As President Obama is in London to talk hard global politics about Libya and the Arab Spring, there is little doubt that in discussions about Iraq, the fate of 3,400 Iranians based in Camp Ashraf deserves to be high on the agenda.
Those Iranians are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), Iran’s largest opposition group and the greatest thorn in the side of the current Iranian regime for more than 30 years. The PMOI is famed for revealing the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons program and also has played a key role in leading the widespread protests that continue to increase in size and ferocity in Iran’s major cities.
The group’s great success and widespread support have meant that it is the Iranian regime’s No. 1 target. Initially, the Iranian regime used nuclear negotiations to demand that the PMOI be blacklisted in the West as a precondition for Tehran’s entering negotiations. U.S., British and European Union governments of the time had decided that appeasement of Tehran was the order of the day. If this meant unjustly blacklisting the regime’s largest opposition group, then so be it. The United Kingdom and EU blacklisting has ended following historic legal battles. No legal justification remains for the ban in the United States, and widespread calls are being made for the PMOI’s blacklisting to be removed sooner rather than later.