Iran’s Foreign Ministry is demanding that the European Union stop supporting the terrorists carrying out attacks against the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Foreign Ministry press secretary, Mehmanparast Ramin, said that the EU should stop providing asylum for terrorist organizations like Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s announcement came after an April 8 attack by the Iranian army on the mujahedin camp at Ashraf in Iraq that resulted in 34 people killed.
For their part, the Western and Iraqi media exploited the attack as a manifestation of Iranian aggression. And Iran’s Foreign Ministry accuses them of supporting “terrorists who have killed more than 12,000 people.” However, the West says that Iran is directing the activities of Shiite terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
Director General of the Russian Center for the Study of Modern Iran Rajab Safarov explained why the West is supporting Mujahedin-e Khalq:
The Mujahedin-e Khalq (People’s Opposition of Iran) is the most reactionary, capable and militarized of all the opposition groups. It periodically carries out terrorist attacks against the Islamic Republic. In fact, the West, the United States and the EU have been strengthening it and using it for their own purposes in an attempt to destabilize Iran. This is an Iranian-style “fifth column” in a multiple combination play against Iran.
The West expects to use the MEK to make Iran an obedient tool in its hands. The “mujahedin” have been actively collaborating with the West for more than 20 years. They previously had one main master/benefactor—Saddam Hussein—Iran’s sworn enemy, who would not hesitate to use them for his own purposes when it suited him.
Despite receiving broad financial, political and information support, this group has very little credibility among the Iranians themselves and mainly relies on marginal organizations, criminal elements, Iranian emigrants and Arab mercenaries. It is hampered by the fact that it openly fought against its own people during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). The Iranians will never forget that, and the overwhelming majority considers the “mujahedin” traitors.
Now that Hussein has been overthrown, they are supported entirely by the West, as well as by puppet Arab regimes. The EU and the United States fund the MEK and make little effort to hide the fact. Their camps remain in Iraq, and American instructors provide training for the mujahedin. The United States has provided them with up-to-date equipment, which they use to carry out terrorist attacks for their own purposes. So after Saddam they were orphans for only a short time.
And the fact that the “mujahedin” are located in Iraq has been a real stumbling block in Iran-Iraqi relations during recent years. It is interesting that the West never tires of accusing Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs, even though it does everything it can to see that Tehran reacts adequately to threats emanating from there. Under the circumstances, the Iranian army is obviously forced for reasons of national security to make regular raids into Iraqi territory to destroy these terrorists, and each time they do so the West condemns it.
The current Iraqi government has been promising Iran for several years that it would eliminate the mujahedin camps, but nothing has been done yet. One of their justifications is that there are supposedly a large number of them; they have numerous families in Iraq, and if pressure is applied to them, they will disperse across Iraq and begin taking revenge. However, Western support for the mujahedin is an important factor keeping them in place.
In 2009, the EU legalized these terrorists when it removed them from the list of terrorist organizations. But that did not prevent it from accusing Iran of supporting terrorism. That is a blatant instance of the application of double standards: if Tehran does something, the West calls it terrorism. But it is not terrorism if the mujahedin with blood up to their elbows attack Iran. However, that is intrinsic to the way the United States and the EU understand “democracy.”
We should add that the Iranian mujahedin feel at home both in the Iraqi camps and in Western countries, where they have delegations. It is revealing that the recent execution of the Dutch national Zahra Bahrami for involvement in their activities caused relations between Iran and The Netherlands to deteriorate sharply, and Amsterdam recalled its ambassador from Tehran.
The mujahedin are not simply a group of militants. In addition to the military wing—the National Liberation Army of Iran, or NLA—there are also political structures responsible for contacts with the West and obtaining financial assistance.
The organization’s political wing is located in Paris. That was where the shadow parliament located itself in 1981. It consists of 570 members of various Iranian parties and factions, including members of the Communist Party of Iran, the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Fedayeen-e-Khalk and Howeyyat. There are also large branches of the MEK in the United States (Los Angeles, New York, Washington), Germany (Cologne) Italy and Canada.
The “mujahedin” also place great emphasis on conducting information warfare. They have numerous media outlets for that purpose, including radio stations like Radio-ye Iran e-Farda and Radio Sedaye Iran.
The organization’s current leaders are Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, who travel among Washington, Paris and Baghdad. However, it would be a mistake to think that the mujahedin are evolving into a nonviolent organization.
Currently, they control more than 4500 fighters, most of whom are located in Iraq. But despite the Iranian terrorists’ warm relations with the West, their relations with the Iraqi authorities are quite cool. The fact is that Saddam Hussein, who sheltered them, used Iranian emigrants, including the mujahedin, in punitive operations against the Kurds and Shiites; and American intercession is the only thing forcing the authorities to tolerate them for now.
The organization has an unusual history. It emerged in the late 1960s from student groups that had formed several years earlier. Its members were mostly the sons and daughters of Iranian merchants who were unhappy with the excessive Western influence during the Shah’s time.
Their ideology gradually became a mixture of Marxism and Islamism, combined with a hatred for the West that appears unnatural at first glance. The organization very quickly became a terrorist group that initially fought a guerrilla war against the Shah’s regime and his American masters.
In the 1970s, the Iranian mujahedin killed several American soldiers and civilians who were assisting the Shah. And they committed an act that was anathema to democracy in 1979, when they took part in the infamous attack on the American Embassy in Tehran. They had been instrumental in toppling the US puppet, the Shah. Whereas the people were brought out onto the streets by the ayatollahs, they and the fedayeen, who are now aligned with them, were primarily the ones who successfully fought the Shah’s security forces (for example, they destroyed several of his helicopters over the course of several days).
However, the Americans quickly forgot their past transgressions; after all, when the ayatollahs monopolized power, they became a “clerical regime” that restrained Iran’s growing influence during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, among other things.
The mujahedin quickly lost support within Iran itself: by the beginning of 1984, the ayatollahs’ security services had smashed their underground, which had primarily been active in the cities. The mujahedin groups concentrated in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein formed them into units that fought their fellow Iranians.
But when the war ended, the Iranian mujahedin again turned to terrorist activities. They primarily operated outside Iran, begging forgiveness for their past offenses from American democracy. In April 1992, the organization attacked 13 Iranian embassies in various countries.
In June 1998, the mujahedin once again attempted to get a terror campaign going in Iran when they exploded three bombs in Tehran and killed the former warden of Evin Prison, Asadollaha Lajevardi.
And although they failed to rebuild their devastated clandestine network in Iran, they did not stop raids against the Islamic Republic. That provides a clear example of how terrorism and democracy can peacefully coexist. After all, the Western defenders of human rights need “their” bad guys to do their dirty work.
Of course, no one today denies the existence of Hezbollah-like pro-Iranian groups that fight their enemies using methods that are clearly not those of Mahatma Gandhi. As far as Iran itself is concerned, its approach looks more honest than that of the West. At least, unlike the Western countries, it does not array itself in democratic clothing.
And if the West is to avoid accusations of double standards, the genuine human rights fighters should not divide terrorists into “ours” and “theirs.”