The FTO-List Analysis: US State Department Appeasing The Mullahs

Mek- State Dept. Vs Rule Of Law
INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATIVE – By Sohrab Safavi 02 April 2012

If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve the Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas Jefferson

Christopher Hitchens once said: A sure sign of ineptitude and malice is manifested when one’s attacker is willing to cover himself with mud in order to try and make some of it adhere to his target. We have been witnessing the same repellant tactics in a smear campaign against MEK- US official supporters only to provide cover for the failed Policy of the US State department towards the Iranian crisis.

The core argument behind the current smear campaign against the MEK and its US supporters is that this main Iranian opposition group to the clerical tyrants in Iran is still in the US black list.

The term “terrorism” can be double standard unless defined by rule and established by the rule of law.
It is to distinguish any group or persons that choose to challenge an establishment: “A person, usually a member of a group, uses or advocates terrorism, or;A person who terrorizes or frightens civilians.

A popular saying that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” simply indicates the struggle between good and evil and right and wrong.
But the moral question remains, literally speaking: who are the terrorists, and who are the freedom fighters?

The list of “Foreign Terrorist Organization” is a designation for non-United States-based organizations declared terrorist by the United States Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the U.S.Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
In 1997, the Iranian opposition MEK

(Mujahedin e Khalq) organization was placed on the FTO-list by the Clinton Administration in order to open a dialogue with the Iranian government. This designation was done at the behest of the former president Khatami of the Iranian regime were official sources believed his reform program promising implementation of a democratic and more tolerant society would lead to a more democratic Iran.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) allows independent judicial review of the Secretary’s decision as to whether a foreign group designated based on past acts currently engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or retains the capability and intent to do so. AEDPA’s drafting history establishes that Congress rejected proposals to insulate FTO designations from court scrutiny, providing instead for increasingly robust judicial review. The recent Court Writ of Mandamus in Court of Appeals  (*1)is the practice of this right.

The pivotal element of “Democracy” is the rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. In the case of the Theocratic totalitarian regime of the mullahs in Iran normal set of Laws do not apply and are meaningless since they abide with opposite set of values which are defined historically as “the bad.”

Khomeinis extreme ideals and his legacy to “Conquer the world” and “defeat the Devil Imperialists” and “suppress even the people if they stand in the way” does not leave any room for negotiable reform or hope for rational “engagement” with his juniors. So we can without being dubious assume that Iran is ruled by a dictatorship that oppresses, suppresses and represses its own citizens and is anti-democratic.

In sharp contrast; the MEK, known as the most active opposition of Iran with the mandate to bring about a democratic change has been in pursuit of this ideal for the past 30 years.

We are therefore faced with two opposite and highly contrasting set of values at war. As bystanders we either sympathize with the Tyrants, or those being suppressed by them.

 This is when moral standards and ethics prevail all political barriers and short term interests.

In short the MEK moved and relocated to the Iran-Iraq borders in 1980 due to a bloody massacre of its members and supporters. because of Khomienis’ fatwa. In Iraq, they established a compound in Diyala (north of Baghdad) called Camp Ashraf (City of Ashraf) and  because the tyrants in Iran had closed all doors of negotiation and co-existence with the group in Iran by massacring at least 120 000 of their supporters, leaders and members in the 80s.
Inspired by pro-Democratic Ideals in past, Iranian and foreign movements for freedom; it took position to defend their right for an independent struggle to free the Iranian people.

“No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
Thomas Jefferson

Their relation with the former Iraqi authorities was on the principle of “independence and non interference” in the affairs of Iraq and its relation with Iran.

During the MNF-I and Allied war on Iraq, they declared non interferences and independence and announced their various compounds and bases to the Allies in order to prevent any manipulation of military attack by the Iranian regime during the chaos. Unfortunately camp Ashraf was bombarded heavily by US and MNF-I which resulted in approximately 50 deaths. The residents and their leadership prevailed with perseverance during those uncertain and dangerous times and did not retaliate accordingly. They kept their objectives centered on bringing about a democratic change in Iran.

Colonel Wesley Martin told the U.S. Congress in July 2011 that:

“The PMOI surrendered to the United States military (In 2004)without firing a shot, turned over all their weapons, accepted consolidation at Camp Ashraf, renounced terrorism, accepted protected person status under the 4th Geneva Convention, provided the free world with critical intelligence to include Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons program, and fulfilled every limitation and requirement placed on them”

Furthermore The Obama administration failed to protect them when they handed over the control to the Iraqi government, resulting in 2 massacres (in July 2009 and April 2011) killing over 47 residents and leaving hundreds of injured with no access to proper medical treatment resulting in more deaths and yet untreated patients. The last being on 19th of March where engineer Bardia Amir-Mostafian (44 years old), who suffered a cardiac arrest due to exhaustion after 48 hours of inspections by the Iraqi forces.

During these hard times, the group was under the Qods force sporadic missile and terrorist attacks, direct attacks of RGF members who infiltrated Iraqi lines and also the pressure imposed on them by the US.
The tag “terrorist” has been providing the best excuse for the mullahs to complete what they left out during the 1980s: killing of a generation.

The Department of State – as well as the Departments of Defense and Justice and the CIA – knows that PMOI is not a terrorist organization.
The Europeans were very much ahead in learning about the nature of the mullahs in Iran and appreciating the tyrant’s anti-thesis: MEK.
In 2008 the United Kingdom removed MEK from the list and European Union in 2009 after courts found no evidence of terrorism. It won no less than 22 battles in courts across Europe as it sought to be delisted there.
The US Federal Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, ruled in June 2010 to remand the case to the Secretary of State after which no evidence was found to support the designation by the court, strongly suggesting the Secretary should revoke the listing.

 So when it comes to a regime that uses indoctrinated propaganda and fabricated allegations against an opposition and if none of the definitions of terrorism is fulfilled under International law; the legitimate classification and definition of that organization which strives to overcome tyranny would be a Resistance movement.

“A group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance (sometimes called civil resistance) or the use of armed force.”

Human rights were first introduced by Cyrus the Great of Persia (Iran) thousands of years ago. The Ayatollahs in Iran have turned the country into the worst cirsis for the world since world war II. The naural solution for such a brutality by the people in Iran was: the rise of a pro-Democracy movement in Iran visa vis a ferocious government at the top.

This is best explained by Thomas Jefferson concerning the “war on terror”:
“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”

In conclusion the US must meet its juridical obligation by de-listing the MEK from its FTO-list. It must prove American honor in keeping to its obligation to protect the Iranians inside Camp Ashraf and those in Camp Liberty from further oppressions by the Iranian regime. In order to preserve our constitutional laws it must not go above the rule of the Law and it cannot tread on what generations of good Americans have built : The first Amendment: the right to speak out and the rule of the law.


As AEDPA progressed from bill to law, Congress took steps to ensure designated FTOs would obtain meaningful judicial review, rejecting President Clinton’s initial proposal to insulate FTO designations from any judicial scrutiny. (Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995, S. 390, 104th Cong., § 301(a)(1995)(original proposal authorizing President to designate a group as a terrorist organization and providing that a presidential finding that a group engages in terrorism “shall be conclusive.”). Instead, Congress included provisions for robust judicial review in successive versions of what would become AEDPA. See Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act of 1995, S. 735, 104th Cong., § 401(a)(1995)(authorizing President to designate FTOs but including a new subsection entitled “Judicial Review”); 141 Cong. Rec. S7480 (daily ed. May 25, 1995)(statement of Sen. Hatch highlighting the new judicial review requirement as a significant change to the administration bill)

Sohrab Safavi:  freelance journalist and analyst on Iranian affairs and History,Medical student & Human Rights Activist


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