Kayhan London published an open letter from former members of the Mojahedin-e-Khalgh (MEK) Organization, criticizing Mike Pence, former Vice President of the United States. List of the signatories could be found here.
Mr. Mike Pence,
On June 23, 2022, during your visit to the “Ashraf 3” camp, the main headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization (MEK) in Albania, you said some things in a speech about the Mojahedin Organization and Maryam Rajavi, one of the leaders of the organization, which we consider them completely wrong.
You called Maryam Rajavi as the leader of an “alternative democratic” solution for Iran and said, among other things: “There is a resistance that Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is at the head of it, Mrs. Rajavi has a 10-point program for the future of Iran… Against the regime, there is a resistance and a there is an alternative called the People’s Mojahedin Khalq Organization… Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point program includes freedom for all the people of Iran.”
Mr. Mike Pence!
Despite the fact that you should be well aware of the realities inside the People’s Mojahedin Organization due to your responsibility as the vice president, you state things that are completely wrong. The Mojahedin Organization (MEK) is not a democratic force and cannot guarantee freedom for the people of Iran. Let us tell you about ourselves and our personal experiences:
We are a group of former members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization, who have been supporters, members and companions of this organization for many years. Some of us have been with this organization for a few years and others up to 36. Some of the signatories have a history of long years of imprisonment and torture in different prisons of the Islamic Republic.
Our motive in joining the Mojahedin organization, when we were mostly teenagers, was to be able to fight against the Islamic Republic and overthrow it, to make a democratic transformation possible in Iran. Our ideal was democracy, human rights, rule of law, social justice, prosperity and progress for the people of Iran. Today, we have added pluralism, secularism and the separation of religion and State to those ideals. Although each of us has separated from this organization for different reasons, we are still committed to our opposition and fight against the Islamic Republic and trying to subvert and replace it with a democratic alternative, and we are working to the best of our ability in this direction.
Our practical experience and long life inside the People’s Mojahedin Organization taught us that this organization, contrary to its claims and slogans, is an undemocratic organization and a totalitarian organization. “Ideological leadership” in this organization is an example of personality worship and complete loyalty to it is an ideological task. Ideological leadership within the MEK organization is like the religious authority (“Supreme Leader” – Valiye Faqih) in the Islamic Republic. Any criticism of the leadership of this organization is prohibited. Freedom of opinion, freedom of thought and freedom of speech has no meaning in the Mojahedin organization and can face “organizational punishment”. Not only within the Mojahedin organization, but also after the separation from this organization, the separated members or supporters, if they publicly express their critical opinions and views towards the leadership of this organization, they will face character assassination, baseless accusations and even death threats.
Mr. Mike Pence!
We would like to draw your attention to some of the accusations we have against this organization and its leadership:
– Absence of democratic relations, lack of freedom of expression and freedom of thought for members within the organization and also for those separated from this organization or those separated from the “National Council of Resistance”.
– Brainwashing members through ideological indoctrination, creating and cultivating a personality cult around Masoud and Maryam Rajavi
– Spreading Shia religious beliefs as the only “right” ideology and mixing political power with religion. It was on this basis that after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, Masoud Rajavi, in a gathering of 4,000 members of the MEK in Ashraf camp said: “With this operation, the horn of America broke. This is just reactionary Islam [referring to al-Qaeda forces], woe betide if revolutionary Islam and the members of the revolution want to do something” [referring to the internal ideological revolution of the MEK, known as Maryam Rajavi’s revolution]
– Under the influence of mental-psychological pressures, forcing married men and women in the 90s to “ideological divorce” and then gender separation between men and women, which was gradually implemented.
– Separating about 700 children from their families within the Mojahedin organization in the early 90s in Iraq. Sending those children to different countries in Europe and North America. Practically breaking up the institution of the family. This act caused severe trauma to these children.
– Returning some of the same children at the age of 15 or 16 to Ashraf camp in Iraq, the main headquarters of the Mojahedin Organization, and forcibly recruiting those children. In many cases, this was done by deceiving children and promising to meet their parents and return to the country where they belonged.
– Disconnecting members of the Mojahedin organization from their families and vice versa. Only those families who are loyal to the leadership of the Mojahedin Organization can have a limited relationship with their family members within the Mojahedin Organization.
-Under psychological pressure, forcing members to write reports about their sexual thoughts or dreams. Forcing people to talk about these issues in front of small or large groups of tens or hundreds of people. Inciting the people present in these meetings to verbally attack and spit and insult and accuse the person who has given such a report. In some cases, physical attack on the “subject”. Since the end of the 90s, this method has been used continuously for many years. All members know that one day it will be their turn to speak in front of the crowd and become the “subject”. This issue has made all the members suspicious towards each other and in order not to become “subjects”, they turn to writing reports about another person.
– The Mojahedin organization forces its members to write reports about their past and their families, as well as about their thoughts or sexual behavior in the past. These reports remain in the hands of the Mojahedin Organization as a “document” so that if a person drops out from the organization and wants to criticize it, those “documents” can be used against them.
– Lack of transparency and accountability of the organization leadership. Freelance journalists do not have the opportunity to meet and talk with the members of this organization. Even the leadership of this organization refuses to talk to independent journalists.
– Imprisonment and physical and psychological torture of discontent members within the Mojahedin organization. Baseless accusations against them. Launching psychological warfare, accusations and character assassination against dissidents who separated from the Mojahedin organization or the National Council of Resistance and after the separation publicly spoke or published about their experience within the Mojahedin organization. The accusations even include those people who have interviewed with a non-Iranian media.
– Recruiting forces through deception and making various promises and transferring them from different countries to Ashraf base in Iraq,
Mr. Mike Pence!
All that was mentioned above is going on in this organization under the leadership of Masoud and Maryam Rajavi. What was listed is only a small part of the hidden facts inside the Mojahedin organization.
You have praised Maryam Rajavi many times in your various speeches. For example, in your speech in January 2021 in Washington at a gathering of supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MEK), you said: “Ms. Rajavi is an inspiration to the world. Her ten-point plan for Iran’s future will guarantee freedom of expression, as well as freedom of assembly and freedom for every Iranian to choose their own leaders.”
Mr. Mike Pence!
Which “world” are you talking about? How do you consider Maryam Rajavi to be an inspiration to the world and a harbinger of democracy for Iran? The Mojahedin Organization and its leadership, including Maryam Rajavi, who has not been able to establish democratic relations within her organization and treats her members, dissidents, opponents and critics in undemocratic ways, cannot be a harbinger of freedom and democracy for all Iranians and guarantee it.
This is while Elizabeth Stickney, the Farsi-speaking spokesperson of the United States Department of State, in a conversation with the Farsi section of Deutsche Welle Radio in 2018, about the Mojahedin Organization’s base said: “The activities and words of some American politicians are not the official policy of this country, and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran has no base among the people of Iran.”
A few years later, in the same January 2021 speech, you claimed that: “I am speaking on behalf of tens of millions of Americans from both parties and every political philosophy… while the regime says there is no alternative, there is an alternative and it is well prepared and has all the qualifications and support of the people!”
Mr. Mike Pence!
We are aware that politicians of both Republican and Democratic parties speak based on their interests, but we are surprised by your lack of information about the reality of Iranian society and the level of “people’s support” for the MEK.
The past 43-year record of the Mojahedin Organization shows that this organization is undemocratic and has gradually lost its social base in Iran and cannot be a democratic alternative for transition from the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Mike Pence!
We, the signatories of this letter, are ready to meet with you or a representative of yours regarding our claims and answer your questions about our personal experience within the Mojahedin organization. Many of us have published articles or books about our experiences that are available on the Internet or on our personal websites. We hope that this brief information will be useful for reviewing the nature of the Mojahedin organization and for research and verification of what we have presented.
Translation of the open letter published by Kayhan London