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Is the MKO Moving to the US?

He was a teenager when he was distributing fliers for the Mujahedin Khalq Organization in the early 1080s in Tehran. Morteza Assadi used to be a member of the MKO that "opposed the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the U.S. government at one time considered a terrorist organization". The affiliation of this 49-year-old real estate agent in northern Virginia with the terrorist MKO cult has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. Assadi’s case has remained stalled although he has told the US government that he was never an active member or contributor to the MKO activities. [1] Now, what if the US administration grants asylum to the 3000 MKO members residing in Camp Liberty Iraq despite their official membership in a cult-like group which has once been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization?

As the MKO well-funded lobbying campaign succeeded to get the group removed from the FTO list, it is now lobbying for moving its forces to the United States territory. "In what has become an all-too-familiar sight on Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen members of the exiled Iranian group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, arrived at Thursday [March 11th]’s hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, all dressed in their trademark yellow shirts," reported Christina Wilkie of the Huffington Post. [2]

In response to the question by "most vocal" supporter the MKO’s relocation in America, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Us secretary of State John Kerry said "in his typically diplomatic way", “There’s one solution to the problem [of the MEK], and that is that we need to relocate those folks,” although he added that their moving to the US is " one of the things" they are looking at. [3]

Moving folks of a formerly designated terrorist group to the land of 9/11 incidence is no easy as Wilkie states, administration officials privately suggest that Rohrabacher’s bill, and any other efforts to grant asylum to the MEK in the United States, face nearly insurmountable odds.[4]

The decade long efforts of the UN, US, and Iraq to relocate the MKO remnants indicate that the process of moving them to third countries has become an international issue due to the group’s long time history of violence and terror. For the United States, the case of the MKO asylum seekers seems to be more sensitive, firstly because of the group’s involvement in the killing of 6 US citizens during the 1970s and secondly, because of their ardent support for the US embassy takeover in 1979, in Tehran. 

“The policy concern with asylum is what kind of precedent that might set for the future. By those standards, the MEK isn’t looking very good,” the US official told the Huffington Post correspondent. Wilkie also refers to more than 135,000 Syrian asylum seekers that only 31 were admitted in the last fiscal to illustrate how limited U.S. asylum policy is in practice. [5]

Following the gradual relocation process, up to now not more than two hundred MKO members have been moved to Albania, Germany, and Italy. However, the US government is willing to use its influence over Eastern European countries. It plans to move the remaining 3000 residents of Liberty to Romania, according to the Voice of Russia.

The alleged decision ”may turn Romania into a hotbed of tension, which will prove quite a headache both to Romania proper and the neighboring countries”. Ilya Kharlamov of the VOR writes, "When the US State Secretary John Kerry met with his Romanian counterpart Titus Corlaţean in Brussels in December, they took up the issue of moving the Mujahedin in question to Romania, according to some reports." [6]

Actually, third countries are reluctant to receive a large group of people who as the Russian expert an expert with the Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Studies and Analysis, Sergei Demidenko says, are "drilled ideologically and militarily" in "an unstable European area". [7]

Kharlamov of the VOR accurately suggests that the MKO leaders insist on a compact settlement of all three thousand militants in Camp Liberty. "But the Albanian and German authorities see this as too dangerous," she states."The terrorist leaders are in a stalemate. They are welcome nowhere, while in Iraq they have been coming under rocket fire recently”. [8]

Therefore, the group leaders have to endeavor hard to maintain the authority over their cult. They have to be more and more generous toward their Western friends. To cope with the limbo they are stuck in they have to whitewash their dark history and to make their cause plausible and in consistence with the western democratic standards. That’s why that you may see the name of the MKO’s propaganda arm National Council of Resistance (NCR) among progressive Islamic organizations listed by the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to educate people about inherent dangers of Islamic extremism.

To criticize Clarion Project’s misled action, the prominent American journalist Micheal Rubin puts, "The Mujahedin al-Khalq may be a lot of things, but it is neither progressive nor is it non-violent”.[9]

"To accept the Mujahedin al-Khalq as a moderate organization is analytically shallow given the group’s record of behavior, its dishonesty in its written work, its past targeting of Americans, and the fact that its rhetoric about democracy does not match its practice," Rubin warns. [10]

Furthermore, Christina Wilkie notes that the MKO has a long way to get accepted in third countries, "it’s been an uphill climb to convince other countries to accept MEK members, due to their cult-like characteristics and near-religious devotion to the Paris-based Maryam Rajavi and her husband. [11]

"But long odds don’t mean the MEK won’t keep trying to gain asylum in the United States. No longer restricted by the terrorist designation, they are now free to spend their millions of dollars — the source of which remains murky — without fear of Treasury Department scrutiny," concludes Wilkie.  [12]

Mass moving of the MKO to the United States may require hard work and may face various challenges but if it happens it has two sides. On the one hand, once more it demonstrates the US double standards regarding terrorism; on the other hand the hostages of the Cult of Rajavi may find the opportunity to get released from the cult control as well as the violence ruling the region.

 Mazda Parsi


[1]A Caldwell, Alicia, Obama Administration Easing Immigration Rule for Would-be Asylum Seekers, The Huffington Post, February 9, 2014

[2] Wilkie, Christina, John Kerry Gets Pressed To Grant Asylum To Former Terrorist Group Mojahedin, The Huffington Post, March 14 2014

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] Kharlamov, Ilya, US to flood Romania with terrorists, The Voice Of Russia, January 10, 2014

[7] ibid

[8 ibid

[9] Rubin, Michael, Why Does the Clarion Project Endorse the Mujahedin al-Khalq?, Commentary Magazine, April 28, 2014

[10] ibid

[11] Wilkie, Christina, John Kerry Gets Pressed To Grant Asylum To Former Terrorist Group Mojahedin, The Huffington Post, March 14 2014

[12] ibid

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