It’s been a long time in coming, but the decision that the Iranian Resistance has been waiting many years for has finally been made: The U.S. State Department is going to remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from its list of foreign terrorist organisations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserves much praise for her action because she had to overcome strong resistance within her own department. It has never been clear why that resistance existed – perhaps officials didn’t want to admit they were wrong in the first place when they listed the MEK.
But, as the saying goes: all’s well that ends well.
Praise: Hillary Clinton has had to overcome strong resistance within U.S departments to remove Iran from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
It took great effort and willingness to undergo severe hardships to reach this point. Especially to blame has been the Iranian puppet regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which has tormented, brutally attacked, and confined in unbearable prison-like conditions the 3400 residents of Camp Ashraf, who had lived there in peace and safety until U.S. troop left Iraq.
Using the terror label as an excuse, Maliki did all he could to make their lives miserable, finally moving them to Camp Liberty near Baghdad. Under Tehran’s orders, his troops massacred dozens of MEK members, then subjected them to the filthy confinement at Liberty.
But now, the light at the end of the tunnel is in view. All but a couple hundred of the Ashraf residents are at Liberty and finally are being processed for UN refugee status so they can leave Iraq for friendlier climes.
Blame: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been accused of confining the 3400 residents of Camp Ashraf in prison-like conditions
Credit belongs to so many who worked so hard for what, in global terms, is so few: the hardy residents of Ashraf/Liberty. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, of which the MEK is a part, held firm in the face of Iraqi pressure. Tens of thousands in the Iranian diaspora rallied in support, in Europe and the U.S.
Also, military, political, and human rights leaders from around the world – including many distinguished members of both parties in the U.S. – rallied in support of Ashraf and of lifting the terror list designation. Their voice were heard loud and clear, and finally brought success.
Public figures who have endorsed the MEK’s campaign included former CIA directors R. James Woolsey and Porter Goss, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and Mitchell Reiss, a former State Department official who is a top foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Prominent Democratic Party figures who have supported the MEK have included former Pennsylvania and Vermont Governors Ed Rendell and Howard Dean. And human rights activists include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and the daughter of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rev. Desmond Tutu.
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But this victory is not the end of the battle. Rather, it is the beginning of the bigger battle to free Iran from the boot of the oppressive mullahs who have ruled since 1979 and who have blotted out Iran’s beacon of democracy and replaced it with the scourge of terror.
Of course, it never had been the MEK that belonged on the terrorism list – it always has been the government in Tehran, which has executed tens of thousands of its own citizens in its struggle to keep power and now seeks nuclear capability to threaten its neighbors and the world even more, and supports Syria’s Assad as he also murders his own people.
Battle: The oppressive mullahs, who have ruled Iran since 1979, have blotted out its beacon of democracy and replaced it with the scourge of terror
With the MEK in the forefront, the Iranian Resistance can use democratic means to bring freedom to its motherland. The regime already is under heavy pressure at home, which is why it wanted the MEK’s listing – to put attention elsewhere.
That was the point made by U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, a California Republican who is one of the MEK’s strongest supporters on Capitol Hill. He praised Clinton’s decision and said it would send a signal to Iran’s religious leadership. “The MEK are Iranians who desire a secular, peaceful, and democratic government. Nothing threatens the mullah dictatorship more than openness and transparency,” he said.
With the UN General Assembly about to convene in New York, we can expect more bluster and threats from Ahmedinejad and company because they have just lost another battle.
Soon, the free people of Iran will come through that tunnel into the light of a free and democratic country.
David Amess, a Conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Southend West, is a leading member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom