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Iran Policy Convention in US capital expected to draw thousa
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cyrus wrote:
Agree, as long as Maryam Rajavi is promoting self centered position and assume there is no other choice except MKO , they can not work with other opposition outside Iran. It seems still they are focusing to get to power instead of freeing homeland and help to create a secular democracy.

An Iranian activist in Los Angeles, Roxanne Ganji, told The New York Sun yesterday, "They are definitely a cult, and that is a dangerous thing. If anyone goes to Iran and takes the pulse of the people, though, 90% would never allow them to go back. That does not mean the information they gave America was not good. But they are a terrorist organization. If the United States wants information, then they can get it from viable groups and not terrorists."

MKO is really not interested in freeing Iran. They began as a terrorist group and made a deal with the mullahs before the revolution (share of power). afterwards they were double-crossed out of the deal by the same mullahs. All they want is to take back that, which was "stolen" from them (enghelab ra az ma dozdidand!!!)

I'm greatfull to Roxanne Ganji for telling the american media about these thugs.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject: Members of Congress Adress MEK Convention Reply with quote

Members of Congress Adress MEK Convention
Nick Hoover | Washington | April 14

The Agonist - Reps. Bob Filner, D-Calif., Tom Tancredo, R-Col., Dennis Moore, R-Kan., and staffers for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, addressed a convention of MEK supporters today in Washington.

The MEK has been listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department since 1997, but some in Congress and close to the Administration want the group to be removed from the terrorist list. Even President Bush has called the MEK a "dissident group."

In addition to incursions into Iran and targeted killings of Iranian officials and security agents, MEK attacks have often killed civilians there. The MEK carried out attacks on the Iranian consulate to the UN and 12 other Iranian embassies in 1992, assisted Saddam Hussein in his suppression of Shiite and Kurdish insurgencies in the early 1990s, and killed U.S. military and civilian personnel working in Iran in the 1970s out of anger for American support of the shah. Members of the MEK also supported the 1979 takeover and hostage taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Here is more on the group.

Tancredo called Maryam Rajavi, the MEK's leader, "quite an extraordinary lady."

Much more after the jump. I hope to scan some documents from the convention by tomorrow. jnh.

By Nick in Iran on Thu Apr 14th, 2005 at 05:38:53 PM PDT

The only way to a free Iran is "the third option," Moore said. Rajavi often refers to "the third option" when she talks about MEK-led uprising from within.

Rajavi herself spoke to the group by live video feed, urging removal of the MEK from the list of terrorist groups.

"The worst aspect of appeasement, which plays a crucial role in keeping the regime in power, is the terror tag on the Iranian Resistance," Rajavi said.

"The message of this terrorist designation ... to our people is that the West is on the side of the dictators and is opposed to change," she added.

Asked if there was any opposition to the event, Shahab Sariri, a representative for "the Council for Freedom and Democracy in Iran," said that since MEK has been listed as a terrorist group and especially since the groups office in Washington was closed in 2003, everything has been done by "expatriates" who "naturally" include lots of supporters for the MEK. The MEK is the largest organized resistance group against the current Iranian regime.

Sariri also said that there was more opposition to an event last year, but said that was nothinig more than a ploy by Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who Sariri called a "lobbyist for Iran."

"It was a bankrupt card that they played on behalf of the Iranian government," Sariri said.

Rajavi also praised a petition she said was signed by 2.7 million Iraqis in support of the People's Mujahideen of Iraq, which is another name for the MEK.

She characterized the MEK as democratic, inclusive, heavily supported by Iranians and only on the terrorist list because of a policy of appeasement by the Clinton Administration, citing one anonymous quote in a 1997 Washington Post article.

Hundreds of supporters greeted Rajavi with deafening applause and the waving of signs and banners emblazoned with images of Rajavi and her husband. Her speech was punctuated numerous times by applause and Farsi cheers.

"U.S., U.S., listen this, Iran mujahideen not terrorists," the crowd chanted several times.

"Freedom and democracy and support for Rajavi," supporters urged in unison.

"God bless you, Rajavi," the people cried after urging from an older Iranian man who sat near the back of the large hall.

Another speaker at the event, Neil Livingstone, is often interviewed by the press as a terrorism expert. He has been quoted as saying he has had good relations with the MEK for 30 years and also advised Ahmed Chalabi's INC. Livingstone urged the government to step up its efforts to destabilize the Iranian government, saying "we must recognize the Iranian government in exile." This refers to Rajavi, who was declared by her movement to be President-in-exile. "We are all members of the Iranian Resistance," he closed.

Two of the speakers at the event were American soldiers who dealt with the group at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where the U.S. government has detained and disarmed them.

Lt. Col. Thomas Cantwell was the commander of the 324th MP Batallion at Camp Ashraf from June through December 2003.

"Our assessment was that the mujahideen represented a minimal threat to U.S. forces," he said.

He also questioned the designation of the MEK as a terrorist group. "If we have a terrorist group in Ashraf, where are the terrorists?" he asked. He said this despite admission in a later interview that he was not "routinely granted access" to intelligence on the group and left Camp Ashraf before debriefings of MEK members there moved into full swing.

Captain Vivian Gambara was a Jag officer who participated in disarmament negotiations with the MEK. Although, by her own admission, she was one of the most junior lawyers there, she said that she and special forces soldiers around her recognize the security possibilities that the MEK represented.


Looking for a Few Good Spies
Washington calls the Iranian MEK a terrorist group. But some administration hawks think its members could be useful

By Christopher Dickey, Mark Hosenball and Michael Hirsh


Feb. 14 issue - This is a terrorist cultleader? Maryam Rajavi is dressed in a Chanel-style suit with her skirt at midcalf, lilac colored pumps and a matching headscarf. Over a dinner of kebab, rice and French pastries, Rajavi smiles often and laughs easily. She's at once colorful and demure, like many an educated woman in the Middle East. Indeed if George W. Bush—who relies on powerful females for counsel—were pressed to identify a Muslim model of womanhood, this 51-year-old Iranian would look very much the part.

But of course that's exactly the impression Rajavi seeks to give. Behind her smile is a saleswoman's savvy—and a revolutionary's zeal to prove that she and her mysterious husband, Massoud Rajavi, are neither cultists nor terrorists. Maryam Rajavi is demanding that the exile groups they lead together, centered on the Mujahedin-e Khalq (People's Holy Warriors) or MEK for short, should be taken off the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, their assets unfrozen and their energies unleashed. The MEK, Rajavi says, is the answer to American prayers as Tehran continues to dabble defiantly in both terrorism and nuclear arms. "I believe increasingly the Americans have come to realize that the solution is an Iranian force that is able to get rid of the Islamic fundamentalists in power in Iran," she told NEWSWEEK in a rare interview at her organization's compound in the quiet French village of Auvers sur Oise. The group's own former role in terrorist attacks dating back to its support for the U.S. Embassy takeover in 1979, Rajavi insists, is ancient history. And the MEK is not a Jim Jones-like cult as critics allege, with forced separation between men and women and indoctrination for children, all overseen by the Rajavis' autocratic style. Instead, she insists, it is "a democratic force."

Whatever Rajavi's true colors, NEWSWEEK has learned that her role may be growing in the calculations of Bush administration hard-liners. At a camp south of Baghdad—it's called Ashraf, after Massoud Rajavi's assassinated first wife—3,850 MEK members have been confined but gently treated by U.S. forces since the invasion of Iraq (once they were allies of Saddam against their own country in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war). Now the administration is seeking to cull useful MEK members as operatives for use against Tehran, all while insisting that it does not deal with the MEK as a group, American government sources say.

Some Pentagon civilians and intelligence planners are hoping a corps of informants can be picked from among the MEK prisoners, then split away from the movement and given training as spies, U.S. officials say. After that, the thinking goes, they will be sent back to their native Iran to gather intelligence on the Iranian clerical regime, particularly its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Some hawks also hope they could help to reawaken the democratic reform movement in Iran, which the mullahs have silenced. "They [want] to make us mercenaries," one MEK official told NEWSWEEK.

Yet the administration's new engagement with MEK members has, so far, done little to clarify its still-murky approach to Iran. That is worrisome to many critics at home and abroad—especially since Vice President Dick Cheney said in recent weeks that Iran was now at the "top" of the president's national-security agenda. Last week, on her first trip abroad as secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice sought to play both hawk and diplomat, reviving the old role she negotiated so often as Bush's national-security adviser. Pressed by reporters, Rice declined to deny that Bush's policy toward Iran is regime change, and she even hinted broadly that it was. Rice said that Iranians "should be no different than the Palestinians or the Iraqis or the Afghans or peoples around the world—the Ukrainians—who are determining their own future." All these places have elected new governments under different degrees of U.S. pressure.

At the same time, however, Rice reassured her European counterparts in London, Paris and Berlin that, like them, the administration is putting diplomacy first. That mainly means continuing Washington's lukewarm support of a European effort to win a permanent freeze on Tehran's covert nuclear program, along with new rights for inspectors to verify the pact. Rice is also mulling over some new proposals from her own staff that call for Washington to wedge open a new relationship with the Iranian regime by striking "little deals" on areas of overlapping interest, such as Iraq, the Afghan border and the Gulf.

Confused? So are the Europeans. Rice, in fact, privately acknowledged to her European colleagues last week that the administration is still unable to agree on an Iran policy. She also indicated it will take months more to figure one out. One reason is that none of the options is very good. Many inside the administration believe the diplomatic efforts of the so-called European Three—Britain, France and Germany—are mere Band-Aids and will only delay Tehran's unstinting efforts to build a nuclear bomb, which intel analysts say is about five years off. But even most hawks agree that U.S. military options in Iran are just as unpalatable. What's left? Bush hopes that his rhetoric of freedom will inspire dissidents within Iran. But some hard-liners in the Defense Department want a more "forward leaning" policy: quietly pushing for regime change by making use of exiles like former MEK members.

Still, Rice and other top State officials remain leery of the MEK, despite renewed efforts to back and fund the group on Capitol Hill. In a conversation with one European counterpart last week, Rice seemed to belittle the Defense Department's recruitment efforts, saying "the Pentagon is playing at the margins" of the administration's Iran policy. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that the CIA is also resisting the recruitment of agents from the MEK because senior officers regard them as unreliable cultists under the sway of Rajavi and her husband. A Defense Department spokesman denied there is any "cooperation agreement" with the MEK and said the Pentagon has no plans to utilize MEK members in any capacity.

Rajavi, for her part, is adamant that her organization will never be broken up. "There have been efforts to recruit individuals, or to dismantle parts of the movement," she says. "These have failed." Supporters of the MEK on Capitol Hill, where at least one bill is aimed at restoring the organization to State's good graces, say that some of its intelligence has already proved very accurate. (It was the MEK last year that revealed Iran's secret nuclear facilities at Natanz.) It is also clear that Tehran deeply fears the group's influence. "The Defense Department is thinking of them as buddies and the State Department sees them as terrorists. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle," says Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California. "Maybe they should get time off for good behavior." Perhaps. But that would require a coherent policy first.

With John Barry and Richard Wolffe

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6920459/site/newsweek/
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pantea wrote:

An Iranian activist in Los Angeles, Roxanne Ganji, told The New York Sun yesterday, "They are definitely a cult, and that is a dangerous thing. If anyone goes to Iran and takes the pulse of the people, though, 90% would never allow them to go back. That does not mean the information they gave America was not good. But they are a terrorist organization. If the United States wants information, then they can get it from viable groups and not terrorists."

But they are a terrorist organization.

We might not agree with them but calling MKO a terrorist organization is just wrong. We are hoping MKO correct some of their mistakes in the past and continue to fight for FREE IRAN and secular democracy. Creating division among Iranian oppositions against Clerical Regime is not correct strategy. We should be critical, objective and not destructive . When Iran is free the people will decide who is going to serve them better.
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