Larijani: Int'l norms violated by US delisting of MKO ‎

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the United States violated the international ‎norms by ‎removing the name of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as ‎the MEK, NCR and ‎PMOI) from the list of terrorist groups. ‎

"The United States suddenly prepares a ground to strike the Monafeqin (Hypocrites, as they are called ‎‎in Iran) grouplet from their terror list, and they, in fact, disrespected international norms and human ‎‎criteria by such actions," Larijani told FNA on Sunday. ‎ ‎

He said Washington's claims about war on terrorism as well as promotion of democracy and human ‎‎rights are no more than empty words which meet no action. "As a matter of fact, they (Americans) are ‎‎looking for servants to obey their orders and if then their actions fall in the domain of terrorism, they ‎‎won't care." ‎ ‎

‎"Americans took similar measures in Afghanistan and they continue doing so now," Larijani went on ‎‎saying. ‎ ‎

He said the US delisting of the MKO revealed once again to the Iranian nation that "Americans are an ‎‎accomplice of those who assassinated Iran's leaders and our scholars".‎ ‎

The parliament speaker evaluated the US measure as "blatant animosity towards the Iranian nation", ‎‎but meantime described the MKO members as "politically dead" and "worthless".‎ ‎

The US State Department on Friday removed the MKO from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. ‎‎The decision made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US ‎‎jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a ‎‎statement on Friday.‎ ‎

Iran's first reaction came on Saturday when the Iranian Foreign Ministry in a statement condemned ‎‎the US move and said it displayed Washington's double standard policies.‎ ‎

The statement accused Washington of applying double standards in dealing with terrorism, reminding ‎‎that the terrorist MKO is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranian civilians.‎

The delisting of MKO was "a violation of America's legal and international obligations" that could ‎‎threaten US interests. The decision "will bring US responsibility for past, present and future terrorist ‎‎operations by this group," the statement said.‎

‎ Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations ‎‎subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency ‎‎in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe. ‎ ‎

The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians ‎‎said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the ‎‎British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because ‎‎of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (‎‏1980-1988‏‎). ‎ ‎

Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in ‎‎the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so. ‎ ‎

A May ‎‏2005‏‎ Human Rights Watch report accused the group of running prison camps in Iraq and ‎‎committing human rights violations. ‎ ‎

According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail ‎‎terms. ‎ ‎

The group, founded in the ‎‏1960‏s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the ‎‎overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in ‎‏1979‏‎. After the Islamic revolution, the MKO conducted ‎‎attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets. ‎ ‎

Leaders of the group have been fighting to shed its terrorist tag after a series of bloody anti-Western ‎‎attacks in the ‎‏1970‏s, and nearly ‎‏33‏‎ years of violent struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran. ‎ ‎

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control ‎‎of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the early years after ‎‎the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad ‎‎Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks ‎‎by MKO members in ‎‏1981‏‎. ‎ ‎

The group fled to Iraq in ‎‏1986‏‎, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the ‎‎Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country. ‎ ‎

The terrorist group joined Saddam's army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (‎‏1980-1988‏‎) and ‎‎helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi ‎‎imposed war on Iran. ‎ ‎

Since the ‎‏2003‏‎ US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, ‎‎has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argued for the MKO to be ‎‎taken off the US terror list. ‎

‎In recent years, MKO ringleaders have been lobbying governments around the world in the hope of ‎‎acknowledgement as a legitimate opposition group.‎ ‎

The MKO spent huge sums of money over years lobbying for removal from the US terror list, holding ‎‎rallies in European capitals and elsewhere that featured luminaries like former Homeland Security ‎‎Secretary Tom Ridge from the administration of George W. Bush. Former House Speaker and ‎‎presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was among those recently welcomed by the MKO to Paris. ‎

The UK initiative, however, prompted the European Union to establish relations with the exiled ‎‎organization now based in Paris. The European Court of First Instance threw its weight behind the ‎‎MKO in December and annulled its previous decision to freeze its funds.‎‎‏9106243208