‘There was an old closed-down rail station which was our base. From this point, we attacked the Kurds, encircling them on three sides. There were eighteen dead Kurds; we buried them right there in a common ditch’.
Repressing the Kurds
Another chapter in their history is no less than a permanent stain on the reputation of Masoud Rajavi’s People’s Mojahedin. They lost respectability from this. Having participated actively in the repression of the Iraqi Kurds, the PMOI can hardly win the confidence of Iran’s Kurds whom that often cite as supporters. The propaganda machine worked overtime to silence assertions dealing with this black page in the PMOI’s record:
“Defamatory and absurd statements according to which the Mojahedin participated in the Iraqi Kurdistan liquidations ‘have been repeated for 10 years and thousands of times by Iran’s intelligence services. That is why these assertions have no credibility. Moreover in his official letter to the Dutch judicial authorities of July 1999 the international relations official of the Democratic Party of Iraqi Kurdistan underlined that his political group had investigated ‘rumors concerning Mojahedin units aiding Iraqi troops’. These enquiries concluded that ‘no basis in proof and no document permit any confirmation that the Mojahedin had taken part in any hostility against Iraq’s Kurdish population”. 1
Please note that the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, under Masoud Barzani was Saddam Hussein’s ally. Strangely enough, it is this group that provides the defense for the Mojahedin, despite the established facts. Haqqe Mani, a PMOI dissident, knows the reality:
“It was at this time that we began our direct military collaboration with the Iraqi Army and the Mojahedin were turned into support troops helping the in the suppression of popular uprisings against Baghdad. This was to prevent the Kurds from driving all the way to the plains around the capital”. 2
The other leader of Iraqi Kurdistan, Jalal Talabani, Chief of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has, for his part, clearly denounced the participation of the PMOI. He declared to reporters that “5,000 members of the Iranian Mojahedin joined forces with Saddam in the battle of Kirkuk”. 3
But, even more clearly, those who took part in the massacres, the soldiers under Masoud Rajavi’s orders have spoken out. They have shared eyewitness accounts:
“Mohamed Reza Eskandari, a dissident Mojahedin, now living in Holland as a political refugee was an eyewitness to the movement’s participation in this repression...Stationed ill the Sulayman Beg region (near the ‘border’ with Iraqi Kurdistan) where the massacre of civilians took place, he states”: ‘There was an old closed-down rail station which was our base. From this point, we attacked the Kurds, encircling them on three sides. There were eighteen dead Kurds. We buried them right there in a common ditch’.
Eskandari also talks about the Mojahedin’s summary executions of unarmed Iraqi deserters and the interrogation of soldiers who had left the front in several Iraqi towns. Eskandari also insists that the People’s Mojahedin handed over to the Iraqi Army and Secret Services all those whose identity papers showed that they were Kurds. The organization had many defectors following these operations: more than 800 fighters became dissidents. This policy was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the apogee of the errors committed since the movement moved to Iraq”. 4
1. - M. Hossein Abedini, letter to Le Nouvelliste, 28 feburary 2002
2.- Rapporté by Haqqeh Mani, ancien militant dii MKO interrogé by Imail Zayer, Courrier International, 21-27 october 1999
3. - State Department, op. cit.
4. - Courrier international, 2 1-27 october 1999