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Profile: Mujahedeen-e Khalq

 
  

Positions that Mujahedeen-e Khalq has held:



 

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Mujahedeen-e Khalq actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1970s      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian political organization formed in the 1960s, kills US military personnel and US civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. MEK is currently led by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. MEK is part of a larger political organization know as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). [Globalsecurity [.org], n.d.; US Department of State, 4/2005; National Council of Resistance of Iran website, n.d.; MIPT database MEK profile; Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Maryam Rajavi, Massoud Rajavi, Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

November 4, 1979-January 20, 1981      US confrontation with Iran

       About 500 Iranian students take over the American Embassy in Tehran and hold 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is one of the groups that supports the take-over. [PBS Timeline, n.d.; Council on Foreign Relations, n.d. Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

Late 1979      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is expelled from Iran and takes refuge in Iraq. In exile, the group develops an overseas support structure and creates the National Liberation Army (NLA), which acquires tanks, armored vehicles, and heavy artillery. The group will receive support from Saddam Hussein until he is toppled by a US invasion in 2003 (see March 19, 2003). [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

Mid- to late- 1980s      US confrontation with Iran

       With support from Saddam Hussein, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, joins Iraqi troops in fighting against the Iranians. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003 Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

June 28, 1981      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, bombs the Islamic Republic Party headquarters and the Premier's office, killing some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and Premier Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti, Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, Mohammad-Ali Rajaei
          

1991      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, helps Saddam Hussein suppress the Shia uprisings in southern Iraq and the Kurdish uprisings in the north. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

April 1992      US confrontation with Iran

       Various cells of Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, attack Iranian embassies and installations in 13 different countries. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

August 1993      US confrontation with Iran

       The National Council of Resistance, a front group for the Mujahedeen-e Khalq [MEK], elects Maryam Rajavi to serve as the interim president in Iran in the event that the mullahs are overthrown. She and her husband, Massoud, have headed the MEK since 1985. [Iran-e Azad website, 6/10/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Maryam Rajavi
          

1997      US confrontation with Iran

       The US State Department includes the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, in its list of foreign terrorist organizations. [Newsweek, 9/26/2002; US State Department, 2003; White House, 9/12/2002] MEK, which in English means, “People's Holy Warriors,” [Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/2004] is later described by its former members as a cult. Its husband-and-wife leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, exercise absolute control over the group's rank-and-file, requiring that members worship them and practice Mao-style self-denunciations. Many of the MEK's members are tricked into joining the group. For example, the parents of Roshan Amini will tell the Christian Science Monitor in 2003 that their son joined because he had been told he would be able to complete two school grades in one year and earn a place in college. But after joining, Amini was not permitted to leave. [Los Angeles Times, 12/5/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Maryam Rajavi, Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Massoud Rajavi
          

April 1999      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, assassinates the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

Early 2000      US confrontation with Iran

       US Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) agents arrest Mahnaz Samadi, a leading spokeswoman for the National Council of Resistance, at the Canadian border because several years earlier, when she was seeking political asylum in the US, she had not disclosed her past “terrorist” ties as an MEK “military commander” or the fact that she had trained in an MEK camp that was located in Iraq. Hearing about the case from his constituents, Missouri Senator John Ashcroft comes to the rescue and writes a letter on May 10, 2000 to Attorney General Janet Reno opposing Samadi's arrest. In his letter, he calls her a “highly regarded human-rights activist.” [Slate, 3/21/2003; Newsweek, 9/26/2002; US State Department, 2003]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Mahnaz Samadi
          

February 2000      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, launches a mortar attack against the leadership complex in Tehran where the offices of the Supreme Leader and the president are located. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

April 2000      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, attempts to assassinate the commander of Nasr headquarters in Tehran, Iran's interagency board responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. [Sources: Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

September 2000      US confrontation with Iran

       When the Iranian National Council of Resistance, a front group for the militant Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), holds a demonstration outside the United Nations protesting a speech by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, Republican Senators Ashcroft and Chris Bond from Missouri issue a joint statement expressing solidarity with the organization. [US State Department, 2003; Newsweek, 9/26/2002; Slate, 3/21/2003]
People and organizations involved: Chris Bond, John Ashcroft, National Council of Resistance, Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

October 2000      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) claims responsibility for mortar attacks against two separate headquarters of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in Tehran. The attacks are described by Iranian television as an “indiscriminate act of terrorism.” [BBC, 10/22/2000]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

November 2, 2001      US confrontation with Iran

       The British government adds 25 groups to its list of organizations whose assets it wants to freeze as part of the fight against terrorism. The list includes the Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MEK), but not the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an organization that is later tied to MEK and included on the US list of terrorist organizations in August 2004 (see August 15, 2003). [BBC, 11/2/2001]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

December 19, 2001      US confrontation with Iran

       The Asia Times reports that Osama bin Laden has sought refuge in Iran and is being sheltered by members of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK). The report—citing Pakistani jihadi who fought in Afghanistan, journalists, and intelligence sources—says bin Laden crossed into Iran from Afghanistan around the time of the surrender of Kandahar (see November 25, 2001). [Asia Times, 12/19/2001]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

March, 2002      US confrontation with Iran

       The conservative National Review publishes an op-ed article by Sam Dealy titled “A Very, Very Bad Bunch,” commenting on the Iranian opposition group known as People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) and “its surprising American friends.” Dealy's piece is an attack on Congresspersons who support the MEK despite the exile group's past history of anti-Americanism (see 1970s and November 4, 1979-January 20, 1981). “How has a terrorist group managed to win the support of mainstream US politicians?” he asks. “Simple: Its political representatives in the US have worked hard to repackage the group as a legitimate dissident organization fighting for democracy in Iran—by whitewashing its record and duping our leaders.” Dealy emphasizes that the group's initial ideological underpinning had been influenced by the likes of Marx, Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara, whose ideas the MEK attempted to apply to Shiite society. [National Review Online, 3/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

April 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       The US orders the bombing of Mujahedeen-e Khalq's (MEK) camps in Iraq. But the orders are called off after the MEK voluntarily disarms and negotiates a cease-fire agreement with US authorities. The MEK will be held in US custody at Camp Ashraf, located roughly 60 miles north of Baghdad, and its members will be screened for war crimes and terrorism. [Los Angeles Times, 12/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

Summer, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       Iranian President Mohamed Khatami offers to hand over al-Qaeda leaders, including Saif Al Adel, the organization's third-ranking member, to the US government in exchange for the leaders of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian exile group that has been launching attacks against the Iranian government since the 1970s. Iran says that rank-and-file MEK members who regret their involvement with the group would be “welcom[ed]” and judged “according to the law.” The US shows little interest in the offer.[ New York Times, 8/2/2003 Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003 Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/2004 Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 12/30/2003] Later, in 2004 Washington Post columnist David Ignatius writes that the US and Iran have had extensive secret contacts since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, premised on a shared goal of ousting Iraq's Saddam Hussein and destroying Al Qaeda and the Taliban remnants. Ignatius writes that the neoconservatives in 2003 at the Pentagon clashed with the State Department over a proposed trade, backed by the State Department, of captured Al Qaeda members in Iran in exchange for about 4,000 members of Mujahedeen-e Khalq members being held in Iraq by US forces at that time. President Bush's response at that time is reported to have been "Why not? They're terrorists." [Washington Post, 7/ 9/2004]
People and organizations involved: Hojjat ol-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Saif Al Adel
          

June 23, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       France's Secret Service raids the compound of the Iranian terrorist opposition group, Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an anti-Iranian group that has been on the US State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations since 1997. Among those arrested are husband-and-wife leaders Maryam and Massoud Rajavi. Following the arrests, nine MEK members across Europe set themselves on fire in protest. At least three of the protesters die. Critics claim that the self-immolations were ordered by MEK's leadership. [New York Post, 6/17/2003; BBC, 7/1/2003; CNN, 6/22/2003; Los Angeles Times, 12/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Maryam Rajavi, Massoud Rajavi
          

August 15, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       On order of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control freezes the financial assets of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which a State Department official says functions “as a part of the MEK [Mujahedeen-e Khalq].” Powell's order also calls for the closure of the organization's two offices in Washington. NCRI has hitherto enjoyed the support of several US legislators. [Voice of America, 8/15/2003; Associated Press, 8/15/2003] Powell's order amends Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing [US State Department, 8/15/2003] , issued on September 23, 2001, which blocked the assets of organizations and individuals that US authorities believe are linked to terrorism. [US State Department, 12/20/2002]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Colin Powell
          

August 31, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       Iran claims to have arrested dozens of spies. “The Intelligence Ministry has arrested several spies who were transferring Iran's nuclear secrets out of the country,” Yunsei says. But he provides few details about the identities of those arrested, other than to say that members of the armed opposition group Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) played prominently in the operation. [Jerusalem Post, 8/31/03]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

December 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       The US-appointed Iraq Governing Council orders the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) to leave Iraq by the end of year citing its “black history” in Iraq as a “terrorist organization,”—a reference to the militant organization's long history of working with Saddam Hussein (see 1991)(see December 2003). But Pentagon officials do not want the MEK to leave Iraq, as they are considering plans to use the group against Iran. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

January 24, 2004      US confrontation with Iran

       Pentagon adviser Richard N. Perle speaks at a charity event whose stated purpose is to express “solidarity with Iran” and raise money for Iran earthquake victims. During the event, statements are made in support of “regime change in Iran.” The event is attended by FBI agents because of suspicions that the event has connections to the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group that is included on the state department's list terrorist organizations. The US Treasury Department will freeze the assets of the event's prime organizer, the Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia, two days later (see January 26, 2004). Perle tells the Washington Post that he was unaware of possible connections to MEK. [Washington Post, 1/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Richard Perle
          

July 2004      US confrontation with Iran

       After a 16-month review by the US State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bush administration says it has found no basis to charge any of the 3,800 Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) fighters held in custody by the US at Camp Ashraf with violations of American law. The decision is made in spite of the group's long history of collusion with Saddam Hussein. MEK fought alongside Iraqi forces against Iran during the 1980s (see December 2003) and helped Saddam's internal security forces brutally put down the 1991 Shia uprisings (see 1991). The organization was also responsible for a number of American deaths during the 1970s (see 1970s) and has been listed on the State Department's list of “foreign terrorist organizations” since 1997 (see 1997). “A member of a terrorist organization is not necessarily a terrorist,” a senior American official explains. “To take action against somebody, you have to demonstrate that they have done something.” [New York Times, 7/27/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Bush administration
          

July 21, 2004      US confrontation with Iran

       Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the deputy commanding general in Iraq, says in a memorandum that the US has designated members of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as “protected persons.” According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, people who are designated as “protected” cannot be punished collectively or forced to leave an occupied country. The members were afforded the new status only after signing an agreement rejecting violence and terrorism, the memo says. [New York Times, 7/27/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/2004] The memorandum angers Tehran. “We already knew that America was not serious in fighting terrorism,” Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi says, adding that by affording MEK fighters the new status, the US has created a new category of “good terrorists.” “The American resort to the Geneva Conventions to support the terrorist hypocrites [MKO] is naive and unacceptable,” he says. Despite the members' new status and despite having been cleared of any wrongdoing, the US military and the MEK leadership do not allow any of the group's members to leave Camp Ashraf. Several of the members say they were lured into joining the group with false promises and now want to return home to Iran. The MEK has been called cult-like (see ) and its leadership compared to Stalin by former members of the group. [Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Geoffrey D. Miller
          

December 8, 2004      US confrontation with Iran

       Knight Ridder reports that, according to US officials, congressional aides and other sources, Pentagon and White House officials “are developing plans to increase public criticism of Iran's human-rights record, offer stronger backing to exiles and other opponents of Iran's repressive theocratic government and collect better intelligence on Iran.” Additionally, the administration would like to withdrawal troops from Iraq so Bush would have “greater flexibility in dealing with Iran,” one official tells the newspaper. [Knight Ridder, 12/8/2004] The news agency also says that the US is using the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as a source for intelligence on Iran's weapons programs, even though the organization “remains on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist groups.” [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 12/8/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

(Early 2005)      US confrontation with Iran

       The US sends teams of US-trained former Iranian exiles, sometimes accompanied by US Special Forces, into southern and eastern Iran to search for underground nuclear installations. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005; Guardian, 2/29/2005; United Press International, 1/26/2005] In the north, Israeli-trained Kurds from northern Iraq, occasionally assisted by US forces, look for signs of nuclear activity as well. [United Press International, 1/26/2005] Both teams are tasked with planting remote detection devices, known as “sniffers,” which can sense radioactive emissions and other indicators of nuclear-enrichment programs while also helping US war planners establish targets. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005; United Press International, 1/26/2005] The former Iranian exiles operating in the south and east are members of Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a group that has been included in the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997 (see 1997) and included in a government white paper (see September 12, 2002) that criticized Iraq for its support of the group. After the US invaded Iraq, members of MEK were “consolidated, detained, disarmed, and screened for any past terrorist acts” by the US (see July 2004) and designated as “protected persons.” (see July 21, 2004) Initially, the MEK operate from Camp Habib in Basra, but they later launch their incursions from the Baluchi region in Pakistan. [Newsweek, 2/15/2005; United Press International, 1/26/2005] They are assisted by information from Pakistani scientists and technicians who have knowledge of Iran's nuclear program. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] Pakistan apparently agreed to cooperate with the US in exchange for assurances that Pakistan would not have to turn Abdul Qadeer Khan, the so-called “father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb,” to the IAEA or to any other international authorities for questioning. Khan, who is “linked to a vast consortium of nuclear black-market activities,” could potentially be of great assistance to these agencies in their efforts to undermine nuclear weapons proliferation. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] In addition to allowing Pakistan to keep A.Q. Khan, the US looks the other way as Pakistan continues to buy parts for its nuclear-weapons arsenal in the black market, according to a former high-level Pakistani diplomat interviewed by Seymour Hersh [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] The United States' use of MEK is criticized by western diplomats and analysts who agree with many Iranians who consider the group to be traitors because they fought alongside Iraqi troops against Iran in the 1980s. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Bush administration
          

February 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) says that it has provided the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) with information that Iran is now producing polonium-210, beryllium, and neutron generators, giving Iran the capability to produce a detonator. MEK claims that Iran plans to have a nuclear weapon by the end of 2005. Mohammed Mohaddessin, head of the group's foreign affairs committee, tells reporters that the information was obtained from “the Iranian people” and MEK's network inside Iran. [Associated Press, 2/3/2005; Associated Press, 2/3/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

Mid-February 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Newsweek interviews Maryam Rajavi, one of the leaders of Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), at the organization's compound in the French village of Auvers sur Oise. “I believe increasingly the Americans have come to realize that the solution is an Iranian force that is able to get rid of the Islamic fundamentalists in power in Iran,” Rajavi tells the magazine. She also insists that her group's history of anti-Americanism has long past. [Newsweek, 2/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: Maryam Rajavi, Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

March 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       More than 250 members of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian opposition group, return to Iran from Camp Ashraf in Iraq, accepting Iran's December offer of amnesty. For years, the MEK leadership has assured the group's members they faced certain death if they returned to Iran. Many remaining MEK members, over 3,500 in Iraq alone, say they are skeptical of the Iranian government's promises and [Christian Science Monitor, 3/22/2005] dismiss the defectors as “quitters.” According to the Los Angeles Times, which interviewed several of Camp Ashraf's residents, remaining MEK members appear to “show no interest” in going back. [Los Angeles Times, 3/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

March 31, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       The Mujahedeen-e Khalq's (MEK) political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), holds a press conference in Paris. Mohammad Mohaddessin of the NCRI tells reporters, “In mid-2004, Khamenei allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads.” Mohaddessin claims the Iranian regime is accelerating work on a reactor in Arak, 150 miles south of Tehran, which could produce enough plutonium for one atomic bomb per year. “The regime told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the reactor would be operational in 2014, but in reality, they want to start it in 2006 or 2007,” he says. In August 2002, the NCRI first revealed information about the Arak heavy-water production plant, along with the Natanz uranium enrichment plant (see August 2002) describing it then as part of a secret nuclear weapons program. Iran later declared both sites to the IAEA. [Reuters, 3/31/05; MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, 5/12/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

April 14, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       The National Convention for a Democratic, Secular Republic in Iran is held in Washington, DC and attended by about 300 supporters. Speakers at the event include members of Congress, legal scholars, and Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political wing of Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK). Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) tells the crowd, “Unless we deal with Iran, there will never be a solution in Iraq.” [US Newswire, 4/13/2005; National Convention for a Democratic, Secular Republic in Iran website, 5/27,2005]
People and organizations involved: Maryam Rajavi, Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Bob Filner
          

May 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Human Rights Watch reports that 12 former members of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) have alleged they were subjected to routine detention, solitary confinement, beatings, and torture as punishment for criticizing MEK leadership or trying to leave its ranks. The former MEK members, now in Europe, told Human Rights Watch that they spent several years in Abu Ghraib prison until Saddam released them during his last year in power. One of those interviewed, according to the report, recalled that during the mid-1990s a prisoner died after an intense beating. Two other former MEK members said they were held in solitary confinement for extensive periods of time, one for five years, and the other for eight and a half years. After the report's release, Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) denies the allegations cited in the report. [Human Rights Watch, 5/2005; BBC, 5/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

May 22, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       About 500 protesters demonstrate in Huntington Beach, near Los Angeles, calling on the Bush administration to back the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group, and remove the organization from the State Department's list of US-designated foreign terrorist organizations. One of the speakers at the event is Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political front for the MEK. Addressing the crowd via satellite, she tells them that she believes the opposition's efforts will soon payoff. [Los Angeles Times, 5/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq, Maryam Rajavi
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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