The Political and Social Contexts for the Formation of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization


Review of “The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization” by Hossein Ahmadi Rouhani (Part Two)


The Political and Social Contexts for the Formation of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) of Iran

With Kennedy entering the White House as the President of the United States in January 1961, a new policy, which was disregarded in the last two presidencies, was pursued by the U.S. Democrats, known as Political Open Space.

This policy was made to protect the interests of the United States and its puppet regimes through creating a safety valve in oppressed communities and preventing a communist political explosion there. In line with this policy, some completely limited political freedoms were granted to liberal and western-oriented parties in such countries.

As a result of these reforms in Iran, Ali Amini, who was a pro-American liberal reformer, became new head of the cabinet and the Shah was forced to carry out a series of reforms including land reform under the title of “the six bills”.

In 1960, the Shah's regime had already granted political organizations the rights to freedom of opinion and action within the royal constitutional framework. Subsequently, the Second National Front and the Liberation Movement of Iran seized the opportunity and tried to declare their intentions and objectives, and engage in political activities in the society. They believed that the Shah should rule and that political organizations and parties like them should be able to carry out political activities within the constitutional framework. They had also intended to take over the cabinet and implement the demands of the United States in Iran through presence in the Parliament and gaining power in National Consultative Assembly so as to prevent opposition and revolt of people. They had explicitly and repeatedly stated that their interests had to be served, otherwise Iran would face a huge revolution.

The Second National Front, in response to the Shah's reform plans, openly chanted the slogan, "Yes to reforms, no to dictatorship!"

However, what was actually happening at the community level was very different from what these liberals and compromisers wished for. Iranian people wanted a serious and decisive struggle against the United States, and for them, American and imperial reforms meant nothing but deception of people.

People of Iran had witnessed the 40-year-long crimes of the Pahlavi dynasty, destruction of economy and cultural heritage, and defamation of religion and knew very well that the destiny of their country was in the hands of the Shah and his British and American masters.

Therefore, this time, Ayatollah Khomeini who had realized from the very beginning the true intentions behind the so-called “political open space” in Iran, resolutely resisted actions of the Shah’s puppet regime at different points. Millions of Muslims and deprived masses of Iran also joined this movement and through wide participation in mosques, gatherings and demonstrations, expressed their opposition and rage to the plans of the United States.

Hence, despite all the difficulties and unpleasant consequences, the Shah decided to arrest Ayatollah Khomeini as his presence on the scene posed a danger to the existence of the regime. Eventually, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s glorious and historic speech condemning the Shah’s anti-Islamic and anti-people regime on June 4, 1963, he was arrested in Qom on June 6 and was brough to Tehran.

No longer than a few hours had passed when people of Qom, Tehran and Varamin were notified of his arrest and came to streets to express their hatred and anger for this brutal act. To suppress these demonstrations, the regime received help from the police but the scale of the protests was so great that the police could not do the slightest thing. That is when the army came into play and murdered thousands of people on June 6.

The brutal killing and slaughter on this day revealed to people the nature of the Shah's regime and made them aware of the fact that the whole propaganda for freedom and improvement of the situation was nothing but demagogy. In light of this experience, people realized that their main enemy was the United States, and what enabled the Shah's regime to commit these crimes was indeed the political and military support of the US.

June 6 signified the ineffectiveness of parliamentarism and reformism, and therefore, peaceful methods of fight against the Shah’s regime. This point was perceived by many religious and non-religious groups, including the Coalition Party, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization and some leftist groups such as the People's Fedai Guerrillas. They came to realize that, to advance their fight, organized yet completely covert activities beyond the reach of the regime and SAVAK are required.

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