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Congressman Bob Ney: Support Freedom and Democracy in Iran, Oppose the Mujahedin/National Council of Resistance and Terrorism

(The following letter was sent by Congressman Bob Ney to his colleges on the Hill. The letter was issued in September, but it was made public recently.)

September 26, 2002

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to invite you to join me in supporting a Sense of the House Resolution that expresses support for the Iranian people's non-violent struggle for democracy and freedom.

The bipartisan House Resolution 505 expresses the United States' encouragement for a nonviolent change in the country of Iran. It iterates the support of the people of the U.S. for freedom, reform, and self-determination for the people of Iran. This resolution has met strong opposition from a terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, which is lobbying Members of Congress. It is puzzling that such an organization is lobbying in the halls of the Capitol.

The Mujahedin's terrorist nature is well established. President Bush referred to them in his address to the UN when he stated, "Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran." The reference to the Mujahedin is clarified on the White House Webpage, which states that "Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians." ()

According to the State Department's terrorist report, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, the MKO's "primary support now comes from the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein", and its "history is studded with anti-Western attacks". The report also states that the MKO "supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran."

The group's support for Saddam Hussein dates back more than two decades. The State Department states that Mujahedin forces have "assisted Saddam in the repression of Kurds and other minorities in northern Iraq" in return for "financial, logistical, and material support from Saddam."

According to the Justice Department, the leaders and the armed branch of the MKO are based in Baghdad. The State Department has also published satellite photographs of the Mujahedin's new headquarters complex, located approximately 40 kilometers west of Baghdad specifically built for them by Saddam Hussein. ()

The MKO terrorist organization remains widely feared and discredited among the Iranian people. Today, it is the only group less popular than the Iranian regime itself. According to the Wall Street Journal (Peter Waldman, Anti-Iran Guerrillas Lose Disciples, October 4, 1994), the group has become an authoritarian personality cult where dissent is suppressed and non-abiding members are beaten and jailed. Abdul Karim Lahidji, a human-rights lawyer, calls the group's leader "Iran's Pol Pot". The MKO has tried to evade its terrorist label by using front groups and by using different names. Members of Congress may have been approached by the People's Mujahedin organization of Iran, the National Council of Iranian Resistance, or the National Liberation Army. According to the Justice Department, these are all the same organization. (See attached correspondence).

There is no such thing as "good terrorists". It is imperative to understand that in case of a US attack on Iraq, the MKO forces may engage in direct combat against our troops. Its representatives have told Members of Congress that they are not on the terrorist list; which is not true. Most Members who have lent support to the organization may not have been aware of the organization's terrorist activities. In the midst of our war on terrorism, we cannot have representatives of terrorist organizations deceiving Members of Congress.

Opposition to the Mujahedin is, however, not the same as support for the regime in Iran. The people of Iran yearn for freedom and democracy, and it is important that we support their struggle without siding with anti-Tehran terrorist organizations.

My Resolution, H.Res.505-co-sponsored by Representative Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) and Representative Howard L. Berman (D-CA), among others-emphasizes the President's distinction between the unelected leaders of Iran and the people who are striving for democracy, freedom and reform. The people of Iran are undertaking a remarkable effort through non-violent means to reform their society and establish freedoms that we cherish. The pro-American sentiments of the Iranian people are well-known and the resolution notes that the people of Iran seek dialogue with America and better relations, not confrontation or violence.

The pace of reforms in Iran has been disappointing, but the people of Iran are not giving up. They are true to their principle of choosing the ballot over the bullet by continuing their peaceful struggle for reform. This peaceful movement deserves our support. President Bush is correct in saying that "as Iran's people move towards a future defined by greater freedom, greater tolerance, they will have no better friend than the United States of America."

I hope that you will join me in supporting this resolution and I urge you not to sign the Mujahedin-e-Khalq promoted Iran statement. If you have any questions or would like to be a co-sponsor of my resolution, please contact Chris Otillio at (202) 225-6265.


Bob Ney
Member of Congress

... Payvand News - 1/7/03 ... --

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