People's Mujahedin of Iran
The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq (abbreviated MEK, PMOI or MKO) is an Iranian political–militant organization in exile that advocates the violent overthrow of the government of Iran while claiming itself as the replacing shadow government.
- Regarding Iraq, bin Laden, as noted, was in contact with Baghdad's intelligence service since at least 1994. He reportedly cooperated with it in the area of chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear [CBRN] weapons and may have trained some fighters in Iraq at camps run by Saddam's anti-Iran force, the Mujahedin al-Khalq.
- Michael Scheuer. Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America (2002), p. 184.
- In April 2003, when I visited Camp Ashraf, its main base, northeast of Baghdad, I found Robot-like hero worship of the MEK's leader, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. The fighters I met parroted a revolutionary party line, and there were transparently crude efforts at propaganda. To emphasize its being a modern organization as distinct from Tehran theocrats, the MEK appointed a woman as Camp Ashraf's nominal commander and maintained a women's tank battalion. The commander was clearly not in command and the women mechanics supposedly working on tank engines all had spotless uniforms.
- Peter W. Galbraith. Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America's Enemies (2008), pp. 72-73.
- Within two months, simply by discussing the matter with my colleagues and exposing the MEK's true nature, Congressional support for the organization dropped from 220 to 6 Members of Congress. Of course, ridiculous accusations ensued that I was "in the packet of Mullahs" or was an Iranian terrorist, but my part in exposing MEK as a criminal organization is one of my proudest accomplishments.
- Robert W. Ney, Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill (2013)
- We could no longer tolerate an organization that was expanding its terrorist operations, and we feared that it could start organizing and planning attacks from French soil... This is by no means a political movement, a democratic movement... It was not preparing the restoration of democracy in Iran. They are complete fanatics, a fanatical sect with a total absence of democracy, and a cult of personality towards the leader.
- Pierre de Bousquet, director of the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance. As quoted in The New York Times (30 June 2003).
- Although I believe MEK, as any other phenomenon, can still change (for better or worse) into another entity that differs from what it is now, until that happens I have to refer to them as a 'destructive cult'. Nonetheless, I have to caution readers that, due to the general character of cult leaders, I don't see any change in MEK's nature taking place as long as the Rajavis (both husband and wife) remain as the group's leaders, and I believe that for the MEK to survive they have to extend and deepen the manipulation of their members' mind even further.
- Eileen Barker of London School of Economics (LSE). Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements (2016), p. 185.
- They use the term democracy, [but] there's no shred of democracy in the Mujaheddin. Rajavi decides who you sleep with, who you marry, who he sleeps with, everything. They stopped being a mass movement with Marxist roots and became basically a cult.
- It [MEK] is a mystical cult... It's the stress on obedience to the leader that has kept it going, rather than any political program. If Massoud Rajavi got up tomorrow and said the world was flat, his members would accept it.
- We the undersigned would like to convey our concern regarding... the [MEK's] false claims to be “Iran’s main opposition” with a base of popular support in Iran. The MEK has no political base inside Iran and no genuine support among the Iranian population. The MEK, an organization based in Iraq that enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein, lost any following it had in Iran when it fought on Iraq’s behalf during the 1980-1988 war. Widespread Iranian distaste for the MEK has been cemented by its numerous terrorist attacks against innocent Iranian civilians... Prominent human rights organizations – including Human Rights Watch – have determined the MEK to be a cult-like organization with a structure and modus operandi that belies its claim to be a vehicle for democratic change.
- "Joint Experts’ Statement on the Mujahedin-e Khalq" by 37 signatories (Ervand Abrahamian, Ali Ansari, Reza Aslan, Shaul Bakhash, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Juan Cole, James Dobbins, Farideh Farhi, Dokhi Fassihian, Hadi Ghaemi, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Kevan Harris, Nader Hashemi, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Mohsen Kadivar, Mehran Kamrava, Stephen Kinzer, John Limbert, Scott Lucas, Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Reza Marashi, Azadeh Moaveni, Rasool Nafisi, Sahar Namazikhah, Trita Parsi, Paul Pillar, Nasrin Rahimieh, R. K. Ramazani, Jason Rezaian, Ahmad Sadri, Mahmoud Sadri, Muhammad Sahimi, Elaheh Sharifpour-Hicks, Sasan Shoamanesh, Gary Sick, John Tirman, Wayne White), 2 August 2011. Published by The Financial Times.
- In my opinion, the MEK fits well within the three core criteria often used to define a destructive cult based upon the structure, dynamics and behavior of the group. MEK also uses thought reform and coercive persuasion to gain undue influence over its members... Whatever the rules are within MEK is not the point. What is relevant is that the Rajavis can make new rules, change rules and do whatever they want. Their rules are typically used to manipulate and control their followers. They like what they control and don't like what they don't control. The Rajavis then use that undue influence to exploit and manipulate MEK members for their own benefit and financial gain.
- [In MEK] You lose your identity and are not allowed to think freely. When I started having fights with them and pointed out their mistakes, they put me on trial and sent me to prison for not following the leader's orders.
- Ardeshir Parkizkari, as quoted in The New York Times (30 June 2003).
- Mrs. Rajavi told us to kill them [Kurdish revolters against Saddam Hussein] with tanks and try to preserve our bullets for other operations. We were forced to kill both Kurds and Shiites, and I said I didn't come here to kill other people.
- Karim Haghi, as quoted in The New York Times (30 June 2003).
- Every morning and night, the kids, beginning as young as 1 and 2, had to stand before a poster of Massoud and Maryam, salute them and shout praises to them... [The Rajavis] saw these kids as the next generation's soldiers. They wanted to brainwash them and control them.
- Nadereh Afshari, as quoted in The New York Times (13 July 2003).
- They kept telling us every one of your emotions should be channeled toward Massoud, and Massoud equals leadership, and leadership equals Iran... Girls were not allowed to speak to boys. If they were caught mingling, they were severely punished... They told us, 'We are at war, and soldiers cannot have wives and husbands'... You had to report every single day and confess your thoughts and dreams. They made men say they got erections when they smelled the perfume of a woman.
- Nadereh Afshari, as quoted in The New York Times (13 July 2003).
- The people [in the MEK], they didn't have any contact with the world... They can't listen to news, read the newspaper, the Internet. During two years in Paris, I left the base just two days
- Karim Haggi Moni, as quoted in The Washington Post (21 June 2003)
- [While in the MEK] I was seeing my husband once a month, maybe once every two months
- Mahra Haji, as quoted in The Washington Post (21 June 2003)