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Iran: The Unwitting Admissions of an MOIS Official

On Tuesday, December 28, 2021, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) published an article about a recent report by the state-run Mehr News Agency regarding startling confessions by an anonymous official of the Ministry of Intelligence Ministry and Security (MOIS).

In that story, the official speaks at length about the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and the MEK. In 1985, Montazeri was officially designated as the successor to the regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini, but Khomeini stripped him of title and publicly ostracized him due to his opposition about the 1988 massacre of MEK members.

Montazeri died in 2009, following two decades of house arrest. In his lengthy interview with Mehr, the MOIS official acknowledges how Khomeini and his inner circle “became wary of developments in Montazeri’s office (Beyt), ultimately forcing Khomeini to dismiss Montazeri of all his official titles, particularly after the latter protested the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, the vast majority of whom belonged the MEK.”

According to this intelligence official, in 1983, Khomeini had warned regime authorities that “criminals” (i.e., opponents) “seek to exploit you personally and will want to infiltrate your offices … to cause deviations within the system (regime).”

“Mr. Montazeri’s stance gradually shifted to supporting the MEK. Initially, he criticized the methods and how the state dealt with the MEK, and year after year, the intensity of support for the MEK increased until we reached 1988 when he openly took a stance against the Imam (Khomeini) and the state while supporting the MEK,” said the MOIS official, unwittingly admitting to the MEK’s extensive social base.

According to this MOIS official, in early 1983, Khomeini had ordered its subordinates to “uproot them (MEK) before I die.” This fact revealed how the MEK’s increasing popularity terrified Khomeini, increasing his animosity toward the MEK.

In another part of his interview, the MOIS senior official refers to the regime’s decades-long demonization campaign against the MEK. He says that Montazeri was critical of the Prosecutor’s Office’s brutality towards MEK activists, particularly the chief Tehran prosecutor Assadollah Lajevardi. Montazeri, the official said, had told Lajevardi, “You go and kill people in the streets… You murder them and then blame the MEK in order to discredit them in the eyes of the public and to justify their executions.”

This startling revelation undercut the oft-repeated narrative by western pundits who blamed the MEK for resorting to violence against the regime. The fact, as revealed by the MOIS official, is the exact opposite.

This interview once again highlights that from day one, the MEK stood as the only viable alternative to Iran’s ruling theocracy by putting freedom and democracy center stage in Iranian politics. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime has gone every extra mile and clung to anything to tarnish the MEK’s image and reduce its impact on Iran’s vibrant society, particularly the youth. But the MEK’s growing popularity, now visible in forms of its extensive network of “Resistance Units,” is a testament to the regime’s failure.