MKO remains a source of concern

What follows is the response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs to the Third Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee Session 2003-2004 Iran

The Government welcomes this timely Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The UK’s relations with Iran affect vital UK interests in fields as diverse as proliferation, terrorism, human rights, illegal migration, and the trade in illegal narcotics. We endorse the Report’s main conclusions and recommendations, and set out our response below.

8. We recommend that in its response to this Report the Government tell us what is the current extent of support for the terrorist organisation MEK in third countries, and what it is doing to minimise that support. (Paragraph 40)

We believe that support for the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) in all countries is very low. Popular support for the MeK both in Iran and overseas is far lower than the organisation’s own publicity would indicate. This is hardly surprising. The MeK has acknowledged its responsibility for terrorist acts against civilian and military targets in Iran and other countries. From the mid-1980s until last year, the MeK received extensive support from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The MeK remains a source of concern. The MeK has been proscribed by successive Home Secretaries under the Terrorism Act 2000. UK policy is that there should be no contact between Ministers or officials and members of the MeK or the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a group with which the MeK is closely associated. The MeK is regarded as a terrorist organisation by the EU, and the US designated it a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 1997. Despite occasional claims by Iran to the contrary, we believe the US takes this designation seriously. Following the conflict in Iraq, the US military detained around 3,800 people at Camp Ashraf, the main MeK base 100km from Baghdad, greatly reducing the MeK’s ability to carry out terrorist attacks. The US is currently screening and interviewing detainees, and will take decisions about their future once that process of screening is complete. The US has also taken steps to close the offices in the US of the NCRI.