Iranian-American analyst and commentator on Middle East affairs says the MKO is always front and center to condemn Iran in the war of words on Iran's domestic issues and controversial nuclear program.
“Through social media, the group spams most Iran-related hashtags with their propaganda, bankroll prominent U.S. officials to advocate on their behalf as the ‘democratic alternative’ to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even re-opened an office a block from the White House where they hired former Senator Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) as their legal representative,” Holly Dagres wrote yesterday in a piece titled “Dear Washington: Kick Out This Iranian Militant Cult” published in the Huffington Post.
She added, “None of these points would be problematic if it weren't for the fact that the European Union and United States formerly designated the Iraq-based MEK as a terrorist organization for its past activities.”
What makes this realization peculiar is the very people in Congress that cozy up to the group's leader, Maryam Rajavi, by calling for staunch sanctions--sometimes even war--on Iran due to its nuclear program and particularly human rights violations, seem to turn a blind eye to the activities of the totalitarian cult of Marxist-Islamist Iranian dissidents we know today as the MEK.
Dagres added that the amount of misinformation circulated by MKO’s public relations is disturbing and it's time to expose their true nature.
She went on to say that the MKO’s followers and apologists dismiss that the group is a cult. “Despite denials, its conduct tells otherwise as cited by a RAND report: deceptive recruitment, emotional isolation, extreme degrading peer pressure, forced labor, imprisonment, lack of exit options, sexual control, sleep deprivation, and physical abuse.”
The assistant director at the Cairo Policy Journal, published by the American University in Cairo, made a reference to the crimes MKO committed during the past three decades including Maryam Rajavi's maarriage to one of the original founders of MKO, alliance with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, carrying cyanide tablets by MKO members prior to 2003 invasion of Iraq, and self-immolation and suicide which are a popular form of political protest amongst MKO members.
“With knowledge of this publically available, it is difficult to take them serious. But what is truly an affront to women is when Rajavi and her supporters claim they offer a better alternative to the current women's rights situation in in Iran.”
She referred to the recent op-ed for The Hill by Soona Samsami a representative of the NCRI(political branch of the MKO):
"Rajavi has outlined a Ten Point Plan for Future Iran, which says, 'We believe in complete gender equality in political, social and economic arenas. We are also committed to equal participation of women in political leadership. Any form of discrimination against women will be abolished. They will enjoy the right to freely choose their clothing.'"
Dagres said even though the group promotes leadership positions for women, in order to impose "military" regulations on its members, the MEK forces them not only to move into gender-segregated compounds, but also cut ties with family and friends--both inside and outside of the commune. “They even require members to divorce their spouses and to live a life of celibacy. It is presumed that love for family and significant others would be replaced with love for the Rajavis.”
Last but not least, when it came to attire for women, journalist Elizabeth Rubin notes:
"Everywhere I saw women dressed exactly alike, in khaki uniforms and mud-colored head scarves, driving back and forth in white pickup trucks, staring ahead in a daze as if they were working at a factory in Maoist China."