Lobbying campaign takes Iranian dissident group off US terror list

A group with a history of bombings and murders, including the killing of US citizens, which also ‎happens to oppose the current Iranian government, has paid its way off of a US blacklist, Lajos Szasdi, ‎an international affairs analyst told RT.‎

The US Secretary of State announced the removal of the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MKO) from its list of ‎terrorist organizations on Friday. Originally one of the main participants of Iran's ‎‏1979‏‎ Islamic ‎Revolution, it is now in opposition to the government in Tehran, and with the help of Israeli special ‎forces carries out “assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran and obtains information on the Iranian ‎nuclear program,” Szasdi says.‎

RT: Why has Washington chosen now to remove Mujahadeen-e-Khalq from its list of terrorist ‎organizations?‎

Lajos Szasdi: This group, the MKO, has been apparently very successful in gaining the support of both ‎the Republican and Democratic parties, civilians, as well as retired members of the military, senior ‎officers included. So apparently, there has been a very successful lobbying campaign before the ‎government to overturn the government’s decision, made in ‎‏1997‏‎, to place the MKO on the terrorist ‎list of the Treasury Department.‎

There is also another issue. Washington might find this group highly useful. It seems that they have ‎made use of it since ‎‏2007‏‎, in trying to destabilize the internal situation in Iran, and apparently with the ‎cooperation of the Israeli secret service, the Mossad. They have used this group to conduct, it is said ‎by some authors, assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran and obtain information on the Iranian ‎nuclear program. And they've carried out some acts of sabotage – they caused the explosion of a ‎missile factory as well. There is some strategic interest in terms of current and ongoing, bad ‎relationships, to say the least, to put it mildly, between the United States on one side and Iran on the ‎other.‎

And this group has also been carrying out a highly successful lobbying campaign, which is very ‎interesting because according to some sectors in the press, if you spoke for ten minutes in favor of the ‎group in a speech, you could have gotten twenty thousand dollars. And they have been paying for ‎speeches defending their cause, so they would be removed from the list of being terrorists, between ‎ten and fifty thousand dollars. So, it is quite interesting.‎

RT: Do you think this will influence the upcoming Iranian elections, is that the intention?‎

LS: The Iranian candidates will try to portray this event, the fact that the US government removed this ‎group from the list of terrorists … it would be a further justification of any hardening of the position ‎that the United States has no interest in finding a negotiated solution, but on the contrary – they are ‎supporting its enemies. ‎

It is going to, in any case, work to the detriment of the relationship between the West and Iran, and in ‎particular the United States and Iran. It is going to favor taking hardening positions towards the West ‎and the United States. I think it is quite inevitable in light of the rhetoric coming from Washington, ‎alongside that coming from Tel Aviv regarding Iran and the Iranian nuclear program. It might not make ‎much difference, but it certainly is going to be ammunition for those that would try to suppress the ‎idea of any dialogue with Washington, because after all, Washington is not offering any olive branch ‎for such a kind of dialogue.‎