Response to McClatchy on MEK

Soona Samsami, 17 November 2016

The article, “Accused in ’70s of U.S. military slayings, Iran group has friends in Trump’s circle,” (McClatchyDC, Nov. 17), a gross misrepresentation of indisputable historical facts, has rehashed a litany of stale and oft-repeated allegations, originally concocted by the Iranian regime, against the ruling theocracy’s main opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

These absurd accusations against the MEK were definitively debunked in a dozen court rulings in Europe and the United States and put to rest several years ago. They are being resurrected now only to settle political scores following the US presidential elections. The Iranian regime and its lobby are terrified that the eight-year honeymoon they enjoyed, specifically one concession after another in the JCPOA and the blind eye to Tehran’s atrocities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, has come to an end, and that the regime will finally be held accountable for its crimes.

To set the record straight the following is in order:

The murderous turbaned tyrants of Iran view the MEK as an existential threat due to its popular support at home, organizing anti-government demonstrations inside Iran, and undermining their Islamic extremist ideology among a vast majority of the Iranian population, especially the youth. The MEK has been is the main victim of repression in Iran; over 100,000 of its members have been murdered since 1981, and many of its supporters are currently jailed in notorious prisons across the country.

After having failed to physically eliminate the MEK, the cunning mullahs of Tehran embarked upon a multi-million-dollar campaign of character assassination and demonization to justify the policy of appeasement which has only emboldened the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism and the number-one per capita executioner of its own citizens.

The MEK’s 1997 terrorist designation, according to senior administration officials at the time, “was intended as a goodwill gesture to Tehran and its newly elected moderate president, Mohammad Khatami.” Iran took the concession and laughed all the way to the bank.

The MEK challenged this designation and America’s second highest court unanimously granted its writ of mandamus, the first since 1803, and ruled that the State Department’s delay in deciding the case was “egregious,” warning that it would delist the MEK itself if the State failed to act promptly. A large bi-partisan coalition in U.S. Congress also called for delisting and Secretary Clinton eventually delisted the group in 2012.

The MEK had no role whatsoever in the death U.S. military officers and contractors in Iran over 40 years ago. Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., who served in five different US administrations, definitively debunked this allegation in a book published by the University of Baltimore in 2013.

Also false is the accusation that the MEK participated in the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. Ironically, Ervand Abrahamiam, whom the writers have quoted against the MEK, wrote in a book in 1989 that one of MEK’s criticisms of the regime at the time included “Engineering the American hostage crisis to impose on the nation the ‘medieval’ concept of the velayat-e-faqih… [The MEK] published articles revealing how the student hostage-takers were linked to the IRP [Islamic Republic Party].”

Nor did the MEK have any connections to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and the State Department officially confirmed this fact.

In a letter to a Dutch Court in 1999, then Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq’s, Foreign Affairs spokesman and later-to-be Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, wrote, “The KDP can confirm that the Mujahedin were not involved in suppressing the Kurdish people neither during the uprising nor in its aftermath.”

In a statement on June 13, 2015, a stellar, bipartisan group of 38 former US officials, wrote that the movement’s message “is a 10-point plan for the future of Iran that …. would restore political legitimacy through universal suffrage, guarantee rights for all citizens and particularly women and minorities, end the cruel excesses of the judiciary and establish the rule of law, end the nightmare of fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship by once again separating church and state, protect property rights, promote equal opportunity and environmental protections, and – last but certainly not least – seek a non-nuclear Iran, free of weapons of mass destruction.”

Owing to its extensive support inside Iran, the MEK has succeeded in exposing Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program, including Natanz enrichment site and Arak heavy water facility, which triggered an international inspection regime. As many members of congress have said, were it not for the MEK revelations, the mullahs would have had the bomb by now. It has also played a key role in unveiling the mullahs’ vast terrorist networks in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

And outside Iran, the most-educated and professionally accomplished Iranians have lent their support to the MEK, including the 100,000 who took part in an annual rally in Paris this past summer.

It is no wonder that in addition to the support by hundreds of the most distinguished bi-partisan officials in the US, Europe and the Middle East, the MEK has enjoyed the backing of bi-partisan majorities in many parliaments across the globe, most significantly in the U.S. Congress.

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