The echo of the statements made by Ms. Batool Soltani disclosing facts about the sexual abuse and relations of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of Mojahedin Khalq cult, with the female members had the shocking impact of a bomb explosion among the public. She made the testimony in a meeting held in support of the victims of Rajavi’s castle, Camp Ashraf. Although she did not go into very details, her direct avowal did not take the audience in abroad by surprise since, as the organization is commonly referred to as a cult of personality, the prevalence of the sexual exploitation of women in cults is an undeniable fact that may only take different forms.
Surely, the truth of such claim made by one of the ranking members of the organization and one of the closest layers to Rajavi’s private relations cannot be denied but analyzed. Of course, the question of sexual relations within the armed, underground establishment of the organization was a challenge it was facing from its very days of formation and at time it had to adopt different solution to overcome the problem. Although it is in no way considered a problem among the Marxist-oriented groups, at time it turned into a crisis in Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO,MEK, PMOI) because it acted under the guise of a non-secular and religious organization. The instances of illicit relations and sexual scandals in the organization’s split Marxist branch, headed by Taqi Shahram, are undeniable facts confessed by many ex-members and recorded in the files of those Marxist-biased arrested by SAVAK, Pahlavi regime’s notorious security and information apparatus.
Needless to say that Ms. Soltani’s disclosure does not necessarily mean to question morality of many old members of the organization who were devoted, honest Muslims, but to dig into the roots of deviations that has led to the broad scandal. What did really happen that after the execution of the early founders of the organization by the Pahlavi’s court-martials, Rajavi seized the power in their absence, and through an enforced ideological revolution, glamorized an illicit marriage with Maryam Azodanloo? And it became the beginning of a process of female domination promoting women to the ranking, key positions of the organization. The enforcement of the compulsory divorces granted Rajavi the hegemonic monopoly right of exploiting women as his property while he totally deprived other rank and files of their natural right. Sexual control was, and is, seen as the final step taken by Rajavi’s system to objectify members similar to other members of the cults; it took the form of controls of sexuality and sex lives of members through daily and weekly sessions of confession and repentance.
It has become a cult routine inside MKO that requires members to keep daily records of their thoughts and nighttime dreams, particularly sexual thoughts and desires (which are, of course, forbidden), as well as observations about their fellow members. They must submit their journals to their supervisors. During large meetings, members often are forced to read their reports aloud and to make self-critical statements. It is a process going on while Rajavi is unveiled to have been engaged in a rampant, lustful and scandalous relation with female members observing them both as easily controlled subservience and objects of his harem.
It was commonly believed, or instilled into the insiders, that Massoud and Maryam were not married for the sexual purposes as many would think since Massoud, before the initiation of the ideological revolution, had overcome sexual bonds and had made a revolution within himself to bury all lustful bends for the cause of struggle. However, the disclosures about Rajavi’s indecent relations with the female insiders indicate that sexual acting out of all sorts is frequent among cult leaders and can be primarily regarded as a control and power issue. But how Rajavi came to put his feet on the very same road is a question to be studied with great care and scrutiny.