Of the most repeatedly used terms in the publications of MKO in addition to lectures made by its leader, Masoud Rajavi, is “ideology” to the point that it has turned to be an emblematic term in Mojahedin’s literature. Rajavi has justified all his wrong doings and political and strategic errors by grabbing at the ideology and referring to the necessity of adhering to it as a multipurpose factor. It has to be pointed out that the organization’s manifestos and doctrines have been based on the ideology and its function in a variety of social and political grounds. For instance, in the history of the organization written by Rajavi, the significance of ideology has been elaborated on in this way:
Nowadays, a theory or pre-determined program is an inevitable necessity for those familiar with the science of struggle without which achieving victory is impossible. The founders of the organization have been well aware of this issue when they adopted the Islamic ideology as the base of theory and instruction for their anti-imperialist struggle. Therefore, from the beginning, they have compiled a new version of Islamic ideology to efface ethnic and class blemishes. 1
The focus of the present article is not on the way the early Mojahedin dealt with ideology and its relationship with armed struggle since it is an issue spelled out previously. The point is that from the early days of formation, the organization has been distinguished from other parallel groups and trends holding grab at the factor of the ideology. Furthermore, Mojahedin have made an attempt to introduce their own interpretation of the religion and religious issues as the ideological framework of their social and political relations. In other words, Mojahedin have made borderlines with outsiders and their dissidents under the pretext of ideology and hence have a ready-made justification for all their activities even cultic and terrorists ones. In this regard, even the organizational obedience is allowed as long as ideological fundamentals of MKO are kept intact:
As long as the organization adheres to ideological principles and there can be seen no drift and deviation, that is to say, as long as we hew to the correct ideological and political (strategy and tactics) lines, it is a revolutionary task to accept its centralism and make efforts to strengthen it. 2
Mojahedin are of the opinion that holding onto their ideological values requires heavy costs which they have to pay. The price could even be pretentious political drifts or making claims of having taken a different struggle strategy until the appropriate time and the golden opportunity knocked. Seizing the political opportunities could hardly be working in the same way of keeping to the ideology and sometimes they preferred to sacrifice temporal political interests for the cause of ideology. As once stated in one of their published booklets:
Evidently, measures taken and decisions made for keeping ideological values have a certain cost to be paid, that is to say, they may entail some losses. For instance, we may be deprived of some supports and even be isolated in short time. 3
Generally speaking, Mojahedin never in the past sacrificed their ideology nor misused it for the fulfillment of selfish objectives up to the leadership of Masoud Rajavi. However, since then ideology has been turned into a paradoxical instrument in the hands of the leadership in order to instill his pragmatic, hegemonic, and totalitarian ambitions into an organization that soon metamorphosed into a cult of personality. After the change of monarchical regime in Iran and Rajavi’s failure to secure a share of political power, he shifted the order of Mojahedin ideology and challenged the religious issues once respected by Mojahedin. He also made new recruitments claiming to be in full opposition to global imperialism and the newly established regime in Iran. He would predict that finally the regime along with imperialism and the world’s superpowers would collapse before MKO’s ideology came to glamorize. Then it will be the initiation of a so-called political phase in which an internally intensified chaos instigate discordance among political parties inside Iran that pushed Mojahedin onto the power. In fact, he had a prejudicial and incomplete understanding of Islam and disguised his personal ambitions as the revolutionized ideology of MKO that eroded the last social support among Iranian.
It was the ideology that set the turning point for entering the armed phase and perpetrating terrorist attacks. Ideology may be considered to be a pretext for Rajavi to make the grounds for his anti-social and inhuman activities. In fact, he theorized and justified his decision-makings, terrorist activities, moving to Iraq and cooperating with Saddam, developing the ideological revolution in MKO, forming a cult of personality and many more by means of ideology. He also openly considered his opposition to Iranian regime as a result of anti-imperialist ideology of Mojahedin against traditional bourgeoisie politics of the latter. As a result, he managed to pave the way for the development of insecurity, anarchy, and terror inside Iran by clinging to his widely despised, self-fabricated ideology.
1. The history of MKO, from the beginning up to 1975. Tehran: Mojahedin Press, 1979, p.12.
2. Investigation of the possibility of deviation in democratic centralism, Tehran: Mojahedin Press, 1979, p.15.
3. Pragmatism, Tehran: Mojahedin Press, 1979, p.43.