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Peykar (Persian: پيکار, meaning "battle" in the Persian language) also called the Marxist Mojahedin, was a secular splinter group from the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMoI), the largest of Iran's guerrilla groups. Its members broke away from the PMoI to support of secular Marxism Leninism, rather than the Leftist Islamist modernism of the People's Mujahedin. Founded in 1975, by the early 1980s Peykar was no longer considered active.


Mojahedin (ML) was founded in October 1975 when the majority of PMOI leaders who had not been imprisoned voted to accept Marxism and declare the organization Marxist-Leninist. At this time the group continued to call itself People's Mujahedin.[1] Their position was laid out in a pamphlet entitled Manifesto on Ideological Issues, where the group's central leadership declared "that after ten years of secret existence, four years of armed struggle, and two years of intense ideological rethinking, they had reached the conclusion that Marxism, not Islam, was the true revolutionary philosophy."

This meant two rival Mujahedins, each with its own publication, its own organization, and its own activities. This continued just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution when the Marxist Mojahedin changed its name to Peykar, on December 7, 1978 (16 Azar, 1357), the full name is: Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class.This name was after the "St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class", which was a left wing group in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded by Lenin in the autumn of 1895.[2] Mujtabi Taleqani, son of Ayatollah Taleqani, was one of the PMOI who "converted" to Marxism. Hossein Ruhani was another prominent Peykar member. He ran for Majles candidate in Tehran, and caused a major scandal in 1980 by divulging for the first time secret PMoI negotiations with Ayatollah Khomeini. Ruhani also made Peykar "the first left-wing organization to personally criticize Khomeini", when he called Khomeini a "mediaeval obscurantist" and his regime "reactionary" and "fascistic." Later Ruhani was arrested and imprisoned. In May 1982 he appeared on television as one of the first of numerous opponents of the regime to recant their opposition in what is widely thought to have been the work of prison torture. Ruhani denounced his membership in Peykar, praised "the Imam" Khomeini and proclaimed that he felt freer in prison than "in the outside world."[3]

Peykar was operationally active in the early 1980s, mostly conducting small-scale insurgency-style raids in Northern Iran, though the group was also responsible for one hostage situation at the Iranian consulate in Geneva in 1982.[4] Peykar suffered after the Mujahedin June 1981 uprising, which it did not support but whose members were "arrested and executed en masse" afterwards nonetheless.[1] According to MIPT, Peykar "can be considered inactive, as its members are assumed to have been reintegrated into the MeK or other anti-Ayatollah opposition groups in the early to mid-1980s."

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, University of California Press, (1999), p.151
  2. Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, Princeton University Press, 1982, p.493-4
  3. Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, University of California Press, (1999), p.151-2
  4. MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. Peykar

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