Three years ago, on Tuesday, 17 June 2003, over 1200 police officers carried out a huge raid in a Paris suburb. The target was a large complex of houses in Auvers-sur-Oise which had been turned into the international headquarters of the Mojahedin-e Khalq organisation (aka National Council of Resistance of Iran or NCRI). Up until March-April 2003, the Mojahedin/NCRI command centre had been in Iraq. It moved from there with the outbreak of war. Mojahedin co-leader Maryam Rajavi and about 160 of her closest aides were arrested during the raid.
In taking this action, France became the first Western country to take seriously the danger posed by the Mojahedin organization (aka PMOI, MEK or MKO). The operation was aimed, according to the French Interior Ministry, above all,“at the leaders of an organisation which threatened public order and is planning or preparing
to finance terrorist acts”. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin declared that the police operations were aimed,“at the central nervous system of a terrorist organisation”.
He made clear that, “it is in our national interest to make sure that all structures sheltering terrorists on our soil be dismantled.” During an international meeting at the Prime Minister’s office, Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of the Interior, emphasised that the materials seized at Auvers-sur-Oise justified the operation.
Immediately the MKO mobilised its supporters throughout Europe. They set off a well rehearsed series of actions which deeply shocked a European public opinion with little exposure to such extreme methods. French Government spokesperson, Jean- rancois Copé,characterised the self immolations as “obviously, extremely dramatic”. He added,“Alas! It also tells us a great deal about the mindset of their leadership”. The protests showed that the outright fanaticism of the MKO was true: that the denunciations of former Mojahedin who had escaped the organisation’s clutches were reliable.These men and women had been speaking out for years about the internal practises of the MKO, yet they had been stigmatised by the leadership and their sympathisers as Tehran’s agents.
Massoud Rajavi, the Spiritual Leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq organisation, the Chairman of the National Council of Resistance (NCR),and the Commander-in-Chief of the National Liberation Army (NLA) found refuge first in France (1981) and then in Iraq (1986). He owes everything to Saddam Hussein: the funding of the NLA, arms and their training camps in Iraq, including their Headquarters in Camp Ashraf. The three to five thousand Iranian militants in the NLA operating from Iraqi territory, helped maintain a high level of tension with Iran. While no one is certain as to the whereabouts of Mojahedin leader Massoud Rajavi, his wife Maryam is the acting leader and practically the successor to her husband. This charismatic figure of the organization has been named “Future President of Iran” by the MKO.
Classified as a terrorist group by the State Department of the United States of America and by the British Government as well as by the Council of the European
Union (since May 2002), the MKO is largely discredited today. It was based in Iraq since 1986 and suffered the full impact of Saddam Hussein’s fall from power. Reality shows that the western governments were right all along. The accusation of terrorism is now accepted at the most authoritative international levels. “The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MKO) planned to attack Iranian diplomatic missions in Europe”,stated the Director of French Counter-Terrorism during a press conference. According to information gathered by this service (the DST), the Mojahedin organisation "was preparing for murder attacks outside Iran, including in Europe", stated the Director, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian. During the police search at Auvers-sur-Oise, "eight to nine million dollars in cash" was found, added the DST Director, before going on to state that the full accounting was still underway.
M. Bousquet de Florian confirmed that many MKO leaders had returned to France since the American intervention in Iraq, including Maryam Rajavi. "They had turned Auvers-sur-Oise into an operational headquarters for terrorism", he stated. The US intervention had "taken away the MKO’s Baghdad Headquarters" as well as the financial support of Saddam’s regime. The DST chief underscored how dangerous the MKO was. It was more like a sect, a cult of personality for Massoud Rajavi and his wife Maryam. In 2001, the MKO had claimed responsibility for more than 195 terrorist attacks on Iran from its base in Auvers-sur-Oise.
As Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the NLA, Maryam Rajavi had no hesitation in ordering armed attacks on Iran
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Three years after her arrest, Maryam Rajavi and her companions, out of jail and on bail at present, are still awaiting their trial in Paris.The French judicial system alleges that they planned and funded terrorist operations. To understand the French case, we should review the organisation’s misdeeds over the years in the process of its socalled
struggle against the ruling system in Iran. Clearly, this case is not the sort that could easily be neglected. It must be dealt with thoroughly and carefully. The reasons are as follows:
1. The internal relationships of the organization and its cult status:
– The self-appointed, irremovable, lifetime leadership has unlimited power on decision making on every aspect of the organisational affairs including the most intimate personal matters concerning the members.
– The internal structure of the organization is based on absolute totalitarianism. The spiritual leadership stays well above all, and is not to be criticised by anyone under any circumstances.
– An ongoing process of brainwashing, psychological coercion, and thought reform has been widely practiced inside the organisation under the direct supervision of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. A range of very sophisticated physiological and psychological persuasive techniques have been used to engage the followers in conspiracy and fraud as well as the most bizarre acts such as self-immolation.
– Many people have been harmed and their rights have been abused by the organisation. Small children have been separated from their parents, families have been torn apart, and the possessions of the followers have been taken away. There are many psychological casualties still under treatment from the organisation’s malfunctioning.
– The intimidation and harassment of critics inside (as well as outside) the organization have become a common habit to silence dissenters. Defectors in particular have continuously been the subject of threats and character assassination.
2. The military, financial, and political relationship between the MKO and the deposed dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein:
– Video tapes acquired after the fall of Saddam Hussein clearly reveal that the MKO leaders and principally Massoud Rajavi received huge boxes of money from the Iraqi officials, specifically the Security Services Chief Jaleel Tahir Habush, along with assassination orders to be carried out inside Iran.
– The National Liberation Army (the military wing of the organisation based in Iraq) has been financed, trained,facilitated, armed, and supplied with intelligence and ammunition by the Iraqi Army to counter the Iranian Armed Forces throughout the war between the two countries.
– Many ex-members of the NLA have given full statements bearing witness to how the organisation’s military forces entered into the internal conflicts in Iraq; in particular suppressing the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south in 1991.
– According to many members of the organisation arrested inside Iran, they have been trained, facilitated and helped to cross the border by the Iraqi Armed Forces and Security Services to carry out assassinations and terrorist activities inside major cities in Iran.
– It is worth considering that apart from being listed in various international terrorist lists, and being hated by the vast majority of the Iranian people for their cooperation with the enemy during the war, no government has ever supported the organisation in any form except for the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein. Of course the organisation has managed to gain the signatures of many members of parliaments (that is, the most uninformed politicians, especially in foreign affairs issues) in western countries on its petitions due to their lack of knowledge of the terrorist nature of MKO.
– According to many undeniable documents, the money collected in the USA and in Europe in the name of so-called charity and humanitarian institutes has been sent to Iraq (after its traces have been disguised by money laundering) to be used for the NLA on arms and military facilities.
3. The systematic contact between the organisation’s HQ in Paris (the establishment formed in Auvers-sur-Oise under cover of the NCRI) and the NLA bases in Iraq:
– According to the DST press releases and statements as well as the French authorities’ press conferences referring to the materials found inside the Organisation’s Paris HQ, the two bases in France and Iraq have been closely and continuously linked using very sophisticates devices.
– Documents clearly show that there is no distinction between the different establishments of the organisation and they are all run under the close leadership of the Rajavis.
– It is also clear that all activities in Western Europe and Northern America, including the political, publicity, and financial performance of the organization have been directly guided from Iraq.
4. Establishing fake societies and associations to cover the organisation’s illegal financial and other acts and money laundering in western countries:
– The members of the organisation are clearly and directly told that the money collected in western countries for the cause of homeless and orphaned children is destined to be used for arms and other expenditures of the organisation.
– The organisation has many institutions that do not reveal their nature and their dependence on the MKO, but they are all directed and instructed in their activities directly by Maryam Rajavi.
– In particular, it should be taken into consideration that the MKO (PMOI), the NCRI, and the NLA are alias establishments and cannot and should not be dealt with separately. They all have the same terrorist nature which is well theorized and justified for the participants.
Bearing in mind the above mentioned facts which are only briefly highlighted, it is now worth asking where the people of western countries stand
on this case. Should it be their concern at all? Today even the most rigorous opposition to the ruling Islamic system in Iran does not approve the methods and manners imposed by the MKO.The Iranian opposition as a whole truly believes that the organisation’s so-called struggle has severely damaged their own efforts to restore democracy and freedom in Iran.
The truth is that many offences have been committed behind the legal presence of the MKO in western countries. These could have been prevented if the case had been dealt with sooner when many members – who had been under enormous physical and psychological pressure from the organisation – ruptured from it and warned western authorities about the subject. Many have been harmed by and suffered from the organisation’s actions throughout the world. Victims of the Rajavis can be found everywhere, both inside and outside Iran. And the international community certainly bears some responsibility for that.
The organisation claims that all assassinations and sabotage activities had taken place inside Iran during their armed struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this way they aim to discard the terrorist charges. They argue that they have never used arms inside western countries where they have been proscribed as a terrorist group. But in reality the MKO is surely a terrorist organisation by nature, and, without doubt, believes in using violence for achieving political purposes. According to the Mojahedin’s beliefs, the end justifies the means.
So they have no limitation, as they have shown through the years, against committing any sort of crime to reach their goals. It should also be considered that the mastermind of the organisation has always been situated either in Iraq or in Paris and all activities inside Iran have been directed from these two places over the past two decades.
Much has been said about the crimes and misdeeds of the Mojahedin and all its related institutes. Now it is time for a small amount of action to be taken in order to show that the authorities, particularly in France, have taken the matter seriously. Any person who was assassinated inside Iran, any combatant who was self-eliminated by pulling the trigger of a hand grenade or taking a cyanide pill, or any youngster who was self-immolated, are all similar victims of this notorious cultic organisation which is led directly by unaccountable, irremovable leaders who were based in Iraq and have now moved to France. World public opinion, the many victims of the organisation, and the Iranian opposition want to see everything justly put to rights. They want to see an end to this situation which has been ongoing now for so many years
Ebrahim Khodabandeh/ Survivors’ Report