Double standard on terror

Mojahedin Khalq attacked its own country as well as ours

I write regarding a commentary article that appeared under the headline Egyptian protests provoke images of Iran, on Feb. 11 in The Spectator.

Almost anything critical of Iran seems to find a place in your newspaper, and the origin of the information does not seem to matter. The article tried to legitimize an anti-Iranian terrorist group. MEK, the Iranian People’s Mojahedin Organization, which the author argues should be taken off the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, was founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution by out-of-power groups. Here’s a partial list of its terrorist activities, which have resulted in 1,200 civilian deaths in Iran:

• June 1981: the bombing of the Islamic Republican Party headquarters, killing Iran’s chief justice, 19 members of the Iranian Parliament, five cabinet ministers, and 47 other people;

• June 1981: the attempted assassination of Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khameini;

• August 1981: the bombing of Iranian President Ali Rajai’s office, killing him, the prime minister and another person;

• The exploding of bombs in marketplaces and taxis around the capital city, Tehran.

MEK’s international reach extends to Canada. On April 5, 1992, Iran’s Ottawa embassy was stormed by a group of Iranian exiles linked to MEK. The mob ransacked much of the interior and broke the ambassador’s arm. It was part of a co-ordinated series of actions that saw Iranian embassies attacked in Europe that same day.

MEK has no popular base in any country. It relies totally on foreign sponsorship. During the 1980-88 war against Iran launched by Iraq’s late dictator, Saddam Hussein, which was funded partly by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states, MEK was allowed to set up a military base, Camp Ashraf, inside Iraq. Its own country under attack, MEK was given refuge inside the aggressor’s territory.

The Spectator clearly has a double standard when it comes to terrorism. During the 1970 October Crisis, when ordinary civilians were wounded by FLQ bombs in Quebec and officials kidnapped and killed, The Spectator took a strong stand against terrorism in Canada. Why publish the call for MEK’s rehabilitation now?

MEK is a small sect, united only by its capacity for violence, loyal to no country. However, in the Mideast, there are broadly based popular movements in various countries that the article lists as “extremists.” One of these is Hezbollah in Lebanon, which boasts the largest bloc of members of the Lebanese parliament. Another is Hamas in Gaza, which came to power through election.

How is it that The Spectator can print an article endorsing a terror cell’s call for democracy in Iran, while criticizing movements and governments that represent some of the only democratic processes in the Mideast?

Brendan Stone is cochair, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War, The Spce

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