Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will decide on removing an Iranian dissident group from the U.S. list of foreign terror groups only after all its members have left a camp north of Baghdad, a Justice Department lawyer told a federal court Tuesday.
Robert Loeb, who is representing Mrs. Clinton, offered to provide the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit periodic progress reports on moving the Iranian exiles from their present home at Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base near Baghdad's international airport.
About 2,000 of Camp Ashraf’s more than 3,000 residents, who belong to the dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), have been transferred so far to Camp Liberty under a deal brokered by the United Nations.
Mrs. Clinton will decide on removing the MEK from the list no later than 60 days after Camp Ashraf has been vacated, and data gathered from the relocation has been studied to verify the group’s claims that it is not a terror group, Mr. Loeb said.
Viet Dinh, who represented the MEK at the hearing, accused Mrs. Clinton of “indifference and lassitude” toward the group. Every day that the MEK remains on the terror list is a violation of its rights, he said.
“Any decision [by Mrs. Clinton] would be better than the current state of deprivation, even a denial,” he said.
A denial of the MEK’s request would allow the appeals process to move forward.
“This court’s mandate is being ignored,” said Mr. Dinh.
“They have said that this is complicated by the move from [Camp Ashraf] … It’s not as if they are just sitting on their hands,” she said.
The MEK, also known as People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, was responsible for terrorist attacks in Iran in the 1970s that killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians, according to the State Department.
Camp Ashraf’s residents surrendered their weapons in 2003 as part of a cease-fire agreement with U.S. forces.View Entire Story
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Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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