Role of MKO in the Coup of Nojeh
Role of MKO in the Coup of Nojeh
In July 10, 1980 the news of discovering a military coup was published. The coup that was scheduled to take place on July 9th and later became known as the “Nojeh Coup” was planned and prepared by the US intelligence agency. According to the plans of the coup, the operation was scheduled to begin at the Shahid Nojeh Air Base in Hamedan with the aim of establishing a Social Democrat government headed by Shahpour Bakhtiar, the last prime minister of the Shah’s regime and, if possible, restoration of the Pahlavi regime.
According to the book “Nojeh Coup”:
“The coup was unprecedented in the history of the coup d’état in terms of military equipment intended to be used inside and outside, and was so precise that the CIA considered it as a decisive success … and it would dare to be claimed that in comparison, the coup of August 19, 1953 was a childish play. “
Reyshahri, on August 6 1980, in an interview about the association of several political groups with the members of the coup, referred to their association with the MKO, and stated:
“[According to the confessions of the coup members] … organizations and groups such as pan-Iranists had fronts, and considerations and studies on cooperation or agreement were carried out with each of these groups … along with investigations conducted by some of the participants in this project [coup d’état], the MKO’s fighting power in Tehran announced 800 members, and the organization of the Fadaei guerrillas in Tehran, were announced to 330. Following these studies, it was decided to speak with these two organizations and telling them not to take action against the members of the plan, and instead, after the victory of the [coup] and the full implementation of the plan, they are given good points. “
In the same interview, Mr. Reyshahri to facilitate further investigation and to prevent political pressures said that “there is no guarantee that the material provided by these individuals be correct, we will only narrate this issue, because we want to inform the Muslim nation of what has happened in the military special courts. “
In the interrogation text of one of the leaders of the coup quoted from political officials of the coup, the negotiation with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization came to a conclusion:
“He said that we have received this promise from the MKO that they are unbiased on that day [the day of the coup], instead of being unbiased on that day, we have promised them that they have freedom of political activities.”
According to the book of Nouzhe Coup:
“On the other hand, the organization of the hypocrites (MKO), through its own intelligence power that was due to its influential elements, including the coup members, as well as the coup neutralization headquarters, assessed the probabilities and the results of the coup. Information that the influential elements of the organization among the coup members achieved about the scale and process of executing the coup was given to the organization, persuaded the organization to declare its consent to the coup and cooperate with them in secret … The analysis of the leaders of the MKO was that the overthrowing the government after the coup, due to the lack of systematic and complex organizational beliefs, is easier than the Islamic Republic regime, and based on this analysis, MKO decided, in a very complex plan, to take part in the coup and strengthen the coup members, providing a suitable plan for the safe encounter with the aspect of coup’s failure.
The Mojahedin organization quickly called for a number of military personnel that had been identified and recruited from the army, and provided them with two basic axes that are mentioned below as an organizational agenda:
- To infiltrate into the organization of the coup and to assess the power and facilities of the coup and measuring the certainty of the coup’s operating.
- Using the prior identification of the organization from the dissidents inside the army, while forming separate teams, attracting the dissidents and involving them in the cover of several operating teams of the coup. Some of these people, including the steward Iraj Behi, the first sergeant Hamid Reza Turkpour, and several of the 23rd-division of Airborne Special Forces associated with the organization got the mission to do the operation … The organization evaluated the coup’s outcome to its benefits in any way …that in the case of facing the signs of coup’s failure, they could have provided their contact information with the president, intimidating him of their organizational and informational capability to insure the organization against the confessions of the coup members. “
And the same happened. After publishing the interrogations and some interviews with the heads of the coup about their contact with the organization, they “always claimed that, yes, we had infiltrated among the coup members and provided information to President Bani-Sadr“.
Following a televised interview, one of the officers arrested in Nojeh coup on September 13, 1980, talked about communicating of coup members with the organization, and agreement on having no action against the coup by the organization, Masoud Rajavi and Musa Khiabani in a joint interview with reporters, while strongly denouncing this issue, provided documents proving cooperation with the authorities in revealing of the coup. A 6-page special edition of the Mojahed magazine was also dedicated to this topic, and the official announcement of the organization was also published. In mentioned special edition, the confirmation of President Bani Sadr of the role of the organization in discovering the coup and the image of the president and the copy to Imam’s office about the informed of the coup plot was announced, while the information was actually useless at the time of the presentation, and the coup was discovered and neutralized before the organization announced. In fact, the organization had tried to provide these documents with the possibility of eliminating their possible traces, as well as a reason for asking about shares and claiming a fundamental role in discovering the coup.
Later it was also revealed that the coup members had other specific agreements with the organization:
“According to the documents obtained, contacts between the coup and Musa Khiabani took place and along with the proposal of the coup leaders to the Mojahedin Organization, it was agreed that the Mojahedin organization for a given post to Masoud Rajavi, step aside in favor of the coup members.”
Gasaiorowski in his article about the Nojeh coup that was produced based on hundred hours interview with different Iranian and non-Iranian individuals related to the coup in different parts of the world affirm that the coup members contacted Masoud Rajavi and agreed him to cooperate with the coup.
In the anti-coup headquarter, the organization’s members were attended to high levels and were able to eliminate many of the clues and tracks of the cooperation of the organization with the coup members. According to informations, Masoud Keshmiri, a member of the organization and the next member in the explosion of the Prime Minister’s building in September 1981, and Jawad Ghadiri, a former member of the organization and loyalists of Rajavi in prison, and the husband of Zohre Atrianfar were among the coup neutralization headquarters. Some of the information and documents related to Nojeh anti-Kurdish operations were later stolen by Ghadiri, who escaped to abroad. He was one of the designers of the explosion of the Abuzar mosque on June 27, 1981, which led to the severe injury of Ayatollah Khamenei.
Gasaiorowski believes that “in spite of the intense hit to the coup members, only about a quarter of the leaders and one third of its members were arrested.”
The cooperation of some members of the Bani Sadr presidential office with coup leaders was later revealed. Bani Sadr’s role in this coup was complex and multifaceted.
Mr. Reishahri said in an interview:
“Unfortunately, I have to say that 51 people who were arrested in this regard were freed without the permission by the order of Mr. Bani-Sadr,”
He said in the same interview: “The 500 arrested cases were handled by the Army Revolutionary Courts and the verdict has been implemented for them.”
According to the things mentioned above and the country’s specific political conditions at that time and the beginning of the massive invasion of the Ba’athist regime to Iran in September 1980, the agents of the organization and members of the office of Bani Sadr, who had influence on critical security and political centers, including the anti-coup headquarters, were able to make conditions that effectively stopped the prosecution of the role of the organization in the Nojeh coup and in the fall of the year 1980, the cooperation and participation of the organization in the coup got ambiguous and the facts didn’t reveal.
Of course, top officials of the country with respect to the same amount of information and the negative activities and positions of the organization until that time, had often come to a clear standpoint and no longer had the slightest trust to the MKO; however, the outbreak of war and the support of Bani-Sadr in the position of the president from the organization prevented the revolutionary organizations and institutions from providing adequate security and intelligence focusing on the organization and, in fact, provided good conditions for renewal activity and reappearing in the political and promotional fields. On the one hand, the organization fully prepared for a full-fledged military confrontation and armed rebellion, and on the other hand, the organization was increasingly recruiting more supporters and more members to engage in future operations in cover of apparently legal activities.
Source: Mojahedin Khalgh Organization; From Beginning to The End, second volume, pages 487-491