Washington: The United States removed the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), an exile Iranian group in Iraq, from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The decision made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under U.S. jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said.
It said the decision, which took effect on Friday, came as the organization has renounced violence over the years and cooperated in closing Camp Ashraf peacefully, an issue that had resulted in deadly clashes with the Iraqi security forces.
“With today’s actions, the department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992,” the department added, raising “serious” concern as well about the group’s alleged abuse of rights.
The MEK is a movement founded in September 1965 in opposition to the shah of Iran, and it subsequently fought to oust the Islamic Republic after the 1979 Iranian Revolution by launching a vicious campaign of terrorist bombings and assassinations in the 1980s-1990s. Notable those assassinated by the group include President Muhammad Ali Rajai and Prime Minister Bahonar. It also claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing of Islamic Republic Party office that killed 72 members of Iranian parliament.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986 and set up Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border after being given refuge by then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. It fought alongside Iraqi forces against Iran in the eight year war.
After US invasion of Iraq, Washington branded the group as a terrorist organization for killing six Americans in the 1970s.
Worthy to mention that when the Bush administration sought to justify its attack on Iraq in 2003 by accusing Saddam Hussein of being a sponsor of “international terrorism”, one of its prime examples was Iraq’s “sheltering” of the MEK. Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is forbidden to provide any “material support” to that group.
However, removing MEK from US black list assures that violence used by the US and its allies (including stateless groups) can never be terrorism, no matter how heinous and criminal!
Iranian State TV criticized the decision, saying that the U.S. considered the MEK “good terrorists” and claims Washington is using the group to work against Tehran. State radio said the move highlights President Barack Obama’s anti-Iranian sentiments.
“There are numerous evidence of the group being involved in terrorist activities. Delisting them shows America’s double standard policy on terrorism,” State TV said. The U.S. distinguishes between “good and bad terrorists” and the MEK are now “good terrorists because the U.S. is using them against Iran,” the report also said, adding that Washington and Israel use the group to spy on Iran’s nuclear program.
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