MeK Status on US Terror List Hinges on Relocation

Clinton says if anti-Tehran terrorist group can't find someplace to go after being evicted from Iraq, they may get de-listed

by John Glaser, February 29, 2012

If the terrorist Iranian dissident group Mujahadin-e Khalq (MeK) can’t find someplace to go after being evicted from its base in Iraq, the United States may remove the group from the State Department’s terrorist list.

The MEK has a long history of terrorist activity going back to the 1970’s and it remains on America’s official list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and has the goal of overthrowing the Iranian government. Because of this goal, there has been a big money push by many influential people in Washington to get the group removed from the State Department’s terrorist list, presumably to make it eligible for U.S. funding and harm Iran.

MeK’s former ally, the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, had allowed the group to settle at Camp Ashraf, 40 miles from Baghdad. But now Iraq’s Shi’ite majority has forged closer ties with its Shi’ite neighbor Iran, and the MeK is no longer welcome at Ashraf.

Despite still being officially considered a terrorist group, the U.S. has sort of taken MeK under its wing, opening up a former U.S. base in Iraq for the 3,000 MeK members in Ashraf to resettle to, and trying to find a third country that might welcome them, since both Iraq and Iran will not.

But they can’t stay at the U.S. base in Iraq permanently. And if a new home can’t be found for them, the U.S. may de-list them, and possibly even welcome them on U.S. soil.

“Given the ongoing efforts to relocate the residents, MeK cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, the MeK’s main paramilitary base, will be a key factor in any decision regarding the MEK’s FTO status,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told U.S. lawmakers.

This is a despicable and hypocritical approach on the part of Washington. U.S. officials recently told NBC News that Israel has financed, trained, and armed MeK terrorists to carry out unprovoked attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists inside Iran. To help MeK find refuge or even de-list them would clearly be U.S. support for terrorists. Of course, when terrorists target the United States or its allies, they are detained without charge or trial, tortured, or even executed. But if terrorists target an adversary of the U.S., like Iran, suddenly they’re worthy of Washington’s help.

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