August 26th Rally

THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE THE STATE DEPARTMENT, CALLING FOR DELISTING IRAN’S MAIN OPPOSITION MOVEMENT, THE MEK AND PROTECTION OF CAMP ASHRAF

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2011/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — This morning, thousands of Iranians from 41 states across the U.S. staged a huge and colorful rally outside the State Department urging the immediate delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), Iran’s main opposition movement. They also called for ensuring protection of MEK members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, according to Human Rights and Democracy International.

The ensuing march stretched several blocks around the State Department. The police were very cooperative by blocking the lanes for the peaceful marchers.

Among the participants were more than 100 university professors, eminent scholars and physicians from all over the U.S.

A number of former senior U.S. Government officials including Louis Freeh, Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (1993-2001); Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011); John Sano, former Central Intelligence Agency National Clandestine Service first Deputy Director ; and Colonel Wesley Martin (Ret.), Coalition’s counter terrorism commander in Iraq and U.S. commander for protection of Ashraf spoke at the rally and asked the U.S. to live up to its commitments regarding 3,400 Ashraf residents. They reiterated that no delay in removing the MEK from the FTO list is permissible. Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Congressman (1995-2011), and son of late Senator Edward Kennedy, moderated the rally.

In his speech, the British Conservative MP Brian Binley announced the support of 4,000 parliamentarians from across the globe, including a significant number of members of the UK Parliament and House of Lords, for delisting the PMOI from the U.S. FTO list.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian resistance, who was addressing the rally via satellite link from Paris, said, “It has been more than a year since the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which ordered the State Department to review the terrorist listing of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance have paid the price for this unjustified delay with the blood of their most courageous children…The terror listing in the U.S. is openly used as a justification to legitimize such bloodletting, both by the cruel mullahs in Tehran as well as their proxy government in Iraq…”

“Clearly, the U.S. bears special responsibility for ensuring the protection of these residents on the basis of its agreements with every single one of the residents in Camp Ashraf,” Mrs. Rajavi reiterated.

Video of rally: http://youtu.be/8cB0LCSFSe4

SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International

 


 

FAMILIES OF CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS TO JOIN THE PRO-DEMOCRACY RALLY OUTSIDE THE STATE DEPARTMENT

 
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Hundreds of families of the residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, will be joining thousands of Iranian-Americans from 40 states across America for a rally and march outside the State Department, scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m., according to Human Rights and Democracy International.Several Members of Congress and former senior U.S. Government officials will be addressing the rally, which will be followed by a march from 23rd Street to Virginia Avenue, and back to the State Department.
The participants will be calling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to de-list the MeK and ensure the protection of Camp Ashraf residents. Camp Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of the principal Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), and has come under attacks after the U.S. handed over its protection to the government of Nouri al-Maliki.Acting at the behest of the regime in Tehran, Maliki has imposed a siege around Ashraf and twice ordered his military forces to launch deadly attacks on the unarmed residents, including 1,000 women, in July 2009 and April 2011. Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator John Kerry described the attack as a “massacre.”The unwarranted terrorist designation of the MeK by the State Department has been used by the Iraqi government and the regime in Tehran as a pretext to persecute and murder MeK members and affiliates. In December 2010 and January 2011, several MeK activists were hanged in Iran on the charge of visiting their children in Camp Ashraf and/or participating in the summer 2009 uprising in Iran.In April and June, Maliki denied a European Parliament delegation and a bi-partisan Congressional delegation, led by the House Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Chair Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and the ranking member Russ Carnahan (D-MO) access to Ashraf, invoking the designation of the MEK by the State Department.The House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade Ranking Member Brad Sherman (D-CA) said on April 14, “In private discussions, the Iraqi ambassador’s office has said the blood is not on the hands of the Iraqi government but is at least partially on the hands of the State Department because the MeK is listed as a terrorist group and accordingly, Iraq doesn’t feel that it has to respect the human rights of those in the camp.”

 

SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International


 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS VOICE SUPPORT FOR IRANIAN-AMERICAN RALLY THAT URGES DELISTING OF IRAN’S MAIN DISSIDENT GROUP

 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Members of Congress and senior former U.S. officials will voice support for a major rally by thousands of Iranian-Americans in solidarity with Iran’s pro-democracy movement on Friday, August 26th, according to Human Rights and Democracy International.Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), one of the keynote speakers at the Martin Luther King Memorial ceremonies, and former U.S. officials, including Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Senator Robert Torricelli, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, CIA Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations John Sano, and Col. Wesley Martin (Ret.), who served as Camp Ashraf commander in Iraq, will address the Friday rally.

 

In a joint statement, Co-chairs of the House Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Bob Filner (D-CA), said, “We welcome our Iranian-American friends to Washington to join in solidarity with the people of Ashraf.” They referred to the “pivotal role the Iranian people, particularly the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK) have played in the Iran uprising.”

 

In his letter to members of the Iranian American community, Senator John Bozeman (R-AR) noted, “House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously adopted an amendment to H.R.2583″ making it a policy of the United States to “urge the Iraqi government of Iraq to uphold commitments to the United States for ensuring the continued well-being of those living in Camp Ashraf and prevent their involuntary return to Iran or forcibly relocate from Camp Ashraf.”

“I applaud you for gathering just steps from the Lincoln Memorial to call for transparency and respect for the rule of law,” wrote Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA). Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) member of House Armed Services Committee added, “I am happy to be among about 100 co-sponsors of H.Res.60. The resolution asks our government to do what the United States Court of Appeals has also suggested: to remove residents of Ashraf and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI) from the U.S. terror list—just as our European allies have done.”

“I wish you every success during your visit to Washington… the purpose of which is to bring greater awareness to the situation of family members and friends located in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, including recent humanitarian concerns about the Camp’s residents,” wrote Senate Armed Services Committee member Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

http://www.hrdip.com

SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International


 IRANIAN-AMERICAN YOUTHS JOIN THOUSANDS IN DC RALLY TO URGE UNSHACKLING OF THE IRANIAN OPPOSITION

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Young Iranians across the United States, are helping organize a major rally in solidarity with Iran’s pro-democracy movement in front of the Department of State on Friday, August 26th, according to Human Rights and Democracy International.They will be joining thousands of Iranian-Americans, uniting their voices with a single message: take the MeK off the list and protect Camp Ashraf, Iraq.The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has threatened to attack Camp Ashraf, home to 3,400 members of the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK).Maliki has invoked the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation to launch deadly attacks on Camp Ashraf — the most recent in April 2011, when Iraqi forces killed 36 residents and wounded more than 300. In January and December, the Iranian regime hanged several MeK activists for their role in the 2009 uprising.Instead of ensuring the protection of the residents, the United States violated its 2004 written agreement with each and every resident of Camp Ashraf, and turned over their protection to the Iraqi government. The United States is still legally and morally obligated to protect the unarmed and defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, according to Amir Emadi, a recent graduate of San Diego State University.

Emadi, 24, has 21 relatives currently living in Camp Ashraf, including both parents, and 18 more are in prison in Iran, including his cousin Jalal. “While Senator Kerry and other senior Members of Congress described the Iraqi attack on Camp Ashraf as a ‘massacre,’ everything must be done to prevent another assault. The Iraqi Government has been using the unjust hold over FTO designation of the MEK to plan further attacks,” Emadi said, while preparing to go to the DC rally on Friday.

“My parents and relatives are not terrorists,” he said, urging Secretary Clinton to remove this “disgraceful designation, which has no basis in law and fact and was originally motivated by ulterior political motives.”

Roya Salamipour, 26, a graphic designer and one of the organizers of Friday’s rally, agrees. “My parents and brother are in Camp Ashraf, and they are not terrorists. They have endured all the dangers to help free our nation,” she said, adding, “Just like the Libyans who are fighting for their dignity and liberating their country.”

SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International


THOUSANDS OF IRANIAN-AMERICANS TO RALLY OUTSIDE THE STATE DEPARTMENT

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In an effort to prevent a humanitarian disaster and to unshackle Iran’s democratic movement, Human Rights and Democracy International (HRDIP) will stage a rally and march to protect the rights and security of Camp Ashraf residents and call for the delisting of the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK). Thousands from around the United States and elsewhere will unite for the major rally outside the State Department demanding that the residents of Camp Ashraf, the besieged home of the 3,400 members of the MeK, be given the protection that they were promised by the U.S. in 2004.
 
When: August 26, 2011; 11a.m.; rally and march

Where: U.S. Department of State (22nd and C Sts. NW, Washington, D.C.)

Who: HRDIP and communities from across America; Speakers – former senior national security officials and current members of Congress

Why: The demonstration comes at a crucial moment as the State Department completes a court-mandated review of the MeK’s status. In its judgment in July 2010, the federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia, ruled that MeK’s due process rights had been violated, strongly suggesting that it be de-listed.

In a bi-partisan initiative, nearly 100 Members Congress cosponsored a resolution calling on the Secretary of State to de-list the MeK. Dozens of senior diplomatic, military, intelligence and policy officials in four U.S. administrations have also asked for the protection of the residents of Ashraf, and for the MeK’s removal from the FTO list.

The participants, which include families of Camp Ashraf residents, warn of an impending massacre at Ashraf and urge the U.S. Government to abide by its commitments to ensure the protection of the residents of Ashraf by removing the MeK from the terrorist list, among other actions.

For more information contained in this release, please visit www.hrdip.com. (Event page: http://bit.ly/q6sbaO).

SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International



THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE THE STATE DEPARTMENT, CALLING FOR DELISTING IRAN’S MAIN OPPOSITION MOVEMENT, THE MEK AND PROTECTION OF CAMP ASHRAF

 

On August 26, 2011, thousands of Iranians from 41 states across the U.S. staged a huge and colorful rally outside the State Department urging the immediate delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), Iran’s main opposition movement. They also called for ensuring protection of MEK members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, according to Human Rights and Democracy International.

The ensuing march stretched several blocks around the State Department. The police were very cooperative by blocking the lanes for the peaceful marchers.

Among the participants were more than 100 university professors, eminent scholars and physicians from all over the U.S.

A number of former senior U.S. Government officials including Louis Freeh, Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (1993-2001); Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011); John Sano, former Central Intelligence Agency National Clandestine Service first Deputy Director ; and Colonel Wesley Martin (Ret.), Coalition’s counter terrorism commander in Iraq and U.S. commander for protection of Ashraf spoke at the rally and asked the U.S. to live up to its commitments regarding 3,400 Ashraf residents. They reiterated that no delay in removing the MEK from the FTO list is permissible. Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Congressman (1995-2011), and son of late Senator Edward Kennedy, moderated the rally.

In his speech, the British Conservative MP Brian Binley announced the support of 4,000 parliamentarians from across the globe, including a significant number of members of the UK Parliament and House of Lords, for delisting the PMOI from the U.S. FTO list.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian resistance, who was addressing the rally via satellite link from Paris, said, “It has been more than a year since the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which ordered the State Department to review the terrorist listing of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Iranian people and the Iranian

Resistance have paid the price for this unjustified delay with the blood of their most courageous children…The terror listing in the U.S. is openly used as a justification to legitimize such bloodletting, both by the cruel mullahs in Tehran as well as their proxy government in Iraq…”

“Clearly, the U.S. bears special responsibility for ensuring the protection of these residents on the basis of its agreements with every single one of the residents in Camp Ashraf,” Mrs. Rajavi reiterated.

 

 

 


 DIGNITARIES SPEAK AT THE RALLY

 


 

PATRICK KENNEDY

Former House Representative of Rhode Island

Thank you all! Thank you very much! I was very honored to mark many occasions that remember some of the great moments of my family in public life. One of the greatest moments was when my Uncle Pres. Kennedy stood in berlin and uttered the immortal words “Eich bin ein Berliner” at that time in America and in the world the great threat was communism and the threat of freedom around the world was optimized by the struggle of freedom in Berlin.

Today that struggle for freedom is being echoed throughout the middle east, and that is why today I’m honored to repeat my uncle’s words by saying “Man Irani Hastam!, Man Ashrafi Hastam!” the future is Iran is right here in front of me, you, you young people are the voice of your fellow countrymen who are stuck in a repressive regime who are being oppressed and persecuted by the mullahs in Tehran but you are their voice. To the families of the martyrs and the families of those who are in Ashraf I want to say about on behalf of all of my friends who care about human rights that we have not forgotten you and your cause is our cause is the cause of democracy and human rights. To my friends in the state department behind us, who continue to hold fast to an old policy that is supported by Tehran you are on the wrong side of history, to Nouri Al-Maliki your brutal and deadly assaults on Ashraf will land you in the international criminal court where you will be held accountable.

To the mullahs in Tehran while all of us are waiting for the storm of hurricane Irene bearing down on us you the mullahs in are in Iran have much bigger storm clouds gathering around you. The winds of change are blowing stronger than ever and the tie of democracy and freedom is engulfing you. There’s a new day dawning for the future of Iran and the terrorists in Tehran better wake up and take note that the Arab spring is in the air and to my Iranian-American friends keep up the struggle for human rights a few blocks from here there is a new monument in Washington DC dedicated to one of America’s founding fathers Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King was labeled a lot of things during his fight for freedom many of his detractors and critics call him names sounds familiar? They called him names and they labeled him, a communist, MLK was labeled a communist MeK is labeled a terrorist. Dr. King knew that in justice anywhere a threat to justice everywhere. So Let’s look at history, people trying to undermine Dr. King by calling him names they’re trying to undermine you by calling you names.


 

THE LIST OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE A LIST THAT IDENTIFIES THOSE WHO ARE THE GREATEST THREAT NATIONAL SECURITY. IT IS NOT A LIST OF WHO WE AGREE WITH AND WHO WE DISAGREE WITH. IT’S A LIST OF WHO IS A THREAT TO OUR COUNTRY NOW LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION, WHO DO YOU THINK IS A GREATER THREAT? REGIME THAT IS EXPORTING TERRORISM ALIGNING ITSELF WITH HAMAS AND HEZBOLLAH THE WORD OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE GATES, AND CURRENT SECRETARY PANETTA, IS THE LARGE CAST EXPORTER OF IED’S AND ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADES, KILLING AMERICAN SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN IN IRAQ AND IN AFGHANISTAN MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT ENEMY NUMBER ONE IS TEHRAN, SO WHAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS DOING IS NOT WANTING TO HEAR YOU. IT’S NOT THAT YOU ARE A LEGITIMATE THREAT IS THAT THEY DISAGREE WITH YOU, AND LAST TIME I CHECKED WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND THE TERRORIST LIST SHOULD NOT BE A LIST OF WHO WE AGREE WITH AND WHO WE DON’T, IT SHOULD BE A LIST OF WHO’S A TERRORIST AND WHO ISN’T.


 

 

Now right here you see the faces of those few amongst many more who have been holding down the people of the Middle East for a generation or more right now as we speak we’re seeing change throughout the Middle East but how are we going to have permanent democracy and freedom while Iran remains a threat to the whole region and a threat to democracy and peace itself. I love you. You are about taking on the worst of the worst. Assad is awful, Qaddafi was awful, they’re all awful but Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have a special place in the rogues gallery of dictators in the Middle East, so keep up the fight and know that each of you is making a difference and that this is the time to demand the world pay attention to democracy throughout the middle east, and make sure all of the middle east is free from repressions and tyranny. Thank You


 

ED RENDELL

Former Governor of Pennsylvania

Thank you all. Thank you all. Good morning. You know it’s great so many of you turned out particularly with the threat of the weather being what it is, but today I want to speak not so much to all of you because I know where you stand. I know how you would decide the issues, I know how you would protect the residents of Camp Ashraf. I know how you would vote on the delisting the MEK but today myself and all of the speakers who will follow me we have a very special audience.

It’s the State Department and the White House, and I want to speak to the White House and the State Department as an American who has spent almost all the time since I left Law school working in public service in addition to being Governor and Chairman of the Democratic Party, I was mayor of Philadelphia for eight years, District Attorney in Philadelphia for eight years and an assistant District Attorney for seven years. I spent my whole adult life working for the American democracy and when I became Governor of Pennsylvania I knew that the Governor automatically became the commander-in-chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard but I didn’t know the role that would play in my life and my time as a Governor, because truth be told the Pennsylvania National Guard hadn’t been much involved in foreign conflicts. The last Pennsylvania guardsman who died fighting a foreign war was in World War II in 1943. I took office as Governor sixty years later but the world changed on 9/11 2001, and the world changed for Americans when we went to fight Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom during my time as Governor 34 Pennsylvania guardsman 33 men and one woman died fighting the war against global terrorism and the toughest thing I have to do is governor notwithstanding all of budget deficits all of the problems of the governor encounters the toughest thing I had to do as governor was to call the parents or the wives or the husbands of those who died fighting abroad and they always ask me one question. They said governor why? Why did my son have to die in a place called Iraq? And I am almost never have trouble answering questions but even back then I had trouble answering questions and I tried to give them some level of consolation saying for all times since this country was founded we have fought for human rights for dignity and for the spread of democracy and freedom around the world and that’s why your son died he died to promote new government in Iraq. A government that would be free that would be democratic and that would stand up for the principles that we as Americans believe in. We’re trying to give the Iraqi people what we have here in America.

When I gave that answer to those parents I wasn’t 100% sure that that was true but I said it because I hoped that it was going to be true and because it gave them some measure of consolation. Today after seeing what the Maleki government has done two times slaughtering innocent people at Camp Ashraf, I don’t think I could say the same thing to the parents of the fallen Pennsylvania guardsman. Did 4,500 American fighting men and fighting women die to set up a government that ignores human rights that commits as John Kerry, Senator John Kerry called it, a massacre at Camp Ashraf? Did the United States of America lives up to its word? We as a country have a solemn duty when we give our word to live up to that word.


 

WE’RE HERE TODAY FOR TWO REASONS. ONE IS TO ENSURE THAT THE RESIDENTS OF CAMP ASHRAF GET THE PROTECTION THEY DESERVE IN THE US, AND SECONDLY TO SEE THAT WE CAN DELIST THE MEK TODAY. AND THOSE THINGS ARE RELATED, BUT LET’S TAKE THEM ONE AT A TIME. TO ME IT’S A DISGRACE THAT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WENT BACK ON ITS PLEDGE – A PLEDGE THAT WAS SIGNED BY US AND BY EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF CAMP ASHRAF WHEN THEY GAVE UP THEIR WEAPONS, THAT WE WOULD PROTECT THEM. DID WE PROTECT THEM BACK IN 2009? NO. DID WE PROTECT THEM THIS YEAR? NO. IN FACT AMERICAN TROOPS WERE CALLED OFF THE SCENE BEFORE THE ATTACKS TOOK PLACE.


 

The American democracy, this great democracy reneged on its word when its troops were called to retreat and not protect the residents of Camp Ashraf and worse many of the members this year were killed by Iraqi forces using weapons supplied to them by the United States of America and vehicle supplied to them by the United States of America. That has to end. It is time for us to live up to our promise to the residents of Camp Ashraf.

When president Obama and Mr. President you did the right thing I’ve been saying it over and over on television you did the right thing intervening in Libya because there were hundreds of thousands of Libyans freedom loving democracy loving Libyans who were going to be slaughtered in Bengazi if we had stepped in. If the US and France and England and the NATO allies hadn’t stepped in. Well we stepped in to protect people innocent people from being slaughtered in Libya. We ought to be doing the same thing at Camp Ashraf and just as surely as Qaddafi would’ve moved into Bengazi and slaughtered innocent people. If we don’t take action to protect Camp Ashraf as we promised the residents we would.

We don’t take action it is almost as certain that what happened this year will happen again and we have a sworn duty. A duty as Americans a duty as a country where democracy started to protect those residents and to live up to our word so Mr. President Ms. Secretary, lets move now to either tell the Maliki government we’re taking back the responsibility of protecting the residents of Ashraf or that the UN with NATO support will oversee Ashraf and make sure that no one gets touched again. I told you that the two issues are related and they are because what did the Maliki government say to excuse to try to excuse their reprehensible actions in Ashraf? They said well they’re on the United States Terrorist List, they’re on the FTO list. Well first of all that doesn’t excuse slaughtering innocent people, including eight defenseless women but let’s look at the second issue. Should the MEK be on the list as a foreign terrorist organization? Is there any evidence to support the MEK being on that list?

Well I told you that I was a district attorney, and as a district attorney we’re trained to look at the evidence. So I’d like the White House and the State Department for a second to look at the evidence. Let’s look at the people who actually did investigations, who were actually on-site. You can hear from Director Freeh in a second. The FBI director under President Clinton’s, whose administration unfortunately but the MEK on the list in the first place. He will tell you that he ordered an FBI investigation of every single resident of Camp Ashraf and found not one of them to have any links to any terrorist organization or activities. That’s the FBI. You’re going to hear from Mr. Sano from the CIA and he will deliver the same message and that’s the CIA. And with us today a man who’s been with us on several occasions former Attorney General and Judge Michael Mukasey whose job it was his to prosecute terrorists. If he were here today he would repeat what he said on a number of occasions that there are no terrorist links to the MEK. In addition to that there are three generals including General Shelton, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iraq, who served in Iraq and all who have said over and over again publicly that the MEK and the residents of Ashraf are no part of any terrorist organization.

But it even goes further than that, the evidence is piling up. And if the White House is listening and the the State Department is listening the evidence keeps getting bigger and bigger. Col. Wesley Martin who served as base Commander at Camp Ashraf for eight years who was also in charge of counterintelligence activities in Iran. He has said many times, and he will say again today, that there was no terrorist activity at Camp Ashraf and that there’s no evidence whatsoever that MEK terrorist is a terrorist organization. So we have heard from the people whose job it was to find out, whose job it was to know. Madame Secretary, Mr. President, the FBI, the CIA, the US military, The base Commander of Ashraf. What more evidence can we give you? But the good news is there is still more because our brethren in the United Kingdom. Our good friends in the European Union, the wonderful nation of France they have all looked at this same issue and they have said there’s no reason to keep the MEK on a terrorist list and they have all delisted the MEK. If its good enough for Great Britain and France and the EU. Their example is one that we should follow and follow now.

But there’s still more! There’s still more! The Court of Appeals reviewing evidence that the United States State Department used to put the MEK on the list. They reviewed the evidence and said that the evidence does not meet the necessary standard and ordered the re-review that the State Department is undertaking now. Not enough evidence from the Court of Appeals. And you what’s even more amazing folks, do you know Washington and this country right now is far too partisan. Republicans and Democrats bicker about everything. You couldn’t get the United States Congress Republicans and Democrats to agree that today is Friday, but over 100 representatives, Republicans and Democrats alike have signed a resolution urging the State Department to delist the MEK. Senators Kerry and Levin and 11 of our foreign affairs and military committees have urged the delisting of the MEK. Now, we know that the FTO list serves an important purpose, it does. It gives the US the tools to take away the opportunity for terrorist organizations to do things here and around the globe, but as Patrick Kennedy said, it is very important for us as a country to make sure that the people we put on that list the evidence says that they are terrorist aimed at hurting the United States of America. Now is there anybody anywhere that thinks the MEK wants to hurt the United States of America? What an absurd notion that is. And as Patrick said we can’t let the last, who goes on or who goes off, let that become a political instrument. Something that we do to curry favor with another country We can’t let that list be used as a bargaining chip with other countries.

That list should exist for only one reason if there is evidence sufficient that someone wants to harm the United States or its allies not one organization that tracks terror activities since 2001, ten years ago, not one of them has substantiated and founding violent act committed by a member of MEK towards the US or any of its allies. The evidence is overwhelming. The time is now! The White House and the State Department must ensure that the evidence is followed. The White House and the State Department must ensure that justice prevails. The White House and the State Department must ensure that the basic principles of the American democracy are followed. The White House and the State Department should follow the world community. Delist the MEK and do it now.


 

LOUIS FREEH

Former Director of the FBI

Thank you very much Patrick, Governor, my colleagues here and most importantly thank you to you; you’re a wonderful audience. Give yourself a big hand please. And thank you Mrs. Rajavi for your eloquence and your 10 point program of freedom that talks about not just fundamental freedoms with freedom of religion freedom of women is just a template of what human rights is all about. And as I told you in Paris: as soon as this organization is de-listed from what is a mis-listing, we want to come here and I told you I’d give you a tour of the FBI headquarters.

You’re great, and our friends and family in many cases in Camp Ashraf hear you and feel your strength and remember the words of the great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, who said never never never never give up. And your courage, our colleagues, the families of men, women and children in Ashraf, you haven’t given up we’re proud to stand by you today and speak to you from this birth of freedom here in Washington DC. You know we’re here between an earth quake right and a hurricane, but your voice, your voice for freedom today makes more noise and gets more attention in the building behind us and any hurricane or earthquake. You’re great, you’re absolutely great and that’s because you are the voice of freedom, you are the voice of change and isn’t it great here in America, and many other places not in Tehran, you can assemble, you can lobby, you can argue, you to defend your rights and ask for freedom; God bless you for doing that.

Like Governor Rendell, I want to talk a little bit to our audience albeit our captive audience on the seventh floor behind us and the White House down the street. We want to talk to them today about facts, we want to talk to them today about evidence, we want to talk to them about truth, and we want to talk about reality. One of things you do as a lawyer when you’re preparing for an argument, you trying to marshal all the arguments that your opponents will make against you and you also try to identify who is it that opposes me; Of course it’s defense counsel, plaintiff’s counsel, on the other side but who is it that opposes us? Now if we asked that question here today, who is it that opposes the proposition that the MEK is not a terrorist organization? Well, there are a couple of contenders: there is the regime in Tehran, right? And there’s a seriousness listing: I call it a mis-listing in the US Department of State.


 

HAVE YOU HEARD ONE FORMER RESPECTED, OR UNRESPECTED, GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES OR ANY PLACE ELSE GET UP AND SAY PUBLICLY THAT THE MEK AS TERRORIST TENDENCIES? IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT NO ONE OF THAT TENURE HAS APPROACHED YOU? NO, OF COURSE NOT!. YOU KNOW, GOV. RENDELL SPOKE ABOUT IT BEFORE, FBI DIRECTOR, WE HAVE CIA DIRECTORS, WE HAVE THE FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY WHOSE OFFICERS ARE BEHIND US PROTECTING OUR RIGHTS HERE TODAY, WE HAVE ATTORNEY GENERALS, WE HAVE THE HEAD OF THE COUNTERTERRORISM ACTIVITIES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WE HAVE AMBASSADORS, WE HAVE SEVERAL CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, WE HAVE THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS, WE HAVE THE NATO COMMANDER: DO YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT ANY OF US WOULD BE UP HERE SAYING THAT MEK WAS NOT A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IF FOR A MOMENT THERE WAS A WHIFF OF TRUTH THAT TO THAT?


 

Of course not! As I said, no one except the powerful regime in Tehran has taken the opposite position. If you accept the proposition, I don’t know if you do, but if you accept the proposition that I know a little bit about terrorism, do you? Alright well, I’ll say it one more time: the MEK does not have a lawful or factual place on the Department of State list of foreign terrorist organizations. This is not a complicated factual calculation ladies and gentlemen; I don’t envy Madame Secretary Clinton and the decisions that she makes on the seventh floor behind us. Even in the course of the last few months, decisions of the United States, with respect to Tunisia, with respect to Egypt, with respect to Libya, with respect to Bahrain, with respect to Yemen, these are complicated decisions and I’m glad I’m not the person making the foreign policy decisions in the moment of crisis that they have to be made. But looking at the facts and the evidence and saying without qualification that there is no credible factual evidence to support the proposition that the MEK should be on the foreign terrorist organization list, is not ladies and gentlemen complicated at all.

Winston Churchill also had another great statement; he said if you remember one time that the Americans can be counted upon to do the right thing after they’ve exhausted every other possibility. Well, for 14 years the MEK has been unrightfully and unjustifiably on the foreign terrorist organization list. The facts as we heard from a number of our speakers militate against this. This is an organization that has denounced violence and terrorism it has surrendered its arms to the United States, which you’ll hear about the moment; he has pledged nonviolence and non-terrorism. It has been a assistant to the United States and other governments in providing information about the Iranian nuclear weapons program. This is an organization that meets every qualification of renouncing terrorism and any intent to perpetrate terrorism activities. So, we have to look at this and we have to understand how in important this is in terms of the decision.

The Court of Appeals, which you’ve heard about, over a year ago ladies and gentlemen, told the Secretary of State that they had violated the due process rights of the PMOI, the MEK, by not giving them access transparency and finding as the court found that the sources that the Department of State was using to argue that this group belongs on the FTO list were unqualified, uncorroborated and not credible. We have not heard anything in response to that decision by the Department of State except they’re reviewing it. Well, review becomes an abusive of process after a certain point. In the world of the law, non-response to a court becomes contemptuous at a certain point. It is time for the Secretary of State to act and to act decisively and importantly to delist the MEK.


 

I WAS WORKING IN THIS TOWN IN 1997, WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUT THIS ORGANIZATION ON THE FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION LIST. IT WAS A POLICY DECISION, WHICH WE UNDERSTOOD, ALTHOUGH DID NOT AGREE WITH THE FACTUAL PARAMETERS. IT WAS PUT ON THE LIST BECAUSE THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE WHITE HOUSE BELIEVED THAT THEY COULD START A CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE WITH KHATAMI, WHO WAS DUBBED IF YOU RECALL, A MODERATE NEW PRESIDENT; THAT DIDN’T WORK. THE APPEASEMENT IN 1997 DID NOT WORK. IN 2004, THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT WAS TOLD THAT THE INCIDENCE OF IED’S THAT WERE KILLING AMERICAN SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN IN IRAQ, WOULD ABATE, WOULD DISAPPEAR, AS LONG AS THE MEK WAS MAINTAINED ON THE LIST; THE GOVERNMENT AGREED TO THAT. THE APPEASEMENT HAS NOT WORKED IN 14 YEARS, APPEASEMENT DIDN’T WORK LADIES AND GENTLEMEN IN 1933, AND IT WILL NEVER WORK WITH THE TERRORIST REGIME IN TEHRAN.


 

We have a very simple request today to me. Secretary, to her colleagues in the Department of State , who we greatly respect; look at the facts, make a decision but please make a decision now because it’s critical that you act. The regime in Tehran, whether it was our Marines in the Beirut barracks, whether it was our airmen is KhobarTowers in 1996, they have had a foreign policy of exporting terrorism mostly directed against the United States and its allies, but more importantly and more brutally directed against its own people: the students who in 2009 and continue to brave this terror and raise their voice of freedom.

It is long overdue that this decision is made; ladies and gentlemen it’s not just that the listing continues and no decision is made. As you heard that Gov. Rendell say, the listing gives the Tehran regime a license to kill freedom fighters and that’s the important point that we make today to the White House and to the Department of State. Every moment of this organization is classified by the United States government, The United States of America or as a terrorist organization gives the brutal regime in Tehran the license to arrest, detain, torture and kill its’ own freedom fighters at home and the people in Ashraf wore boldly leading the freedom fight outside of its borders. This license to kill will only abate, will only be removed once that the listing stops. That has to be done, and has to be done now.

I mentioned, and I’ll close with this, I mentioned before, we want to know who’s opposed to this. Now we know that the regime in Tehran of course is opposed to this because this is the only credible organize freedom resistance to its era and to its hegemony, but who else is opposed to it? The Prime Minister in Iraq, who by the way is there by virtue of the United States of America and its allies. Just the other day, I’m sure you saw this, he issued a statement in support of Assad of Syria. This is the Prime Minister, who United States of America supports and who also says that the MEK is a terrorist organization. I don’t know what his future is but I know that the future of the 3400 people in Ashraf is not only in his hands but in the hands of the United States.

The United States is personally and politically responsible for the safety of those people. We signed pledges with them, we guaranteed them our security; they have the full faith and credit of the United States. So to abandon them now, to Maliki and his surrogate masters in Tehran, would be worse than Srebrenica; it would be standing by and watching a massacre of epic scale. This government, this administration, will be responsible for if it occurs on their watch while they had the opportunity to protect and rescue these people. We call on the government to do that and to stop its delay, to stop its obfuscation, to stop its process review, whatever that may be and to recognize that this organization should not be listed as a terrorist organization. Then it’ll be up to you, and I know you will succeed in carrying the course of freedom to its logical end. Thank you very much


 

JOHN SANO

Former Director of the CIA

As a former spy I’m not used addressing assemblies outside of the CIA headquarters but I believe very strongly in your cause I also believe very strongly in the Iranian people, and that’s what set these issues apart. You remember back in the Clinton administration the axis of evil when Iran was listed along with Iraq and North Korea I’ve worked against the intelligence services of all three of those countries and in focusing on some of the issues that are relevant to each of them the one thing that stood out the most that differentiated Iran during that time of crisis where the people of Iran, the affinity that the people of Iran have with the United States, now that’s not true with the other two countries listed in the axis of evil.

Those people unfortunately had been brainwashed, remain under very repressive regimes, they didn’t have the capacity so this is the uniqueness to the people of Iran that sets it apart for and that I think speaks volumes as to your cause and to the need to delist the MeK. Now when they were listed in 1997 that was a mistake of appeasement that needs to be reversed. This is not a Republican Party issue it is not a Democratic partisan issue it is issue of humanity. It’s an issue of correcting an egregious wrong and doing what is right and is long overdue the main perpetrators of the continuing pressure to keep the MEK on the foreign terrorist organizations list is the ministry of intelligence and security, the MOIS in Iran. Now, as director Freeh has pointed and as Col. Moore will also say we have a little bit of experience in dealing with terrorist, MEK is not a terrorist group, I can tell you with a fair amount of authority that and I think the other speakers will back this up the MOIS is in fact a terrorist organization.  They should be on the list not the MeK. Now I’ve actually worked against MOIS overseas, I have experience in dealing with them, and I am familiar to a degree with some of their methods now unlike other civilized intelligence organizations from Western countries and indeed in other countries in the region the MOIS is not restricted in its efforts to undermine the credibility of the Iranian opposition they view the MEK quite clearly, as a severe threat to the continued existence of their regime. So how do they undermine? What are they doing? Well, they likely see the US continued branding of the MEK as a terrorist organization, much to their benefit it allows them, as the honorable Mr. Kennedy has pointed out, to commit atrocities against their own people.

They wish to keep that assessment intact and they’ll go to whatever they can to whatever lengths they can to propagate falsehoods about the MEK. Both here in the United States and internationally ranging, accusations, ranging from harboring weapons of mass distraction in Ashraf, to training female suicide bombers, to attempting to bring down airliners, these were all propagated falsely by the MOIS and when these allegations were proven false not just by the United States but by a range of countries and international organizations the MOIS continued in their insistence. Now you are familiar with some of their techniques: kidnapping and torture, murder, and you’re more familiar with more egregious ones like that. But they do a subtle effort to influence the media to influence policymakers to influence other heads of state into adopting their lies and quite frankly that’s all it is a pack of lies. The MOIS conducts, what we call in the intelligence business, falls flat in other words they pose as someone other than their true affiliation.

They have posed as members of the Green movement, most recently, they have posed as members of the MEK, and they do that so that they can stir up problems so that they can stir up difficulties for host nations, around the world, create bad publicity for the MeK and blame it on the MeK. These are desperate acts from a desperate organization that only has one focus in my and that is to protect the legitimacy of the regime well we all know that the regime is not legitimate, it is not from the people. We know as Mr. Kennedy has pointed out, and Gov. Rendell, and director Freeh and you’ll hear from Col. Martin as well, that we know specifically the Iranians are responsible for the deaths of Americans, in Afghanistan and Iraq that attribution cannot be leveled against the MEK the MOIS is heavily involved in activities in the two theaters of war, they’re actively involved in hunting down and discrediting and worse, against the members of the MEK people in Camp Ashraf as well. It is a travesty of justice as well that it has been allowed to continue for as long as it has.

Appeasement does not work with terrorist groups. The official policy of the United States government is that we will not negotiate with terrorists, yet there is that lingering hope vent that maybe, by continuing to keep the MEK on the FTO that it might convince the leadership in Tehran to adopt a more peaceful approach to engage in more meaningful negotiations with the United States. That has not worked that will never work. Now the MOIS is a fairly sophisticated, well-trained, organization and they have a lot of experience putting down their own people they are ruthless, many of you, and particularly, family members probably witness to that. They’ve got a great deal of expertise but they can’t hide the truth. The truth will always come out. The truth that the MeK promotes a peaceful nonviolent democratic Iran, that the MeK is committed to the Universal declaration of human rights as well as international conventions and covenants, and the MeK promotes a domestic and foreign policies based on peaceful coexistence. In all of that I don’t see the traits of a terrorist group. They’re not looking to usurp power, they’re not looking for a violent overthrow.

They are simply looking for the same thing that this country, the United States, was founded on. Democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. If those ideals label a group or individuals as terrorists than we are all terrorists. I’ve looked at the declassified intelligence that was used throughout the past several years to maintain the MEK on the FTO. Now it was declassified some parts were taken out, everything I saw in those reports based on my nearly 30 years of experience none of them indicated to me, even as director Freeh has pointed out, none of that indicated even a very slight degree that there was any credibility to the terrorist linkage to MeK, none. So why are we still doing it? Why are we still keeping them on the list? It’s appeasement, it’s an attempt to negotiate, based on my experience, and I’m sure the other speakers will agree, you don’t negotiate with terrorists. appeasement never works, and what Tehran see’s in the United States is kindness and it is time to be strong and it is time to stand up and do the right thing. Delist the MeK.


 

BRIAN BINLEY

Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom

Ladies and gentlemen, time is very short and you’re going to be marching through these very historic streets to make a point to the lady who spends her working time in that office. So I want to be very brief.

First of all, I want to thank you for welcoming me with an earthquake. I secondly want to say: I look forward to the hurricane you’ve arranged tomorrow. And I now say thank you for my five minutes. It’s a privilege to be with you. Could I also say what an honor it is to speak on the same platform as the great men you’ve listened to this morning, and the gentlemen you will listen to if I only stick to five minutes. What a privilege to stand in the capital of this great democracy; to be able to speak to you as free individuals in a democratic society.

Let me send my good wishes to my colleagues in Camp Ashraf: Salam, Camp Ashraf, we are with you. Let me tell you that I represent about 400 parliamentarians from what I consider to be the mother of parliament, the British Parliament. And can I say to you that they stand with you too. You may know that I was one of the 35 parliamentarians who put his name amongst others to the petition to remove the PMOI from the British prescribed list. It was a battle that we succeeded, and we succeeded because one of the senior judges of our land said that that prescription was perverse. It was one of the most remarkable statements made in a British court—to call a decision of government “perverse.” Now let me tell you that for a nation that I’ve always looked up to, the great United States of America, to uphold a listing which my country – the legal jurisdiction of my country – described as perverse is unacceptable of this nation.

So let me say to Mrs. Clinton, and I pray to the almighty that she listens to these words: My parents were around in 1939 that it became vital that we stood up against the Nazi attack on our society and yours. I was there when I saw the troops go to Iraq. But I did not see those troops give their lives in support of a government which supports Iran. But what I say to Mrs. Clinton is send a message to that government. Send a message to al-Maliki: we in free and democratic societies will not put up with what you’re doing. Let her, as a first step, deproscribe the MeK.


 

COL. WES MARTIN

Retired Colonel, U.S. Army

Ladies and gentlemen would like to thank the opportunity to be here. I grabbed a quote from Edmund Burke, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”. It is a pleasure this morning to be with you doing something to correct a serious wrong, the serious wrong was placing the MeK on the list. That serious wrong continues by keeping them on the list. Keeping them on the list does not support security and liberty throughout the world it supports the repressive Iranian fundamentalist regime. The MeK’s surrendered to American forces, they turned over their weapons, they accepted consolidation at Camp Ashraf, they renounced terrorism, even though they were not terrorists they renounced it as I would renounce it, and they accepted the protected person status.

When America did not know what to do with the MeK they then revoked the protected person status and turned them over to an enemy government that is loyal to the fundamentalist Iranian regime, they turned them over to Maliki. Now, no one detests war than the warrior, no one despises the breaking of certain treaty more than the warrior. I take personal exception that they were turned over to somebody who means them total harm and elimination. Unlike State Department employees, who visit Ashraf for a few hours and then walk away claiming, self-pro-claiming to experts. The Mujahedin and I have worked very closely together and we have learned a lot from each other I would like as their spokesman here today to share some of that knowledge and some of the lessons.

In combat we have a saying, a belief, you fight for the one on your left and the one on your right, and I was honored many times, numerous times, to go outside the perimeter into hostile territory. Although they were not armed the mujahedin was on my flank and I was very proud to have them there. There is a bunch of rumors going around by the Iranian friendly, the Iranian government friendly media, and State Department employees who I have been going head-to-head with I would like to address here. First the denial of access to the compound is being claimed while at Ashraf I was able to and did go into every compound and even without notice, and just go in.

The only group that has ever been denied access to Ashraf is the US congressmen this year who wanted to go and Maliki personally refused. The rumor is the people of Ashraf are being held against their will, just like before we stood up here today I took a walk through the crowd and meet with many of you. That was always done it Ashraf and the shaken hands if anybody wished to leave all they had to do was keep hold of my hand and they can walk out with me. Yet every member of Camp Ashraf stayed because that’s where their mission was, they were very loyal to it they were not being held against their will. The rumor is being spread the MeK has no influence in Iran, if that is true then why is Khamenei and Ahmadinejad spending so much effort trying to keep the MeK on the list and trying to get Maliki give them the MeK. Recently adding to that, Ambassador Butler claims that the MeK has provided no valuable intelligence. Well ambassador Butler, I believe the intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is very significant. Ambassador Butler is one more federal bureaucrats who is quick to speak about something he knows nothing about.

These classified reports that we keep hearing about that State Department has, already the seniors of the CIA and the FBI is clearly stated there is no critical good information and yet the State Department clings to it, let’s remember this is the same State Department that paid Chalabi $33 million to provide misinformation that led us into the war in Iraq in the first place. The bureaucrats of the State Department are serving secretary Clinton no better than they served secretary Collin Powell when they sent him to the United Nations with the information on weapons of mass destruction, and I have yet to figure out why the MeK is being placed and left on the terrorist list when Moqtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army is not on that terrorist list. Hundreds of Americans to include two of my own were killed by Mahdi Army and yet the bureaucrats of this establishment can’t get it through to them that they are terrorists and Moqtada Sadr is not a friend of the United States. When our founding fathers built the Constitution they put the legislative branch of government first because that represented the will of people, the executive came second to carry out that will, State Department wasn’t even mentioned in the Constitution, and the judicial branch was mentioned was stated third is to ensure that justice was done.

Yet the State Department has ignored the Congress recently at congressional hearings they were too busy to even send a representative and they are now six months overdue in complying with the judicial branch. It’s like they have become the law upon themselves and we’ve yet to see the State Department aggressively condemn the attacks of 2009 and 2011 If you want to see who the terrorists are watch the videos they’re the ones wearing Iraqi Army uniforms killing innocent unarmed people. We have three actions for solution: one let’s get the MeK off the terrorist list they never should’ve been there in the first place. Two let’s have the MeK secured by US forces and I’m willing to put a uniform back on and head back over there and lead those forces, and let’s move Iraq, let’s move the Mujahedin out of Iraq to a secure location. To my friends at Camp Ashraf I close with this message, we were together in the last decade, we won’t be together decade, and we will be together always.


 

IN THE MEDIA

IRANIAN DISSIDENTS GATHER HIGH-PROFILE SUPPORT

 

By Alice Fordham,

August 26, 2011

Politicians, former national security officials and thousands of others gathered outside the State Department on Friday to call for the removal of the Mujahedin-e Khalk, an Iranian opposition group, from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” blasted from large speakers and doves and clouds of confetti flew into the air as former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, to speak by video link from Paris.

“I salute your protest and gathering, which symbolizes an uprising for the freedom of the Iranian people,” said Rajavi, speaking in Farsi.

The controversial group, usually called by the acronym MEK, is made up of exiled Iranian dissidents who organized in the 1960s and now are mounting a political and legal campaign to end their designation as terrorists.

The group violently opposed the rule of the shah and initially supported the Islamist regime that came to power in 1979, but they became disillusioned with the theocracy and eventually fled amid growing hostility.

Some went to Europe, and others went to Iraq, where they built a heavily fortified base, called Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad. MEK fought with Saddam Hussein’s forces against Iran. The U.S. designated MEK a terrorist group in 1997 after blaming it for attacks on Iranian government institutions in which dozens were killed, including Americans working in Tehran.

Kennedy said the group does not nowcommit acts of terrorism or pose a threat to the United States. He and others hailed the group as a legitimate alternative to Iran’s repressive government.

“How much worse can we do than the mullahs in Tehran now?” Kennedy asked. “Does it make sense to shackle the primary opposition group internationally? You may not like them. They may not have a lot of support. . . . But we ought to be on the opposite side of what Tehran favors as a matter of principle.”

Retired Army Col. Wesley Martin said: “The opposition in Iran has been sent to the gallows or prison. [MEK is] the only external organization with influence.”

A growing number of high-profile figures support removing the MEK from the list of terrorist groups. Those who have spoken in support of the move include retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton and retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace, both former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, who was President Obama’s national security adviser; and former Vermont governor Howard Dean (D).

Lawmakers from both parties have criticized the Obama administration for not moving swiftly to clear MEK’s name or to facilitate a move to a country outside Iraq. Administration officials say there remains concern about the group’s nature.

“This is a group that has a lot of blood on its hands, including American blood,” said a senior administration official, who insisted on anonymity because legal and political decisions were being made about MEK. “We don’t want to be in a position where we later determine that a de-listed group has returned to violence.”

(Click here for source)


 

SUPPORTERS OF IRANIAN RESISTANCE GROUP RALLY AT STATE DEPARTMENT

By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

August 26, 2011

Washington (CNN) — Hundreds of supporters of the Iranian resistance group Mujahedin-e Khalq rallied in front of the U.S. State Department in Washington Friday, demanding the United States remove the group from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

In a sophisticated display of its public relations ability, the demonstration featured scores of young supporters wearing matching yellow T-shirts and straw hats chanting slogans, live big-screen broadcasts of the speakers, appearances by well-know U.S. politicians and the release of white doves that flew up toward the State Department’s enormous navy-blue flag as a storm of yellow and blue confetti filled the air.

The protest took place as the State Department prepares to decide whether to remove the organization from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The MEK denies that it supports terrorism.

The department placed the MEK on the list in 1997. The group initially supported the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but later turned against the ayatollahs and, until 2003, carried out bombings and killings of Iranian officials.

The State Department also cites eyewitness accounts and MEK documents that it says demonstrate that MEK members participated in and supported the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and, in the 1970s, carried out terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in Iran as well as assassinations of Americans.

In the 1980s, because of the group’s anti-Iran actions, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein provided it with financial support and military training. During the Iran-Iraq War, the State Department says, Baghdad “armed the MEK with heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of MEK fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces.”

The MEK surrendered its heavy arms to the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq and, in 2003, said it was renouncing violence. Since then, roughly 3,400 M.E.K. members have been living at a refugee camp called Camp Ashraf on the Iran/Iraq border.

But the new Iraqi government, which is more sympathetic to the Iranian regime, wants to move the MEK out of Iraq. The camp has been violently attacked several times by Iraqi security forces. In one attack this spring, at least 30 of the camp’s residents died.

At Friday’s rally at the State Department, girls wearing yellow tiaras on their heads with the word “Ashraf” led the audience in cheers.

Onstage, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy addressed the crowd, urging support for its cause. The MEK, which is based in France, has spent millions of dollars to win backing in Washington.

The State Department, in its 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism, noted, “The MEK’s political arm, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. NCRI also has a well-developed media communications strategy.”

Some Iranians in the United States have been critical of the MEK. In a press release Friday, Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said delisting the group “would be disastrous for Iran’s nonviolent democratic opposition — the Green Movement.”

“The MEK is pressuring the U.S. to turn its back on the millions of Iranians who have embraced nonviolence in the struggle for democracy,” Parsi said, “to instead support an undemocratic terrorist organization.”

Calling the MEK “a cult that abuses its own members,” Parsi said it has “no support among the Iranian people.” The MEK, he said, has been paying U.S. politicians to get it off the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

“If the MEK campaign is successful,” he said, “it means that America’s national security is officially on sale to the highest bidder, and terror groups are free to set U.S. policies if the price is right.

(Click here for source)

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