The Orange County Register - By Nasser Sharif - September 01, 2011
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams.
These words by one of the U.S. founding fathers should be the only criteria for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she reviews whether to remove the main Iranian resistance movement, Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK,) from the State Department’s terror list.
As Americans, Southern Californians should care about this because America’s greatness, first and foremost, stems from its values and principles. Our values inspired many nations to stand up against tyranny and to challenge the status quo imposed on them by dictators. Over the years, our words and our commitments have been as solid as gold. And this is exactly the U.S. that the tyrants loathe, with the ruling mullahs in Iran at the top of the list.
Yet, due to the injustice imposed on Iranian dissidents by a misguided policy, not only our values and prestige are on the line, but also 3,400 innocent, defenseless dissidents are on the verge of being massacred at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where they are at the mercy of a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad. None of us wants to see a humanitarian crisis because of a wrecked policy that should have been rectified a long time ago.
After the European Union’s and the British highest courts found no relationship between the MEK and terrorism, the E.U. and U.K. removed the terror designation.
On July 16, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., reviewed the MEK case and, similar to the high courts in Europe, found the terrorism allegations and label against MEK unfounded, ordering the State Department to review the designation.
As admitted by its original designers in 1997, this designation was made not on the basis of facts and the law but as part of a political decision for appeasing the religious fascist rulers of Iran in search of “moderates” who were never found.
In Iran, this policy provided the Islamic regime with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate its nuclear bomb efforts and to prepare the grounds for Ahmadinejad’s faction to further the extremist policies of the Tehran government.
The State Department’s unjust designation of MEK as a foreign terrorist organization has been invoked on many occasions by the Iranian clerical regime as a justification for execution of political prisoners in Iran.
It is also providing an excuse for the Iraqi government’s approach to the residents of Camp Ashraf, who are “protected persons” under Geneva Fourth Convention, on behest of the Iranian regime.
In a total disregard for the legal process, the State Department has dragged its feet for more than a year.
In recent months, dozens of prominent Americans from both parties and more than 100 members of Congress, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA,) have insisted that the law must be respected and the unlawful designation of MEK must be annulled, calling on Secretary Clinton to reverse the unjust listing. Mr. Rohrabacher has joined 93 other colleagues, including the Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairs, Howard McKeon and Darrel Issa, as well as democrats Loretta Sanchez and Bob Filner, in co-sponsoring H.R. 60, which urges the secretary to de-list the MEK.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government and its lobby in the U.S. are understandably quite nervous over the possibility that the Secretary could delist MEK in the next few weeks. They have embarked on a propaganda campaign against PMOI and the Americans who support the MEK and respect for the law.
Tehran’s rulers recognize that the designation of MEK has been the cornerstone of the defunct policy of appeasement and has been the main obstacle that has impeded democratic change in Iran.
“National Iranian American Council” (NIAC,) reportedly the Iranian regime’s primary lobbying arm in the U.S., the has been consistently calling for a soft policy, to the point of even opposing sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, known to be the godfathers of terrorism in the Middle East and the world. NIAC is now spearheading the demonizing campaign of MEK and tries to discredit prominent senior former U.S. government officials who have supported justice and delisting of the MEK as well as calling for U.S. fulfillment of obligations to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf.
Secretary Clinton should make her decision on MEK based solely on the evidence and the facts, the “stubborn things.” Then we all can claim rightly that this is the U.S. we inherited from John Adams.
California Society for Democracy in Iran