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Massoud Rajavi

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Massoud Rajavi
Masoud Rajavi 1970's.jpg
Rajavi in 1981
Born (1948-08-18) 18 August 1948 (age 71)
Disappearedc. March 2003 (aged 54–55)
Iraq
OrganizationPeople's Mujahedin of Iran
Spouse(s)
Leader of People's Mujahedin of Iran
Assumed office
January 1979
Serving with Maryam Rajavi (Since 1985)
Signature
Rajavi, Massoud - Signature 30.05.1986.jpg

Massoud Rajavi (Persian: مسعود رجوی‎, born August 18, 1948 – disappeared March 13, 2003)[2] is the leader 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 still alive.[4]

Biography

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.[5]

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.[6] Upon his release, Rajavi assumed leadership of the People's Mujahedin of Iran.[7]

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'.[8]

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. Massoud Rajavi and Bani Sadr formed the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) “with the intent to replace the Khomeini regime with the ‘Democratic Islamic Republic.’”[9] As a form of agreement with the Islamic republic, in 1986 France's Prime Minister Jacques Chirac evicted the MEK out of France. Rajavi and approximately five to ten thousand MEK members were received by the Iraqi government.[10] Rajavi moved to Iraq and set up a base on the Iranian border.[11]

Electoral history

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 Decrease 23 21st Lost[12]

Iraqi 2010 arrest warrant

In July 2010, the Iraqi High Tribunal issued an arrest warrant for 39 MEK members, including Rajavi, "due to evidence that confirms they committed crimes against humanity" by "involvement with the former Iraqi security forces in suppressing the 1991 uprising against the former Iraqi regime and the killing of Iraqi citizens". The MEK have denied the charges, saying that they constitute a "politically motivated decision and it’s the last gift presented from the government of Nuri al-Maliki to the Iranian government".[13] 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.[14]

Disappearance

Shortly after the Iraq War, Massoud Rajavi disappeared. His whereabouts remain unknown.[15][16] In his absence, Maryam Rajavi has assumed his responsibilities as leader of the MEK. In 2011 the NCRI posted an article which described Rajavi as being "in hiding",[17] but that has not been independently verified. The MEK have issued statements to claim that Massoud Rajavi is still alive.[18]

Personal life

Rajavi came from a prominent family. He received a degree in political law from Tehran University. His brother was Kazem Rajavi, Iran’ Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva that held doctoral degrees from Universities in Paris and Geneva. They had three other brothers, Saleh (a cardiologist in France), Ahamad (a British-educated surgeon), and Hooshang (an engineer in Beligum).[19]

Rajavi married fellow MEK member Ashraf Rabiei in summer 1980. Rabiei was regarded as "the symbol of revolutionary womanhood",[20] and was assassinated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.[21] His second wife was Abolhassan Banisadr's daughter, Firouzeh. Their marriage took place in October 1982 and the couple divorced in 1984,[22] after Banisadr left the NCRI.[23] Rajavi married Maryam Qajar Azodanlu (later known as Maryam Rajavi) in 1985.[24] Rajavi has a son from his first wife, named Mostafa.[25]

References

  1. ^ Stephen Sloan; Sean K. Anderson (2009). Historical Dictionary of Terrorism. Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest (3th ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 454. ISBN 978-0810863118.
  2. ^ Ahmed Rasheed. "Iran's Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime's Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?". Newsweek.
  3. ^ Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 208. ISBN 978-1597977012.
  4. ^ Peter Chalk (2012). "Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)". Encyclopedia of Terrorism. ABC-CLIO. p. 509. ISBN 9780313308956.
  5. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. "Our Men In Iran?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  6. ^ See Abrahamian, supranote 291
  7. ^ See Abrahamian, supranote 363 at 146¬147, 183.
  8. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 198, ISBN 9781850430773
  9. ^ Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-59797-701-2.
  10. ^ Peter J. Chelkowski, Robert J. Pranger (1988). Ideology and Power in the Middle East: Studies in Honor of George Lenczowski. Duke University Press. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-0-8223-8150-1.
  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. ^ Muhanad Mohammed (11 July 2010). Rania El Gamal; David Stamp (ed.). "Iraqi court seeks arrest of Iranian exiles". Reuters. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  14. ^ Bill Samii (26 October 2005), Iran Report, 8, 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.
  15. ^ Ahmed Rasheed. "Iran's Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime's Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?". Newsweek.
  16. ^ Ahmed Rasheed (28 December 2009). "FACTBOX: Who are the People's Mujahideen of Iran?". Reuters.
  17. ^ Matt Cresswell, Camp Ashraf protest moves to Paris, 24 June 2011, source unclear; article posted on NCRI website, 2 July 2011
  18. ^ Khodabandeh, Massoud (13 July 2016). "Grand Controversy As MEK Can't Prove Leader Massoud Rajavi Is Dead Or Alive". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  19. ^ Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. (2019). The Ayatollahs and the MEK Iran's Crumbling Influence Operation (PDF). University of Baltimore. ISBN 978-0578536095.
  20. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 181, ISBN 9781850430773
  21. ^ Who Is Responsible for the MKO Massacre at Camp Ashraf?
  22. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 247, ISBN 9781850430773
  23. ^ Steven O'Hern (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 206. ISBN 978-1597977012.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Cohen, Ronen (2009), The Rise and Fall of the Mojahedin Khalq, 1987-1997: Their Survival After the Islamic Revolution and Resistance to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sussex Academic Press, pp. 15, 39, ISBN 978-1-84519-270-9

External links

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