Insider news & Analysis in Iran

by Mahmood Hakamian

In the months following the 1980 election that was stolen from the people of Iran and the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the mullahs became increasingly despotic.

In early June, Supreme Leader Khomeini shut down all the universities under the pretext of a “cultural revolution” but really it was in order to suppress the students who were more likely to protest the mullahs’ actions.

In response to both the university closures and the mullahs’ escalating radical behaviour, the MEK organised a rally at Amjadiyeh Stadium in Tehran on June 12,

Over 200,000 people attended the demonstration, during which MEK leader Massoud Rajavi warned of Khomeini’s emerging dictatorship and encouraged the attendees to defend the freedoms that they had fought for during the revolution including freedom of speech, associations, and gatherings.

Massoud Rajavi declared that the mullahs would not intimidate the MEK. He said: “We’re not afraid of bullets. If freedom means death, then we will die.”

Violence

Hezbollah thugs that were sent by the mullahs tried to force their way into the stadium, no doubt to inflict the same violence on the MEK that they did during the election campaign, but were stopped by MEK supporters gathered outside.

Violence erupted as Hezbollah attacked and threw stones and bricks at the MEK, but the Regime’s police officers and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) stood by and did nothing. When the IRGC and other government forces did intervene, they fired tear gas into the crowd of MEK supporters and automatic weapons into the air.

Explosions, machine-gun bursts, and ambulance horns occasionally drowned out the demonstration, but Massoud Rajavi continued to address the crowds and spoke directly to Hezbollah, hoping to stop the violence.

He said: "do you hear?’We are neither Communists nor pro-Soviets as you claim. We are fighting for the total freedom and independence of Iran….Freedom is not granted. It is won. A gift of the Lord, it is as indispensable as oxygen.”

It did not stop the violence, however, and as members of the audience left the stadium, they were violently attacked. Some by Hezbollah thugs in the streets and some were shot by gun-wielding members of the Regime's security forces hidden on nearby rooftops, but the attacks on the MEK supporters were horrific. Five MEK members died that night and hundreds were injured because of the Regime’s violence.

In the following days, the MEK grew stronger as more people joined the cause after seeing the news reports, while the support for the mullahs and Khomeini dropped off. By June 17,
Khomeini was openly talking about the possibility of defeat. He said: “Never have I so much feared seeing the Islamic Revolution end in failure.”

Enemies of the Regime

A month and a half after the rally, Khomeini used a radio broadcast to declare the MEK the main enemy of the Regime, even more so than the United States, the Soviet Union, and Kurdistan.

On July 25, Khomeini said: “The Monafeqin [meaning hypocrites, his pejorative term for the Mojahedin] are worse than infidels. They say they are Muslims, but they act against Islam….Today, we clergymen are being called reactionaries…and those people [PMOI] are being called the intellectuals.”

This was a green light for Hezbollah and the IRGC to further attack the MEK, and the MEK was forced to shut down 30 offices across Iran to save the lives of their members and supporters.

Just weeks after this radio broadcast, the mullahs announced a ban on all political demonstrations.

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