February 23, 2018

Thousands of Iranians Rally in Washington, Urge delisting of MEK


I was among thousands of Iranian-Americans from 41 states across the country who took part in a huge rally and march outside the State Department last Friday, urging Secretary Clinton to act swiftly and delist the principal Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK).

Several senior former US Government officials also spoke at the rally, including Governor Ed Rendell; Rep. Patrick Kennedy; FBI Director Louis Freeh; CIA Deputy Director for Covert Operations, John Sano; and Col. Wesley Martin, chief of counterterrorism for the Coalition forces in Iraq and commandant of Camp Ashraf in 2006. 

Thousands of Iranian-Americans from 41 states took part in a huge rally outside the State Department on August 26, 2011, urging Secretary Clinton to act swiftly and remove the principal Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Aware that if the Secretary of State were to base her decision strictly on law and fact, she would have no choice other than to delist the MEK, the Iranian regime and its lobby inside the Beltway have embarked on an unprecedented campaign to distort the facts. To this end, in the past few weeks, a battery of articles have appeared in the U.S. media lashing out against the Iranian-American communities and their campaign to uphold the rule of law by calling for an objective review of the FTO status the MEK. Based on all the evidence reviewed by U.S. courts, MEK should have been delisted by now. 

Most notable among these articles is Elizabeth Rubin’s hit-piece in the New York Times on August 14, 2011, which suggests that senior former U.S. officials endorsing the MEK’s delisting have been “paid” to do so. This and other articles like it have been widely distributed via social media, and their false claims are embedded in the talking points of the pro-Tehran lobby group National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its head, Trita Parsi.

To set the record straight, we are proud to fund the activities of our own community in the exercise of our First Amendment rights and aimed at bringing democracy to Iran. The Iranian regime has spent millions of dollars in an attempt to delegitimize the MEK. They have many willing accomplices.

Ms. Rubin is the sister of Jamie Rubin, who served as Assistant Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration that listed the MEK at the behest of Tehran, unsurprisingly failed to cite a single act of terrorism and parrots the Iranian regime’s party line. She ignores the fact that the European Union and the United Kingdom have already removed the group from their lists and a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals ruled the State Department had violated the MEK’s due process rights.

Rubin cites a RAND Corporation report to justify her arguments. That report was spearheaded by none other than James Dobbins, who has a long history of involvement with NIAC and Trita Parsi and former Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations. Not surprisingly, she fails to mention a thorough rebuttal to that report published shortly afterwards.

Ms. Rubin’s piece can only be used to justify the killing of 47 unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf in July 2009 and April 2011. About 1,000 residents were also injured. Her assertions encourage the Iraqi Army to attack the camp again, presumably to “free” the residents.

Ms. Rubin implicitly endorses the use of violence against the residents of Camp Ashraf and portrays the residents–most of whom were former political prisoners in Iran — as individuals who deserve to be mistreated.

It is no coincidence that Ms. Rubin went to Tehran before her Ashraf visit in 2003, and described the then president of the Iranian regime, Mohammad Khatami, as “a moderate” and “Iran’s Mikhail Gorbachev.”

The regime and its allies, particularly NIAC, have undertaken an unprecedented campaign against the delisting of the MEK. They are good company. The despotic and cruel Iranian theocracy has adopted at their instrument of influence in the U.S. an outfit that is itself facing widespread accusations of illegal lobbying. Their complicity has cost lives: in Camp Ashraf, in Evin Prison and throughout Iran. The New York Times should be ashamed for enabling their continued collaboration.

Ahmad Moein is an Electronics Engineer in Silicon Valley and Executive Director of the Iranian American Community of Northern California (info@iacnorcal.com)