When they sided with Iraq against Iran in the [1980-88] war, that was the kiss of death for their political future. Even Iranians who might have sympathized with them were enraged that they became the junior partner of their longstanding rival
Liberals Against Terrorism
In August 2002, an exile group known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran summoned reporters to Washington's Willard Hotel for a morning briefing. The group's spokesman, Alireza Jafarzadeh, charged that Iran was building two new secret nuclear facilities: a heavy-water plant near the town of Arak and a large plant to fabricate uranium fuel in the desert near the town of Natanz.
Mr. Jafarzadeh was comfortable in Washington's power corridors, much like Ahmed Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi who provided much of the now-discredited information on Iraq's weapons program. He was educated at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas and for years he kept a small office at the National Press Club. He has since parlayed his expertise into a slot as a paid analyst for Fox News. But the council's military wing was on the State Department's terrorism list for a history of political killings and ties to Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Jafarzadeh's information tracked closely with what U.S. officials already knew. But in the summer of 2002 they had their hands full with Iraq and North Korea. When asked about the information that afternoon, a State Department spokesman offered generic criticism of Tehran's activities, noted the council's ties to a terrorist organization and brushed off suggestions that the dangers were comparable to those posed by Iraq.
(the rest of the article, which you should read if you subsribe to the WSJ, is a great overview of the state of play regarding Iran's nuclear program)
... btw, it's really hard to take Ileana Ros-Lehtinen seriously:
“This group loves the United States. They’re assisting us in the war on terrorism; they’re pro-U.S.,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in an interview with The Hill.
Or Jafarzadeh himself:
Middle East scholars widely dispute the assessment that the MEK is a legitimate democratic alternative to the Iranian regime. “That’s patently nonsense,” said Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute.
“I know about support on Capitol Hill for this group, and I think it’s atrocious,” said Dan Brumberg of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think it’s due to total ignorance and political manipulation.”
He added: “There’s not much debate [about the MEK] in the academic circles of those who know Iran and Iraq.”
Elahe Hicks of Human Rights Watch said that “many, many Iranians resent” the MEK. “Because this group is so extremely resented inside Iran, the Iranian government actually benefits from having an opposition group like this,” she said. James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation agreed. “When they sided with Iraq against Iran in the [1980-88] war, that was the kiss of death for their political future. Even Iranians who might have sympathized with them were enraged that they became the junior partner of their longstanding rival,” he said.
“Some of their representatives are very articulate,” Phillips continued, “but they are a terrorist group. They have a longstanding alliance with Saddam Hussein, and they have gone after some of the Kurds at the behest of Saddam Hussein.”
Ros-Lehtinen dismissed U.S. intelligence reports of the group’s involvement in Hussein campaigns against Kurds and Shiites as “hogwash” and “part of the Khatami propaganda machine.”
Washington representatives for the MEK’s political arm, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, disputed news reports that the MEK is aligned with Saddam Hussein. “The relationship has been independent, whether politically, militarily, financially or ideologically,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh. “We have never interfered in the internal affairs of Iraq.”
Emphasis mine. Note Michael Ledeen being on the record against these folks.
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