Tanter, A Mediator Between MKO and Israel

Professor Raymond Tanter of Georgetown U. and the head of the Iran Policy Committee, has concluded that supporting the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) is in America’s interest. Though this amounts to making a pact with the devil, he believes that the only way to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is to replace the religious regime in Iran with a democratic one, and that only MEK can do that. But there are several problems with MEK. The U.S. declared it a terror organization, and most Iranians consider MEK members traitors, because they supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Here is Tanter’s viewpoint in a nutshell: "Israel does not have the military strength to attack Iran’s nuclear installations…Only the United States can do that…on condition that there isn’t a Democratic president in the White House. A Republican administration is more likely to attack in the absence of a political regime change policy, whether there are good military opportunities or not. But attacking will not provide a fundamental solution to the (nuclear) problem…only delay it. In order to bring about a halt to the nuclear program, there has to be a regime change (that) can take place…in less time than it takes the regime of the ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons."

How much time are we talking about?

Tanter believes that Iran will have nuclear weapons within one to three years. His ten-point plan has clear guidelines: The U.S. should remove MEK from the list of terror organizations and allow it to operate from Iraq against the regime in Iran. "We believe that the moment the organization is able to operate from Iraq it will gain public favor in Iran…They will shoot at demonstrators, a civil war will break out, and then…the army will intervene, stop the bloodshed, remove the ayatollahs and take over."

But even then there will be no guarantee that Iran will stop trying to obtain nuclear weapons.

"Mujahideen-e-Khalq have already declared that they are not interested in manufacturing nuclear weapons. But no one cares if a democratic Iran has nuclear weapons. Who cares if Israel or India has nuclear weapons?"

MEK was founded in the 1960s by Iranian students with Marxist views, who were opposed to the Shah’s pro-Western policy. They joined Ayatollah Khomeini in the Islamic Revolution, but in 1981 the group was expelled from Iran. Saddam Hussein then enabled them to operate from Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. This was seen as betrayal by most of the Iranians, even opponents of the regime. At the end of the war, MEK established headquarters in Paris, and since then they have guerrilla and terrorist activities to their "credit". When the U.S. invaded Iraq, it disarmed the organization.

Tanter believes that Israel can help legitimize Mujahideen-e-Khalq: "I’m not asking the Mossad to join them and cooperate with them…But Israel has supporters and a lobby in the U.S. and it can ask them to have MEK removed from the State Department’s list of terror organizations…MEK is the only game in town if we want to bring about regime change in Iran. To paraphrase Churchill: Mujahideen-e-Khalq is the worst option, except for all the other alternatives.

Infoisrael quoting Haaretz/ Yossi Melman –  2006/10/21

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