Once forming the very fundamentals and organizational principles of Mojahedin, ideology turned into a paradoxical lever in the hands of Masoud Rajavi after he usurped leadership of MKO. Although Rajavi extracted the necessity of armed struggle against the global imperialism from MKO ideology, after a while he manipulated it in a way that the very ideology made the background for siding with imperialism, ignoring the bloods shed for the sacred cause they were fighting to fulfill. Drifted to the left, it was the fundamental objective of MKO to confront US-led imperialist policies in Iran. In other words, ideology worked a two-fold function for Rajavi. On the one hand, it was aimed at invoking social movements and political trends and on the other hand, it was believed to be an instrument justifying the organization’s short-term compromise with the US, a government once damned by MKO. By the same token, Rajavi declared the initiation of the phase of armed struggle in 1980s grabbing at the ideology:
In a gathering with the council of leadership and Masoud, it was concluded that we had to wage armed struggle even though it resulted in the overall disintegration of the organization. It was no exaggeration, we believed that in the existing conditions, our passivity might lead to disintegration of the organization as well as defamation of our ideology giving an end to the ideology of the organization… in that historical period in Iran. 1
In fact, ideology may be considered an instrument for Mojahedin to find a way out of their political and strategic impasses as well as shaping the final destiny and existence of the organization. Taking this into mind, the following statements made by MKO members are better understood:
As theists consider the existence of God as the main pillar of their beliefs, ideology is the main pillar of a revolutionary organization. In fact, the organization owes its existence to ideology. Ideology is the theoretical base of its development and the sole solution for its challenges. 2
Although Rajavi pretended that he deemed the development of the ideological revolution necessary for keeping the integrity of the organization, it is evident that the real intention behind his decision was carrying out considerable modifications in the ideological principles and doctrines of the organization in a way to make them fully in accord with his personal ambitions. Hence, he paved the way for testing his personal, cultic theories within the organization as he justified the compulsory in the framework of ideology.
The statements made by many MKO members imply the fact that Rajavi played the key role in the initiation of the ideological revolution within the organization completely disregarding views of other members at the leadership council. For example, Mehdi Abrishamchi asserted that the ideas of Rajavi would determine the ideology of MKO. He further referred to the necessity of an interpreter to analyze the ideology and concluded that nobody but Masoud was capable of serving this role in MKO and considered him as the sole solution for removing political and strategic stalemates that the organization would come to encounter. However, the fact is that Rajavi misused ideology and used it as a pretext to justify all his decision-makings, defeats and wrongdoings even those obviously opposed to law, logic, ethics, and religion. He even dissolved the democratic council of leadership due to ideological concerns. Evidently, the ideological revolution was put into effect to stabilize Rajavi’s leadership and hegemonic authority over MKO. To put it simply, ideological revolution allowed Rajavi to take the place of ideology in MKO. Mehdi Abrishamchi refers to this process of substitution by saying:
As much as a revolutionary organization is concerned, for the clarification of ideological boundaries, an ideological interpreter is to be introduced, a person who says the last word in the organization… It is Masoud who expounds on the ideology of the organization and thinks up novel ideas. 3
Therefore, all those witnessing the ideological revolution of Rajavi are unanimous that:
Settlement of leadership issue constitutes the heart of the ideological revolution. 4
Anne Singleton expounds on the primary motivation behind Rajavi’s labeling his revolution an ideological one and says:
The ideological revolution corresponds to the Rajavi’s objective for taking the position of an absolute totalitarian leadership within the organization. 5
She further explains the meaning conotated by the terms “ideology” and “ideological leadership”, stating:
They mean that the leadership dictates everything. Also, he is supposed to be spiritually free from errors in order to guarantee the absolute obedience of members and fulfillment of rules and regulations. 6
1. Mehdi Abrishamchi’s lecture on the ideological revolution of Mojahedin. Muslim students association. 1985, p.6.
4. Niyabati, Bijan. A different look at the ideological revolution of Mojahedin, p.21.
5. Mahan Abedin’s interview with Anne Singleton, January 6, 2005.