Leadership and Echelons
Masoud Rajavi was born in Tabas, Iran in 1948. He joined a politico-ideological group known as Anti-Baha’ism Association when he was studying political law at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Law at the University of Tehran. In 1972, he received his BA in Law. Four years before, he had already made acquaintances with the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MKO) and started his activities in that group’s Political and Publicity Division.
Masoud Rajavi accompanied a visiting delegation from MKO to Jordan. The members of the delegation were sup-posed to receive military training in Al-Fat’h Organisation’s13 training centres. Masoud Rajavi was playing the role of inter-preter in that delegation.
Having returned home in 1972, he was promoted into the second stratum of the central cadre of the MKO and became a member of the twelve-member Central Committee of the Mojahedin. In the same year, mass-arrests of the heads as well as active members of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI, MKO) took place by then Home Intelligence and Security Service -SAVAK (the Shah’s secret service). Masoud Rajavi was among those who had been arrested by the Security Service of the Shah Regime.14
Subsequent to the mass arrests, four members of MKO were executed. Justifying the amnesty offered to Masoud Rajavi by the ex-Shah’s regime, a press release quoted the security authorities of the Pahlavi Regime as saying: “… Based upon the fact that he [Masoud Rajavi] has heartily co-operated during interrogations and revealed the members of MKO Society and collaborated to full extent which paved the ground for detection of MKO network by the security agents thor-oughly, His Majesty’s Order prescribes the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment with hard labour.”15 Notwithstanding the tangible facts and evidences that proves Rajavi’s collab-oration with The Home Intelligence and Security Service - SAVAK (the Shah’s secret service), MKO has always tried to conceal the fact and emphasized in all its literature, published after the revolu-tion of 1979, that his death sentence was reprieved only because of international pressure on the regime and because of the campaign of Kazem Rajavi, Masoud’s brother, started in Switzerland.
Accusations brought against Masoud Rajavi and other arrested members of the Central Committee of MKO were as follows:
“comprehensive and multi-faceted measures to recruit the new members, procuring arms and ammunitions, improvising ammunitions and flammable materials, establishing ties with Al-Fat’h Organisation (The Liberation Front of Palestine), the Ba’ath Government of Iraq, and Iranian Students’ Confederation in the European Countries and receiving financial support from that con-federation, hijacking an aircraft flying from Dubai to Baghdad, armed assault on Shahram pahlavinia, and the last, but not necessarily the least, destroying the electricity-dispatching lattice towers simultaneous to the celebrations for 2500th Anniversary of foundation of Iran’s Kingdom.
As the Islamic Revolution swept away the monarchy and gained victory in 1979, Masoud Rajavi was released from prison. Since that time on, Rajavi tried to take up the most prominent role, and did his best to regroup and increase the size of MKO via gaining recruits from among the youth and the establishment of new principles and disciplines in the group.
Bearing in mind the fact that MKO’s philosophy mixes Marxism and Islam and possesses an eclectical ideology (which was never accepted by the Iranian people), and due to lack of popular support inside the country for MKO, Rajavi resorted to his terror strategy and announced officially an armed conflict with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the nation on 20 June, 1981. On this day, Masoud Rajavi orchestrated a cruel and savage military show and ordered the armed contingents and members of his cult to rush onto the streets and begin the terrorist phase of their struggle against the Government of Iran. Via this movement, they erroneously expected to spark a general uprising.
In 1981, MKO blew up the head office of the Islamic Republic Party (28 June 1981) with bombs which resulted in the death of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, Chief of Justice, 4 ministers, 27 MPs and some other high-ranking officials. This terror campaign went on to blow up the office of the Prime Minister on 30 August, 1981, killing both President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and his Premier Mohammad-Javad Bahonar.16
Following the terrorist activities of MKO ordered by Masoud Rajavi, and the political devel-opments which followed later and caused the presidency of Aboulhassan Bani Sadr to become shaky, the Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) dismissed Bani Sadr from his position as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in July 1981. In that atmosphere and in an attempt to bring the supporters of Bani Sadr onto his side, Rajavi intensified the terrorist activities of his cult and declared that he would support the ousted President.
Following the defeat of the Comprehensive Terrorist Operations launched by MKO, the terrorist cult was forced to go underground and both Bani Sadr and Rajavi went into hiding. A few weeks later, on July 29, 1981, Masoud Rajavi and Bani Sadr, accompanied by some other people, fled from Tehran to Paris in a hijacked Iranian military aircraft and applied for asylum.
While in France and in order to take advantage of the reputation of Aboul Hassan Bani Sadr in France, Masoud Rajavi married the daughter of Bani Sadr, Firouzeh, in a marriage of convenience. The passage of time unveiled Rajavi’s true nature and let Firouzeh, as well as her father, discover his despotic personality. That marriage could not last for a long time and Firouzeh Bani Sadr divorced Rajavi, as her father had already distanced himself from him.
Following a few secret meetings with Iraqi Ba’ath officials, Rajavi left France for Iraq on 7 June, 1987, where he was given a warm welcome by the authorities of Saddam’s regime. Having settled down in Iraq, Rajavi issued a decree in which he ordered members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Europe who held simultaneously membership of MKO, to travel to Iraq and reside therein. In the context of that decree, the NCRI was actually inactive in the European countries.
Rajavi, who presided over NCRI at the same time, founded the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA) in 1988 and installed himself as the commander-in-chief of the NLA. All the heads of MKO, who were simultaneously members of NCRI as well, approved resumption of terrorist activities as soon as NLA had been established. With the outbreak of war in Iraq in 2003 as the result of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Rajavi chose to remain in Iraq and continued to steer MKO/NLA and NCRI. When the hostilities ended in Iraq which resulted in the raiding of MKO’s terrorist bases by American forces and the obligatory disarmament of MKO members ( never on a voluntary basis ), Rajavi sud-denly disappeared and there is currently no news of his whereabouts. In his absence, his new wife, Maryam Rajavi, assumed the leadership of MKO/NLA/NCRI. Masoud Rajavi is charged with and wanted by international agencies on charges of commanding and complicity in terrorist activities and the killing of innocent civilians.