the report of State Department on MKO showed how well-aware are US officials about the purposes of this organization
Realists Vs. Terrorists
Iran and Persian Gulf desk in the State Department represents also Realists' viewpoints on Iran.
This part which has high political credit among US statesmen represents this idea that "adverse relation of the US with Iran should not influence the analysis about Mojahedin-e Khalq."
Strategic supporters of this viewpoint in the State Department are people like Brzezinski, Gary Sick, Richard Murphy, Jeffery Camp, Madeline Albright, and Richard Armitage ….
It was this very part which published basic information about Mojahedin-e Khalq, during the presidency of Ronald Ragan in 1984.
On the other hand, MKO's lobby in the US Congress has been strengthening in recent years. Mojahedin forgot formality and talked of the US as the protector of Human Rights which should do something for the issue of Iran. They no longer used the term "imperialist enemy."
MKO lobby in the Congress believed that US government should announce formally its support of Mojahedin-e khalq and National Council of Resistance.
The US government, on its part, never accepted this. But opponents criticized the government and said "why don't you use a large group which has announced its preparedness to counter Iran and has military force?"
For the first time in 1992, State Department spokesman stressed on MKO's being terrorist, undemocratic and not having popular support in Iran.
In defining the reasons of formation of MKO lobby in the US there are amazing points which will be discussed later.
Despite the comments of State Department spokesman, MKO's activities in order to gain support of the US took another form and were coincident with presidential campaigns in 1993 which led to the victory of Bill Clinton.
Mojahedin had made contact with Al Gore and resorted to Clinton's slogans – on human rights and his opposition to old Bush's war on Iraq- to become closer to him.
MKO's efforts to become closer to Clinton team stemmed from their need to take pressure away from Iraq and their need to the formal support of the US. Saddam would give them more advantages if they succeeded, since one of their responsibilities was to take global pressure away from Iraq. And if the US supported them, it would be a political victory which paved the way for them to prove being alternative.
Mojahedin entered US's presidential campaign scene with all financial and political power they had. Clinton was elected and Mojahedin celebrated this in their safe houses allover Europe and the US!
Masoud Rajavi, the head of MKO militants, congratulated Clinton for his election and Mohammed Seyed Al-Mohaddessin took part in ceremonies – for transferring presidency- and took photos with Clinton.
Rajavi supported Gore's comments on violation of Human Rights in Iran and eventually, by taking stance on Middle east peace talks, Mojahedin resolved the main parameter which could be a negative point in their records.
By congratulating Clinton for his success in Israel-Palestine talks, Rajavi tried to announce formally that he has recognized Israel. He wanted to guarantee the US that there's no concern about future and support of MKO.
Mojahedin, hopeful of what had happened by the election of Clinton, reiterated the issue of support in the Congress.
This time, their supporters in the congress (in order to pave the way for supporting Mojahedin) asked the government to send its view of Mojahedin to the congress.
Clinton asked the State Department to accomplish this issue. Now, everything depended on the report of State Department. This report could make the US government support Mojahedin officially.
Finally, in Oct. 1994, the report of State Department was read in the congress. This report had been gathered according to the analysis of different ministries and governmental offices.
A part of the introduction was as follows:
"to prepare this report, we gathered the views of a wide range of Iranian opposition groups and Iranian experts. We got the viewpoints of American prominent experts about the issues of Iran and the Middle East. We reviewed a large volume of MKO's TV and radio programs."
This report, which was prepared in 40 pages and a secret attachment, was never given to the media.
At the beginning of the report, State Department warned that it's aware of the MKO's efforts in order to win the support of the west and analyzed it:
"since the expulsion of Mojahedin from France, they started propagandistic campaigns in the west and they're now seeking political and financial support. By misusing West's complaints about ran, Mojahedin try to pose as an alternative in order to achieve their goals. They claim that they have the support of majority of Iranian people.
Most of academics and other experts of Iranian affairs believe that Mojahedin-e Khalq have little support among Iranians. They argue that MKO's activities since 1981 and their siding with Iraq and internal suppressing have discredited Mojahedin among Iranians."
Their claims about being faithful to democracy are also uncertain:
"despite MKO's claim that they have put aside their revolutionary ideologies and that they support liberal democracy, there's no hard evidence of turning in the stances of Mojahedin. In addition, 29 year history of MKO's activities, doesn't indicate their democratic capacity. Mojahedin runs the organization autocratically, suppresses dissidents and doesn't tolerate different viewpoints. Rajavi who runs MKO's political and military wings of Mojahedin has made a personality cult around himself."
Then, to clarify the enmity between the US and MKO, report adds:
"Mojahedin argued that their struggle against Shah was part of a larger campaign against imperialism led by the US."
Division between secular and Muslim fractions of Mojahedin-e khalq didn't stop them of fighting against Shah or opposing imperialism. In fact, both fractions continued their support of armed struggle and turned Mojahedin to "the most violent underground group and murderer of Americans in Iran."
"the ideas of Mojahedin on foreign policy have been reflected in the words of Masoud Rajavi, leader of the group. For instance, Rajavi in 1972 argued that most of the problems of the world are made by Imperialism and that "now, the main goal, is to free Iran from the grasp of US imperialism." After the revolution of 1979, Rajavi spoke at the university of Tehran in which he draw MKO's plans which were committed to Marxist principles.
During the period which led to the revolution and immediately after that, Mojahedin continued the strategy of armed struggle. Assassinating Americans, backing the take over of US embassy and opposing to the freedom of US hostages were results of it."
MKO's support of Hostage Taking
Under command of Rajavi, Mojahedin entered political scene in 1979 and tried to increase the number of their members and their popularity. On the day when 400 University students were supposed to take over US embassy, Mojahedin released and announcement called "after Shah, it's the turn of the US."
"following taking the embassy, Mojahedin went to the scene and resisted efforts for freeing it. They also backed hostage-taking politically. For instance, Mojahedin send Khomeini a telegraph and expressed their support of Ayatollah's idea on "taking out the root of US imperialism. This telegraph was finished by this comment: "we are ready to obey the orders of Imam (Khomeini) in order to destroy all Zionist and imperialist institutions."
"in response to failed efforts in order to free hostages, Mojahedin wrote in their magazine that they have given their forces to Revolution Guards in order to fight with the US."
"After 444 days of captivity, hostages were freed in January 1981. at that time, Mojahedin reminded that they were the first ones who backed taking over of US embassy and that "Mojahedin passed days and months before the embassy to make sure that the occupied embassy is the center of "imperialist desires.
They described freedom of hostages as a "retreat" and "surrender" and warned that re-establishment of diplomatic ties with the US will be a betray to the blood of martyrs."
So, the report tries to show the double face of Mojahedin to the representatives. Therefore, it takes advantage of the report of Allen Cavel, New York Times' reporter:
"A western reporter took a long trip to Baghdad in 1988 in order to evaluate the advancement of Mojahedin since their expulsion from France. He pointed to softened ideology of Mojahedin and claims on MKO's abilities in the battlefields and their two-part strategy in order to get to power. First, their military activities are along with creating credit for Mojahedin. Second, organized political and propagandistic activities are aimed at clearing their anti-american history and clearing the history of cooperating with Saddam Hussein."
In fact, he wants to show Congressmen that clearing anti-Imperialist history is only a tactic by Mojahedin in order to get to power, and gives important points of this tactic (which proves that the US is completely aware of the nature of this old enemy):
- "MKO publications try to reflect those parts of Western policy which are compatible for them. For instance, Mojahedin's recent statements condemn Khomeini's Fatwas against Salman Roshdi.
- Mojahedin respond to the Western concerns over Iran's foreign policy and overestimate Iran's ambitions to get nuclear arms."
- By such efforts, Mojahedin try to interpret Western criticism toward Iran as support for their organization. Therefore, MKO's propagandistic efforts are well known for the western journalists and officials.
- Or as another American journalist puts it "they hope to change their view in the US as terrorists to liberators."
- Main purpose of MKO propagandistic activities is to introduce itself as an alternative for current regime. To do so, they are seeking new supporters and political-financial support of the west. They should make sure that Iranian exiles and western people pay attention to the organization and this requires denying anti-West past.
- Their new claims are in contradiction with their 29 year old history of activities. Mojahedin have never observed democracy in their NCRI or NLA. MKO's credibility is now under question due to denying parts of its own history. When the organization is running away from its own past, accepting its promises for future is really difficult."
- "Although NCRI claims to be a democratic organization, its activities contradict with its claims. For example, criteria for being a member of NCRI are not clear. The criteria for distinguishing members and groups from each other in giving votes. Since membership in NCRI is only authorized by Masoud Rajavi, its political legitimacy is questioned."
- "There's consensus among Iran affairs experts that Mojahedin have a very small support among Iranians."
- After MKO's leader left Iran in 1981, group internationalized its campaign to get new members and supporters and to get support of the West. Rajavi started new propagandistic activities, from his new position as the head of NCRI. Mojahedin had different publications such as press releases, news bulletins, reports, brochures, books and open letters (from Rajavi to UN Secretary General or to the western leaders. The Rajavis held occasional press conferences. NCRI formed lobbies in Western parliaments. Despite all these efforts, Mojahedin were only supported by one nation in the world: Iraq, under the rule of Saddam Hussein."
The report of State Department reviews MKO-Saddam ties very carefully and admits that their cooperation with Saddam has discredited them completely among the Iranians:
"Mojahedin have advanced a kind of union with Iraq ( in order to perform military operation whose threat toward Iran has been sarcastically compared with a "fly") and NLA (National Liberation Army) which was totally dependent on Saddam turned to a tool in Iran-Iraq war."
"MKO's practical efforts included occasional attacks on border cities, industrial targets (especially oil sector) and civilian targets."
"We know that, in TV and Radio programs of Mojahedin broadcast to Iran from Iraq, this group has taken responsibility for all violent acts inside Iran."
"in exchange of receiving arms and using 232 miles of Iraq soil, Mojahedin support Iraq. Mojahedin, ignoring the casualties of Iran after the war of 1980 by Saddam and his invasion to Kuwait in 1990, still support him. As an Italian reporter described in August 1994 "supporting Iranian resistance is essential for Saddam, since Mojahedin perform diplomatic activities to cancel sanctions on Iraq."
"Rajavi, in his statement, said: "Iranian national movement and its forces condemn the unity of Iranian regime with imperialist America, world Zionism and regional reactionaries in attacking Iraq and taking part in sanctioning this country."
After this statement, which was like cold water on the fire of MKO's activities in the US, Madeline Albright, then Secretary of State, decorated the first report on terrorists groups with the name of Mojahedin.
After this shocking blow to Mojahedin, their activities were slowed for a while.
This very viewpoint after the fall of Saddam led to pressures on Pentagon in order to disarm and investigate Mojahedin.
In a meeting, with Colin Powel, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, this viewpoint was successful so that Rice described US's view as follows:
"using Terrorists, NO NO NO!"
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