Iran’s police chief criticizes the West for removing MKO from terror list

TEHRAN – Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari has censured certain Western states for delisting Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the list of terrorist organizations.

As an anti-Iran terrorist group, MKO, also called MEK, has committed numerous crimes, including a massacre of 5,000 people in Iraqi Kurdistan under Saddam Hussein’s rule, Ashtari explained.

Addressing the 13th working group meeting of the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) in Tehran on Monday, he also said that the MKO has killed more than 12,000 innocent people in Iran.

“Unfortunately, for some unknown reasons, the name of this group was removed from the list of terrorist groups a while ago,” Ashtari lamented.

The MKO, which is currently acting as a proxy against Tehran, has carried out many terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past several decades.

Fleeing Iran in 1986, the terrorist group was given a camp by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. It fought on the side of Saddam against Iran in the 1980s during which the former Iraqi dictator used chemical weapons against Iranians on a massive scale. 

The MKO, whose name translates to “Holy Warriors of the People,” was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union in 1997 and 2002 respectively, but as more efforts got directed to vilify Iran, it got delisted by the EU on January 26, 2009 and by the U.S. on September 28, 2012.

After Washington formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations, the group became able to have its assets under the U.S. jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities. A number of U.S. officials received hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for speaking on MKO’s behalf ever since.

During the past several months, the organization – run by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, though the former’s whereabouts are unknown and he is rumored to be dead – has held numerous anti-Iran events, gathering senior American, Israeli and Saudi officials, including John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Joe Lieberman and Turki Bin Faisal.

MKO’s recent activities has angered Iranian officials.

Following the group’s latest gathering which was held in Paris, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the meeting as a “moot point in mutual relations”.

“To permit the activities of a group, hated among Iranians, with terrorist records and cooperation with Saddam in its treasonous background against Iranians, as well as terrorist efforts and plans in recent weeks and months, is only a black stain on the records of countries that cooperate with such groups,” Zarif stated.

The event, which was broadcast live by the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news channel, was attended by some of the former U.S., European and Saudi officials, including former Saudi spy chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal.