An interview with Batool Soltani on MKO self-immolations – Part seven
Sahar Family Foundation: If you will, Mrs. Soltani, let’s have a talk over claimed challenges that presses the organization to react by suicide operations. I mean, what are the threats that concern the organization to prescribe suicide operation to confront? Is there actually any objective worth of concern or claims are merely grounded on propagation or a falsely intensified atmosphere?
Batool Soltani: It can be argued from many angles; one, the actual and objective backgrounds that lead to the possible perpetration of operations and second, operations merely planned to keep members in a status of readiness and to isolate them from passivity. Members have to be always kept busy doing something while raising in them a high morale of obedience and submission. Members in Camp Ashraf are on alert of committing mass suicide on the grounds that there are many blind spots round the camp through which outsiders might easily infiltrate to either kidnap the members of the Leadership Council and use them as hostages or kill them. The possible reaction to these threats could be a mass suicide of the insiders.
SFF: Were there just conjectures or there were some truth in what they claimed?
BS: Both of them. In some cases there were well grounded reasons but sometimes they fabricated things. Once, I remember, they distributed cyanides among the members of the Leadership Council after they had collected them all. No clear reason was presented but soon we came to know the cause. One of the members who had left for the American-run camps had informed that the organization had built secret jails just where our base was situated. So, one night American forces entered the camp in an attempt to discover the secret place. Of course, the report was one of many dubious ones already reported to Americans. But the organization had smelled a threat, a warning to something that could hit unexpectedly and thus, it distributed the cyanides to react immediately if needed.
SFF: You mean any entrance to Camp Ashraf for whatever reason is looked on as a threat against which the sole solution is suicide?
BS: Exactly. That is what, for instance, they mean by referring to the human tragedy in the issue of their expulsion from the Camp Ashraf and Iraq. By human tragedy they mean a mass protest through a mass-immolation. They are so resolute that they will deliberately set the reluctant ones on fire on pretence of willing actions since the dead never speak. What Rajavi stresses on as human tragedy should have broader dimensions but the least they can do and will impose on others can be nothing but the working means of a mass suicide.
That is what they exclusively argued on in the level of the Leadership Council. Among the rank and file it was deeply instilled that defense of Ashraf was a matter of life and death and all members had to become human shield to defend it. The issue of human shield was discussed with the members one by one in 2006. The protest against general relocation could be shown either by individual self-immolation or mass suicide. The question was first put forward by Rajavi himself that how members would react were the Iraqis to transfer Camp Ashraf altogether. The presented solution was human shield as a defensive measure since all knew about the Iraqis’ felt hatred towards Mojahedin because of their collaboration with Saddam and their effective role as his private army. Mojahedin were present wherever Saddam needed them to suppress his dissidents.
Therefore, Mojahedin have no other way but to think of a working means to confront any posed threat against their bastion by the Iraqi new government’s resolutions. The Fall of Saddam has led them to a dire situation with no authoritative protector and they have to think of a defensive vehicle for themselves. They even devised an organizational hierarchy entitled the organizational pyramid to protect Camp Ashraf. However, the foremost priority was to protect the members of the Leadership Council since it is the pivotal issue for Rajavi, that is to say, protection of the members of the Leadership Council equals to protection of Camp Ashraf. Here again, as you see, anything revolves round a strategic axis contrived by Rajavi and whatever he conjures is somehow entwined with this organizationally devised Leadership Council.
SFF: Then, Rajavi believes that protection of Camp Ashraf is strategically possible through suicide operation and human shield. Will you explain to what degree such lever can actually work as a protecting means?
BS: to understand to what extent it is working, we have to refer to already occurred instances. Following Maryam Rajavi’s arrest the organization proved its seriousness and persistence in carrying out such operations. So far it has proved that it can persuade or coerce insiders, willingly or unwillingly, into committing whatever it deems necessary to achieve its ends and the insiders’ will has actually no effect in the accomplishment of the organization’s demands. The sole way to avoid being an accomplice in the organization’s plots is to take your courage to escape by a well drawn plan, as I did. Now with the withdrawal of the American forces, the sole hope of easy escape to the TIPF has actually vanished and hardly members find an easy way out. Even in the time of Saddam it was impossible and, if anybody insisted, cost members a lot to get themselves out of the organization; it was only through the notorious Abo-Ghorib prison and other places that someone could manage to detach. That is why I insist on saying that members have no other choice but to consent to whatever the organization demands them to do and under no condition they follow a will of their own.
SFF: Then, you believe that any attempt by Iraq to expel or relocate Mojahedin will lead to such activities (suicide operation).
SFF: What factors can you exclusively refer to now talking over human shield and tragedy?
BS: You know, following the incident of 17 June, we received piles of letters by rank and file volunteering for suicide. The act was later hallmarked as an indicative of devotion and they began to closely examine to see who among the ranks had dodged devotion. I was among those who had not volunteered for suicide but they reproached me as a ranking member and I volunteered reluctantly; otherwise I would be suspected to be at odds with the organization. However, the organization insisted that none of these volunteers had to engage in self-instigated suicides since no individual had the right to spill a drop of his/her blood unless approved by the organization. Any form of suicide or self-immolation uncoordinated by the organization is considered to be a useless, unproductive act. So sensitive is the organization about these suicide acts that they say commission of any suicide legitimizes only after we organize them and issue orders. So it becomes clear that self-immolations in France were all organized as a political lever. To make sure, I had an argue with Mojgan Parsai (in Camp Ashraf). I told her as I had volunteered for suicide, I wanted to set myself on fire before the American’s base there. Of course, it was only to see what her reaction could be. She took me to her office and talked to me for two hours saying that it was a useless act there while Sedigheh (Mojaveri) and Neda Hassani’s acts of self-immolation were politically worthwhile in France. She said if I committed suicide in the camp nothing changed but the organization lost a member of the Leadership Council, not even a slight report of my suicide would be published in the local papers let alone being mentioned in an international scale. The act could be exploited to the maximum degree for political and propaganda purposes in France or England. That is why I emphasis that Mojahedin encounter no obstacle in creating a human tragedy as it has already displayed its potentiality following the arrest of Maryam Rajavi; the organization has many volunteers who have signed to commit suicide whenever and wherever commanded.
To be continued
Translated by Mojahedin.ws