Tahereh Nouri was only twenty years old and the mother of a nine-months old baby when she was taken as a hostage by the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi).
“As a young girl, I had married a greedy man who ruined my life,” Tahereh writes in the memoirs she has published on her experience of involvement with the MEK. “My husband was jailed in Arak, Iran, where he got to know a man named Mehdi.”
Mehdi was actually an MEK recruiter who succeeded to deceive Tahereh and her husband to join the MEK. “He promised to take us to Iraq to work in the MEK camps with good payments for two months and he claimed that eventually we would be sent to Europe to build a new life.”
As Mehdi asks them, Tahereh and her husband take their passports and travel to Turkey where they are welcome by MEK agents. “We were settled in a safe house of the MEK for about a week,” she recalls. “They showed us films of the life of families in Camp Ashraf.”
The group agents take them to Iraq. They are housed in base of the MEK in Baghdad called Tabatabayee. “We were received warmly with good food and residence,” Tahereh says. “Again, we were shown videos of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi’s speeches. After several hour, they put a document before me and told me to sign it. They told me to divorce my husband in order to comply with the rule of Massoud Rajavi.”
Fahimeh Arvani is the female commander to coerce Tahereh to leave her family life; to divorce her husband and to give her little daughter to the group. “I was shocked to hear that,” Tahereh utters. “I said that we were supposed to move to Europe via Iraq but Fahimeh started shouting at me that there would be no exit for a Mujahed. She told me ‘There is only war here’.”
Tahereh was not allowed to see her husband any more. Her daughter was not with her. She was only allowed to visit her twice a week. The group commanders had scheduled a daily work plan for her, she received military trainings, she worked and she attended daily self-criticism sessions and brainwashing meetings.
“The daily routines were exhausting,” she says. “I was looking for a way to release myself. Everyone who arrives in the Cult of Rajavi is stuck in a space that there is no way out of it. The Cult of Rajavi is very dangerous. When I looked at those women in the cult, they looked really desperate. They seemed to have a lot to say but they did not have the courage to say.”
Tahereh was surprised to see that even brothers and sisters were not allowed to meet each other in the MEK’s camp. “I asked Fahimeh Arvani why sisters cannot talk to their biological brothers,” she recalls. “She replied sexual instincts are equal for every one!”
Tahereh observed various examples of discriminations and brutality in the MEK. “I remember the day that I had to work in the kitchen of the camp. The rank and file had to eat food with a very bad quality but I saw some pots with special foods cooked for female commanders who were members of the group’s so-called Elite Council. Unlike other, they did not come to the eating place. Their meals were taken to their rooms.”
It took Tahereh a few years to get determined to leave the group. She endured long hours of criticism sessions in which commanders and peers tried to convince her to stay. “When I officially asked them to let me leave the group, they immediately hold meetings for me,” she says. “I was determined to leave. Fahimeh Arvani was mad at me. She threatened me to death. ‘I will bury you alive’, she said.”
Ultimately, Tahereh could manage to liberate her daughter and herself from the bars of the MEK. “Years after leaving the MEK, I am living a free life in Iran but I feel pity for the women who are still imprisoned in the cult of Rajavi.”
Taherh Nouri tries to keep in touch with Nejat Society. In her last text message to female members of the MEK she writes, “As I experienced it, I know that the cult-like pressure on female members is very high in the MEK. Maryam Rajavi claims of women’s right but no woman is free in the MEK. We had no right to open up for the cult leaders. We had no right to think about our children or our family. No one can ask for a phone call with her family.”
She adds, “We just worked as slaves. We had to chant ‘Maryam! Maryam!’. The cult of Rajavi is retarded it will not change. I released myself and chose a free life. You can do it too. Do not let the cult leaders demolish you behind the bars of their cult!”