Cult leaders grab at all means and levers to stabilize their position within cults in a manner of unaccountability to members; a feature leading finally to fascism and individual leadership. Religion and religious beliefs of followers are factors at the hands of cult leaders to be excused of accountability. In fact, they legitimize all their wrongdoings and egocentric decisions based on religious tenets and ideological concerns in a way not to be challenged by outsiders as well as insiders.
Identification of the same features in MKO and on the part of Masoud Rajavi necessitates taking a closer look at his activities and statements. Keeping this issue into mind may give us a better understanding of the reasons why Rajavi introduced his ideological revolution as a manifestation of an exalted truth and unique value in terms of ideological and political concerns. He did so to conceal the apparent contradiction between the fulfillment of ideological objectives of Mojahedin as reflected in the early organizational principles of MKO and the consequences of his self-fabricated ideological revolution.
Of the consequences of the ideological revolution elaborated on by Rajavi as well as his catalysts is introducing Mojahedin leadership as a phenomenon beyond challenge and criticism, a timeless issue and one that is no longer selective and democratic. The result of this consideration is a wide gap made between the status of the leadership and that of the rank-and-files as well as minimization of organizational hierarchy.
Rajavi and his theoreticians made use of religious levers as well as scientific theories like Einstein’s theory of relativity to justify his self-appointed position at the top of MKO. Rajavi was much eager to follow footsteps of Hitler and Stalin in making use of religion, science and ideology to stabilize a status of unaccountability. He held grab to his ideological revolution, based simply on a divorce (that of Maryam Azdanlu and Mehdi Abrishamchi) and remarriage (that of Maryam Azdanlu and Masoud Rajavi), in order to achieve his egocentric objectives. The reaction of the outside world and a leftist party in particular to this action may suffice to show the feedback of the world outside to this dishonorable event:
The news on the marriage of Masoud Rajavi and Maryam Azdanlu, ex-wife of Mehdi Abrishamchi, in recent weeks has aroused the complaint and aversion of revolutionary forces and public opinion. This action that is contrary to revolutionary morale and convention of the socity…surely leads to public complaint and hate… since this indecent and immoral activity is justified in a 14-page statement signed by the organization’s leader who has a long history of revolutionary struggle and claims to lead Iranian revolution against the current oppressive regime. The significance of this issue has its roots in the fact that while the act is a scandal offending woman and distorting the meaning of leadership, it is introduced as an ideological revolution aiming to esteem the status of women. 1
Despite all the negative consequences of the ideological revolution, it led to the irresistibility of Rajavi to inside challenges. The factor of surprise caused by the initiation of the ideological revolution under the issue of Rajavi had paradoxical results inside and outside MKO. While the world outside refused to recognize the legitimacy of Rajavi’s initiated ideological revolution, he managed to turn it into a belief system within MKO just as a cult leader. As Hoffer put into words:
It is the certitude of his (a cult leader) infallible doctrine that renders the true believer impervious to the uncertainties, surprises and the unpleasant realities of the world around him. 2
Cult leaders claim that understanding cultic codes and doctrines is problematic and difficult and it is just the true believer who manages to understand them. Cult leaders have the ability to deceive members by making false illustrations and predictions of the world from the beginning to the end to the point that turn followers to blind subordinates who consider it as a guilt if they demand accountability on the part of their leader who claims self-sacrificing for his followers’ salvation. When this belief is indoctrinated in members, they turn to devoted followers with absolute confidence in their leader and it may suffice to immune leaders of being challenged from inside. Hoffer believes that:
To be in possession of an absolute truth is to have a net of familiarity spread over the whole of eternity. There are no surprises and no unknowns. All questions have already been answered, all decisions made, all eventualities foreseen. The true believer is without wonder and hesitation. "Who knows Jesus knows the reason of all things." The true doctrine is a master key to all the world’s problems. With it the world can be taken apart and put together. 3
In a nutshell, the attempts made by the theoreticians of the ideological revolution of Mojahedin mainly aim to raise the status of Rajavi to a point beyond all challenges, questions, and doubts and free from accountability and responsibility to his decision makings and activities.
1. The theoretical and political journal of the organization of Fada’yian-e Khalq, 1985.
2. Hoffer, Eric, the true believer, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1951, p.76.
3. ibid, p.77.