The Obama administration is moving to remove the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in a move sure to upset Tehran.
The exile organization, MKO, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.
Many of Iran’s top leaders were also targeted by MKO attacks during the 1980s.
The MKO has engaged in an aggressive legal and lobbying campaign in Washington over the past two years to win its removal from the State Department’s list. The terrorism designation, which has been in place since 1997, freezes the MKO’s assets inside the U.S. and prevents the exile group from fundraising.
The organization has large support on Capitol Hill. And some lawmakers are seeking to use the possible delisting of the organization to begin providing U.S. financial support.
A number of former senior U.S. officials said they were offered payments to speak on behalf of the MKO, including James Jones, President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser, and James Woolsey, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Senior U.S. officials said on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make any final decision on the MKO’s status. But they said the State Department was looking favorably at delisting MKO.
Iran accuses Western countries of hypocrisy for providing shelter to MKO members. WSJ