Saeid Mohsen, one of the three founders of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), was born in 1939 in Zanjan, a city in the northwestern province of Azerbaijan. He obtained his diploma in Zanjan and headed to Tehran, the Iranian capital, to lead his advance studies in mechanical engineering in Tehran’s Technical University.
Acquaintance with Hanifnejad
During his first years in university, Mohsen became close to the National Front, supportive of former Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, and the Freedom Movement, led by Mehdi Bazargan. Mohsen subsequently became an active member of the students committee of the Freedom Movement. Due to his political activities, Saeid Mohsen was arrested and imprisoned on two occasions.
In prison, he became acquainted with Mohammad Hanifnejad. Mohsen became interested in the ideals of Hanifnejad, who sought a solution to the failures of previous struggles for freedom and democracy in Iran.
Mohsen also became acquainted with Ali Asghar Badizadegan, another student activist, during the student-led relief efforts for the victims of floods in south of Tehran (1960) and an earthquake in Buin Zahra in Qazvin province (1963). It was the ties to Hanifnejad and Badizadegan that created the first seeds for the founding of the PMOI/MEK.
After completing his studies, Saeid Mohsen was drafted into military service and was sent to Jahrom, in Iran’s Fars province. It was in this period that he became more familiar with the sufferings of the different classes of the Iranian society, especially in rural areas and shantytowns.
After his military service, Saeid Mohsen worked as mechanical engineer at famous home appliance manufacturer Arj and gas pipe factory Sapanta.
From the founding of the MEK to imprisonment
Saeid Mohsen was one of the three people who founded the Mojahedin Organization in a small apartment flat at 444 Elizabeth Blvd., Tehran. He contributed enormously to the analyses and elaboration of the MEK ideology, which is based on the tolerant and democratic interpretation of Islam. He was also actively involved in recruiting new members for the organizations from intellectuals in the Iranian society.
In September 1971, the Savak, the Shah’s secret police, arrested Saeid Mohsen as part of a widespread crackdown campaign on the PMOI/MEK, which until then had remained a secret organization. While in prison, Mohsen became a source of inspiration for other prisoners for his resistance to the horrific torture he subdued. His former cellmates remember him fondly for creating an atmosphere of joy and liveliness to the dismay of the Iranian regime’s prison guards who wanted terror to reign in prison wards.
From his solitary confinement, Saeid Mohsen managed to maintain his contact with Mohammad Hanifnejad through different methods. Together, they compiled instructions for the MEK’s resistance networks and sent them to the members who were still outside the prisons.
Defense in the tribunals of the Shah
The Shah regime tried the leaders of the MEK in martial court led by military judges. In his defense, Saeid Mohsen said, “If your regime was a progressive regime that wished the wellbeing of Iranians, why would intellectuals such as us oppose you.
“Our only crime is to have not submitted ourselves to your oppression and having stood up for the freedom of our people.
“We had no illusion that this would be a lengthy struggle we were becoming engaged in. It was evident that we had never imagined we would live to see the end of this struggle,” Mohsen said in defiance of his death sentence, the Shah regime’s only instrument to terrorize the people and maintain its hold on power.
Mohsen’s defense was widely circulated in political circles and among Iranian intellectuals, and it became the source of inspiration for many of the youth who later joined the MEK.
Saeid Mohsen’s execution
The Shah regime eventually sentenced Mohsen, Hanifnejad and Badizadegan to death. Shortly before his execution, Mohsen sent a final message to the freedom fighters who would continue the struggle against the Shah regime.
“The circumstances are very dire and many pretenders will deviate from their principles. Very few will be able to continue this struggle. Only those who are determined will stay. They will have to learn the science of the struggle: They must understand the circumstances and have the will to stick to their principles in the worst of times.”
Shah’s firing squad executed Mohsen, Hanifnejad and Badizadegan, the three founders of the MEK, in 1971. Their memory, values and struggle still live on.