Massoud Rajavi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Massoud Rajavi
Masoud Rajavi 1970's.jpg
Rajavi in 1981
Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
Assumed office
January 1979
Serving with Maryam Rajavi (Since 1985)
Personal details
Born (1948-08-18) 18 August 1948 (age 69)
Tabas, Iran
Political party People's Mujahedin of Iran
  • Ashraf Rabiei (m. 1980; d. 1982)
  • Firouzeh Banisadr (m. 1982; div. 1984)
  • Maryam Rajavi (m. 1985)
Disappeared c. March 2003 (aged 54–55)[1]

Massoud Rajavi (Persian: مسعود رجوی‎, born August 18, 1948 – disappeared March 13, 2003)[2] is one of the two leaders of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), alongside his wife Maryam Rajavi.[3] After leaving Iran in 1981, he resided in France and Iraq. He disappeared in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and it is not known whether he is alive or dead.[4] Rajavi has been wanted by Iraq since 2010 for crimes against humanity.[5]


Iraqi President Saddam Hussein welcomes Massoud Rajavi in Baghdad

Rajavi joined the MEK when he was 20 and a law student at the University of Tehran. He graduated with a degree in political law. Rajavi and the MEK actively opposed the Shah of Iran and participated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[6]

During the Pahlavi dynasty, Rajavi was arrested by SAVAK and sentenced to death. Due to efforts by his brother, Kazem Rajavi, and various Swiss lawyers and professors, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. He was released from prison during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.[7] Upon his release, Rajavi assumed leadership of the People's Mujahedin of Iran.[8]

When Iran’s first presidential election took place in 1980, Rajavi nominated himself and his own People's Mujahedin of Iran. He was endorsed by the People's Fedai, the National Democratic Front, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Komala and the League of Iranian Socialists. He was disqualified in the elections by Ayatollah Khomeini on the grounds that 'those who did not endorse the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran could not be trusted to abide by that constitution'.[9]

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.[2]

Electoral history[edit]

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


Rajavi married fellow MEK member Ashraf Rabiei in summer 1980. Rabiei was widow of another MEK member killed in 1976, Ali-Akbar Nabavi-Nuri, whom she married in 1975.[13] His second wife was Abolhassan Banisadr's daughter Firouzeh. Their marriage of state took place in October 1982 and the couple divorced in 1984.[14] Rajavi married Maryam Qajar Azodanlu (later known as Maryam Rajavi) in 1985, who was already married to one of his close associates Mehdi Abrishamchi and divorced her husband in order to marry Rajavi.[15]

Iraqi 2010 arrest warrant[edit]

In July 2010, the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal issued an arrest warrant for 39 MEK members, including Massoud Rajavi, for crimes against humanity committed while suppressing the 1991 uprisings in Iraq.[5] The court prosecuted them in 2007, when the chief prosecutor declared that there is strong evidence for the case, including video tapes showing MEK leaders meeting with senior Iraqi Intelligence Service officials and receiving money to implement orders.[16] Back in 2005, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan official asked for arrest and trial of Rajavi based on his organization's documentary evidence of the involvement.[17]


Following the American invasion of Iraq, Massoud Rajavi disappeared.[2][18] 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"[19] but that has not been independently verified. On July 6, 2016, at a large gathering of MEK members in Paris, the former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, referred to Rajavi as the "late Massoud Rajavi" twice in a speech.[20]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 208. ISBN 1597977012. 
  4. ^ Peter Chalk (2012). "Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)". Encyclopedia of Terrorism. ABC-CLIO. p. 509. ISBN 9780313308956. 
  5. ^ a b Muhanad Mohammed (11 July 2010). Rania El Gamal; David Stamp, ed. "Iraqi court seeks arrest of Iranian exiles". Reuters. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. "Our Men In Iran?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  7. ^ See Abrahamian, supranote 291
  8. ^ SeeAbrahamian, supranote 363 at 146¬147, 183.
  9. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 198, ISBN 9781850430773 
  10. ^ a b Council on Foreign Relations, "Backgrounder: Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (Iranian Rebels)." Archived 27 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Smith, Craig S. (24 September 2005). "An implacable opponent to the mullahs of Iran". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ 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 
  13. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 181, ISBN 9781850430773 
  14. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 247, ISBN 9781850430773 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Ahmed Rasheed (12 March 2007). "Iraq tribunal sets sights on Iran opposition group". Reuters. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  17. ^ Bill Samii (26 October 2005), Iran Report, 8 (42), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, retrieved 28 December 2016, Mohammad Tofiq Rahim, an official with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in an interview with Radio Farda that his organization has documentary evidence of Rajavi's role. He said that when the Kurds seized control of northern parts of Iraq with U.S. assistance at the end of the Gulf War in 1991, the MEK cooperated with the Iraqi Army in retaking control of the city of Kirkuk. In the process, he charged, hundreds of the city's residents were killed by the MEK. "Everyone in Iraqi Kurdistan knows that Masud Rajavi cooperated with the Mukhaberat [intelligence] and security forces of Saddam Hussein not only in the suppression of the Kurds, but all the opponents of the regime of Saddam," Rahim added. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Matt Cresswell, Camp Ashraf protest moves to Paris, 24 June 2011, source unclear; article posted on NCRI website, 2 July 2011
  20. ^ farshid007 (9 July 2016). "The death of Masoud Rajavi. خبر درگذشت مسعود رجوی توسط ترکی بن فیصل" – via YouTube. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Massoud Rajavi at Wikimedia Commons

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