Cult of the Chameleon (5)

For three decades he has changed ideologies and swapped allegiances, while keeping his followers enthralled with sexual manipulation. After the American debacle in Iraq, Rajavi's followers are trapped at a camp in the Iraqi desert, awaiting his next alliance.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Rajavi ordered the MEK to greet the coalition forces wholeheartedly. Rajavi himself went into hiding and he has not been seen since. The MEK surrendered their arms and offered to help the Americans to fight against the Ayatollahs in Iran.

Rajavi's words sounded like music to the ears of those Americans who thought after the fall of Baghdad they could attack Tehran. While many in the Pentagon wanted the United States to support the MEK, the State Department insisted that Rajavi cannot be trusted. But Saddam's overthrow meant that the MEK had to find other ways of financing their survival in Iraq. There are many stories of members embezzling their parents to send money to them.

Rezvan and Mohammad Saffari's son joined the cult sixteen years ago.

Mohammad and Rezvan Saffari (parents of an MEK member): He never called us or tried to get in touch with us for fifteen years. We thought that – god forbid – he might have died in a war. He said I want to leave the MEK and I need money to hire a lawyer. I withdrew whatever savings I had to send to him. I was really happy that I could send him that money. I thanked God that he could finally come back to us - come home.

I worked so hard to raise my son. I worked until midnight to provide for him and his brothers and sisters. I sent him to London to become a dentist, to become a useful member of society. I really don't know what to say.

Narrator: Their son gave the money to the MEK and is now one of spokesmen of the organization.

Massoud Rajavi is still in hiding and still in charge. His organization is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. For three decades he has changed ideologies and swapped allegiances, while keeping his followers enthralled with sexual manipulation. After the American debacle in Iraq, Rajavi's followers are trapped at a camp in the Iraqi desert, awaiting his next alliance.

And in northern England, at least one former cult member thinks about those in the desert all the time.

Anne Singleton: I look now at the people in camp Ashraf and I remember how I was in that organization. And I feel nothing but the most enormous compassion for them. I really wish I could help them to escape from that organization because I do feel very deeply how inhuman their life is in many ways. They really have no rights at all. And now that I have regained my freedom - my freedom of thought - of belief - my freedom of speech - and just basic enjoyment of life, I understand how deeply their humanity has been crushed, and I really wish they could be helped.

Rageh Omar: Massoud Rajavi’s followers are still sitting in the Iraqi desert waiting for their leader’s next move. They are being ‘looked after’ by American and Bulgarian forces; but…

Cult of the Chameleon (4)


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