MEK’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list (5)

An IPC panel in 2007 lists one speaker as Alireza Jafarzadeh, the MEK spokesman in Washington who the RAND report notes had "directed the MEK's US lobbying apparatus" until it was designated an FTO. Mr. Crowley told the Monitor that Mr. Jafarzadeh – who today runs a Washington consultancy and conducts pro-MEK work – is "the driving force” behind the current campaign. 

Who pays?

The sources of funding for the campaign to rehabilitate the MEK are not clear, even to US officials. The Monitor sought contact with more than a dozen speakers which, combined with news reports and official disclosures, paint a picture of several Iranian-American groups – some with past links to the MEK, and all engaged in pro-MEK activities – bankrolling the effort.

Besides the string of well-attended events at prestigious American hotels and locations, and in Paris, Brussels, and Berlin, the campaign has included full-page advertisements in The New York Times and Washington Post – which can cost $175,000 apiece – that demand delisting the MEK and protection of Camp Ashraf.

Several conferences have been sponsored by ExecutiveAction, LLC, whose CEO Neil Livingstone has long been active with MEK issues. His company has produced lengthy reports rebutting official US positions on the MEK.

According to his company website, Mr. Livingstone is also a member of the Iran Policy Committee (IPC), which in 2005 laid out a regime-change plan for Iran; its top priority was delisting the MEK.

An IPC panel in 2007 lists one speaker as Alireza Jafarzadeh, the MEK spokesman in Washington who the RAND report notes had "directed the MEK's US lobbying apparatus" until it was designated an FTO. Mr. Crowley told the Monitor that Jafarzadeh – who today runs a Washington consultancy and conducts pro-MEK work – is "the driving force” behind the current campaign.

Mukasey, the former attorney general, was photographed speaking with Jafarzadeh at a July 7 hearing on Capitol Hill titled "Massacre at Camp Ashraf: Implications for US Policy." He told the Monitor that Jafarzadeh was "as far as I know, liaison to the Iranian-Americans who attended the hearing." Jafarzadeh did not respond to communications from the Monitor asking for comment.

Several speakers at MEK-linked events told the Monitor they were paid by the Iranian American Community of Northern California. Director Ahmad Moein did not respond to multiple telephone and e-mail attempts to reach him; the group’s website is dedicated to pro-MEK issues and events.

The California group hired the powerful Washington law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby on its behalf to remove the MEK from the terrorism list. Also supplying some funds has been Colorado's Iranian American Community, according to a disclosure report filed in early July by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and posted at legistorm.com. That group paid $6,589.62 for six days of first class travel and lodging expenses for Rep. Filner to attend the June MEK rally in Paris.

The House disclosure form describes him attending a "Grand meeting of Iranians in support of human rights and democracy for Iran." It makes no mention of the MEK, nor meeting Rajavi. In his speech, Filner said: "I bring you greetings and support from the Congress of the United States … I want to congratulate Madame Rajavi ... we will succeed."

In 2007, Filner also accepted $7,949.40 worth of travel to attend a "rally for Iranian human rights" in Paris. Both trips were paid for by Tim Mehdi Ghaemi of the Colorado group, according to the required "Private Sponsor Travel Certification Form."

In 2004, this Colorado group was among 23 co-sponsors of a fundraiser for Iran's Bam earthquake victims that turned into a “night of resistance.” Seventeen were found to have MEK connections, including the Colorado group, according to news reports at the time. Then-Pentagon adviser Richard Perle delivered a paid speech, unaware of the MEK link. The US government froze the assets of the primary sponsor, the Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia.

Such groups are familiar to US agencies as a means for MEK supporters to raise and spend funds, despite the terrorist designation. The State Dept. has described how the MEK “has formed associated groups with benign names” to raise cash and sympathy.

"I am not aware of any activities they undertake that are not MEK-related," says one US official about these regional organizations. "I couldn't begin to count them all.... They've got so many shells and fronts among their organizations that we can't keep up with them all."

 

MEK’s big-money push to get off US terrorist list (4)


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