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Mojahedin’s Mannerism against Opponents and Defectors

The friction between Mojahedin’s leadership and its rank and file, critics, as well as dissident members is totally idiosyncratic among all political organizations. The mannerism, due to the dogmatism that is infesting MKO’s methodology, is the outcome of the group’s totalitarianism in terms of political power and aims at elimination of all opposition forces or movements that might be a challenge to the organization. NCR was a turning point in the history of MKO that promised a peaceful coexistence of Mojahedin with other political movements. Unfortunately, after a short while and due to MKO hegemonic ambitions of Rajavi, the NCR failed to preserve its coherence and suffered a crushing dissolution. A brief look at the course of events of MKO up to 20 June 1981 and its continuous friction with other political movements is an evidence of the organization’s incompetence to establish durable contact with the outsiders. Such a reactionary feature has its roots in the fact that Mojahedin consider themselves an exception amongst others; an illusion that resulted in their total social and political isolation. Even they consider all political movements and internal and external opposition forces to be indebted to them for their existence.

Rajavi has his own opinion toward detached members that well represents his reactionary mentalities. Explaining on the emergence of critics and opponent members, Rajavi identifies them as such: “Biological actions and reactions of all living organisms involve absorption as well as excretion. As such, dissident members constitute the excrements of Mojahedin e-Khalq”. It is such a viewpoint that regulates the orientation and relations of Mojahedin with the outside world, critics, dissident members and even former members. The turning point of such a relationship was parallel to the development of the ideological revolution in MKO when, according to many former MKO members and Niyabati, the organization underwent fundamental changes. Prior to the ideological revolution, Mojahedin based their external relations on the necessity for overthrowing Iranian regime by the means of armed warfare; however, after the ideological revolution what determined the internal and external relations of MKO was the degree of blind obedience toward ideological leadership of Maryam and Massoud Rajavi. Such an ideological criterion made the internal relation of the MKO suffer an absolute metamorphosis. Niyabati elaborating on such a metamorphosis writes:

After the initiation of the ideological revolution, Mojahedin’s relations underwent a complete metamorphosis. Mojahedin’s quadrilateral relations changed into a trilateral one. On one side was situated Mojahedin-e Khalq Organizatio, at another stood Massoud and on the third was whatever refuted the two formers. Noting in between the two ends was legitimized. Here, an element of Mojahed was recognized by one criterion through which everything was assessed. From this point on, Mojahedin’s friends and enemies were not bilateral but trilateral. Friends of Massoud were friends of Mojahedin and his enemies were theirs (p.112).

The new criterion made former criteria, through which organizational qualifications of members were assessed, fade away. In fact, the organizational promotion that was based on the members’ past campaign records and their practical as well as theoretical qualifications was replaced by the blind submission to the ideological leadership:

He (a member metamorphosized by revolution) is nobody representing no individual value. Neither imprisonments under Shah or Sheikhs qualifies him nor the blood and smock of the internal combats. He is neither a fine orator nor has multitudes of academic degrees. He is not even a man! In a nutshell, he is devoid of former values for which Mojahedin considered themselves capable of leadership after the development of anti-monarchic revolution in Iran (p.115).

After such a fundamental metamorphosis, members criteria of qualification underwent a qualitative change. No longer was the criterion of qualification to bear with the problems and challenges of revolution but it was the degree of unquestionable demand of obedience to the leader:

Since then, the difference between a volunteer and an ordinary member was far more than that of the latter and a member of executive committee. Since then, organizational ranking was restricted to executive cadres. Since then, promotion was not via political and organizational qualifications but to prostrate before a woman. She was the first woman appointed as imam in the history of the Shiism and who was about to replace Hanif’s ideology with her own. (p.55)


Niyabati further elaborates:

From this point on, Mojahedin’s process of relations underwent a qualitative change. Prior to the ideological revolution, the ideological capabilities within MKO were defined in a hierarchical frame of relations. (p.116)

The approach inevitably resulted in the domination of a personal authority that led to a phase of gradual split the in organization:

The sole outcome and the logical result of such an valuable revolution was replacing the essentiality of recruiting forces with a policy of continuous repelling of forces as a result of Maximalist conduct towards members. The revolution discriminated between the revolutionary and mass forces and did its best to establish a micro ideological society. (p.116)

Of course, the inevitable internal backlashes necessitated especial techniques of control for the advancement of the process:

It goes without saying that without the fulfilment of the internal revolution and its specific controlling mechanisms, Mojahedin would be annihilated under the intolerable pressures during the recent years. (p.116)

However, Mojahedin in an attempt to maintain its hegemonic control over opponents and critics apply a variety of instruments and levers such as launching aggressive attacks against dissidents’ gatherings, spreading disinformation, and even indulges in acts of labeling, harassment and intimidation. Massoud Rajavi’s latest massage delivered nearly two months ago obviously represents MKO’s belligerent attitude adopted for controlling the opponents and former members. The red line Rajavi delineates to distinguish between a sympathizer and an opponent is not the Iranian regime but the extent of rejecting or submitting to his hegemony.


 All quotations are from Bijan Niyabati’s” Different Look at Mojahedin’s Internal Revolution”.

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