Americans describe the MeK

Americans describe the MeK
Among the many indicators of misdirection in the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran, one of the clearest is the fondness for the cult-cum-terrorist group known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK. The national security advisor, John Bolton, and Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, are among the group’s most prominent cheerleaders, having been featured speakers at its rallies in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in fees. Just in February, Giuliani told a pro-MEK rally in Warsaw, Poland, on the sidelines of a US-organized Middle East conference that Iran’s leaders are “assassins” and “murderers” who should be overthrown and then replaced by Rajavi.
For years, the group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. But after an aggressive and well-funded lobbying campaign supported by a bipartisan cast of high-profile former public officials, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in September 2012 that the group would be removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.
However, in the State Department’s briefing on delisting of the MeK, a senior state department official asserts that the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. He also pointed out that The Department has “serious concerns” about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. 
In an article published in Politico Magazine on December 13, 2016, Daniel Benjamin, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department between 2009-2012, asserts that when removing the MeK from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorism Organization (FTO) List, the department was aware of the terrorist activities that the group had committed in the past:
   "For decades, and based on U.S. intelligence, the United States government has blamed the MEK for killing three U.S. Army colonels and three U.S. contractors, bombing the facilities of numerous U.S. companies and killing innocent Iranians. Multiple administrations have rejected efforts by the MEK and its surrogates to claim that any bad acts were the result of what Torricelli calls “a Marxist group” that briefly ran the MEK while other leaders, who later rejected this cabal, were in prison."
In the same article, Benjamin refers to the Assistant Secretary of State Robert Pelletreau’s written response to a subcommittee question in 1992 about the MeK, in which he had pointed out that the US. Department of State does not deal with the MeK because of “the organization’s past use of terrorism, its continuing advocacy of violence, and a fundamental contradiction between its policy and our own.”
In the following, we will take a look at the positions of several authorities within the United States’ government, as well as prominent academics and journalists who, aware of the terrorist nature of the Mek, had warned that any support for such a violent cult, will cause irreparable damages for the country.
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albrightformer Secretary of State (Remarks after the MeK’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997.) :
“We are aware that some of the designations made today may be challenged in court, but we’re also confident that the designations are fully justified.”

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Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Riceformer National security adviser :
“[The MeK is] part of the global war on terrorism (and its members) are being screened for possible involvement in war crimes, terrorism and other criminal activities.”

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Richard Armitage
Richard ArmitageFormer US Deputy Secretary of State :
“there were some in the administration who wanted to use the Mujahideen-e Khalq as a pressure point against Iran, and I can remember the national security adviser, Dr. [Condoleezza] Rice, being very specific about it, saying no, a terrorist group is a terrorist group.”

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Wendy R. Shermen
Wendy R. Shermenformer Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs :
“Shunned by most Iranians and fundamentally undemocratic, the Mojahedin-e Khalq are not a viable alternative to the current government of Iran.”

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Daniel Benjamin
Daniel BenjaminFormer Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department :
“Yes, We Do Know the MeK Has a Terrorist Past.”

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Ambassador Cofer Black
Ambassador Cofer BlackFormer Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department :
“MEK’s opposition to the Iranian Government does not change the fact that they are a terrorist organization.”

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Robert Pelletreau
Robert PelletreauFormer Assistant Secretary of State :
“We do not deal with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. This policy arises from our concerns about the organization’s past use of terrorism, its continuing advocacy of violence, and a fundamental contradiction between its policy and our own.”

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Elizabeth Stickney
Elizabeth StickneyFormer State Department spokeswoman :
“We have said in the past, and say it now, that the Mujahideen Organization has no place among the people of Iran,”

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John Limbert
John LimbertDeputy Assistant Secretary of state for Iran from 2009 to 2010 :
“The MEK transformed itself into a bizarre cult, with an ideology combining the practices of Jonestown and the Khmer Rouge.”

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Dennis J. Kucinich
Dennis J. KucinichFormer US Representative for Ohio’s 10th District :
“The MEK also had a camp in Iraq where Osama bin Laden’s first fighters were reportedly trained. The MEK also trained and supported Taliban fighters.”

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Peter Galbraith
Peter GalbraithThe former United States Ambassador to Croatia :
"While claiming to be democratic and pro-Western, the MEK closely resembles a cult.”

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Gary Sick
Gary SickServed on the National Security Council staff under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan :
“Their [the MEK’s] support inside Iran is very, very limited.”

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Wayne White
Wayne WhiteFormer Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence :
“I opposed this decision [to delist the Mojahedin-e Khalq] because of what I know about the MEK.”

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Emile Nakhleh
Emile NakhlehFounder of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the Central Intelligence Agency :
“The MEK, however, is a terrorist cult that has received funding from all sorts of dubious sources.”

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Paul Pillar
Paul PillarFormer Executive Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence Agency :
“As cult leaders, the husband-and-wife duo of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have resembled the likes of Jim Jones and Shoko Asahara.”

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Juan Cole
Juan ColeRichard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan :
“It was listed as a terrorist organization the US until a few years ago and it is mysterious why it was ever taken off the list. My own suspicion is that bribes were taken or influence peddling was practiced.”

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Ervand Abrahamian
Ervand AbrahamianProfessor at the City University of New York :
“The more they [the Mek] have access to the administration, the more people in Iran are going to be scared of anything the U.S. does.”

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Steve Gottlieb
Steve GottliebJay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School :
“it [the MeK] has no support in Iran because it backed Iraq against Iran in a war that left 300,000 Iranians dead.”

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Gary Leupp
Gary LeuppProfessor of History at Tufts University :
“MEK is a very unusual organization… It is often termed a cult.”

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Fareed Zakaria
Fareed ZakariaThe Host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS :
“The Mujahideen-e Khalq [is] a militant opposition group with a checkered past and little support within Iran.”

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Ted Galen Carpenter
Ted Galen CarpenterSenior fellow at the Cato Institute :
“U.S. opinion leaders are playing a dangerous and morally untethered game by flirting with the likes of the MEK.”

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Suzanne Maloney
Suzanne MaloneyIran expert at the Brookings Institution :
“This [association with the Rajavi’s cult] is one of those cases that in any other administration, Republican or Democrat, it would be a front-page scandal.”

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Barbara Slavin
Barbara SlavinDirector of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council :
“The MEK fought against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, earning the enduring enmity of most Iranians.”

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Jeremiah Goulka
Jeremiah GoulkaFormer analyst at the RAND Corporation :
“This deceptive foreign cult [the MEK] is pouring millions of dollars into an effort to steer the United States toward war.”

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Michael Rubin
Michael RubinFormer analyst at the RAND Corporation :
"There was only one item that united Iranians inside Iran: absolute hatred of the Mojahedin e-Khalq.”

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Ariane M. Tabatabai
Ariane M. TabatabaiAdjunct senior research scholar at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs :
“If the current government is not Iranians’ first choice for a government, the MEK is not even their last.”

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Trita Parsi
Trita ParsiPresident of the National Iranian American Council :
“The MEK systematically abuses its members, most of whom are effectively captives of the organization.”

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Rick Ross
Rick RossExecutive Director of the Cult Education Institute :
“In my opinion the MEK fits well within the three core criteria often used to define a destructive cult.”

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Seymour Hersh
Seymour HershProminent American investigative journalist :
“There are assassinations done by the MEK […] you don’t have to urge them to kill anybody. They’re very eager to do it themselves.”

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Jim Lobe
Jim LobeThe Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service :
“The MEK is largely hated in Iran.”

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Elizabeth Rubin
Elizabeth RubinContributing writer for The New York Times Magazine :
“When I arrived at Camp Ashraf, I thought I’d entered a fictional world of female worker bees. Everywhere I saw women dressed exactly alike, in khaki uniforms and mud-colored head scarves, driving back and forth in white pickup trucks, staring ahead in a daze as if they were working at a factory in Maoist China.”

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Jason Rezaian
Jason RezaianGlobal Opinions Writer for the Washington Post :
“This is America — we let crazy people talk […] But giving the MEK a voice in the White House is a terrible idea”

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Mehdi Hasan
Mehdi HasanSenior contributor at The Intercept :
"The group [the MEK] has all the trappings of a totalitarian cult.”

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Chris McGreal
Chris McGrealReporter for The Guardian :
“[There has been] a campaign to bury the MEK's bloody history of bombings and assassinations that killed American businessmen, Iranian politicians and thousands of civilians.”

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Daniel Larison
Daniel LarisonSenior editor at The American Conservative :
“They [the MEK] cannot be the “largest” opposition group when they have virtually no supporters outside the ranks of their own totalitarian cult.”

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Wayne Madsen
Wayne MadsenInvestigative journalist and author :
“The MEK is a personality cult beholden to the Rajavis that conducts terrorist attacks on Iran and Shi'as in Iraq on behalf of third parties, including the U.S., Israel, and the Saudis.”

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