An interview with Batool Soltani on MKO self-immolations – Part ten
Sahar Family Foundation: since the deployment of the American forces in the region and even before that the serious agenda before the organization has been the resistance of Camp Ashraf. That why it is of such significance for the organization is another issue to deal with. But the question here is implementation of the means, explicitly suicide operations, to defend Ashraf as the strategic bastion. That is the fact we have already talked about when referring to human tragedy and human shield, the members’ risking their life in defense of Ashraf. Rajavi has reiterated that ‘if Ashraf resist, the whole world resist’, in fact, such mottos show clear dispositions of the leadership and other rankings towards Ashraf for its strategic importance. Will you give further details on anything untold concerning this issue and even what approaches did Rajavi take to deal with those members who would resist against plotted suicides in defense of Ashraf?
Batool Soltani: well, here are a nexus of issues that can be discussed separately. One is the vow to defend Ashraf through any possible means. First it was resolved to fight in defense of Ashraf tooth and nail but circumstances proved to be more serious and they had to think of a different approach to resist, that is to say, human shield. Once they resolved on urgent transfer of the cadres of the Leadership Council from Iraq to France and they even provided passports for high rankings to get them out of Iraq. In 2003, Massoud Rajavi, the beating heart of the organization, made a call insisting that Auvers-sur-Oise, Maryam’s residence, was the brain of the organization while Ashraf was naturally the heart; the brain would naturally collapse if the heart’s beating declined, and it is a question of how the brain and heart interrelate.
You know, after the fall of Saddam, the organization concentrated all its propaganda capacity on Auvers-sur-Oise to present it, along with Maryam, as the organization’s headquarters of the political leadership in the West. They began to maneuver on Maryam as a political engine there just after experiencing the failed tactic of electing her as the president-elect. Just after her sham election, she was sent to France to play her role there but it proved to be a big failure and she was returned to Camp Ashraf to be conveyed back right before the fall of Saddam. A new round of propagation began since they were of the opinion that now,
After the political fluctuations in the region, the West would have a differently positive opinion of Mojahedin. They targeted two aims simultaneously; to stabilize their political bastion in the West by attracting attentions to Auvers-sur-Oise, and second, to continue an increasing protection in favor of Camp Ashraf for two reasons. First, it has been regarded the organization’s ideological receptacle that has the potentiality of rendering members’ ideological readiness.
Second, it is observed to be a potential armed force just within the reach of the coalition forces to be used against Iran if they had any plan. The organization’s analysis of the regional crises had convinced it that American’s military interference against Iran was decisively inevitable and was planning to fan the fire to accelerate what it imagined had to happen sooner or later. Thus it was all conditioned on the preservation of Ashraf as a future lever for America against Iran that could possibly lead to Mojahedin’s seizing of power, the key issue on the back burner that required the organization to be disarmed but remain under the protection of a second patron and to unwillingly consent to the wills of the Iraqi government until the due time came. So Ashraf had to be preserved to invest the organization with a promising future. After the 17 June tragic incidents, Massoud Rajavi insisted on a new role play for the Leadership Council, the human shield to defend Ashraf. It was just coincident with Rajavi’s two-year pledge that ended with Bush’s presidency.
Rajavi knew well that out of Iraq would be the end of road for the organization and insisted on staying in Iraq at any cost in hope of a miracle that could open the gate to drive through into Iran. In an earlier analysis he had stated that the organization’s permanent stay in Iraq meant destruction of the organization in whole; it was only a short stay to move to Iran. But now there was another analysis that contradicted the previous; to leave Iraq was equal to complete annihilation. The sole solution was to preserve Ashraf; they could either wait to fish in the troubled waters of intensified crises in the region or all would be buried in Camp Ashraf. The approach for the latter choice was a mass suicide. But then they conjectured that there could be other solutions as well. On was based on the promise that because of the Geneva’s fourth article they could not be forcefully repatriated. Then they draw a picture that they would fight tooth and nail if there was any plan to relocate them forcefully.
The last proposed resolution was a mass suicide; two deaths were the outcome of this decision. A number of members dispersed after the invasion of the coalition forces were returning to the camp when en route they were informed of the camp’s siege by American forces. Two members the Leadership Council, Marzieh Ali-ahmadi and Nazhat Arzbeigi, immediately set themselves on fire to execute their organizational duty. In fact, they carried out the mission Rajavi had assigned members to do in case American forces occupied the camp. On two conditions members were told to commit mass suicide; the incursion of either Americans or Iraqi Shi’its into the camp. Just when Americans were behind the wall of Ashraf, many members the Leadership Council were preparing to commit suicide. Rajavi had even issued an ultimate for the disobedient who refrained to commit suicide, it was revolutionary execution. No doubt, no outsider could draw any distinction between a voluntary suicide and revolutionary execution following a mass suicide. Rajavi has thought of slightest details concerning his mass suicide program at Ashraf; nobody has to be survived, the willing and the unwilling have to be burn together.
Notably, there were other deterrent decrees issued by Rajavi in private and in a meeting of higher echelons; the lower echelons were unaware of the decrees. The escapees had to be targeted and executed by others; it was the same fate that befell the disloyal and betrayers. The deserters for the opposite front would also face the same destiny. Interestingly, if anybody failed to commit suicide, others had the responsibility to help him/her accomplish the job. Thus, the human tragedy in defense of Ashraf is a program that has to be possibly brought into actuality and there are a variety of approaches that will act to remove deterrents.