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An MKO-run government is a Khmer Rouge-like tyranny

Imagine a society in which people are not allowed to have any saying in choosing their own  clothing, schooling, work, shopping and any other aspect of life. This society is a slavery in which people are forced to hard labor and deprived from sleep, rest and leisure time.

You may think that slavery is no more an issue of the contemporary man but modern slavery is still going on in the world as it was so general during the 1970s. The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) which is known as the Khmer Rouge, took control of Cambodia on April 17, 1975. The CPK created the state of Democratic Kampuchea in 1976 and ruled the country until January 1979. The Khmer Rouge began to implement their radical Maoist and Marxist-Leninist transformation program. They wanted to transform Cambodia into a rural, classless society in which there were no rich people, no poor people, and no exploitation. To accomplish this, they abolished money, free markets, normal schooling, private property, foreign clothing styles, religious practices, and traditional Khmer culture. Public schools, pagodas, mosques, churches, universities, shops and government buildings were shut or turned into prisons, stables, reeducation camps and granaries. There was no public or private transportation, no private property, and no non-revolutionary entertainment. Leisure activities were severely restricted. People throughout the country, including the leaders of the CPK, had to wear black costumes, which were their traditional revolutionary clothes. [1]

Today in 2018, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) is believed to be the next Khmer Rouge regime in case that it gains power in Iran. Former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iranian affair, John Limbert  suggests that support for the MKO by the side of some US politicians including National Security Advisor John Bolton and his friends, “would end up backing MEK, a group hated by most Iranians and resembling a combination of the Jonestown cult and the Khmer Rouge.” [2]

Limbert’s interpretation on the MKO was first stated by the contributor to the New York Times magazine, Elizabeth Rubin in 2003 after she visited the MKO’s military headquarters in Iraq. “The Rajavis, given the chance, would have been the Pol Pot of Iran”, she concluded at the end of her investigated detailed report on the MKO. [3]

Pol Pot was the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge. It is estimated that from 1975 to 1979, under the leadership of Pol Pot, the government caused the deaths of more than one million people from forced labour, starvation, disease, torture, or execution while carrying out a program of radical social and agricultural reforms. [4]

Cult-like practices of the MKO leaders is widely denounced by the international bodies and various journalists. “The MEK leaders in Iraq, husband and wife Masoud and Maryam Rajavi, ran the group through obsessive control over its member’s behavior – enforcing total sexual abstinence, making use of torture, and encouraging lethal violence against any perceived enemy, including members’ families,” reported Abawaba website.” According to a Human Rights Watch report, dissenters who criticized the Rajavis or expressed an intention to leave were subject to torture. Two of their members were tortured to death.” [5]

Albawaba correctly states that the MKO is not democratic as it claims. Maryam Rajavi retains tight control of their members’ lives in Albania as well, reportedly doling out minimal money to each of its members to allow them to buy rations of food. She continues to prevent them from speaking to their families or letting them to leave the cult. At the same time, she began effectively courting anti-Iran American politicians, selling herself as a democratic opposition-in-waiting to the Islamic Republic. As the article says the only evidence for Mayam Rajavi’s claim of being “democratic” comes from her “Ten Point Plan”, and her claim that if the MEK were to assume power in the event of regime change, they would ensure parliamentary elections within six months. “Her Ten Point Plan is not in itself objectionable”, it writes. “It outlines commitments to secularism, democracy, gender equality, human rights, a free-market economy, and a foreign policy based on “peaceful coexistence” – objectives that many Iranians likely share.” [6]

However, Albawaba proves that the group’s history is the best evidence to contradict the leader’s claim. “The problem is that Rajavi’s history shows her adopting whatever label is politically convenient at the time, usually without living up to it,” it says. “The 10 Point manifesto itself is quite an about-turn for a group that began as Islamist Marxists. And if the description of Rajavi as an autocratic “cult leader” is even somewhat justified, then taking her word that she will give up power after six months would be foolish indeed. Cult leaders crave power, and will invariably find a reason to cling on to it.” [7]

Ali Alfoneh, a visiting scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington D.C., told Al Bawaba, “Based on their past record, NCRI/MEK rule over Iran is more likely to resemble the Khmer Rouge’s rule in Cambodia. I can’t measure the level of their popularity within Iran, but if their level of popularity among émigré Iranians is any guidance, they probably do not enjoy significant popular support within Iran.” [8]

What is noteworthy is that the MEK’s notorious background is known to most scholars and analysts on Iran affairs. American advocates of the MKO in the US administration must keep in mind that the majority of Iranians would never embrace the MEK as a “democratic” alternative. Moreover, the MKO has all the potentials to turn into a Khmer Rouge-like regime under the leadership of Rajavi as the Pol Pot of Iran.

Mazda Parsi


[1] Cambodia Tribunal Monitor Website

[2] Limbert, John, Pompeo and Iran: A Bizarre Mentality, Lobelog, July 24, 2018

[3] Rubin, Elizabeth, The Cult of Rajavi, The New York Times Magazine, July 13, 2003

[4] Cambodia Tribunal Monitor Website

[5] Al Bawaba, Attempts to Rebrand Iran’s MEK Are Far From Convincing, July 25th, 2018

[6] ibid

[7] ibid

[8] ibid

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