Massoud Rajavi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Masoud Rajavi)
Jump to: navigation, search
Massoud Rajavi
Head of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran
Assumed office
January 1979
Serving with Maryam Rajavi (Since 1985)
Personal details
Born (1948-08-18) 18 August 1948 (age 68)
Tabas, Iran
Religion Islam
Disappeared c. March 2003 (aged 54–55)[2]

Massoud Rajavi (Persian: مسعود رجوی‎‎, born 18 August 1948) is the president of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the Secretary-General of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), popularly known as the MEK (for Mojahedin-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.


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.[3]

Upon his release, Rajavi assumed leadership of the Islamic MEK, reclaiming the name from the Marxists.[4] Rajavi and the MEK actively opposed the Shah of Iran and participated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[5]

Following the removal of the Shah, MEK pursued its objective of establishing democracy in Iran.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] When Rajavi was barred from running for office, many Kurds, who widely supported Rajavi, also boycotted the election.[9] In a speech in June 1980 at Tehran’s Amjadieh Stadium, Rajavi criticized government leaders, especially Ayatollah Khomeini, about the suppression of liberties.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein welcomes Massoud Rajavi in Baghdad

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 fled to Paris from Tehran's airbase. In 1986 Rajavi moved to Iraq and set up a base on the Iranian border.[10][11] Rajavi was welcomed in Baghdad by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.[12]

Following the American invasion of Iraq, Massoud Rajavi disappeared. In his absence, Maryam Rajavi has assumed his responsibilities as leader of the MEK.[10] In 2011 NCRI posted an article which described Rajavi as being "in hiding",[13] though this has not been independently verified. On July 6, 2016, at the biggest gathering of MEK members in Paris, former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud openly referred to Massoud Rajavi as the "late Massoud Rajavi" twice in his speech.[14]

Electoral history[edit]

Year Election Votes  % Rank Notes
1979 Assembly of Experts 297,707 11.78 12th Lost[15]
1980 President Withdrew
Parliament 531,943 24.9 38th Went to run-off[15]
Parliament run-off Decrease 375,762 Lost[15]


  1. ^ a b Connie Bruck (2006). "Exiles: How Iran's expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat". The New Yorker. F-R Publishing Corporation. 82 (1-11): 54–55. 
  2. ^ Stephen Sloan; Sean K. Anderson (2009). Historical Dictionary of Terrorism. Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest (3 ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 454. ISBN 0810863111. 
  3. ^ See Abrahamian, supranote 291
  4. ^ SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 146¬147, 183.
  5. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. "Our Men In Iran?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "The 1979 Revolution". The U.S. Foundation for Liberty. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  7. ^ SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 198.
  8. ^ Traficant, Jr., James. "IRANIAN REGIME PROVEN TO BE MAJOR VIOLATOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS". The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  9. ^ SeeAbstract, NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Jan. 1980 (1980 WLNR 272101).
  10. ^ a b Council on Foreign Relations, "Backgrounder: Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (Iranian Rebels)."
  11. ^ Smith, Craig S. (24 September 2005). "An implacable opponent to the mullahs of Iran". The New York Times. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Matt Cresswell, Camp Ashraf protest moves to Paris, 24 June 2011, source unclear; article posted on NCRI website, 2 July 2011
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 195, Table 6; pp. 203–205, Table 8, ISBN 9781850430773 

External links[edit]

Title last held by
Central Cadre
Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
January 1979 — Present (?)
Served alongside: Masoud Rajavi (Since 1985)
Succeeded by