While the objective of regime change in Iran has been seemingly firm since the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) came into conflict with the newly established Iranian government in the early 1980s, the strategy to achieve the objective has changed from time to time based on the circumstances.
Having been disarmed by the US army in 2003 –after the collapse of the MEK’s former sponsor Saddam Hussein– the propaganda campaign of the group became comprehensive. Today, various events including gatherings and demonstrations, publications and media are considered as the group’s most important strategic weapons. Meanwhile, social media has helped it with more intensive activity. However, it has not been so simple for the group to run its propaganda machine.
Having been described as a terrorist organization, MEK has endured efforts to change the world community’s view of them. They have worked vigorously to make connections with Western politicians, and organize press conferences, rallies and demonstrations in North America and Europe. Maryam Rajavi has hosted the so-called NCRI conferences in Washington DC, Paris, Brussels and now in Tirana, Albania.
The offensive multi-million-dollar lobbying campaign of the group has yielded some results. The campaign has offered them support from some American and European politicians. For the United States’ part, it allegedly includes representatives, senators, ex-generals, former ambassadors and current policymakers of all political stripes including former United States security adviser John Bolton and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudi Giuliani.
MEK also pays its guests large sums to speak at its rallies. It has been said that the group receives financial support from Saudi Arabia. Saudi speakers have participated in the group’s rallies, for instance Prince Turki al-Faisal, who is a former intelligence chief and diplomat attended and spoke in the group’s gathering in 2016.
The group also organizes demonstrations against Iran in several countries including Scandinavia. In the so-called demonstrations –that hardly ever comprise a dozen of participants– the group calls the West to isolate and put more pressure on the Iranian government through sanctions and even military actions.
In fact, the very famous proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is often used to understand the support of Western politicians for MEK. It is suggested that this is easiest way to irritate and pressure Tehran, and not necessarily an expression of a real belief that MEK is an alternative to the Iranian government.