Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By Jazeh Miller

Ms. Zahra Merrikhi has been elected as the new Secretary General of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI) during its annual Congress (which was held in Tirana and five other countries at the same time). This appointment coincided with the organisation’s 52nd anniversary.

Ms. Merrikhi will hold the position for two years and has the possibility of being re-elected.

The election process has three phases. Firstly, MEK/PMOI Central Council members cast their votes in secret. Then officials from other departments do the same. Finally, all members vote by raising their hands at the MEK/PMOI Congress.

In the first two phases, Ms. Merrikhi received the majority of the votes and then she was elected unanimously in the final phase.

Ms. Merrikhi’s relationship with the MEK/PMOI commenced in 1979 during the anti-Monarchic Revolution and she officially became a member after the overthrow of the Shah.

She became head of the women’s section in Qa’emshahr and was a member of the editorial board of the MEK/PMOI’s publication ‘Talavang’. She was transferred to Tehran in 1981 and was a liaison between the MEK/PMOI and its branches in the north of the country. Several years later, she moved to an area bordering with Iraq and became a member of the Central Council.

Ms. Merrikhi’s younger brother, Ali, was killed in 1988 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Later, Ms. Merrikhi would oversee the German and Scandinavian branches of the MEK/PMOI and went on to become a member of the Executive Committee.

In 1992, she joined the NCRI and was appointed Chairwoman of the Public Affairs Committee. Since 2003, she has been the coordinator of Mrs. Rajavi’s offices, and since 2004 she has been the Vice-president of the MEK/PMOI’s Central Council.

Following her election as Secretary General of MEK, Mrs. Merrikhi was sworn in, placing her hand on the Holy Quran and paying her respects to the Iranian flag and MEK emblem. She pledged to remain faithful to the enormous responsibilities with which she has been entrusted. Ms. Merrikhi vowed to devote all her abilities and those of the MEk as a national treasure of the Iranian people, to establish freedom and democracy in Iran.

The new Secretary General of MEK expressed her appreciation for the efforts of her predecessor, Ms. Akhyani, and Ms. Mojgan Parsai, the President of the MEK/PMOI's Central Council. She lauded their efforts and those of other MEK’PMOI officials over the past 14 years, during one of the most dangerous and tortuous periods of the Organizations history in camps Ashraf and Liberty.

"Today, the MEK’PMOI, with the help of the Iranian people, is prepared as never before to overthrow the clerical regime," Ms. Merrikhi said, adding that the MEK/PMOI has now 18 co-Secretaries General (including seven former Secretaries General). Ms. Merrikhi also introduced Narges Azodanlou, 36, Rabi'eh Mofidi, 35, and Nasrin Massih, 39, as new deputies to the Secretary General.

Mrs. Rajavi congratulated Ms. Merrikhi on her election, pointing out that the election process was “brilliant” and a great example of “democracy, cohesion, and growth in the MEK/PMOI”. She said: “It heralds the breaking of the spell of repression which will lead to the overthrow of the religious fascism ruling Iran.”

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