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Iranian Opposition and the Tremulous State of the Alternative

The relation of MKO and other opposition groups is one of the main challenges Mojahedin have been faced with from the beginning of their formation. Despite all the efforts made during the last three decades, not only such a problem has not been solved but also the existing crises have been intensified. The main elements leading to the friction can be viewed from different angles. However, it has to be pointed out that the main factor is mental and political structure and ideology of Mojahedin. A brief look at the charter of the National Council of Resistance (NCR) and the borderlines drawn between Mojahedin and other opposition groups may easily get to the bottom of frictions.

The fact is that disregarding all political disagreements and strategic deviations, the ideological orientation of Mojahedin is the major barrier in the way of their interaction, sympathy and cooperation with other oppositions. The hegemonic nature of the organization is another reason that prevents other political allies to have any active cooperation and engage in any criticism of the decision-makings and tactics adopted by the organization. Mojahedin’s intrinsic totalitarian spirit has already resulted in the separation of early allies of NCR. It has to be pointed out that the given reasons by all ex-members of NCR for their separation are the already mentioned totalitarianism and monopolistic feature of Mojahedin in general and Masoud Rajavi in particular rather than political disparities which are known to be a common phenomenon in collective political activities. As such, NCR has suffered a great qualitative and quantitative loss in recent years.

The book The ups and downs of the National Council of Resistance contains numerous statements and testimonies made by former MKO members all clarifying the causes of the failure of council and its splinter. Although Mojahedin continuously try to recruit new members, the prerequisites for joining are so strict that hardly anybody is interested in joining. Such a disinterest was augmented due to anti-nationalistic actions of Mojahedin to the point that opposition groups began to criticize MKO as traitors who have betrayed Iranian people and the national interests.

Beside ideological dogmatism and hegemonic idealism, Mojahedin in two phases acted reprehensibly to the point that led to the withdrawal of NCR’s main alliances. Mojahedin’s collaboration with Saddam, a corrupt invader who attacked Iran dreaming to annex the main Iranian Khuzestan Province, resulted in pushing the organization to isolation with none of other opposition groups daring to play the role of co-conspirator. But even the fall of Saddam failed to convince MKO to take a different strategy and follow a logical way. Being deprived of using the Iraqi soil and its logistics, Mojahedin have resolved to rely on a new version of dependence on foreign levers all around the world. Now the globally proscribed terrorists began to feel worry about the global peace by alleging that Iran’s nuclear projects proliferated nuclear weapons for military causes. The least objective was to intensify the already existing tension between Iran and the West and the U.S. in particular to ignite the fire of a new war in the region. The position taken by other opposition parties concerning the nuclear activities of Iran was a hint to the fact that they were in full disagreement with Mojahedin who once more proved to have made a conspicuous folly acting as mercenaries for the aliens rather than taking the nation’s side.

Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani, the most radical and left activist and one of the early members of NCR, not only blamed Mojahedin and accused them of being traitors but also stated that in case of any U.S. invasion, he considered it a patriotic duty to defend the integrity of Iranian soil regardless of political differences. Mojahedin’s political campaign mainly rides on escalating tensions between the US and Iran in a hope to encourage military conflict. Nominating itself as the sole resistance force, MKO supposes that its violent policy-making has to be submitted by all other opposition groups. Therefore, it is evident that any opposition group reluctant to surrender to the hegemony of Mojahedin has to acknowledge its political defeat and withdraw from the preferably recommended armed struggle long led by MKO to topple Iranian regime.

When all approaches prove to be unproductive, the last option is armed struggle and none of the detached alliances from MKO can ever find another alternative the same as MKO to join. The fact is that opposition groups cannot adapt themselves to the ideological teachings of Mojahedin. Beside Mojahedin’s anti-nationalist nature, even their pretentious leftist inclination to attract leftist allies is an issue of great hypocrisy. The contradictions are due to deep political and ideological gaps between Mojahedin and other opposition groups and also result from the orientation of Mojahedin toward anti-democratic and cultist relations. Fada’ian-e Khalq guerillas dismiss Mojahedin as a cult that utilizes whatever suppressive measures against opponents:

Regarding democratic freedom, the cult recognizes no other identity and ideology but that of itself. In the narrow world of the cult and its international relations, everything is ready to punish dissidents. It uses prison, torture, hidden executions, and other aggressive actions against its ideological dissenters. Now the twentieth century nearing its end, it is a blemish on humanity.

Mojahedin cannot tolerate Monarchists and republicans as well as leftist opposition that repel them. But they keep at a borderline not to look hostile so they will keep their controlling hegemony if other oppositions succeeded in overthrowing the Iranian regime. In the past two years, the least possibility of forming alliance with other oppositions has sank to zero as Mojahedin’s hostile siding with the US against Iran has soared to a critical point.

Mojajedin’s efforts in making an instrumental use of the U.S. resulted in the separation of all their allies and now they have to undergo an all-out and shameful isolation. The lack of social support on the one hand and their passivity amongst oppositions on the other hand followed by prudence on the part of the U.S. to reconsider invasion to Iran has confronted Mojahedin with ever-increasingly crises. Regarding their present conditions, it is clear that such challenges are to be continued. Now MKO’s claim of being the sole democratic alternative is nothing beyond pointless advertisements listened to only by a trivial number of misled sympathizers. 

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