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The Cult of Mojahedin; Fit to Be an Alternative?

The anatomy of the contemporary political build indicates that the U.S has been always using oppositions as an internal tool in order to maintain its presence in other countries. Following a new doctrine named neocolonialism as a modern colonization, this policy has even encouraged some expansionist countries to use the oppositions as the tool in some cases. Adopting this policy mostly contributes to the abolition of various systems such as direct interference, military revolts, conducting campaigns based on true or false pretexts, and changes in military and political equilibriums and relations. InThe Cult of Mojahedin;Fit to be an Alternative? contrast to the past when the U.S replaced Alende and the Chile’s legitimate government with Pinochet using direct military coup d’etat, today they replace seemingly democratic alternatives with governments and dictators under the pretext of the development of democracy or by using similar tools that are likely to be even more appealing to the public. Considering whether the U.S is in all honesty and what is lying behind, is not the subject of this article, but is to consider the various aspects of how much the U.S can count on the oppositions such as Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO/MEK/PMOI) in order to subvert the Islamic Republic.

There are many instances of the US’s neo-colonialism meddling the last of which is the Iraq’s crisis; it would not be wrong to say that the existing crises in Iraq rocketed as a result of Ahmad Chalabi’s providing the US with disinformation. Not taking this case into consideration, yet there are discords within the U.S administration disputing whether to use the oppositions as a tool. In the present article it has been tried to evaluate the contingencies and hypotheses about the subject based upon the opposition’s current conditions and the U.S strategic aims in the region. Before any further discussion, it has to be pointed out that there are some factors and criterions that each opposition group should met to be appraised as an instrumental opposition by the US in the accomplishment of the objectives.

Now it has to be investigated that does MKO meet these standards to become a liable alternative to aid the US achieve its aims concerning Iran? These factors and criteria can be enumerated as the follow:

1. Having a sense of affinity with American political idealism

2. Holding a minimum of internal legitimacy

3. Being a reliable and trustful group

4. Having records of preceding collaboration with the US

5. Benefiting an international legitimacy

6. A minimum obligation of respecting the principles of human rights

7. Holding democratic capacity

8. Taking unambiguous position toward the left and Marxism

9. Standing by moral and ethical obligations

It is certain that these factors are contemplated outwardly whereas there are probably some other factors and unwritten parameters lying behind. For the present we just want to see to what degree MKO meet each of the mentioned criteria.

Having a sense of affinity with American political idealism

Considering the prolongation of the U.S interests as the first proviso of choosing an alternative, the most important proviso for the U.S or any other state is its affinity with that alternative in both politics and thoughts. In the past (dividing camps into Eastern and Western or capitalism and communism), The US was always seeking the choices which were inclined to be perceptible close in politics and thoughts with capitalism. This attitude was being adopted as opposed to leftist and radical tendencies regarding capitalism. It is worth mentioning that MKO from the very beginning recognized the US as the symbol of the capitalist camp and an imperialist. Besides, MKO ideologically considered imperialism opposing to its eclectic ideology and believed imperialism was historically doomed to annihilation.

In their early pamphlet and leader’s speeches Mojahein-e Khalq strongly denounced imperialism and capitalism. Being tried in Pahlavi’s court after his arrest, Massoud Rajavi in his testimonies stated that:

… most of the world’s problems had been created by imperialism; that the developing countries were exploited by Western banks and multinational corporations; and that the United States was propping up reactionary regimes in Vietnam, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. He continued by arguing that US imperialism was undoubtedly the main enemy of Iran, in part because it had overthrown Mosaddeq, and in part because it had armed the bloodthirsty regime that had perpetrated the crimes of June 1963. ‘Thus’, Rajavi insisted, ‘the main goal now is to free Iran of US imperialism.’ [1]

The state department of the U.S. in its first report on The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran in 1994 openly discussed the group’s ideology:

The MKO’s embrace of armed struggle flows from the group’s ideology. Its conceptual framework was painstakingly developed through years of study and discourse and aggressively disseminated throughout Tehran. A renowned scholar of the Mojahedin defines the group’s ideology as:”a combination of Muslim themes: Shi’a notions of martyrdom: classical Marxist theories of class struggle and historical determinism: and neo-Marxist concepts of armed struggle, guerrilla warfare and revolutionary heroism.”8 The adoption of Marxist tenets distinguished the Mojahedin from other Iranian opposition movements: the Mojahedin argued that the struggle against the Shah was part of a larger struggle against imperialism led by the,”world-devouring”United States. [2]

In fact, both the U.S. and Mojahedin are well aware of each other’s political and ideological orientation, that is, Imperialism and anti-Imperialism respectively. Therefore, it is self-evident that the U.S. never submits to the selection of its antithesis as an alternative and MKO hardly meets the first criterion.

Holding a minimum of internal legitimacy

In today’s international political relations, no legitimate alternative can lead on unless winning a minimum of public support. That is just the case with Iraq’s today situation. Therefore the U.S has to rely on an opposition that is in a relatively good position among the public. In addition it would be much more appreciated if the opposition is having a good position among intelligentsias and the educated class. In Iran, for sure, MKO is not the least supported by people in spite of falsely made claims. Based on the U.S. State Department’s report of 30 April,2007, Mojahedin suffer the loss of social support among Iranian people as well as other political opposition parties in Iran and abroad:

Following its participation in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the group rapidly fell out of favor with the Iranian people. The new Iranian government under Supreme Leader Khomeini systematically arrested and targeted many MEK members, causing most MEK leadership to flee to Europe. [3]

In addition, Yan Richard, an Islamic scholar in I.F.R.I centre of France, expounds on the position of Mojahedin in Iran and writes:

Very much a fringe movement on the Iranian political scene, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran have always demonstrated their incapacity to take power by classical democratic means (votes, electoral campaigns, etc,). In their political logic, there is no other way to achieve their goal but by revolution, just as Mao foresaw. [4]

Exactly under the eyes of many westerners, MKO started a bloody chapter in Iran’s contemporary history following declaration of an armed struggle since it could not tolerate a widespread public rejection. It is still under illusion to gain what has long lost:

In their frenzied rejection of what they were politically and of the things they did in the context of their fight, the Mojahedin are trying to recreate a long lost virginity. They want to appear to public opinion as acceptable and legitimate. It is precisely this legitimacy that they lack in Iran. So they do everything to find it, especially in Europe. Yet they still have to jettison a heavy past. It betrays them in the present and echoes down the future. [5]

A variety of Investigations have been done on the position of MKO among Iranian intelligentsias and technocrats; there is a consensus that for sure would not be the alternative. A casual glance at the opposition-run media outside the country reveals that in case there would be any change in Iran, the Iranian demands would be far above the capacity of MKO to fulfil. Besides, there is a general belief that the life of ideological regimes like that of MKO has ended in Iran forever As a result, it is evident that the US will never turn to such an illegitimate and cultist opposition as a capable alternative.


1. ERVAND ABRAHAMIAN; The Iranian Mojahedin, Yale University Press New Haven and London, p. 134.

2. The US State Department Report on The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, by Kenneth Katzman. Washington, Nov 1992. 6 p.

(Doc. call no.: M-U 42953-1 no.92-824F)

3. The U.S. state department report on 30 April.

4. Gessler, Antoine; the autopsy of an ideological drift, p. 116.

5. Ibid, p. 62.


Research Bureau – Mojahedin.ws – May 3, 2008

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