Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)
IMHRO study in Politics and Human Right
Minorities in Iran are concern regard of MEK[i] (People's Mujahedin of Iran)[ii], going out of the list of terrorism in West. It is true that MEK and OIPFG (Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas)[iii] members persecuted in Iran and many executed, but it is also fact that they had a hand in suppression of minorities in Iran.
After the Revolution - 1979
Soon after revolution MEK and OIPFG majority branch sided by Islamic regime in Iran. MEK were the first to give a title of imam to Khomeini.
Soon Revolutionary guards and MEK clashes, this clash also killed many innocent people[iv]. The problem was created largely because Khomeini did not allow the MEK to power-share in government.
The Iranian government’s response was also brutal. Many members of the MEK were executed. In 1988 alone, the Iranian government hanged thousands of MEK, OIPFG and other political party’s supporters and members[v].
However, in recent years the Iranian intelligence service has changed their tactics. They started releasing the MEK members instead of sentencing them to death. They have even been known to send them to Europe[vi]. This has resulted in heavy confrontation between immigrants from Iran who are MEK supporters and MEK in EU.
They have also allowed some old members of MEK to establish a magazine in Tehran, which is concerned with what happened in the early years of the revolution. Although it has even criticised the Tehran, it seems it is designed to attack the MEK legacy.
It should add that Iranian government still execute members of MEK. Putting pressure on Iraqi government to arrest, kidnap and extradite their members to Tehran
The National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI)
MEK have always tried to show that they are main face of the opposition to the Iranian government, and that they can benefit more from publicity, financial help and supporters, than other parties and organizations.
For this reason they started an organization called the NCRI (National Council of Resistance in Iran). In the beginning, many left-wing people joined this organization. However, they soon discovered that it is not a democratic organization and is under the control of the MEK.
Now, the NCRI works as an arm of the MEK.
Human Rights Abuse: Suppression in Iraq
During an uprising against Saddam Hussein, after the occupation of Kuwait and the first gulf war, the MEK operated as Hussein’s iron fist in some Kurdish areas and Arab areas in the south.
Human Rights Watch reported the widespread torture and human rights abuses in camps operated by MEK in Iraq[vii].
Anne Singleton’s[viii] account of her experience is a valuable insight into the organisation and its tendencies. In recent interview she said “The MEK is a cult, with every implication that has,” she said. “The leadership is unelected, unaccountable and perpetrates abuses against its own members.[ix]”
After 11 September
There are reports that suggest that the MEK celebrated after the 11 September attacks[x]. They abandoned armed conflict mainly as they could not operate inside Iran any more.
The MEK’s View of Minorities in Iran
MEK have only accepted the right of self-determination for Kurds in Iran. This was basically a tactical decision they had to make, while they were in Iraq.
In general they view the minorities in Iran with the same chauvinism that the government does.
The Problem of Criticising the MEK
After the long propaganda campaign carried out by the MEK and the Iranian government against each other, criticising the MEK is very difficult.
MEK say that whoever criticises them are traitors and working for the Iranian government. Also, the Iranian government considers any move by a country which facilitates the work of the MEK as evidence of some sort of deal between the West and the MEK.
Both sides have poisoned the air so much, that it takes lots of courage to say anything about the issue of the MEK. It is true that the Iranian government will do anything to stop MEK. It is true that they released some of their members and sent them to Europe. However, it is also true that the MEK is a dangerous organisation. It became a cult over the years.
OIPFG and Minorities
OIPFG especially majority branch (OIPFM) [xi] which sided by Islamic regime in early days of revolution, helped Iranian security service to persecute local leaders belong to ethnic minorities.
Arab, Kurds, Turks and Baluch minorities suppressed as a result of corporation of OIPFM with Islamic government.
Minorities View about MEK and OIPFG[xii]
Minorities in Iran do not recognised MEK and OIPFG as their defender and MEK and OIPFG are not representing them in any way.
When they last their armed war in early 80s against the Islamic regime in capital, they just brought their war to minorities’ area and in fact brought central government for more suppression of minorities.
Minorities are suffered from the violence done by MEK and OIPFG. For minorities in Iran, there are not many differences between MEK, OIPFG and Iranian security service.
[i] Also known as PMOI or MKO.
[vi] Said Hajarian, Iranian intelligence officer in interview with Cheshm Andaz (Iran Perspective) Iran Magazine.
[xii] We should add Hekmatist party or movement to this list as well.