via Lobe Log
The Guardian’s Chris McGreal reports that the Mujahadeen-e Khalq (aka MEK, PMOI and NCRI), which was recently delisted from the State Department’s foreign terrorist organizations list, is now pushing for the Obama administration to recognize it as the “legitimate opposition” to the Iranian government. Fortunately for now, even with the MEK’s well-funded lobbying campaign and former high-level supporters who were paid hefty sums for their endorsements, almost every reputable news report includes references to the MEK’s violent past, abuse of their own members and resemblance to Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress as a cautionary note about what the group really is. Indeed, the MEK is known as a tool for Israeli terrorism inside Iran and as an “exiled Iranian cult dissident group that Saddam Hussein had invited into Iraq to fight on his behalf during the Iran-Iraq War”, but few consider it a legitimate Iranian opposition group.
While Chalabi was a favorite of George W. Bush administration neoconservatives who pushed for the 2003 Iraq war, the MEK has now become a wedge issue for neocon Iran hawks. Despite all this, anyone with even a modicum of experience in Iran knows that the MEK has close to no support among the population inside the country (and far from majority support outside of it), especially among democracy activists. Writes McGreal:
However, there is likely to be strong resistance from within the state department and US intelligence services – mindful of the experience of dealing with Ahmed Chalabi, who portrayed his Iraqi National Congress as having far more support than it had – to working with the MEK because it is seen by many US officials as a fringe organisation, even a cult, with little support on the ground in Iran. If anything, opinion in Iran is broadly hostile to the MEK in large part because it allied itself with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The group is also viewed by many as a tool of the American and British intelligence services, and possibly Israel’s Mossad.
Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement spurned the MEK after the government tried to link the two in an attempt to discredit the popular opposition. Zahra Rahnavard, a Green Movement leader and wife of the former prime minister and now opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has said the MEK is not representative of Iranians.
“The MEK can’t be part of the Green Movement. This bankrupt political group now makes some laughable claims, but the Green Movement and the MEK have a wall between them and all of us,” she told Foreign Policy magazine in 2010.
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