June 16, 2011
Rep. Ted Poe is urging the State Department to remove an Iranian group from the department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.
The Texas Republican said Mujahedin-e Khalq, also known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, is now a peaceful organization dedicated to regime change in Iran.
“I have not been convince they should remain on the list,” Poe said, adding that he has received both classified and non-classified briefings from the State Department and has yet to see evidence that marks the group as a terrorists.
The group, founded in 1960s by Iranian Marxists who opposed the Shah of Iran, is credited with several terrorist attacks that killed Americans in the 1970s, according to the State Department. Poe said MEK’s past may be spotted but the group is now peaceful.
“Iran wants them on the terrorist list. That should be a red flag,” P0e, R-Humble, said, adding that the group’s removal might help “move the country [of Iran] into a freer nation.”
Poe introduced a non-binding resolution in January that urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to remove the group from the terrorist organization list.
The Texan is not alone in his efforts to remove the MEK from the terrorist list. The Iranian-American Community of North Texas hired diGenova & Toensing to lobby on the issue earlier this year. The top lobbying firm based in Washington has been reaching out to members of Congress, a partner at the firm said.
“The MEK had denounced violence, disarmed and embraced a free market economy and embraced the declaration of human rights,” Victoria Toensing, a partner at the firm, said.