Insider news & Analysis in Iran

There are a number of persistent and harmful rumours surrounding the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) - mainly spread by the Iranian Regime’s propaganda machine, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) - that are designed to make the international community and the Iranian people themselves distrust the MEK.

In this series, we intend to set the record straight and tell you the truth behind the lies.

The Lie: The MEK murdered Americans in Iran during the 1970s.

According to the US State Department’s 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism, the MEK killed the deputy chief of the US Military Mission in Tehran (1973), two members of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group (1975), and two employees of Rockwell International (1976). In addition, the MEK claimed responsibility for killing an American Texaco executive (1979).

Even Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that he was living and working in Iran during that time and said that in his view the MEK were “terrorists”.

This is, of course, concern for Americans and most people around the world, but there is a bigger story here.

The Truth: The MEK didn’t murder Americans in Iran

The MEK were heavily persecuted under the Shah’s Regime and by May of 1972 (the year before these killings started), all but one of the leaders had been executed and most of the key members imprisoned by the Shah’s secret police (SAVAK).

Massoud Rajavi, the youngest original MEK Central Committee member, was spared execution and sentenced to life in prison thanks to the advocacy of François Mitterrand, Jean Paul Sartre and Amnesty International.

So how, if their leaders were either executed or imprisoned by the time that the killings began, could the MEK be responsible for these deaths? Simply, they can’t.

The truth is that a Marxist group, which went by the name Mujahidin M.L, appropriated the movement’s public profile and is, in fact, responsible for the murders.

The Mujahidin M.L, led by Taghi Shahram, Vahid Afrakhteh, and Bahram Aram, was supposed to lead a covert war against SAVAK but instead murdered Americans and committed egregious acts of violence against key MEK members who had escaped jail- even setting fire to one of them.

This is not a theory. There are tape recordings that implicate Shahram in both the takeover and ensuing violence, while Afrakhteh confessed to the murders of the six Americans. All three men were subsequently executed.

Since then, Rajavi, and later his wife Maryam, has taken over leadership of the MEK once again and have reclaimed their party’s good name from the terrorists of the Mujahidin M.L.

Why was the MEK blamed?

The Mujahidin M.L were clearly distinguishable from the MEK, through their language, tone, logo, and commemorations. There are public statements from the Mujahidin M.L taking credit for the assassinations, along with the incriminating tape recordings and the confession. Rajavi even issued statements from prison condemning the assassinations.

So how did the MEK get blamed for these heinous crimes?

Simply, the MOIS and Iranian regime’s lobbies in the U.S and Europe are desperate to discredit the MEK in any way that they can because the MEK in the heart of the only organized and the longest standing opposition coalition in the recent history of Iran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), signifies the true resistance movement inside Iran and the voice for the Iranian people. The MOIS is distorting the facts to present the MEK as terrorists because they know that international support for the MEK would put the mullah’s Regime in grave danger.

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