The New York Times – Letter to the Editor:
It is a valid observation that a majority of Iraqis, including Shiites, hate the Iranian regime (“Vacuum Is Feared as U.S. Quits Iraq, but Iran’s Deep Influence May Not Fill It,” news article, Oct. 9). Yet Tehran, worried about the consequences of the Arab Spring and faced with a growing domestic crisis and isolation, still seeks to manipulate Iraq by controlling its security apparatus and supporting paramilitary groups.
Under the circumstances, the regime and the pro-engagement crowd are paranoid over the likelihood of the removal of the principal Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK, from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.
In July 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that there was no legal basis for the designation. And a bipartisan Congressional initiative and a growing roster of former senior political, military, and national security officials have urged delisting of the MEK. In a demonstration in August in front of the State Department, thousands of Iranians echoed the Iranian people’s disdain for the designation. The European Union and Britain delisted MEK in 2009 and 2008.
“An Iranian Cult and Its American Friends,” by Elizabeth Rubin (Sunday Review, Aug. 14), repeated discredited allegations against the MEK in urging maintenance of the designation, which senior American officials acknowledged had been a good-will gesture to Tehran in 1997.
Scores of independent reports, including those by several delegations of the European Parliament, the Iran Policy Committee in Washington and Dick Armey, the former majority leader of the House of Representatives, clearly show that these allegations, particularly those implicating MEK in suppressing Iraqi Kurds in 1991, are unfounded.
Despite repeated denials by the Iranian resistance, the Op-Ed writer claimed that the Iranian resistance’s president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, ordered crushing the Kurds under tanks. This is another desperate attempt to discredit the person who is a point of hope for Iranians seeking freedom, and a major part of Tehran’s demonizing campaign against the MEK.
Hoshyar Zebari, foreign minister of Iraq, stipulated in an affidavit in 1999, when he was the head of international affairs for Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, that MEK had no role in suppressing Iraqi Kurds.
Paris, Oct. 10, 2011
The writer is spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which includes the MEK.