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MEK Resistance Units: A viable force for regime change in Iran

Iranian Resistance Units, the internal network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), played a significant role in Iran protests from 2017 to 2020.
Iranian Resistance Units, the internal network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), played a significant role in Iran protests from 2017 to 2020.

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 25, 2020—Iran has never been closer to the long-sought dream of fundamental change. Five nationwide uprisings from December 2017 to January 2020 have underscored the blazing readiness of the Iranian people to overthrow the clerical regime and establish a democratic state.

In their protests, thousands of people across Iran chanted "No Shah, No Sheikh (mullahs)," "down with the principle of velayat-e faqih," "death to Khamenei," and "death to Rouhani,"  and "For 40 years we shed bloodied tears, enough is enough, we'll take a stand. "

These slogans echo the Iranian people’s yearning for freedom and democracy despite 41 years of brutal repression, torture and execution.

An unstable regime without future

The recent major nationwide uprisings in Iran and the regime’s brutal response debunked certain myths and illusions about the regime.

In an event held in honor of the martyrs of Iran’s November 2019 uprising, Iranian Resistance President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi stressed that ongoing protests in Iran show that the regime is neither stable nor has any future. She also noted that the people’s continued rebellion despite the brutal repression of security forces proves that no one in Iran holds any hope on change from within the regime. This point was further driven by the slogan “Reformists, hardliners, the game is over,” which has become very popular across Iran in recent years.

But the question is, which force, strategy and course of action can topple the regime in Iran?

In the last two years a new phenomenon that has had a major impact on protests across the country was the “MEK Resistance Units,” a network of activists who support the Iranian opposition movement People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

This idea is rooted in Iranian Resistance’s long-held belief that any change in Iran must come from within and by the Iranian people themselves.

Who are the MEK Resistance Units and how do they work?

The MEK Resistance Units are groups of Iranian activists who have revolted against the current regime. They are small cells of resistance of the Iranian opposition movement, working together to play a leading role in Iran’s protests.

The Resistance Units are led and organized by the MEK’s network inside Iran. They are backed by a strong political and organizational support from the MEK that, according to Iranian regime officials and state-run media, was the main factor in the December 2017 and November 2019 nationwide uprisings.

In the last two years, MEK Resistance Units’ role has been organizing, reporting, and mobilizing daily small protests, strikes, and writing anti regime slogans on the walls.



In the current powder-keg situation of Iran, the activities of the MEK Resistance Units play a key role in countering the regime’s suppressive measures and giving hope to millions of oppressed people inside Iran who yearn for freedom.

Chart of protests in the country

Chart of protests in the country

The regime’s media has renamed the powder-keg situation of the society and the people's desire for overthrow as “people’s mistrust toward the establishment.”

Quantitative and qualitative superiority

The reality of Iranian society is that the Resistance units have not only grown and expanded quantitatively but also qualitatively and have become a nightmare for the regime.

The uprisings of December 2017 and November 2019 showed that Iran’s society stands alongside the MEK Resistance Units. Protests that began over economic woes quickly turned political in nature and people across Iran chanted the slogans of MEK and Resistance Units, such as “Down with the principle of the Supreme Leader’s rule,” and “Khamenei’s rule will be overthrown.”

The regime’s reaction to activities of Resistance Units

The reactions of the Iranian regime officials and state-run media to MEK Resistance Units is proof of the impact their activities have had across Iran.

After the December 2017 nationwide protests, the Iranian Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated on January 9, 2018 that “the MEK are the third side of a triangle that created the uprising that they had prepared since months earlier.”

In an analysis published on August 28, 2018, the state-run Baharestaneh acknowledged the role of the MEK and Resistance Units in shaping protests:

“In the past, the counter revolution forces led by the MEK were present in the country but today they have infiltrated in all classes such as truckers, marketers, those who lost their assets to credit institutions, teachers, workers, etc…

“The rioters, led by the MEK, lack political considerations. They do not recognize any faction within the establishment. They show as much respect for the reformists as they do for the hardliners! Which means that the trust and attachment to any faction has disappeared.

“[The rioters] have formed groups they call the Resistance Units that have both the ability to multiply and the potential to replace the leaders of the scene.”

Regime officials’ statement on MEK’s role in Iran society

On May 17, Khamenei again expressed his concern about the growing influence of the MEK among the youth in his remarks at the meeting with members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Basij.

“Everyone should be careful about the enemy recruiting members of our young society… I have always said that I believe and hope to have a ‘young and Hezbollahi’ government, meaning an effective and high-spirited government that can resolve our problems,” Khamenei said.

“You should not allow the enemy take advantage of your protests. They are waiting to use any such opportunity… The enemy will portray your protests over whatever subject as dissent against the state, and provide such an image to their viewers… Be careful of those who take advantage of these protests to pursue their objectives against the state,” Khamenei continued as he further highlighted his concerns over the powder-keg status of the Iranian society and the MEK’s role in reporting such developments.

Also, the statements and positions declared by the regime’s leaders and state-run media clearly shows that Resistance units of the MEK were at the core of the uprising.

On November 17, 2019, two days after the nationwide protests over the sudden increase in gasoline prices began, Khamenei referred to the MEK as a “wicked and criminal collective” who are “constantly encouraging and inviting people on social networks and elsewhere to conduct these evil acts.”

A few days later, on November 24, Ali Shamkhani, Secretary for the Supreme National Security Council, said: “I believe 34 MEK members have been arrested so far. A vast network of individuals, operating not under the MEK’s name, but pursuing their line and modus operandi were also identified.”