The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, was founded on Sep. 6, 1965 by Mohammad Hanifnejad and two other young intellectuals, Sa’id Mohsen and Ali-Asghar Badi’zadegan. The three wanted to establish a Muslim, progressive, nationalist and democratic organization. All university graduates, they had been politically active in the nationalist movement for democracy since the Mossadeq era and later became members of Mehdi Bazargan’s Freedom Movement. Both Hanifnejad and Mohsen had been temporarily detained by the shah’s secret police for their political activities. The founders’ ultimate goal was to pave the way for a democratic government to replace the Shah’s regime. In contrast to most of their contemporaries, they believed that a new, democratically inclined interpretation of Islam was the means to this end. They set about establishing a political organization that could survive the shah’s repression and respond to the needs of ordinary citizens. They began by refuting the reactionary interpretation of Islam, marking the PMOI’s first confrontation with the traditional clergy, who considered themselves the sole guardians of the faith. They and the organization’s new members studied the various schools of thought, as well as Iranian history and those of other countries, enabling them to analyze other philosophies and theories with considerable knowledge and to present their own ideology, based on Islam, as the answer to Iran’s problems.