Starting in 1971, the MEK was arrested on masse by the Shah’s secret police, SAVAK. This had already happened to many other political groups opposed to the monarchy, but the MEK had only just begun to launch their crusade against the monarchy after being founded in 1965 and flying under the radar while they formulated their plans for the removal of the Shah.

The MEK believed that they would continue the work of the revolutions from the earlier part of the 20th Century, like the 1906 Constitutional Revolution and the 1950 Mossadeq national movement, and bring freedom and democracy to Iran with the removal of the monarchy.

Executions and imprisonments

Around 150 members of the MEK, including all of the central leadership and founders, had been arrested by SAVAK by September 1971. Sixty-nine of those MEK members were given military tribunals and charged with attempting to overthrow the monarchy, alongside other offences.

The media were originally allowed to cover these trials, which brought the MEK into the hearts and minds of the Iranian people as figures for the Resistance, but after the MEK members revealed that they had been tortured by SAVAK, the media were banned from the courts.

Every member of the MEK membership was executed, except for one. Massoud Rajavi was sentenced to death, but his brother Dr. Kazen Rajavi organised an international campaign from his home in Geneva, gaining the support of many top French diplomats, and Massoud Rajavi’s sentence was commuted to life in prison.

Unfortunately, due to the loss of its leaders, the MEK was usurped by communists, which wrongly led to the MEK being labelled a communist organisation even after the communists were removed from the party, and the low-level MEK members were forced to choose between supporting the new leaders or being expelled. Some of those who left the group, were murdered by the usurpers.

Revolution is here

The Iranian Revolution, which had been brewing for over 70 years, was about to come to a boil, thanks to the hard work of groups like the MEK, who wanted to bring freedom and democracy to Iran.

The Shah fled Iran on January 16, 1979, and just four days later Massoud Rajavi was released from prison after serving seven years. He was in the last group of political prisoners to be freed.

Shortly after his release, Massoud Rajavi gave a speech at Tehran University about the MEK’s history, its goals, and how Iran would soon be free. This event, which was attended by thousands of people marked the new beginning of the Mojahedin National Movement.

In the next piece, we will explain how the mullahs stole the revolution from the people and formed their own regime that the MEK had to fight against.