Maryam Rajavi, leader of the MEK The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian Marxist-Islamist group opposed to the government there, is lobbying the Obama administration to have its name removed from a list of foreign terrorist organizations.
MEK has been on the State Department’s terrorist list since 1997, although even prior to that it was accused of killing Americans in Iran in the 1970s and supporting the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
One of Washington’s top lobbying firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, has been hired by MEK supporters (the Iranian American Community of Northern California) to remove the organization from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. Lobbyists working on behalf of MEK include former congressman Vic Fazio (D-California) and Hal Shapiro, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, whose State Department originally put MEK on the list.
MEK has also garnered support from the political odd couple of Howard Dean and John Bolton, along with former Republican Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Democratic ex-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
Supporters claim MEK should no longer be designated a terrorist group because it renounced the use of violence in 2001. The European Union did remove the MEK from its terrorism list in 2009.
Opponents of the de-listing point out that an FBI report from 2004 showed the group continued to plan terrorist acts at least three years after it renounced terrorism.