MKO applauds U.S. Navy's downing of Iranian airliner

In an article published by lobelog, Paul Gottinger  has reviewed the reaction of different Iranian groups in the United Stated to the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner in 1988 by the U.S. Navy. In a part of his article, Gottinger refers to the Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MKO, a.k.a. MEK, NCRI, PMOI) as “applauding” the U.S. Navy's downing of the Iranian airliner:


In addition to monitoring other Iranian groups, the FBI was interested in gathering the opinions of American-based Iranian opposition groups to the downing of Iran Air flight 655.

The San Diego branch of the Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK), which was formerly listed by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization, is quoted in the document as “applauding” the U.S. Navy’s downing of the Iranian airliner.

The July 28 San Diego FBI field office communication states:

The San Diego MEK chapter does not blame the U.S. but rather applauds the event as it serves to “bloody the nose of Iran” and cause greater disharmony between the U.S. and Iran. Either case is seen by them to benefit the MEK cause.

The San Diego branch of the MEK also believed conspiracie theories that the downing of the airliner was an Iranian propaganda operation.

The San Diego MEK appears to generally believe that bodies recovered from the crash sight were planted either aboard the jet before a suicide mission or were planted at the scene by design.

The FBI documents indicate that the group believed that Iranian search-and-rescue units were “fully equipped and in position to arrive on the scene ahead of any other party to control the scene and maximize the propaganda value.”

The section of the documents on the MEK is particularly interesting because the group is still very active, and John Bolton, President Trump’s national security advisor, has given paid speeches at MEK gatherings where he pledged to overthrow Iran’s government.

The documents also mention other Iranian dissident groups based in the United States. An FBI asset in the pro-monarchy (pro-Shah) element of the Iranian community in the United States is quoted as saying the monarchist community didn’t blame the United States for downing the airliner.

It would not appear that the Pro-Monarchy (Pro-Palavi) segment of the local Iranian community blames the U.S. for its action or fosters any ill will due to the tragedy.

Trita Parsi, co-founder of the Quincy Institute, reacted to the opinions expressed by the MEK and monarchist groups in the FBI documents, telling Lobe Log:

The fact that the MEK, and to a lesser extent the Monarchists, at the time were absolving Washington of responsibility and even claimed the tragedy was a publicity stunt by Tehran, only goes to show how marginalized these groups are and how tremendously disconnected they are from mainstream opinion among Iranians. Their lack of empathy for innocent Iranians killed shows why they have had such difficulty getting traction among Iranians, in spite of the immense unpopularity of the current government.