- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Iranian group is taken off U.S.’s list of terrorists
NEW YORK — The Obama administration has taken a group of Iranian dissidents off the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, culminating a long-running public relations campaign by the dissidents and their supporters.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision to remove the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MeK) from the list will be published Wednesday in the Federal Register. The group also is known as the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
After an exhaustive review ordered by a federal court, U.S. officials found no evidence of the group's involvement in terrorist activity.
The MeK, which opposes Iran's theocratic regime, was given shelter by Saddam Hussein in Iraq in the 1980s. It has since renounced violence, and in 2003 surrendered its weapons as part of a cease-fire agreement with U.S.-led forces that toppled Saddam.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sought to shut down the group's paramilitary base, Camp Ashraf, in a bid to expel its members from his country.
Mrs. Clinton's decision resulted, in part, from the MeK's cooperation in relocating from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, a temporary location near Baghdad's international airport.
A U.S. appeals court in June set an Oct. 1 deadline for Mrs. Clinton to decide about removing the MeK from the terrorist blacklist.
Britain and the European Union took the MeK off their terrorist lists in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
The MeK was responsible for terrorist attacks in Iran in the 1970s that killed several U.S. military members and civilians, according to the State Department. The group denies any role in the deaths of U.S. military personnel.
The MeK has sought to position itself as a democratic force in Iran; however, U.S. officials are skeptical about its qualifications.
The Clinton administration designated the MeK as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 in an attempt to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough with the Iranian government.
A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned U.S. plans to take the MeK off the terrorist list.
"The United States' double standard in dealing with terrorism and instrumental use of these groups for political gain is not a new issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by Iranian state media.
"If the U.S. government goes ahead with this move, then it will be accountable for the blood of thousands of Iranians and Iraqis spilt by this cult and it weakens world efforts in combating terrorism," he said.
The MeK, whose leadership is based in Paris, invested a lot of money in an intense and expensive campaign to get itself off the U.S. terrorist blacklist. The group has prominent Republican and Democratic supporters, some of whom have admitted taking money to speak on behalf of the group.
The MeK asserts it now is working to overthrow Iran's Islamic regime through peaceful means.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow