Mujahedin Khalq, who have lived in a refugee camp for over 25 years, have been considered “noncombatants” since 2004.
A group of Iranians demonstrate in front of the US Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, on August 04, 2009. They protest against the attack of Camp Ashraf in the Diyala province, north of Baghdad. The base is home to around 3,500 MKO (Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization) members and their families. (Valerie Kuypers/AFP/Getty Images)
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Mujahedin Khalq, an Iranian dissident group, have been removed from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Friday.
The group, who have lived in an Iraqi refugee camp for over 25 years, have been considered “noncombatants” and “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions. since 2004, CNN reported.
The European Union removed the group from its terrorist list in 2009, the Associated Press reported.
The State Department made the decision to remove Mujahedin Khalq (MEK) from the terror list because they had not committed any terrorist acts in over 10 years, and had also cooperated in moving its members from a military base in Iraq that was protected by the US, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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However, the US said it would not “overlook or forget” the reasons the group were considered terrorists in the first place: they were involved in killing US citizens in Iran in the 1970s, and also launched an attack attempt on Iranian mission to the United Nations in 1992.
The decision is effective immediately, and unblocks all assets MEK has in the United States as well as allows the US to work with the group, the Associated Press reported.
“It now has become evident for everyone that these (terror) allegations were untrue,” Maryam Rajavi, the Paris-based head of the exiled opposition group, said in a rare interview with the AP, where she also applauded Clinton for her “courage.”