view
According to the State Department, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian Embassies and installations in 13 countries in April 1992, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. Then, in 1999 the group assassinated the deputy chief of Iran's Armed Forces General Staff. In April 2000, they attempted to assassinate the commander of the Iranian government organization responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. In 2000 and 2001, the State Department reports, the MEK was involved regularly in mortar attacks and hit-and-run raids on Iranian military and law-enforcement units and government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on John Bolton's appointment as ambassador to the United Nations Tuesday, they will do so having never asked him about his support for a group called the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian dissident group that was backed by Saddam Hussein for almost two decades and has a place on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. In comments to Congress a year ago, Bolton said he would not have "any inhibition" about working with the group in an effort to gather intelligence on Iran. Bolton is not alone in his sentiments. Congressmen and prominent neoconservatives are pushing for the U.S. government to rearm the group. What opponents of the Iranian regime like about the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) is its terrorism. According to the State Department, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian Embassies and installations in 13 countries in April 1992, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. Then, in 1999 the group assassinated the deputy chief of Iran's Armed Forces General Staff. In April 2000, they attempted to assassinate the commander of the Iranian government organization responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. In 2000 and 2001, the State Department reports, the MEK was involved regularly in mortar attacks and hit-and-run raids on Iranian military and law-enforcement units and government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border. Some lawmakers on Capital Hill say that's just the thing the U.S. government should support. "I don't believe they should belong on the terrorist list," says Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, who is one of the group's biggest supporters in Congress. "I believe a new look should be placed upon them and we'll see that they are not anti-U.S." Ros-Lehtinen is author of a bill that would impose sanctions on all countries that trade with Iran, similar to the Helms-Burton Act restricting trade with Cuba. The bill, which is making its way quickly through Congress, would also make millions of dollars available every year for Iranian opposition groups – and the favorite of neoconservatives is the MEK. That's not exactly music to the ears of most opponents of the Iranian regime. "In the middle 1980s, they made an alliance with Saddam Hussein," notes Shaul Bakhash, who teaches Middle Eastern studies at George Mason University. Saddam "gave them a home and financial material support, and there are credible charges that Saddam Hussein used them against the Kurds in his own campaigns." Bakhash says the MEK is universally despised inside Iran because the group fought alongside Saddam Hussein's army during the Iran-Iraq war. He notes, however, that after the U.S. military toppled Saddam's government in 2003, the Bush administration did not force the group to disband or even abandon its bases in Iraq. "I imagine they're enjoying a degree of American protection. It's very hard to believe that when there is an independent Iraqi government, they will suffer the presence on their soil of a group that is committed to the overthrow of a neighboring country." For now, though, the group cannot legally receive any overt help from the U.S. government. Los Angeles Democrat Howard Berman is one of Ros-Lehtinen's co-sponsors on the bill to support Iranian opposition groups. "I don't have any great insights into that," Berman told me after voting for Ros-Lehtinen's legislation in a House subcommittee. "I know they're on the U.S. list of organizations that support terror, and whether that's a justified placement or not I can't tell you, but as long as they are I don't think we can talk about it in terms of how to democratize and change course in Iran." But consensus inside conservative Washington circles is building to remove the organization from the terrorist list. A prominent panel of neoconservatives called the Iran Policy Committee recently released a report, "U.S. Policy Options for Iran [.pdf]," which advocates arming the group and using it the same way the U.S. military used the Northern Alliance as proxy fighters for the war in Afghanistan. Arming the MEK, according to the report, would "send an unambiguous signal to the Iranian regime that it faces an enabled and determined opposition on its borders." Retired Marine Corp Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, a Fox News analyst and one of the authors of the report, told a Congressional committee the time to prepare for war is now: "After the events of September 11th," he said, "we had a target, the target was Afghanistan. We stood up bravely as a nation and said 'We're going to Afghanistan.' What about the next 9/11? What if the next 9/11 is two weeks from now? What are we gonna say – that we're going to Iraq? No! There's going to be a clamor by Americans to strike at somebody to show that we're powerful, and the logical candidate out there is Iran."

New Articles

The Cult of Rajavi and the Obsession of Trump Support

With Trump’s apparent determination to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/MEK/PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) has just found more room to move around the US...

Female victims of terrorism offer recommendations at UNHRC

The women victims of terrorism called for strengthening international cooperation to reduce the problems of women affected by terrorism in the world in the 36th session of the UN Human...

Who Is “Republicans’ favorite Democrat”?

Joseph Lieberman, long regarded as the “Republicans’ favorite Democrat” because of his militarist foreign affairs agenda and support for a number of right-wing domestic policies, represented Connecticut initially as a...

Former MEK members petition the UNHCR in Albania

Some nearly 70 former members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization yesterday approached the UNHCR in Albania (RAMSA) with a petition signed by all of them demanding their rights.

MEK rightfully named father of ISIS

Representing families of Iranian victims of terrorism, Habilian Association organized a conference themed “Iran victim of terrorism; From MEK to ISIS” on the occasion of national day of combating terrorism...

Most viewed

Iran and the Holy Warrior Trap

Is the West about to make the same mistake with Iran that it made with Afghanistan when it backed the Sunni mujahedin against the Soviet invaders? The Soviets ultimately were...

The MKO, the essence of North Korea

The tensions between North Korea and the United States have escalated in the past days. The United States is preparing for all options, including a “preemptive war,” to stop North...

Iranian film sheds new light on security services

 The Iranian film "Midday Adventures," directed by Mohammad Hossein Mahdavian, begins in Tehran on June 19, 1981, 26 months after the Islamic Revolution and nine months after the outbreak of...

We Hate Mojahedin-e Khalq: SNS Respond to a Conference of the Iranian Opposition

Dr. Raz Zimmt investigates Iranian social media responses to the annual conference of Mojahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group whose support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War remains a searing...

The Trump administration wants regime change in Iran. But regime change usually doesn’t work

President Trump is no fan of Iran. As a candidate, he had promised to tear up the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Having been frustrated in his attempts to do that —...