In yet another attempt at destabilizing Iran, Hillary Clinton will soon announce a decision by US State Department on whether or not to remove Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or “the people’s holy warriors,” from its terrorism registry. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), cautioned that doing so “would allow the Mujahedin to receive US funding and become a powerful force in support of war with Iran, just like the Iraqi exiles who deceived us into war with Iraq did.”
In an age where the word terrorism or bomb is enough to get you arrested and thrown out of the airport, why are American officials and policy wonks pressing for the removal of MEK from terror watch list? They, just like the Taliban and the Contras, are valuable pawns, or so they think, in the quest for American dominance of the Middle East. MEK is so highly valued by the war-with-Iran crowd because they were the group that “revealed” the Natanz nuclear site and brought to light documents concerning the Iranian nuclear program in 2002. As Gareth Porter argued, the documents provided by MEK and their political extension, the National Council of Resistance in Iran, were fabricated:
The German source said he did not know whether the documents were authentic or not. However, CIA analysts, and European and IAEA officials who were given access to the laptop documents in 2005 were very sceptical about their authenticity.
The Guardian’s Julian Borger last February quoted an IAEA official as saying there is “doubt over the provenance of the computer”.
A senior European diplomat who had examined the documents was quoted by the New York Times in November 2005 as saying, “I can fabricate that data. It looks beautiful, but is open to doubt.”
Scott Ritter, the former U.S. military intelligence officer who was chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, noted in an interview that the CIA has the capability test the authenticity of laptop documents through forensic tests that would reveal when different versions of different documents were created.
The fact that the agency could not rule out the possibility of fabrication, according to Ritter, indicates that it had either chosen not to do such tests or that the tests had revealed fraud.
Additionally, MEK’s “discovery” of the Natanz site was doubted by many keen observers of Iranian politics who noted the groups friendly relationship with Israel, as well as their lack of key posts in government positions that would have made any relevant information hard to come by.
Since 2002, new information has emerged indicating that the MEK did not obtain the 2002 data on Natanz itself but received it from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Yossi Melman and Meier Javadanfar, who co-authored a book on the Iranian nuclear programme last year, write that they were told by “very senior Israeli Intelligence officials” in late 2006 that Israeli intelligence had known about Natanz for a full year before the Iranian group’s press conference. They explained that they had chosen not to reveal it to the public “because of safety concerns for the sources that provided the information”.
Israel has maintained a relationship with the MEK since the late 1990s, according to Bruck, including assistance to the organisation in beaming broadcasts by the NCRI from Paris into Iran. An Israeli diplomat confirmed that Israel had found the MEK “useful”, Bruck reported, but the official declined to elaborate.
Not only can MEK not be trusted as an objective source of information, but the violence carried out against Americans in the past by this terrorist group should give great pause to anyone, especially members of government, considering supporting this group. Additionally, the bipolar nature of American-MEK relations, from the worst of enemies to best of friends and back again, gives absolutely zero assurance that this group would be conducive to American interests even in the near future.
While the War Party is hoping that MEK will be a valuable propaganda tool in initiating an attack on Iran, they ought not fool themselves into thinking that MEK will bring about regime change internally. Universally hated in Iran for siding with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, Iranians have little tolerance for this troublemaking group.
It’s best the US just stayed out of the whole brouhaha.