Rep. Tom Tancredo has dropped plans to speak at a weekend fundraiser linked to an Iranian group that is on the State
Rep. Tom Tancredo has dropped plans to speak at a weekend fundraiser linked to an Iranian group that is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. ''We have definitely pulled out,'' said Carlos Espinosa, spokesman for Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who sits on the House International Relations Committee.
Saturday's event in Washington is billed as a way to help victims of the Dec. 26 quake that killed 30,000 Iranians. But media accounts, including in Time magazine and The Hill newspaper in Washington, say the event is linked to the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which opposes the current Iranian regime.
The MEK has been on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations since 1999 and is believed to have helped Saddam Hussein suppress dissent among Kurds and Shiites. The State Department says it assassinated Americans in the 1970s.
Tancredo canceled because the American Red Cross pulled out of the event, Espinosa told The Denver Post. However, the American Red Cross never was formally involved, spokeswoman Jacki Flowers said.
On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, asked the Justice Department to investigate ties between terrorist groups and the fundraiser.
''It's right there on the list with al-Qaida and Hamas,'' Ney spokesman Brian Walsh said. ''They're using this earthquake as a pretense.''
Calls to organizers of the event were returned by Tim Mehdi Ghaemi of Denver, who identified himself as president of the Iranian-American community in Colorado. He said the fundraiser is to support ''regime change'' in Iran, as well as quake victims, but MEK is not the beneficiary.
''Are there going to be people at this event who support MEK?'' he said. ''Absolutely. It's a large gathering.''
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