Washington, DC, Jul. 15 – Hundreds of Iranians rallied Friday outside the US State Department on the anniversary of a US Federal Court of Appeals ruling in favour of the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), urging the Obama Administration to revoke the group’s status as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.
A spokesperson for the demonstrators said they were protesting against the Administration’s delay in announcing a decision on the MEK’s status and to demand the group’s de-listing.
The State Department recently missed the statute-mandated 180-day deadline for a decision.
Iranians who attended the protest included representatives of Iranian-American communities, subjected to the adverse consequences of the MEK’s designation, including those with relatives in the MEK’s main base, Camp Ashraf, Iraq, and in Iran.
Over the past few weeks, senior Iranian officials, including commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have been urging the US to maintain the MEK on its terrorist list.
On 16 July 2010 the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously that the Secretary of State had erred in refusing to grant a petition by the MEK to have its terrorist status revoked. The Washington Post reported that the judgement had strongly suggested that the State Department should remove the group from the FTO list.
In addition to a growing roster of former senior US government officials, some 130 Members of Congress have endorsed resolutions calling for the removal of the MEK from the FTO list, emphasising that any decision to the contrary would violate the statutory criteria.
At one point in the colourful rally, children held birds symbolising 36 residents of Camp Ashraf who were killed by Iraqi armed forces in an attack on the camp in April.