Russian Institute: US Main Supporter of Extremist Groups in Region

Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy Research and Initiatives in Moscow Veronika Krasheninnikova criticized the United States’ open and rude support for extremist groups in theRussian Institute: US Main Supporter of Extremist Groups in Region region, including the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, NCR and P1I).

Krasheninnikova said that, unsatisfied in "crippling" Iran with sanctions, the US looks to be set for active operations in Iran, and already has a terrorist organization in mind: a group called Mojahedin-e Khalq, which in the near future could become the Persian equivalent of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

She went on to say, on September 21, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton passed Public Notice 8050, delisting the MKO from the State Department’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, effective on September 28.

The director general of the institute said that MKO is an anti-Iran terrorist organization in exile that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since its inception in 1965 in Iran, the group conducted assassinations of US military personnel and civilians working in Iran in the 1970s, jubilantly supported the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and opposed the release of American personnel, calling for their execution instead, fought against the Islamic Republic together with Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988) and set up headquarters in Iraq at Camp Ashraff.

She added that, in recent years, according to various sources including NBC, the MKO teamed up with the Israeli secret service to kill Iranian nuclear scientists, adding NBC reported that US officials confirmed that "the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement".

She said that, in 1994, the State Department sent a damning 41-page report to Congress on why the MKO is a terrorist organization; that designation was enacted in 1997. The report concluded, "It is no coincidence that the only government in the world that supports the MKO politically and financially is the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein."

The report said that, the MKO’s mission to overthrow Iran’s leadership has not changed since, but the US agenda has, in a vertiginous about-face, Washington became the powerful protector of the MKO.

She said that, over the past few years, a formidable fundraising operation and campaign to delist MKO from the Specially Designated Global Terrorist register was carried out by the US.

Krasheninnikova added that, when speaking about terrorist groups, one might think of MKO as a ragtag bunch of cutthroats in shreds and tatters, confined to an unsanitary tent city, but the truth is nothing of the sort.

She said that, well-versed in American political mores, the MKO’s leadership says the group is "pro-democracy". However, even the New York Times disagrees, in the middle of the 2011 delisting campaign; it described MKO as "a repressive cult despised by most Iranians and Iraqis".

The director general of the institute went on to say that, totalitarian cult is indeed the most frequent label applied to the MKO by people who come in contact with the group, adding that American support for MKO is not limited to military protection, for instance, Seymour Hersh, in his New Yorker piece "Our Men in Iran?" revealed that beginning in 2005, MKO fighters were trained in Nevada by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

She said that as General Shelton said at a conference in February 2011, "When you look at what the MKO stands for, when they are antinuclear, separation of church and state, individual rights, MKO is obviously in the way that the US wants Iran to go. … By placing the MKO on the FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) list, we have weakened the support of the best organized anti-Iran group."

She added, in an interview with Germany’s WDR TV back in 2005, ex-CIA operative Ray McGovern explained the logic, "Why the US cooperates with organizations like the MKO, I think, is because that they are local, and because they are ready to work for us."

McGovern said that, "Previously, we considered them a terrorist organization, and they exactly are, but they are now our terrorists and we now don’t hesitate to send them into Iran …. for the usual secret service activities including attacking sensors, in order to supervise the Iranian nuclear program, mark targets for air attacks, and perhaps establishing secret camps to control the military locations in Iran."

Krasheninnikova explained that, Karen Kwiatkowski, formerly with the Department of Defense, makes a long story short for WDR TV, "MKO is ready to do things over which we would be ashamed, and over which we try to keep silent. But for such tasks we’ll use them."

Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy Research and Initiatives concluded that, now is the time for Russia and the world community to take active political measures preventing the United States from launching another proxy war in the Middle East. This time, unlike in Syria, the world should not ignore the march to war, and must take steps to prevent it from happening again.

The MKO, 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.

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 argued for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

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