Insider news & Analysis in Iran

by Mahmood Hakamian 

 the autumn of 1980, following many anti-regime protests, it looked like the Islamic revolution was dying and many hoped that this could be the time that this could be the time that the people of Iran and the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) could take their country back.

However, in September, Iraqi military forces invaded Iran and Iranians from every political party and every walk of life, including MEK members, rallied to defend their country from a foreign invader and rushed to the front lines.

While you may think that this example of Iranians coming together, should have led to the downfall of the theocratic mullahs who had stolen the revolution, rigged the election, and violently oppressed their political opponents, you would unfortunately be wrong.

Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini used the conflict as an excuse to silence any challenges to the ruling mullahs and further suppress the domestic opposition. He likened any kind of opposition to the political beliefs of the mullahs to treason during a time of conflict with a foreign power.

Turning points

The Iraqi troops originally managed to get deep into Iranian territory, but the tide of the war began to turn by January 1981, and Iranian military forces launched several successful counterattacks on the invading Iraqis.

Thus the MEK renewed its campaign for democracy and freedom in Iran with vigour. In April, the MEK organised a demonstration to protest the brutal and seemingly routine killings of MEK members and supporters and over 150,000 people turned up.

Then, in June, the MEK organised huge rallies to protest the mullah tyrannical policies in many cities across Iran, including Tabriz, Rasht, Amol, Qiyamshahr, Gorgan, Babolsar, Zanjan, Karaj, Arak, Isfahan, Rirjand, Ahvaz, and Kerman. Around 500,000 Iranians attended the Tehran gathering alone.

The Mullahs’ Reaction

The response from the mullahs was the same as usual. Khomeini declared that the demonstrators were ‘enemies of God’ and must be executed on sight, regardless of age, criminal activity, gender, ability, or anything else.

He ordered his Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah to violently attack the MEK, so the state-appointed thugs closed down streets around the rallies and shot people as they left, which left hundreds dead and thousands injured. According to one report, 50 were killed in Tehran University alone, with 200 injured, and over 1,000 arrested.

On June 21 1981, the day after the MEK rallies, the mullahs’ regime executed hundreds of people who had been arrested the night before. Shockingly, this included 12 young girls whose identities weren’t even known. The authorities published photos of the girls in the newspaper to encourage their families to claim the bodies.

Prior to this date, roughly 71 members of the MEK had been murdered by the mullahs, while over 2,500 had been arrested and imprisoned. This number rose dramatically in the following months and years, and now over 120,000 mostly members and supporters of the MEK have been slain by the mullahs and their thugs. More still are imprisoned on bogus charges.
There is even less legitimacy to the Iranian Regime now than when it started.

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