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Joint Expert Statement on Mujahedin-e Khalq


Source: National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Washington, DC - Thirty-seven Iran experts, human rights defenders, and members of Iran’s pro-democracy movement published a letter, featured today in the Financial Times, stating that the Mujahedin is not Iran’s main opposition, that it threatens the democracy and human rights movement in Iran, and it should not be supported by the U.S or removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Financial Times article on the letter is available here.

Maryam Rajavi, leader of PMOI

Joint Experts’ Statement on the Mujahedin-e Khalq

August 2, 2011

We the undersigned would like to convey our concern regarding the potential delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list, and its false claims to be “Iran’s main opposition” with a base of popular support in Iran.

The MEK has no political base inside Iran and no genuinesupport among the Iranian population. The MEK, an organization based in Iraq that enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein, lost any following it had in Iran when it fought on Iraq’s behalf during the 1980-1988 war. Widespread Iranian distaste for the MEK has been cemented by its numerous terrorist attacks against innocent Iranian civilians. Since Saddam Hussein’s ouster, the MEK’s ability to maneuver in Washington and Iraq now depends almost entirely on the uneven enforcement of existing U.S. laws concerning Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Prominent human rights organizations - including Human Rights Watch - have determined the MEK to be a cult-like organization with a structure and modus operandi that belies its claim to be a vehicle for democratic change. When Iran’s post-election turbulence commenced in 2009, the MEK quickly sought to associate itself with the wave of popular opposition inside Iran. By attempting to claim credit for Iran’s democracy movement, the MEK has aided the Iranian government’s attempts to discredit the Green Movement and justify its crackdown on peaceful protesters by associating them with this widely detested group. When the MEK began its efforts to claim the mantle of being “Iran’s main opposition,” genuine Iranian opposition leaders such as Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard immediately pushed back. Karroubi pointedly said, “The Iranian Government is trying to connect those who truly love their country (the Green Movement) with the MEK to revive this hypocritical dead organization.”

Removing the MEK from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list and misconstruing its lack of democratic bona fides and support inside Iran will have harmful consequences on the legitimate, indigenous Iranian opposition. We urge the U.S. government to avoid conflating a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with Iran’s Green Movement as the Iranian people continue their struggle for democracy and human rights.

1. Prof. Ervand Abrahamian, Author of The Iranian Mojahedin

2. Prof. Ali Ansari, University of St Andrews

3. Reza Aslan, Author of No God but God

4. Prof. Shaul Bakhash, George Mason University, author of Reign of the Ayatollahs

5. Prof. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Syracuse University

6. Prof. Juan Cole, University of Michigan

7. James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State

8. Prof. Farideh Farhi, University of Hawaii at Manoa

9. Dokhi Fassihian, Human Rights Defender

10. Hadi Ghaemi, Human Rights Defender

11. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, former reformist member of Parliament

12. Kevan Harris, Johns Hopkins University

13. Prof. Nader Hashemi, University of Denver

14. Prof. Ramin Jahanbegloo, former political prisoner in Iran

15. Prof. Mohsen Kadivar, Duke University

16. Prof. Mehran Kamrava, Georgetown University

17. Prof. Stephen Kinzer, Author of All the Shah’s Men

18. Amb. John Limbert, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and hostage in Iran

19. Prof. Scott Lucas, University of Birmingham

20. Firuzeh Mahmoudi, United4Iran

21. Reza Marashi, Former Iran Desk officer, US Department of State, NIAC Research Director

22. Azadeh Moaveni, Author of Lipstick Jihad

23. Prof. Rasool Nafisi, Strayer University

24. Sahar Namazikhah, Journalist

25. Dr. Trita Parsi, Author of Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US

26. Prof. Paul Pillar, Georgetown University

27. Prof. Nasrin Rahimieh, University of California, Irvine

28. Prof. R. K. Ramazani, University of Virginia

29. Jason Rezaian, Iran-based journalist

30. Prof. Ahmad Sadri, Lake Forest College

31. Prof. Mahmoud Sadri, Texas Woman’s University

32. Prof. Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California

33. Elaheh Sharifpour-Hicks, Human Rights Expert

34. Sasan Shoamanesh, managing editor of Global Brief, Canada’s leading international affairs magazine

35. Prof. Gary Sick, Columbia University

36. John Tirman, Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies

37. Wayne White, Middle East Institute, former Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence

This letter was originally published on August 10, 2011 by the Financial Times

Further information regarding MEK can be found at

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