The United States is reportedly planning to remove the anti-Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations.
The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border.
The group also cooperated with Saddam in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranians and Iraqis.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been putting pressure on Baghdad to resist the calls.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Ralph Schoenman, author and political commentator from Berkeley, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: To begin with, before Washington decides to take the MKO off of its terror list, why had it for years supported the MKO and at the same time put it on its terror list? It seems very paradoxical?
Schoenman: First of all, I want to emphasize to you that in The New York Times today and the Guardian in London, the headlines confirmed that in fact the United States has removed the MEK, Mujahedin Khalq, from the terror watch list, from the terror list in Washington.
What’s significant about this is that this is a terror group that has spent millions of dollars in bribing various officials in the United States government at the highest levels. Public appearances on behalf of the MEK included the New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, Obama advisor James L. Jones.
In addition to Giuliani, Rendell and Jones, the groups, advocates and public supporters included Tom Ridge, the former Homeland Security Secretary, Howard Dean, the Head of the Democratic Party, the former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the former FBI director Louis Freeh, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Hugh Helton, the UN Ambassador... Mitchel Reese the top...official, and the top foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Sixteen prominent US officials who went to Paris for an MEK rally last month including Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and Republican president candidate; in a video, Gingrich is seen bowing to the MEK’s cofounder, Maryam Rajavi, Massoud Rajavi’s widow. Gingrich appealed for decisive action by the United States.
Over 100 US legislatures were paid millions of dollars, and this is a criminal act, to bribe high-level public officials, openly in this case by a group that happens to be on the terror list, is a criminal act, and everyone of these top officials should be subject to imprisonment for taking bribes from such a group.
Press TV: What will be the fate of the MKO if it is expelled from Iraq?
Schoenman: I would like to point out to you that the MEK has been an instrument of US terror, state terror, against the [Iranian government] and against the population of Iran since the time that the regime of Saddam Hussein was directed by former National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to invade Iran and to attempt to detach or amputate Khuzestan from Iran.
The significance of this is in part that there is a major base, Camp Ashraf, where the MEK-trained military are present and they are being requested by the Iraqi government to be removed from there to another location, and that is an issue of some moment.
Try to bear in mind the significance of this. Every major official in this administration and previous ones is involved in this operation.
What we’re really looking at here is across-the-board state terrorism of the ruling class using the MEK as a vehicle for assassinating public officials in Iran, for staging bomb attacks, for executing scientists as the Mossad and the CIA have done.
It is central to the official US campaign of terror, state terror, against Iran and against opponents of US imperialism in the region.