One of the great falsehoods of the Iran lobby and the appeasers of the clerical regime in Tehran is that any effort at regime change would inevitably lead to war. This by-line can be seen in every article by the Iran lobby and the appeasers attempting to underscore the growing global support for the Iranian opposition (MEK/PMOI) and the Iranian people’s quest for regime change.
History teaches us though that the longevity of any regime born out of violent conquest is ultimately short-lived.
The Iranian regime that was born out of a revolution overthrowing the Shah, which was in turn hijacked by the mullahs and turned into a religious oligarchy. The original aim of the revolution was the formation of a secular, pluralistic democracy. That dream still exists in the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people and resonates in the various forms of protest in Iran, despite the repressive measures by the regime. Therefore, the call for “regime change” is primarily the Iranian people’s demand.
Since the early days after the 1979 revolution, the mullahs have relied on the typical tools of oppression to keep their grip on power, including the creation of a paramilitary and judiciary system so vast, it touches nearly every sector of Iranian society. At the same time, the Iranian regime and its apparatus (including the regime lobbies and appeasers) have been quick in attacking any publication or personalities who dare speaking about the Iranian people’s quest for freedom and particularly “regime change” in Iran. It goes without saying that those more in line with the regime have targeted MEK/PMOI, since MEK/PMOI is the most dedicated and the organized opposition with extensive routes and support at home that can materialize the regime change. The people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, PMOI (usually referred to as MEK) has therefore been the subject of dubious propaganda campaigns by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) at home and by the regime lobbies and appeasers abroad. The idea is to say that there is no democratic alternative to this regime. Hence, the only option is to put up with the dictatorship in Iran, otherwise there will be war!
A look at the back ground of the MEK/PMOI, Iran’s democratic opposition can be helpful in shedding light on the reasons for sometimes unprecedented campaigns against them. The People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is the oldest, largest, and contrary to the mullahs’ propaganda, the most popular resistance organization in Iran. The PMOI/MEK was founded in September 1965 by three Iranian engineers, who sought to replace the Shah’s repressive monarchy with a democratic government.
The PMOI/MEK enjoys broad popularity in Iran because of its longstanding support for democracy and its modern interpretation of Islam. The MEK/PMOI believe Islam is inherently tolerant and democratic, thus fully compatible with the values of modern-day civilization. This vision is in fact the cure to the growing expansion of Islamic extremism funded and supported by the mullahs in Iran.
The MEK/PMOI participated in a united front against the Pahlavi monarchy, which violently opposed democratic reforms and had one of the worst human rights records in the world. After the Shah fled Iran, the MEK/PMOI worked to establish a democratic government, but Ayatollah Khomeini hijacked the Revolution and instead created an Islamic theocracy.
The MEK/PMOI shifted course and directed its opposition against the Ayatollah, continuing its struggle to restore democracy in Iran. In June 1980, the PMOI/MEK organized a rally in Tehran to protest Khomeini’s escalating despotism. More than 200,000 people participated in the demonstration.
With each passing day, the PMOI/MEK gained strength and, in July 1980, Khomeini openly considered the possibility of defeat, stating, “Never have I so much feared the Islamic Revolution end in failure.” He lashed out at the PMOI/MEK, declaring the resistance organization as the main enemy. Khomeini said, “Our enemy is neither the United States, nor the Soviet Union, nor Kurdistan, but sitting right here in Tehran under our nose [the PMOI/MEK].”
Revolutionary Guards escalated their attacks on the PMOI/MEK, which continued to promote its pro-democracy campaign. The turning point came on June 20, 1981. The MEK/PMOI organized rallies across Iran to protest Khomeini’s oppressive rule. More than a half million Iranians attended the demonstration in Tehran.
On direct fatwa by Khomeini, the Hezbollah blocked off streets and fired weapons into the growing crowds, killing hundreds of Iranians and injuring many more, with thousands arrested. The reign of terror had begun. The following day, Khomeini’s henchmen executed hundreds of PMOI/MEK supporters who had been arrested, including young girls.
The bloodbath was unrelenting. In the months and years that followed, more than 120,000 PMOI/MEK members and supporters were killed by Khomeini and the ruling mullahs. In only one occasion in summer of 1988, over 30,000 political prisoners (mainly members and supporters of the MEK/PMOI) were mass murdered in Iran, based on a direct fatwa of the mullah’s Supreme Leader, Khomeini. The savagery removed any legitimacy the Islamic Republic may have once had. The regime is now viewed by the people of Iran as fascist, maintaining power through fear and brutality.
Members and supporters of the PMOI/MEK have suffered greatly in their struggle to restore democracy to Iran. Iranians respect the many sacrifices made by the MEK/PMOI and revere its martyrs.
Through the years, the MEK/PMOI has been steadfast in its battle to rid Iran of the mullahs’ nightmare regime, overcoming severe hardships and setbacks. Contrary to the Iranian lobby’s claim, the support by the Iranian people for the PMOI/MEK is also steadfast. The resistance organization has earned their respect and trust and it gives voice to their aspirations for a free and democratic Iran. This can be seen in the latest activities of the supporters of the MEK/PMOI, in Tehran and other major cities across Iran, during the recent uprising in 142 cities show.
Hundreds of video clips and photos of banners and placards hanging from pathways over highways and auto routes on billboards, or in the shape of graffiti on walls in Tehran and other major cities, are published on various Telegram and YouTube channels, showcasing the vast magnitude of these activities. This is while activists have been prosecuted and some even executed for far less “crimes” in the past decades.
Another hallmark for understanding the extent of activities of MEK/PMOI and its popularity among youth, is the recent expressions of concerns followed by crackdowns on the youth under the pretext of cybercrimes. Last year, AbdolsamadKhoramabadi, regime’s deputy public prosecutor said that cyberspace have become extremely worrisome for Tehran. Referring to “Telegram”, by far the most popular social media platform in Iran with over 40 million users, he said:
“More than 30% of these Telegram channels are involved in criminal activities against the country’s security and disrupting the entire nation.”
“The MEK Telegram channel inside Iran is very active… all the regime’s opponents are providing the people all their books and written material through this online platform. If you sought to purchase them you have to pay huge amounts of money. If you wanted to publish a book, it would be very demanding, but on the Internet it is quite easy,” added the regime’s deputy public prosecutor.
The Iranian regime has time and again negotiated with Telegram’s managers to block the MEK/PMOI website and associated channels, only to be rejected each time. This has left Tehran facing an impasse.
Either accept the MEK/PMOI’s vast network with all its grave consequences or pay the ultimate price of blocking Telegram. Ultimately blocked the telegraph network, and raised more dissatisfaction that can even trigger a protest.
The uprisings of early 2018 and massive protests that were viciously put down sent shivers down the mullahs’ spines and served as a sharp reminder that their hold on power is tenuous at best. Hence, they actively repress a free press, continually arresting and imprisoning journalists, editors, photographers, and now bloggers, who voice, print, transmit or illustrate any hint of dissent.
On January 2, Rouhani spoke by phone with French President Emmanuel Macron and complained that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran-PMOI/MEK, was causing unrest in Iran. The PMOI is the main constituent of the National Council of Resistance of Iran-NCRI, and Rouhani asked his French counterpart to restrict the activities of the group, which is headquartered outside Paris. On January 9, Ali Khamenei, the regime’s leader, underscored that the PMOI was the main force behind the recent uprising and had planned it for months in advance. Khamenei’s startling admission and Rouhani’s desperate appeal show that the PMOI poses a growing threat to the clerical regime.
The regime invests heavily in the massive propaganda effort it mobilizes through state-controlled media and via its lobbies and paid agents abroad, in order to discourage more support for the MEK/PMOI, which is the main driver for regime change in Iran. The extent of the anti MEK/PMOI propaganda has increased, especially after the protests of early 2018 and the election of John Bolton as Donald Trump’s national security adviser, which had a clear message: “Which showed that the Mullahs are very concerned about the change”. A nightmare for the criminal mullahs that cannot be avoided.
This is why it serves the regime’s purposes to continually dangle the threat of war over the heads of its people. It also helps the Iran lobby’s PR efforts to cast Iran like some poor, defenseless nation under threat by the big bad U.S. and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia or the Iranian resistance movement, the MEK/PMOI.
But the situation is so hazardous that a senior ayatollah, JavadiAmoli, on April 27, 2018, frankly said: “if there will be an uprising, all of us will be thrown into the sea.” He added, “Of course many of the officials fled, many have created a safe place to escape to but we have nowhere to escape to.”
It clearly describes the Iranian regime’s need to seek to demonize and neutralize its main and unique alternative, the MEK.
Author: Mahdavi (Reporter, and Opposition Activist to the Iranian regime)
You can follow him on Twitter @mahdavi85