Massoud Rajavi born on August 18, 1948 in Tabas in the Northwest of Iran. He became the leader of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO) in the late years of the Pahlavi dynasty after the early leaders of the group had been executed and Massoud survived the death sentence that all his comrades received. Due to his “cooperation” with the Shah’s Intelligence, SAVAK, his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.
By the time of the Iranian revolution, Rajavi was released and supported the newly-established government founded by Ayatollah Khomeini. Soon, the gap widened between the organization and the new government due to the former’s adoption of mixed ideologies of Islam and Marxism. The tension reached its peak in 1981 when Massoud Rajavi called his young followers to launch an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic. A large number of innocent civilians were killed during the MKO’s acts of violence. The government arrested a number of the group members and this led Rajavi to flee to Paris together with the Iranian deposed president Abolhassan Banisadr. His wife Ashraf Rabii was killed in the clash between the MKO armed forces and the Iranian security forces.
In Paris, he married Firouzeh Banisadr the daughter of Abolhassan Banisadr. He founded the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). He then joined the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein who was at war with Iran. The Banisadrs opposed Rajavi’s anti-nationalistic act and broke out with him. In Iraq, Rajavi formed the National Liberation Army (NLI) that was logistically and financially sponsored by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Regime. NLA was actually Saddam’s Private Army.
Sheltered in Iraq, near Iranian border, Massoud Rajavi led numerous cross border operations and terrorist attacks inside Iran. NLA was also an arm of Iraqi military in the suppression of Shiite and Kurdish uprisings inside Iraq in the early 1990s.
Rajavi married to Maryam Qajar Azodanlu (later known as Maryam Rajavi) in 1985, who was already married to one of his close associates Mehdi Abrishamchi and divorced her husband in order to marry Rajavi. The marriage that was called as ideological by Massoud, resulted in the transformation of Rajavi as a normal political leader to the leader of a cult of personality.
The Cult of Rajavi required members to obey cult-like regulations that Massoud indoctrinated in the hierarchy of the group. The regulations included forced divorce, forced celibacy, absolute obedience ….
He disappeared in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and it is not known whether he is alive or dead. Rajavi has been wanted by Iraq since 2010 for crimes against humanity.