The decline of MKO began with the US-led invasion in 2003 of Iraq, where it had been exploited as Saddam’s mercenaries who had provided the MKO with sanctuary. Wearing a pro-democratic mask after her husband preferred to live in hideout, Maryam Rajavi reorganized the group’s headquarters in Auvers-Sur-Oise, north of Paris, to give the organization a new go.
On 16 June 2003 the French best-known anti-terrorist judge, Jean Louis Bruguiere, issued a detention order accusing MKO of "terrorist activities, association with a terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations". Shortly after 6 am on 17 June 2003 more than 1.200 police and gendarmerie forces launched the largest police operation in three decades to raid 13 MKO-run offices in outskirts of Paris. The main target was the office of MKO at Auvers-sur-Oise and Police arrested 164 suspected Mojahedin cadres as well as Maryam Rajavi, the leader.
In the next few days, people in some Western cities were shocked to witness one of the most appalling potentialities of Mojahedin; a number of the group’s insiders set themselves on fire just before the eyes of people in public to protest MaryamRajavi’s arrest. According to reports issued by Mojahedin itself, “16 people attempted to set themselves alight in three days in Paris, Berne, Rome, London, Ottawa, Athens and Nicosia”. The human tragedy ended with two deaths; two women, Sediqeh Mojaveri, 44-year-old, and Neda Hassani, 19-year-old, died because of sever burnings.
The self burnings proved, for those yet in doubt, that MKO preserved the characteristics of both a terrorist group and a cult. Following the classic techniques of cults, Mojahedin relies on psychological manipulation and brainwashing to mesmerize the insiders to follow the orders, one of which is to set themselves on fire whenever commanded to accomplish cultic ends of the organization.