Sometimes it is really a hard job to distinguish terrorists from others of their kind or how they perceive themselves since hardly any terrorist group openly admits to be a terrorist entity. They call themselves guerrillas, fighters, warriors, revolutionaries and many other names. It is generally their ideological views that permit them to use violence to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives. “The mindset of a terrorist group reflects the personality and ideology of its top leader and other circumstantial traits, such as typology (religious, social revolutionary, separatist, anarchist, and so forth), a particular ideology or religion, culture, and nationality, as well as group dynamics.” 1
Based on many significant evidences, there are points referred to by members and the leader of Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCRI) that may lead to arrive at a deep understanding of the ideological-political indoctrinations of the terrorist cult. Furthermore, the analysis of the theoretical viewpoints of Masoud Rajavi may pave the way for depicting a clear profile of the true nature of his cultist-terrorist organization. Of the organization’s radical ideological principles is the theory of “transcending death”, disruption of the life-death equilibrium point where death is glorified and replaces strive for life. It has been manifested in various forms including suicide operations, bombing attacks (like the terror of prayer leaders in Iran), the remonstrant self-immolations (like the events of 17 June), forming human shields (like that of camp Ashraf in this year that led to the death of some members), or organizational hunger strikes that may lead to the death of some individuals (as Maryam Rajavi and MKO has warned the international bodies of a human disaster in camp Ashraf due to hunger strike), and other novel forms.
The statements of Mrs. Batool Soltani, the detached member of MKO leadership cadre, on suicide attacks contain striking points to start determining the roots of the pathological inclinations of Mojahedin. She states The aggressive approach of Mojahedin is not rooted in the will of an individual yet is more dependent on the Rajavi’s worldview on struggle, evolution and such fundamental concepts:
Being a product of Rajavi’s own mind-set than a methodological study, I think Rajavi has deduced that when man can so easily sacrifice his life, so he is capable of achieving distant, inaccessible goals. When it is politically and morally, from a certain ideological point of view, acceptable to use unconventional tactics such as violence and fear to achieve certain goals, then why should one waste time to stick to others that fail to be productive at all. 2
This assertion is seemingly the result of the practical approach of Rajavi and MKO toward the social phenomena yet in reviewing the ideological-political fundamentals of Mojahedin and the worldview of Masoud Rajavi in particular, such indoctrinations can be traced. The founders of the organization developed the theory of “transcending death” in the early years of the organization and Masoud Rajavi has extended with countless terrible results. The main challenge is that Rajavi generalizes ecological and general rules governing other phenomena to that of the society and social relations. His problem lies in the fact that he has a dogmatist viewpoint toward social and historical conditions, believing:
We accept evolution and revolution as a general principle either in the concrete world or in the nature or society. 3
According to his viewpoints, the concept of revolution or qualitative transformations in the world are not materialized but by turning the old into the new and resorting to eradication and violence. The generalization of this rule to social relations is a process pursued by Rajavi. He considers evolution not as a concrete concept but an inevitable tradition resulting from violence, aggression, victimization, torture, and struggle:
The tradition of creation is based on the principle that the “new” wins through conflict, victimization, and torture. The solution of these conflicts depends on victimization since evolution is always followed by mutation and revolution. 4
Rajavi claims that he has extracted this rule from the nature generalizing it to social and historical relations of human beings:
Our mother nature is itself revolutionary rather than reformist. It never moves step by step and never summits to such process. 5
In this way, Rajavi attributes any transition and evolution in the society and history on victimization, eradication and violence and denies the possibility of any rational, democratic and peaceful solution inside social relations due to its conflict with biological rules of the world. He refers to the principle of dissatisfaction and discontent of the existing conditions of the societies as the basis of the existing conflicts and violence in human societies and states:
The dynamisms of evolution are discontent and dissatisfaction. 6
Also, he equals any balance between an individual, group, organization with the surrounding world or any submission to the social and democratic norms to death and annihilation and a barrier for evolution and says:
Submitting to the existing conditions and failing to rise firmly and strongly against conditions as well as balance may lead to demise. 7
According to Rajavi, discontent (that can be taken as uncivil reaction) is the result of disequilibrium among the individual, group, or organization the surrounding area, i.e. society.
In this way, the individual is prepared for any uncivil and anti-social action. Rajavi tries to interpret this rule in simple words generalizing it into social- revolutionary relations:
For example, cold and hunger disrupt man’s sleep. When can you sleep? When you are to some extent full and warm to achieve balance. Then man can sleep. These trance balances –that are condemned by us- and these self-consents are the beginning of collapse and departing from the path of evolution. Since we are no more pursuing evolution and are static and motionless. Since our evolution (regardless of being an individual, group, or organization) has reached its end. 8
Rajavi attributes the mechanism of unity with the rules of evolution to the extent and quality of discontent or in other words the extent to which the individual, group, or organization are prepared to act against the social norms. He acknowledges openly that accepting torture and victimization are the focal points of this preparation and any attempt for replacing the old with the new should undergo such a process; otherwise, it may be futile:
The tradition of creation is that the “new” wins through conflict, victimization, and torture to confirm its qualification in fighting against contradictions. Therefore, it gains competency for survival, not a vain and illusionary qualification but a true and credible one. Otherwise, the torrent of selecting the competent may eradicate it. 9
In this regard, this preparation is manifested in various forms including exerting violence on others and oneself like torture, suicide attacks either for eradicating outside targets or making the society to submit by self-immolations as well as resisting civil regulations by means of all instruments and levers. Rajavi expounds on this preparation, stating:
Therefore we are open to resist harsh conditions when we face them; to find a solution for the problem of torture for example. Torture is a terrible and painful experience but cannot it be overcome? We have already talked about the Davidenkov experiment. What did it reveal? Which system was under the dominance of the other? As we said, the system of secondary signs not instincts governs in humans. The solution of the problem of torture is in the same cadre. A revolutionary under the torture can tolerate and bear it without saying even a single word. I want to note one point that our inner power is to be manifested and externalized. 10
The power referred to by Rajavi is that of preparation for “transcending death”. That is to say, the disrupted equilibrium between the life and death provokes the members to be ready for death under any condition when engaged in abnormally anarchistic deeds to disturb ruling social norms. Here death aims either at annihilating the enemies or making the society to submit to the will of the so-called revolutionary forces. From the very formation of MKO, the prerequisite for joining was accepting of death predilection to confront whoever the organization indicated as the adversaries. In Rajavi’s novel interpretation of “transcending death”, it is defined as absolute dedication, blind obedience and submission to leadership.
1.The sociology and psychology of terrorism: who becomes a terrorist and why?; library of Congress, September 1999.2.Sahar family Foundation site, interviews of Mrs. Batool Soltani on suicide attacks, part 29. 3.Worldview, vol. 8, lectures of Masoud Rajavi in Tehran University, MKO publication, Tehran, 1980. 4.ibid.5.ibid, vol. 3.6.ibid, vol. 8.7.ibid.8.ibid.9.ibid.10.ibid.