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Maryam Rajavi and Camp Ashraf: Cult Hallmarks of MKO

As mentioned in the previous article, exaltation of self-immolation in the messages of MKO’s leaders is in fact an applied ploy to encourage members to commit suicidal operations for cult causes. The causes displayed as holy, their accomplishment requires ceaseless sacrifices on the part of members. Eric Hoffer, explaining on the glorification of terror acts by the cults states: “The holy terror only knows no limit and never flags”.

Terror-exaltation is not the chief approach manipulated by certain cults and Mojahedin in particular. In his few messages delivered from his hideout in the past recent years, Rajavi has particularly provoked continuation of suicidal operations as an emergency exit from the raised crisis. The self elected leader of Mojahedin has mainly focused on the preservation of two cult dynamics as the strategic guidelines in his messages, namely, Maryam Rajavi and Camp Ashraf. Calling on all the sympathizers of Mojahedin to fight in a united front against the EU for the removal of the terrorist tag, Rajavi in his message of March 25 stated:

At the present, it is a national duty on any Iranian and especially on our victorious opposition forces throughout the world to preserve two things which have turned to be two sides of the same coin. On one side rests a portrait of Maryam and on the other side, a perspective of Ashraf. I urge you one by one to struggle like Maryam and along with her day and night to mint the coin and achieve the end. [1]

There seems to be no need to explain what crucial and strategic roles Maryam and Camp Ashraf play in Mojahedin’s explicit cult relations. Regardless of their political potentialities to motivate and push the insiders forward, they represent the unequivocal manifestations of a much transcendental entity, Massoud Rajavi, who can never be fathomed unless through a deep comprehension of Mojahedin’s internal ideological revolution. It does require a high price which the members have to pay. He patterns Ashraf as a model for all European sympathizers to follow:

Adhere to Ashraf’s resistance forces and rise up ahead in line with phoenix of liberty (Maryam Rajavi) in any region in the country. [2]

It might seem too exaggerating an idea that a geographically isolate military camp might maintain so dynamic prerogative to instigate a national uprising. Beyond a geographical location, Ashraf has to be regarded as Mojahedin’s ideological receptacle or a synagogue of organizational teachings whereto all the sympathizers have to inevitably turn their attention to be ideologically inspired. In fact, Maryam and Ashraf have impressions far beyond two names; they are instruments with two internal and external functions. Internally, they are concepts to convey the cult commands concealed from the eyes and notice of the west. Externally, they are manipulated to keep the cult’s ideology dark to buy political legitimacy. Theorizing the external aspect, Mehdi Abrishamch explained:

Internationally, we intend to convince countries that we are the ones who represent Iranian people. Of course, in none of the international scenes the issue of ideology and political stances is ever discussed. Of the importance is to impose ourselves, on account of a sea of blood, as representing Iranian people. In the accomplishment of this strategic line, we must incubate how to benefit the existing conflicts between the imperialists. [3]

The organized gatherings and extravaganzas in Camp Ashraf with Rajavi’s coincidently delivered messages entirely rotate around cult and ideological instructions. In his latest message, Rajavi called on all sympathizers to adapt themselves to Ashraf’s capacities. It is a command for any sympathizer to be detached from his/her personality and to develop a personality of absolute devotion to the organization and leadership. Rajavi’s messages work as a powerful magnet to associated scattered particles of the cult, a common procedure in most cults of personalities. Expounding on the effacement of individual separateness, Eric Hoffer writes:

The effacement of individual separateness must be thorough. In every act, however trivial, the individual must by some ritual associate himself with the congregation, the tribe, the party, etcetera. His joys and sorrows, his pride and confidence must spring from the fortunes and capacities of the group rather than from his individual prospects and abilities. Above all, he must never feel alone. Though stranded on a desert island, he must still feel that he is under the eyes of the group. [4]

Then, the insiders’ submission to the leader and whatever he demands them in his presence and absence is the result of his full authority over them. The sympathizers’ ideological dependence on the organization has convinced them that there are eyes watching them all the time and they must be in constant association with other particles to form a whole. Now in the absence of the leader, Maryam and Ashraf are considered the pivotal axle around which the whole body of Mojahedin rotates; they are the strategic red lines that nobody is permitted to transgress.


[1]. Massoud Rajavi’s Message delivered on March 25.

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. Revolutionary Diplomacy vs. Liberal Diplomacy and open, anti-revolutionary policies, p. 12.

[4]. HOffER, ERIC; The True Believer, Harper &. Row Publishers, New York, 1966, p. 61.

Bahar Irani, Mojahedin.ws, October 19, 2007

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