Review of The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization by Hossein Ahmadi Rouhani (Part Eight)
In the first blow in August and following ones, as we have already mentioned, the vast majority of the leadership elements and members of the organization were arrested. At first, 7 important caderes including Saeid Mohsen, Ali Bakeri, Bahman Bazargani, Mahmoud Askarizadeh, Reza Rezaei, Mohammad Bazargani, and Masoud Rajavi were arrested and from among the central elements, only Mohammad Hanifnejad, Ali Asghar Badiezadegan and Ali Mihandust remained uncaptured.
It seems that after the initial blows, Ahmad Rezaei and then Rasoul Meshkin Fam (who had recently come back to Iran) became central members of the organization and increased the number to five.
About a month after the first blow in August, Ali Mihandoust and shortly after him, Ali Asghar Badiezadegan were arrested. This left the organization with 3 central members namely Mohammad Hanifnejad, Rasoul Meshkin Fam and Ahmad Rezaei.
In early October, through a surprise raid on Mohammad Hanifnejad’s residence, he, Rasoul Meshkin Fam, Seyyed Jalil Seyyed Ahmadian, Ebrahim Arfa and one or two others were arrested, leaving Ahmad Rezaei as the only central element of the organization. At that point, Rezaei decided to bring Bahram Aram, who was one of the most experienced cadres, to the headquarters and thus the organization’s centrality was limited to two individuals.
Ahmad Rezaei emphasized that by any means necessary, Reza Rezaei, who was brought to streets by SAVAK and was being used to identify members of the organization, had to be set free because he felt that Reza Rezaei’s presence was absolutely necessary for the organization to continue operating and also believed that he could be of enormous help in managing the situation at the time.
Thus, an operation to free Reza Rezaei was planned in which Ahmad Rezaei himself played a key role.
One day in December 1971, when Reza Rezaei was brought to streets, his brother- Ahmad- came to him and acted as a shoe polisher. He started polishing Reza’s shoes and, in the meantime, gave him a letter containing an escape plan.
The next day, Reza Rezaei implemented the plan and dragged the SAVAK officers to a bathroom in the Nowruz Khan bazaar where he had claimed his brother Ahmad was likely to be.
He held the officers at the front door under the pretext that Ahmad would become suspicious. He entered the bathroom alone and quickly escaped through the other door where Ahmad and another person were ready to take him on a motorcycle. Then, Ahmad and Reza Rezaei and Bahram Aram constituted the central members. However, this combination did not last long. In January of 1972, Ahmad Rezaei had a meeting on Ghaffari street where he was surrounded by SAVAK forces. He committed suicide using a grenade which led to the murder of a few SAVAK forces as well and this incident left Reza Rezaei and Bahram Aram as the only central members.
Following the murder of Ahmad Rezaei in January of 1972, central members of the organization were only Reza Rezaei and Bahram Aram. Taking advantage of the experience Reza had gained in prison, they were able to prevent the regime’s blows to a great extent and stop the organization from dismantling.
After enduring months of consecutive blows by SAVAK, they reorganized for the first time and gradually began executing military operations at a small scale. In a short time, they progressed so much that they were prepared to create major explosions. At this point, they started bombing different locations such as Ferdowsi mall, mausoleum of Reza Shah etc. They also created an explosion on the way of General Price - a high-ranking US military adviser in Iran- which inflicted massive injuries on him.
Also, the organization carried out a series of explosions in Tehran with the arrival of Nixon on May 31, 1972 in response to the Shah’s executing 5 members of the organization’s centrality. The Reza Shah’s mausoleum, which was bombed by the organization, was in fact one the places Nixon visited.
In August 1972, they perpetrated several military operations, including bombing the embassy of Jordan, making an explosion on the way of Sultan Qaboos to Tehran near Azadi Square and finally, assassinating Colonel Taheri.
The explosion at the Jordanian embassy had a great impact on the Palestinians and they always referred to it as an important political-military action because this operation took place in circumstances where the Palestinian movement suffered major blows from the traitorous King of Jordan who had inflicted more than 20,000 casualties.
The operation on Sultan Qaboos also had an effect on the revolutionary forces in the region, such as the Dhofar Rebellion and prepared the ground for further cooperation with them. It also disclosed that two foreign mercenaries i.e. Shah and Qaboos, had extensive cooperation in the region in order to protect the interests of their American and British masters.
The assassination of Colonel Taheri also had an interesting effect on the people in bazaars and those who were fully aware of the crimes this murderer had committed especially in June 6 demonstrations. After this assassination, people in bazaar started providing the organization with financial support.
In the middle of the spring of 1973, Taqi Shahram, a member of the organization who was imprisoned in Sari, along with Hossein Ezzati- another prisoner- could escae with the aid of the Second Lieutenant Amir Hossein Ahmadian who was in charge of the prison at the time. Shahram, then, went to Tehran by an automobile prepared by Ahmadian. He also managed to take 20 revolvers and plenty of ammunition with him.
Relying on his studies and experiences he had gained in prison, Shahram could quickly join Reza Rezaei and Bahram Aram and become a central member.
A while before Shahram escaped, the idea of summarizing and evaluating the organization’s two-year political and military activities had been proposed so that in light of these investigations, the organization’s points of strength and weakness along with future guidelines and plans for action would be determined.
These analyses and evaluations had not yet been completed when Reza Rezaei was murdered on the night of June 15, 1973 in Mehdi Taghvaei’s house during a clash with the police. Shahram and Aram put in extra effort and continued preparing the summaries and reports and after a while, they could finally come to a conclusion.
Following the blows inflicted by SAVAK in September and the following months of 1971, the organization reached a dead end because it had lost its leaders and effective cadres.
The only way out of this predicament was creating a long-term strategic plan for the future and avoiding any sort of routine, hasty and unthoughtful actions such as kidnapping Shahram Pahlavi and the like. Rather, organizational issues and protecting each and every single remaining member from the police had to be the organization’s main concerns and this was only possible through political-ideological instructions for the members. However, these instructions did not take place due to weakness on the part of leadership on the one hand and the petty bourgeois characteristics and narrow-mindedness of the members on the other.