Last year at about the same date the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group held its annual meeting in Paris, attended by some of the former US, European and Saudi officials. The call for regime change in Iran from the terrorist group, recently removed from terror lists in the US and EU despite being responsible for killing nearly 17,000 Iranians since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, does not strike Iran as a surprise. Iranian officials have not shied away from acknowledging the role of regional and international hostile states especially the United States in collusion with and financial support for the MKO. However, many Iranians have noted the paradoxical stance in the French government which has tried to become one of Iran’s major partner since the nuclear deal.
Founded in 1965, the organization is currently designated as a terrorist organization by Iran and Iraq, and was considered a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom and the European Union until 2008 and 2009 respectively, and by Canada and the United States until 2012. After the Iranian revolution, the group targeted key Iranian official figures, low ranking civil servants and members of the Revolutionary Guards and even ordinary citizens. Hafte Tir bombing and Prime Minister’s office bombing are among the attacks carried out by MEK. As a result, more than 17,000 people were killed in MEK’s violent attacks since 1979.
Speaking about the connections between a number of Trump Cabinet members and the MEK, one MEK supporter already tapped to be a Cabinet secretary several others, including John Bolton and Fran Townsend, still in discussion for senior jobs in a Trump administration; and a fourth, Newt Gingrich, taking the self-described role of “chief planner,” the character of the MEK and, by extension, its well-paid supporters matters. The ever existing irony is that the number one defenders of human rights and fighters of terrorism pour their endless dollars on one of the cruelest terrorist groups in history and not even being pleased with that, they remove the curse name of this terrorist organization from the list where is really belong and deserve to be. And to compound the puzzle, Europeans who are always concerned about their security allow the MEK to freely grow and act in their lands this time against Iran but later, nobody knows! But what is certain to be predicted is that this tree of generosity of Europeans towards MEK terrorist organization will bear no fruit but regret and remorse.
The conference last year aroused strong reactions in Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who ended an official visit to Paris on the eve of the conference, criticized France for permitting the opposition group to operate within its borders, saying that regional and European countries are well aware of MEK’s terrorist activities. Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s advisor on international affairs, emphasized that hosting terrorists would not contribute to regional or international peace. On SNS, thousands of Iranian users mobilized a virtual campaign against the organization using the English and Persian hashtags “Iran hates MEK” and “No to MEK.” The posts included insults and slurs against members of the organization accused of causing the death of thousands of Iranian citizens. Users contended that MEK is a terrorist organization entirely unrepresentative of the Iranian people, and devoid of popular support. They stressed that opposition to MEK unites Iranians, regardless of ideology or political outlook. As one user tweeted, “There is no difference between conservatives, reformists or independents! We all agree on hatred for Munafakin [a derogatory term for the MEK, meaning hypocrites or false Muslims].”