Given the various crises currently being faced by the regime on a domestic and international level, it is inevitable that this will happen sooner, rather than later. That is why we’ll take a deep look at Rajavi and his leadership of the MEK in this short series.
In our last piece, we learned about Rajavi’s early life, but now we will look at the coalition of Iranian dissident organizations that advocate for democracy in Iran, known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Rajavi formed the NCRI just before leaving Iran to campaign against the regime on an international level in July 1981, amid a military and police crackdown that would have seen him killed. The MEK voted that he leave the country for his safekeeping.
Months later, the regime raided his Tehran house, killing Rajavi’s wife Ashraf, his second-in-command, Moussa Khiabani, and 18 other MEK members.
Rajavi has suffered much loss since then. In 1988, during the massacre of 30,000 MEK supporters, Rajavi’s younger sister Monireh and her husband Asghar Kazemi were executed. In 1990, Rajavi’s brother Kazem was assassinated in Geneva by a 13-member terror team sent from Tehran
Since 1981, Rajavi has worked tirelessly so that the NCRI, which has the MEK as its biggest member, can overthrow the regime. He even handed over his MEK leadership duties to his successor. However, he has said on multiple occasions that the NCRI would step down if any other group could better serve the cause of installing democracy in Iran.
He said: “If at any time, any group or alternative is found to be better equipped to overthrow the regime and guarantee Iran’s independence, democracy, and popular sovereignty, we will definitely and wholeheartedly support it, even if it is opposed to our way of thinking.”
In 1983, Rajavi moved the MEK from France to Iraq after rightwing French Prime Minister, Jacques Chirac declared the NCRI persona-non-grata in order to get the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah to release French hostages held in Lebanon.
Rajavi is revered in Iran as the MEK’s leader because of he is the only surviving original leader, he revived the MEK and took it back from usurping Marxists once leaving prison, and protected the MEK from the mullahs.
He has led the MEK with courage, integrity, and a steadfast belief in the ideals shared by a small group of young, freedom-loving university students and intellectuals, who created the sole Muslim revolutionary movement in Iranian history that is committed to leading the nation to a free, democratic, and progressive future.
Rajavi’s unremitting efforts have gained him a place in Iran’s history, alongside other great and respected Iranian political leaders such as Mirza Kuchak-Khan, Sattar-Khan, and Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq.