Indoctrination of Suicidal Operations in MKO

A scrutiny into the internal relations of the cults, especially in their leaders’ manner of conveying orders to the members while they are absent, reveals that most of these orders are issued indirectly through tokens and expressions incorporated in the messages. But of course these tokens and expressions are thoroughly discussed and apprehended in a conducted series of inter-organizational instruction meetings. In the terrorist cult of Mojahedin-e Khalq, as it might be in other cults, it has been a preferably common approach at least for the last few years to prepare the members psychologically for unexpected and unplanned operations instead of giving direct commands. Nearly two decades before Mojahedin’s members first committed self-immolations in a number of the western countries in June 2003, Massoud Rajavi in his message delivered on the occasion of his marriage with Maryam Azodanlou (Maryam Rajavi) mentioned the suicidal self-immolations as indications of devotion and ideological loyalty:

I avouch once more that self-immolation and suicidal feats prove inferior compared with that redemption and sacrifice. As for Mojahedin at the present, self-sacrifice is the least they can do. From that day on, I saw no Mojahed and read no report unless they volunteered and dedicated for suicidal operations. Of course, it is not suicide but freedom and redemption. We are forerunners of vehemence regardless of how many innocent Iranians might be sacrificed. [1]

At the same meeting, Rajavi announced members’ preparedness for committing self-immolation which specifically indicated a coded revolutionary message:

Any reborn Mojahed carries certain codes and manners. I found identical codes and manners in anybody and any letter I encountered that day coming from inside or outside of the country; they all volunteered for suicidal operations, and each insisted to be the first. [2]

Ebrahim Khodabandeh, a detached member of MKO, reiterates that such modus operandi is common cult-like practices applied by majority of cults. The members are provoked to carry out feats rather than being given direct orders. As he instances in the case of his own arrest, the organization attempted to provoke his daughter to commit self-burning:

On some occasions, the organization refrains to issue direct orders; the members are instigated if they are to be indulged in an activity. He is made to believe he has made a self-generated decision. They never tell somebody, for example, to set himself on fire; they say ‘if I were you, I would set myself on fire’…. When I was arrested in Surya and were sent to Iran, the organization made an instant call to my daughter in London telling him I was under torture and was to be executed soon. They told him ‘if we were you, we would go before the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and set ourselves on fire’. [3]

The wave of Mojahedin’s self-immolations in June 2007 in objection to Maryam Rajavi’s arrest by French police is the most explicit instance of cult activities practised by MKO. In contrast to the claims made by Maryam Rajavi that the parade of the human torches in Western countries was a matter of abrupt and self-initiated outburst, there are evidences that, as mentioned, a great number of members, through a showy avalanche of letters, volunteered for suicidal and self-burning operations as a proof of their yielding to the ideological revolution. In fact, the idea of self-immolation was first infused into the members by the leaders; it worked as a code for the members to endorse and follow.

Again and again Maryam Rajavi warns the Western states that self-immolations and suicidal operations are potential leverages to confront them against their legally adopted policies against Mojahedin. In a lecture addressing members, she maintained that such operations were consequent revolutionary accomplishments maintained by Mojahedin, and Massoud Rajavi was the only element who could deter perpetration of these operations:

Of the greatest accomplishments of your move was to make all came to know that it was only by the order of Massoud that you made no reaction when we headed for Iraq. You know well that you were all ready to disturb cities through your opposition. But it seems that your quiescence and the strict discipline led them to miscalculation. However, they had to make corrections the following year, and this year they might have learned a good lesson that it was only for Massoud’s command that we could confront them, a fact they are well aware. [4]

Heavily propagated by Mojahedin’s publications following Mojahedin’s first ideological revolution, self-burnings were highly approved as instances of heroic deeds. Published by Mojahedin’s organs we read:

Of the brilliant manifestations of Mojahedin’s loyalty and devotion that highlight the golden pages of Mojahedin’s heroic chapter are countless urges by members and sympathizers for self-burning as a means of displaying opposition and disclosure of the dictatorial intrigues. [5]

It should be pointed out that indoctrination of these suicidal operations is beyond limitations of boundaries; both Camp Ashraf residents and those active in Western countries equally receive persuading instructions:

The volunteers of the revolutionary self-burnings and similar suicidal operations consist both those who live in military camps and fight in forefronts of struggle against the regime and those who in different countries enthusiastically pursuit the accomplishment of Iranian’s modern revolution. [6]

Based on the mentioned facts, it can be concluded that committed suicidal operations by Mojahedin’s members are organizational indoctrinations. In fact, such feats are deliberately plotted cult-like ploys to fulfil the leaders’ ambitions. Applied in the same way as other cults, Mojahedin manipulate a variety of techniques and use impressive terms like heroic deeds, sacred and holy operations and a lot more to persuade members to commit suicidal operations. While denying any given command for such inhuman, abominable and cult-like deeds, Massoud Rajavi in his message acclaims self-burning operations and hails the victims:

Hail to Sedigheh and Neda, the two blazing torches and ever-glaring lights of freedom, and other 23 blazing heroes in 10 countries…. [7]



[1]. Mojahed No. 253, Massoud Rajavi’s speech made on the occasion of his marriage with Maryam Azodanlou, 1975.

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. The lecture delivered by Ebrahim Khodabandeh at the Symposium of the Link between Cults and Terrorism held in Isfahan on October 2006.

[4]. Muslim Students Association’s Gazette No. 127.

[5]. Ibid.

[6]. Ibid.

[7]. Massoud Rajavi’s message delivered in July 2007. –  Bahar Irani  – October 16, 2007

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