Since 1983 when the major players abandoned it, the National Council of Resistance of Iran has become more and more difficult to treat as a separate entity, independent of the Mojahedin. Certainly the leader of both the Mojahedin and the NCRI has remained the same un-elected person, Massoud Rajavi. This chapter describes how the membership of both entities, becomes the same too.
Throughout the 1980s the opposition Labour Party and other socialist movements, gave unequivocal support to the NCRI in its struggle against the policies of the Iranian government. In strongly worded resolutions, successive Labour Conferences condemned the crimes of the Iranian government and backed the Iranian people's just resistance and their struggle for democracy. At that time, the NCRI was a coalition of opposition groups and personalities and the Mojahedin was only, on paper, one member. Each member had one vote on any policy issues and the right of veto. What the Labour Party and others recognised was that a strong resistance movement existed and should be encouraged. What was not clear, was just how quickly that resistance movement had been hijacked by Rajavi, and that the Iranian people's just resistance for democracy became his byword for Mojahedin activity and aims whatever these might be, democratic or not.
Rajavi's aims were never to establish democracy in Iran. He pitted himself against Khomeini at the start of the revolution in 1979, not as an advocate for power sharing, but like Khomeini himself, as someone who wanted 'everything or nothing'. Nowhere has Rajavi ever hinted that he has changed his ideas. What he has done, however, is to very cleverly field the NCRI as a cover for his real ideological aim. Where Khomeini was satisfied to impose Islamic rule on Iran at the point of the gun along with torture and execution, Rajavi sees no such limitation for himself. He sees his Islamic revolution as global. What is good for Iran is surely good for the world. Khomeini resisted pressure from his supporters to declare a jihad for all Muslims to defend the Islamic revolution in Iran. Where is the evidence to suggest that Rajavi could resist the same?
Bani Sadr left the NCRI because Rajavi made a peace treaty with Iraq during the eight-year war. Since then, Rajavi has become so deeply indebted to Saddam Hussein that he can refuse him nothing.
The Mojahedin in their document 'Unethical Policy' accuse the new Labour Government's Foreign Office, of betraying them. The Foreign Office however, had made it clear that they regarded the NCRI as a front for Rajavi's terrorism. With typical Mojahedin chutzpah, they ignored what had become obvious to everyone and attacked the Foreign Office for siding with the mullahs in Tehran. What they didn't explain is how the eleven member NCRI became diluted with over 500 Mojahedin members, each enjoying an individual vote, and why the NCRI supports, ratifies and condones the use of violence to achieve 'democratic' power in Iran.
For a long time, Rajavi saw the NCRI as a necessary evil, to be tolerated and worked around. Its members were an encumbrance and hindrance to his plans. He faced constant criticism of his plans and opposition to his moves. However, by 1985 when Rajavi was ready to impose the Ideological Revolution on Mojahedin members, he had created a sphere of manipulation, which allowed him to do so without too much opposition from the members. It didn't take him long to realise that, to a lesser degree, he could influence the NCRI members in a similar way. Once he had steered the NCRI through acceptance of his changes to the Mojahedin (which really had nothing to do with them) he set about manipulating them to accept his greater leadership.
After the Gulf War, Rajavi rapidly lost the confidence of his Western supporters. They began to regard him as a wild card, to be kept in the deck, but only to be played when things became desperate. As such, the West began to become more cautious in its various support, and that meant less support for the NCRI in their parliaments and senates. Fearing this loss of support, on 19th October 1991, eleven more members were added to the NCRI making it twenty-two strong. These were so-called personalities of the Resistance – politically motivated personalities who had shown themselves loyal to Rajavi. In reality the NCRI had shrunk because of the loss of Bani Sadr, the Kurdish Democratic Party and five more prominent members. These new members were only restoring what had already been lost.
On 28th December 1992, the NCRI was expanded from twenty-one to 150, to include some Mojahedin members. These Mojahedin members ceremoniously resigned from the Mojahedin in order to become individual members of the NCRI. But this didn't fool anyone. They still took their orders from Rajavi and were incapable of thinking or speaking for themselves. At the same time, Rajavi tried to get the NCRI to elect Maryam as President elect for the free Iran, but was forced to back off.
The atmosphere was not tolerant of him and his games. Since each member of the NCRI had a veto on policy, Rajavi still needed to convince the twenty-one non-Mojahedin members to accept his plans. Employing his usual methods of threats and blackmail, financial incentives, flattery and false promises, he managed to placate these members.
A year later he tried his luck again, and this time succeeded. In August 1993 the NCRI was expanded to 235 members and the number of Committees increased from eight to eighteen. The NCRI also adopted the Iranian Lion and Sun as its formal insignia; the emblem, which was used by the late Shah, but now with the crown removed from the Lion's head. As the crowning glory of this achievement, Rajavi also had the NCRI elect Maryam as 'Iran's President for the transitional period'. A role Rajavi had previously fought so hard to gain for himself when the NCRI was first established in 1981. Maryam was taken out of her army uniform and dressed in expensive civilian clothes. Her image was re-jigged and this new presidential style presented in glossy magazines was distributed widely to Western political channels.
In preparation for promoting Maryam from her role as leader of the Mojahedin, on 10th August 1993 Rajavi had the organisation elect a Leadership Council. This consisted of twelve members - harking back to the original Mojahedin structure - with a further twelve deputies. Significantly, all of these twenty-four were women, all loyal to Rajavi and all elected in an open session in which a yes or no vote was recorded for each candidate. Each one received a 100% yes vote. Then, when Maryam’s new role of President elect for the NCRI was created, it meant that neither Rajavi nor Maryam were officially in charge of the Mojahedin. So, Rajavi also had the organisation elect Fahimeh Arvani as Secretary General of the Mojahedin. She was subsequently replaced by a rapid succession of other women. Fahimeh and the Leadership Council declared their allegiance to Maryam. Under their command, the whole Mojahedin would be at her service as the NCRI's President elect. Well, why wouldn't they? All that had happened was that Rajavi had co-opted the NCRI to be part of the Mojahedin and presented it in the reverse.
What had concerned Rajavi for some time, was that in Iran there was a non-elected Supreme Leader and an elected President. Feeling insecure, he decided to replicate this structure in the Iranian Resistance movement (as he called his opposition of the Islamic Republic). He had already done this internally after the defeat of Forouq and the next phase of the Ideological Revolution, placing Maryam nominally in charge and announcing himself the ideological leader. Now he created an 'elected' President in order to show to the outside world that he is above normal politics. His role was that of non-elected Supreme Leader though he only referred to himself as the spiritual leader.
The fundamental reason for this new development of the NCRI was that Rajavi desperately needed to rebuild his contact with the West. He couldn't do this directly himself as none of the Western countries would accept him whilst he continued to maintain relations with Saddam. Nor would Saddam let him loose to leave Iraq and do what he wanted beyond his control. Rajavi hoped that by presenting Maryam as a President and giving her over 150 devoted members to choose from, she could go to the West and start building a place for him again in the political scene. It became a costly mistake. Maryam, as good as she was at promoting Rajavi for the members of the Mojahedin, could not act as a good CEO and take advice. She ignored the experience and advice of the members already in the West and came up with her own ideas. Her ability to promote Rajavi was solely in the circumstances of a camp in Iraq with no TV or newspapers or books, in fact no outside contact at all for the members.
Maryam was not a political person; neither did she have much experience in the world. She had been trained for years to do what she was doing for Rajavi, and had no ideas beyond this. Because of this, when she arrived in Europe in October 1993, she immediately set about paying the expenses for European and American feminists to visit her in Paris. Once there, they listened to her concept of a global women's movement under the ideological leadership of Rajavi and herself which would free Western women, unfortunately forgetting in the meantime to put aside her Muslim headscarf (hijab)!
She did not see or grasp the change of scene among Iranians in the West either. When Rajavi had left Paris in 1986, he had published a video of his speech in which he stressed emphatically that the legitimacy of any opposition's stay in the West had ended because this legitimacy only existed at all due to his forces carrying out armed operations inside Iran. He broke off all his ties with the West including his own supporters (who still remained loyal). When the Mojahedin came back with Maryam, the supporters were shocked by their behaviour. In the same way that Rajavi had put himself beyond the reach of ordinary members of the Mojahedin by creating Maryam and Fahimeh and then the Leadership Council as a buffer, now the ordinary members did the same thing in relation to the unsuspecting supporters. The members, including Maryam who was preaching her Ideological Revolution to Western women, saw themselves as superior beings to the supporters. They thought that the hardship that they were going through was a different experience compared to the lives of ordinary people and that this somehow gave them superior status. This was just the same as Rajavi's approach in relation to the ordinary members. In reality it seemed that even the most educated and experienced members, after fifteen years in the isolation of the camps in Iraq, had become little more than villagers in their mentality and behaviour, never mind the actual villagers among them who were illiterate and unworldly.
Even the most idiotic of the Mojahedin now felt that it was their right and duty to lord it above the supporters. They issued commands and acted in the most overbearing manner. This was both ludicrous (how can you take someone seriously when they command you to switch the contents of the salt and pepper pots for the dinner table), but it was also desperately sad. The supporters had to refuse to do these things because no rational human being would allow his or herself to be treated in such a humiliating and demeaning fashion. Particularly since they had made so many sacrifices in their own lives to remain loyal to the Mojahedin's struggle.
And yet it was clear that the irony of the situation did not occur to the members. They simply couldn't understand this reluctance to obey. They rationalised and justified it by telling themselves that the supporters simply didn't understand. They had not made the ideological leap of faith and had not committed themselves to the leader as they had. They simply thought that Rajavi was right all along. No one, except the few rare Mojahedin members, could possibly grasp the enormity of the revolution and its implications. The fact that those perfectly devoted and committed supporters were now unable to work with them, held no meaning other than this. In fact it was only the tolerance and devotion of the supporters which allowed the deception to continue as it did. It was they who found a way to work alongside these great beings, the Mojahedin from Iraq.
An example of this was in Iran Aid where the reigning champion money grabbers, Susan, Siavosh, Ashraf and others, were ignominiously cast into the shadows by these new non-English speaking members, who were able, through their bullying tactics, to pocket between £1,000 to £2,000 per day for the Mojahedin. This was three times the previous amount. In spite of their previous ascendancy the supporters had to back down and accept their lesser place in the scheme of things.
Background to Maryam's 'promotion' and visit to Europe
Maryam was to be sent to Paris for one reason and that was to win back the ground lost in the international political scene. How difficult or possible this may have been needs analysis beyond the scope of this book, but let us look at what they envisaged and what they actually did.
Internationally, Rajavi has been questioned many times about the same issues:
What is your stance toward Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait? What is your position about the Iraqi use of chemicals against Iranians and against the Iraqi Kurds, and Saddam's propensity to kill even the people closest to him if he suspects they are not loyal enough? How are you being financed, including arms?
Rajavi's answer has always been 'Give me a better place to fight Khomeini and I will move.' The exact meaning of this is 'Give me the equivalent or better than I already have, then I will give up what Saddam is providing for me'. The propaganda machine of the Mojahedin implies that whatever losses the Mojahedin have suffered, have been sacrificed for Rajavi. For example, that he has paid the price with 30th Khordad, Forouq and the sacrifice of his brother, sister, wife, friends and comrades. But if we look carefully behind all this propaganda, it is clear that Rajavi has never accepted to give or risk anything personally or politically, and perhaps this is true of every dictator whether in power or not.
Rajavi is very good at spending from other people's pockets, especially in using the deaths of his followers. In his words, 'Forouq insured the Mojahedin' which meant that the blood of the people killed on both sides would prevent any moderation in any way for a long time to come. Of course, this is true and the more killing in any conflict the stronger the hardliners become on both sides. The more hatred is engendered, the less possibility there is for reforming or moderating activities to take place.
Even putting aside the loss of people and ignoring any issues of morality within a power struggle, it is still clear that there are other areas of a political struggle in which it is impossible not to take a risk, i.e. no risk, no win. Rajavi has never accepted this unless he has seen that what he might lose, has gone anyway. This has been revealed very clearly in the case of Iraq. Rajavi will not give up Saddam, but still wants the support of the West, which of course is unacceptable for everybody. When pushed for an answer, Rajavi says 'give me double and then I'll leave'. He doesn't understand that he must say 'I will prove myself and earn my respect by leaving and then asking for help', which is usually the way life is conducted, personally or politically. (Imagine a marriage - husband to wife: 'take me back and then I'll give up my mistress!')
Covering his bets was also the name of his game at the time of the revolution; contacting Western countries and Arab states while at the same time maintaining a close relationship with the Soviet Union. This may have worked in the short term, but in the long run, obviously everybody will leave you, both Iranian and non-Iranian, and you end up with a few thousand people in a camp under Saddam Hussein's supervision. Remember that according to his own words, Rajavi called upon half a million people at two hour's notice to support him during 30th Khordad.
A further look at the controversy of Rajavi's political history shows an unprincipled avoidance of risk. The Mojahedin is an anti-imperialist group with a history of killing Americans, now happily having petitions signed by American Senators in 1991 while they stayed in Iraq. These Senators quickly withdrew their signatures when they discovered what they had been hoodwinked into supporting. The Mojahedin is a Muslim group with historical ties with the PLO, seeking the support of the Jewish lobby in the United States against the Iranian regime, and at the same time holding meetings with Yassir Arafat. The Mojahedin fought for Saddam in the Gulf War and at the same time took money from Saudi Arabia. Both the Jewish lobby and Saudi Arabia have now stopped any support. The Mojahedin have their main base in Paris, but at the same time threatened the French during the Gabon crisis with suicide bombings.
Perhaps most damaging of all was the Mojahedin's role during the Iran-Iraq War when they were effectively helping the Iraqi war effort while claiming to be fighting for the people of Iran. The Mojahedin still provide intelligence for the Iraqis about Iran as part of their deal for Iraqi support. A lot of false information is also passed to Western countries through their security services, while at the same time, the Mojahedin have never offered one iota of intelligence about Iraq to Western governments.
Further examples of how the Mojahedin cheat and lie and give false information in their relations with the West are as follows. The Mojahedin bought tickets for a charity dinner in the USA, and sent their representative to shake hands with President Clinton who had attended as guest of honour. They subsequently published a photograph of the forced handshake, describing it as a personal meeting. At the same time, the Mojahedin boldly requested a radio licence from America to broadcast their propaganda. The Mojahedin have also habitually obtained the designated two passes to attend the British Labour Party Conference and then by giving the passes to others, made sure that about ten or more members got into the conference hall to undertake lobbying.
With this background, the Mojahedin left Paris and went to Baghdad. Rajavi is now imprisoned in Iraq, but has tried to revert everything back to how it was, by sending Maryam to Europe without paying a political penny.
Maryam's attempt to win back Western support
Maryam was brought out of Iraq with their approval, but without informing the French, as the Mojahedin were afraid that France would prevent her entry. They told the Jordanians that she was going, but they didn't say where. The French reluctantly accepted her as an asylum seeker, but the security they provided did not have the flashing lights as it had before Rajavi left Paris. They refused to close the road in front of her residence as they had done before and they refused other privileges such as the telephones and free electricity, which they had also given before. In effect she was received as an ordinary asylum seeker except where they suspected there might be an assassination attempt. As for meetings, they insisted that she keep a low profile and that is one reason why Maryam had to go to Dortmund and Earls Court in London for public appearances.
In order to pursue her 'presidential' role and establish a political identity, Maryam started holding meetings for the NCRI, trying to copy whatever she had seen from Rajavi. But every time the meetings ended up as conference calls with Baghdad, as the non-Mojahedin members who still remained in the NCRI, didn't accept her as their Chairman (let alone as President). Maryam didn't have the authority to do anything without asking Rajavi.
In a matter of weeks she gave up on this and distanced herself from the NCRI by asking them to form more Committees and to follow various programmes and report back on them. They were unable to do this of course, because all of the money and the workforce brought from Iraq were in the hands of Maryam. Instead, Maryam privately instructed her followers to pursue the Mojahedin's Ideological Revolution and internationalise it. To this day, it is unclear whether Rajavi had total knowledge about Maryam's change of strategy, or whether she had just assumed that when he said no he meant yes, as in previous phases of the Ideological Revolution.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, Rajavi had started another phase of the Ideological Revolution, the phase of freeing yourself from yourself and surrendering your minds and thoughts to the leader, dubbed by former members as the 'Khar' (donkey) phase. Maryam wanted to keep up with that also, but forgot that the members in Iraq are first of all under complete control and isolated and secondly, they didn't have any real job to do. The result was tragic.
Maryam began her new strategy of internationalising the Ideological Revolution by holding meetings for women. She paid for people to come and be her audiences. She began to pay monthly salaries to lobby groups only for them to send some third rate, retired political celebrity to be photographed with her. She organised dinner dance programmes and paid popular Iranian singers four times their normal fees (knowing they would lose their current audiences in Los Angeles). Some she even persuaded to be on the NCRI payroll as she thought this might change her luck and attract people, obviously forgetting that she was still supposed to be a Muslim revolutionary who does not shake hands with men, who wears the hijab and doesn't drink alcohol. Later on, any of these singers who had not just kept away in the first place, where they could still make money independently, returned to their previous audiences. They apologised to the Iranians in Los Angeles in radio programmes and begged their forgiveness.
Maryam made several videos with these singers from the time of the Shah. She posed as if she were Farah Diba, wife of the late Shah, under the flag of Iran with the Lion and Sun. This reminded people of the good old days of the Shah with the difference that anyone, who wanted these good old days, didn't need the Mojahedin. Living in the West, wealthy and influential expatriate Iranians could recreate the atmosphere much better than she could. The only people she attracted were a rag bag of poor, lower class refugees who were fooled into thinking that this was indeed a recreation of a past which they had never enjoyed in the first place and was now being offered to them at a discount. The result of all this was not to make Maryam more popular among Iranians, but rather to leave her entourage, mostly the members she brought from Iraq, more confused than ever. Remember that they had already become confused when they conflicted with the ordinary supporters of the Mojahedin who couldn't accept their high-handed ways and told them in no uncertain terms where to get off. Now they had to organise and attend dinner dances for the hoi polloi. Members started leaving. This started with the ones who had somewhere to go, those who had relatives living outside Iran with whom they could find refuge. Others followed, asking the French officials for help, in finding them lodging and social security.
Marzieh joins the NCRI
During this time, the singer Marzieh had come from Iran to visit friends in Europe. Her friends had contact with the Mojahedin and informed them of her visit. The Mojahedin saw this as an excellent opportunity. They did everything possible to keep her, and as a famous singer of the Shah's time, she couldn't resist this renewed attention. She was allotted three people, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to provide whatever she wanted. She was given a house with a purpose built recording studio in Paris. The Mojahedin paid for her to sing at the Albert Hall in London. She was made Head of the Cultural Committee of the NCRI, replacing Dr Hezarkhani, who along with the Matine Daftarys, was the only reputable person left in the NCRI. Hedayat and Maryam Matine Daftary had resisted the changes in the NCRI and were hoping to change the NCRI to a democratic organisation with an influx of these new personalities. They resigned from the NCRI only a few months later.
Maryam's various approaches to gain Western political support were being rejected on two grounds. Firstly, that she didn't have any support inside Iran and secondly that she didn't have any support outside Iran either. For this reason, she was desperate to show some crowds outside Iran, and Rajavi was desperate to show some action inside Iran. He started sending terrorist teams back inside. However, even in this he was thwarted. By Saddam on one side and by the continual arrests of his teams on the other side. This of course, was due to the infiltration of his organisation and the intelligence reaching the regime.
Maryam’s efforts were in the form of music concerts and dinner dances. At one point, in Dortmund, to save face, she had supporters brought from all over America and Europe, and even paid for German groups to come and fill the salon. She had no understanding that what her critics in the West meant was not propaganda and concerts, they meant supporters as in political supporters willing to accept the Mojahedin as a political alternative or at least as an opposition to the current regime. For the West, Rajavi was a burned card who had stubbornly lost his historical chances, and Maryam they assessed, with a few upgrades, would remain an idealistic head of the feminist movement of a third world country's exiled group.
It didn't take long, no more than a few months, for everyone to realise the dimensions of the failure of Maryam's efforts. All their efforts and Iraqi money had brought them an even worse situation than they started with. The description of 'Iraqi money' is used because Rajavi has to report to Saddam what he has been doing, while Iraq provides all their resources. After Maryam returned to Iraq, Rajavi desperately tried to undertake some military activities in order to gain favour with Saddam again, but even this failed. Not only have no doors been opened in the West, the Mojahedin are becoming increasingly unwanted. First, France started giving hints that Maryam should leave. This came as a warning by France that they would have to reduce the level of security provided for her, as they didn't see the same threat from the regime as before and they needed their forces in more important places. This could have been because of assurances from the Iranians that they wouldn't be pursuing this avenue.
Meanwhile from the other side, the Iranian community outside Iran had a less than welcome message for them. Some had boycotted them altogether and some would take advantage of the free trips and tickets for the concerts and dinner dances which were arranged in various cities, but they wouldn't give any actual support, either in terms of time or finance. It was obvious that no matter how many events they arranged in various cities or countries, they were never going to get enough people to attend a demonstration as a show of support. Not only that, but on a daily basis Maryam was losing the members who had been brought from Iraq in an attempt to gather support and supporters, and it was just a matter of time before the whole organisation dissolved.
Maybe it was these pressures that finally brought her - or him - to their senses. However, it was by now too late to rescue the situation by arranging a political show of support. Maryam quickly went to Norway to speak in City Hall in Oslo. She then visited London. But Britain only granted her a visa after making sure they had a written guarantee from France that she would be able to return there. Clearly once she arrived in England, she would try to stay, and the French would have been more than happy to be rid of her. Maryam tried in these last few months to make approaches all over Europe, but she wasn't accepted. Britain was the face saving trip; in so much as they had any face left to save. Britain reluctantly accepted that they would not prevent the Mojahedin from gathering supporters from all over the world for the Earls Court concert. Shortly after, Lord Avebury agreed to arrange a meeting in the Houses of Parliament using his influence there as a humanitarian, but this failed to attract many people and none of note or influence came.
The concert to be held at Earls Court, London in July 1985 was announced as a concert for Marzieh. There was no mention of Maryam's arrival in Britain or her intention to give a speech. Supporters suspected that this was planned, but this made no difference to the overall approach to the event. Many had become tired of the Mojahedin calling in the supporters and announcing a 'bassij' (all out effort), setting the targets ever and ever higher. It began to look pointless and desperate. Only those supporters who had a vested interest in continuing their support (usually because of financial benefit) carried on pretending to go along with these schemes. Most were simply cynical and on this occasion, many left feeling this really was the last straw. Quite simply, the supporters saw nothing in any of these activities which looked like an adequate response to the situation inside Iran.
When Maryam did arrive at the concert hall, many still believed that she had merely come to watch. When she walked onto the stage to speak, flanked by two British Security agents, many Iranians walked out in protest. These were ordinary Iranians who had no wish to be involved in politics and absolutely no wish at all to be associated in any way with the Mojahedin. They had come because of their past admiration of Marzieh and hoped only to hear her sing the old songs.
Many non-Iranians had also been duped into attending too. Thousands of free tickets had been distributed to the Salvation Army (with the request that they not wear their uniforms as this was a social occasion), and other charities for the homeless. Afghan asylum seekers were visited in their hostels and pressurised into attending in an attempt to fill the salon. All these people were told that this was a Persian cultural event and that Marzieh was especially inviting them. When people arrived at Earls Court to go in, there was a large picture of Marzieh at the entrance. But when people left, an even bigger picture of Maryam had replaced this, in order to take pictures for propaganda purposes.
Marzieh's son, who was on his way to America, had stopped in Britain to see his mother. Finding no other way to gain access to his mother, he approached her while she was on the stage. He was dragged aside and in front of the audience, severely beaten up by Maryam's Mojahedin bodyguards. Later he published a leaflet entitled 'Mama, sing, but only for the people of Iran'. The Mojahedin later denied that they had wanted to prevent him from speaking to his mother. They claimed that they didn't know he was her son when they saw him shouting to his mother on the stage. But this was completely untrue, they knew exactly who he was and had anticipated his actions.
The day following Earls Court, Maryam held a smaller meeting for 'close supporters', that is, those who had been brought from every other Western country and had their trips paid for them from as far afield as Australia, the United States and Canada. By halfway through Maryam's speech, about a third of this audience had left the salon and gone off for sight seeing or shopping or other things they had planned. So much for cashing in on the success of the previous night's concert.
As well as this concert and meeting, Maryam paid out huge expenses, including renting an expensive office suite in Westminster, in an attempt to show her prestige. None of these things worked. She went back to Paris to pack her bags. In autumn 1996 Maryam returned to Iraq leaving behind about thirty percent of the people who had come from Iraq with her and who had left the organisation while they could. The NCRI was depleted, and with the lowest possible morale. All the money was spent paying for concerts, supporters' airfares and hotels, and useless lobbying organisations. Some of these promised a meeting with Margaret Thatcher, but none delivered. Instead, Maryam met with Yassir Arafat who had a lecture engagement at Oxford University. And he only agreed to meet with her on the basis of knowing the founders of the Mojahedin and those who had trained in the PLO camps in the late 1960s.
Maryam returns to Iraq empty handed
On Maryam's return to Iraq, the Mojahedin desperately tried to show some action inside Iran and to make themselves known as a threat to the regime, especially for Saddam who was providing all their facilities. But there was too much infiltration or the regime's intelligence was simply too good. All these attempts ended in failure with the arrest or killing of the teams. The Mojahedin managed eventually to send one mortar bomb into an office compound in Tehran and one into a residential area, also in Tehran.
In the middle of this crisis currently facing the Mojahedin, the regime itself was beginning to make huge advances in international relations under the election of the new President Khatami. Khatami's doctrine of critical dialogue was gaining increasing momentum and thereby changing the West's policy of sanctions and hostility and trying to overthrow the regime into a policy of changing it from within. It was not long before Western governments began to cold shoulder the Mojahedin.
Note on the National Council of Resistance
Although it became obvious very early on, after the removal of Bani Sadr, that Rajavi wasn't serious about the NCRI, it is still worth looking at it briefly to show its total lack of credibility or relevance.
National - it has never been an umbrella for all Iranian opposition forces,nor has it ever enjoyed the majority support of the nation.
Council - There have never been independent views, which have challenged each other.
Resistance - Means that they should resist some kind of unpopular actions or ideas. But the Mojahedin believes in an Islamic Republic with Rajavi as its sole head. This is hardly what people want if the regime changes.
Iran - The Mojahedin have had no presence inside Iran for at least the past fifteen years, and can no longer claim to be 'of Iran'.