Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Diehard supporters of Israel campaign to lift terrorist status of Iranian Mujaheddin e Khalq

Several people from the ranks of the diehard supporters of Israel in the USA have lend their voice to a bid to remove the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that fought with Iraq against Iran in the past, from the list of terrorist organisations of the State Department.
Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) names attorney Alan Dershowitz, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel as three prominents who recently campaigned in favour of MEK.
Others who support the bid are, according to JTA, former government officials who used to be at the side of Israel, like former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. Allan Gerson, a Washington attorney who served in various posts in the Reagan administration, wrote a column this week in the Huffington Post about the subject.He and a number of other lawyers filed a request to a federal appeals court in Washington this week on behalf of the MEK, asking for the group to be removed from the terrorist list.
The attempts to do something for the MEK comes on the heels of various reports that Israel cooperates with the Mujaheddin in its 'covert war' against the Iranian atomic bomb. A blast in November at a base of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards near Tehran, that was a storage facility for long range missiles and that killed one of Iran's most outstanding missile experts, Major General Hassan Moghaddam, was reported to be executed by the MEK in cooperation with the Israeli Mossad. An earlier explosion at a Revolutionary Guards base near Khorramabad in October 2010 was also suspected to have been the work of the MEK. And operations whereby at least three experts who were linked in one way or other to Iran's nuclear program were killed by motorists who attached a magnetic bomb to their cars, are also believed to have been the work of MEK-members, trained or instructed by Israel.
The MEK has maintained a presence in Iraq since 1986. From its border encampment, Camp Ashraf, it conducted military operations against its fellow Iranians, sometimes deep inland, a fact that caused it to be one of the most hated groups in Iran  (as the writer of this blog found out during trips to Iran in the eighties and nineties). After the 2003 American invasion that removed Saddam, Camp Ashraf was disarmed. Now, in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, Ashraf’s 3,400 residents feel vulnerable to a regime that is seeking close ties with Iran. According to the Associated Press, an Iraqi army raid last year left 34 camp residents dead. The United Nations wants to move the residents to a former U.S. Army base, Camp Liberty, but the MEK and its advocates say the site is equally insecure. Advocates of de-listing the MEK say it would facilitate the removal of the Ashraf residents to other countries, including the United States.
Opponents of de-listing point to MEK’s bloody past. After the Islamic Revolution, it was  behind several massive bomb attacks, among them an attack that killed the leader of the Party of the Islamic Republic, ayatollah Beheshti and 70 members of the party. The group has also been described as a 'totalitarian cult' that keeps people in its ranks against their will. Elizabeth Rubin, a New York Times Magazine contributor, who last year reported from Camp Ashraf, was one of them.The writer of this blog came to the same conclusion in the early eighties, after he visited the headquarters of the group which at the time was near Paris in France, ad interviewed its leader Massoud Rajavi.

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