In recent months, there has been significant activity by a terrorist group lobbying Senators and Congressmen on Capitol Hill.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Islamic socialist organization listed on the State Department list of terrorists, has launched a widespread lobbying campaign to persuade US politicians to unfreeze bank accounts associated with the MEK and to promote war with Iran. In pursuit of these objectives, the MEK and its affiliate, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), have created numerous front groups, with the express aim to lobby prominent California members of Congress. Their targets include Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—all individuals who urge high-level diplomacy with Iran.
The MEK identify themselves as representatives of the Iranian American community in order to persuade Congress that the Iranian Americans support a foreign invasion. As a result, the MEK have falsely represented the perspectives of the Iranian-American community. Iranian Americans have no association with the MEK have largely condemned the group’s activities. The MEK was formed in the 1960s as an opposition group to the Shah and, since then, has been responsible for killing numerous Iranians and Americans throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, members of the MEK assisted Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards suppress the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in Iraq, and are responsible for assassinating several political and military figures inside Iran.As a result of these actions, the MEK are widely condemned by all Iranians around the world as an extremist Islamist cult.
To the Iranian community, the MEK represent the same threatening extremism that al-Qaeda poses to the general American public. It is disturbing, to say the least, that such an organization is utilizing the name of Iranian Americans to justify its political ideology.
It is equally disturbing that a terrorist organization is being allowed a foothold in both Congress and the mass media.
In addition to lobbying Congress, the MEK have held themselves out as representatives of Iranian Americans on major news networks. For example, Alireza Jafarzadeh, a former spokesman for the MEK, currently works as a FOX News Channel Foreign Affairs Analyst.
Fox News has also invited MEK Secretary General, Mojgan Parsai, to discuss Iranian affairs as an expert. Nevertheless, Iranian-Americans throughout the United States, including California, do not subscribe to the political beliefs of the MEK.
In fact, according to a recent poll by the University of California at Berkeley on the political attitudes of Iranian Americans, over 66% of California Iranian-Americans believe that the US should establish diplomatic relations with Iran. In fact, only 13% maintain that the US should engage in strategic bombings of Iran’s nuclear targets; and only 8% favor the bombings of Iranian military and oil installations.
This stands in stark contrast with the perspectives of the MEK and its front organization. As part of its propaganda campaign, the MEK publish newspapers and websites like IranTerror.com and IranFocus.com. As an Iranian American, I am outraged that the MEK is attempting to hijack the perspectives of my community. The MEK do not represent Iranian-Americans in California – or anywhere else for that matter.
Our politicians and media officials should be wary that the MEK and its fringe organizations have their own political beliefs, and that these political beliefs do not reflect mainstream attitudes. The Iranian-American community wishes peace between Iran and the United States with an eye toward diplomacy, democracy, and human rights.
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