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domingo, 30 de octubre de 2011

The collective action of Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO): changes, interests and current situation

The collective action of Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO): changes, interests and political marketing

By Moses Garduño * 
* Moises Garduño is Professor of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico where he teaches Middle East Studies and Arabic Language. He is also PhD candidate in Contemporary Arab and Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy of Autonomous University of Madrid.


For over three decades MKO has survived and operated against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran supported by the government of Saddam Hussein (in eighties) and for several personalities of the U.S. and the European Union governments in nowadays under National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Led by the charismatic Maryam Rajavi, wife of the movement's official leader Massoud Rajavi, MKO promotes the establishment of "The Democratic Islamic Republic of Iran", a project that displays that Islam, democracy and human rights can be implemented in "a future and new Iranian state. However, its story full of political treachery, terrorist acts and harassment against its own members, casts doubt on the authenticity of its political project which, with the unfavorable international environment faced since the departure of the U.S. troops from Iraq in 2009, cast doubt its legitimacy and future as a political organization.

Keywords: MKO, National Council of Resistance, Massoud Rajavi, Maryam Rajavi. 

Iran: From Revolutionaries to enemies of the revolution
It was under one of the largest political organizations of Iran in the sixties, the Nehzat-e Azadi-ye Iran (Iran Freedom Movement) led by Mehdi Bazargan and Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleqani[1], where emerged the seed of Mujahedin e Khalq Organization or "Fighters of the People of Iran (MKO)[2] and others guerrilla organizations formed by middle class people interested in the political environment of Iran. They would seek alternative ways of fighting against politics promoted by the Shah of Iran after repression by the imperial army and the SAVAK (the intelligence agency of the monarchy) in those days post to the coup against Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953. Students, professors, architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants, poets, novelists, translators and men of religion topped the thickness of such groups, which mostly were funded by the national economic elite, the bazaar[3]. According to Ervand Abrahamian, the Iranian guerrillas in pre-revolutionary era could be classified into five major groups despite their large intra-organizational mobility:

Guerrilla organizations before Iran's 1979 revolution
1) - Sazman-i-ha-yi Cherik Feda'-I-I Khalq Organization of Iran or  freedom fighters in Iran, better known as the Fedayi.  The Fedayi, founded by Bezhan Hazani, adopted his name as such in 1971, and placed as a reactionary Marxist group  but away from the Soviet Union. This group advocated armed struggle led by intellectuals more than the peasant class in Iran.
2) - Sazman-i Mujahidin-i Khalq-I Iran or Organization of Freedom Fighters of the Iranian People, better known as the Mujahidin.     Religious-radical block where Dr. Ali Shariati indirectly gave ideological support to the movement-based on explanations and analogies relating Shiite martyrdom applied to the revolution. Inspired by studies of Franz Fanon and Antonio Gramci. The ideology of the movement  used to left out elements like atheism in Marxism but taking at the same time those of the class struggle and anti-imperialism.
3 - The Marxist wing of Sazman-i Mujahidin-i Khalq-I Iran. From 1975 to 1979 this organization was known as the Marxist Mujahidin and after the revolution in 1979 they adopted the name of Sazman Paykan to rah-i-i-Azad-Tabaqeh-i Kargar or Organization Road Fighter for the Liberation of the Working Class. It was known simply as Paykan or Peky. Unlike the Mujahedeen, the organization is more inclined Marxist postulates that the Quranic principles.
4 - Small groups generally limited to a region or town with different political leanings. Between them it was The group of Abu Zahr, The True Shia group, Vaasan Group, Allah Akbar Group, The group of Al Fajar, and others.
 5 - Marxist independent groups like the Organization for the Liberation of the Iranian people Lurestan Group, The Organization of the Ideals of the People, The Freedom Fighters of the Working Class, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran The Revolutionary Organization of the Tudeh Party, the Communist Party USA, among others. Radical secular block most of whom were sponsored by some students, trade unions and workers belonging mainly to the oil sector and some modern factories located in the city of Tehran. In the fall of the Shah, they would ask that a "Islamic government ensure its security and existence, demanding democracy, equality and government workers." Within some groups also were active members of the National Liberation Front decadent, who clamored for a new constitution and trying to form a group of secular reformers.

Based on data from Abrahamian, Ervand., "The Guerrilla Movement in Iran 1963-1977", Merip Reports (86) 1980, pp. 15. Available in http://www.jstor.org/stable/3012295 accessed March 3, 2011. Abrahamian., Ervand., "Iran in Revolution: The Opposition Forces", in Merip Reports (75/76), 1979, pp.8.Available in http://www.jstror.org/stable/3012310 accessed March 3, 2011. 

            From these organizations, MKO reached a high degree of political activism combined with several successes against the military power of imperial Iran. Among its objectives were several attacks against government buildings, robbing banks, killing important officials and kidnappings of foreigners. Its methods, very similar to those used by other armed Marxist organizations, were based on asymmetric attacks by cells formed by few people who were known each other by pseudonyms, nicknames and passwords in order to maintain loyalty within the group and avoid leaks or espionage, strategies used by SAVAK to dismantle these organizations[4].
            The MKO military operations were supported by a Shiite Islamic speech which adapted the philosophy of some Marxist revolutionary thinkers such as Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung (besides the nationalist influence of Franz Fanon) with the clear goal of "creating, based in the deepest religious traditions of the Iranian people, a revolutionary movement to eliminate social injustice and moral pollution of imperialism, thereby achieving relative class society (nizam al-Tawhid)”[5]. However, some contemporary scholars have questioned this theory by stating that the use of the Quran and other important texts of Shiite Islam could have served as a mere tool to mobilize the Iranian people, that’s because they think that Marxism would have been unable to do it by itself, this could explain the success that had MKO on others “non religious” Marxist organizations[6]. However, it is also important to note that the MKO never called itself as a strictly Marxist organization (although its principles contained large influence of this ideology) and other secular Marxist organizations such as the Fedayeen e Khalq, also had a considerable number of fans despite not make use of religious discourse[7]. 
            However, Islam was certainly an important element among Iranian society in pre-revolutionary era. Most members of the organizations at that time belonged to a generation that grew up under the traditions and customs of Twelver Shi'ism which had been practiced and inculcated by parents and teachers at home as well as school. Therefore, it was understandable that, according to the international context against imperialism and the dictatorships of this period of history, Islam was incorporated as an element of identity and ideological inspiration in the struggle for justice and social equity, at least in the Islamic world. It is worth saying that is just at this time when Islam has its “boom” in the Middle East given the evident failure of Arabism, the strong opposition to the State of Israel and the corruption of other models in the region, events that accelerated the incorporation of the Islamism as a protest and political movement in this part of the world.
            So then, the experiment of bringing together the two most powerful anti-imperialist oppression of the moment, Marxism and Islam, gave different results from other interpretations of Islam in those days. To cite one example, the MKO created its own interpretation of the Quran and its own version of the Kitab al Balagha (Peak of eloquence), which, according to some scholars, it was a modus operandi more like a cult than a guerrilla or political movement[8]. Among its main ideological principles were statements such as the fact that every Muslim was a guerrilla man and not just a believer, that it was necessary to teach religious men how to convert Islam religion in a revolutionary force and others like the fact that the true spiritual purification of man must be and just must be achieved through revolution and the realization of a just society[9]. In 1975 an internal fissure because of such interpretations affected the MKO and formed an alternative group, "the Marxist Muyahedeen, better known as Pekyar, which leaned more to the Marxist postulates than Quran ones while intensifying its armed struggle against the monarchy.
            One way to offset this internal crack was the approach of MKO with Khomeini. Ayatollah Rafsanjani served as intermediary between them becoming one of the greater moments of understanding among men of religion and traditional Islamic-Marxists:
"We consider any form of struggle against SAVAK as a blessing"[10]
            During this period, meetings of the MKO included in its propaganda pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini along with those of Taleqani and in public events they were seen as "the left of the revolution." However, this pact could be considered more like a pragmatic action than a sign of ideological balance because during this time MKO had enriched its political speech with the ideas of Ali Shariati, one of the most respected thinkers of the contemporary Iranian history who despite not having also considered as a mujahedeen, was seen as one of the great architects of the revolution: "Shia Islam was not conservative or apolitical fatalism but rather is a revolutionary ideology that should permeate all spheres of life and inspire true believers to fight against all forms of oppression, exploitation and social injustice”[11]. This ideology would be applied later to criticize the social reorganization of the government of the Islamic Republic.
            In addition, Khomeini supporters also enjoyed the backing of many people in the provinces and large cities where people look to religion as the only salvation way to the oppression of the monarchy. Thus, the revolution could not have been possible only through armed struggle of the "intellectual elite" but it was also necessary to complement each other with “the masses” in order to obtain a coalition of forces strong enough to make a real and possible change. With this eminent alliance, Reza Pahlavi attempted to show signs of reconciliation by releasing some political prisoners (including Massoud Rajavi, who would be the leader of MKO after the revolution) as well as some calls for peacekeeping. However, this would not be possible because the revolutionary movement was already well formed and, on the contrary, the released prisoners would join to their organizations of origin. So, the pressure against the monarchy would increase and its fall would be unavoidable. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced to abdicate by fleeing the country while Khomeini arrived from exile in France and marked the symbol of the triumph of the Islamic revolution.
            The times after this revolutionary process were the most difficult for the guerrillas, especially those who had a different view, politically and ideologically, of the Islamic interpretation of the newly established Islamic Republic. The eighties was a challenge for all movements that once took part in demonstrations against the monarchy since they did not find the political space that they wanted in the new system. The struggle methods, ideology and the power sharing inside the new government were not acceptable. Even during the war with Iraq, there were many "purges" which served to "identify the conspirators in order to care for the revolution" and to prevent internal collapse, which would have been catastrophic for the government of Khomeini who, on the other side, tried to unite all Iranians against the external threat, this was Iraq. 
            Ideologically, the conflict with the MKO focused on the concept of "Islamic state" where Velayat al Faqih Khomeini´s system was not compatible with the Nizam al Tawhid, project promoted by the group during its pre-revolutionary campaign, causing MKO to take up arms against Khomeini himself and carried out several attacks against the new government officials and even, unfortunately, innocent people on the streets of Tehran and other important cities of the country. This was the beginning of a new war between Islamic Republic and MKO, war which led the new government to persecute and imprison them (as well as activists from other organizations such as the Tudeh party and Fedayeen), through the newly formed force for revolution, the Revolutionary Guards[12]. MKO, which was led by Massoud Rajavi in that period, had become in the enemy of revolution in a few years, feeling betrayed as the rest of the guerrillas. 

Iraq: from enemies of the revolution to terrorist organization

During the eighties, MKO increased its number of followers. Some authors attest to an estimated half a million supporters just in Tehran, estimate made by the witness of one of the biggest demonstrations in its history within the country in 1981[13]. The strength of the movement at that time led to its leaders to think about an internal restructuring and so, in the same year, they could create the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), an attempt to bring together in one organization to a conglomerate of groups that, as in the revolution, have felt the same objective but now against Khomeini. And although created in Tehran with a majority of the MKO within it, this organization had the support of groups and personalities of the stature of Bani Sadr and members of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, who would carry out their main activities from Paris under the chairmanship of Maryam Rajavi[14], who began to promote a political agenda with different objectives such as freedom of speech, press without censorship, the abolition of the courts established by Khomeini, the guarantee of women's rights, the abolition of differences of belief and gender and the pursuit of a free market economy[15]. 
            NCRI began with a social base mostly of women which responded to the same disagreement with the government of Khomeini. The NCRI picked up its view on the gender issue from MKO´s ideology, where women are seen on an equal footing with men, without physical and social differences, and with a special role in the organization of a “just society”. For this reason, mujahedin women would take an active role in the organization since the revolutionary period up to now due to its "free right to participate in the revolution and the quest for social dignity"[16]. Mujahedin women were a strategic element to contact jailed members through conjugal visits, in addition to working on issues ranging from nursing, organizing demonstrations and propaganda and even conducting military operations, this can be test with the record of victims of some lists published by the organization in the mid-eighties which contains a considerable percentage of women[17]. However, when Massoud Rajavi got married with Maryam Azondalu (to take following the surname of her husband, Rajavi) a plethora of criticism exploded within the organization because Massoud was not yet divorced from his second wife (the daughter of Bani Sadr who had a younger age in that time) and who had no opportunity to decide about her marriage with Massoud. There were also other “forced marriages” within the group as time passed, which did not seem a good basis for someone who wanted to defend women's rights[18].
            But 1986 was crucial to study the relations between MKO and the Islamic Republic. The untenable situation took to Massoud Rajavi to agree an alliance with Saddam Hussein's government in order to promote his cause. Massoud Rajavi established relationships with Saddam Hussein since 1983 through his contacts with the Kurdish Iran Party (an NCRI member) who by then had a good relationship with the Iraqi government[19]. However, this tactic would have counterproductive effects in the internal social base of MKO where public opinion not fully understood this decision (since the Iraq conflict had impregnated nationalistic feelings and internal cohesion to most Iranians). Some scholars believe that the agreement with Iraq was geopolitically necessary but socially inappropriate:
"I think that, just because MKO forces were located in Iraq, the movement lost legitimacy. MKO settled in Iraq because there was nowhere else to go….besides the proximity to Iran was important. It was a reflection according to the geographical and political realities”[20]
            Taking advantage of this, the Islamic government launched a media campaign (which persists up to now) against MKO, where its leaders are accused as "traitors," "hypocrites," "radical" and "infidels" due to negotiate with the enemy, making its social base within the country weaker and forcing them to live in hiding. The evidence was clear, Massoud Rajavi was raised to change the strategy of armed resistance from Iran to Iraq, particularly from the Camp Ashraf, situated in the north of the arab country, a place that had been donated by Saddam Hussein not only to be used as a residence for the majority of group members (most of whom had left Iran) but also for military activities and training to serve Saddam Hussein in espionage issues, administrative duties as translations and even personal assistance through the National Liberation Army (NLA).
            The NLA was established in 1987 and would serve as the official arm of the NCRI. According to some sources, this army would help to establish a private security force for Saddam Hussein while participate in various acts of repression against Kurds living in Iraq[21]. The creation of the NLA was part of what Massoud Rajavi called the "internal revolution", which, by means of a conference of more than five days in Ashraf, the new guidelines for membership were dictated. In this period, some strange practices were adopted in the group such as celibacy, the reduction of sleep and the emphasis on the unquestionable leadership of Massoud Rajavi. At this time, his wife, Maryam Rajavi, became the “earthly” leader in NCRI while Massoud Rajavi fall in a sort of "divine power", taking powerful control not only of MKO but also the NCRI[22].
            At that time, it is estimated that the MKO had a network of between 30 000 and 50 000 active in the NLA, the group responsible for a series of attacks against the Islamic government both inside and outside Iran, the latter through attacks against its embassies and diplomatic personnel. The most striking event of these operations is known by the simultaneous attack over eleven embassies in 1992 in retaliation for the alleged bombing of its facilities in Ashraf by the Iranian Air Force. In this attack, the Iranian embassy in Canberra was the most damaged because not only official Iranian diplomats were killed but also Australian ones[23].
            Attacks along the nineties brought the U.S. and Europe to declare the group a terrorist organization[24]. Moreover, persecution by the intelligence apparatus of the Islamic Republic has intensified given the brutality and effectiveness of MKO terrorist attacks[25]. An example of such events was the alleged murder of Kazem Rajavi in ​​Geneva in 1990 and other officers of the NCRI in Europe between 1993 and 1996 by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of Iran (MOIS)[26]. These attacks followed throughout the decade, representing almost a situation of war between the two sides, since MKO had sophisticated weapons among which I mention heavy artillery, planes, rocket launchers, tanks, mines, missiles, Katyusha and some infantry weapons[27].
.           MKO were also responsible for several criminal acts including murder of Asadollah Lejevardi (then director of the Iranian prison system), Ali Sayyad Shirazi, (a senior representative of the armed forces) and even the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the Iranian President Mohammed Khatami by an attack at his home in Teheran in 2000[28]. For its part, the Revolutionary Guard responded to these attacks by heavy bombing in its facilities by launching surface-surface Scud-B missiles, (one of the strongest occurred on April 18, 2001 where the Islamic Republic sent about 44 missiles at the camps of the MKO)[29], which MKO used immediately for accusing Iran of violating Iraqi sovereignty noting the lack of respect for 598 resolution of UN Security Council which gave final approval of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988[30].
The geopolitics of human rights: from terrorist to freedom fighters? 

However, the status of Saddam Hussein would change and MKO position would suffer a misfortune. The linkage of 9/11 events and the alleged stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction by the Iraqi regime would trigger an instability in the entire Arab country that would involve the actions of several groups, included the MKO. This was an extremely difficult time in geopolitical terms for the group because the ally that had allowed it to operate for more than two decades was at risk of falling. Thus, the NCRI made an attempt to shield itself against international situation leading to the MKO to give a media coup that triggered another crisis in the midst of the Iraq ones, this was, the filter of information on the Iranian nuclear program in 2002 (although it was not until February 2005 that the group would officially disclose to the International Atomic Energy Agency) saying that the Islamic Republic was in possession of the necessary components to build a nuclear bomb which, according to its information, could have been achieved by the end of that year[31]. The purpose of this leak was win U.S. support by offering to provide information on the Iranian issue while its time in Iraq was increasingly standing out.
            Anyway, MKO face bad times during operation "Enduring Freedom" in which the U.S. bombed some of the bases of the NLA, forcing them to disarm and declare themselves a ceasefire in April 2003. These events coincided with the arrest of Maryam Rajavi in ​​Paris and another 165 leaders of the NCRI in June of that year on charges of terrorism in Europe[32]. Later, with serious manifestations of supporters who set fire themselves to demand the release of their leader, Rajavi and his colleagues would be released but not before confiscating nearly $ 8 million and some other private properties. Thus, paradoxically, this situation seemed to be playing against all regional enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran (recap, the MKO, Saddam Hussein and even the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan), which led to Iranian leaders to engage in an "active neutrality" because, in some academic circles, the invasion of Iraq was rejected because it could have represented the beginning of a series invasions of other states opposed to the U.S ideology in the region, including Iran and Syria, besides that, for other Iranian experts, a weak Saddam Hussein was preferable to a “American Iraq”, capable of rendering a future alliance with Israel against Iran[33]. However, this did not happen, and history has shown very different things to see that today there is a huge Iranian influence in the reconstruction of Iraq and the elimination of Saddam Hussein regime has been a valuable opportunity for Iran in order to establish itself as a regional power in the Middle East.
            Despite this, the ceasefire did not mean the MKO performance, and much less its disappearance because, it would take at least a year to define its legal status. According to a report of an institute specialized intelligence, there was considerable confusion with regard to the MKO in the U.S. because, officially, it was a group listed as a terrorist organization with which, however, U.S. forces had entered into a ceasefire as a "hostile force”[34]. It was so until 2004, when the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would determine the legal status of the organization by classifying it as "protected persons" (rather than prisoners of war) under the terms of the 4th. Geneva Convention on the Rights of War[35].
            The U.S. double standards allowed the MKO (and especially the NCRI) to continue its efforts to create and nurture a lobby not only in Europe but also in the U.S. A great triumph of the NCRI was the fact that the U.S. placed on its list of terrorist organizations the Revolutionary Guard in October 2007, being a singular event that a national army be contained therein[36]. But, coupled with this episode, the more biggest diplomatic success of the organization from its exile in Iraq has been its removal from the official list of terrorist organizations of the EU in January 2009[37], an event that allowed it to collect a new identity and image within Europe, a region where most fans would report from this event up to now by initiating a full political marketing directed toward the defense of human rights, democracy and the pursuit of an "Iran with a secular government." Once again, a radical change, now in its ideology, was to encourage the survival of MKO where Mariam Rajavi would commit the organization to continue its fight against the Islamic Republic under a different framework, namely, making the MKO a group of pro-democracy secular court (and not a court armed Islamic-Marxist anymore) that would opt for non-violent methods.
            After such triumphs, MKO continued its efforts to create an important lobby in Europe and the U.S. through NCRI (although in the latter country was still considered a terrorist organization)[38]. Among the main groups are able to consolidate the Iran Policy Committee based in Washington and the Friends of a Free Iran, the latter within the European Parliament with MEPs from Belgium, Spain and Holland. Among its new methods used today it includes the use of the Internet as the main medium of communication, printed propaganda, discussion forums and seminars as well as radio and television programs on private channels[39].
            However, the situation within the NCRI is not entirely clear, especially with regard to the status of Ashraf residents, estimated at 3 500 according to the latest recorded census, because there has been information collected from the own residents where they accuse MKO leaders to deprive them of freedoms and even to lead them to brutal punishments such as imprisonment and deprivation of food thoroughly “if you do not obey the orders of their superior elements”[40].

"Ashraf is not a field, has a university, a convention center, a park, among other things. It looks more like a mini-state under orders totally absurd and a cult led to Massoud Rajavi, a field that strictly

            Ashraf's situation is complicated because the implementation of the 4 th.Geneva Convention require the U.S. role as an occupying power in Iraq, role that, from January 1, 2009,  do not exist anymore due to the control of the territory has passed into the hands of the new Iraqi government. So, a thing has changed dramatically. The new government of Nour al Maliki, has only two options for the residents: to be repatriated to Iran (which would mean a series of arrests by Islamic government or perhaps a series of amnesties or acquittals for innocent people), or to find a third country for resettlement. The point is clear: Iraq does not want the MKO in Ashraf and the push for its exile is growing every day. Proof of this has been the series of protests and clashes between Iraqi military personnel and residents of the area in which there have been several serious incidents, injuries and casualties on both sides[42].
            This has also led to recent allegations of abuse by the new Iraqi army against the residents, a phenomenon which, together with the abuses of the MKO leaders themselves, have returned to Ashraf in a little hell for the inhabitants that, according to several witnesses, claim to have tried to leave the Campo more than one occasion to seek asylum or work in other countries but without luck due to the arrest by the Iraqi army as well as NLA leaders[43].
Final comments

MKO have survived because of the alliances that have been promoted throughout its history. At first, Marxism gave the possibility of bringing a considerable number of intellectuals against the Shah as well as they used Islam to be closer to Khomeini. Today, they have adopted human rights discourse for approaching the U.S. and Europe following the same strategy of many years ago, that is, to find a powerful ally to help them seize power in Iran.
            The efforts of MKO currently rely on two things: to discredit the Islamic Republic by the lack of freedom among its people and the mistakes made in its domestic and foreign policy, and to achieve, as it did with the EU two years ago, that U.S. remove them from its official terrorist organizations list to gain more legal legitimacy in their actions, which would help to erase the historical memory of the series of actions that have tarnished the organization who have questioned the veracity of your project as a political alternative in Iran.
            MKO do not enjoy popularity inside Iran. Its heyday has passed and the support they had in revolutionary times has almost completely disappeared due to, on the one hand, the resentment that caused its alliance with Saddam Hussein in the mid-eighties and, by the other, its position against nuclear program (while the program is seen as a legitimate right by most of the Iranian population). If today's MKO get the support that they are looking for from U.S. history could repeat itself, that´s because the Iranian government has tried to convince his people that “the ills of the nation” come from largely externally policies by the Great Powers, mainly the U.S., so, in this way, MKO and NCRI would be related with the threat of war propaganda made it by Israel, the espionage cases in Iran, cyber attacks on its nuclear facilities and of course the economic sanctions. This will not be well seen by the Iranian population, especially in young people, sector that has turned more to see movements like Mousavi (so-called green movement) or the old Movement for Freedom Iran, as more serious opposition movements than the promulgated by the enigmatic group of Rajavi.
            The figure of Massoud Rajavi has fallen into an "occult and even messianic image" within the MKO, which also raises questions of democracy within the organization itself because his figure has remained the top of the organization for over thirty years without any sign of political pluralism.
            Finally, there are still some things to look forward to elucidate the organization's future black. The U.S. refusal to remove them from its blacklist of terrorist organizations is one of them as well as the current situation of the residents of Ashraf, issues that need more detailed discussion in a separate work, an effort that goes beyond the objective of this paper.


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• Vakili, Abdollah., "In Search of Revolutionary Islam. The case of Taleqani and the Mojahedin ", The Muslim World, (88), 1998.

[1] Mahmud Taleqani was a man of religion with a very high reputation and legitimacy in Iran during the seventies. Some analysts have questioned the success of the 1979 revolution without his cooperation since enjoyed the support of several political fronts, from the nationalist, religious and some Marxist guerrillas including the Mujeheden to secular Marxists as Fedayeen. Much of the "social harmonization” that faced the Shah of Iran's revolution was through the work and speeches of Taleqani who months after breaking ground continued to influence the consolidation of the new Islamic government after a public appeal to the people of Iran to ratify the twelve-point declaration which established the leadership of Khomeini. Later, Taleqani expressed concern about a government of one man in Iran with his position against efforts to create a consultative council popular. Born in 1910 and died in September 1979 and today is remembered as a pillar of the revolution and as a man who used to say that the true Islamic government would be one that will work for people and their social enforcement. See further in Vakili, Abdollah., "In Search of Revolutionary Islam. The case of Taleqani and the Mojahedin", The Muslim World, (88), 1998, pp. 22.

[2]MKO was formed between 1964 and 1965 by many members between them Saeed Mohsen, Ali Asghar, Mohammed Badi Zadegan and Hanafi Nezhad. They studied the forms of protest around the world and classify MKO between the so called block of “intellectual and social criticism” which played an important role as Islam itself in political scenarios.

[3] Ashraf, Ahmad & Abrahamian, Ervand., “Bazaar and Mosque in Iran´s Revolution”,  MERIP Reports, (113), 1983, pág. 16, available at
[4] Miyata, Osumi., “The Tudeh military network during the oil nationalization period”, Middle Eastern Studies, (23) 3; 1987, pp. 313-328.
[5] Jungyun, Gill & De Fronzo, James., “A Comparative Framework for the Analysis of International Student Movements”, Social Movements Studies, (8) 3: 2009, p. 18.
[6] Javadzadeh, Abdolrahim., Marxists into Muslims: An Iranian Irony, FIU Electronic Theses and dissertations. Paper 36. 2007, Pp. 252. Available at http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/36 accessed March, 2 2011.
[7] Keddie, Nikkie., “Iranian Revolutions in Comparative Perspective”, The American Historical Review, (88)3: 1983, pp. 579-598. Available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/1864588, accessed January, 8, 2011.
[8] Dorraj, Manochehr., “The Political Sociology of Sects and Sectarianism in Iranian Politics: 1960-1979”, Journal of Third World Studies, (23)2, 2006, pp. 95-117.

[9] Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization., Sharh Mokhtasar-e Zendegi-e Inghelabi Panj Shahid AZ Sazeman-e Mojahedin-e Khalq, Teheran, Mojahedin-e Khalq Publications, 1974,  pp. 13-14.
[10] Ali Akbar, Hashemi-Rafsanjani., Engelab ya besat-e jadid (Revolución o nueva misión), Qom, Yafar Publishers, 1985
[11] Ali Shariati was born in 1933 in a village north of the province of Khorasan. He studied Arabic in Mashad and then earn his PhD in France where he received the influence of people like Franz Fanon, Louis Massignon and Raymond Aaron. He was an excellent speaker who extolled Marxism as critical both traditional Islam and intellectual movement. Having been in prison and criticized by traditional Islam, the Shah's regime expelled him to England where he died suspiciously. Although Shariati did not live to see the revolution, no doubt contributed to it by his ideas against the usurpation of power.
See more in Bayat, Assef., “Shari´ati and Marx: A critique of an “Islamic” Critique of Marxism”, Alif; Journal of Comparative Poetics, (10), 1990, pp. 19-41. Available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/521715, accessed February 5, 2011.
[12] Riaz, Hassan., “Iran's Islamic Revolutionaries: Before and after the Revolution”, The Third World Quarterly, (6) 3, 1984, PP. 675-686. Available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/3992069, accessed February 7, 2011.
[13] Singleton, A., Saddam´s Private Army. How Rajavi Changed Iran´s Mojahedin from Armed Revolutionaries to an Armed Cult, UK, Drukkerik, 2003, pp. 210.

[14] Rajavi, Maryam., Maryam Rajavi: her life, her thoughts. NCRI, Paris, 1995, pp. 24.
[15] Cafarellla, Nicole., Mujahidee-e Khalq (MEK) Dossier, Center for Policing Terrorism, Washingotn, 2005, p. 5.
[16] Massoud Rajavi., “Message on the occasion of the International Women's Day”, Iran Liberation, (160), 1985, p. 2.
[17] Shoaee, Rokhsare., “The Mujahid Women of iran: reconciling culture and gender”, Middle East Journal, 41(4): 1987, pp. 519-537. Available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4327637 accessed February 14, 2011.
[18] Singleton, A., Op. Cit. pp. 147.
[19] Idem. Pp. 111.
[20] Senator Robert Torricelli. Statement made at a press conference on Capitol Hill on 8 June 1995. Cited in Brie, André at al., People´s Mojahedin of Iran. Mission Report. Friends of a Free Iran of European Parlament, Bruselas, 2005, pág. 23.
[21] Singleton, A., Op. Cit, pp.1-24.
[22] Idem. P. 150.
[23] Information, Analysis and Advice for the Parliament. “Research Note: Behind the Mujahidee-e Khalq (MeK)”, Department of the Parliamentary Library, (43), 2003. pp 1-2.
[24] The U.S government did it in 1997 and European Union in 2002.
[25] Davari, Abbas., About MOIS Publication “Saddam´s Private Army”  And a Glance at Emma Nicholson´s activities against Iranian Resistance, Amirkhiz Publications, Ashraf, 2005, pág. 13.
[26] Iran: State of Terror – An Account of terrorist assassinations by Iranian agents’, pp. 17 to 22. Cited in Brie, Op. Cit.  pág. Pág. 30.
[27] Goulka., J., et al., Mujahedeen e Khalq in Iraq: a policy of Conundrum, RAND, Santa mónica, 2009. Pág. 9.
[28] Cafarella. Op. Cit. P. 5.
[29] Tarzi, Amin., “ Missile Messages: Iran Strikes MKO Bases in Iraq”, The Non Proliferation Review, 2001, p. 127.
[31] Squassoni, Sharon, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Recent Developments, Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, RS21592, August 15, 2003.  Pp 1-2.
[32]  MKO Watch. “The arrest of Maryam Rajavi in France and the Court case against her”, MKO Watch,  available at www.mekwatch.org accessed December 27, 2010.
[33] Taremi, Kamran., “Iranian Foreign Policy Towards Occupied Iraq 2003-2005”, Middle East Policy, (12) 4: 2005, pp. 28-47
[34] Goulka., J., Op. Cit. p. 7.
[35] The 4th Geneva Convention, in its Article 4, deals with the protection of civilians in times of war and under occupation by an occupying power. 
The same article defines as protected persons "any civilian who is under the stewardship of the occupier and who are not nationals of the occupied country”.  In this case, the MKO residents in Ashraf are Iranian nationals who are in that situation and who have applied this legislation because Iran, the country to which he belongs,  is a signatory to the convention. Additionally, Article 3 of the same document states that protected persons must be treated humanely and not be subject to act of coercion, punishment or retaliation.
See the all text of the Convention at http://www.icrc.org/web/spa/sitespa0.nsf/html/5TDKYK

[36] US Department of Treasury, Terrorism: What you Need to Know about U.S Sanctions, US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, Washington, 2009, p, 12, available at http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/terror/terror.pdf, accessed February 9, 2011.
[37] Mark, John, “EU takes Iran opposition group off terrorist list”, Reuters, January 26 2009, available at http://uk.reuters.com/article/asiaCrisis/idUKLQ200287, accessed February 30, 2011.
[38] See the last reply to MKO by the U.S. Condoleezza Rice number 6480 in Federal Register, 74(7), January 12, 2009.
[39] Chen, Hsinchun., et al., “Unconvering the Dark Web: A case study of Jihad on the Web”; Journal of the American Society for Information Science and technology, 59(8): 2008, pp.  1347-1359.

[40] Human Rights Watch, No Exit: Human Rights Abuses Inside the MKO Camps (May 2005). Available at available at http://hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/iran0505/iran0505.pdf, accessed February 16, 2011. You can also see Human Rights Watch, Statement on Responses to Human Rights Watch Report on Abuses by the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), available at
[41] Stock, Margaret., Providing Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization: The Pentagon, the Department of State, The People´s Mujahedin of Iran & The Global War on Terrorism, Bender´s Immigration Bulletin, 2006, p. 17.
[42] BBC News Online, “Iraq releases Iranian dissidents”, BBC Online, October 7, 2009, available at  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8295323.stm, accessed March 10, 2011.
[43] Like Ahmad Jaafari´s case who last January 10 2011, escaped from Ashraf Camp where has been detained over 21 years. See on Sahar Family Foundation, “Ahmad Jafari could escape Camp Ashraf”, available at

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