News : Iranian opposition

Estimating Support for the MEK in Iran: Part 1

Members of “Resistance Units,” a network associated to the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), alongside members of this organization have been increasing their activities across the country.

The Iranian Regime often claims that there is little to no support for the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran.

It’s an easy lie to tell because it’s impossible to discover the exact number of MEK members and supporters in Iran due to the fact that it is illegal to join the MEK or even express support for them. Under article 186 of the Islamic Punishment Act, MEK “members and supporters” or anyone who “in any way is active or effective in advancing its cause” is considered to be guilty of “waging war on God”. This ‘crime’ is punishable by execution, hanging, amputation of the right hand and left foot, or banishment.

Obviously, the Iranian people are likely to keep their MEK membership or support secret if they fear one of these inhumane punishments will befall them.

Even those living outside Iran who publically support the MEK are not safe from the mullahs’ retribution. Many dissidents have been assassinated across the Middle East and Europe, while the Regime consistently attacked the MEK camps of Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq until 2016 when the MEK left for Albania. The Regime also tried to bomb a 100,000-strong MEK rally in Paris in June 2018, just three months after trying to bomb the MEK headquarters in Albania. And that doesn’t even take into account the families of MEK members who are arrested, tortured, and murdered to send a message to ex-pat MEK members.

The MEK is the largest anti-fascist organization in the Middle East, with the sole goal of instituting democracy by overthrowing the despotic regime there. We cannot give you an exact number of members or supporters as we could for political parties in other countries because there is no public list of contributions and no votes cast in a general election. But there is a multitude of ways that we can estimate that the MEK’s support inside Iran.

The first, and perhaps most pressing at the moment is the rebellious actions taken by the MEK’s resistance units, who are burning regime-owned buildings, putting up posters of MEK leaders, and leading the country in a nationwide uprising against the regime.

During the recent nationwide uprising in Iran, at least 450 protesters are reported dead, with 7,000 injured, and 10,000 arrested, although, as always, the regime is trying to cover this up, through such measures as stealing the bodies from hospitals and moving them to unknown locations. The number of protesters is too much for the regime to handle, with detained protesters having to be held in elementary schools because the prisons have no room. As the regime’s officials have admitted most of the victims were supporters of the MEK or followed their strategy.

It may be impossible to give you an exact figure for MEK members and supporters inside Iran, but it’s easy to see that the group is not “insignificant” or lacking in public support as the regime says. In fact, it is the biggest threat to the regime as a whole and will, someday soon, spell the downfall of the mullahs.

In our next piece, we will look at how Iran National Television shows us support for the MEK.

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