Failure of Appeasement

Iran: Anniversary of MEK’s Removal from U.S. Terror List Is Reminder of Failure of Appeasement

Failure of Appeasement

Finally, on February 27, 2012, the MEK took the unprecedented step of filing a writ of mandamus, a court order which compelled the State Department to execute its duties under the law.

Monday, September 28, marked the anniversary of the People’s Mojahedin Organization  (PMOI / MEK Iran) and National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) 2012 removal from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

The delisting was the conclusion of a protracted legal battle that spanned two continents and a series of delays by U.S. State Department officials. The hard-won victory came despite a focused campaign of disinformation by the Iranian regime and the U.S. and Europe’s decades-long policy of appeasement toward the mullahs.

FTO Designation

The U.S. State Department designated the (PMOI / MEK Iran), as an FTO in 1997 as a “goodwill gesture” to newly-elected Iranian regime President Mohammad Khatami. An article published by Reuters on October 13, 1997, described the State Department’s motivation for the listing:

“A U.S. decision branding Iran’s main rebel group ‘terrorists’ is being seen in Tehran as the first positive sign of American goodwill towards the new government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami. Diplomats, analysts, and Iranian newspapers said on Monday the U.S. move was important because it satisfied one of Tehran’s basic demands. But the process of rebuilding ties after two decades of enmity and distrust could be a long one.”

The State Department is required to provide a supporting record when adding a group to the terrorist list, but the MEK’s record was comprised of propaganda from the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and excluded assessments from independent sources that contradicted allegations of terrorism.

Court Battles

The Iranian regime employed similar tactics in the European Union, the U.K., and France to have the MEK added to terrorist lists, forcing the organization to take its grievances to the courts. The MEK was permitted to submit evidence, and the countries who favored terrorist designations were forced to gather legitimate evidence supporting their claims. Courts consistently found no evidence that the MEK was a terrorist organization and ordered that the group be delisted.

Despite the lack of ambiguity from the courts, governments in each country dragged their feet before complying with court orders to delist the MEK, with the United States being the last to remove the MEK from its terrorist list.

The MEK first filed a petition in 2008 with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to have its name removed from the FTO list. She denied the request in January 2009, shortly before President George W. Bush left office. In 2010 former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend said that the MEK was not delisted out of “fear that it could have provoked a reaction from Iran.”

The MEK filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the decision, and the court ordered the State Department to review and contest the evidence supporting the designation. Given that the State Department’s evidence was nonexistent, this would have meant victory for the MEK.

Meanwhile, MEK members at Camp Ashraf were under attack by the new Iraqi government and could not be safely relocated without help from the U.S. government. Missile attacks killed dozens of MEK members while State Department officials repeatedly postponed action. The Iranian regime launched a new disinformation campaign against the MEK, while a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen called on the State Department to delist the MEK.

Finally, on February 27, 2012, the MEK took the unprecedented step of filing a writ of mandamus, a court order which compelled the State Department to execute its duties under the law. The court accepted the case and ordered the State Department to act by October 8, 2012, lest the court delists the MEK itself. The landmark ruling was the first writ of mandamus issued against a U.S. Secretary of State in 200 years.

Secretary Hillary Clinton complied with the court order just days before the deadline, and the MEK was officially removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization List on September 28, 2012. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the U.S. State Department continues to deny that it added the MEK to the FTO list to curry favor with the Iranian regime.

An Unjust and Ineffective Policy

The policy of appeasement that led to the addition of the MEK to the FTO list has been proven to be ineffective. Countries that have made deals with or goodwill gestures to the Iranian regime have failed to end Tehran’s nuclear program, its warmongering in the Middle East, or its rampant human rights abuses.

More than 120,000 MEK members have died at the hands of the Iranian regime since the group was founded. The MEK’s listing as a terrorist organization not only failed to achieve its goal of improving relations between the U.S. and Iran, it also further endangered the pro-democracy activists who are the world’s best hope for a non-nuclear, secular, democratic Iran.

MEK Iran (follow them on Twitter and Facebook)

and People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran – MEK IRAN – YouTube

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