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The MEK’s Ideological Revolution

The marriage of Masud Rajavi and Maryam Azdanlou

The ideological marriage of Maryam and Massoud [1984] and intra-organizational obligatory divorces [1988] constitute the strategic hallmarks of the ideological revolution within Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization [MKO] or the Mojahedin Cult as notoriously entitled. Although there is a five-year interval between the two events, ideological divorces are a complementary step to the marriage of Maryam and Massoud that deteriorated the status of family life in MKO. Mehdi Abrishamchi, Maryam Rajavi’s late husband, justifies the act of Maryam’s divorce from him and her remarriage to Massoud as removing the problem of family as a barrier in the way of Maryam and Massoud. It is the first time the structure of family life is put into challenge. He says:

Maryam had to be either unquestionably promoted to a high status in the organization released of any [conjugal] obligation, just like Massoud, and be totally devoted to revolution or had to give it up. Here, the simple issue of family was creating an incongruity.

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Another possibility that led the organization to mastermind and theatricalize such a show was to open a passage out of the encountered strategic cul-de-sac following the organization’s failure in overthrowing the Iranian regime on the one hand and to deter the possibility of any organizational split or demise on the other hand.

A larger number of MKO’s separated members especially in recent years have exclusively focused on the ideological revolution and the internal objectives Rajavi sought. In his review, Hadi Shams Haeri writes:

The so-called ideological revolution in 1985 that was much a cover for the strategic failure of the organization and a move aimed at averting accusations posed against Rajavi could not achieve all its objectives and acquit Rajavi completely. Therefore, it deemed necessary to find a scapegoat for the organizational failures and the strategic impasse. The plotted conspiracy against [Ali] Zarkesh was the continuation of the conspired [ideological] revolution in 1985. As such, we come to the conclusion that the other consequent ideological revolutions were in fact conspiracies in order to overcome the challenges at hand in every stage. [6]

A number of other former MKO members also evaluate the ideological revolution in the same way and believe that the ideological revolution was based on the mechanism of externalizing the internal contradictions within the organization and delineating a new line of relation based on an all-encompassing and blind obedience to Rajavi.

It is worth noting that nearly two years before the development of the ideological revolution and obligatory divorces, Rajavi held a completely different idea on intra-organizational marriages and the concept of family. Believing to be modeling on some legal, Islamic ideological creeds, he encouraged marriage and foundation of family as a revolutionary act. In summarizing his one-year struggle in armed phase, Rajavi has said:

In organizational reports, there are cases in which those members who have lost their wives or husbands in armed operations are so emotionally depressed that have declared they prefer to remain single for ever… But this is not a perfect and revolutionary idea since the Prophet, Islamic Imams and also all the reformers and revolutionary leaders of the world have denounced it. Therefore, the organization advises such members, and also the unmarried, to get married to anybody they will if possible. According to the Holy Quran and the doctrines of our ideological leaders, we have to consider the marriage as a part of our struggle not something to be thrown away.

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