Massoud Rajavi

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Masoud Rajavi
President of National Council of Resistance
In office
21 July 1981 – 28 August 1993
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Maryam Rajavi
Secretary-General of People's Mojahedin Organization
In office
Preceded by Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badizadegan
Succeeded by Maryam Rajavi
Personal details
Born (1948-08-18) 18 August 1948 (age 67)
Tabas, Iran
Political party People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran

Maryam Rajavi (198?-)

Ashraf Rajavi (1978-1982)
Religion Islam

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.


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.[1] (His brother Kazem Rajavi was assassinated in 1990 in Geneva by Iran's mullahs.)[2][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 Ayattollah Khoimeini, 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 then-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.


  1. ^ See Abrahamian, supranote 291
  2. ^ See "Hossein Abedini, Rafsanjani and His Hit Man," Washington Times, 16 June 2005.
  3. ^ Abedini, Hossein. "History repeating as Iran exports terrorism". The Hill. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  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

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
Succeeded by
Maryam Rajavi
Political offices
Preceded by
President of National Council of Resistance
Succeeded by
Maryam Rajavi