The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) recently published an essay written by a veteran member of the MEK, Mehdi Abrishamchi, who was previously a political prisoner under the dictatorship of the Shah.
The MEK was founded in 1965 by three progressive Muslim intellectuals and university graduates Mohammad Hanifnejad (often referred to as Hanif), Saeid Mohsen, and Ali-Asghar Badizadegan. Not only have the MEK fought against the tyranny of the Shah’s dictatorship, but to this day, they are continuing to fight against the oppression that the current Iranian regime are inflicting on Iran.
Abrishamchi said, “The MEK is the only multi-generational organization in the Iranian society that has survived and expanded starting with the baby boomers to Millennials. Throughout the last five decades, the MEK has attracted the best and brightest talent of the Iranian society, not just in numbers but also in terms of representation from Iran’s rich ethnic and demographic diversity.”
The MEK has strived to fully implement gender equality in the organization, both in theory and practice, even while facing huge sacrifices along their journey. They are proud that their members are free of gender biases that ‘plague many cultures and societies’ and work well together.
Abrishamchi said, “The MEK is the only organization in the world that has intimate knowledge regarding the threat of Islamic extremism or Islamic fundamentalism. We also have a concrete plan and expertise to defuse and defeat this global threat in its entirety.”
The Iranian Resistance’s leader, Massoud Rajavi joined the MEK in 1967, working directly with the founders of the organization. President-elect of the parliament-in-exile National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi, who joined the MEK in 1973, said that the “MEK is a movement that adheres to democratic Islam and is the vanguard of struggle against religious tyranny and extremism. [Massoud Rajavi] has paid a heavy price to educate the generations that serve at the forefront of this struggle for freedom.”
Initially, the mullahs declared that the MEK was non-existent, however as the Iranian public became aware of more information as technology improved, the mullahs went on to portray the MEK as a non-influential exiled group with no connection to the rest of the Iranian society. In the late 90s, the regime tried to completely erase the MEK’s name from the memory of Iranians, by forbidding any mention of them in government publications and state-run media.
Abrishamchi said, “It is for this reason that perhaps a generation of Iranians born after 1988 had not even heard the name of the Mojahedin or MEK until more recently. In some cases, those who heard about us knew us as a distant enemy of the mullahs’ regime that doesn’t exist anymore.”
Thanks to the underground network in Iran, and their hard work fighting against the regime’s censorship, men and woman across Iran began to connect with the MEK, with many choosing to join the fight at the MEK’s bases near the Iran-Iraq border.
Abrishamchi said, “I share such examples to contextualize the environment that our movement has operated in since the 1979 revolution. Although the Shah’s regime used similar tactics against us, the depth and breadth of mullahs’ regime is vastly greater, which shows the extent to which they view the MEK as an existential threat that requires extensive resources to counter.”