A prominent American investigative journalist says the former US administration supported the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) by training its members at a secret site in Nevada.
“The site, some 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft,” Seymour Hersh wrote in an article published in The New Yorker online weekly magazine on Thursday.
“It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq,” he added.
The American journalist went on to say that a former US intelligence official had told him that the administration of George W. Bush began providing MKO agents with terror training in Nevada in 2005.
“'We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the DOE (Department of Energy) owns all this land in southern Nevada,’ a former senior American intelligence official told me. ‘We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications-coordinating ... is a big deal,’” he wrote.
He further noted that anti-Iran Mojahedin members were trained in areas geographically similar to those in “northwest Iran.”
This comes as MKO has been on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations since 1997. The terrorist group is on the black list of many other countries and organizations as well.
“Despite the growing ties, and a much-intensified lobbying effort organized by its advocates, MEK has remained on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations--which meant that secrecy was essential in the Nevada training,” Hersh explained.
MKO terrorists are responsible for the killings of many Iranian officials and ordinary people since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The group members fled to Iraq in 1986, where they enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up camp in Diyala province, near the Iranian border. MKO is also known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has attempted to block their expulsion by mounting pressure on the Iraqi government.