MEK Iran is a political group dedicated to the realization of a free and democratic Iran. They are a democratic alternative to the current Iranian government and defend Western values such as secularism and women's rights. MEK is "Iran's most active opposition group".
On September 6, 1965, MEK Iran was founded by three engineers: Mohammad Hanifnejad, Said Mohsen, and Ali-Ashgar Badizadgan. They had previously been involved with the Freedom/Liberation Movement, created by Medhi Bazargan in May 1961, which advocated for the democratic principles laid out in the Iranian constitution following its resolution in 1905. The group had been allowed to peacefully assemble and advocate for political freedom and the separation of powers for two years. However, in 1963, Ruhollah Khomeini gave a public speech criticizing the monarchy and was arrested. In response, large free speech and anti-monarchy protests broke out across Iran, which the Freedom Party supported.
These protests were violently put down by the Shah’s police, with thousands of people dying in what would become known as the June Uprising. Following the protests, the Shah outlawed pro-democracy groups, like MEK Iran, and imprisoned their leaders. The MEK Iran founders knew that the fight for democracy in Iran was not over, but also knew that they had to find a different path, as repeating the actions of the Freedom Movement was sure to fail .As a result, they brought together 20 trusted friends, mostly professionals living in Tehran, to discuss religion, history, philosophy, and revolutionary theory, twice a week. On September 20, 1965, a mere two weeks after its founding, the MEK held its first meeting. However, under the circumstances, it took six years for the MEK Iran to formulate its political platform and develop a plan to replace the Shah with a democratic government.
Iran’s fundamentalist mullahs believe that the interpretation of Islam is their exclusive domain. MEK Iran rejects this narrow view, along with the clerics’ reactionary vision of Islam. The comprehensive interpretation of Islam, as described by MEK Iran, proved to be more appealing, persuasive, and successful than any of the past attempts. After the Shah's overthrow, MEK Iran supported the establishment of a democratic government. Mr. Rajavi declined Khomeini's offer to side with the mullahs, because he was against their fundamentalist belief that “all means are justified in the service of God”, included lying to Iranians about the structure of the new government. Massoud Rajavi announced the MEK’s political platform for a new Iranian government in a speech at Tehran University on February 23, 1980. In his speech, Mr. Rajavi established the MEK as the main opposition party to Khomeini and the fundamentalist clerics.