THE HILL (Congress Blog) – By Brian Binley, MP – 08/26/11
On Friday thousands of Iranians rallied outside the US State Department calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to immediately lift the terrorist designation of Iran’s main opposition group People’s Mojahedin (MEK/PMOI) and ensure US forces guarantee the protection of the group’s members in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. I joined them to announce the support of 500 British Parliamentarians from all parties and both Houses of Parliament, and a total of 4,000 lawmakers globally, for their just cause.
I addressed the rally alongside my distinguished American colleagues including Louis Freeh, former Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation; Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania; John Sano, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Colonel Wesley Martin, former Coalition counter terrorism commander in Iraq; and Patrick Kennedy, the distinguished former US Congressman and nephew of President John F. Kennedy.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, who addressed our rally via satellite link from Paris, told us: “It has been more a year since the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which ordered the State Department to review the terrorist listing of the PMOI. Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance have paid the price for this unjustified delay with the blood of their most courageous children… The terror listing in the U.S. is openly used as a justification to legitimize such bloodletting, both by the cruel mullahs in Tehran as well as their proxy government in Iraq.”
If ever there was a time for Secretary Clinton to remove the MEK from the US list of terrorist organisations, today is that day.
Thousands of MEK members have repeatedly come under deadly attack in Camp Ashraf by Iraqi armed forces at the behest of Iran’s fundamentalist regime. In April 36 MEK members were slaughtered by Iraqi forces and hundreds of others were injured. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Maliki has now threatened to close the camp and expel the residents by force at the end of the year.
The MEK was blacklisted in Washington in 1997 as a “goodwill gesture” to Iran in the hope that the mullahs could be placated to abandon terrorism and repression. The British government labelled the group as terrorist in 2001 for similar reasons. Yet the mullahs have not only continued to use terror at home and abroad; they are now fast pursuing an illegal nuclear weapons program.
As one of the 35 Parliamentarians who were successful in legally challenging our government to delist the MEK in the UK, I know that our victory tells us all we need to know about the decision Secretary of State Clinton must now make. Every single shred of evidence available to the British government was placed before the British courts. Much of this information was made up of Iranian regime misinformation, but also a great deal was provided by the US authorities. We are all fully aware that intelligence between the UK and US governments is widely shared and in the case of the MEK it was no different. The British courts found the ban on the MEK to have been ‘perverse’ and ‘flawed.’
We are fully aware that the listing of the MEK in the US and UK was never honest nor was it reasonable, rather it was an attempt by previous administrations to pander to the wishes of the Iranian regime and hold out a hand of friendship to this vile regime. The regime gratefully took our hand and has for years used it to slap us, as it continues to support terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan with 7 out of every 10 Coalition deaths directly linked to the Iranian regime while continuing to defy the international community over its nuclear weapons program.
Now Secretary of State Clinton must do what is just. She must do what the legal system of the United States requires her to do and that is to immediately remove the MEK from the US list of banned organisations.
Brian Binley is a Member of Parliament from the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party.
Video of rally: http://youtu.be/8cB0LCSFSe4