In a recent article for Huffington Post, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh outlined the politics, facts and laws concerning debates over the future of Iran, and elaborated upon some of the criticism that Iran’s largest counter-organisations People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran/Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK) and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have received from some of the U.S. officials in recent years.
Dr. Rafizadeh praised the MEK’s ability to organise themselves, despite their leader Massoud Rajavi having been sentenced to death for his early activities in the MEK, and subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released in 1979, during the Revolution. Dr. Rafizadeh quoted Patrick Clawson, the director of research at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a scholar on a matter related to Iran: “Rajavi had to rebuild the organization, which had been badly battered by the Peykar experience.”
MEK’s association with Peykar, a Marxist-Leninist faction that allegedly hijacked the movement that MEK had started, has damaged MEK’s reputation. But Dr. Rafizadeh was adamant that Peykar were the ones guilty of these crimes and criticised the broadside that Daniel Benjamin, the former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, had launched against MEK. During this campaign, Benjamin criticised former U.S. officials, including Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for showing support for the Iranian grassroots organisation.
“There exists robust evidence, gathered by U.S. officials,” Dr. Rafizadeh wrote, “confirming that the mainstream MEK was not responsible for the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran.” He explained that Peykar executed not only the U.S. civilians, but also the MEK leaders, and any MEK members who refused to become part of Peykar.
Dr. Rafizadeh also elaborated on the suspicions that the U.S. Treasury Department had over MEK in 2012, holding them accountable for supplying the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) with supplies. However, the Secretary of State at the time Hillary Clinton took MEK off the list of suspects the following year in September.
Dr. Rafizadeh provided further evidence for MEK’s innocence. “According to a report by Dr. Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, at the Congressional Research Service,” he wrote, “State Department reports on international terrorism till 2011 did not assert that MEK ever targeted civilians purposely.”
No law violations had been found by the Treasury. Dr. Rafizadeh argued that “there is no legal leg on which anyone can make the case that advocates of the MEK were or are in violation of the law, which prohibits providing material support to a listed organization.” He also highlighted the support that MEK had received from the European Court that ruled in MEK’s favour, and the United States who even sent John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State to Albania to thank the Albanian government for resettling the MEK members from Iraq, where they lived at Camp Liberty, under dangerous conditions.
Concluding his article, Dr. Rafizadeh urged that the government and people should look forward, based on “politics, facts, and law.” First and foremost, the victory of Donald Trump needs to be accepted by his opponents in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Dr. Rafizadeh argued that the “real debate” that needs to follow is regarding the U.S. foreign policy in Iran. He called for Iran being held accountable, especially when it comes to abuse of human rights and the Iranian government’s association with terrorist groups. He stated that MEK is a key player in bringing a democratic change in Iran, instigated by the Iranian people themselves.