NIAC Desperate to Keep MEK on Terrorist List
By Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker
Intellectual Conservative, Codex-Politics, March 23, 2012 Global Politician, April 3, 2012
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC)[i], a lobbying organization founded and led by Iranian-Swedish national Dr. Trita Parsi[ii], and regarded by Tehran as its voice[iii] in Washington, DC, is doing its utmost to influence the outcome of the recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s order[iv] to the U.S. Department of State to comply by March 26, 2012 with a new review of the status of the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK) vis-a vis the 15 year old “terrorist” label applied to the Iranian anti-regime resistance group, nearly two years late for a similar order given by the Court to State in July 2010.
In an article published in the Thursday, March 15, 2012 edition of the Huffington Post, entitled “Money vs. Facts: The Mujahedin-e Khalq Is a Terrorist Organization”[v], NIAC’s Research Director[vi], Reza Marashi[vii], does his best to smear the MEK with a broad brush of the “terrorist” label. For those who are new to the subject, he might just get away with his slander as his ties to the State Department as a former Iran Desk officer[viii] would seem to put him in the know. However, a careful examination, will prove his unmasking, and show that his loyalty is to Tehran and not to this country.
Marashi begins his essay by saying that the MEK’s position on the terrorist list has been one of the few clear issues concerning Iran with which the State Department has had to deal. He declares that: “For nearly two decades and four presidential administrations, yearly reviews of the MEK’s terrorist designation have reconfirmed its rightful place on this most dubious list of 50 unsavory groups—most recently in January of this year.”[ix] Since the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list has existed only since October 1997[x], and there have only been three presidents in that time span of 14½ years, Marashi is clearly bending the facts to distort the MEK’s image. The extent of Marashi’s deceit becomes clear when one reads Norman Kempster’s account of the formation of the list and the political reason behind the MEK’s inclusion therein in his report in The Los Angeles Times.[xi] Kempster put it this way: “One senior Clinton administration official said inclusion of the People's Moujahedeen was intended as a goodwill gesture to Tehran and its newly elected moderate president, Mohammad Khatami.”[xii] If the last 14½ years are any indication, based on the extent of co-operation achieved with the Islamic Republic of Iran in such places as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian territories—Gaza in particular—that goodwill gesture has proved to be a total failure. And yet Reza Marashi, like his boss Trita Parsi, would have us believe that dialogue and co-operation with Iran are just around the corner, especially if the U.S. keeps the MEK on the FTO! Reza jaan: have you been smoking opium with the likes of Ali Khamenei?
Marashi claims that he was involved in the 2006 and 2007 State Department review of the MEK’s terrorist designation. Through the good offices of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation (a State Department office) John Bolton, I was invited for an individual meeting with members of the Iran Desk at the State Department in May 2006. Meeting with Henry Wooster, who incidentally still heads the Iran desk, it quickly became apparent that the Iran Desk was getting much of its information through surfing the net and that much of this “information” actually was disinformation supplied by a variety of websites[xiii] controlled by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS=VEVAK), the Iranian version of the KGB. Careful analysis has unmasked the MOIS disinformation campaign[xiv], but neither Mr. Wooster nor his assistant seemed capable of fathoming the idea that the internet might be a great vehicle for the dissemination of disinformation, something VEVAK leaned from the KGB in its infancy. I would like to note that a senior Senate staffer who served the Senate Intelligence Committee stated in a meeting held in July 2005 that the committee knew that the terrorist charges against the MEK were bogus. It does seem strange that Marashi claims unanimity of opinion at the State Department concerning MEK’s “guilt” as terrorists when a former State Department official, Ambassador John Bolton has stated publically his support for the de-listing of the MEK.[xv]If one adds the testimony of Ambassador Bolton to that of a former FBI director, the former Homeland Security Secretary, two CIA directors, a National Security Director, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—individuals who have seen the files on the MEK, and recalls that the High Court of the United Kingdom[xvi] and that of the European Union[xvii] both have ruled for the removal of the MEK from the respective proscribed lists, one wonders what is going on at the State Department. Add to that the strange fact that several former State Department employees have ended up on the board of pro-regime NIAC[xviii], and one wonders who it is that’s in bed with the real terrorists in Tehran?
But Marashi really veers away from reality when he writes[xix]: “Obama administration officials recently confirmed to NBC News that the MEK is being armed, trained and funded by the Israeli government to murder Iranian scientists.”[xx] As one commentator[xxi] to the report put it:
“We have a written and signed statement that claims no involvement by MEK and Israel in the bombings/assassinations and an anonymous source saying that the Iranian Government has evidence that this is going on and that the US Government is aware of it. I think that unless the anonymous folks want to step up into the spotlight with their evidence, they can't be believed. It very well could be the Iranian Government behind the attacks. Remember that so far most of the "scientists" that have been targeted are very low ranking individuals in their project - people in positions like the "Director of Procurement".”
Mr. Marashi: produce your sources and I will retract my comments; until then, a report that relies on the word of Mohammad Javad Larijani[xxii], is pure and simple propaganda for the enemy.
As for Marashi’s contention that “one of the appeals court judges wrote in her ruling, "the classified portion of the administrative record provides "substantial support" for [the Secretary of State's] determination that the PMOI [MEK] either continues to engage in terrorism or terrorist activity or retains the capability and intent to do so."”[xxiii], it seems strange that the majority of the court thought otherwise, requiring the State Department to review its case and reargue it, which until forced to do so by the March 5th order[xxiv], the State Department refused to do. Again, Mr. Marashi: produce documents or face a credibility gap. The same point applies to your lame excuse for the administration not producing evidence. A similar game was played by UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw and Whitehall until the UK High Court called their bluff. [xxv] In its November 30, 2007 review of the case, Lord Chief Judge Nicholas Phillips called the proscription of the MEK an act of perversity on the part of the British government.[xxvi]
There is one point upon which Marashi and I agree, and that is that the willingness of the MEK to move from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty should not be a part of the equation of determining its “terrorist” status, as has been suggested by Secretary Clinton recently[xxvii]. Marashi fears that this will help remove them from the FTO, a move he naturally opposes. For my part, I fear that the move to the site of Camp Liberty which is a glorified concentration camp[xxviii] will put the MEK members in greater physical danger than they already are.
Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching the public and its elected officials of the need to promote genuine democratic institutions throughout the Middle-East region as an antidote to the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism. He may be contacted at contact@ADME.ws.
[i] Eli Lake, “EXCLUSIVE: Iran advocacy group said to skirt lobby rules”, The Washington Times, November 13, 2009, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/13/exclusive-did-iranian-advocacy-group-violate-laws/print/. See also the extensive literature on Trita Parsi and NIAC and the relationship of the NIAC leadership to the Iranian government. Among other, see Clare M. Lopez, “The Rise of the ‘Iran Lobby’”, Center for Security Policy, February 25, 2009, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/upload/wysiwyg/center%20publication%20pdfs/Clare%20Lopez%20-%20Iran%20Lobby(1).pdf, and the extensive site of Iranian-American writer Hassan Daioleslam at In Search of Truth: Reports on Mullahs's lobby in US, www.iranianlobby.com, (http://english.iranianlobby.com/page1.php?bakhsh=ARTICLES).
[ii] For a critical take on NIAC, see: Hassan Daioleslam, “Iran’s Oil Mafia”, FrontPageMagazine.com, April 11, 2007, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=25959.
[iii] See note # 9 (http://www.aftabnews.ir/vdccpoq2biqpp.html) cited in Hassan Daioleslam, “The Iranian Web of Influence in the United States”, FrontPageMagazine.com, April 02, 2008, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=30465,
[iv] Document # 1361946, USCA Case #12-1118, Filed: March 5, 2012. In re: People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, Petitioner, http://www.delistmek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-03-05-PMOI-Mandamus-US-Court-of-Appeals-ORDER.pdf.
[v] Reza Marashi, “Money vs. Facts: The Mujahedin-e Khalq Is a Terrorist Organization”, Huffington Post, March 15, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/reza-marashi/mek-terrorist-organization_b_1350676.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008 .
[vi] See NIAC website at: http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_marashi.
[vii] Hassan Dai (Daioleslam) and Kayvan Kaboli, “The Mysterious Ascend of a Novice Iranian Apologist in the United States”, Iranian American Forum, November 13, 2011, http://iraniansforum.com/index.php/wahshington-insight/315-the-mysterious-ascend-of-a-novice-iranian-apologist-in-the-united-states-.
[viii] See note 6, above.
[ix] Marashi, loc. cit.
[xi] Norman Kempster, "U.S. Designates 30 Groups as Terrorists", Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1997, http://articles.latimes.com/1997/oct/09/news/mn-40874.
[xiii] See the following examples: Iran-Interlink.org (not to be confused with IranInterlink.info, a resistance website dedicated to unmasking the Iranian regime’s website’s disinformation and falsehoods). IranInterlink.org is probably the most sophisticated of the regime’s anti-resistance websites. Other sites include several that are disguised to look like resistance sites, such as www.mojahedin.ws, www.hambastegimeli.net (not to be confused with the legitimate resistance website www.hambastegimeli.com), www.iran-aawa.com, or neutral as www.perseetavenir.com and www.iranpeyvand.com, and those that clearly are anti-resistance, such as www.irandidban.com, www.theblackfile.com, www.pars-iran.com, www.nejatngo.org, and www.negaheno.net. Anyone associated with these websites should be considered a VEVAK agent or loyal supporter of the IRI regime.
[xiv] See: Daniel M. Zucker, “Iran’s VEVAK: Disinformation, Inc.” Iran Terror Database, September 17, 2006, http://www.iranterror.com/content/view/229/46/. For additional information on VEVAK, see also: “Iran’s Foreign Agents of Disinformation: More About VEVAK”, Iran Terror Database, November 17, 2006 http://www.iranterror.com/content/view/239/47/, and “Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran’s VEVAK in High-Gear”, Codex-Politics.com, September 3, 2007, http://www.codex-politics.com/pcodex/contents1.nsf/vWebAccessDocuments/5170517FD5A55916C225734F00049B72.
[xv] Iranian American Community of Northern California (IACNORCAL), “Congressional Bi-Partisan Panel Demands Protection of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, De-listing of MEK”, PRNewswire-USNewswire, July 28, 2011, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/congressional-bi-partisan-panel-demands-prevention-of-forced-dispersing-of-camp-ashraf-in-iraq-delisting-of-mek-126365088.html, and for visual confirmation, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9UGJUjwdJs.
[xvi] See: OPSI, Statutory Instruments 2008 No. 1645, Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism, The Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organizations) (Amendment) Order 2008, No. 1645, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1645/pdfs/uksi_20081645_en.pdf.
[xviii] See the biographies of the staff and directors of NIAC at: http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_staff_board.
[xix] Marashi, loc. cit.
[xx] Richard Engel and Robert Windrem, “Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News”, NBC News, February 9, 2012,
http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/08/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news. This “exclusive” story coming from anonymous sources that are relying on Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, should be taken with a proverbial “grain of salt”.
[xxii] Mohammad Javad Larijani is the son of Ayatollah Hashem Amoli and a brother of Ali Larijani, the current Chairman of the Parliament and Sadegh Larijani, the current Chief Justice. Larijani is a cousin of Ahmad Tavakkoli, who is the current director of Majlis Research Center.For additional information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad-Javad_Larijani.
[xxiii] Marashi, loc. cit.
[xxiv] See note #4, above.
[xxv] See the proceedings at: Stephen Jones, “People’s Mujahiddin of Iran (PMOI) or Mujahiddin e Khalq (MEK): An update”, Library of the House of Commons, March 23, 2009,
[xxvi] Clare Dyer, “Government ordered to end 'perverse' terror listing of Iran opposition”, The Guardian, December 1, 2007, http://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13383:government-ordered-to-end-perverse-terror-listing-of-iran-opposition&catid=4:iran-general&Itemid=26.
[xxvii] Scott Shane, “Clinton Urges Iranian Group to Complete Move”, The New York Times, March 1, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/asia/clinton-urges-mujahedeen-khalq-to-complete-move.html?_r=1.
[xxviii] Representative Ted Poe, “Abandon failed Middle East foreign policy strategies”, The Hill, February 29, 2012, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/213345-rep-ted-poe-r-texas. See also: Summers, “FACTS ON Camp "Liberty": A Cruel Hoax”, Newsvine.com, February 27, 2012,