Rajavi owes his leadership to a number of factors among which misusing and manipulating the history of the organization and its founders is of utmost significance paving the way for imposing Rajavi on the organization and expansion of his authoritarian leadership therein. The short-term relationship of Rajavi with the organization’s founders, and Mohammad Hanifnejad in particular, is an instrument in the hands of Rajavi and his fellows to manipulate the history of the organization in his favor.
A number of factors like the mass arrests of the early founders and high-rankings in 1971 and their execution as well as Rajavi’s escape from execution made the background for him to manipulate the history of the organization at avail himself of the critical conditions after the schism of the organization. Promotion of Rajavi to the membership of the central cadre after the assertion of Hanifnejad was the beginning of the later seizure of leadership. According to many eyewitnesses it was most accelerated due to Rajavi’s egocentricity and narcissism that prepared for Rajavi and his catalysts to make false interpretations of it. Step by step and especially after the initiation of the armed phase, this illusion turned to reality and many newcomers came to believe that Rajavi was the heir to the leadership after Hanifnejad. It would not be wrong to say that Rajavi’s had a key role in creating this illusion either in gaol or after their freedom in 1979.
There are evidences that the main part of this process has been taken place since 1985 when Rajavi used the ideological revolution as an instrument to stabilize his totalitarian and egocentric leadership in the organization and to legitimize the ideological revolution and its consequences. In the early days of the ideological revolution, some members like Davari, Abrishamchi, and Hayati were tasked with fabricating false memories of the interest of Hanifnejad in Rajavi and the complimentary statements made by Hanifnejad on the political, organizational, and ideological qualifications of Rajavi.
This process was externalized when the central office of the organization issued a declaration on the initiation of the ideological revolution and the ideological leadership of Masoud Rajavi. The declaration asserted that after the execution of the organization’s founders, and Hanifnejad in particular, Rajavi would be the leader of the organization, responsible for its survival and development. It focused on the point that Hanifnejad himself had appointed Rajavi as his successor and the next leader of MKO. Since Rajavi was well aware that his own fabrication of memories was of no effect, he ordered his fellows and catalysts including those arrested in 1971, to make false statements in the intra-organizational sessions of the ideological revolution. Here some of these fabrications will be reviewed. Abbas Davari, whose some instances of offensive behavior towards Rajavi was quoted by some MKO former members, in his article “The point of perfection” published in the organization’s official organ, Mojahed, writes:
Saeed Mohsen was very sensitive about the freedom of Masoud and when Masoud was offered a clemency and his execution was replaced by life imprisonment as a result of the efforts of Dr.Kazem Rajavi [his brother], Mohsen was too happy and asked me to convey his message to Masoud. He said: “Extend my greetings to Masoud and tell him that his responsibility is very heavy at the time being since he is the only remnant of the central cadre and the manifestation of our principles and experiences. He is endowed with a great responsibility in this phase. He will be beset with many problems and may suffer many disturbances. We will receive all praises since we enter the reign of martyrdom yet he will face all accusations since he will continue the struggle and would have a status much higher than ours. He will be martyred every day and every hour. Yes, he will be an alive martyr. 1
In another article, he has pointed out that:
The necessity of ensuring the continuity of this way and developing the revolutionary Islam was evident to the founders and the person who arrived at the very summits of honor. The organization founders accomplished their responsibility and before their martyrdom appointed Masoud as the next leader not to leave the organization without a head. 2
These statements are pre-determined reactions to the objections and accusations made against the ideological marriage of Masoud and Maryam and the issue of Rajavi’s fabricated Imamate. Mohammad Seyedi Kashani makes a statement in this regard, stating:
The most significant thing I remember from the martyr Asqar Badizadegan is the statements he made about Masoud and his seriousness and rigidity. He always said that Mohammad (Hanifnejad) was more interested in Masoud among all members of the central cadre and loved him more than others doing his best to train and teach him as a true Mojahed. Some years later when I got acquainted with Masoud, I found out the reason why the founders had appointed him preferably as the leader among all members of central cadre and those with a longer history in the organization. 3
1. Davari, Abbas, Mojahed journal, no. 456
2. The book of Founders, MKO publications, 2002, p.91.
3. ibid, the statements of Mohammad Seyedi Kashani, p.111