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Iranian terrorist group MEK taken off US terror watchlist

Iranian Group Dropped from US Terror List After Political Push

ABC News Radio

(WASHINGTON) — A controversial Iranian group that the U.S. declared a terrorist organization nearly 15 years ago has been taken off the terror list in the wake of a high-profile political campaign aimed at Washington, D.C. decision-makers.

The State Department released a statement Friday saying the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a group of dissident Iranian nationals based in Iraq, has been removed from the official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, meaning that the group is no longer subject to financial and material restrictions by the U.S. government.

The MEK was added to the list in 1997 after the American government accused them of being behind the murders of several U.S. servicemen and civilians in Iran during the 1970s.

The group also reportedly allied itself with Saddam Hussein’s regime in opposition to Iran in the 1980s and 1990s and, most recently, Iranian officials have accused the MEK of being linked to the assassinations of nuclear scientists there. The group has said that it renounced violence a decade ago but still pushes for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

“With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism,” the State Department said.

“The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.

The MEK has lived for the past quarter century at Camp Ashraf, a refugee camp in Iraq, and have recently been in the process of giving up their weapons and moving from the camp — which the State Department said the MEK had historically used as a paramilitary base — to a former U.S. base, Camp Hurriya, before being re-settled in a third country.

The decision to de-list the group comes in the wake of a dogged campaign in support of the dissident group that featured prominent American former military men, security officials and politicians from both parties including the first Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former presidential candidate Howard Dean. Two former CIA directors, James Woolsey and Porter Goss, also threw their support behind the group.

In an editorial for Fox News in January, Ridge said that the previous failure to de-list MEK “continues to stymie prospects for democratic change in Iran” and said the group has provided the U.S. with “valuable intelligence” about Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

However, a senior State Department official said that the new decision was:

“not made to appease any group of lobbyists, no matter how famous they are.”

The United States government is not going to take anyone off the list if it genuinely believes that they pose an imminent threat, that they’re going to commit terrorist acts or that they are somehow wedded to violence that is the key desideratum,” he said. “That’s how we do this.”

I should add that the United States Government has not claimed that the MEK was involved in the assassination of scientists in Iran,” the official said.

The MEK has also come under fire from critics for appearing to be a cult-like organization.

A 2009 study by the RAND Corporation said its leaders “imbued the MEK with many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, and limited exit options.” Similar allegations are made in a 2005 Human Rights Watch report.

MEK members and supporters reportedly object to such accusations, saying it’s all Iranian propaganda.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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Posted in Intelligence Agencies, Iran, War on terror.

Tagged with Cult, Homeland Security, Human Rights Watch, Iran, Iraq, MEK, Nuclear, Rudy Giuliani, State Department, The United States, Washington.

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  1. Florencia says

    Pirouz_2: bombing Iran to stone age: Again, if you reaerd that, I said if not to the Stone Age . Yes technically USA can drop 5 or 10 H-bombs on Iran and turn it into a radioactive desert. So it is a technical possibility, but in practice it is not a possibility. In what context? If Iran actually developed and threatened to us nukes, yes, it would be a possibility, at least to the extent that the US would nuke Tehran. Certainly, Israel would do so. The reason it’s not a practical possibility is simply because Iran has not and would not do so in the first place which makes the hypothetical irrelevant to my point.I didn’t mention nukes, anyway, I might add. Apart from putting all the oil and gas in that region out of comission for a long period of time, it will end up devastating all other regional countries as well. Not a very practical possibility. OTOH, the US has seriously considered using nuclear bunker busters against Iranian underground nuclear facilities, even though estimate are that it would kill at least ten thousand Iranians immediately, kill scores of thousands more with radiation, and probably increase deaths from radiation caused disease all the way to Pakistan and India. I don’t believe that USA can actually invade Iran They can INVADE Iran, they just can’t HOLD Iran. what they can do (and if they do attack this is what most likely will happen) is pretty much what Israelies did to Lebanon in 2006. They will attack from the air and probably with missiles. Initially, yes, and depending on their ultimate objectives. One of their ultimate objectives almost certainly is seizing the Khuzestan oil fields right across the border from Iraq. Even if the US would ultimately lose the war, seizing those oil fields would be a strategic objective in order to deprive Iran of any oil revenue during the war (along with other means such as bombing pipelines, refineries, rail lines and ports so no oil flows from Iran.) Iran will retaliate by both attacking the shipping in PG and Israel with missiles. No matter what Americans do, they won’t be able to stop Iran’s retaliations (and this is one of the points where you and I disagree) Stop Iran’s retaliation entirely, no. The US might be able to contain it enough to prevent complete closure of the Straits and Gulf over time. We simply won’t know for sure until it happens. just as Israelies could not do that to Hezballah, so they may end up trying land incursions (just as Israelies did), and they will incure heavy losses and will have to return back (just as Israelies did). Which is exactly as I’ve said.None of which alters the fact that Iranian infrastructure will eventually end up as damaged as Iraq’s was which has still not been fully repaired eight years after the initial US attack on Iraq.Which is my point whenever I point out the US’ massive superior military capability. In the end their hegemony in this region will be far more deteriorated than it already is. Yup. So no matter how much some of the capitalists in the weapon making business may profit, in the end such a war will be to the US imperialism’s DETRIMENT. Again, one must distinguish between those who want hegemony and those who want war profits. It doesn’t matter to these people that US power will be degraded over time. Over time they expect to be dead like everyone else. What they want is money NOW.You’re assuming any of these people are rational enough to consider long term benefits. If that was the case in humans, there would be no wars, no conflicts at all. Everyone would be cooperating.Since that quite obviously is not the case, arguing that long term legitimate US interests factor into their considerations is just not a tenable argument. All US and indeed human history refutes it. So no sane imperial power should try to make such a war (wars are only profitable if you win not if you lose). Again, this is ridiculous.First of all, look at your phrase sane imperial power . What’s wrong with this picture? By definition, imperial powers are not sane. Which is why all empires eventually crumble.Second, once again, it is a question of WHO makes the money and WHO does NOT. The ruling elites make the money REGARDLESS of what happens to the US population or even the US politicians who come and go at the whims of the ruling elites. But this does not mean that USA will not attack Iran. Correct. Just as any sane person could see that the war of 2006 would be to Israel’s detriment and yet they did it, USA too may commit such a stupid act. Correct. And not only that, the Israel example is not the best example. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are the best example, because they explicitly are acts of the US.Again, my only point is that the US can and will damage Iran severely in any future war, regardless of whether the US will win or not. And that the US will conduct such a war if its ruling elites believe they can profit from it (and if the Israel Lobby believes Israel will benefit from it) regardless of any impact on the US taxpayer, the rest of the US economy outside of the military-industrial complex, and the long term interests of anyone other than themselves.For some reason, this obvious fact, based as it is on all US history going back to the 18th Century, appears to be completely incomprehensible to many people. A classic example of cognitive dissonance . People simply are scared to find out that this is the way the world really works.Well, but it does.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. How long after Bibi’s speech at the UN do we wait for a war with Iran? « Dark Politics linked to this post on September 29, 2012

    [...] with their hundreds of illegal nuclear weapons and their support for terrorist groups like the MEK who have just been removed from the US terrorist watchlist. A group who bombs, assassinates and terrorises Iranians all the time. But then they are [...]

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