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MEK, an expired opposition?

MKO Expired opposition group

Founded in the early 1960s, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) was the first opposition group to fight against the Shah of Iran. Today, more than half a century after the foundation of the group it is not considered an opposition group anymore. However, it is mostly regarded as a cult-like establishment that opposes the Islamic Republic and is used as a tool to pressure the Iranian government.

In other words, as Mohammad Sahimi asserts, the MEK should be called a “fake opposition”. Muhammad Sahimi, a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has been analyzing Iran’s political developments and its nuclear program for 25 years. He labels the entire Iranian opposition groups as “true” and “fake”. He correctly clarifies that a fake opposition is the one that does not enjoy the support of the Iranian public opinion and does supports any position against its nation including sanctions, military attack and so on.

“Two main groups have emerged among the opposition to Iran’s hardliners, both within Iran and in the diaspora,” Sahimi suggests.  “One group, the true opposition that includes the reformists, religious-nationalists, secular leftists, various labor groups, human rights activists, and others, believes that it is up to the Iranian people living in Iran how to change the political system in their country. This group is opposed to foreign intervention, particularly by the United States and its allies, the illegal economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, and the constant threats of military confrontation espoused by John Bolton, President Trump’s national security advisor, and other Iran hawks.” [1]

He puts the MEK in the list of the second group: fake oppositions. “Many Iranians refer to the second group as the “fake” opposition,” he writes. “It consists mostly of the monarchists, some ethnic groups, and the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the exiled group that is universally despised in Iran and was on the State Department’s list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” from 1997 until 2011. It is called the “fake” opposition because it supports the economic sanctions and the threat of military attacks, and has completely aligned itself not only with the Trump administration, but also with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Israel, and endorses their propaganda against Iran. This group, whose followers are based mostly in the diaspora, acts more like a lobby for convincing the Iranian people to support the Trump-Mohammed bin Salman(MbS)-Benjamin Netanyahu triangle in their confrontation with Iran, rather than as a group supporting the true opposition within Iran for lasting, irreversible, and positive changes in the political system.” [2]

Ann Khodabandeh, former member of the MEK confirms that the group is never a normal opposition, not only because of its anti-national stances but also because of its potential threat as a terrorist entity. Referring to several cases of assassination and death attempts committed by the MEK, she proves that the group is a cult that is engaged in violence and is never responsive to journalists and critics despite all its efforts to take the gesture of a democratic alternative for the Iranian government. “It is a mistake to approach the MEK as a normal opposition,” she writes. [3]

Nonetheless, every now and then we see the American high profiles like John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor who shout their ardent support for the MEK as their desired Iranian future government. Are they really such naïve to ignore the MEK’s fake face?

Ebrahim Khodabandeh, former member of the MEK and the general director of Nejat Society believes that current leader of the MEK Maryam Rajavi has also an expiration date just like her predecessor Massoud. “The MEK under Maryam Rajavi’s leadership has not met any of her new sponsors’ needs and requirements,” Khodabandeh asserts. “It is time, therefore, for a new face if the MEK is going to be of any value against the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are waiting for her disappearance after that of her husband.” [4]

Mazda Parsi


[1] Sahimi, Mohammad, Pompeo, Bolton, and Iran’s “Fake Opposition”, Lobelog, February 6th, 2019.

[2] ibid

[3] Khodabandeh, Ann, It’s a mistake to treat the MEK as a normal opposition group, Iran Interlink, February 27th, 2019.

[4] Khodabandeh, Ebrahim, When would Maryam Rajavi disappear?, Iran Interlink , Feb 28, 2019

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