A State Department report from 1994, however, states that Mr. Rajavi adopted “Saddam Hussein as his patron” following his expulsion from France. The report also notes: “Internally, the Mojahedin run their organization autocratically, suppressing dissent and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints. Rajavi, who heads the Mojahedin’s political and military wings, has fostered a cult of personality around himself.”
Such judgments lie behind the M.E.K.’s inclusion on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
Mr. Jafarzadeh himself was circumspect about whether his allies would win a hypothetical freely contested election in Iran.
“I don’t think anyone can say what would happen,” he said. “Even they themselves haven’t said they are going to be the government of Iran.”
He insisted that the M.E.K. and its supporters are intent on bringing “a secular, democratic” Iran into existence.
Again, this is at odds with the American government’s assessment. The State Department report, for example, noted: “The major objective of the [organization’s] public relations campaign is to posit the Mojahedin as the alternative to the current Iranian government. To achieve these objectives, they must ensure their organization and its espoused principles appeal to Western audiences and Iranian expatriates.”
Elsewhere, the report notes that “the Mojahedin’s 29-year record of behavior does not substantiate its capability or its intention to be democratic.”
Mr. Jafarzadeh said that members of the State Department “clearly have an agenda” in relation to the group, charging that the M.E.K. had been placed on the terrorist list as a sop to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s more conciliatory predecessor as Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami. The U.S.’s refusal to “deregister” the group “only helps the regime,” he said.
He insisted that despite the ban, the group had many friends in Washington, “including in the White House.”
He did not name names.