The Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) in a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasted Washington’s support for the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCR), and cautioned the US to revise its decision for removing the MKO from its terror list.
In its letter addressed to the US secretary of state, the ADVT, a non-governmental, cultural institution whose members are the families and children of terrorism victims, underlined the necessity for the US to pursue a non-political drive and study its decision more before striking off the MKO from the list of its terrorist groups.
"The US State Department’s approach to the MKO cult which ignores the group’s criminal and terrorist record and its potential threats is surprising," the letter said.
The letter came after three senior Obama administration officials told CNN earlier this week that Clinton is expected to notify Congress on Friday that she plans to take MKO off a State Department terror list.
Notification will be followed by formal removal in coming days from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, which includes more than 50 groups like al Qaeda and Hezbollah.
Clinton is under a court order to decide by October 1 whether to remove the grouplet from the terror list.
MKO is considered by many in the administration to be a bizarre cult-like organization, prompting concerns about its behavior. Officials say these concerns factored heavily in the debate.
"While they present themselves as a legitimate democratic group worthy of support, there is universal belief in the administration that they are a cult" one official said. "A de-listing is a sign of support or amnesia on our part as to what they have done and it does not mean we have suddenly changed our mind about their current behavior. We don’t forget who they were and we don’t think they are now who they claim to be, which is alternative to the current regime."
MKO has paid well-known former US politicians and former administration heavyweights to speak out on its behalf, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and former National Security Advisor James Jones.
Earlier this month, the seventh and last group of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq.
The last group of the evacuees included 88 terrorists. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty which lies Northeast of the Baghdad International Airport.
Camp Liberty is a transient settlement facility and a last station for the MKO in Iraq.
Earlier this year, the Iraqi government set a new deadline for the MKO to evacuate its members from Camp Ashraf by October this year.
The MKO cannot find a shelter outside Iraq as it is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.
The MKO is blacklisted by much of the international community.
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.
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.
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.