MKO Supporters, Lack of awareness or deliberate plot?

There is little that can threaten the relationship between the US and Iran, except when it comes to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO). The MKO, a cult-like terrorist organization, has, through a massive propaganda campaign, been aggressively brushing its ugliness under the rug. And to some, it may look like its effort is starting to pay off. The fresh representation of the group is carefully constructed to exhibit the right mixture of human rights advocacy, victimless, and political force. Politicians who have bought into the MKO’s cleaner image fall into one of two categories—those who honestly don’t know about the group’s horrific nature or those who are profusely aware of the group’s character but are carefully and confidently willing to step forward and exploit them for a political agenda.

The MKO, a cult-like terrorist organization, has, through a massive propaganda campaign, been aggressively brushing its ugliness under the rug

The MKO’s exact moral fiber is well known among Iranian nationals, and most find the group a bizarre collection of detestable figures who participated in murdering thousands of Iranian citizens—this is not well-known outside Iran, and the MKO would like it to stay that way. Most Iranians and a grim minority of Western journalists and scholars understand that the MKO has a Hitleresque type leadership. People who follow the activities of the MKO know that the US State Department designates the MKO as a "cult-like" terrorist organization that "uses propaganda and terrorism to achieve its objectives." [1] The Congressional Record states that, “for politically expedient reasons, the MEK presently assumes various titles. Some of the most commonly used ones include: The MEK [or MKO], the Organization of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), The NCR, Iran Relief Fund (IRF), and the Muslim Iranian Students Society (MISS). In the same vein, the MEK has also misrepresented itself as ideologically akin to the Muslim Afghan Mujahedin freedom fighters.” [2] But to the mainstream public the MKO may appear to be a legitimate organization pushing bonafides democracy. In fact, it has long been documented by the US government that even though the group is a terrorist organization (and its assets have been frozen by the US Treasury Department under Executive Order 13224 [3]), it identifies itself as a genuine “human rights” organization and has even sponsored several front groups in order to push its message of replacing the current government of Iran with its own.

The MKO has lobbied aggressively and gained the support of some Western politicians. And those who don’t support them seem to turn a blind eye. There was an honest effort to expose the group’s terrorist activities by Senator John McCain shortly after Bill Clinton’s first election, but that effort sadly died down when McCain felt it was too controversial of a topic to engage in—a trap may politicians fall into. At least he tried, and his effort is on the Congressional Record. [4] Politicians who fail to educate themselves and fail to acknowledge the atrocities of the MKO suffer from indifference, and this indifference allows the group more power to weasel around, lobby, and seek favors in political circles. Moreover, politicians who educate themselves about the MKO and yet fail to denounce the group are committing a moral offense. In recent years the MKO cult, despite their status in the Congressional Record have lobbied both the European Parliament and the US Congress in order boost their campaign (with the ridiculous goal of taking over Iran). The MKO managed a chilling triumph when they uncompromisingly applied pressure to, and then obtained support from enough EU representatives to get a declaration issued in late November 2010 from the European Parliament which urges Washington to remove the MKO from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, a declaration neo-cons later planned to take advantage of.

As part of their campaign, the MKO insists that it has not engaged in terrorist tactics for over twenty years. In the face of this claim, a 2007 RAND report describes the MKO as “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” The report, commissioned on behalf of the US Department of Defense says that “during the more than four decades since its founding, the MEK has become increasingly adept at crafting and promoting its image as a democratic organization that seeks to bring down Iranian tyrants, both secular and religious.” [5]

Although terrorist activities of the MKO are well documented by the media, foreign governments, and the US government, a US State Department paper reports that “despite Mujahedin assertions that the group has abandoned its revolutionary ideology and now favors a liberal democracy, there is no written or public record of discussion or debate about the dramatic reversals in the Mujahedin’s stated positions. Moreover, the Mujahedin’s 29 year record of behavior does not substantiate its capability or intention to be democratic. Internally the Mujahedin run their organization autocratically, suppressing and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints."[6]

Now, in the wake of increasing pressure on Iran, a number of important right wing figures including Michael B. Mukasey, Tom Ridge, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Frances Fragos Townsend attended the group’s gathering in Paris where they advocated the group as an alternative for the government in Tehran. Their support for a foreign terrorist designated organization bugged a large number of US journalist and educators. As a reply to criticism against them the four Paris lecturers wrote an article in the *National Review*published January 10, 2011 basically denouncing the State Department for including the MKO on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
They implied that the MKO was on the list in the first place because of a US political move made to ease relations with Iran. Following the European Union’s lead, Mukasey and his neo-con gang propose to actually delist the MKO. They have been vigorously backing the MKO and have petitioned members of congress to do the same, bragging that “more than 100 members of Congress have supported a resolution to undo this designation.” [7] The article is a perfect example of shallow rhetoric designed to convince the public to soften its stance on seemingly non-violent Muslim groups, while promoting an idea that Iran is the enemy, and the MKO is all about human rights. But what they are not stating is that the MKO is a violent, militant group who assassinated Americans in the 1970’s, and then participated in taking over the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, all of which is well-documented by the US State Department. These rock star figures, Michael B. Mukasey, Tom Ridge, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Frances Fragos Townsend are backstabbing the American public—bluntly making a political move as leverage against Iran—all because they either lack understanding about the true nature of the MKO, and have seriously and dangerously bought into the MKO’s scheme, or they are simply justifying their own agenda which is to destabilize the Middle East even further—using the MKO to target Iran. Either case is dismal. American politicians need to be informed, and the American people need the real facts. It is immoral for an American political band, or any political band for that matter, to assist the MKO. It is immoral to set an agenda for Iran without giving any consideration to the sentiment of the Iranian public, who feel complete repugnance for the most reprehensible terrorist group the nation has ever known The outcome of the MKO’s lobbying in the US congress remains to be seen. How America comes to see the MKO, and how they treat the MKO will have a significant impact on US-Iran relations. President Obama has made it clear to the public he is concerned with the relationship and the *New York Times*reported that he has “willingness to conduct talks at the highest level with Iran.” [8] And when that time comes, if it comes at all, undoubtedly Iran will want to discuss the MKO. For Michael B. Mukasey, Tom Ridge, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Frances Fragos Townsend, and the 100 members of congress who want to remove the MKO from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, a blockage of Obama’s presidential diplomatic effort with Iran seems not only counterproductive, but it confuses the American public, and fuels additional mistrust of US foreign policy. Now is the time for the US State Department to do what they admit they have not, and that is to have “a serious written or public record of discussion or debate about the dramatic reversals in the Mujahedin’s stated positions.” [9]

References:

[1]Katzman, Kenneth. US State Department Report, Library of Congress.
Congressional Research Service.The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
Washington, Nov 1992. Doc. call no.: M-U 42953-1 no.92-824F
as posted on the Iran-interlink.org website:
http://www.iran-interlink.org/files/child%20pages/USstatedept.htm
See also: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
website: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf.
See also: CORI (Country of Origin Research and Information) website:
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf

[2] Congressional Record, Senate Proceedings and Debates of the 103rd Congress, First Session Thursday, January 21, 1993
SUPPORTING THE RIGHT OPPOSITION GROUPS IN IRAN AND IRAQ
(Document Citation: 139 Congressional Record, page S172-03)
http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2009/11
/the-mko-mek-pmoi-facts.html

[3]US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control
http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/
ofac/programs/terror/terror.pdf

[4]Refer to the Congressional Record, Senate Proceedings
and Debates of the 103rd Congress, First Session Thursday, January 21,1993
SUPPORTING THE RIGHT OPPOSITION GROUPS IN IRAN AND IRAQ
(Document Citation: 139 Congressional Record, page S172-03)
http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2009/11/
the-mko-mek-pmoi-facts.html

[5]NIAC NEWS. "MEK Supporters in Congress Turn up Pressure
on Administration to Take Group off Terrorist List."
*National Iranian American Council* November 23, 2010: Web. 21 Jan 2011.
http://www.niacouncil.org/site/News2page=
NewsArticle&id=6876&security=1&news_iv_ctrl=1061

[6]Katzman, Kenneth. US State Department Report, Library of Congress.
Congressional Research Service. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
Washington, Nov 1992. Doc. call no.: M-U 42953-1 no.92-824F as posted on the
Iran-interlink.org website:
http://www.iran-interlink.org/files/child%20pages/USstatedept.htm
See also: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
website: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf.
See also: CORI (Country of Origin Research and Information) website:
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf

[7] Mukasey, Michael B., Tom Ridge, Rudolph W. Giuliani,
and Frances Fragos Townsend.
"MEK Is Not a Terrorist Group."*National Review Online* January10,2011
Web. 21 Jan 2011.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/256689/
mek-not-terrorist-group-michael-b-mukasey-tom
-ridge-and-frances-fragos-townsend.

[8] Gordon, Michal R, and Jeff Zeleny. "If Elected Obama Envisions New Iran
Approach." *New York Times *Online November 2, 2000,
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/us/politics/02obama.html

[9]Katzman, Kenneth. US State Department Report, Library of Congress.
Congressional Research Service.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
Washington, Nov 1992. Doc. call no.:
M-U 42953-1 no.92-824F as posted on the Iran-interlink.org website:
http://www.iran-interlink.org/files/child%20pages/USstatedept.htm
See also: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
website: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf.
See also: CORI (Country of Origin Research and Information) website:
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4ac9c2c52.pdf
 

By Mazda Parsi

Service

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