Israeli Source: Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist Joint Mossad-MEK Operation
... An Iranian news agency reports that a fourth Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a professor specializing in petroleum engineering at a technical university and director of Natanz’s uranium enrichment facility. Mehr news agency said he was “deputy director of the commercial department of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.” He was killed by a bomb attached to the side of his car by two men on a motorcycle. My own confidential Israeli source confirms today’s murder was the work of the Mossad and MEK, as have been a number of previous operations I’ve reported here ...
Richard Silvestein,Tikun Olam, January 11 2012
An Iranian news agency reports that a fourth Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a professor specializing in petroleum engineering at a technical university and director of Natanz’s uranium enrichment facility. Mehr news agency said he was “deputy director of the commercial department of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.” He was killed by a bomb attached to the side of his car by two men on a motorcycle. My own confidential Israeli source confirms today’s murder was the work of the Mossad and MEK, as have been a number of previous operations I’ve reported here.
The killing took place at or near a Teheran university. The method recalls another series of assassinations that occurred of Fereidoun Abbassi Davani (who was seriously wounded) and his colleague Majid Shahriari (who was killed). Today’s killing occurred two years to the day after the assassination of another scientist, Masoud Ali Mohammadi.
Reuters also adds this:
An [Iranian ] official [said]…”The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and is the work of the Zionists (Israelis)” Fars quoted Deputy Governor Safarali Baratloo as saying.
Witnesses told Reuters they saw two people on the motorbike stick the bomb to the car.
Time also offers a comprehensive report.
France’s right-wing Le Figaro newspaper offers (this is an English language report on the story) a window into the types of training and recruitment the Mossad engages in to prepare for such sabotage missions. It reports that Israeli agents identify Iranian Kurdish recruits who are living in exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. There they train them in “spycraft and sabotage:”
…The Iranian assets are being prepared for conducting operations inside [Iran] as part of Israel’s undercover intelligence war against Iran’s nuclear energy program. The Baghdad source told the French daily that part of Israel’s sabotage program against sensitive Iranian nuclear facilities, which includes targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear experts, is directed out of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, “where [Mossad] agents have stepped up their penetration.” For this, “the Israelis are using Kurdish oppositionists to the regime in Iran, who are living as refugees in the Kurdish regions of Iraq”, the source told Le Figaro.
Although the article makes no mention of official or unofficial sanction of the Israeli operations by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, it implies that the alleged Mossad activities are an open secret in Iraqi Kurdistan. This is not the first time that allegations have surfaced in the international press about Israeli intelligence activities in Kurdistan. In 2006, the BBC flagship investigative television program Newsnight obtained strong evidence of Israeli operatives providing military training to Kurdish militia members. The program aired video footage showing Israeli expects drilling members of Kurdish armed groups in shooting techniques and guerrilla tactics.
The Israeli government denied having authorized any such training, while Iraqi Kurdish officials refused to comment on the report. But Israeli security experts told the BBC that it would be virtually impossible for Israeli trainers to operate inside Iraqi Kurdistan “without the knowledge of the Kurdish authorities.”
Iraqi Kurdistan may be one of the few places in the Arab world in which an Israeli is welcome, even Israeli spies.
There also can be little doubt that the U.S. comes into this mix, as the Iraqi Kurdish authorities maintain extremely good relations with U.S. officials in that country. And it’s hard to believe that we aren’t playing a role in expediting this mischief in any way we can.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time something like this happens: assassinations like the one today accomplish nothing. It doesn’t fundamentally harm Iran’s nuclear program. It doesn’t deter Iran or its scientists from pursuing the research and whatever scientific goals they may have. These are shameful acts by a shameful Israeli government exploiting Iranian terrorists for their own ends. I find it disgusting that Israel can get away with such acts with impunity.
I am not a supporter of Iran’s nuclear program. But I am even less a supporter of assassination as state policy, and that includes my own nation, whose president seems especially enamored of targeted killings, even of U.S. citizens.
Former Mujahadeen Khalq Leader Confirms Alleged Iran Terror Plot Conspirator Affiliated with MEK
(aka;Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, PMOI)
... Today, the official MEK leadership has denied that Shakuri is a member and the U.S. has also denied the charge. But in fact, a former high-ranking MEK leader, Massoud Khodabandeh (he has allowed me to use his name), writing in the Gulf2000 listserv, confirmed that Shakuri is in fact an MEK member. He cautions that there may be more than one Gholam Shakuri, and the one who is the MEK member may not be the same Shakuri the U.S. has named. While this may be true, this new development moves Shakuri a lot closer to being MEK ...
You’ll recall that the the U.S. claimed that the Iranian alleged conspirator in the terror plot against the Saudi ambassador, Gholam Shakuri, was a Revolutionary Guard (IRG) official. Though many Iranians have scoured every resource they could think of, none have found evidence of such a person with any IRG affiliation. If the U.S. has such evidence it ought to produce it if it wants to be believed. Yesterday, the well-placed Alef site, run by an Iranian majlis member who’s run for president twice, alleged that Shakuri is in fact a high level Mujahadeen al Khalq (MEK) leader. It offered evidence to support the charge.
Today, the official MEK leadership has denied that Shakuri is a member and the U.S. has also denied the charge. But in fact, a former high-ranking MEK leader, Massoud Khodabandeh (he has allowed me to use his name), writing in the Gulf2000 listserv, confirmed that Shakuri is in fact an MEK member. He cautions that there may be more than one Gholam Shakuri, and the one who is the MEK member may not be the same Shakuri the U.S. has named. While this may be true, this new development moves Shakuri a lot closer to being MEK than being IRG. And moves the entire U.S. account of this supposed crime closer to the trash heap.
In its story containing the U.S. denial, the NY Times quotes U.S. sources responding to the Iranian charge that Shakuri held or holds a U.S. passport:
Mr. Shakuri is not a United States citizen and does not have an American passport.
I have no doubt that Shakuri is not a U.S. citizen and also that he may not currently have a U.S. passport. But this statement, at least as portrayed by Scott Shane, does not say the U.S. never issued such a passport in his name. There are many ways and reasons a non-U.S. citizen may obtain a U.S. passport including fraud and the possibility that Shakuri was performing a task for the U.S. government or CIA and needed such a document. I am speculating, but in light of the paucity of evidence the U.S. has offered to support its claims, we must parse the information it has distributed to try to determine credibility and accuracy.
There is another intriguing element that the Alef story added to the mix. It claimed that Interpol had released information allowing confirmation of Shakuri as an MEK official. The NY Times says this:
An Interpol spokeswoman declined to comment. But an American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Interpol had discovered no link to the opposition group, calling the Iranian news report “pure fiction.”
While I do not know the protocols that Interpol follows in making public statements, I’d think that if the organization had been portrayed falsely by Iran, that it would want to say so. I’d also think that the U.S. would be a far more important national partner to Interpol than Iran and that Interpol would also want to deny this story if it were false because the U.S. would benefit from this. The fact that it refuses to do so raises if not a red, then surely a yellow flag for me.
The fact that a U.S. official seeks to speak on behalf of Interpol and under the cloak of anonymity is highly dubious. If they want us to believe what they claim, then I’m afraid it will have to be Interpol speaking on its own behalf.
(Washington backed Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult's HQ in Paris)
Iraqis continue to protest MKO camp
Paul Sheldon Foote: Terrorist groups exist because someone wants them to
(US, UK, Israel use Mojahedin Khalq, PJAK terrorists)
... They have existed throughout those regions for a number of reasons: one is strong American support. Even though the American government denies it, it's been reported by Seymour Hirsch in The New Yorker; it's been reported by Laura Rosen in the War and Peace Blog. They can deny it all they want, but we do strongly support it -- independent journalists have gone through the region and videotaped all these communist terrorist groups and they all admit they are working with the American government. They also of course have strong support from Israel. What the American media doesn't bother to report is ...
Press TV, July 19 2011
Terrorist groups exist because someone wants them to. The US, England, France, Israel and Saudi Arabia finance, train, house and protect them.
Press TV talks with Paul Sheldon Foote, Professor of California State University from Irvine who provides an outline of the extent of involvement both the US, Israeli and Saudi Arabian governments and intelligence services have with terrorist group PJAK that targets Iran, Turkey and Syria. Following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Would you please explain who PJAK is and what their goals are?
Paul Sheldon Foote: PJAK as was mentioned in your report is a branch of communist terrorists that includes the PKK -- same leadership; the only difference is one attacks Iran, one attacks Turkey and one attacks Syria.
They have existed throughout those regions for a number of reasons: one is strong American support. Even though the American government denies it, it's been reported by Seymour Hirsch in The New Yorker; it's been reported by Laura Rosen in the War and Peace Blog. They can deny it all they want, but we do strongly support it -- independent journalists have gone through the region and videotaped all these communist terrorist groups and they all admit they are working with the American government.
They also of course have strong support from Israel. What the American media doesn't bother to report is that one of the two branches of the Kurdish groups is a Jewish branch. There is a large Jewish population of Kurds both in Iraq and in Israel. There used to be a pipeline that went from Iraq to Israel.
And so the Israelis have had Mossad members on the ground in Kurdistan. They have even tried to create a central bank in Kurdistan and they have been manning the terrorist attacks and directing the terrorist workers and providing weapons. And so there's a very strong Israeli element in all of this.
Press TV: Can you describe the strength of the MKO inside Iraq? The Iraqi government doesn't appear to be doing what should be done to counter the MKO in many respects. And how does PJAK have complete control of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which is almost autonomous?
Paul Sheldon Foote: This goes back to December of 2002 when former US President Bush spoke at the UN and they issued a background paper specifically mentioning the Mujahidin-e Khalq (MKO) as a pretext for whenever we needed to go to war with Iraq.
In 2003 American coalition forces attacked Camp Ashraf Iraq and killed some of the terrorists there. They quickly settled and they turned around and started using them to go inside Iran to kill Iranians.
We have been using them as terrorist tools -- the only question is who they work for. Terrorists exist because someone wants them to exist. Their headquarters is in Paris, France because the French government wants them to exist. They have broadcasting facilities in England because England wants them to exist.
Terrorism only exists because someone's paying the bills and that includes America, France and England.
Press TV: We have the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia -- all are trying to push, through financing and training, this group to militarily get engaged and cause instability inside Iran. Does not Iran therefore have the right to defend itself?
Paul Sheldon Foote: Yes of course. I can give you an example of this Saudi financing. You could get Massoud Khodabandeh on a future show -- he owns a website called www.iran-interlink.org. Last time I was in London he told me that when he was at Camp Ashraf, Iraq in a very high position in the Mujahidin-e Khalq he personally supervised the receipt of a large shipment of gold bars from Saudi Arabia to the MKO.
The agreement they made with the Saudis is that they had to shave off the insignia and markings on the gold bars so no one could know where the gold came from. You can verify he was there at their head quarters at Camp Ashraf Iraq and a large shipment of gold came in. The Saudis fund every terrorist organization they can imagine in the region.
Press TV: Do you think if there wasn't this interference by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia that this problem would perhaps have been resolved regionally along with the neighbors of Iran, let's say Turkey and Syria along with the local governments there in Baghdad?
Paul Sheldon Foote: Absolutely. There is no reason for these problems. A large percentage of Iraqis are actually Iranians who have been living in Iraq for more than 100 years.
The borders of the Middle East were imposed on the Middle East after WWI by France, England and the rest of the world. These are artificial lines. My wife has relatives buried in Iraq and she is from Iran. Who's to say that anyone outside the region should be defining the lines and imposing these kinds of conflicts on the region? The only objection to Iran is that Iran finally has a government independent; that stands up and will not tolerate having its oil stolen as it was under the Shah.
For the video, see:
(Ali Safavi as the commander of Saddam's Private Army in Iraq)
(Daniel Zucker, Maryam Rajavi and ALi Safavi in terror HQ in Paris )
Jafarzadeh representing terrorist organisation NCRI
(Picture form MKO/ NCRI clandestine television)
Jafarzadeh has already published his suicide bombing note
Iran exile group should stay on terror list, say experts
(Joint Experts’ Statement on the Mujahedin-e Khalq)
... “Removing the MEK from the foreign terrorist organisation list and misconstruing its lack of democratic bona fides and support inside Iran will have harmful consequences on the legitimate, indigenous Iranian opposition,” the 37 experts say in the letter. “By attempting to claim credit for Iran’s democracy movement, the MEK has aided the Iranian government’s attempts to discredit the green movement and justify its crackdown on peaceful protesters by associating them with this widely detested group.” The signatories include ...
Anna Fifield, Financial Times, Washington, August 12 2011
A group of US-based Iran experts – including academics, former political prisoners and former officials – is writing to Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, to urge her not to remove an Iranian exile group from the US list of foreign terrorist organisations.
The letter is an attempt to counter an aggressive lobbying campaign by supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or People’s Mujahideen of Iran, to be taken off the list a decade after it renounced violence.
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The experts contend that delisting the MEK would be a huge blow to the pro-democracy “green movement” that formed in Iran during the 2009 presidential election, which Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad is widely viewed as having stolen. Months of protests followed but the movement has since lost its momentum.
“Removing the MEK from the foreign terrorist organisation list and misconstruing its lack of democratic bona fides and support inside Iran will have harmful consequences on the legitimate, indigenous Iranian opposition,” the 37 experts say in the letter.
“By attempting to claim credit for Iran’s democracy movement, the MEK has aided the Iranian government’s attempts to discredit the green movement and justify its crackdown on peaceful protesters by associating them with this widely detested group.”
The signatories include John Limbert, head of Iranian affairs in the state department until recently and one of the diplomats held hostage during the 1979 siege of the US embassy in Tehran; Paul Pillar, a former US intelligence agent now at Georgetown University; Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council; and Hadi Ghaemi of Human Rights Defender.
The state department is expected to rule this month on whether the MEK will be removed from the list, which also includes al-Qaeda and Hizbollah.
The UK removed the MEK from its list in 2008 and the European Union in 2009 after courts found no evidence of terrorist actions since the MEK renounced violence in 2001. It won more than 20 battles in courts across Europe as it sought to be delisted there.
A Washington DC court last year ruled that the MEK had been denied due process during its last appeal to the Bush administration to be taken off the list and ordered the state department to reconsider the request.
But many US analysts agree with the signatories that delisting the MEK would be a setback for Iran’s grassroots opposition.
The MEK presents itself as Iran’s main opposition group but is widely reviled in the country for supporting Saddam Hussein during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and his crackdowns on the Shia population in Iraq.
But supporters say there is no longer any justification for keeping the group on the list.
“The MEK has halted all military activity since 2001, renounced violence and condemned terrorism in all its forms in 2004, handed over all its weapons voluntarily to the United States in 2003,” said Ahmad Moein, executive director of the Iranian American Community of Northern California, a group that supports the MEK.
The MEK could now lead a viable alternative to the current Iranian regime, he said. “We support the aims of MEK for the establishment, through the electoral process of a democratic, secular, non-nuclear republic that is at peace with all its neighbours,” Mr Moein said.
Joint Experts’ Statement on the Mujahedin-e Khalq
Financial Times, August 12, 2011
We the undersigned would like to convey our concern regarding the potential delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list, and its false claims to be “Iran’s main opposition” with a base of popular support in Iran.
The MEK has no political base inside Iran and no genuinesupport among the Iranian population. The MEK, an organization based in Iraq that enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein, lost any following it had in Iran when it fought on Iraq’s behalf during the 1980-1988 war. Widespread Iranian distaste for the MEK has been cemented by its numerous terrorist attacks against innocent Iranian civilians. Since Saddam Hussein’s ouster, the MEK’s ability to maneuver in Washington and Iraq now depends almost entirely on the uneven enforcement of existing U.S. laws concerning Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
Prominent human rights organizations – including Human Rights Watch – have determined the MEK to be a cult-like organization with a structure and modus operandi that belies its claim to be a vehicle for democratic change. When Iran’s post-election turbulence commenced in 2009, the MEK quickly sought to associate itself with the wave of popular opposition inside Iran. By attempting to claim credit for Iran’s democracy movement, the MEK has aided the Iranian government’s attempts to discredit the Green Movement and justify its crackdown on peaceful protesters by associating them with this widely detested group. When the MEK began its efforts to claim the mantle of being “Iran’s main opposition,” genuine Iranian opposition leaders such as Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard immediately pushed back. Karroubi pointedly said, “The Iranian Government is trying to connect those who truly love their country (the Green Movement) with the MEK to revive this hypocritical dead organization.”
Removing the MEK from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list and misconstruing its lack of democratic bona fides and support inside Iran will have harmful consequences on the legitimate, indigenous Iranian opposition. We urge the U.S. government to avoid conflating a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with Iran’s Green Movement as the Iranian people continue their struggle for democracy and human rights.
1. Prof. Ervand Abrahamian, Author of The Iranian Mojahedin
2. Prof. Ali Ansari, University of St Andrews
3. Reza Aslan, Author of No God but God
4. Prof. Shaul Bakhash, George Mason University, author of Reign of the Ayatollahs
5. Prof. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Syracuse University
6. Prof. Juan Cole, University of Michigan
7. James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State
8. Prof. Farideh Farhi, University of Hawaii at Manoa
9. Dokhi Fassihian, Human Rights Defender
10. Hadi Ghaemi, Human Rights Defender
11. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, former reformist member of Parliament
12. Kevan Harris, Johns Hopkins University
13. Prof. Nader Hashemi, University of Denver
14. Prof. Ramin Jahanbegloo, former political prisoner in Iran
15. Prof. Mohsen Kadivar, Duke University
16. Prof. Mehran Kamrava, Georgetown University
17. Prof. Stephen Kinzer, Author of All the Shah’s Men
18. Amb. John Limbert, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and hostage in Iran
19. Prof. Scott Lucas, University of Birmingham
20. Firuzeh Mahmoudi, United4Iran
21. Reza Marashi, Former Iran Desk officer, US Department of State, NIAC Research Director
22. Azadeh Moaveni, Author of Lipstick Jihad
23. Prof. Rasool Nafisi, Strayer University
24. Sahar Namazikhah, Journalist
25. Dr. Trita Parsi, Author of Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US
26. Prof. Paul Pillar, Georgetown University
27. Prof. Nasrin Rahimieh, University of California, Irvine
28. Prof. R. K. Ramazani, University of Virginia
29. Jason Rezaian, Iran-based journalist
30. Prof. Ahmad Sadri, Lake Forest College
31. Prof. Mahmoud Sadri, Texas Woman’s University
32. Prof. Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California
33. Elaheh Sharifpour-Hicks, Human Rights Expert
34. Sasan Shoamanesh, managing editor of Global Brief, Canada’s leading international affairs magazine
35. Prof. Gary Sick, Columbia University
36. John Tirman, Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies
37. Wayne White, Middle East Institute, former Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence
Congressman Kucinich to Attorny General Eric Hoder:
Investigate the case of lobbyists for Mojahedin Khalq
(MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) terror group in Washington
... MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents an communications firms to build up pressure on Secretary Hillary Clinton to take the group off the terrorist list. In Horder, the Department of Justice, under both your direction and that of Attorny General Mukasey, argued that it was felony to file an amicus brief on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization, or to engate in pblic advocacy on belahf of such an organization ...
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, July 26, 2011
Kucinich Asks Tough Questions About FBI Investigation of Anti-War Groups
“Is it Good Judgment to Direct the Overwhelming Resources of the Federal Government onto Small, Local Groups and Individuals whose Primary Interest is Peace
Washington, Jul 25 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder asking tough questions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s large commitment of resources to investigate small, local groups of individuals whose primary concern is peace. Congressman Kucinich also asked for an explanation for the apparent differential use of vague and broad criminal statutes.
“A federal prosecutor has tremendous power and resources,” wrote Kucinich. “Because of that, he has a concomitant obligation to exercise that power with judgment and discretion. Is it good judgment to direct the overwhelming resources of the federal government onto small, local groups and individuals whose primary interest is peace? Is it good judgment to investigate them under a vague and broad statute whose text and interpretations have changed numerous times over the past decade? Is this really the best use of Department of Justice personnel?”
See a signed copy of the letter here.
part of the Document:... The Washington Post and other news sources have reported that fromer Attorny General Michael Mukasy, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former Whaite House security adviser Frances Townsend, and former New York Mayor Tudy Giuliani have publicly expressed their support for the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), and organization that has been on the foreign terrorist list of the State Department since 1997... It has been reported that the MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents an communications firms to build up pressure on Secretary Hillary Clinton to take the group off the terrorist list. In Horder, the Department of Justice, under both your direction and that of Attorny General Mukasey, argued that it was felony to file an amicus brief on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization, or to engate in pblic advocacy on belahf of such an organization, unless that advocacy was totally"independent" of the organization. How do you reconcile those arguments with the total absence of attention paid to lobbying activities in support of the MEK? how do you reconcile that inaction with the apparent overkill that has been directed at the anti-war activists in Mineapolis and Chicago? ...
Link to the full document:
RT: Lobbyist in Capital Hill with pockets stuffed with MEK’s money
(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, Rajavi cult)
... The Alyona Show on RT – Russian English –Language news Channel suggests the US media focus on the “Lobbyist in Capital Hill with pockets stuffed with MEK’s money”, on July 9th. The show criticizes US officials’ hypocrisy and double-standard sell the cause of terrorists. Comparing MEK with Al-Qaida the show poses the question that how a terrorist designated organization can be debated in a hearing held in the US congress ...
Alyona show, Russia Today, July 16 2011
Link to the full program on RT
same video on you tube (Alyona Show)
Royals V. MEK
The Alyona Show on RT – Russian English –Language news Channel suggests the US media focus on the “Lobbyist in Capital Hill with pockets stuffed with MEK’s money”, on July 9th. The show criticizes US officials’ hypocrisy and double-standard sell the cause of terrorists. Comparing MEK with Al-Qaida the show poses the question that how a terrorist designated organization can be debated in a hearing held in the US congress.
Congressional Leaders Voice Support for Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) Violence
... But Rohrabacher was adamant in his support for MEK. “I will have to admit the thing that attracts me to this movement is that it is willing to fight," he responded. “It won’t just be pacifists," Rohrabacher said, referring dismissively to the Green Movement, "it will be people with courage and people who stand up.” Mukasey, in addition to calling for the MEK to be removed from the terrorism list, urged that MEK members be allowed to resettle in the United States. Mukasey acknowledged that members of terrorist organizations are legally barred from entering the U.S., and suggested legislation be introduced to change the law for MEK members ...
Daniel Zucker, Maryam Rajavi and ALi Safavi
NIAC Staff - News
Washington, DC - Congressional supporters of the drive to remove the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from the U.S. terrorism list defended the organization’s use of violence while dismissing Iran’s nonviolent Green Movement at a hearing on Capitol Hill last week. The hearing was also remarkable in that senior leaders of the designated foreign terrorist organization were caught counseling some of the witnesses before the hearing. It is illegal to coordinate with a foreign terrorist organization to advocate on behalf of the terrorist group.
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, compared the use of terrorism by MEK to violence employed during the American Revolutionary War. He justified the “cult-like” behavior of the MEK, saying American revolutionaries included "religious fanatics and Christian cults.”
Rohrabacher called for the MEK to be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, which prevents the group from receiving government funding and makes it illegal for MEK to operate in the U.S. "Any group that chooses to use violence to resist doesn’t make them right or wrong,” Rohrabacher stated. “Backing people who fight against tyranny is also something the U.S. should be doing.”
Despite the terrorist listing, Ali Safavi, a senior member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was at the hearing, where he openly counseled witnesses before and during their testimony. The NCRI is the MEK’s political wing and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
The hearing’s witnesses included three former U.S. officials who have actively participated in pro-MEK conferences, including former Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
All three witnesses who previously appeared at MEK conferences unanimously called for the MEK to be removed from the terror list, though none were asked to disclose whether they had received money to support the organization, as have other officials who have advocated for delisting the group.
The lone dissenting voice among the witnesses, former Obama Administration advisor Ray Takeyh, was subjected to an intense back and forth with Representatives on the panel.
Takeyh warned panelists who viewed MEK as a viable alternative to the Iranian regime that the organization has no support in Iran.
“I don’t agree," responded Representative Bob Filner (D-CA). "Even if you’re right, so what?”
Filner laughed off evidence that MEK President Maryam Rajavi is a cult leader, despite reports from the State Department and FBI of “cult-like” practices by MEK that include indoctrination rituals and torture. "She is as intelligent, humorous, humane and humble as anyone I’ve ever met," Filner observed, recounting what he said have been numerous meetings he has held in Paris with Rajavi.
Filner accused Takeyh of justifying violence against the MEK by highlighting the group's history of terrorism, and said the U.S. should be supporting the organization as a “third way” alternative in Iran because it opposes the Iranian regime.
“These are our friends! We should be getting out of their way and de-list them,” Filner exclaimed. “Let them do what they can! Why are we helping Iran by not helping the MEK?”
Rohrabacher defended the MEK's history of violence, saying, “This is a territory that’s filled with violence—I would be surprised if there wasn’t any organization that wasn’t in some way involved with using force to protect themselves.”
"Oh I would disagree with that," responded Takeyh. "Within Iran there are many opposition movements, such as the Green Movement, that explicitly reject violence.”
But Rohrabacher was adamant in his support for MEK. “I will have to admit the thing that attracts me to this movement is that it is willing to fight," he responded. “It won’t just be pacifists," Rohrabacher said, referring dismissively to the Green Movement, "it will be people with courage and people who stand up.”
Mukasey, in addition to calling for the MEK to be removed from the terrorism list, urged that MEK members be allowed to resettle in the United States. Mukasey acknowledged that members of terrorist organizations are legally barred from entering the U.S., and suggested legislation be introduced to change the law for MEK members.
Prior to the hearing, Mukasey was witnessed receiving coaching from Alireza Jafarzadeh, who served as the official spokesman for the NCRI before it was declared a terrorist group and its offices raided by the FBI in 2003.
Meanwhile, many were turned away from the hearing or sent to the overflow room to watch the proceedings because the hearing room was at capacity. It was filled with individuals in yellow jerseys emblazoned with the slogans, “De-list the MEK,” “Protect Ashraf,” and “Ramp up sanctions.”