Since the presidency of Jimmy Carter up to now, one of the main factors the US relies on for any supposed alternative to assume another country’s political control is the least ostensible evidences of adhering to universal declaration of human rights. In fact, it has turned into a seemingly legal bound that the US has adopted when planning to interfere in internal affairs of a country or regimes’ change. For instance, the US invasion to Iraq was under the banner of combating terrorism and preventing violation of human rights by the ousted despotic there. As a result, a certain alternative has to be necessarily respecting the least accepted international conventions on human rights and be free of any stigma of human rights abuse.
Considering itself an alternative, MKO, in spite of chanting slogans, hardly believes in and adheres to the principles of human rights. Reportedly, the organization is notoriously known to be abusing its insiders through a various instances of human rights violations. Reported by Human Rights Watch, “abuses carried out by MKO leaders against dissident members ranged from prolonged incommunicado and solitary confinement to beatings, verbal and psychological abuse, coerced confessions, threats of execution, and torture that in two cases led to death”. 1
The abuse techniques varied according to the group’s shift of policies. For instance, following the internal ideological revolution, divorce of married couples and gender revolutions became complementary. It is worth noting that before divorce revolution, members were said to marry each other to compensate for emotional problems of those members losing their partner in the military assault of the so-called Eternal Light. Moreover, in divorce revolution, couples were forced to give pledge never remarry. Such actions by MKO turned it into an extremist religious cult exceeding human rights.
The US is well aware of the violation of human rights within Mojahedin as well as its terrorist inclinations and the fact that leftist groups cannot abide by the content of international conventions adopted to stop violations against human. The reason is that the universal human rights declaration is mainly based on liberalist and humanist thoughts and considers human rights regardless of the type of ideology, religion, nationality, ethnic characteristics, class, etc. Mojahedin can hardly adapt themselves to the thought since it is under heavy Marxist dogmatism explicitly apparent in its adopted eclectic ideology.
Beside evident instances of human rights violations, Mojahedin have abused strong humanistic sentiments of the Europeans under the cover of charity associations with the purported aim of supporting Iranian children and asylum seekers. By gaining the sympathy of ignorant people and extracting money from them, Mojahedin managed to collected considerable amount of money to finance its terrorist operations. Reported by the LA Times quoting the FBI:
MKO members in the name of a Charity Committee for the Defence of Human Rights collected money from passengers, mostly Asians, under the false pretences of helping refugees. They showed the photos of children suffering from hunger and apparently victims of mistreatment and torture in Iran. In this way, they gained the sympathy of passengers by telling them that they want the money to help the refugees.” 2
The main focus of MKO former members is on the organization’s false claims as to its adherence to human rights conventions and at the same time exploiting members. Ann Singleton, an MKO ex-member writes:
One of the main criticisms of former members of the Mojahedin, concerns the internal structure of the organisation. It is described as operating an iron discipline over its members, to the extent of practicing serious violations of human rights in an attempt to make members conform. 3
In some cases, responsible organizations have been denied to have access to accurate information of human abuses within MKO since it could face the organization with global challenges. Referring to Amnesty International Annual Report, Singleton writes:
Amnesty International in its 2002 Annual Report, being unable to investigate in the Mojahedin’s headquarters and camps in Iraq, the hundreds of accusations of human rights abuses which had reached its office, resigned itself to stating: “There were unconfirmed reports that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, an armed political group, ill-treated its own members at a base in Iraq. The reports were denied by the organization but it failed to provide substantive information to allay AI’s concerns. 4
MKO former members refer to the organizational and ideological structure of Mojahedin as a factor contributing to anti-humanistic actions of the organization. Their testimonies are well appraised evidences of disrespecting the least human rights principles within the group:
The greatest concerns then as regards the Mojahedin are firstly, that membership of any cult is damaging to the mental, physical and emotional health of all its members. In addition, membership of this particular cult deprives the person of every basic human right as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 5
Singleton also expounds on the paradoxical nature of organization mottos on the one hand its activities resulting in the violation of absolute rights of the members on the other hand as the reason why many members separated from MKO:
These are surely disturbing reports concerning an organisation which presents itself as the foremost critic of Iran’s human rights record, and an organisation which purports to promote women’s rights and democracy. It has become clear that most of those who have left did so because they were loyal to their understanding of what the Mojahedin organization originally represented. The fact is that Rajavi moved the organisation away from its original form and made it into something unrecognisable for these people. It is they who have remained loyal to the Mojahedin, not Rajavi. 6
Human rights watch report, the US State Department announcement, former MKO member’s testimonies and many other unquestionable evidences indicate that Mojahedin do not recognize the content of universal human rights declaration neither ideologically nor practically. If such an organization that violates the basic human rights of its members under the banner of ideological revolution and cultist relations manages to assume power, not only the present challenges of the US and other European countries fail to be met but it may result in an overall political and social blockade.
1. No Exit: Human Rights Abuses in the MKO Camps, Human Rights Watch Report, May 2005
2. Nimrouz, No. 628, March 10, 2000, page 1 and 49.
3. Iran-Interlink; Anne Singleton’s Saddam Private Army.
Mojahedin.ws, Research Bureau, May 14, 2008