Analysis and background on the people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran
CHAPTER 19/ Fanatical to the Point of Suicide
The day after the police operation against the People’s Moja4 in the Paris suburbs, European and world public opinion re shocked to discover individuals voluntarily turning themes into human torches.
What level of fanaticism could push seemingly sane and healthy le to such extremes? Moreover, some of the “spectators” tried lock the access of rescue services which could have saved the victims' lives. The French judicial system could only note the facts prevent any repetition.
‘Two Iranians suspected of preventing the intervention of rescuers while a woman was immolating herself in front of DST headquarters in Paris on Wednesday will be brought before an instructional magistrate for their a criminal investigation, judicial
sources made known on Friday.
The prosecutor’s office stated that very day a criminal enquiry possible ‘obstruction of rescue services’ and ‘provocation to suicide’. It will soon demand an arrest warrant. The crime of obstructing rescue efforts can be punished with up to 7 years in prison.
The two prisoners bought 8 litres of petrol in a service station in e Nelaton, near the DST HQ. They then provided it to an Iranian woman who died yesterday in the specialized military hospital for burns, Percy, in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine), the same source added. One of them was an obstacle to rescue workers when they tried save the 44 year old victim, while the other was in possession of e victim’s blouse and papers, judicial sources emphasized.
The two Iranians were questioned by police Tuesday morning during the operation against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. They were released during the evening, the judicial sources said.
One Iranian woman, arrested and questioned on Wednesday was in possession of gasoline-filled bottles and a letter explaining her intention to commit suicide. She was freed, she stated”. (178)
This is the point to begin asking some difficult questions. For many years, specialists on international terrorism, like the experts on post-revolutionary Iran, have been aware of the sectarian and violent nature of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Numerous journalists have had a bone to pick with their propaganda. Those who gave space to the Movement’s “deserters” or who expressed the slightest criticism were violently denounced as agents of Teheran, bought by the regime. But, in that Summer of 2003, reality hit.
Tom Heneghan of the British press agency, Reuters, asked himself if he was watching a sect in full collapse:
“The images of men and women spraying themselves with petrol before setting themselves on fire in the streets of several European capitals, has shed dramatic light on the last days of the main armed opposition to the Teheran regime.
Since Tuesday, several supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) have tried to immolate themselves in Paris, London, Rome and Berne.
A woman in her forties has succumbed to her wounds Thursday night in the Paris region after immolating herself the previous day to denounce the intervention of French police against Maryam Rajavi — the person whom the Iranian opposition want one day to become President of Iran.
Successive student demonstrations in the streets of Teheran and the growing pressure of the American authorities on the Iranian regime, summoned to explain its nuclear programme, could have led the Mojahedin to believe that the time had come to overthrow the authorities they have been fighting for thirty years.
However in just a few weeks, the organization has seen its military installations dismantled in Iraq, its arsenal seized by the Americans and its l-IQ in Auvers-sur-Oise, North of Paris, searched and closed down by the French police.
For many specialists on Iran, these images of men and women in flames, writhing in pain have shown the true nature of the PMOI: a sect based on the cult of personality of Maryam Rajavi and her husband, Massoud, one of the movement’s founders.
‘It’s a sect,’ says Ali Ansari, expert on Iranian affairs at Britain’s Durham University. ‘Their militants are strangely, passionately loyal to this couple. The now realise who they are,’ he adds.
‘My only hope, is that, in the event of a revolution, we won’t have the People’s Mojahedin in their place,’ confides a young Iranian interviewed in Teheran: ‘They’re worse than the mullahs’.
A Sect of Iron
In 1993, the PMOI responded to the American Government, in substance, that an organization is known by its results. Let us see:
“We know, from the history of national liberation movements, that one can logically and scientifically see social and historical trends, which a political movement can only give its society what it already has. You can only believe in the promise of democracy in tomorrow‘s Iran f the internal relations of the opposition are democratic today “. (180)
Now, it is precisely the internal relations of the PMOI that have no democratic content at all. The base must shut up, obey orders
and, above all, not think for itself.
The weekly Marianne is very clear:
- “Massoud Rajavi and Bani Sadr took refuge in France and set up a National Council of Resistance. In Auvers-sur-Oise, where he chose to live with his brother, Massoud, leading the scraps of his organization, continues to work for the destabilization of the Islamist regime, and, by remote control, directs new terrorist attacks, proclaiming that ‘the end justifies the means’.” An iron discipline reigns within the movement. All dissent is severely punished.
The mystico-religious language, a sort of cocktail of Allah, Marx and the others, belongs more to the talk of a sect than to the speeches of a political movement. Doesn’t Rajavi see himself as the Mahdi, the hidden twelfth imam of Shi’ia martyrdom? This collective detour leads to blackmailing the dead, to an intensified cult of violence against the enemy, all the while proclaiming respect for human rights and the virtues of democracy.
Representative of God on Earth, Rajavi is the guru, married after two divorces to Maryam Azdanlou, the super militant, once wed to
the organization's “Number 4”. Even the abandoned husband congratulated the newly weds. A crazy universe.” (181)
This was indeed a crazy universe, but a real one with tight rules and terrible duties. Above all, it was prohibited to criticize the wisdom of the hierarchy or the decisions it took. Wishing to be omniscient, Rajavi was also omnipotent. He stopped at nothing to ensure the loyalty of his troops and keep a continuous control over their minds.
The militants in the Iraqi camps had, for example, to write down all their daily activities, note their thoughts and most intimate feelings. In some cases, they would have to undergo a very severe session of self-criticism:
“From 1990 on, there were meetings for confession and self-criticism that filled up all the space left for sentimental relationships:
any militant feeling any attraction for the wife of a comrade had to apologise to her in public. These sessions of confession were duly recorded on video and kept in the archives of the movement’s
The technique — tested in North Vietnamese prison camps where the Communists “brainwashed” French POWs — is laid out clearly in the Little Red Book:
“Criticism inside the Party is a weapon which helps reinforce the Party’s organization and increase its combat capacities”. (183)
As in a sect, it is forbidden to think.
Itself obedient to Marxism, fighting overtly to install in Iran a “popular democracy”, the Fedais Guerrilla Fighters Organization of Iran sees much to criticise in Rajavi’s Mojahedin:
“Some would criticize us for considering this organization as a ‘sect’. We have to tell them that a force that neither respects nor believes in any principles and whose goals and thoughts are based only on the tastes and desires of one person, when those goals resemble nothing like those of a political organization, then, in our culture, what shall we call them? Especially when its leader has a religious character.
When this organization has no shame in the 20th Century in declaring officially, over and over again, through its own radio and television that ‘thanks to the marriage of Massoud Rajavi and Maryam’ its members who suffered from epilepsy and migraines were all cured. Also, given that they go on to state that medical doctors confirm this claim of the leadership, isn’t it possible that these
dishonorable doctors are capable of injecting an air-filled hypodermic needle into the veins of any of Massoud’s and Maryam’s opponents? In an organization in which a single man can put himself at the tip of the pyramid, isn’t it possible to see a beehive with only one queen bee?” (184)
These accusations are borne out by those who know the PMOI from the inside, its dissidents:
“Moreover, the Mojahedin’ ‘cultural revolution’ included completely bizarre facets... There was the reinforcement of Rajavi’s spiritual role and its dimension in the movement... From the Nineties on, he succeeded in isolating the membership completely from reality... Haqqe Mani and Mohamed Reza Eskandari agree in saying that intellectuals and culture were Rajavi’s prime targets. According to Haqqeh Mani ‘the worst insult for a militant was to denounce his cultural interests’.
The militants living in the camps of that organization were deprived of books, had no right to listen to music or the radio and were naturally cut off from television programmes”. (185)
Any discussion within the PMOI was for a single purpose:
convince doubters and establish a unanimity of thought:
“It is a tradition of the Mojahedin to hold open discussions on sensitive current issues, lasting hours, days or weeks, depending on the subject. At the end, a common point of view was created”. (186)
Rajavi the Guru
Mitra Yusufi, today a refugee in Sweden, lived for many years in the movement’s midst. She bears witness in a very informative way to how the system worked:
“We were moved to Paris. Not speaking French, I ‘stayed inside
the community. It was like a sect. We spoke with special words, since the MKO had created its own vocabulary which had no relationship with the outside.
They gave us leadership lessons, or lessons about Rajavi. All that was positive came from him and all negative things that happened were results of a poor relationship of the individual to the leadership. Here are some of the slogans: ‘Negative: try to resolve problems with
your own capacities, with your own strength; positive: use the ability of the leadership to resolve the problem: accept the leadership’s power. In connection with the leadership you become whole. Alone you cannot find God, but you can do it through good relations with the leadership. If you are alone, far from God, then you are a masochist. But, if you choose the leadership as your guide, you are free immediately and all your problems are solved’.
These are the formulae drawn from the courses we had to take inside the movement. Decoded, they mean that there was no salvation without Rajavi.
In our religion, Shi’ia Islam, we celebrate the hidden Imam. We are supposed to sing the praises of our great, historic leaders of the faith. And we added Massoud and Maryarn to the list we worshipped”. (187)
After his failure as a war Chief, Massoud Rajavi took on his new role as Chief of a “Church”. By creating it, he became its natural guru.
The “Master” of the PMOI, to almost all Moslems, found himself in a clear position of blasphemy:
“Mani and Eskanari add that traditional Islamic culture was barred from this closed world. In the movement, which was Moslem in principle, the instructions of Rajavi made it obligatory for his name and that of his wife to be praised during religious festivals. It was, therefore, his name and Maryam’s that were cried out after the act of faith, the Prayer for the Prophet and for the 12 lmams. It was as if their two names had joined the list of infallible guides”. (188)
There was no question of going beyond the imposed guidelines.
As Rajavi had said, “The end justifies the means".
The farce had no limits and the dissidents cited above are still blinded to the extremes in which they participated. Because, now we were to find that Massoud Rajavi would claim direct contact with God:
“Everybody says that Rajavi often presented himself as directly inspired by God. They insist the he would take the floor at political meetings in claiming: ‘He whom you know has come to me in dreams. He has shown me your intimate beds and this is what He revealed...”. Sometimes Maryam Rajavi would follow, adding in a tone of utter conviction: “There are many things he cannot speak of.. . He cannot reveal everything...”. (190)
All these methods were very effective to subjugate the unhappy men and women who had fallen in the web of the Rajavi couple.
178.- “Immolation a Paris: deux Iraniens présentés a un juge d’instruction”, Associated Press, 20 June 2003
179.- “Iran: les Moudjahidin, une organisation sectaire a Ia derive?” — by Tom Heneghan, Reuters, 20 June 2003
180.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit.
181.- “Iran, les Moudjahidin du peuple fous de Dieu... et de Marx”, op. cit.
182.- lsmail Zayer, op. cit.
183.- “The Elimination of Erroneous Ideas in the Party”, December
1929, Ma Tse Tung, op. cit.
184.- “A propos de l’OMPI et des cercles proches au régime de Ia Rib> — Article in Kar, official organ of the Organisation of the Fedais Guerilla Fughters of the Iranian Peopla (OFGFI P) Summer, 1996.
185.- “Les Moudjahidin du peuple, une opposition devenue secté"- by IsmaIl Zayer. Al Hayat London, Reprinted in Courrier International(N° 468) week of2l-27 October 1999.
186.- “Democracy Betrayed”, op. cit.
187.- "Mitra Yousufi — Les Moudjahidin du peuple ont des methodes qui en font un groupuscule sectaire" — interview by the author in Le Nouvelliste, 14 April 1999.
188.- Ismail Zayer, op. cit.
189.- Mao Tsé-toung, op. cit.
190.- ismail Zayer, op. cit.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called for tougher measures against the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group by the European Union...