The U.S. State Department reaffirmed its designation of the anti-Iran Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization as a terrorist organization.
The presence in Iraq of the MKO has long been a source of friction between Washington and Baghdad, which intends to expel the terrorist group.
The MKO had filed a petition for revocation of its designation as a terrorist organization. But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a notice published Monday in the Federal Register that after reviewing the case she determined that the designation is still valid and appropriate.
Iraq’s government has long sought to get rid of the MKO, but the issue took on new urgency when Iraq assumed greater sovereignty Jan. 1 under a new security agreement that gave the Iraqis responsibility for Camp Ashraf.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said on Jan. 1 that the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization can ""no longer operate in Iraq"".
The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.
The MKO is on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze, and has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visits Brussels and despite the ban enjoys full freedom in Europe.
The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).
In recent months, high-ranking MKO members have been lobbying governments around the world in the hope of acknowledgement as a legitimate opposition group.