The thing is that the Regime has a viable alternative in the form of the oldest, largest, and most popular resistance organization in Iran, which has fought two separate regimes since it was founded in 1965. That is the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In order to help you earn more about the MEK, we have created an in-depth series. In this part, we will learn about MEK supporters in Iran and how the Regime tries to discredit them in the eyes of the Iranian public.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the MEK has wide support within Iran. However, it is difficult to estimate the exact numbers because the MEK is banned in Iran, so there are no official membership or supporters’ lists. Otherwise, everyone on them would be subject to arrest, torture, or even execution.
In fact, Article 186 of the Islamic Punishment Act states that MEK members or supporters, or even anyone who is found to be “active or effective in advancing its cause” whatever that means, will be charged with “waging war on God” and those found guilty will be executed, face an amputation of the right hand and left foot, or be banished.
And the language is vague for a reason. That’s how the Regime justified the 1988 massacre of 30,000 MEK members and supporters, many of whom were just found in possession of MEK leaflets or were merely friends, relatives, or neighbours of MEK members.
Given all of this, many Iranians do not publically disclose their MEK affiliation. However, it is possible to estimate the number of MEK members in Iran by looking at the actions taken by MEK members and the Regime’s continued attempts to eliminate the MEK.
For example, the Iranian people’s uprising that began in December 2017 was led by the MEK. It featured hundreds of thousands of people across many months and across most of Iran calling for regime change, chanting MEK slogans, and putting up pictures of MEK leader Maryam Rajavi. To cause this sort of sustained protest, the MEK would have to have tens of thousands of members and hundreds of thousands of supporters. No one would chant MEK slogans, knowing that it could mean their murder by the Regime, if they did not support the MEK.
And if the MEK did not have this kind of support from the Iranian people, why would the Regime be so intent on the destruction of the MEK at any cost? Over the past 40 years, the Iranian Regime has:
- Labelled the MEK as “monafeghin” ( a slur meaning “hypocrites”)
- Chants “Death to the [MEK]” at government rallies, school assemblies, and Friday prayer sermons, alongside “Death to America”
- Run an anti-MEK propaganda campaign
- Arrested and killed hundreds of thousands of MEK members and supporters
None of this would be necessary unless the Regime believed the MEK was a real threat to the Regime.
In our next piece, we will earn about how the MEK uses TV to spread their message to the Iranian people.