On February 16, 2011, the *New York Times* agreed to run a full page advertisement for the terrorist group and cult who are self-labeled the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK/MKO).  In an atmosphere of free speech, the MEK, even though they are a terrorist organization, has every right to run an ad to promote their cause. Surprisingly, so far no one has stood up to oppose it, as it was done in a similar situation in Seattle, when an ad was submitted by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (a group who is not affiliated with terrorism or terrorist organizations) to run on a METRO bus which stated “Israeli War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars at Work.” That ad was never run, because over two thousand emails were received by the METRO asking for the ad to be halted, and furthermore, a powerful Jewish lobbyist proposed to run his own ad campaign to counter the message. There was public uproar in Seattle regarding the ad—both for and against.
The decision by METRO to not run the ad, because of its controversial nature prompted a lot of dialogue and the real Palestinian-Israel issue itself was reinforced in people’s minds as indeed “a problem.” This dialogue was good, and hopefully mind-opening. 
With the MEK however, and the ad they ran in the *New York Times*, there was little or no resistance to its presence simply because not many people know about the MEK and not many people care. There was no dialogue to speak of, and yet there seems to be a growing concern over Iran. Why isn’t any one questioning this group?
Here’s what you should know about the MEK. The group is a cult and it is true that members’ rights are being violated–by their own leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, not the US government, not the Iranian government and not the Iraqi government. Oddly a few years back, according to an article in the *New York Times*, Elizabeth Rubin reports that MEK leaders do not allow members to marry, and that they must attend weekly “ideological cleansings” and children are separated from parents. Rubin states that “every morning and night, the kids, beginning as young as 1 and 2, had to stand before a poster of Massoud and Maryam, salute them and shout praises to them." 
The main leader of the cult, Maryam Rajavi, wants you ignore these infringements of human rights as you read her group’s current full page ad in the *New York Times*. She wants you to believe that the MEK is on the terrorist list because of a diplomatic decision which was made by the Clinton administration in order to appease the Mullahs in Iran. Maryam is banking on the idea that Americans are afraid of Iran and would like to see it diminish. Removing them from the list is one step forward for neoconservatives who would like to see the oil rich region under American control, and who would like to see Iran’s Islamic influence in the Middle East weaken. Some Americans will question NY Times’ motive, and maybe some will actually support the idea, after all, there are political A-listers in favor of Rajavi’s cult. In fact, the ad has listed the following individuals, with accompanying titles, as supporting the MEK’s cause:
Alejo Vidal-Quadras (vice president of European parliament), General James Jones (Former National security advisor to president Obama, Supreme Allied Commander Europe), Bill Richardson (Energy Secretary During Clinton Administration, US Ambassador to the United Nations 1997-1998), Irene Khan (Former Secretary General of Amnesty International), Michael Mukasey (Attorney General of the United States 2007-2009), Abassador Dell Dailey (Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Department of State), Ambassador John Bolton (US Ambassador to UN 2005-2006), Juan Garces (Legal advisor to the late President Salvator Allende), Prof. Ruth Wedgwood (Chair of International Law and Diplomacy in [sic] John Hopkins University), Struan Stevenson (President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq), Dirk Claes (senior Belgian Senator), Paulo Casaca (member of European parliament until 2009), Jan Zahradil (Vice Chair of the European Parliament Conservative and Reformist Group.)Each of these supporters has given a statement in a small blurb in the ad which of course favors the MEK. Some statements are vague, alluding to universal ideals such as “concern for the people in Camp Ashraf” and “appeasement leads us nowhere when fighting the forces of evil.” Other statements are more noteworthy declaring that the “unequivocal policy of the USA should be to overthrow the regime in Tehran” or “we must support Maryam Rajavi.” Finally others statements specifically call for immediate action such as “we must start backing the main opposition” and “we urge the US government to remove the PMOI (MEK) from the blacklist.” All the statements are designed to persuade readers that the PMOI is actually legitimate, and furthermore the rhetoric suggests that they are in fact the “main” opposition group.
What the ad doesn’t tell you is that they are, in fact, a group to whom Israel fed false information to regarding nuclear proliferation in Iran.  Nor does the ad tell you the group has killed thousands of people in Iran, including Americans. The ad does not tell you much about the backers of Maryam. For example, Jan Zahradil believes global warming is a conspiracy. Paolo Casaca is a member of *European Friends of Israel* (EFI) is an Israel lobby group formed in September 2006.
Michael Mukasey has Israeli citizenship. General James Jones served on Chevron Oil Company’s board of directors. What do these supporters have in common besides agreeing to allow their names have an association with the MEK? None of them have ever been to Iran. None of them have ever looked into what the Iranians think of the MEK. None of them see the far reaching implications of a MEK-controlled Iran. All of them are full blown supporters of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. And sadly none of them have theprudence to even consider what the Iranian people want.
The ad promotes the idea that the MEK is not a terrorist organization and this is alarming. In actuality, the recently accelerated campaign by US former politicians to remove Mujahedin Khalq Cult from the US list of foreign terrorist Organizations of Department of State stinks of Cold War logic. Bringing down the Islamic Republic and forging a new political order in Iran by embracing the MKO as the foundation just won’t work.
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett who write for the *Monthly Review*comment on an event held in Washington DC in January 2011, which was “clearly designed to build public support for delisting the MEK as part of a U.S.-led campaign for regime change in Tehran.”  The Leverett’s posit how they are “struck by how much the ongoing campaign to rehabilitate the MEK in Washington, as part of a broader, regime-change-in-Iran strategy, rhymes with a similar campaign in the 1990’s and early 2000s to promote Ahmad Chalabi’s expatriate Iraqi National Congress (INC) to overthrow the Iraqi government." They further that “the United States will truly deserve what it gets if it falls for this again with regard to the MEK and Iran." 
On January 28, Eric Lach of TPM (Talking Points Memo) posts a detailed report and descriptive background on the pro-MEK gathering that the Leverett’s exposed. Lach details the true nature of the group. In his report he makes some interesting observations, and questions why, despite what the State Department says, none of the speakers of the panel bother to mention that the group is a cult and that Maryam Rajavi has established a cult of personality. According to Lach, the whole case of the MEK and why such heavyweights are supporting them remains unclear to him. 
As late as March 7th, Lach is still asking questions and not getting much of an answer. But Professor William Beeman of the University of Minnesota seems to have found the answer. He believes that these prominent American figures "apparently have no ability to look at this situation from the viewpoint of the Iranian people." It seems that professor Beeman is perfectly familiar with Iranian people’s hatred towards MKO terrorists and their wisdom regarding the plot. Beeman thinks that the most important fact that Bolton, Rose Lehtinin and others fail to comprehend is the absolute incapability of the MEK reaching power in Iran. He asserts that the "MEK could never, never in a million years form an alternative government in Iran." He reminds us that majority of Iranians view the MEK as traitors. Beeman concludes that "Washington politicians waste their energy on cockamamie schemes such as getting this group off the terrorist list so that we can throw millions of taxpayer dollars down their rat hole in the utterly vain hope that they will bring about regime change in Iran rather than seriously trying to engage Iran ourselves." 
It is now the time to caution Washington warmongers and anti-Iran neo-cons that supporting the MEK is a lost cause. The morally bankrupt MEK, with their million dollar propaganda crusade will never fulfill their dream of taking over Iran. Political backers of the MEK stink of imperialistic puppeteers and their actions merely reinforce the notion that the US will repeat itself as it tries for a foothold into Iran—the US backed the Shah, whom the majority of the people in Iran at the time saw as a dictator. Then the US dumped him.
The MEK ad in the* New York Times* is not the first one, and until there is some real dialogue, it certainly won’t be the last. As we wait for a conversation to flourish, New Yorkers and Americans alike need to be aware of the MEK and their sticky, agenda-seeking foreign supporters.
By Mazda Parsi
 Advertisement posted by The National Association of Iranian Academics in
Britain, titled “Remove Iran’s Democratic Opposition, MEK/PMOI from US
Terror List and Protect Camp Ashraf.” *New York Times* Wednesday February: 2011, 16
Ervin, K. "Metro’s acceptance of ‘Israeli war crimes’ bus ad draws
complaints." *Seattle Times* December 20, 2010.
Rubin, Elizabeth. "The Cult of Rajavi." *New York Times Magazine*. July: 200313
Porter, Gareth. "Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group." *ISP*February 29 2008,
Leverett, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett "After "Iran Engagement": *
MRZine* January 24 2011: Web. 29 Mar 2011.
Lach, Eric. "Big Time Dems Join GOPers In Support Of Iranian Terror
Group." *TPM.com Talking Points Memo* 28 January 2011: Web. 29 Mar 2011.
Lach, Eric. "Big-Name GOP Lawyers Lobbying To Remove MEK From Terror
List." *Talking Points Memo* 07 March 2011: Web. 29 Mar 2011.
Beeman, William. "Beeman–Mojaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) Can Never Rule Iran."
*Culture and International Affairs*. William Beeman, 25 January 2011. Web. 29