The group that assassinated Iran's scientists wants to be delisted

Yet, the MEK, also referred to as the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or PMOI, has a history of having killed American citizens, was allied with the Iraqi regime of President Saddam Hussein and has been closely associated with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida.

A virulently anti-Iranian terrorist group has been credited by U.S. intelligence sources for the recent killings of Iranian nuclear scientists and Iran's major missile developer, even while the organization is promoting a public relations effort – with the support of prominent Americans – to be removed from the U.S. State Department's terrorist list.

Sources confirm that the Mujahedin-e-Khalq organization, which also is referred to as MEK or MKO, was involved with Israel in the current round of assassinations of two Iranian nuclear scientists and Iran's top missile designer. To date, some five Iranian nuclear scientists have been targeted.

Separately, the British Daily Mail reports that U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel has been funding and training Iranian dissidents to assassinate nuclear scientists involved in Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. officials also confirmed similar information to NBC News but quickly added that the United States isn't involved in the assassinations of the Iranian nuclear scientists, although it apparently is aware of the alleged connection between the Israeli intelligence service Mossad and the MEK.

U.S. sources confirm the close relationship between Israel's Mossad and the MEK. The association hasn't gone unnoticed by Iranian officials.

"The relation is very intricate and close," according to Mohammad Javad Larijani, who is a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's current supreme leader. "They (Israelis) are paying the mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents are providing Israel with information. And they recruit and also manage logistical support.

"Israel does not have direct access to our society," Larijani added. "Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society, they have a good number of places to get in touch with people. So, I think they are working hand-to-hand very close. And we do have very concrete documents."

Larijani apparently was referring to an interrogation of an MEK member in a failed assassination attempt in 2010 in which such documentation reportedly was found on him. Despite confirmation by U.S. intelligence sources of MEK involvement in continued assassinations, the MEK seeks to be removed from the U.S. terrorism list – a goal which has the backing from notable Americans, several members of Congress and a prominent Washington-based law firm.

The effort to delist the MEK is led by groups on both the left and right of the American political spectrum because of its anti-Iranian position and opposition to the Muslim clerics which lead the Islamic republic.

Yet, the MEK, also referred to as the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or PMOI, has a history of having killed American citizens, was allied with the Iraqi regime of President Saddam Hussein and has been closely associated with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida.

In August 1998, for example, the MEK received assistance from the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida to assassinate 11 Iranian diplomats, journalists and innocent civilians in an attack on Shi'a Muslims in Afghanistan.

The MEK was first established in the 1960s by the college-educated children of many Iranian merchants who sought to counter what they viewed as excessive Western influence with the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a closed U.S. ally who reigned from 1941 to 1979 when the Islamic Revolution took place installing the clerics under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

In events leading up to the overthrow of the shah, the MEK staged numerous terrorist attacks inside Iran and killed a number of U.S. military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran.

The MEK also backed the takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and for a time backed the clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini against nationalists and moderates within the revolution.

However, a power struggle occurred in late 1980 and by mid-1981 the MEK was engaged in street battles against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The MEK sided with the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The group actually received refuge from Hussein and conducted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory.

U.S. intelligence sources tell G2Bulletin that the MEK was involved in the movement of al-Qaida members into eastern Iran after the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to escape U.S. detection. The eastern portion of Iran is regarded as a lawless Sunni haven of tribes loyal to al-Qaida. The region borders the Baluchistan province in neighboring Pakistan where many members of al-Qaida reside, along with other Sunni Islamist militants.

Iraq's Hussein provided financial and logistical assistance to the MEK as a counter-balance to Shi'a Tehran.

Yet, the MEK in 2006 claimed that it had renounced violence in 2001 as it was seeking to have funds unfrozen by the European Union, which ultimately occurred.

With deep financial pockets, however, the MEK today has begun a major public relations campaign in the United States to be removed, or "delisted," from the State Department's U.S. terrorist list, formally known as the Foreign Terrorist Organization, list.

The MEK has enlisted the help of former U.S. cabinet members and other former American officials from both the left and right of the political spectrum. It also has legal representation for its delisting activities from a highly expensive Washington-based law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

The campaign to get delisted began in earnest last year with a kickoff event at the swanky Williard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Notable Washington insiders who have been tapped to speak on MEK's behalf include Louis Freeh, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean; John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Gen. Wesley Clark, retired former NATO supreme allied commander; Ed Rendell, former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania; Rudolph Giulani, former mayor of New York City; Porter Goss, former director of Central Intelligence; Lee Hamilton, former co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission; retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of Central Intelligence; and Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, among others.

In all, some 33 high-ranking former U.S. officials were listed as "prominent speakers at MEK-related Meetings and Conferences from December 2010-July 2011," based on a list compiled by the Huffington Post.

In addition to Washington, events for MEK's delisting efforts have featured these and other prominent speakers in Berlin, Brussels, London and Paris.

Because the MEK still is on the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list, these speakers cannot be paid directly. While MEK reportedly is spending millions of dollars to obtain these speakers, they are paid indirectly through numerous private Iranian-American booking agents who, in turn, pay the prominent American speakers from $20,000 to $40,000 for just an eight to 10 minute speech on MEK's behalf.

In that way, the speakers technically aren't accepting money directly from a terrorist organization, even though in presenting their speeches on behalf of the MEK they know the source of the money.

Now, the MEK is blanketing U.S. television with advertisements nationwide calling for the group's delisting.

A State Department spokesman refused to comment on ongoing deliberations to consider the MEK's request to be delisted, a process which formally has been under way for more than a year. However, the State Department has yet to make a decision.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-group-thats-been-assassinating-iranian-scientists-wants-to-be-removed-from-us-terrorist-list-2012-2


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