by Mahmood Hakamian
The People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is the biggest, oldest and most popular resistance group in Iran, but it is largely maligned by the Regime through disinformation campaigns, so we want to set the record straight in this short history of the MEK.
The MEK’s democratic ideals and liberal interpretation of Islam, both of which are fully compatible with the modern world, are the reasons why the MEK is so popular in Iran and so despised by the Iranian Regime.
The MEK was founded in 1965 by three Iranian engineers who wanted to institute a democratic government in place of the repressive Shah, under which Iran had one of the world’s worst human rights records. The Shah imprisoned all of the MEK’s leaders and executed all but Massoud Rajavi, who was saved thanks to an international campaign.
The MEK helped to lead a successful revolution against the Shah and he fled Iran in 1979, just days before Massoud Rajavi was released from prison. But all was not well. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had returned from exile to hijack the people’s revolution and institute an Islamic theocracy.
The MEK, quickly realising that the mullahs were not committed to democracy and human rights, put the Iranian Regime in its sights and set to remove another dictator from power. They even organised a mass protest rally at a Tehran stadium in June 1980, at which over 200,000 MEK members and supporters attended.
At the rally, Massoud Rajavi said: “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.”
However, the Regime sent in its Hezbollah thugs who tried to force their way into the rally. When the Regime’s agents were blocked, they opened fire on those MEK members gathered outside – the stadium wasn’t big enough to hold them all – and those who were leaving. Five MEK members and supporters were killed, with hundreds more injured.
Still, the MEK continued their fight and Khomeini was left contemplating defeat, so he declared the MEK to be enemies of the state. This meant that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) could step up their attacks on the MEK, but even that couldn’t stop the MEK.
On June 20, 1981, the MEK organised rallies to protest the mullahs’ regime. Over half a million people attended the demonstration in Tehran alone.
So Khomeini issued a fatwa against the MEK and Hezbollah began blocking off streets and opening fire on the crowds who had nowhere to run. They killed hundreds of MEK members and supporters, injured and arrested thousands more, all for peaceful political protest. The next day, Khomeini’s henchmen executed hundreds of the arrested MEK members, including children.
Over the next 37 years, the Regime has killed over 120,000 MEK members and supporters, including 30,000 during the 1988 massacre. Still, the MEK is committed to a free and democratic Iran, but this can only be achieved through regime change, which is the wish of the Iranian people.