of Islamic Revolution of Iraq). In response to this event and in the propagandistic framework, Tariq Aziz went to Paris and met Masoud Rajavi there.
The basis of reason why Mojahedin and Ba'th party made their relations public was the principle of "forces' Balance". Journalistic and open reflection of this meeting confirms this idea.
On Jan. 6, 1983, Mojahedin wrote the following sentences in order to pave the way for Aziz's meeting with Rajavi in Paris and also to take the most political advantage:
"Now, all the world knows that it's regime (Iran) which wants the continuation of war with Iraq…Iraq has even announced that it will accept the international borders mentioned in Algeria's treaty 1975… the stable peace in Iran will be achieved only by a democratic alternative like National council of resistance."
After setting forth such premises, finally Mojahedin reported of the meeting between Rajavi and Aziz on Jan. 9, 1983 and after the end of it in Paris they wrote of the results as follows:
"Mr. Aziz delivered an invitation from Saddam to Mr. Rajavi for visiting Iraq in order to create friendly relations between neighboring masses on the basis of bilateral respect and desire for peace.
Mr. Aziz, to clear misunderstandings made by the media reports about the entity of both sides' relations, emphasized this fact that the relation was based on bilateral political understandings for the legal ideals of people and it wasn't based on other kinds of supports.
Mr. Rajavi said that divisions between tow countries, which could be solved by direct talks, can only be done by NCRI.
Rajavi said Iran's the creator of conflict in the region and asked all peace-seeking nations to boycott Iran's oil, which guarantees Iran's military costs. Mr. Rajavi asked for the attention of Iraqi regime, under the Geneva Convention, to the Iranian prisoners of war, especially those from Iran's army.
At the end Mr. Aziz suggested that Mr. Rajavi can send a special envoy to meet Iranian prisoners in Iraq. Rajavi also said, in response to Saddam's invitation, that there will be no problems about his visit of Iraq.
The main secret talks were about the war fronts and Iraq-MKO coordination to strike Iran. The content of these talks were never released.
MKO's central committee, which was dissolved later by Rajavi and some of its members were accused of betraying the leader, brought the results of Aziz-Rajavi meeting as follows:
Changing the balance of power in war
Creating division inside regime about the issue of war
Introducing regime as Warmonger
stimulating Iranian Army's personnel against the war (by Rajavi asking Tariq Aziz to treat them kindly)
Promoting Alternative and presenting the plan of Peace
These were the political results of the plan which was discussed in their meeting otherwise Mr. Rajavi has given a delicate hint which is good to consider:
"Is it possible to fight, with blind eyes, with a country that has massive popular support and not to fall in the bosom of its enemies? Or not to become their mercenary?"
Changing the Pattern of Political Power:
Considering MKO as a tool, Iraq immediately thought of confronting it with Iraqi opposition groups. The basis of a formal meeting between Rajavi and deputy prime minister of Iraq was so-called "preservation of balance of power".
Meeting and supporting Mojahedin, under the name of National Council of Resistance", made Mojahedin very happy and they slipped into the way that Iraqis had opened for them.
Creating division inside the regime over the issue of war
When Iraq went for Mojahedin, it wanted in fact to justify its attack on Iran by an Iranian loudspeaker. Mojahedin usually relayed this matter in their propagandistic machine in Persian.
After this meeting, MKO and Iraq made different analysis that "this war is killing brothers, it's giving advantage to Zionists, and Israel has found chance to attack Lebanon and …
Introducing Iran as warmonger:
MKO has advanced its alliance with Saddam. National Liberation Army of MKO, which relied on Saddam for money, weapons and bases and even license to attack, became a tool in Iran-Iraq war.
For instance, during 1984-1987, Iraq considered establishing NLA as a response to the requests of "peace-loving Rajavi". Such an act, in diplomatic conventions, was to cut internal support of Iranian regime.
Extracted from State Departments' announcement, Oct. 1994
"dear compatriots, what should we do now? This war is illegal! So, soldiers shouldn't go to the battlefields, they should escape from fronts, they should not submit to the obligatory military service, leaving fronts is not difficult, they only should decide.
Rajavi, Mojahed Journal, No.251
Radio BBC's correspondent: regarding this fact that Iraq began the war, now, do you think Iraq's now punished and if it cuts a peace deal with Iran, won't it think of attacking Iran again?
Rajavi: look, it's not about a government being punished or not; or it wants something or not! MKO's word is that "we should be clever and also strong in order to advance our national interests.
Rajavi's Interview with BBC, Persian, July 5, 1984
While responding cunningly to the question about Iraq being punished or no, Rajavi relates Iran to the war and advances his own propagandas.
In response to the request of Brother Masoud Rajavi, Iraqi government agreed to stop bombing Iranian cities for 15 days.
Mojahed Journal, No.252, September 21, 1984
Following this new, Rajavi stressed, in a press conference, that Iraqi side is looking for peace.
Rajavi's letter to Iraqi foreign minister and his deputy:
Mr. Tariq Aziz, foreign minister of Iraq,
Reminding the emphasized items of joint statement on January 9, 1983, about the immunity and security of civilians in both countries and also condemning the attacks on innocent people in cities and villages, I express my deep concerns over the threats about bombing the cities of my country.
I also stress that attacking Iranian civilians is exactly along the interests and war instigation by regime and this is a fact that can be proved by giving statistics and polls.
Regarding this, Iraqi government can send an envoy to whom I can explain the situation in details. So, I ask your president and leader (via you) to show his state's peace-seeking will to Iranians and also consider the immunity of civilians.
Rajavi, February 5, 1984
Aziz's Response to Rajavi's Letter:
Mr. Masoud Rajavi,
I received your letter by our embassy in Paris…
Iraq understands the concepts and ideas of yours about Iranian civilians….
Your letter was observed by the leader of Iraq and regarding this I want to assure you that Iraq believes stopping the bombings is not difficult, since it believes this is in accordance with the feelings of Iraqi people and Iraqi's policies.
Anyway, due to our leader's attention to Mr. Rajavi's peaceful interests and to show our good will, it was decided that bombing be stopped for one week from February 14th.
We should not let the bombing be stopped for few days and be renewed again, but we should turn it to a formal contract between Iran and Iraq with the supervision of international communities… the next step is to ask for immediate ceasefire and purse the slogan of peace in order to end the war.
Rajavi, February 1983, Mojahed No.192
the message of all these efforts is clear and needs no translation, since MKO had once translated it to Arabic. "if Iran's not going to accept peace, its cities will be bombed again!" and people should know that it's we who love peace. The political sense of the scenario was: attracting Iranians toward peace-loving Rajavi and Iraq, which is paying attention to the humanitarian desires in war, and Islamic Republic, which is warmonger. That's why the scenario of stopping bombardments was performed.
… Iraq, when issuing joint statement and when accepting NCRI's peace plan as the basis of peace talks and when stopping bombings, proved that it's looking for peace and now, there's no obstacle except just peace.
Masoud Rajavi, February 14, 1983, Mojahed No. 191
Radio BBC said on June 6, 1987, said: previous experiments have shown that Iranians have backed their leaders at critical situations; for example, Iraq stopped bombing Iranian cities early this year since it led to the unexpected support of people from a sate which waited until that time for people's support.
Promotion of Alternative
After MKO, along with Bani Sadr, presented the plan of Democratic State, they needed to be recognized by a government. Terrorist Record of the organization since July of 1981 was the reason why governments refused to accept such an alternative and basically such an acceptance had no international legitimacy.
Iraq had understood this and the organization was in need of it. Mojahedin call this even as the promotion of alternative in international levels. Of course, this delusion was being boosted by the sources close to the French government and pushed MKO more toward Saddam and Iraq. One of the reasons was that France wanted to solve the problems with Iran which were made due to the presence of MKO in its soil.
Anthony Korozman, a military researcher, says:
The final result of France's act, anyway, was that Rajavi accessed more weapons, training camps and facilities, money and bases near the borders of Iran.
Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani, in his memoir, says:
"one of the cases which made division and distrust among the members of Council was the case of Rajavi's meeting with Tariq Aziz. Of course, earlier, there were discussions about the possible reactions to the agreements with Iraq and peace deals with Iraqi officials or about what would happen if there's a meeting between Council's officials and Iraqi representatives.
There was dispute in the council about this issue, and Bani Sadr was against it until the day media reported that Tariq Aziz has met Masoud Rajavi.
- How did you counter this event?
Bani Sadr claimed that he was not aware of the matter, while he worked with Rajavi at a same house. All the members of the council were not aware either …
- What was your reaction?
In a meeting, in which Pakdaman and others were invited by Rajavi to talk about this matter, we asked why the Council has not informed us. MKOs said they had no information about that!
According to Rajavi's claims, one of diplomats in French Foreign ministry had called him and had said: "Tariq Aziz, in a diplomatic visit to France, has come to meet with French officials and likes to meet you and I will come with him to meet you in Auvres." Rajavi says that's how they made us see him.
This was Rajavi's explanation about his meeting with Tariq Aziz, adding: "I was afraid of meeting with Tariq Aziz and I said that it should be clarified that under what title he has come to meet me; since I have personally no meeting with anyone, it should be clarified whether he has come to initiate contact with Iran's future alternative official or not?"
I believe Rajavi, by saying this, wanted to stimulate the feelings of the National Council of resistance and show that Council has been recognized formally for the first time by a foreign country; and this could be a big diplomatic step. Anyway, despite the queries of the members of the council we didn’t get answers except that the meeting took place suddenly and that it was surprising.
- What did Rajavi say about the content of the meeting?
Rajavi said that "to solve the problem, Council members can listen to the recorded conversation between him and Iraqi delegation", then he turned to Abrishamchi and said: "Mehdi, go and bring the tapes."
The content of the tapes were not strange. It started with the murmurs of reporters and then Aziz's brief speech in English in which he had said "I hope to meet my dear friend, Masud Rajavi, in the near future as the president or prime minister of Iran." expressing such a point was done diplomatically and deliberately.
Tariq Aziz said this just when Bani Sadr considered himself as the elected president and he was in the room next to the one in which Aziz was. It meant that they accepted Rajavi without Banisadr, and this was the cornerstone for a new diplomacy in Council.
I remember when this part of tape was being played, Rajavi told Abrishamchi: "this part is not clear, replay it again." And this part was replayed three times.
After the meeting, it was discussed that Iraq accepts Council's peace plan and that Iraq's Culture Minister has said in an interview that Iraq accepts Council's peace plan as a basis for peace talks; and Mojahedin considered this as a great victory for Council.
- Were you aware of the Peace Plan?
Peace plan was posed later, after the meeting, in the council and it was passed. The issue at that time was that National Council of Resistance, as the future alternative, should pass a peace plan and pose it in international levels.
So, Council provided a plan and gave it to the UN and international communities and gave another copy to Iraq. Iraq defended the plan tacitly, but the fact is that neither Saddam nor Iraqi government confirmed this plan.
- You said that you believe that Rajavi's talks with Tariq Aziz were not right since talks with Iraq, which was one side of the war, was not right. Can you elaborate on it?
It's natural when the issue of war and peace is discussed, one of the sides in war should get into the talks. But the point is that, we were not a side in war with Iraq. Mojahedin did this by forging the name of "Iran's alternative government" for them.
We should have acted as a peace-seeking opposition force, which is independent in war and tries to bring peace. Such an opposition sides with no one in the war…
About Mojahedin, it's different. They say the only aggressive one is Ayatollah Khomeini while it shouldn’t be denounced that Iraq has attacked our country and it's still bombing our cities.
While an opposition has not the power and readiness to impose peace on regime, it should not interfere in the issue of war or peace and it shouldn’t be at the service of one-way policies of the war.
Of course, the meaning of "promotion of alternative" was MKO's exploit of the equipments and facilities which Iraq gave them. We look at the memories of Mr. Khanbaba Tehrani in "Left Movement: A Look from Inside", in page 452:
"After separation of Banisadr, we posed again the issue of creating a radio station. This time, Mojahedin answered: well, if Council members agree, we call Iraq and ask fro the equipments needed for creation of Radio Station."
I remember whenever we talked about contact with Iraq and receiving equipments from Iraq, Rajavi said: "if one day contact with Iraq is established and we're supposed to use Iraq's equipments, our pre-condition would be Iraq's cutting relations with all anti-revolution monarchists and others."
Passage of time showed that Iraq was not faithful to such words and Iraqi contacts with other groups continued. Anyway Mojahedin suggested that a delegation from the Council be formed in order to call Iraq's embassy in Paris and ask for the equipments required for a Radio Station.
We agreed with this decision… while Council had elected a delegation to start talks with Iraqis in order to receive a Radio and it seemed that they had already talked with each other.
- A delegation from Mojahedin?
No, from National Council, to make contact. And the contact was made. Iraqi side was seemingly a naïve person and when the delegation went to the embassy for the second time, he had said "a delegation has made contacts with them earlier". It means that while talking with us about the plan and talks, Mojahedin were in contact with Iraqis separately. They were doing their own work.
Promoting Mojahed as the assistant of Iraq could help Ba'thists in their relations with regional groups and in solving the problems of Saddam's regime; please note:
Once Mojahedin take the responsibility of encouraging Talabani's group to solve divisions with Iraqi government, used the old tool of "frightening one from another power" and frightened PUK of a victorious Iran.
Please regard a part of this analysis:
Recently, National Council of Resistance had passed its plan about self-rule of Kurdistan, a plan which made PUK happy and caused them applause Council.
It was surprising that a plan passed by the council could facilitate effective talks between PUK and Iraqi government.
Simultaneously with the progress of the talks between PUK and Iraq and gaining some agreements, MKO's delegation, which had taken part in the inauguration of 6th Congress of Democrat Party of Iran, met PUK's leader.
Consequently, desires and friendly feelings of Mojahedin-e Khalq about the self-rules rights of Iraqi Kurdistan were delivered to PUK's leader on behalf of Masoud Rajavi.
Jalal Talabani answered Rajavi in a letter on 1984.03.03. A part of the letter says:
"I'd like to inform you that PUK's leadership will continue its talks with Iraqi government to achieve democracy and self-rule for Kurdistan so that National Unity of Iraq is strengthened…"
Mojahed Journal, No.196, March 1984
In the statement of US government which was published in 1994, we read:
"29 year record of MKO's behavior and function doesn't prove its democratic capacity or intentions…"
So, it's not surprising that the only country which supports MKO politically and financially is the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein.
While many Iranians distance themselves from Mojahedin and that this group was undemocratic, it couldn't be considered as a good alternative for Tehran's current regime.
Bani Sadr, in an interview with Turkish-based Tarjoman newspaper, February 1985
Mojahedin, by uniting with Iraq, didn't consider the principle of Independence, and by being materialistically supported by Iraqis, it fought against Iranians in fronts.
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