MKO forced to retreat on leadership question

Anne Singleton
September 10, 2005

In August, several websites revealed that the MKO is experiencing severe problems at leadership level in Camp Ashraf. Mojgan Parsai, who was appointed head of the MKO four years ago, nominally placing her third in command after Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, was suddenly relieved of her responsibilities and disappeared.

Sources inside the Mojahedin confirmed that Parsai had been negotiating with American forces in the camp to gain refugee status in the USA where she had formerly been a student. She had passed sensitive information to the Americans hoping to be given free passage to America.

The real dilemma faced by the MKO is that it is not an ordinary military or political organization. The Mojahedin is a cult which is totally dependent on the autocratic dictates of cult leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi to hold it together. However, Massoud Rajavi ran away from Camp Ashraf in December 2004 and is currently in hiding in Switzerland, and his wife Maryam Rajavi is awaiting trial on terrorism charges in Paris.

It was the Rajavis' absence that allowed Parsai the freedom to act independently and to attempt to secure her own freedom from the cult. Unfortunately for her, there are many in the top echelons of the MKO who feel they should all live together and die together, so that her bid for freedom was exposed. Maryam Rajavi - who has in effect taken over the cult leadership role from her husband - immediately ordered Parsai removed from her post and began consulting with her advisors in Paris (ex-husband Mehdi Abrishamchi, Mehdi Rezai and others) to devise a suitable punishment for Parsai which will act as a deterrent to others who might also be considering their own future and how to escape the cult. This punishment, based on empirical evidence, can be nothing less than a slow process of elimination through psychological and physical torture.

Parsai's removal from leadership of the MKO left the problem of finding a suitable replacement. Maryam Rajavi's difficulty now is that she cannot trust people who are not under her direct command. Since the MKO in Iraq is now defunct as a fighting force and has become a liability rather than an asset, Rajavi saw this need to appoint a new nominal leader of the Mojahedin as an opportunity rather than a problem. She believed that she could solve two problems in one by appointing someone in Paris to replace Parsai so they would be under her direct control on a day to day basis. An MKO leader in Paris would also allow Rajavi to shift the headquarters of the MKO to Europe. By moving the MKO HQ to Paris she could then jettison the people in Camp Ashraf and leave them to their fate.

Iran-Interlink predicted this move and suggested that Rajavi would appoint Sarvenaz Chitsaz as the new MKO head in Paris. Chitsaz, also a middle-class former student in the USA who speaks fluent English, has played the role of foreign affairs chief behind the scenes to Mohammad Mohaddessin's public role as NCR Foreign Affairs representative. She is Mohadessin's boss in the MKO/NCR and reports directly to Rajavi.

After Iran-Interlink made this prediction public, the MKO announced that its new head would probably be Zahra Merikhi. This announcement was accompanied by attempts to show that Mojgan Parsai was still in place in Camp Ashraf and that she had not come to any harm. However, no-one has actually had sight of Parsai and therefore her wellbeing and safety cannot be ascertained from the MKO's own reports.

Merikhi joined the MKO in Iraq directly from Iran. Although she has no foreign language or other skills, the cult's decision since 1990 to use only women in leading roles allowed her to command several of the MKO's bases in European and Scandinavian countries, and to pick up her refugee status in France. Merikhi would have been a perfect choice for Rajavi. She is currently based in Paris, she is extremely ambitious and has also shown herself ruthless in her desire to climb to the top. [It should be noted that leadership roles are only given to cult members who show total and absolute obedience to the Rajavi's commands and that these commands will include missions which implicate the person in illegal and immoral - though not life threatening - activities.]

In preparation to appoint a head in Europe, Rajavi fast-tracked all the Mojahedin's supporters in Europe with intensive ideological teachings [psychological manipulation] with the aim of making them all members of the Mojahedin. In this way, they would vote unanimously for Rajavi's appointed head and the Mojahedin would be effectively reinvented in Europe, allowing plans to dismantle the MKO's Camp Ashraf to go ahead.

Iran-Interlink exposed Maryam Rajavi's plan to appoint a terrorist head in Europe. It was clear that European governments would not tolerate such a move so she was forced to back down. As a result, Rajavi's choice for the next head of the Mojahedin was limited to the women in Camp Ashraf.

The new Mojahedin leader is Sedighe Hosseini. Born 1957, in Langarood, she was an employee in the city of Rasht when she left Iran in 1979 and joined the Mojahedin in the UK. She married Hamid Farjoud in London and they had a daughter. After the Forough-e Javidan operation in 1988 her husband left the Mojahedin because of the cooperation with Saddam Hussein. Since that time, Sedighe increased her involvement in the terrorist activities of the MKO and was among the tank divisions which killed Kurdish villagers in March 1991. Hosseini more recently led the Fourth Division in Kut, with the specific task of killing Shiites.

With Hosseini's appointment, the MKO remains stuck in Camp Ashraf with its terror label and the organization is now vigorously opposing the new Iraqi constitution which will specifically lead to the expulsion of the MKO from that country.