After the overthrow of the Shah, the political vacuum created by his regime with the unjust imprisonment of democratic minded leaders such as Massoud Rajavi, led Khomeini and his incompetent yet ruthless band of upstart mullahs to fill the void. Khomeini at first feigned interest in a broad-based government and political process. Yet as history proved, his disdain for freedom and democracy, his craving for power, and his obtuse social and political positions, quickly removed any doubt about his intentions. Street thuggery by clerical-led bands of hooligans obscured any hopes for freedom of expression or free political life.
From 1979 to 1981, Iran descended into the dark ages of religious fascism as Khomeini manipulated elections and drew up a constitution that would cement the absolute rule of clerical stewardship over the revolution. The one political party that could stand up to Khomeini was the Muslim PMOI/MEK. Massoud Rajavi challenged Khomeini’s claim to the mantle of religious and political authority. The PMOI/MEK systematically dismantled his claims to Islam as patently false and proved his loose grasp on their interpretation of “democratic Islam.” Khomeini could not tolerate any challenge to his supremacy and with the PMOI/MEK campaigning for an alternative vision for Iran, and with huge rallies attended by increasingly more Iranians to hear Massoud Rajavi’s fiery speeches criticizing Khomeini and his new order, he decreed their blood to be spilt in a religious fatwa.
The exhibition has attempted to show the popular mobilization of the PMOI/MEK in this period and its courageous discipline and non-violence in the face of violent gangs of clerical-led hooligans that attacked, injured, killed, and defaced lives and property with total impunity. By June 1981, the regime’s thugs killed dozens of PMOI/MEK supporters and imprisoned 3,000 for their peaceful political activities, many of whom would later be executed brutally without any semblance of a fair trial.