U.S. takes Iranian dissident group MeK off terrorist list

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A U.S. appeals court in June set an Oct. 1 deadline for Mrs. Clinton to take a decision on removing the MeK from terrorist blacklist.

Britain and the European Union took the MeK off their lists of terrorist organizations in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Maryam Rajavi, MeK’s Paris-based leader, welcomed Mrs. Clinton’s decision.

“I understand that this decision was difficult and required political courage,” Mrs. Rajavi said. “This has been the correct decision, albeit long overdue, in order to remove a major obstacle in the path of the Iranian people’s efforts for democracy.”

The MeK has sought to position itself as a democratic force in Iran. However, U.S. officials are skeptical about its qualifications.

“We do not see the MeK as a viable opposition or democratic opposition movement ,” the first senior State Department official said. “We have no evidence and we have no confidence that MeK is an organization that could promote the democratic values that we would like to see in Iran.”

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.

Iran lashed out at the decision to take the MeK off the terrorism list.

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 as well as Democratic supporters, some of whom have admitted taking money to speak on behalf of the group.

The State Department officials said that campaign did not influence Mrs. Clinton’s decision.

The group’s supporters plan to celebrate outside the State Department on Friday.

The decision to delist the MeK, also known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

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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