Iran: PMOI Members are no 'freedom fighters'

Letter to the Members of European Parliament concerning the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), Brüssel, 15.7.08

Dear colleagues,

the United Kingdom recently decided to remove the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI)* from the list of banned terrorist groups following a court ruling.

We warn against the misunderstanding that the court's order to remove the PMOI from the terrorist list accords the PMOI democratic legitimacy and credentials as political opposition to the ruling Iranian regime. Moreover, their claim to be the only legitimate opposition rather proves their own totalitarian approach.

The PMOI is an organisation which according to information from many different sources has degenerated over time from a political movement combining Marxist and Islamic elements into a psycho-sect with a history of heavy brainwashing and repression of its members. The Rajavi couple rules the organisation in a totalitarian style combined with an elaborate personality cult. According to Human Rights Watch and a number of ex-members - some of which testified in a meeting of the Iran delegation last year -, dissident members "were tortured, beaten and held in solitary confinement for years at military camps in Iraq after they criticized the group’s policies and undemocratic practices, or indicated that they planned to leave the organization." Some were even sent to Abu Ghraib in order to be tortured by Saddam Hussein's security forces. According to Human Rights Watch, even deaths have been reported. Married couples were forced to divorce, children were separated from their parents against their will in order to be sent off into orphanages or foster families in Europe and the US.

The PMOI members are no 'freedom fighters'. It is not the democratic, pluralistic, egalitarian, reform-oriented organisation, as which it presents itself. Within today's Iran, it does not play any role as a serious opposition force. For the Iranian public, the Mudjahedeen have discredited themselves completely due to their internal organisation but also due to their collaboration with Saddam Hussein in the war against Iran. The lack of democracy, the grave violations of human rights and the authoritarian elements of the present Iranian state are not in doubt and we do not need this group for confirmation.

We urge all members of the European Parliament who are engaged for a more democratic Iran to be extremely circumspect and cautious vis-à-vis this group.

Sincerely Yours

Michael Gahler, Vice-Chair Foreign Affairs Committee (PPE)
Christa Prets, Vice-Chair Iran Delegation (PSE)
Annemie Neyts, Coordinator Foreign Affairs Committee, President of the European Party of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE)
Angelika Beer, President of the Iran Delegation (Greens/EFA)
Tobias Pflüger, Member Iran Delegation, Coordinator Security and Defence Sub-Committee (GUE/NGL)

* The Iranian abbreviation Mujahideen-y-Khalq (MKO) is equally used.
PMOI /MKO still remain on the EU and US terrorist lists, while the National Council of Resistance (NCR), basically a cover up organisation for the PMOI, is only on the US terrorist list and not on the European one.

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