In part of her speech made at the International Conference in Paris and in explaining the necessity of the removal of the name of MKO from the State Department’s terrorist list and other similar lists, Maryam Rajavi addressed the audience saying:
… the biggest error in the policy of engagement, reflected specifically in the inclusion of the People’s Mojahedin in the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Today, we need not discuss the substance of this label. The focus of our discussion is the critical impact of this listing, which has resulted in shutting down the engine for change in Iran. When you block the engine for change in Iran, how do you expect sanctions to be effective? (1)
Her words in short highlights two important points to ponder, points containing facts that she unconsciously opened her lips to admit, while she would deny in other occasions, as she was likely filled with the thrilling excitement of the very presence of some former American personalities and statesmen.
In her words “Today, we need not discuss the substance of this label” Maryam Rajavi simply prefers, instead of arguing and defending terrorist charges against the group, to question the inclusion of the group in the terrorist lists; a ploy that has so far failed to convince the State Department to remove the organization from its terrorist list. This is while many American supporters of MKO present in the conference have insisted on this point that the inclusion of its name on the list of terrorist organizations has its roots in political engagements and instrumental use of the list for political purposes, a move that, they calculate, was followed by other European governments to proscribe it alongside other terrorist organizations. But none of them ever asked that why should the European Union take the first step before the State Department to delist MKO while America has shown no flexibility in this regard? Besides, there are released evidences of untold aspects of cultic and terrorist activities about the organization in the State Departments’ report. Hence, such claims are baseless and are totally arbitrary.
What can be inferred from her speech is that Maryam Rajavi is trying to remark that keeping MKO on the terrorist list not only helps the US in no way to overcome its tensions and problems with Iran but also intensify and aggravate them more than before. In her classification of the existing problems of America and the West with Iran especially over the issues like Iran’s nuclear projects and the issue of Iraq, she asserts that ‘the United States has been standing on the wrong side’ by overlooking a potential alternative like MKO. And of course, the working resolution that may at least work to provide minimum benefits for Americans themselves is to remove MKO from the State Department’s terror list! A move that will also propel ‘the engine for change in Iran’. In fact, the tone and syllogistic manner of Maryam Rajavi is another version of her long begging to attract the attention of the US. However, the existing difference with MKO’s present and past efforts to find favor with the US is that in the past the group would enthusiastically speak and boast of daily perpetrated terror and military actions and dozens of explosions and terror-ridden situations. It would acknowledge itself as one of the most powerful armed underground organizations that had succeeded to spread violence and terror with no fear of being included in any list of terror. And as everything has changed today and it is facing a big problem for its past deeds, it is natural that the tone is also changing.
Another reason for her change of tone is the illusions she has undergone; first being motivated by a political simplicity that America has adopted a desired attitude against Iran and second, the organization has to regain its alternative priority if derogated from the status in anyway. In the past to convince, or better to say coerce, America to consider the sole alternative, MKO’s position takings and statements were totally different. Once, nearly two decades ago, Mehdi Abrishamchi actually warned Americans against espousing any other alternative rather than MKO:
The way we have come to negotiate [with America] we mean ‘we are’ and ‘you’ll have to negotiate with us’. Frankly and outspokenly we notify the imperialists that even if you have decided on a defeated counter-revolutionary and intend to repel us as an alternative, you must remember one thing that we will confront you inside the country. Fighting with American General will be much easier for us than fighting with the Ayatollahs. (2)
But the political fluctuations that compelled the organization to comply with the new regulations necessitated a change of language as well. As seen in the statement of a council member of the MKO, he takes a different position that is absolutely different with the past hostile tone:
It should be noted that the necessity of diplomatic activity in the framework of relations of states with states is expedient for an alternative that is at the verge of capturing power rather than continue to be a guerrilla group. Naturally, a guerrilla group has no obligation to worry about the impact of its activities, attitudes and slogans out of the borders. Mojahedin Khalq Organization, for example, how much could it be considered a serious threat to imperialism at the height of its military challenge against the symbols and indices of American imperialism in Iran when it had no idea of capturing state power in near future? Naturally, its deeds and slogans could also draw reactions in the same way. This very same organization today, however, working under its alternative of National Council in its framework of diplomatic relations as that of a state with other states has to defer to new obligations and has a thorough assessment of international reactions in any step it takes. Any unconcern in this regard leads to the marginalization and isolation of the alternative that operates as a government in exile. (3)
In conclusion, when Maryam Rajavi tries to undefile the terrorist reputation of the organizations and paves the way to delist it from the terrorist list, in a sense she is making an attempt to show the other side of a coin that two decades ago Abrishamch had shown its first as a warning to Americans. With the difference that at that time Mojahedin carried machine guns in fighting uniforms while today they are wearing stylish suits, ties and costumes to advance. Maryam Rajavi hops to make it known to Americans that if the United States has been long standing on the side of Iran and designated MKO as a policy of appeasement, now the time has come to turn to a direction of appeasing terrorists instead and provide for a promising result by removing MKO from the terrorist list as a show of challenging the Islamic Republic. That is the point where she intends to end the story when she does her best to transit from a once coercive diplomacy to a new diplomacy of begging.
1 – Maryam Rajavi’s speech in International Conference in Paris, Friday, 24 December 2010.
2 – Revolutionary diplomacy and its difference with counter-revolutionary politics. Mehdi Abrishamchi’ s speech made for the Muslim Students Association in Italy.
3 – The Council’s Revolutionary Diplomacy, by Abdolali Maassoomi, the National Council Monthly, No. 24, P. 55.