Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington ruled that the U.S. State Department should review designation of Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCR, NLA) as a foreign terrorist organization. The ruling is the last of a quintuple series of petitions by MKO, out of which only two have been ruled by the U.S. Court of Appeals to remand the case for further proceedings.
In the first of the two, decided on June 8, 2001, the ruling stated: “While we determine that the designation was in compliance with the statute, we further determine that the designation does violate the due process rights of the petitioners under the Fifth Amendment, and we therefore remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion”. In the other three cases, however, the court denied the petitions for review.
MKO claims that the decision represents a victory for it and it may give them enough time to convince the Secretary of State that it has long since 2001 abandoned any commitment to violence. But the State Department has since designation of MKO as a foreign terrorist organization been relying on its own classified and unclassified data and has absolutely ignored the organization's assertions of abandoning terrorism. To know the State Department’s reasoning, as the case required that the Secretary provide a meaningful opportunity for MKO to review the unclassified record on which she relied, one does not need to look for classified information; there are periodically published reports and researches that release up to date information on MKO.
In a research analysis, commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Status Determination and Protection Information Section, mainly prepared on the basis of publicly available information, you can easily fathom the structure and the true nature of MKO regardless of its claims. The CORI research published on 21 September 2009 publicized Information on the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) based on the fact that “Every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy and comprehensive coverage of the research issue”. Far from any propaganda, the research delves into the group’s past and current activities covered and made available by the media and authentic sources of information. Interestingly, the bulk of information released in the report concerns the military operations of the organization under NLA alias.
On re-designation of MKO as a FTO, the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in itsApril 30, 2009 report once more asserted MKO’s terrorist activities done against America: “The group's worldwide campaign against the Iranian government uses propaganda and terrorism to achieve its objectives and has been supported by reprehensible regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. During the 1970s, the MEK assassinated several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the violent takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran”.
And there is the latest one published by Congressional Research Service dated June 11, 2010 entitledIran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses in which the reason for the designation of the group is referred to. It has a reference to MKO’s made petition against its designation in 2008 and the State Department determination to keep it on the list: “The FTO designation was up for formal review in October 2008, and, in July 2008, the PMOI formally petitioned to the State Department that its designation be revoked, on the grounds that it renounced any use of terrorism in 2001. However, the State Department announced in mid-January 2009 that the group would remain listed. The group remained on the FTO list when the list was reviewed and reissued in October 2009”.
And there are lot more evidences to corroborate the group’s unchanged terrorist disposition regardless of any court’s judgment. How can an organization with proven notorious, bloody history claim that it has been designated unjustifiably and in the absence of due process of law? Being removed from any list or not, however, is a test for the countries on whose lists it was labeled to prove their seriousness in war against terrorism. For Iranian people, it remains a terrorist group as terrorism and militarism is innate in its ideology.