Daniel M. Zucker, a Chairman of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, in his recent article, Setting the Record Straight About the Mojahedin-e Khalq of Iran, which is more a comeback to Jay Solomon’s article published in the Wall Street Journal ("Iranian Exile Group Aims to Build Bridges; Some in Congress See a Role For an Organization Listed as a Terrorist Group", May 22, 2006), regards Solomon’s article valuable “as most Americans have no idea who and what the Mojahedin-e Khalq is, and for what it stands”. To the point, there is nothing wrong with the idea. The chief problem emerges at the point where Mr. Zucker, a partisan of Mojahedin, takes the responsibility to bring up “important errors and oversights in his essay that need correction and clarification”.
Enumerating these errors one by one to correct them, Mr. Zucker begins: “One of the errors about the MEK is the allegation that they were involved in assassinating U.S. Army personal and military contractors in the early and mid-1970’s. The accusation derives from the fact that little was known about the MEK by American intelligence at the time, and not much has been learned until recently”. He seems to have read Mojahedin’s Democracy Betrayed, a response to U.S. State Department on the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance, because his attempt to acquit Mojahedin of being involved in assassination of the American citizens follows the baseless justification of Mojahedin themselves. It is up to U.S. State Department to defend itself against Mr. Zucker’s allegations but, for sure, it has never refuted what it had acknowledged earlier about Mojahedin’s engagement in the murder of Americans. Here is the excerpt dealing with the issue:
In the period leading up to the revolution and its immediate aftermath, the Mojahedin carried out their strategy of armed struggle. The results included the murder of Americans, support for the seizure of the U.S. embassy, and opposition to the release of U.S. hostages. The Mojahedin are known to have assassinated the following Americans in Iran during the 1970s:
Lt. Colonel Lewis L. Hawkins Killed: June 2, 1973
Air Force Colonel Paul Schaeffer Killed: May 21, 1975
Air Force Lt. Colonel Jack Turner Killed: May 21, 1975
Donald G. Smith, Rockwell International Killed: August 28, 1976
Robert R. Krongrad, Rockwell International Killed: August 28, 1976
William C. Cottrell, Rockwell International Killed: August 28, 1976
Reza Reza’i, a member of the Mojahedin’s Ideological Team, was arrested and executed by the Shah’s government for the murder of Colonel Hawkins. The attacks on the Rockwell employees occurred on the anniversary of the arrest of a Mojahedin member, Rahman vahid Afrakhteh, for the murder of Colonels Schaeffer and Turner. In addition. Air Force Brigadier General Harold price was wounded in a 1972 attack Planned by Mojahedin Central committee member, Kazem Zul Al-Anvar. Widely credited in Tehran for these attacks at the time, the Mojahedin themselves claimed responsibility for these murders in their publications.
While Mojahedin have recurrently insisted that they were among the firsts to support the occupation of the US embassy, their own published statements and evidences are more than enough, Mr. Zucker refers to the incident as the next error: “Another false accusation against the MEK is the allegation that the MEK supported the student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in February 1979, and subsequent 444 day hostage crisis”.
At the time, Mojhedin even criticized the Iranian authorities for any probable future relations with the US. In “Mojahed” 18 issued on Jan.8, 1980 Mojahedin stated:
Recent recession in our anti-Imperialist struggle after the Shah’s downfall is one of (Mojahedin) Organization’s criticisms of government and officials. Of course, the reactionaries call this criticism, "uncalled for criticism" or "opposing revolutionary government". Fortunately by revolutionary move of the Students following Imam’s Line, and specially decisive position of Imam(Khomeini) to resist and face U.S. imperialism our revolution is about to get on the track.
From the very moment the U.S spy den was occupied, the organization welcomed the move and used all its facilities to mobilize masses. Especially the historical decree of Imam on general, politico-military mobilization, the Mojahedin sent their military units to support the Students following Imam’s Line, and to guard and monitor the Embassy round the clock.
Mr. Zucker fails to remember, or he may have never heard, that Mojahedin were the most enthusiastic in making anti-imperialism slogans and encouraged others to chant them as well as bearing tracts and banners. In “Mojahed” 10 issued on Nov.12, 1979 they admitted their role in making and chanting a variety of slogans:
The slogans before the American Embassy remind us of the days of the revolution.
Integral, joyful mottos of the people remind us of the days, we together with our martyrs shouted against the Shah’s dictatorship. The people and the students joint slogans like "Khomeini Combats, the U.S. retreats" could be heard in and out of the Embassy.
Expulsion of Americans is an act to follow Imam (Khomeini)’s "Death to Imperialism” which is the most beautiful slogan. We also chanted: “Extradition of traitor Shah is our people’s demand”, “Struggling with the U.S. builds our unity”, “Carter must be killed either by gun or by feast”, “Savage Imperialism is the enemy of the mankind”.
If Mr. Zucker is in any doubt about MEK unpopularity among Iranian people, we gladly invite him to have a short visit to Iran to writ down some notes for himself. Can he ever name the other Iranian opposition and diaspora talking in support of Mojahedin? The exaggerated numbers of the supporters he refers to are the same baseless statistics computed and advertised by Mojahedin’s own propaganda machine. We will be also pleased to see Mr. Zucker, on behalf of Mojahedin, exhibit the documents and evidences of “over 120,000 MEK members and sympathizers” claimed to have been tortured and murdered. At the present, MKO claims the Islamic Republic has so far executed 120,000 members of the group. Their claimed number of the executed in 1987, the year they settled in Iraq, did not exceeded 20,000 which was an overstatement at the time.
Mr. Zucker furthers to say “The MEK, under the leadership of theoretician Massoud Rajavi, did not take up arms against the Islamic Republic of Iran until June 21, 1981, the day after a peaceful demonstration of over 500,000 individuals in Teheran was attacked.… Following these incidents, the MEK leadership decided to take up arms against the Khomeini regime, launching attacks that killed several high officials of the regime”.
Every now and then, we hear the news of some dissidents in some countries, especially in developed Western countries, organizing protesting rallies in demand of some right or objection to an adopted policy or else. We are also disappointed to see some of these mobs are scattered by anti-riot forces’ violent crackdown that, in some cases, ends in some killings. Do all the organizers and plotters of these quashed rallies take up arms and announce armed struggle against the government or assassinate the authorities?
Furthermore, have you ever thought of the Mojahedin’s claimed number of over 500,000 sympathizers marching in Tehran’s streets and the destructive potentialities of such a crowd if they really existed? Sensibly, could such a big mob be easily dispersed by a number of not yet organized paramilitary forces as Mojahedin, and you as well, claim?
Mr. Zucker argues that “The MEK is the grandchild of Dr. Mohammed Mossadeq, the popular nationalist prime minister that the CIA toppled in 1953 so as to bring the shah back to power”. That is too amazing that the grandchild of a once popular figure toppled by a US orchestrated coup are urged to be de-listed and protected “to allow them to lead the Iranian people to make the necessary changes to bring about a secular democracy in Iran”. It seems that Mr. Zucker, one among many others, is misguided by Mojahedin’s expropriating Mosaddeq’s name and repute. Mojahedin’s present struggle manner might in no way beguile those who are familiar with Iranians contemporary history.
Last but not least, blacklisting Mojahedin is the result of no tradeoff between the US and Iran as Mr. Zucker believes. The political breach between the two countries is broad clear to the world and the US seems to be much more prudent not to trade the security of its nation for trifle advantages. Besides, the US is not the sole country to have blacklisted Mojahedin. Reading Mr. Zucker’s article one may conclude a question; is his commendation of terrorists a newly developed approach of establishing democracy, preferably in Iran?
A. Afshar – mojahedin.ws – August 9, 2006