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Iranians see Mujahedin as traitors rather than opponents

The return of People’s Mujahedin, unpopular opponents in Iran
Washington withdrew the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran led by Maryam Rajavi, from their list of "terrorist". A decision denounced by Tehran, which required collaboration between the group and Washington.

"Old forefronts of the opposition against the Shah, but also the Islamic Republic of ayatollah Khomeini, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) was listed in 1997 as terrorist organization by the United States. Since the Iranian opposition group has renounced violence long time ago, Washington finally decided on September 28 to remove them from the list. But according to Thierry Coville, Iran’s researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), the overdue recognition is futile, because the organization suffers its image within its own country.

The opposition has lost much of its aura in Iran. "The People’s Mojahedin are opponents in exile and have lost all legitimacy in Iran since the episode of the war with Iraq, where they conducted operations against the Iranian army," explains Thierry Coville. The "Iranian public opinion far from considering them as opponents see them as traitors. They no longer enjoy any popularity among the Iranians, whether in the country or among the diasporas," he insists.

Founded in 1965 in opposition to the Shah, PMOI, with obedience to Marxism, conducted urban guerrilla actions to undermine the regime. After the 1979 Islamic revolution and the advent of ayatollah Khomeini, the organization becomes the most aggressive opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 1981, Massoud Rajavi, leader of mujahedin, founded with other opponents, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which reflected the forces opposed to the dictatorship of the Shah and ayatollah Khomeini’s government.

During the Iran / Iraq war (1980-1988), the Mujahedin settled in Iraq where they create the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA) in 1986 and launched operations against their country. In 1988, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the execution of members of the organization. Based in France, PMOI is directed by Maryam Rajavi, the wife of Massoud Rajavi.

In announcing the news of his removal from the list of terrorist organizations, the group, which is headquartered in the Auvers-sur-Oise in suburb of Paris, in a statement hailed a "correct decision".

"Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance for the period of the transfer of sovereignty to the Iranian people, welcomed" the decision of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "the statement said." we hope to better introduce ourselves and our goals to international community and the American people. "

Lobbying and working with American Secret Service

According to Thierry Coville, several factors explain the change in U.S. position. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program are no strangers. "The fact that the United States declares the Mujahedin accessible now, is not trivial at a time when Washington and Israel raise Iran as the greatest enemy in the planet," noted the researcher.

In addition, it has been long time that PMOI seeks to improve its image. Designated in 1997 as a "terrorist" organization in the United States, it has, for several years, renounced violence and actively collaborated with the U.S. Secret Service.

"The Mujahedin have worked effectively with the U.S. Secret Service in providing information gleaned from their contacts in the country on the Iranian nuclear program, but still on the Iranian aid to Bashar al-Assad", explains the researcher.
Thierry Coville also noted that the decision of the U.S. administration is the result of a genuine communication by the Iranian opposition organization. "The Mujahedin have been lobbying and in a less conventional way: they paid services responsible for American security to testify in their favor. Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, for example, who was present at the last Congress in Paris, was paid to speak at the forum, "reveals Thierry Coville.
The decision of the U.S. State Department to remove the PMOI from the list of terrorist organizations finally coincide with the evacuation ,nearly complete and demanded by the UN and the United States, of Camp Ashraf, North of Baghdad, where the Mujahedin had occupied for years.

France24  – Translated By Nejat Society

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