US: MEK Must Vacate Iraqi Base or Jeopardize Bid to Change Status

The Iranian group has been lobbying to be taken of the State Department's list of terrorist organizations

The US has again warned the Iranian dissident group Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK) that they must vacate vacate the Iraqi base Camp Ashraf and said if they don’t leave it will harm their chances of being delisted from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, said the MEK must move out by the Iraqi government’s deadline on July 20.

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 US funding to act against the Iranian regime.

As recently as 2007, a State Department report warned that the MEK, retains “the capacity and will” to attack “Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.” In 2002, the Bush administration claimed Saddam Hussein’s support for the MEK ”terrorist” group justified a US invasion of Iraq.

After an extended and expensive lobbying effort on the part of the MEK, a congressional resolution was recently signed by 99 members of Congress asking the State Department to change the status of the group.

And as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told US lawmakers earlier this year, “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.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.