Implementation of Violence in the Cult of Mojahedin: Targets of Violence
In its past four decade history, MKO, as a leftist terrorist cult similar to a handful of other cults, has been allegedly associated with numerous recorded or unrecorded instances of tragic deaths, either in the course of terrorist operations, tortures, suicides and commanded self-immolations. The highly publicized cases have convinced the public that MKO is among one of extremist cultic groups that are highly dangerous. Although there may be little global understanding about the real nature of MKO, since now it is engaged in a widespread phony pro-democratic campaign, it is a cult that fails to exist outside of the violence mainstream. For a better understanding of the modes and targets of violence within MKO, the discourse can be outlined as the follow.
1. Terrorist victims as the main targets of violence
2. Sever reprimand of disobedient and dissident members
3. Hostile repercussion against ideological sinners
4. Cultic, suicidal operations
Terrorist victims as the main targets of violence
There is a general belief that cults are dangerous either to themselves or others. But the most dangerous ones are those that employ violence not only against the world outside but the inside as well. MKO, unlike other Iranian opposition, has never refrained preaching violence for the accomplishment of internal and external objectives. In its primitive form of utilizing violence soon after declaring armed struggle against the newly formed Islamic government in Iran, MKO started a new method calling it Engineering Operation, a barbarous method to revenge their loss in the power struggle. The group began to kidnap innocent Iranian civilians and exposed them to merciless tortures that led to their death.
To give a report of its operation teams only in a one-year period, considered a hallmark of its military operations in 1987, the organization published a 54-page booklet entitled Resistance on the Rise that contains a detailed account of more than 20 terrorist operations perpetraited by its teams in various Iranian regions and cities. In these attacks, Mojahedin’s operation teams killed and wounded hundreds of Iranian innocent civilians. Although the teams targeted many Iranian authorities, whom Mojahedin believed to have a key role in safeguarding and preserving the Islamic regime, nothing could justify brutal butchering of innocent women and children and arson attacks.
To present a record of Mojahedin’s atrocities against immaculate civilians and to depict plights of people survived from the group’s felonies, Antoine Gessler, the celebrated Swiss reporter, in 2005 published A Shared Pain. Through a display of grievous photographs and the victim’s testimonies, a variety of violent tactics employed by MKO to establish freedom and democracy for Iranians are well illustrated.
Sever reprimand of disobedient and dissident members
MKO settlement in Iraq while two neighboring countries were still at war completely split it from the world to develop use of unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control to advance the Rajavi’s cultic objectives. MKO’s camps soon turned into physically and psychologically abusive environments that harmed members and required them all never to question, criticize, disobey or distrust the Rajavis known to be the ideological parents and who were self-promoted to a status similar to that of a celestial being.
Being totally backed by Saddam, MKO did not hesitate to benefit the notorious Abu-Ghuraib, as well as the inbuilt lockups, to silence the opponent and disobedient members and even let them experience its unbearable condition for a while. Mohammad Hussein Sobhani, a former member of the group is one among many whom experienced the torments of the both prisons. His memoirs are published in a volume called Abu-Ghuraib Prison. There are much more physical and psychological techniques to reprimand them.
Scourging the dissidents was most common within the organization. Critics and dissidents were trounced by cables not only to punish them but also to instill ideological teachings into them. Human Rights Watch report under the title of No Exit, which was published to give a report of human rights abuses inside the MKO camps, is an explicit evidence of aggressive practices in the group. Explaining the process of repression on the insiders, Norooz-Ali Rezvani, an ex-member, has averred:
In Rajavi’s system, none of the utilized forms of physical and psychological violence is observed to be a means of punishment and torture and not a bad thing at all. That is because all is done to retrieve leadership’s rights. They believe that we [members] have violated leadership’s rights by rejecting to submit to Rajavi’s absolute leadership which justifies shedding our blood. Above that, the hasher they did the punishment, the closer they could get to the leader and, thus, the ranks closer to leader showed more violence in castigating the dissidents and prisoners. Of the most common means of penalization in most prisons is pounding prisoners by cables; Rajavis prisons were no exception but one. There they would use it on prisoners’ heads as well as a technique of thought reform. They believe that it is the thought rather than the body that makes the dissidents. The deepest wounds would heal after long but the spoiled thought never heals but has to be reformed so the head has to be pounded to destabilize psychological balance. Once Rajavi ironically said, when I rejected his revolution, to pound my head in a mortar so I could come to my mind to accept sister Maryam’s revolution. 1
The organization that is making strenuous efforts to posture a pro-democratic alternative for Iranian regime fails to respect the least democratic principles in its own internal relations and affairs that are absolutely concealed from the notice of the outside world. Nobody has the right neither to question the organization nor to doubt the accuracy of the made decisions. The members live under an atmosphere of severe repression and their only choice is to submit to whatever they are commanded to do; otherwise they have to suffer the backwash of their dissidence and disobedience:
Mojahedin repeatedly talk of democracy but there could be seen no sign of democracy in the camp wherein I was kept. Hardly anybody willed to stay since they were under severe pressure and even thrashing. Morteza Yusefi, for instance, was not physically fitting for the enforced trainings and stopped them. They hit him with batons in his sleep. It was so horrible. There was no answer for the questions and it was the beginning of rethinking about the cult I was living in. The dissidents would be called the agents of [Iranian] regime and as I would ask a lot, they called me Iran’s intelligence spay; they tortured me and deprived me of sleeping. 2
The life was even harsher for those who announced their separation and they would come under severe harassment. The condition of the ideological sinners is one of the most unusual among many existing cults.
1.Rezvani, N. Neo-scholastics in Rajavi’s cult; interview with a detached member, 1996.
2.The memoirs of Hassan Khalaj; interview with Nimrooz magazine.
Research Bureau، Mojahedin.ws، June 26, 2008