Iran opposition chief sees rebirth

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“All the energy and potential of our movement were chained” during the 15 years that MEK was listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, she said, speaking in French as well as the Iranian language of Farsi through a translator.

At its headquarters, the group was preparing for a jubilant fete on Saturday, plastering walls on the street with red drapes and photographs of “martyrs,” as it refers to members who have been killed.

“The diplomatic scene will be completely different” because the group’s status as a pariah will evaporate, Rajavi said, reiterating MEK’s long-standing denial of terrorism.

But, she said, “the most important impact … will be seen inside Iran.”

“The balance of power, the balance of power is going to change. For example, the first message for the Iranian people will be they won’t fear increasing their activity and increasing their demonstrations,” she said. The fear “will evaporate … and that will lead to the expansion of anti-regime activities within Iran.”

With a clean bill of health in the West, the Iranian regime “will no longer have the excuse” of acting against an organization deemed terrorist by the United States.

Mujahedeen, protected in Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein, were disarmed after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and are disliked by the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shiite Muslims like those in Iran.

The United States had insisted the MEK’s members leave Camp Ashraf, their home in Iraq, as a condition for removal from the terrorist list. All but several hundred militants are now located in Camp Liberty, a former U.S. base outside Baghdad, looking for placement in third countries.

Among those transferred to Camp Liberty were Rajavi’s 30-year-old daughter and her 32-year-old son, she revealed.

A veil of mystery has long clung to the group, not the least over the whereabouts of its main founder, Massoud Rajavi, who married Maryam in 1985. He has not been seen publicly since at least 2003, although he continues as MEK’s co-leader, and his portrait greets visitors at the well-secured entranthe group’s French headquarters.

There has been speculation that he is dead. Rajavi countered those reports Friday and said he is alive but would provide no details.

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Bradley Klapper contributed to this story from New York.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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