WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — In a Congressional briefing on Wednesday, several Members of Congress deplored the State Department’s unjustified 450-day delay in completing the Court-mandated review of the designation of Iran’s main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), according to California Society for Democratic Iran.
The briefing, moderated by Dr. Allan Gerson, former Chief Counsel to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (for Office of the Legal Counsel), featured Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, John Lewis (D-GA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Co-Chair, Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, Judy Chu (D-CA) and Ted “Judge” Poe (R-TX). Congressional staffers and delegations representing Iranian-American communities in the United States also attended the conference.
As the first speaker, Rep. Chu said, “450 days have passed, and yet the state department still has not given a response, every day of delay, means another day where peaceful democratic leaders and activists are at risk… It’s well past the time to heed the federal courts order and to remove Iran’s largest opposition group from that terrorist list.”
Rep. Bob Filner concurred, adding, “I don’t know what the State Department is scrambling around with. They are still working on this thing after 450 days now. This is irresponsible; it’s countered the law. You can announce it [delisting] today, you can announce it tomorrow, you could have announced it a year ago.”
“It has been 450 days since our government was given the mandate to explain why they have designated the MeK as a terrorist organization and our government has not responded. What’s the hold up? What’s holding things up is the fact that our government is treating a gangster regime in Iran with kid gloves… We are afraid to actually conduct ourselves honestly and openly here for fear of someway insulting or enraging the mullah regime in Iran. What can be more ridiculous than that?… The first way to show that we stand strong is to back those people in the MEK who are right on the border of Iran and who are standing tall telling the Iranian people that there is an alternative to this brutal regime that’s stamping out your freedom,” emphasized Rep. Rohrabacher John Lewis, the distinguished representative from Georgia added his voice to the delisting campaign. “450 days after court ruling. Why did the delay? Justice delayed is justice denied,” Mr. Lewis said, stressing, “We cannot wait, we cannot be patient. We want our freedom and we want it now.”
Rep. Poe added, “We must make sure that we also create safety, long term safety, for the good folks in Camp Ashraf… Those who continue to delay and delay and delay, they are not going to wear us down, and make us give up. The delay, if anything should cause us to be more encouraged and more passionate about the safety of the folks in Camp Ashraf and the delisting of the MeK.”
“If you have criminal penalties the rule of law requires due process, and it’s not only the US constitution that requires it, but it is also the past decisions of the US court of appeals, so one has to ask the question why would the state department, with all of its legion of lawyers, refuse to comply with something so elementary that we learned in high school civics,” Dr. Gerson said.
SOURCE California Society for Democracy in Iran