- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2012

NEW YORK — The Obama administration has taken the Mujahideen-e-Khalq off the U.S. terrorist blacklist culminating an expensive PR campaign by the Iranian dissidents.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decision took into account the MeK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the group for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the closure of Camp Ashraf, their paramilitary base in Iraq, the State Department said in a statement.

Following an extensive review, U.S. officials found no evidence of the group’s involvement in terrorist activity.

The decision was based on a “global evaluation of the group’s activities,” a senior State Department official told reporters in a background call on Friday afternoon.

The MeK was responsible for terrorist attacks in Iran in the 1970s that killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians, according to the State Department. The group denies any role in the deaths of U.S. military personnel.

The State Department said that it “does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992.”

The MeK was given shelter by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It has since renounced violence and in 2003 surrendered its weapons as part of a cease-fire agreement with U.S. forces.

The MeK says it is now working to overthrow the Iran’s Islamic regime through peaceful means.

The senior State Department official said the group’s activities in Iran were also considered in the decision to delist.

“We do not distinguish between actions in or against Iran or in or against any other country,” the senior State Department official.

The decision, effective immediately, allows U.S. citizens to support the group without the need for a license.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an ally of Iran, has sought to shut down the group’s paramilitary base, Camp Ashraf, in a bid to kick its members out of his country.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision was shaped, in part, by the MeK’s cooperation in relocating from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, a temporary location near Baghdad’s international airport.

U.N. and Western officials have said the terrorist designation by the U.S. had deterred Western nations from taking in members of the MeK. The decision on Friday could remove that hurdle.

“It is certainly plausible to assume that this action will assist in our efforts to support the UNHCR in its efforts to find homes for these people outside Iraq,” a second senior State Department official said on background.

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