What former President Clinton did by designating the MEK a terrorist organization, was try to improve relations with the Iranian government after the alleged “moderate” Mohammad Khatami won the presidential election in 1997. He wanted to appease Khatami, who had asked him to do it.
As it turned out, Khatami wasn’t a moderate or, according to Totten, “even Iran’s head of state. Iran’s head of state, then as now, was ‘Supreme Leader’ Ali Khamenei. Iran during Khatami’s time was no more “moderate” than it was with the bombastic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as its president.”
The MEK are based in France now, and are part of a larger organization that includes other opposition movements, called the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Totten attended the annual “Free Iran” rally held in Paris, that’s broadcast live on television, via satellite, of course, because they face torture and execution if they were to go into Iran.
Although initially skeptical because they were only removed from the terrorist list a few years ago, Totten soon decided that they are the true moderates. He says, “our relations with the MEK are outstanding. They haven’t even allegedly done anything bad to America for at least three and a half decades. Why would they? We have common enemies now. They’ve been ruthlessly persecuted by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Khomeinists insist the MEK is ‘contaminated’ with atheism and the ‘Western plague.’”
Totten was very impressed that the MEK is the only major Middle Eastern political movement led by a woman, Maryam Rajavi. She is an exiled woman who wishes to overthrow an illegitimate government by rallying forces around her from abroad. Her 10-point platform for a future Iran “read like the first draft of a constitution in a modern liberal democracy. Under what theory should the West spurn these people in favor of a government that tortures dissidents, supports terrorist armies all over the Middle East and hangs homosexuals from cranes in the capital?”
He called the event in Paris “a grand spectacle,” where over 100,00 people were consistently engaged for more than eight hours. “The MEK may not be popular inside Iran, but it sure as hell is in the European diaspora, which suggests its popularity back home may not be quite so near the floor as its critics allege.”
He goes on to say that “Most of the speakers weren’t Iranian. They were high profile officials from the United States, the European Union, and the Middle East, including Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal. He delivered a real stemwinder in Arabic, opening with heartfelt praise of the high accomplishments of Persian civilization since the time of the Zoroastrians—Persians are not accustomed to hearing this sort of talk from Arabs—and ending with a clarion call for regime-change in Iran.”
He marvels at how far this “terrorist organization” has come, with it’s bipartisan clout inside Washington rivaling Britain’s. “It was refreshing to see so many American officials from across the political spectrum on the same stage agreeing with each other about something so fundamental.”
He concludes by calling the Iranian Dissidents, the MEK, and the NCRI “genuine liberals and moderates. They are not the fake moderates of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Iranian presidency.”