Rajavi has indeed inspired fanatical loyalty among some MEK members. Her brief arrest in France in 2003 on terrorism charges sparked a wave of self-immolations.
Her portrait – along with that of husband and co-leader Massoud Rajavi, who has been in hiding since 2003 – is as ubiquitous at Camp Ashraf as Saddam Hussein’s once was across Iraq, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s still is in Iran. Every day at the camp, the MEK motto is heard: "Iran is Rajavi, Rajavi is Iran. Iran is Maryam, Maryam is Iran.”
Such praise therefore often features at MEK-linked events addressed by prominent Americans, mixed with other MEK talking points.
"Madame Rajavi does not sound like a terrorist to me; she sounds like a president," Mr. Dean said, gesturing toward the MEK leader from the dais. "And her organization should not be listed as a terrorist organization. We should be recognizing her as the president of Iran."
Mr. Dean confirmed to the Monitor that he received payment for his appearances, but said the focus on high pay was “a diversion inspired by those with a different view.”