In recent days, in the non-official news, it has been reported that a set of negotiations was conducted under the supervision of John Bolton (USA national security adviser) over the making of a reconciliation or alliance between Maryam Rajavi (the leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMI)) and Reza Pahlavi (the last crown prince of Iran who is also a political commentator about the monarch system in Iran).
Aside from whether it is true or not, it seems unbelievable and impossible.
Why Iranians hate the PMI?
The opposition to PMI, against the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), has been thorough and long-lasting. Dozens of terrors and bombings, collaboration with the Bath regime during the eight years of war between Iran and Iraq, and military attacks are part of this hostility. But why does the PMI feel hostility towards the IRI?
The PMI claims that the Ayatollahs are tyrants and invaders of the revolution and are themselves the real owner of the revolution which overthrew the monarchic system of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; therefore, they have no doubt about the very nature of the revolution and the necessity of overthrowing the Pahlavi Dynasty, but the subject matter is about the inheritors of the revolution. Therefore, how is it possible for the overthrown and the conqueror to now sit at the same table?
It has been years that the PMI, in a childish dream, organized the elections and established the republic in its ideal country and elected its president (Maryam Rajavi); during these years they have not been in contact with any other political current. For them, the primary condition of any negotiation or collaboration is to recognize the allegiance to Massoud Rajavi (an apparently dead leader whose fate is not clear) and then recognizing the presidency of Maryam Rajavi.
The PMI, due to its involvement in long-lasting terrorist activities in Iran, its participation in dozens of terror attacks and bombings, and also, more importantly, its collaboration with the Saddam Hussein regime for war and invading the country, does not have popularity in Iran and is also among the most hated political groups.
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
In the first few years, after leaving Iran and going to France, the PMI established NCRI due to an offer by Abolhassan Banisadr, the former president of Iran. NCRI, at that time, was the only collective association of the opposition of IRI, and all opposition groups and ideological cliques were invited to join the council.
Unfortunately, as the PMI was not interested in any kind of democratic oppositional activities, and tended to follow the armed struggle, they sent their leaders to Iraq (which was in war with Iran) to collaborate with the Bath regime.
The meeting and endeavor for collaboration of Massoud Rajavi, the then leader of the PMI, and Tariq Aziz, the then Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, was the beginning for lots of people and organizations to leave the council.
In a first step, Banisadr, who was elected by the majority as the president of the council, left it and gradually the other oppositions followed the same, due to the obstinacy and monopoly of the PMI. Among those opposition organizations were the Toilers Front of Democratic Revolutionaries (separated in 1983), the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (separated in 1985), the United Left Council (separated in 1985), the Labor Party of Iran (Toufan) (separated in 1985), the National Democratic Front of Iran, the Toilers Movement of Gilan and Mazandaran, the Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran), and the Organization of Iranian People’s Fedai Guerrillas.
Apart from the parties and organizations, there were also prominent political activists among the oppositions who left the NCRI during the years 1982-1986: Hossein Bagherzadeh, Hassan Masali, Bahman Nirumand, Mansour Farhang, Parviz Dastmalchi, Manochehr Hezarkhani, Nasser Pakdaman, Ahmad Salamatian, Ali Asghar Hajseyd Javadi, Mahdi Khanbaba Tehrani, Mohammad Reza Rouhani, Karim Qasim, Hedayatollah Matin Daftari and Massoud Banisadr.
Although the PMI could make a democratic and justifiable face for itself by establishing the NCRI, after other political currents and activists separated from the council, it announced, by a political intrigue, that the council was alive and, while the council has consisted of just the PMI members, from then on have referred to themselves as the only opposition of the IRI. It was in this council that Maryam Rajavi was elected as the President of Iran, and since then she has called herself the elected president of the Iranian nation and its resistance!
Actually, the most similar characteristics of the PMI and IRI are their mendacity and prevarication.
Why are Monarchists outcasts?
Although Reza Pahlavi and, accordingly, the current monarchist in Iran are not as hated as the PMI, they are also not popular. They are either not considered seriously or are outcast, and are not regarded in the minds of the Iranian people. The central reason for this may be because of the previous experience of Mohammad Reza Shah and his court tyrannies, and also the cruel oppression of any Iranian opposition in the SAVAK (secret police, domestic security and intelligence service of Pahlavi Dynasty). The other reason is that neither Pahlavi Dynasty nor Reza Pahlavi, who is nowadays the leader of the monarchist, have currently ever pointed out to what SAVAK and his father did during their time. Broadly speaking, a vast majority of Iranians consider the catastrophe of IRI as a calamity started and imposed on them by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi!
If the last monarch of Iran had paid attention to the Iranian people’s demands and had respected their human, socio-political freedoms, there would not have been any revolution in Iran.
Probably, what caught the American intelligence service’s attention was the general protests in January in Iran in which a number of people were shouting “Reza Shah rest in peace”.
But the fact is that the reason behind the slogan lies, not in a general devotion for Shah, but for a general detestation for IRI.
Needless to say, both monarchists and also the PMI, ‘should’ have the opportunity in future Iran to participate in a free election and be evaluated, criticized and elected by the Iranian people.
Although monarchists, unlike the PMI, have not attempted an armed struggle against IRI, and have not established military bases in their political struggles, they have also made different coalitions, alliances, and councils.
National Council of Iran (NCI)
As a last endeavor to develop the monarchism in Iran, Reza Pahlavi founded the National Council of Iran for Free Election.
The council, as it explains itself, is a political institution consisting of a coalition of Iranian organizations, groups, figures and civil society activists whose aim is primarily to overthrow the IRI and to hold a free election to reach the level of democracy in Iran. It also tries to emphasize on a secular democratic alternative and to establish a future based on the criteria of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Reza Pahlavi, the founder of the council, was initially the spokesman and after a while, due to demands, became the chair of the council.
With regard to the current members and organizations of the council, it can be seen that in fact the monarchists are taking part in the council and that is why the concept of coalition and council is nothing but a joke. The member organizations include: the Constitutionalist Party of Iran, the Pan-Iranist Party, the Iranian Constitutionalist Organization (forefront), the Supporters of Prince Reza Pahlavi, and the Iranian Monarchist Society.
What the PMI did in the NCRI is exactly the same as what monarchists have done in the NCI, and it was this tyranny and monopoly which led to the death of the council; nowadays, there is nothing left of it but a website. Having a monopoly and not tolerating the other groups’ voices are among the other common features of IRI, PMI and monarchists, and also any other current dictator.
Nothing left of Monarchists but a sorrowful image
Despite the NCI as the last instance of the monarchist show of identity, there were other groups established and dissolved after some months in the past, such as the National Solidarity Movement of Iran (HOMA). The main reason for founding these groups is to show the monarchal system as the only bargaining chip for the future of Iran, and the central reason for the dissolution of them lies at their individualistic attitude, and the fact that other opposition groups are not willing to swear allegiance to them.
That is exactly the kind of formal shows, which resulted in the Iranians not considering the current monarchist as serious, but also regard them as a sorrowful image, that once upon a time had established a dictatorship in the country.
Iranian people do not hate monarchists as much as PMI, but if Reza Pahlavi was loyal to the principles of struggle against IRI and to the people during these 40 years, he would be successful in overthrowing IRI by gathering together all opposition groups (not just the monarchists) and through negotiations with world powers. But he merely looks for his position as the monarch, and not for a free Iran in the future, which makes Iranian people feel angry and they distance themselves from him.
Wide common features of Ayatollahs, PMI and Monarchists
If we return to the beginning of the text and look at the composition of PMI and Reza Pahlavi, we can say again that their working together is an impossible event; but, if not so, the real looser of this honeymoon would be Reza Pahlavi since during these years, aside from whether he was popular among people or not, he has displayed himself as a secular democratic figure which can be destroyed by this new coalition.
The PMI, as the most serious opposition of the IRI, has the same external and internal similarities with their very enemy, i.e. the Ayatollahs in Tehran. Their clique-shaped attitudes, and the quality of being absorbed into the leadership, and their intellectual transformation, are among the common features. Solitary confinement for psychological, physical and white tortures against their internal dissidents in the head of the organization (Ashraf Basement) at the time of being in Iraq, internal cleansing and having a fundamental interpretation of Islam, oppression of thinking and isolating their members are among the other common features with IRI, which made Iranians retreat from them.
However, there are also some common features between different types of monarchists and the IRI. Although they have not attempted to participate in an armed struggle, and establish a military basement, their attitude of monopoly, and lack of contact with other opposition groups, is an alarm that makes the Iranian people avoid the opposition groups.
The monarchists, unfortunately, consider themselves as the ‘supreme gene’ and the only bargaining chip for the future of Iran, and it is definitely this illusion that distances them from lots of realities in Iran.
Although the impasse of the Islamic Republic has become obvious after the general protests in January, it does not mean that the distrust of people towards the IRI, and their despair, results in turning the people to the opposition groups such as PMI or monarchists.
The general protests of January, and also the other ones such as “Girls of Enghelab Street”, as well as the protests of workers and teachers, are neither a movement nor a revolution. These interpretations have specific implications that are not corresponded to the events of January. The January phenomenon, which was a general decision with particular importance, was nothing but a political decision.
The January events, despite the shouted slogans in favor of Pahlavis, and also despite the fact that IRI’s intelligence service relates any kind of protests to the PMI (in order to oppress them more easily), was merely a public and/or general declaration of a political decision: Say no to the Islamic Republic, without selecting an alternative, or to swearing allegiance to any other opposition group.