Supporting MKO not beneficial to U.S. interests

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Based on news reports, a number of U.S. officials and former officials have adopted this motto in recent months," Ariane Tabatabai wrote in an article published on the National Interest.

"They seem to believe the prospect of the nuclear issue being solved and rapprochement with Tehran so threatening that they have rushed to Iran’s great foe: the People’s Mojahdein Organization (MEK)."

She went on to provide a more careful examination of the MEK which she believed would provide "evidence" of the MKO's "problematic nature".

"First", she added, "the MEK has no viable chance of seizing power in Iran," adding that the MKO is not even the last choice of Iranians for a government since the group "supported Saddam Hussein" during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

"Today, the MEK is viewed negatively by most Iranians, who would prefer to maintain the status quo than rush to the arms of what they consider a corrupt, criminal cult."

Tabatabai added that the MKO supporters "choose to ignore" its track record of human-rights abuses. "The MEK controls every aspect of its members’ lives and tortures them. Some of these human-rights abuses include: mass, compulsory divorces, beatings and torture, costing some members their lives, and solitary confinements so extreme that some members preferred to take their lives than be subjected to them."

"To understand the origins of anti-Americanism in pre-revolutionary Iran, look no further," she added. "The MEK was responsible for the assassination and failed attempts to kidnap and assassinate Americans in Iran in the 1970s. It was also the MEK that pressured the Islamic revolutionaries to take a stronger stance against the United States. The MEK further supported the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Tehran."

She pointed out that the MKO "is merely manipulating the West," hoping it will rush to it for fear of the greater enemy: the Islamic Republic. "To do so, the MEK has teamed up with Israel, while it is as anti-Israeli as the Iranian regime, criticizing the Shah’s support for Jerusalem as much as the Islamic revolutionaries. This is not a real ideological shift, but rather a smart, tactical move by the MEK."

"The MEK may appear as a modern organization on the surface, but it is, in fact, a crypto-Shiite Communist group."

"In effect," Tabatabai added, MKO is "a religious, Communist cult based around the myth of an invisible leader, Massoud Rajavi, who has not been seen for years (and who is said to be dead or hiding.)

Referring to the MKO's claims that "it would dismantle Iran’s nuclear program," she said, "Even if the MEK had a real chance of coming to power in Iran, which it does not, it would most likely not dismantle the nuclear program." "In fact, it would have even more incentive to pursue nuclear weapons and would be less likely to engage with the international community. The MEK is a far less accountable organization than the Islamic Republic is, as, unlike the latter, it is a cult-like organization, rather than an established government that has certain checks and balances. As such, sanctions and deterrence would be less effective on the MEK than on the current government."

She finally said that the American supporters of MKO terror group "are ignoring the lessons of some of the most catastrophic U.S. foreign-policy mistakes in the past few decades, urging Washington to repeat history."

"Overhyping the threat of an adversary and blindly supporting groups opposing it led to the creation of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Supporting the MEK is neither in accordance with American values, nor beneficial to U.S. interests."

Instead, the United States should pursue the diplomatic track, which is what most Americans favor. Diplomacy will not only promote U.S. interests in the Middle East, but also help empower Iranians to improve their lives by normalizing the Iranian political climate.