|President of National Council of Resistance|
21 July 1981 – incumbent
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Maryam Rajavi|
|Secretary-General of People's Mojahedin Organization|
|Preceded by||Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badizadegan|
|Succeeded by||Maryam Rajavi|
18 August 1948 |
|Political party||People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran|
|Spouse(s)||Maryam Rajavi (198?-)
Ashraf Rajavi (1978-1982)
Massoud Rajavi (Persian: مسعود رجوی, born 18 August 1948) is the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran ("NCRI") and the Secretary-General of People's Mujahedin of Iran ("PMOI"), popularly known as the "MEK" for "Mujahadeen-e-Khalq", an opposition organization active inside and outside of Iran. After leaving Iran in 1981, he resided in France and Iraq. Since the American 2003 invasion of Iraq, he has not made any public appearances and is believed to be dead. In 2010 an Iraqi court accused Rajavi of crimes against humanity and he has been described as being "in hiding."
Massoud Rajavi is a graduate of political law from Tehran University. He joined the MEK when he was 20 and a law student at Tehran University. Later on he was arrested by SAVAK (the Shah's secret police) and was sentenced to death. Due to efforts by his brother, Professor Kazem Rajavi, Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as François Mitterrand and others, he was not executed. He was released from prison during the Iranian revolution in 1979. (His brother Kazem Rajavi was assassinated in 1990 in Geneva by agents of the Iranian Islamic regime.)
Upon his release, Rajavi assumed leadership of the Islamic MEK, reclaiming the name from the Marxists. Rajavi and the MEK actively opposed the Shah of Iran and participated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Following the removal of the Shah, MEK vigorously pursued its objective of establishing democracy in Iran. The group clashed with Ayatollah Khomeini's government. By the time Iran’s first presidential election took place in January 1980, MEK had gathered significant support in Iran, including support from Jews and Kurds. Rajavi was one of the candidates for Iran's presidential elections; however before the final result of the election was announced, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered Rajavi's name omitted from the list of candidates. When Rajavi was barred from running for office, many Kurds, who widely supported Rajavi, also boycotted the election. In a speech in June 1980 at Tehran’s Amjadieh Stadium, Rajavi criticized the regime’s leaders, especially Ayattollah Khoimeini, about the suppression of liberties.
In 1981, when Ayatollah Khomeini dismissed President Bani Sadr and a new wave of arrests and executions started in the country, Rajavi and Bani Sadr flew to Paris from Tehran's airbase. In 1986 Rajavi moved to Iraq and set up a base on the Iranian border. Rajavi was welcomed in Baghdad by then-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Following the American invasion of Iraq, Massoud Rajavi disappeared. In his absence, Maryam Rajavi has assumed his responsibilities as leader of the MEK. In 2010 an Iraqi court accused Rajavi and 38 others, including his wife, of crimes against humanity in helping Saddam Hussein to crush the 1991 Kurdish and Shiite uprisings. In 2011 NCRI posted an article which described Rajavi as being "in hiding". Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has stated: "Cult leaders generally don't retire. They either die or go to prison. I'd be surprised if Massoud Rajavi is still alive."
Accusations of terrorism
- See People's Mujahedin of Iran article.
The United States put MEK on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in 1997 because of the killing of Americans in the 1970s and the 1992 attempted attack against the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York. In 2002 the European Union, pressured by Washington, added MEK to its terrorist list.
MEK leaders then began a lobbying campaign to be removed from the list by promoting itself as a viable opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It also pursued lawsuits against the designation. In January 2009 the Council of the European Union removed the terrorist designation. On 28 September 2012 The U.S. State Department formally removed MEK from its official list of terrorist organizations, beating an 1 October deadline in a MEK lawsuit.
- Muhanad Mohammed, Iraqi court seeks arrest of Iranian exiles, Reuters, 11 July 2010.
- See Abrahamian, supranote 291
- See "Hossein Abedini, Rafsanjani and His Hit Man," Washington Times, 16 June 2005.
- SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 146¬147, 183.
- SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 184 and its membership grew quickly.
- SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 198.
- SeeAbstract, NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Jan. 1980 (1980 WLNR 272101).
- Council on Foreign Relations, "Backgrounder: Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (Iranian Rebels)."
- Smith, Craig S. (24 September 2005). "An implacable opponent to the mullahs of Iran". The New York Times.
- Matt Cresswell, Camp Ashraf protest moves to Paris, 24 June 2011, source unclear; article posted on NCRI website, 2 July 2011.
- Iranian exile group removed from U.S. terror list, CNN Wire Staff, 28 September 2012.
- Amir Taheri: France paints an abstract picture to please Iran, Gulf News, 25 June 2003.
- Hauslohner, Abigail (5 January 2009). "Iranian Group a Source of Contention in Iraq". Time Magazine.
- Runner, Philippa. "EU ministers drop Iran group from terror list". Euobserver. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- Shane, Scott (21 September 2012). "Iranian Dissidents Convince U.S. to Drop Terror Label". New York Times.
- Official Website of the PMOI
- Website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
- National Council of Resistance of Iran - Foreign Affairs Committee
|Party political offices|
|Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
|President of National Council of Resistance