June 17th, 2003 is a landmark date in the history of the Mujahedin-e Khalq that exposes it as a cult of personality rather than an opposition group. The arrest of the she-guru of the Cult of Rajavi by the French Police created heart-breaking but at the same time enlightening scenes by which the world was able to observe the true substance of the MEK.
Following the arrest of Maryam Rajavi, the group commanders coerced members to protest against the act of French government against their leader. The excessive part of the protests was played by a dozen of members of the group who set themselves on fire to demonstrate their devotion to their arrested leader. 21 people set themselves on fire between June 17th to June 21st. Eventually, two of them were killed.
Neda Hassani, 27, and Sedigheh Mojaveri 44 were the two ones who committed self-immolation to pressure French Judiciary to release Maryam Rajavi and did not survive their violent act against themselves. Their names were added to the list of the MEK’s martyrs. A number of other MEK members such as Marzieh Babakhani, Hamid Orafa and Nader Sani survived but are still suffering the wounds of that organizational order. They are always glorified as role models for other members of the MEK, by the group leaders.
To stop those horrific scenes in European cities, the French Police freed Maryam Rajavi. Since that time, the incidents of June 2003, have been celebrated by the MEK as a victory. In its numerous annual events, the group’s propaganda machine overvalues its victory to liberate Maryam Rajavi from French jail. However, important lessons have been learned by sensible entities since June 17th, 2003.
The cult-like violent nature of the MEK
Suicide and its intimate partner violence are both major notions that characterize destructive cults. They both show an extreme tendency towards an ideology. For half a century, violence of the MEK has been changing from one form to another. It started with homicide of the American military advisors in Iran during the 1970s, it went on in the post-revolutionary years in Iran by detonating bombs in public places killing civilians, it continued in the anti-national war, by the side of Saddam Hussein and the cross border terrorist operation and it has been working against the group’s own rank and file, either to suppress dissent or to coerce the brainwashed members to set themselves ablaze.
Money Laundering for terrorist activities
On 16 June 2003 the French well-known anti-terrorist judge Jean Louis Bruguiere and his team, following a 14 hours interrogation that had started at 15.30 local time on 16 June 2003, issued a detention order accusing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella group of the MEK, at the time blacklisted as a terrorist group by the US, the EU of “terrorist activities, association with a terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations”. Shortly after 6 am on 17 June 2003 more than 1200 police forces launched a large operation to raid 13 MKO-run offices in Val-d’Oise and Yvelines, two quarters of the Parisian suburb. The main target was the office of the MEK at Auvers-sur-Oise. The Police arrested 164 suspected Mujahedin authorities as well as Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s self-nominated president-elect.
The French Government said it was trying to stop the group from expanding its operations in France. Nicolas Sarkozy, the then French Interior Minister, said that the order to crackdown on the MEK was decided following two years of investigations on the network. He said that MEK “recently wanted to make France its support base, notably after the intervention in Iraq. We cannot accept that”. The head of France’s domestic intelligence service, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, said the group was “transforming its Val d’Oise base … into an international terrorist base”.
The Police discovered and confiscated more than a million US dollars in 100 banknotes, 100.000 Euros, sophisticated communication equipment and computers. The sources of French Interior Ministry later reported that more than 8 million dollars in cash had been found in various offices of the MEK as well in the houses of its high-ranking officials throughout France.
MEK leaders and its high-ranking members fled Iraq after US invasion
In March 2003, following the collapse of the MEK’s main financial and military sponsor Saddam Hussein called by the MEK as Landlord, the group’s leaders and a lot of high-ranking commanders had secretly fled Iraq and settled in France within a few months. Thus, the news of the arrest of Maryam Rajavi and her comrades was shocking for members of the group in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. They could not believe their ears that Maryam and other commanders had left them behind, under the bombs of coalition forces. Maryam had departed Iraq even before the collapse of the landlord. Seemingly, she was looking for a new landlord.
Massoud Rajavi has disappeared since the date
June 17th, 2003 is the beginning of the two-decade absence of Massoud Rajavi. He has been never seen in public since then. Inside the group, nobody is allowed to ask about his whereabouts and outside the group, the journalists and researchers’ questions on Massoud Rajavi’s location or his being dead or alive will not be answered. The disappearance of Massoud Rajavi has amplified the aura of holiness around him, for the manipulated minds residing inside his Cult of personality. However, for those hostages of the group who endeavor to release themselves from the mind control system of the Cult of Rajavi, Rajavi’s absence has increased criticism and questions on his rulings and strategy.