The Mujahedin Khalq, “a Cultish Death Squad”

The violent nature of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) has always been the important issue of critics and arguments between journalists, analysts and those politicians who support the group and consider it as a democratic alternative to the Iranian government.

“The MEK’s efforts over the past two decades to convey a benign public image completely at odds with this internal reality, and to pose as a force for democracy in Iran, have depended on buying the public endorsements of well-known public figures,” write Paul pillar on the National Interest.  “This has required money—lots of it. Five-figure speaking fees have flowed freely. Public disclosure forms indicate Bolton received $40,000 for a single appearance at an MEK event in Paris last year.” [1]

Western Analysts agree that the MEK lacks the capacity or support to overthrow the Iranian government. “They [the MKO sponsors in the US] are probably smart enough to know that this group is not democratic and anyway has no constituency inside Iran,” Paul Pillar told the Guardian. “Trump and his Iran hawks are not concerned with replacing the current regime so much as causing it to crumble. They are pursuing anything that would disrupt the political order in Iran so they and the president can cite such an outcome as a supposed victory no matter what comes afterwards.” [2]

Pillar believes that the MKO has only the capacity to commit violence, and is not able to change the government in Tehran as a democratic force. “They appear to be less interested in democracy in Iran than in the capability for sabotage, destruction, and assassination in Iran—a capability that the MEK still has despite its claims to have forsaken violence,” he writes. [3]

Julia Kassem of the Geopolitics Alert also asserts that “Washington’s pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and subsequently renewed sanctions come as US National Security Advisor appointee John Bolton’s existential objective to destroy Iran by any means necessary even if it means leveraging the soft power of a cultish death squad.” [4]

She suggests that Trump administration has made large investments on the Iranian opposition groups. “Congress had previously allocated over $20 million for “democracy promotion” in Iran, following accusations that Iran possessed nuclear weapons,” she writes. “It was the MEK that had given false and misleading information to US intelligence on Iran’s alleged possession of nuclear weapons in 2002, a year before the US destabilized Iraq over accusations of “weapons of mass destruction.” This polemic, inspiring an odd part of then-president George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech, is also solidified in MEK leader Maryam Rajavi 10-point plan. The last point demands a “non-nuclear Iran,” calls for the Islamic Republic be “free of weapons of mass destruction.” [5]

Julia Kassem suggests that the double standards of the West in dealing with terrorist groups including the MKO is shared with the entire NATO members. “Various NATO powers have hosted and given the separatist groups coverage in attempts of strengthening support and ties with the United States,” she writes. “They Include France, where the MEK and its umbrella organization NCRI is based, Denmark and the Netherlands, housing Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), and Albania, where a MEK camp, housing a training ground and even Twitter troll-farm, pumping out anti-government tweets and pro-Rajavi propaganda, is based.” [6]

Paul pillar confirmed the US hypocrisy in an interview with Tehran Times. “If the MEK is opposed to the current political order in Tehran, that’s all that matters to the Trump administration,” he said. [7]

He states that the removal of the MKO from the US State Department Terrorist list has been part of the anti-Iran Policy. “A rationale for removing the MEK from the U.S. terrorism list was that in recent years the group has not been involved in killing Americans,” he told Tehran Times. “The law governing the list could be construed that way, although more often, decisions on listing and delisting are not made from such a narrow perspective.  A terrorist group is still a terrorist group even if the blood it spills is not American blood.  The MEK certainly has been involved in lethal political violence since 2009.” [8]

Western supporters should be warned that associating with the MKO will increase Iranian`s hatred feelings toward the US. Iranians will never forget the violent background of MEK in which thousands of innocent people were massacred by this group. Therefore, US should not try to ignore the terrorist nature of MEK and its cruel treatment towards its members.  

By  Mazda Parsi

References:

[1] Pillar, Paul, The MEK and the Bankrupt U.S. Policy on Iran, National Interest, November 13, 2018.

[2] Merat, Arron, Terrorists, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild wild story of the MEK, the Guardian,November 9, 2018.

[3] Pillar, Paul, The MEK and the Bankrupt U.S. Policy on Iran, National Interest, November 13, 2018.

[4] Kassem, Julia (Samar), How the US Uses the “Leftist” MEK Group for Soft Aggression against Iran, Geopolitics Alert, November 27, 2018.

[5] ibid

[6] ibid

[7] Heirannia, Javad, MEK Sources of funds are Iran’s regional rivals: ex-CIA official, Tehran Times, December 1, 2018.

[8] ibid

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