Seven Reasons Why MEK Should Be Considered a Cult

A recent report by BBC once more revealed facts on the world inside the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi). The investigated report describes members of the MEK as those “who mustn’t think about sex“. Although the BBC correspondents were not allowed to enter the group’s headquarters in Tirana’s countryside, they could interview former members of the group. Not surprisingly former members are accused by the MEK of being agents of the Iranian regime.
Meanwhile, the report quotes the group’s longtime sponsor Rudy Guilliani as saying: “If you think this is a cult, then there’s something wrong with you”
“These are people who are dedicated to freedom,” he said, referring to the uniformly dressed and gender-segregated MEK members present in the hall. [1]
However, testimonies of the former members including Hassan Heyrani and Gholam Mirzai interviewed by BBC, confirms numerous testimonies made by other ex-members of the group. The entire evidences prove that the Mujahedin Khalq is a cult-like group if not a cult. However, many cult experts argue that the MEK is a cult in which lives of members are under daily threat and the cult itself is a threat for the outside world. Rick Alan Ross an American deprogrammer, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Cult Education Institute asserts: “The MEK fits well into the definition of cult”. [2] Here are reasons why the MEK should be considered a destructive cult listed by Rick Ross and confirmed by the testimonies of former members and journalists’ accounts of the group of which just a few examples are stated:
Mind Control (undue Influence): Manipulation by use of coercive persuasion or behavior modification techniques without informed consent. Hassan Heyrany told BBC of the leadership’s oppressive control of his private life inside the MEK.
The nadir of Heyrany’s life with the MEK an evening meeting he was obliged to attend, according to BBC. [3]
“We had a little notebook, and if we had any sexual moments we should write them down. For example, ‘Today, in the morning, I had an erection.'” [4]
Romantic relationships and marriage are prohibited by the MEK. It was not always like that – parents and their children used to join the Mujahideen. But after the bloody defeat of one MEK offensive by the Iranians, the leadership argued it had happened because the Mujahideen were distracted by personal relationships. Mass divorce followed. Children were sent away – often to foster homes in Europe – and single MEK members pledged to stay that way. [5]

Gulf war: fake pretext for Rajavi to separate children from their parents

Charismatic Leadership: Claiming divinity or special knowledge and demanding un-questioning obedience with power and privilege. Leadership may consist of one individual or a small core of leaders. In the MEK, the couple Masoud and Maryam Rajavi are the core of MEK’s cult of personality. Their leadership is so undisputed that no one dares to ask about the whereabouts of Massoud Rajavi who has been disappeared since 2003 and even his death was declared by Saudi prince Turkie Faisal in the group’s gathering in Paris.
“Rajavi and his wife are the defining role of authoritarian charismatic leadership that has become the focus, defining element and driving force of MEK,” Rick Ross says. “There are no checks and balances to their power, meaningful accountability or transparency.” [6]
Deception: Recruiting and fundraising with hidden objectives and without full disclosure of the use of mind controlling techniques; and the use of “front groups.”
MEK recruiters had their fraudulent techniques to recruit young Iranians looking for a better life outside Iran. They were promised to be granted European passports but their own ID cards were confiscated by the MEK as soon as they entered the group.
Once they are in the group, members are bombarded with fake news and propaganda about the outside world particularly Iran. They are constantly promised by the group leaders that the overthrow of the Iranian government is close. They are so isolated from the reality that cannot believe their eyes when they see an Albanian child talking on a mobile phone. According to the BBC report, Gholam Mirzai was astonished that even children had mobile phones. [6]

Moreover, several charity associations that in fact were front group of the MEK have been delegitimized by European states.
Exclusivity: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding activities and beliefs. The MEK’s internal relations were secret to the outside world until the early 2000s when a large number of members started defecting the group. The increasing process of defection resulted in huge revelations on the mysterious issues inside the MEK. Elizabeth Rubin of the New York Times Magazine, described the group’s Camp Ashraf in Iraq as “fictional world of female worker bees.” [7]
Alienation: Separation from family, friends and society, including a change in values and substitution of the cult as the new “family;” evidence of the subtle or abrupt personality changes. The latest example of an alienated member who was interviewed by BBC is Gholam Mirzai who has not seen his family for almost 40 years. “When Mirzai left to go to war against Iraq in 1980, he had a one-month-old son,” BBC reports. “After the Iran/Iraq war ended, his wife and other members of his family came to the MEK camp in Iraq to look for Mirzai. But the MEK sent them away, and told him nothing about their visit. This 60-year-old man never knew he was a much-missed father and husband until he made that first call home after 37 years.” [8]
“They didn’t tell me that my family came searching for me in Iraq,” he told BBC. “They didn’t tell me anything about my wife and son. All of these years I thought about my wife and son. Maybe they died in the war… I just didn’t know.” [9]
Exploitation: Can be financial, physical, or psychological; pressure to give money, to spend a great deal on courses or give excessively to special projects and to engage in inappropriate sexual activities, even child abuse. According to RAND report sponsored by the US Defense Department, members of the MEK are subjected to forced labor, sleep deprivation, mandatory celibacy. [10]
BBC’s account on the exploitation in the MEK states:

“Romantic relationships and marriage are prohibited by the MEK. It was not always like that – parents and their children used to join the Mujahideen. But after the bloody defeat of one MEK offensive by the Iranians, the leadership argued it had happened because the Mujahideen were distracted by personal relationships. Mass divorce followed. Children were sent away – often to foster homes in Europe – and single MEK members pledged to stay that way.” [11]

However, the most shocking issue on human rights abuses in the MEK is polygamy. Massoud Rajavi married dozens of female members of what is called the Elite Council in the MEK. He had sex with a large number of these women. The Guardian reported the horrible story of female victims of the MEK. Batul Soltani was sexually abused by Massoud Rajavi before she left the group. [12]

Batoul Soltani - MEK former member of the Leasership Council
Memoirs of Ms. Soltani ex- Member of PMOI’s Leadership Council

Besides, Female defectors Zahra Mirbagheri, Batul Soltani and Nasrin Ebrahimi revealed the list of a hundred women who underwent forced hysterectomy surgeries. They became barren under the order of the Rajavis. [13]
Totalitarian Worldview (we/they syndrome): Effecting dependence, promoting goals of the group over the individual and approving unethical behavior while claiming goodness. That’s why all defectors of the MEK are labeled as traitors and agents of the Islamic Republic. The group leaders indoctrinate the rank and file that “anyone who is not with us is against us”.
Hassan Heyrani, Gholam Mirzai and other defectors of the MEK –who live in Albania or any other side of the world speaking to the media about what they underwent in the cult-like system of the group—are accused of being spies of the Iranian Intelligence. [14]
“Now he scrapes by in the city, full of regrets and accused by his former Mujahideen comrades of spying for their sworn enemy, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” BBC write about Gholam Mirzai, the 60 year old former cult member. [15]
Rajavi’s totalitarian character allows him to have sex with dozens of female members of the group but members mustn’t even think about it.

By Mazda Parsi

References:
[1] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[2] MEK fits well into definition of cult, Mehr News Agency, February 8th, 2017
[3] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[4]ibid
[5] MEK fits well into definition of cult, Mehr News Agency, February 8th, 2017
[6] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[7] Rubin, Elizabeth, The Cult of Rajavi, The New York Times Magazine, July 13th, 2003.
[8] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[9] ibid
[10] Goulka, Jeremiah & Hansell, Lydia & Wilke, Elizabeth & Larson, Judith, The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq, A Policy Conundrum, National Defense Research Institute, August 4th, 2009.
[11] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[12] Merat, Aron, Terrorists, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild wild story of the MEK, The Guardian, November 9th, 2018.
[13] ibid
[14] Pressly, Linda & Kasapi, Albana, The Iranian opposition fighters who mustn’t think about sex, BBC News, November 11th, 2019.
[15] ibid

سرویس محتوا

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button