Although supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini had never sympathized with MEK elements, MEK’s enmity with the newly established government in Iran became acute when the head of this group was banned from running for presidential elections, which was followed by a heavy MEK loss at parliamentary elections in 1981. It was then that MEK started its terrorist activities in Iran; they bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which had won both the presidency and the parliament in landslide victories. The bomb killed Mohammad Beheshti, Head of Iran’s Judicial System who was also the party leader, as well as four cabinet ministers, plus 24 members of Parliament along with 43 other government officials and party members.
The MKO – listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community – fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq and was given a camp by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
They fought on the side of Saddam during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-88). They were also involved in the bloody repression of Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq in 1991 and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
The notorious group is also responsible for killing thousands of Iranian civilians and officials after the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979.
More than 17,000 Iranians, many of them civilians, have been killed at the hands of the MKO in different acts of terrorism including bombings in public places, and targeted killings.
The MKO also had a hand in the massacre of Kurds following the crushing of a 1991 uprising by Shiites in Iraq’s south and Kurds in the north, which was one of the most brutal acts of repression under Saddam Hussein.