The following is a part of Hadi Shabani’s interview with FNA. He was the advisor of Mozhgan Parsaiee (the chief commandant of MKO at the time) during the operation Eternal Light (Forough-e-Javidan). He spent twenty years of his fifty year-old life in the group until he could escape out of MKO camp in 2005.
In his denouncing interview, he retold his memories of the Eternal Light.
FNA: how was the military invasion ordered to you?
H.Sh: Immediately after the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq, Masud Rajavi held a meeting where he said that we should attack Iran in a week since the acceptance of the 598 resolution by Iran notified the weakness of Iranian forces in the fronts. He said that it was our fault that Iran accepted the resolution because when in the previous operation (Chelcheragh) we seized Mehran [a city near Iranian border] and we chanted the slogan “Today Mehran, Tomorrow Tehran.”, the Iranian regime were afraid of our arrival in Tehran and immediately accepted the ceasefire. Following such a speech the new brigades and battalions were organized. Later Masud [Rajavi] told that according to an organized plan with Iraqi army, they (Iraqi forces) were supposed to attack Iran from the Southern borders so as we could go ahead in the Western borders.
FNA: did you participate the “justification meeting for Light” or “the Goodbye meeting”?
H.Sh: yes, all the forces were there. Masud addressed a long speech and told that we should start tomorrow and said to Mahdi Abrishamchi (the commandant of Tehran Axis): “when you arrive in Tehran, prepare my former office on Alavi street, Tehran, for me to settle down there.” he addressed the forces.”After you arrive in Tehran, you can do anything you like for 48 hours, kill anyone you like until I come to grant public amnesty.”
How did the forces hope to win in the operation?
All of us thought that the plan was really practical.
Maud said: “the Iranian forces have no motive to fight and the people are tired and waiting for a spark to revolt against the government.” Even when we told him that we had some shortages in the units, he said:” don’t worry. As soon as we arrive in the first city, the people will join us and cover our shortages.’’
From the other side, it was the last opportunity for us who had joined the organization to struggle. According to the indoctrinations of MKO, we had to fight or kill or die.
-But meanwhile, the Iranian forces could defeat the Iraqi forces in the South. Didn’t you wonder how a country, which was allegedly weakened, could do such a thing?
-You should know that as the MKO members, our mind didn’t work tactically. We couldn’t understand it. We were the same as a skier who slips over the snow of the emotions. We were not able to analyze, we even couldn’t work on the map. The commandant told us to go straight ahead until you get Kermanshah and then Hamedan where you go to Zanjan, Saveh and Tehran. And we accepted. Now that I see, I figure out that the operation was a failure from the beginning. Moving in a line on tanks in an asphalted road had no possibility to success but nobody knew that at the time.
The proceeding night, Masud convinced the members so well that they wanted to start the operation the same night. Some members worked hard, they slept only two hours a day, and then during the Eternal Light Operation, some members were so exhausted that they overslept.
Did you receive special trainings for the operation?
The trainings were so few and only for those who had just come from the Europe two or three days ago. They were only trained to shoot with Kalashnikov and colt. Those who arrived while the operation didn’t even received that short training. They were only given an arm to go fight. MKO told them falsely that we were for example in Kermanshah and they should go there. Some members who were in Europe had left their children to their neighbors in order to reach the operation. Those who couldn’t recognize their right hand from their left hand. The forces who participated in the operation included three parts:
The old members of the organization who were trained.
The members who had just come from the other countries.
The war prisoners of the organization.
Explain more about the two last parts, please.
The forces who hadn’t received training and participated the operation to take a use of such a large chaos!! They were hopeful to change Iranian regime and get a position or rank in the new regime but most of them were killed. The situation of the prisoners was even worse.
Some of the prisoners were the Iranian prisoners who were in Iraqi prisons where they were treated so badly. Some of them accepted to fight in the hope that they can escape during the operation. They were about 300 people. Most of them were from the army forces that were captured in Sardasht or Fakeh. Also some of them were taken as war prisoners in Chelcheragh operation. All of them were held in Camp called Debes in Kirkuk.
When the operation started, the organization had to use the maximum use of its forces, so they looked for the war prisoners. Some of the prisoners whose number was small declared their preparation to participate. The rest were jailed in a room where some food and water were left for them. They were told:” after the victory we will come back to you.
One of the MKO officials, ”Ahmad Vaqef said:”the following day we went to the room to tell them that we could seize Kermanshah and anyone who wants to come, can come. A number of them were tricked and came and the others were imprisoned again.” Therefore the organization could force about 40 people of them, to participate the operation and most of them could escape from the scene. The organization knew that but they said that they had no way except increasing the number of the forces. However Karand was besieged by the Iranian forces so the organization forces were surrounded in Islam Abad.
During the operation, in which unit were you serving?
I was working in artillery, our commandant was Mahin Rezaiee who was called Azar.
The first day, two sets of Ayfa were delivered to us. We were four people. We had no important problem until we reached Islam Abad where 122 small fights happened but any way we could open the way. Then the real fight began. I was injured then taken to Islam Abad. The injured fighters were a lot. We were taken to Bagdad hospital by Iraqi helicopters. The hospital was dedicated to MKO injured members due to their large number.
Your friends, did they tell you anything about the fights?
One of them described his memory which I’d like to retell it now that you see that MKO and Masud’s emotion and kindness! MKO’s strategy in the Eternal light was the “Military Flag” Strategy. It means: kill anyone who is against you and this “anyone” means “revolutionary guard’’.
A friend of mine explained:”we captured some of revolutionary guards during Eternal Light operation and kept them in a place with tied hands. The weather was very hot, and they were very thirsty. One of the members went before the commandant “Afshin” and asked him what to do with the captive ones. Afshin who liked colt very much took out his colt and killed all of them, put their bodies on each other and took pictures of them. The picture was shown repeatedly in MKO’s meeting as one of the most important achievements of Eternal Light.
What was the reflex of the failure of Eternal Light in the organization?
It was so terrible that after a week, Masud declared a public meeting and ordered to bring all the forces, even the injured ones, to the meeting, I was in the hospital at the time but they brought me to the meeting with my bed. The situation was very bad. Most of the forces were discouraged.
What did the organization do to deal with the situation?
During the meeting, Masud began with justifying the failure, the thing he was so good at. However the atmosphere after the operation was very heavy, the organization started to recruit new forces from Europe. They were told to come to Iraq for some military training and then they are free to stay or to go. Masud said that they were preparing for the operation “Eternal 2”
But it was of no use. The condition lasted until the American invasion to Iraq and then it reached its summit.
Translated by Nejat Society