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MKO and Grasping for Support in a Very Wrong Way

In the 1920’s Joseph Stalin, in the spirit of socialization, had plans for justice, democracy and peace. He envisioned a classless society. But his narrowness of perspective combined with an ethnically and politically diverse population became a major challenge in building unity and Former members of MKO have compared its leaders to Stalinconsensus. Slavery flourished. And ultimately what became central during his tenure was the building of his cult of personality. His totalitarian leadership, perpetual lying, and deception eventually ushered in the near-destruction of Soviet Russia. Eventually Stalin had no support from the people he so desperately wanted to save.
More than half a century has passed since the world has known of Stalin’s terror and his cult of personality. But beware: There is similar potential retribution toward the country of Iran as the dissident group, Mujahedin el Khalq (MKO) attempts to use the media to sell a message that they exist in the name of justice, democracy and peace. Former members of the group have compared its leaders to Stalin. [1]

Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the MKO, like Stalin, is also a cult of personality and her justice-democracy-peace campaign is deceitful. Her cheap catch-words for the organization’s ultimate goal of overthrowing the Iranian regime—and this goal has been in place for more than three decades—are wrong. In the MKO’s grand effort to achieve power in Tehran, they have stepped up their focus on trying to erase a weird, violent, and bloody past while increasing effort to legitimize their current fiction.

Sam Dealey, a journalist, who in January 2010 became Editor in Chief for the Washington Times, specified eight years ago how the MKO managed to win the support of mainstream US politicians. Dealey’s well researched claim is that “the [MKO’s] political representatives in the U.S. have worked hard to repackage the group as a legitimate dissident organization fighting for democracy in Iran—whitewashing its record and duping our leaders.” [2] And Dealey’s statement still applies today because currently the same political representatives—the crisis mongers of the MKO—are challenging the West’s policy towards Iran while feeding the public mendacity. After a 30-year track record of fabrication, the group’s latest headliner sham proclaims that Iran has nuclear capabilities. But fortunately some US politicians who are aware of the MKO’s track record of producing false and misleading information, along with weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are very suspicious about what MKO leadership says. [3]

After all, in 2003, ten MKO members (two of whom died) staged a bizarre show of solidarity towards their leader, Maryam Rajavi, by setting themselves on fire in cities around Europe. Before the self- immolations even took place, Sam Dealey wrote, “Despite its violent history, the People’s Mujahedin would like to gain international legitimacy as Iran’s ‘government in exile.’ Its immediate goal is to get its name off the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations; to that end, it now purports to support a host of democratic ideals, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to freedom of religion and the free market. It has even abandoned its revolutionary flag — composed of a Koran verse, a sickle, and a Kalashnikov assault rifle — for that of the former shah, whom they worked to depose.” [4]

As early as 1997, TIME ran an in depth article about the group, citing the State Department’s report that the MKO “has Marxist leanings,” and “few democratic tendencies.” TIME’s journalists, observed that “[MKO] troops wear no insignia of rank, live communally and receive no pay. They have taken a vow to remain celibate until Iran is freed. And all express near fanatical loyalty to the woman they hope to install as the next President of Iran: Maryam Rajavi.” Michael Eisenstadt, an Iran expert at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy asserts that there is an unhealthy cult of personality around Maryam and Massoud Rajavi. He writes, “If they were to achieve power, it is unlikely they would give it up. The [MKO] are simply not a viable alternative to the current regime because of their ties to Iraq.” [5]

Most recently, Ali Safavi, the MKO’s primary lobbyist in Washington DC, and also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, is making a huge effort to deviate the public’s attention away from the group’s strange cult practices and history of terror. He’s pushing the message that the MKO is a legitimate option for the future of Iran, and opportunistically maintains that Maryam Rajavi is the "most prominent Iranian opposition leader" who "has called on the West to support democratic change in Iran by the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement.” He urges President Obama to “strengthen Iran’s democratic opposition,” and “set his sights on a strategic Iran policy by removing obstacles on the path of democratic Iranian opposition groups,” and also criticizes the US administration’s smart and cautious policy towards Iran, claiming that “the track of [US] pressure is insufficient and engagement is problematic.” [6] In short Safavi is suggesting that the Obama administration can and should close dialogue and stop diplomacy with Iran, and then remove the MKO from the State Department’s list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Safavi’s ideal proposal would make way for a terrorist cult group to replace the Iranian government. But Savafi’s proposal must convince more than just the Americans.

Iranians all over the world will admit that the MKO has no support among the Iranian nation. The MKO turned against their own people, as they sided with Saddam Hussein during the war with Iraq. In 2000, Wilfried Buchta of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and author of Who Rules Iran? The Structure of Power in the Islamic Republic, analyzes the formal and informal power structures in the Islamic Republic and assesses both the future of the reform movement and the prospects for peaceful change in Iran. [7] Buchta asserts, "The large majority of Iranians inside and outside the country reject the MEK [MKO] because of its support for Bagdad during the Iran-Iraq war and for its [continued] alliance with Saddam. As a result it has only a small dwindling power base in Iran." [8]

As Iran remains in the spotlight, for the sake of public edification, the reality of the MKO must be exposed. The details of the horrors committed by MKO—either against Iranians or their own members in the organization—were the direct result of their terrorist and destructive cult-like nature. Be aware that their campaign is strong, and that MKO opportunists, with their shifty arrangement of excuses regarding past terrorist activities, believe that the seat of political power will be handed to them by the West—if they can persuade the unaware powerful. They simply exist in a very wrong way. They will vitally need the support of the Iranian people—and this is what they mostly lack.

[1] Peterson, Scott. "Inside a Group Caught Between Three Powers." Christian Science Monitor. December 31, 2003 <http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1231/p10s01-woiq.html>.
[2] Dealey, Sam. "A Very, Very Bad Bunch." National Review. March 25, 2002 <http://old.nationalreview.com/25mar02/dealeyprint032502.html>.
[3] Collier, Robert. "US Gleans Facts on Iran From Debatable Source: Nuclear Arms Allegation Derived in Part From Rebel Group’s Data". San Francisco Chronicle. Sunday, October 26, 2003 <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/10/26/MNGPE2JMGO1.DTL>.
[4] Dealey, Sam. Ibid
[5] Michael Serrill and Edward Barnes, "Armed Women of Iran." TIME MAGAZINE. Monday, April 21, 1997 <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986213,00.html>.
[6] Safavi, Ali. "Iran Crisis Needs a Firm Response". Huffington Post. May 11, 2010 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-safavi/iran-crisis-needs-a-firm_b_572045.html>.
[7] Buchta, Wilfried. "Who Rules Iran? The Structure of Power in the Islamic Republic". Brookings Institution Press. 2000 <http://www.brookings.edu/press/Books/2000/who_rules_iran.aspx>.
[8] ibid p. 116

By Mazda Parsi

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