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Rajavi cult victims are not a political football

Donald Rumsfeld hardly had time to clear his desk at the Pentagon before the Rajavi cult began sending out distress signals.

The cult told human rights monitors that – based on statements by the Iraqi government that the terrorist MKO in Camp Ashraf can stay in Iraq only until the end of this year – the residents of Camp Ashraf were in imminent danger of deportation to Iran and that they would be immediately executed the moment they set foot in that country.

The panic, however, was not over events in Iraq or Iran – to where over 500 Mojahedin members have already been safely repatriated under an ongoing amnesty agreement – but over the realignment of the political map of the US government in which Rajavi’s erstwhile supporters were the main losers.

The actual fate of the 3,000 remaining residents of Camp Ashraf is the last of Rajavi’s concerns; except in how to prolong the death throes of the cult as it slowly, painfully, inevitably dissolves from within.

For the past three years, in her desperation, Rajavi has positioned her organisation’s members for maximum suffering and exploitation by offering the people in Camp Ashraf as a mercenary ‘force’ to anyone in the west who seeks to use any tool in their efforts to confront Iran, in total disregard for their actual willingness or capability.

Thus, parties from all sides have been taught by Rajavi to regard the Mojahedin-e Khalq as a political football, as a tool with which to pursue their various policies of confrontation with Iran – naturally for their own national interests and not in order to help the Iranian people’s struggles toward secular democracy.

From one point of view we learn that "[Robert] Gates had [in 2004] proposed engaging Syria and Iran in a dialogue while offering incentives and brandishing sanctions at the same time. He argued that dialogue and openness energize civic society as an instrument for change in the two countries. He also proposed the trade-off of dismantling the Iranian opposition Mujahidin-e-Khalq in Iraq in return for Iran’s suspension of its support for the Shi’i militias in southern Lebanon." (Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat website, London, in Arabic 18 November 2006)

From another point of view we have Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker quoting the July 26, 2006 Congressional Record which "called for an end to the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and emphasized the political refugee status of Ashraf residents in that country." Rabbi Zucker states, "It is time to recognize and cooperate with the NCRI [aka Mojahedin-e Khalq] so as to nullify the efforts of Tehran to spread extremist Islam. (Source: U.S. Newswire/ — On Tuesday, November 14, 2006)

What the schemes of these and other parties do not acknowledge is that the individuals in Camp Ashraf are exactly that, individuals. It is only on Rajavi’s terms that the people there comprise a group. According to Rajavi the Mojahedin-e Khalq is an ‘opposition movement poised to erase the ruling Islamic Republic of Iran in its entirety so as to replace it with a secular democracy which respects human rights’, with, of course, Rajavi herself as the president.

But the reality inside Camp Ashraf is shockingly different from the fictional image Rajavi has presented for western consumption. The residents of Camp Ashraf have been kept there (for over two decades) through the systematic and brutal imposition of cult culture. Through the pernicious use of isolation, psychological coercion, and extrajudicial punishment, which results in a ruthless denial of even their most basic human rights, Rajavi has kept the residents of Camp Ashraf in conditions of modern slavery where the ‘shackles’ are not merely physical (the residents have no money or possessions) but are largely psychological. By now refusing to allow them help from international humanitarian bodies and by refusing to enact the most basic requirements of their protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention, not least of which is Article 116 which states: ‘Every internee shall be allowed to receive visitors, especially near relatives, at regular intervals and as frequently as possible. As far as is possible, internees shall be permitted to visit their homes in urgent cases, particularly in cases of death or serious illness of relatives.’ Maryam Rajavi has taken upon herself the responsibility for condemning these people to a living death.

This ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’ is not a viable force with which to confront Iran. This ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’ is a cult whose members are enslaved to Rajavi’s ambitions for power at any cost. This ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’ is not a tool which can be bandied about in the political scene or bargained and traded with. The residents of Camp Ashraf who comprise Rajavi’s ‘Mojahedin-e Khalq’ are victims of gross human rights abuses. They must be rescued not used.

Above all, those in the west who believe they can use the group in their foreign policy, whether to threaten or cajole, would do well to face the simple fact that the name ‘Mojahedin’ no longer holds currency in Iranian political circles, whether in the ruling regime or in the opposition to it. As such it is a redundant factor. But, do not disregard it. Please, please rescue the residents of Camp Ashraf from Rajavi’s clutches before more people die.

Anne Singleton,November 21, 2006

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