She was born in Saint Diego, the US, in 1980. Her father Hassan Nayeb Agha and her mother Mitra Yusefi were sympathizers of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO, MEK, PMOI, Cult of Rajavi). Then, the parents took Mahtab and her brother Shahab to Camp Ashraf, Iraq to join the MEK.
It was difficult or almost impossible to live a family life in Camp Ashraf. Members of the families lived in separated bases and they were just allowed to meet each other in the weekends. In one of these family visits, the eight-year-old Mahtab was asked by her mother if she is happy with that life style. “Soon her shiny eyes became teary and she wanted to hide it,” her mother Mitra writes in her book.
Mitra recalls the day that Mahtab was hospitalized in the camp’s clinic because of an illness. “The girl asks mommy will you stay with me or you go?” Mitra writes. “I replied: Oh, honey! of course I stay. Trying to make her understand our relationship, I said: I am you mother.”
However, the life in the organization distresses Mahtab with sadness and grieves of other children; she has friends who have lost their parents in the group’s operations. Now, they have “fake mothers” whom they do not love, as Mahtab tells her mother who replaces the term with “ideological mother” in the book.
In 1990, Mahtab and her brother were separated from their parents and were sent to Europe together with hundreds of other MEK children. Mahtab and Shahab were adopted by a couple, Soheila and farhad, who were friends of their parents, in Sweden.
After the MEK leaders forced members to divorce Mitra started conflicting the leaders and asked to leave the group. It took her a year to leave Iraq and join her children in Sweden, in 1991. She began to write the book of her life experience of which a large part is about the complications and the troubles the MEK imposed on her and her family.
In page 314 of the dairy book, Mitra Yusefi writes about the nightmares that Mahtab suffered from as the consequence of the years of separation from parents and loneliness. “Mahtab sometimes get angry and cries about the stress she suffered during those years,” she writes.
In Mahtab’s nightmares, everyone has left Iraq except her who has been left there alone. Besides, somewhere in the book Mitra cites Mahtab as saying “I dreamed that you had to leave us to get back to Iraq”.
The mother, Mitra, tried her best to convince her husband, Mahtab’s father, Hassan, to leave the MEK and join his family in Sweden but she failed. The only result of her efforts was that the MEK media call her the agent of the Islamic Republic. Hassan is still a commander of the MEK and is not allowed to contact his family.
“I wish she was wise enough to choose another life, an accessible life,” Mitra writes about Hassan and grieves of Mahtab and Shahab in the absence of their father. “I wish he preferred a normal life that would not impose that much suffering and pain on his children.”