The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (People’s Mujahedin of Iran also known as MEK, MKO or PMOI) was formed on the basis of Marxism and Islam; later Islam was removed from MEK’s doctrine . This group, established in 1965 in a bid to overthrow the Shah, harbored an anti-Western and anti-U.S. ideology. They also formed alliances with other Iranian Marxist groups such as the Organization of Iranian People’s Fedai Guerrillas.
But both of them had a marginal role in the Shah’s overthrow during the Islamic Revolution which was mainly fought by the supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini. MEK leaders were mostly imprisoned by the Shah’s security apparatus and couldn’t play a direct role in the 1979 Revolution.
Due to their intense anti-American approach, MEK killed many US officials, including three officers who had been military advisors under the Shah and three civilian contractors working in Iran. They also kidnapped the US Ambassador to Iran. They were the main elements for occupying the US embassy in Tehran, and when the embassy staff were released they called it a”surrender”.
The MKO has also made numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks over the past four decades, about 12,000 have fallen victim to the terrorist group’s acts of terror.
Based on these facts, US State Department put the MEK on their list of international terrorist organizations on October 8, 1997. Since 2010, this terrorist group’s henchmen have assassinated four senior nuclear scientists in Iran.
Later, it was revealed by a 2012 NBC News report that MEK’s brutal assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists has been committed via”training and arming by Israel’s secret service”. The report also conveyed that what was being said by US officials confirmed the same”charges leveled by Iran’s leaders” about the Israeli involvement in the killings in Iran.
Later it was revealed that the US was also behind these terrorist assassinations by provided intelligence to the MEK. Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in an interview with Democracy Now that the Bush administration secretly trained the Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorist group when it was still included on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Writing for The New Yorker magazine, Hersh reported that:
“The US Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005.”
Later it was revealed that this training was held at Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, located about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Human rights abuses in MEK camps also included physical abuse, lack of exit options, forced celibacy, emotional isolation, extremely degrading peer pressure, forced labor, sleep deprivation, intense ideological exploitation and isolation.