view

"Time is running out, lives are at stake," he declared. "For the United States this is a case where American interests of opposing the regime in Tehran are entirely consistent with American values of freedom and democracy."

Salon.com
A foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been active in recent months in an advocacy campaign to rehabilitate the reputation of an underground organization in Iran known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq. The MEK has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a "terrorist" organization.
Mitchell Reiss, former director of policy planning at the State Department during the Bush administration, is now advising the former Massachusetts governor on foreign policy, the New Republic recently reported. Reiss also advised Romney's 2008 campaign.
Currently president of Washington College in Maryland, Reiss has played a leading role in an ongoing campaign to get the MEK removed from the U.S. government's official list of foreign organizations said to be involved in terrorism. Inclusion on the State Department list has far-reaching legal consequences -- including making it illegal for U.S. citizens to support or even join the group.
"[T]he U.S. State Department needs to delist the MEK immediately," Reiss said at a pro-MEK conference in Washington in April, where he was joined by a group of other luminaries, some of whom have acknowledged being paid to appear.
"Time is running out, lives are at stake," he declared. "For the United States this is a case where American interests of opposing the regime in Tehran are entirely consistent with American values of freedom and democracy."
In January he spoke at a conference organized by ExecutiveAction, a D.C.-based "problem solving company" that has spearheaded the campaign to delist the MEK. He also moderated a second, similar MEK event in April at the Capital Hilton in Washington and moderated yet another in July at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.
The MEK qualified for the State Department list because of its attacks on Iranian civilian targets beginning in the 1970s.
The Obama administration, which has engaged in complex negotiations with the Iranians over their nuclear aspirations, is being pressured to "delist" the MEK by those who say this would help undermine the Iranian regime, which is seen as a threat to Israel, a U.S. ally.
"With one simple signature, the Obama administration can help empower Iranians to seize control over their destiny - and perhaps end the mullahs' mad nuclear dash," wrote Daniel Pipes in National Review last month.
Romney has not taken a public position on the MEK, but he has previously spoken about Iran in aggressive terms.
"The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical," he told an American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) summit in San Diego in 2009. "Stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons."
The MEK follows a philosophy that mixes Marxism and Islam, according to the State Department. The group, led by a husband-and-wife duo, Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, has been criticized for its "cult-like" qualities. It killed several Americans in Iran in the 1970s, including the deputy chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Tehran and two civilian employees of Rockwell International, a manufacturing conglomerate.
As recently as 2000, according to the State Department, the MEK launched attacks on Iranian government and civilian targets. The MEK says it renounced terrorism in 2001.
In the past year or so, MEK supporters have mounted an intense public relations campaign fueled by millions of dollars of money, the sources of which are difficult to identify. A decision from the administration in an ongoing review of MEK's terrorist designation is expected soon, according to State Department watchers.
The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has not been moved by the MEK's public relations efforts so far.
But Washington's most agile gladhanders have noticed that the MEK is nothing if not generous. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat with little foreign policy experience outside the state of Pennsylvania, was paid $20,000 for a 10-minute speech in which he said, "This has been a terrific learning experience for me, someone who knew practically nothing about the issues."
Gen. Anthony Zinni, retired, a liberal-minded general and an early Iraq war critic, was paid his "standard speaking fee" -- $20,000 to $30,000 -- for an eight-minute speech at an MEK-linked conference. "I am shocked and surprised that we still chase this illusion that there can be a meaningful dialogue with the regime," Zinni said at the January event.
Other politicos advocating for the MEK include liberal Democrats Howard Dean and Bill Bradley.
All of this raises the question of what, if anything, Reiss -- an advisor to a major presidential candidate -- has been paid for his MEK advocacy, and where that money is coming from. Funds for the pro-MEK campaign have come from "a fluid and enigmatic network of support groups based in the United States," says the Huffington Post, citing an unnamed MEK leader. Reiss and the Romney campaign did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Reiss is a veteran policymaker. The author of "Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists" and two books about nuclear nonproliferation, he also served as George W. Bush's special envoy for the Northern Ireland peace process.

New Articles

Footprints of MKO terrorists, monarchists seen in recent unrests in SW Iran

The protests in the city of Kazeroun in Southwestern Iran ended and the situation came under control after Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI)...

War plans of the MKO and its sponsors

Terrorists are good as long as when they help you make more money no matter how dangerous they are. Nejat BloggersWhile former New York mayor and the current attorney of the...

Bolton’s Ascent Gives Iranian Group a New Lease on Life

With a supporter in the White House, the MEK might finally have a voice in U.S. policy.

M.E.K.: The Group John Bolton Wants to Rule Iran

As talks with North Korea approach, the new national security adviser, John Bolton, has long pushed for regime change in another country with nuclear ambitions: Iran. One of his chosen...

Rudy Went to Albania to Hang Out with A Iran Regime Change Cult

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is a notorious cult-like group of Iranian exiles which appears to have close to literally zero support inside Iran but has for years cultivated significant ties to...

Most viewed

124 Iranian members of MEK escaped and asked for asylum from Albanian police

124 Iranian residents who came to our country as members of the MEK organization have rejected the organization and its ideology, but risk suffering the same fate as in Iraq...

Why Bolton’s MEK Connection Matters

Jason Rezaian comments on Bolton’s enthusiasm for the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) and what it means for U.S. Iran policy:

US attempts at regime change in Iran are doomed to failure

There are no viable alternatives that Trump could bring to power in Iran to replace the current regime.

MEPs discuss Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania

Experts and political representatives from Albania were in the European Parliament on Tuesday 10th April, asking Europe for help in preventing the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from toxifying their country’s internal...

Basque militant group ETA: 'We really are sorry'

The Basque militant group ETA on Friday offered an unprecedented apology for the pain caused during its more than four decades of armed campaign for independence from Spain and France...