Massoud Rajavi’s Move to Iraq in 1986

In june10th, 1986, the Associated Press reported, “After five years of French exile, Massoud Rajavi has taken his Iranian opposition movement to Iraq where he is expected to step up guerrilla action against the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.” [1]

Massoud Rajavi’s Move to Iraq in 1986
Massoud Rajavi’s Move to Iraq in 1986

The report came after the French government issued an order for the expulsion of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) from France on June 7, 1986. However, the Christian Science Monitor’s correspondent suggested, “French officials say Rajavi left voluntarily and was not expelled, but in recent weeks the French government had exerted quiet pressure and placed restraints on his activities.” [2]

“But information from Paris indicates that Rajavi strove hard until the last minute to be allowed to remain in France,” CSM added. “Though the French authorities never served an expulsion order on Rajavi, they made it clear to him that he was no more welcome.” [3]

Furthermore, the AP report truly predicted that relocation of the MKO near the Iranian border would shift the propaganda approach of the group which was based on the establishment of the National Council of Resistance to military force which had been the group’s original agenda from the early days of its foundation. “The leader of the Mujahedeen guerrillas focused on political opposition while in France, collected Western support and built a propaganda machine,” the AP asserted. “But now Rajavi risks the scorn of Iranians by operating out of Iraq, a country that is at war with his homeland”. [4]

However, Rajavi’s move to Iraq was then called by the group`s propaganda as “A Flight for Peace and Freedom”! As usual, the group had to justify its disgusting anti-national act using agreeable words like “Peace”, “Liberty” and “Freedom”. But, playing with words did not help Iranians` hatred towards the MKO after the group collaborated with Saddam Hussein, the arch enemy of Iran.

AP reported at the time, “Some experts believe that the move may have some short-term advantages, but that it will ultimately cost the Mujahedeen credibility with Iranians.” The experts cited by AP were absolutely right. [5]

An Iranian jurist who had once been Rajavi’s lawyer and lived in France at the time, told CSM, “When Rajavi came to France, he and his supporters quickly ran out of money. The Iraqi government offered him support and they accepted. In the long run, they became proxies of the Iraqi regime and lost much of their credibility within Iran.” [6]

It was only a few years later that the US State Department confirmed the MKO’s increasing unpopularity among the Iranian nation due to its collaboration with Saddam Hussein in the eight years of Iran-Iraq war.

Just like today, the MKO’s unpopularity was not restricted to the Iranian people. “The Mujahedeen are criticized by other opposition groups as responsible for thousands of deaths in the early days of the revolution,” suggested the AP. “And critics say the Mujahedeen are caught up in a cult-like reverence for Rajavi.” [7]

The AP wrote about the MKO’s armed struggle and terror acts against Iranians. “The Mujahedeen have maintained a separate military command in Iran, which claimed responsibility for occasional guerrilla attacks.” [8]

Rajavi’s move to Iraq was a new phase for the MKO’s violent approach. “Peace” and “freedom” was unheard of.

As the enemy of his enemy, the MKO was warmly welcome by Saddam Hussein and his right hand man, Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi deputy premier and foreign minister. AP quoted him as saying “the Mujahedeen plan to step up military action inside Iran.” And the MKO did it. It was shortly after Rajavi’s move to Baghdad that the so-called National Liberation Army was formed as Saddam’s private army. [9]

By Mazda Parsi

References:

[1] Associated Press, After five years of French exile, Massoud Rajavi has taken his Iranian opposition movement to Iraq, the AP, June 10, 1986

[2] van England, Claude, Iran, France gain from Iranian exile’s exit. Rajavi’s move to Iraq damages his credibility, The Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 1986

[3] ibid

[4] Associated Press, After five years of French exile, Massoud Rajavi has taken his Iranian opposition movement to Iraq, the AP, June 10, 1986

[5] ibid

[6] van England, Claude, Iran, France gain from Iranian exile’s exit. Rajavi’s move to Iraq damages his credibility, The Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 1986

[7] Associated Press, After five years of French exile, Massoud Rajavi has taken his Iranian opposition movement to Iraq, the AP, June 10, 1986

[8] ibid

[9[ ibid

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