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Since 1975-1981, all the givens have changed. Groups like the People’s Mojahedin of Iran have become mere relics of the Cold War/ this particular relic is poorly understood in the West, where it is still trying to maintain its ability to cause problems for Iran.
Introduction INTRODUCTION On Tuesday, 17 June 2003, more than a thousand police officers carried out a huge raid in the Paris suburbs. The French Government was thus dismantling the infrastructure of Massoud Rajavi's People's Mojahedin of Iran, an Iranian opposition group recognised as terrorist in nature. The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomed this action with relief: it had almost fallen to a coup d'Etat orchestrated by the PMOI. The aim of the coup would have been-the creation of a "people's democracy" in which the social aims of the current Government would have been revised and redirected on the basis of a reformed Islam: an Islamic Democratic Republic of Iran... But much remains unknown. Was the United States, after its military conquest of Iraq, tempted to use these very same People's Mojahedin of Iran (recognised officially by the US as a terrorist group) for the destabilisation of the Teheran government? In 1981, two attacks decapitated the revolutionary institutions that, in 1979, had taken down the Shah. The major leaders of the Party of the Islamic Revolution (PIR) and the team around Prime Minister Ali Radja'i were assassinated by bombs, each killing separated from the other by only a few weeks. Did the PMOI really have all the tools for a putsch which would have changed the course of history? The clerical party was still intact and solidly in place. The supporters of their government executed thousands of opposition militants, forcing their leaders into exile. Classified as a terrorist group by the United States and by the European Union, the PMOI is largely discredited today. It was based in Iraq since 1986 and faces the full impact of Saddam 'Hussein's fall from power. Founded in Iran under the Shah's regime, they took up armed Combat against the monarchy's police. The PMOI claims to follow an "Islamic-Progressive" ideology and continues to carry out ter¬rorist actions against the Teheran Government. Massoud Rajavi is their leader and his wife, Maryam, has been designated by the PMOI as the "President-elect" of Iran. They claim to be the only official opposition to President Khatami and his eventual successors. They have created their own syncretic political thought, one that reflects their personal interests. This "radjavism" must be accepted and spread by all members of their organisation. Having participated in the movement that overthrew Reza Shah, the People's Mojahedin broke with the supporters of the Islamic Republic in a life and death struggle for victory. Massoud Rajavi found refuge first in France and then in Iraq. He owes everything to Saddam: the funding of the PMOI, arms and their training camps in Iraq, including their Headquarters in Camp Ashraf. The three to five thousand Iranian militants in PMOI, operating from Iraqi territory, helped maintain a high level of tension with Iran. This destabilising factor could only help Saddam Hussein, who never forgot his failure to win the war between the countries. From 1980 until 1988, Iraq and Iran were aflame with war. On several occasions, Massoud Rajavi sent his partisans against Iran, hoping that a victory, even a modest one, would lead to a popular uprising against the clerics in power. Literally hundreds of inexperienced young men and women lost their lives due to the analytic errors of their leadership. In fact, far from a triumphal welcome for the PMOI's militia, they were confronted by a reflex of national self-preservation. The Iranian Army was in a position to tear these amateur militia units to pieces. Since these defeats, the PMOI had to settle for periodically infiltrating small units ordered to carry out terrorist actions in Iran's big cities. The PMOI was also providing, inside Iraq, sup¬port forces for a dictatorship which ruled its people with a bloody, iron hand. This was the case right up until the intervention of the American-British forces. Operating as a political-military sect, based on a cult of personality, the People's Mojahedin of Iran require total obedience from their true believers. The hierarchy is very structured and very strict, demanding blind obedience to the leadership. Their methods are reminiscent of Stalin's. They include the notorious model of the Moscow show trials: overwhelming their internal critics with insults, mud slinging lies, accusations of treason, selling out or being enemy agents. Yet, after almost thirty years of struggle, the PMOI and its National Liberation Army have little to show for their efforts. They have squandered all their achievements of the Seventies and Eighties largely through their alliance with Saddam Hussein. During the last two decades, Mr Rajavi and his friends have only succeeded in cutting themselves off from the very people who want change in Iran, but will not follow the PMOI. They have never been able to lay the foundations of that "Islamic, Democratic Republic of Iran" which is their principal aim. Even worse, now that their protector is gone, the PMOI had no alternative but that of letting the American Army disarm their troops and close down their military bases. Perhaps they will be able to smuggle some of their members out through Turkey, Jordan or Syria. However; if they win political exile status in Europe or America, their freedom of action will be reduced to zero. Without their sanctuary in Iraq, the organisation's leadership will have to limit their ambitions. Like their political wing, they will have to look everywhere for petitions supporting the move¬ment. They will be fighting for a legitimacy which is disappearing with each passing day. Since 1975-1981, all the givens have changed. Groups like the People’s Mojahedin of Iran have become mere relics of the Cold War/ this particular relic is poorly understood in the West, where it is still trying to maintain its ability to cause problems for Iran. Research is necessary to analyse hidden circles of the PMOI. We hope that this thesis, based on a wide range of sources publi¬shed over the years will help advance our understanding of the PMOI.

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