The Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) claims to be Iran’s largest opposition group, even as studies and polls show it has minuscule support. The group embraces a virulently anti-American ideology, operates as a cult, and has notoriously opaque finances. The tax forms of MEK shell organizations show that the supposedly grassroots groups paying honorarium to officials and donations to politicians do not have the resources on their own to do so.
While the organization killed several American military officers and businessmen in Iran in the run-up to the Islamic Revolution, the State Department delisted the MEK as a terrorist organization in 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s move had less to do with any honest assessment of MEK terrorism and more with diplomatic sleight of hand necessary both to sidestep allegations that the United States was protecting a terror organization and to enable the group’s relocation from an Iraq-based camp to one on Albania. That, in contrast to other Iranian Americans, MEK members who are naturalized American citizens cannot receive security clearances or placement in sensitive positions in the United States civil service reflects the true assessment of the FBI and broader US government.
Here, a 2004 FBI document adds clarity to the breadth of US government concerns about the group. Pages 2-4 chronicle a list of MEK terror, directed toward both Americans and, after the MEK’s allies in the Islamic Republic pushed them aside, against Iran. With regard to current terror, the FBI reported:
Los Angeles investigation has determined that the MEK is currently actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism. The planning takes place at MEK bases in Iraq and at the Auver Sur Oise location in Paris, France. Los Angeles has consensually recorded numerous telephone calls in which MEK leaders at this French location discuss specific acts of terrorism to include bombings. Joint investigation with the French DST and the German Cologne Police Department has revealed similar findings from French and German wire taps.
It is astounding, given the evidence that the MEK has planned if not continues to plan terror at Rajavi’s residence at Auver Sur Oise, that so many American politicians willingly share a stage and launder such behavior for a paycheck. It is a barometer of corruption and should disqualify from further public policy roles.
The FBI continues to describe the National Council of Resistance of Iran as the MEK’s political branch:
This highly litigious organization has an office in Washington D.C. and commingles it’s [sic] headquarters at the MEK’s Washington D.C. cell location in Falls Church, Virginia. This organization routinely lobbies unwitting members of Congress under the pretext of human rights issues in Iran.
Staffers are doing their members a disservice if they arrange appointments without understanding MEK’s background or tactics.
The MEK also has a tendency to act as late conspiracy theorist and perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche’s organization once did. Consider this note about the arrest of Suson Azdanloo, the sister of “president-elect” Maryam Rajavi: “Arrested in December 2001 in Cologne Germany in a joint FBI/Cologne Police Department operation. Involved in a complex fraud scheme involving children and social benefits.” That the MEK today parries criticism by citing LaRouche conspiracies to slander journalists, academics, and analysts is likewise telling.
The FBI documents continue to list suggested questions to ask MEK members who are or are not US citizens; the organization’s financial agents; leaders; and defectors. The entire list is worth reading.
It truly is astounding that with so much known about the MEK, so many American and European officials continue to trade their own credibility for cash. Among Iranians, the MEK is politically irrelevant. Within the United States, it should be a pariah. It is time to end the MEK’s scam once and for all.
By Michael Rubin – AEIdeas