During late 1994 and early 1995, many members of the MKO were arrested by the organization’s operatives inside their camps in Iraq. They were interrogated and accused of spying for the Iranian government. They were released in mid-1995 after being forced to sign false confessions and stating their loyalty to the leadership. Five former MKO members interviewed for this report were arrested during this period: Farhad Javaheri-Yar, Ali Ghashghavi, Alireza Mirasgari, Akbar Akbari, and Abbas Sadeghinejad. According to their testimonies—detailed in the next section—the purpose of these arrests was to intimidate dissidents and obtain false confessions from them stating that they were agents of Iranian government. This period was known as the “security clearance” (check-e amniyati).
In late 1994, the organization informed its fighters in Iraq of its plans to send small teams of fighters into Iran to carry out operations. Farhad Javaheri-Yar, a former member, told Human Rights Watch:
A message was broadcast on behalf of Masoud Rajavi stating that the domestic situation in Iran was chaotic. It called for volunteers who wanted to go inside Iran, perform revolutionary operations and instigate people to rise up. Many members responded immediately; long lines were formed by applicants. The application forms were nearly forty pages long and included hundreds of questions.39
Another former member, Alireza Mirasgari, told Human Rights Watch that discontent and dissent were spreading throughout Camp Ashraf at this time:
During the second half of 1994, the wave of questions and dissent was reaching a climax inside the organization. Since most military activities had stopped, there was little to do and much time to reflect. Many fighters wanted to leave the organization. I began to note that some people around me were “disappearing.” I was told they had left for special operations inside Iran. However, later we found out that they had been arrested and imprisoned inside the camp. I was myself imprisoned in January 1995.