Jose Luis Magana/AP – Demonstrators protest in front of the White House on Oct. 22, 2011. Hundreds of people
rallied, demanding that an Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), once allied with Iraq’s Saddam
Hussein, be removed from a U.S. terror list.
By Joby Warrick,
The State Department is preparing to remove the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e
Khalq from the U.S. government’s terrorist list, siding with advocates who say the
controversial organization should be rewarded for renouncing violence and providing
intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, senior Obama administration officials said Friday.
The decision to begin the process of formally lifting the terrorist label is expected to be
conveyed to Congress in documents as early as Friday, according to two senior officials
briefed on the matter. The move comes two weeks before a court-ordered deadline and just
six days after the dissident group vacated its former enclave in eastern Iraq, averting a
feared confrontation with Iraqis who want the exiles out of the country.
Leaders of the group, commonly known by
its acronym MEK, have been pressing U.S.
officials for nearly a decade to rescind the
terrorist designation, which they say has
hampered their efforts to find new homes
outside of Iraq. About 3,000 members of the
group have existed in a kind of perpetual
limbo in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in
2003, unwanted by their host country and
fearing imprisonment or worse if forced to
return to Iran.
The removal of the MEK from the State
Department’s official Foreign Terrorist