February 19, 2018

MEK Designation


The FTO Designation of MEK: A “Good Will Gesture” toward Iran

Oct. 9, 1997 A day after the Clinton administration included the MEK in the terrorism list for the first time, a senior U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times that this was done “as a good-will gesture” to the new Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.


Nov. 29, 2006 The Wall Street Journal: Senior diplomats in the Clinton administration say the MEK figured prominently as a bargaining chip in a bridge-building effort with Tehran… In 1997, the State Department added the MEK to a list of global terrorist organizations as “a signal” of the U.S.’s desire for rapprochement with Tehran’s reformists, says Martin Indyk, who at the time was assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs. President Khatami’s government “considered it a pretty big deal,” Mr. Indyk says.


Oct. 10, 1997 Reuters: “A U.S. decision branding Iran’s main rebel group [MEK] “terrorists” is being seen in Tehran as the first positive sign of American goodwill towards the new government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami. Diplomats, analysts and Iranian newspapers said on Monday the U.S. move was important because it satisfied one of Tehran’s basic demands.”


Oct. 14, 1999 Reuters: “The United States, in response to Iranian government inquiries, has imposed new restrictions on the activities of the main Iranian opposition group in exile…”


Sep. 26, 2002 Newsweek in an article about circumstances surrounding the 1997 designation of the PMOI wrote that: “The other prong in the Clinton strategy that led to the inclusion of the [MEK] on the terrorist list was White House interest in opening up a dialogue with the Iranian government. At the time, President Khatami had recently been elected and was seen as a moderate. Top administration officials saw cracking down on the [MEK]–which the Iranians had made clear they saw as a menace–as one way to do so…


May 22, 2006 The Wall Street Journal: For more than a decade, the MEK has been employed as a political football in the diplomatic games played between Washington and Tehran, say current and former U.S. officials. The Clinton administration placed the MEK on the State Department’s terrorism list in 1997, as Washington sought to appeal to moderate leaders inside the theocratic government in Tehran. A blacklisting of the MEK was among the actions the Iranians sought in exchange for better relations, these officials say.”


July 6, 2003 The Washington Post:The Mujaheddin has become a prime example of the politicization of the State Department’s terrorism list, illustrating how political considerations can help determine whether an armed resistance group is labelled a foreign terrorist organization…