February 18, 2018

Field Experts


Terrorism and Policy Experts Call for De-listing of MEK

Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of Freedom House and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, November 8, 2008
I have been impressed with the strength and widespread popularity of the MEK inside and outside Iran… They have demonstrated in many ways their organizational skill and legitimacy… And as the MEK in recent years has professed its commitment to nonviolent struggle, it has seemed to me that we must take another look at the MEK… As Tehran cites the FTO designation of the MEK as the major justification for the forced return of those in Camp Ashraf, delisting would assist in their ongoing protection.

Terry Arnold, Former Dep. Dir., Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, U.S. State Department, July 31, 2008
Under the law, the group no longer qualifies as an FTO, because the circumstances that led to its previous listing have sufficiently changed as to merit removal.

Hon. William A. Nitze, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
The initial listing was a diplomatic card to gain concessions from Iran,” and that overall, the terrorist designation [of the MEK] is “inconsistent with American principles and foreign policy, in holding down legitimate groups that are trying to bring about political change in a country like Iran for narrow and short-term political objectives which may not be attainable in any case.

Oliver “Buck” Revell, Former Associate Deputy Director of FBI, July 31, 2008
There is no evidence that the group is engaging in terrorism, and having been under the watchful eye of the U.S. military for over five years, there is no evidence that the group retains the capability or intent to commit terrorist acts.

Hon. Jed Babbin, Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Aug 5, 2008
The Mujahideen e-Khalk — an Iranian opposition group — was declared a terrorist organization by the Clinton administration at the request of the Iranian regime.  MEK — feared by the mullahs in Tehran — should be removed from our terrorist list and enabled to operate in Iran.

Jack Caravelli, Former member of the Nat’l Security Council, July 31, 2008
Continued listing of the MEK as an FTO will send a message to all groups on the FTO list that the list itself is highly politicized.

Raymond Tanter, member of Council on Foreign Relations, October 5, 2008
In addition to being consistent with legal criteria for delisting, revocation [of MEK designation] would undercut Iranian pressure on Iraqi officials who justify extraditing Iran’s largest opposition group at Ashraf because they are “terrorists.” Delisting would also send a strong signal to Tehran that the United States has a new option on the table: democratic change by the Iranian people.

Bruce McColm, Former executive director of Freedom House, January 12, 2010
If President Obama were to decide to issue an executive order to remove the unwarranted terrorist label from the PMOI, he would certainly grab Tehran’s attention while demonstrating to the Iranian people that America would no longer block Iranian opposition groups from working to bring democracy to Iran. But, time is running out and Washington’s options are severely limited.

Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director of Int’l. Center for Terrorism, July 31, 2008
PMOI repudiated violence, ceased all military operations, and voluntarily surrendered its weapons. These actions were substantiated by U.S. intelligence and military bodies…It is amply clear that there is no factual basis for retaining the current FTO status of the PMOI.

Dr. Walid Phares, Director of Future Terrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Dec. 16, 2007
Tehran’s regime, designated as Terrorist by Washington, considers the MEK as terrorist. This puzzling situation is due to the fact that pro-Iranian pressure groups consider the Mujahidin Khalq as a real threat to the regime and thus put significant pressures internationally to keep the designation of the MEK as is.

Neil Livingstone, author of The War Against Terrorism, July 31, 2008
It is time to remove the MEK and NCRI from the State Department’s list of terrorist sponsored groups and we should embrace them.

Prof. Donna Hughes, University of Rhode Island, January 17, 2005
Removing these pro-woman, pro-democracy resistance groups [the PMOI and NCRI] from the terrorist lists and supporting their efforts to overthrow the Iranian regime provides an alternative approach to appeasement and attempts to normalize relations with terrorists or military action.

Ms. Clare Lopez, Vice President of the Intelligence Summit, July 24, 2007
For a group such as the MEK, pitted against one of the most ruthless regimes on earth, it [FTO designation] means an inability for its members to travel, raise funds, speak out, or organize the opposition movement — all actions that would be in the best interests of both democratic reform for the oppressed people of Iran and the broader objectives of the U.S. to encourage development of civil society and democratic rule of law in the Middle East… neither the MEK nor NCRI ever belonged on the FTO list and should be removed immediately.