Intelligence Minister: Iran real pioneer in fighting terrorism

Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi described Iran as a pioneering state in the war on terrorism, and lambasted certain countries which chant slogans against terrorism but support the terrorist groups in action.

"Iran is one of the biggest victims of terrorism and a real pioneer in fighting it," Alavi told reporters on the sidelines of the 'National Congress of 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims' in Tehran on Saturday.

He warned of the rapid pace of the spread of terrorism in the world, and said some of Iran's neighboring countries are witnessing acts of terror against their innocent people on a daily basis.

Alavi rapped certain world states, specially the westerners, which chant slogan against terrorism but support terrorists and perform state-run terrorist operations.

In relevant remarks in 2011, a senior Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) official blasted the world arrogant powers for their assistance and support for anti-Iran terrorist groups, and described Iran as the biggest victim of terrorist acts in the world.

"The Iranian nation with more than 17,000 martyrs is the biggest victim of terrorism in the world," Supreme Leader's Vice Representative to the IRGC said in the Central city of Qom at the time.

He lambasted the western countries for their support for terrorist groups despite their hues and cries about campaign against terrorism, and said the world arrogant powers equipped terrorist groups against the Islamic Republic on the early days after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and they are now also striving to save the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).

The MKO was a long-standing member of the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, but after heavy lobbying the group was dropped from the list last year. The group was allied to Saddam Hussein and retains a significant presence at Camp Liberty, and formerly at Camp Ashraf (its main training camp) during the US occupation.

The MKO 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. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.

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 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 eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by 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 at the time.

In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq's Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty which lies Northeast of the Baghdad International Airport.