The Mujahedeen e-Khalq’s Controversial Existence

Elizabeth Rubin writes in the New York Times on the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) and their controversial claims as Iran’s main opposition group. According to Rubin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “should ignore their [MEK] P.R. campaign. Mujahedeen Khalq is not only irrelevant to the cause of Iran’s democratic activists, but a totalitarian cult that will come back to haunt us.” Rubin argues that what is “most disturbing” about the MEK is the way the leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi treats its members that reside in Iraq’s Camp Ashraf. Rubin visited Camp Ashraf in 2003 and after her visit, spoke with many men and women who had escaped MEK. According to her interviews with the former MEK members, ”many had to be deprogrammed. They recounted how people were locked up if they disagreed with the leadership or tried to escape; some were even killed.” Additionally, residents of Camp Ashraf are forbidden to engage in friendships and any other type of emotional relationships. Boys and girls are banned from speaking with one another and residents are also required to report their dreams and thoughts. Rubin also writes that members are forced to divorce and “take a vow of lifelong celibacy to ensure that all their neergy and love would be directed toward Maryam and Massoud.”

Trita Parsi and Dokhi Fassihian list steps in an article published in Tehran Bureau that the U.S., international community and MEK can take to resolve the situation at Camp Ashraf. Parsi and Fassihian recommend that Camp Ashraf should be dismantled from the supervision of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and the U.S. military. Additionally, the rights of the MEK members should be upheld. Residents should also “be offered resettlement in third countries and reunification with their families if they meet the requirement of the United Nations to renounce violence.” Most importantly, Parsi and Fassihian emphasize that the National Council for Iranian Resistance (NCRI)- MEK as a whole, should renounce violence in an official proclamation published in Farsi and English before being considered for FTO delisting.[..]

Project on middle East Democracy

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