The announcement followed reports that United Against Nuclear Iran’s summit would include a fringe Iranian diaspora group, Mujahideen-e Khalq, which had close ties with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Iran announced on Tuesday that it would begin the process to include the American NGO United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in the list of terrorist organizations.
UANI describes itself as a “not-for-profit, bi-partisan, advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons.” According to its website, it was founded in 2008 by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis Ross.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi’s announced the Tehran would label UANI as a terrorist group on the eve of the organization’s Iran Summit scheduled for Wednesday. The event will feature US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to a report by the Washington Post, the summit has sparked controversy for including a fringe Iranian diaspora group, Mujahideen-e Khalq, or MEK, which until 2012 was included in the list US list of foreign terrorist organizations for allegedly killing Americans in the 1970s and for its ties to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. For the latter reason, the group is harshly criticized in Iran as well.
“On the one hand, the United States deceitfully speaks of compromise and negotiation, and on the other hand, it organizes, finances, and arms criminal and terrorist groups … and provides them with intelligence,” Mousavi said, adding that MEK is responsible for the death of thousands of Iranians during the Iraq-Iran war.
Iran, its threats to the stability of the region, and the need to find solutions to prevent Tehran from reaching a nuclear weapon are among the topics at the center of the United Nations General Assembly which is taking place in New York between September 17 and September 30.
By Rossella Tercatin