|“Rajavi used the family institution as an instrument at the service of his own power. To keep the men in the organisation, he forced them to marry. To do this, he used women as bait and ‘gave’ them to his most docile servants.”|
CHAPTER 22/Deconstructing the Couple
“Family, I hate you”. This citation from André Gide, the French author and 1947 Nobel Laureate can be described, with no exaggeration at all, as Massoud Rajavi’s motto. After all, the People’s Mojahedin sacrified everything for their revolution. In order for the individual to give himself up body and soul to the cause, the PMOI intervened directly in its militants’ daily lives. This was to enforce the arbitrary decisions of the ‘Great Teacher’.
As Figaro reported:
“Founded on the cult of its spiritual leader, Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam, the Mojahedin organisation has often been compared to a sect by former members, forced to divorce and break with their family to join the ranks of fighters”. (213)
Mitra Yusufi, a long term member of the PMOI, and a victim of this policy of enforced divorce, breaks the silence:
“I traveled a long road. I underwent a real brainwashing and I have to be alert all the time. The Iranian people detest Rajavi and I hate him. My story is simple. I was a young newlywed when it all started. My husband was a popular man; since he had played for the Iranian National Football team. This was the team that qualified for the World Championship in 1978 and played in Argentina. We were living in England when the revolution happened.
We returned to Iran before going to the United States. In the Eighties, we had heard bad news about things that happened to our friends. In fact, at the time, we were very cut off from the realities of Iranian society. Rajavi wanted to use my husband’s name. We agreed and we were moved to Greece to organise the movement. When Rajavi, after his divorce from Bani Sadr’s daughter married his comrade’s wife, Maryam, we were shocked. My husband then took a strong position, saying that you cannot take another’s wife. Two days later, though, they convinced us of the opposite. We were such fools...”. (214)
Nadere Afshari also lived inside the Mojahedin. She knows the reality:
“Rajavi used the family institution as an instrument at the service of his own power. To keep the men in the organisation, he forced them to marry. To do this, he used women as bait and ‘gave’ them to his most docile servants. Yet, at the slightest sign of disobedience, he took away their wives. Women were, therefore, objects passed from hand to hand.
Thus, a docile woman like Atefeh, who had the rank of Major, was forced to divorce four times, on the personal orders of Rajavi. Her comrade, Mahboubeh Jamshidi, divorced and remarried at least three times.
Rajavi considers the family as an integral cell in his organisation. He, therefore, feels free to intervene in the marital relations of members against their own will. The truth is that he dislikes the family which always posed a problem for his ‘regime’. This was for a very good reason: it is very difficult to keep ‘the light of love for the Leader’ burning bright.
From 1991 on, marriage changed its meaning. It became a barrier which kept the organisation’s members from loving their Leader”. (215)
A third defector states:
“At this time, Rajavi also imposed on the leadership a fixed ceremony at the beginning of meetings: everyone had to place his hands on the table to make sure that no one was wearing a wedding ring, which he called ‘a slave ring’.” (216)
213.- “Sombre avenir pour les Moudjahidin du peuple”, Delphine Minoui, Le Figaro, 21 April 2003
214.- Author’s interview, supra
215.- Nadéré Afshari, op. cit.
216.- Ismail Zayer, op. cit.