Recent Media reports unveiled Washington’s growing enthusiasm for the anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, warning that the US intends to take the MKO off its blacklist in a bid to use the terrorist group as a proxy to launch attacks against Iranian interests.
According to a report, titled "the foolish embrace of the MEK (another label for the MKO)" published by The American Conservative, since early January 2011 the MKO has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, Public Relations agents and communications firms to build up pressure on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take the group off the terrorist list, alleging that the MKO rejected violence and terrorism in 2001 and as a result should be de-listed.
"But this is not true, according to the FBI. A recently disclosed FBI report from 2004 reveals that the group continued to plan terrorist acts at least three years after they claimed to renounce terrorism," the report added.
The report pointed to the willingness of numerous former US government officials, retired military officers, and elected representatives to embrace the MKO, and underscored, "There’s no question that they are motivated by their loathing of the Iranian government, but their hostility to the regime had led them to endorse a group that most Iranians loathe."
Republican candidate Michele Bachmann described the group as "one of the bravest Iranian dissident groups" and "freedom-seeking." "Bachmann is hardly alone in her folly. She has quite a lot of company," the report added.
According to the report, other supporters include, Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. President Obama’s former National Security Adviser Gen. James L. Jones is another. Others include Bill Richardson, former energy secretary and US ambassador to the United Nations; Michael Mukasey, attorney general under President George W. Bush; Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and homeland security secretary under Bush; Gens. Peter Pace and Hugh Shelton, former vice chair and chairman, respectively, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Louis Freeh, former FBI director; Lee Hamilton, former Democratic congressman; Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA; Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of the Central Command; Frances Townsend, homeland security adviser in the Bush White House; and Brad Sherman and Dana Rohrabacher of the House of Representatives.
In the past, the US has supported ethnic separatist groups inside Iran in their armed opposition to Tehran, most of whom have resorted to attacks on civilian targets. When Jundollah was added to the list of terrorist organizations, it seemed as if that policy of subversion through sponsoring terrorism might have been abandoned.
"If the effort to de-list the MKO is successful, it seems more than likely that the group will be used as a proxy to launch attacks against Iranian interests," the report stressed. The report quoted a political analyst as saying that "First, the desire to de-list them in Washington seems partially driven by gravitation towards covert military action against Iran."
"Neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yielded the desired results on the nuclear issue, and some in Washington are advocating using the MKO to conduct assassination and sabotage campaigns inside Iran," the report said. As one former State Department official put it, the "paradox is that we may take them off the terror list in order for them to do more terror".
The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States. Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed 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).
Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations. According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.
The group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets. Leaders of the group have been fighting to shed its terrorist tag after a series of bloody anti-Western attacks in the 1970s, and nearly 30 years of violent struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In recent years, high-ranking MKO members have been lobbying governments around the world in the hope of acknowledgement as a legitimate opposition group. The UK initiative, however, prompted the European Union to establish relations with the exiled organization now based in Paris. The European Court of First Instance threw its weight behind the MKO in December and annulled its previous decision to freeze its funds.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country. The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.