Hadi Naseri Moghadam was in the Mujahedin Khalq for 15 years. He joined the group not as a political activist but as a young Iranian who wanted to immigrate to Europe.
Hadi was born in 1973, in Gorgan, Iran. When he was 27 years old, a human trafficker promised to smuggle him to Europe. Hadi wanted to travel to Turkey in order to open his way to move to Europe but the human trafficker convinced him to go to Iraq and to stay in the MEK’s military base in Iraq, Camp Ashraf. Hadi recounts, “I told him, ‘I do not feel like serving in a military base’, but he promised me that my stay in Camp Ashraf would be only six months”.
However, his stay in the MEK lasted 15 years, from 2000 to 2015. He illegally entered Iraqi territory through Kurdistan border. “When I arrived in the entrance unit of Camp Ashraf, I was received by a woman named Laya Khiabani who interviewed me,” Hadi describes his recruitment process in the MEK. “She asked me what motivated me to struggle. I had no answer. I had no political motivation. I told her that I had gone there to stay for six months and then I would go to Europe as the human trafficker had told me but Laya told me, ‘He is not a human trafficker. He is our agent to recruit people in Gorgan.’”.
Laya intimidated Hadi by reminding him that he had illegally entered Iraq. She told Hadi that he would be imprisoned by the Iraqi security forces in Abu Ghuraib prison if he wanted to leave the group. She also threatened him that he would be punished as a spy by the Iranian security forces if he tried to cross the border to get back to Iran. “I had no way to move backward or forward,” Hadi said. “I was stuck in a system that I could imagine no future for myself.”
Under the suppressive intimidating structure of the Cult of Rajavi, Hadi Naseri Moghadam was coerced to stay in the group until it was relocated in Albania. Hadi was moved from Iraq to Albania in 2015 and shortly after he left the group although the authorities still kept on threatening members from the free world, in Albania. “During the last days that I was in Iraq, I just knew that I would leave the group as soon as I resettled in Tirana,” he said. “Even though the group leaders had told us that we would be poor, hungry and homeless, looking for food in the trashcans in Albania, I was determined and I left the group. Then I found out that what they used to tell us was totally false.”
When Hadi left the MEK’s base in Tirana, he first called his mother after 15 years. “My family did not know if I was alive or dead,” he said. “I returned to Iran and joined my family here. I began to build the 15 years of my youth that was ruined by the MEK. I got married and I have a normal life now.”