The United States has officially offered the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group a path to get off the US terrorism blacklist.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a House committee on Wednesday that the MKO’s cooperation in a relocation plan from Camp Ashraf on the Iran-Iraq border "will be a key factor in any decision" on whether to take it off the US list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The United States will help ensure the safety and security of the camp’s residents as they are moved to another site inside Iraq, Clinton further said.
Around four hundred MKO members have so far been relocated to a new site called Liberty Camp, a former US military base near Baghdad airport, where they await resettlement in other countries.
The move is said to be part of an agreement reached between the United Nations and Iraq in December, which is expected to facilitate a complete MKO exit from Iraq.
Clinton’s remarks are seen as a clear indication that the US is close to removing the terrorist group from its blacklist. The US State Department has also been ordered by a federal court to re-evaluate the designation of the MKO.
The terrorist group has reportedly assembled a large roster of advocates in the United States, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey, FBI Director Louis Freeh and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
The Christian Science Monitor reported last August that former US four-star generals, intelligence chiefs, governors, and political heavyweights had been paid “tens of thousands of dollars” to call for the US government to take the MKO off the terror list.
Another report by NBC News on February 9 shed light on the MKO’s financial sources by citing two “senior US officials” as saying that the group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.” The report further confirmed Iranian claims that the terrorist cell had indeed been involved in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.
The senior US officials also admitted that “the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign” but claims it “has no direct involvement.”
The MKO is widely listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and is responsible for numerous acts of terror and violence against Iraqi as well as Iranian civilians, scientists and officials.