NewsSpecial WireIran says U.S. "forced" to keep dissidents on blacklist

Iran says U.S. “forced” to keep dissidents on blacklist

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Iran Focus: London, Dec 17 – A website with close ties to
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said the U.S. State Department’s decision to keep the Iranian opposition group,
the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK), on its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations paved the way for the expulsion of the group’s members from Iraq. Iran Focus

London, Dec 17 – A website with close ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said the U.S. State Department’s decision to keep the Iranian opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK), on its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations paved the way for the expulsion of the group’s members from Iraq.

“Just at a time when the [MeK”> adopted the policy of defending the policies of the U.S. occupiers in Iraq and cut deals with Israel, thus bringing the Pentagon to its support, the American administration was left with no choice but to accept the reality and keep the [MeK”> on the terrorism list”, the website Baztab wrote on Saturday.

Iran’s officials and state-run media routinely remind the Iranian public that the MeK opposition group remains on the terrorism list of the U.S. and the European Union. Analysts see this as an attempt by Iran’s clerical authorities to discourage public support for radical change in Iran.

The MeK was first placed on the State Department’s list of terrorist organisations in 1997. At the time, a senior U.S. official said the move was designed as “a good-will gesture of the newly-elected President Mohammad Khatami”.

MeK supporters in Congress and within the Bush administration have been urging President George W. Bush to remove the dissidents, widely seen as the best organised and most active opposition group to Iran’s radical Islamist rulers, from the terrorism list.

“The Clinton administration blacklisted them to send a good-will message to the mullahs”, said Shahram Sahimi, a U.S.-educated economist now working in London. “Now, let the Bush administration de-list them as a good-will message to the pro-democracy movement in Iran”.

Baztab’s article on the MeK reflected how closely Iran’s hard-line power centres are monitoring U.S. attitude towards the opposition group. The website’s director, Fouad Sadeghi, is a former official of Iran’s secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Baztab was founded by the former commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezai.

“The [MeK”> has made its removal from the terrorism list the focus of its overt and covert campaign since the beginning of 2005”, Baztab wrote. “But as the year draws to a close, the [MeK”> has been dealt a bitter defeat”.

“The group has kept its members in Ashraf [Iraq”> unaware of the U.S. decision to keep it on the list and gives them false hope that the group might be removed from the list, so as to dissuade them from leaving the organisation”, the website wrote.

Baztab noted that the decision to maintain the MeK on the terrorism list was particularly significant, because it came “at a time when the most implacable mutual foes are in power both in Tehran and in Washington, when some in the U.S. are talking of a military attack on Iran, and when the U.S. has tried in the past two years to turn the issue of Iran’s nuclear activities into a political and military showdown”.

“The U.S. decision [to keep the MeK on the blacklist”> also clarifies Washington’s final policy on the fate of Mojahedin members in Iraq”, the website wrote.

The website urged the Iraqi government to expel MeK members from Iraq.

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