|During the Seventies, the group killed several American soldiers and civilians working on military projects in Iran. They also supported the 1979 taking of the US Embassy in Teheran. Later, they broke with the Iranian Government and undertook attacks on the Teheran regime from Iraqi territory, with the support of Saddam Hussein.|
The future of Massoud Rajavi’s fighters now depends on American goodwill after discussions that were seerely critiused in Teheran; some 5000 People’s Mojahedin had to empty their arsenal. Having tanks, armored personnel carriers, light vehicles, equipped with Kalashnikov light weapons, the troops of the National Liberation Army gave up their materiel as reported by Associated Press:
“The People’s Mojahedin, an Iranian opposition group operation from Iraq, started to lay down their arms on Sunday, within the framework of an agreement reached with the encircling force of American troops.
After the agreement reached Saturday evening, after two days of talks in Baqubah, 70 kms northeast of the Iraqi capital, the Iranian opposition can keep their uniforms and have seven days to assemble all their troops in a specific place and turn in their weapons.
‘In effect, they are placing their equipment under Coalition control,” declared General Ray Odierno, commanding the 4th Infantry Division of the US Army. ‘They have been very cooperative,’ he added.
The People’s Mojahedin are part of the military wing of the National Resistance Council of Iran (NC RI), under Massoud Rajavi. It is headquartered in the Paris suburbs ... During the Seventies, the group killed several American soldiers and civilians working on military projects in Iran. They also supported the 1979 taking of the US Embassy in Teheran. Later, they broke with the Iranian Government and undertook attacks on the Teheran regime from Iraqi territory, with the support of Saddam Hussein.
American officials added that they will not be considered as POWs, but placed in a status ‘as yet to be determined’.”
From Disaster to Disaster
On the strictly military level, the PMOI and its National Liberation Army have only met with stunning defeats in their attempts to take control of any Iranian territory. The Mojahedin troops were only effective on Iraqi soil, when they had the support of Saddam Hussein’s Divisions. But they are not tin soldiers. They know how to use their weaponry and they kill. Faced with unarmed peasants, they have been ferocious.
However in 1984, Massoud Rajavi stated: “The Islam we preach does not excuse bloodletting; we have never sought nor welcomed confrontation and violence “.
These are hollow statements. It was never true, neither in the past nor in the years after. The PMOI’s ideology, as we have seen, is built on the works of former Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse Tung. He was a fully tempered theoretician and practitioner of revolutionary struggle.
Very much a fringe movement on the Iranian political scene, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran have always demonstrated their incapacity to take power by classical democratic means (votes, electoral campaigns, etc,). In their political logic, there is no other way to achieve their goal but by revolution, just as Mao foresaw:
“The central task and the supreme form of the revolution is the conquest of power by armed struggle. That is resolving the issue by war. This revolutionary principle of Marxism-Leninism is true everywhere, in China as in other countries”.
This was to be a principle followed literally. Yet, worried about the eventual repercussions of their activities on their image in the West, the Mojahedin sought smokescreens. They tried to identify themselves as patriots. After all, in Western public opinion, the times are no longer those of the Sixties and Seventies: romantic glorification of guerrilla war. Since then, countries have learned to fear terrorism, wherever it comes from and whatever its justification.
The PMOI is trying to play the card of nationalist independence movements, as if Iran was subjected to some kind of foreign occupation. The Mojahedin say:
“It is interesting to note that the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva decided in 1949 to stipulate: ‘It is possible sometimes in a civil war that those considered as rebels are, in reality, patriots fighting for freedom, independence and the dignity of their country. It is not possible to speak of ‘terrorism’, ‘anarchy or ‘disorder’ in the case of rebels who accept humanitarian principles “.
In reality, since the turning point that was marked by the defeat of “Operation Eternal Light” in 1988, the PMOI has been reduced to sporadic attacks inside Iran: outright terrorism.