• 19 August 2011
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 1 Comments
  • MEK, Neo-Con Agenda

MEK, Iran interventions and Mossadegh

Iran Policy Committee head Raymond Tanter with members of the MEK's political wing, the NCRI

The Iran Policy Committee–a  Washington organization dedicated primarily to spreading pro-MEK propaganda on Capitol Hill and elsewhere around Washington–organized an event at the National Press Club yesterday that is raising eyebrows.

It wasn’t the  spectacle of former U.S. officials rehashing MEK-prepared talking points and referring to MEK as the “main opposition”–this we have all grown accustomed to (especially now that the big money machinations behind these efforts have exposed by the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post).

It also came as no shock when the Iran Policy Committee’s head, Raymond Tanter, invoked the death of Neda Agha Soltan (while obliviously pulling up a picture of a completely different person).

It wasn’t even surprising that Tanter referred to the Green Movement’s Mir Hossein Mousavi – who has been under house arrest since February – as a “sell out,” particularly since the Green Movement has so unequivocally expressed its opposition to the MEK and the use of violence in the struggle for democracy.

No, the surprise came when the panel suggested the MEK should be taken off the terror list so they could stage a “tit for tat” campaign of attacks within Iran.  

Mujahedin Supporters Envision “Tit for Tat” Campaign Against Iran:

Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney said an MEK delisting should be part of a campaign of “proactive actions” against Tehran.  The MEK, he said, is the only “credible overt political-military counterforce to the Iranian regime.”

“We need a very active tit for tat policy,” said McInerney.  “So every time they kill Americans, they have an accident in Iran.”

John Sano, formerly of the Central Intelligence Agency, echoed those sentiments.

“I agree one hundred percent with what the General just said, it’s got to be tit for tat.  We have known that the Iranians have been in Iraq talking to our enemies.  We know that the MOIS has been in Iraq causing harm to U.S. personnel.  And the only thing that can counter that is force,” Sano said.  “I know that may sound too militaristic, but you have to go with what your enemy understands.”

I don’t think there has been a clearer sign that the campaign for delisting the MEK has little to do with supporting democracy in Iran or humanitarian concerns about Camp Ashraf but is instead central to a push to escalate a military confrontation with Iran.

The lesson of recent history–the disastrous war of choice in Iraq–has clearly not sunk in with this crowd.  But coming just one day before the anniversary of the 1953 coup d’état that deposed Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (a coup that pro-sanctions, pro-war Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently endorsed as bringing “freedom” to Iranians), yesterday’s conference helped emphasize that the empirical history of miscalculated interventions and adventures in Iran have been completely lost on Washington’s pro-war establishment.

A full write-up from the event is after the jump.

Mujahedin Supporters Envision “Tit for Tat” Campaign Against Iran

By NIAC Staff

Washington, DC – The Iran Policy Committee, an organization dedicated to gaining U.S. support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq, organized an event on Thursday with former U.S. officials calling for the MEK to be removed from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

While the panelists argued that the MEK is not a terrorist organization, they said the group’s “hands were tied” by the terrorist designation and suggested that delisting the group would enable it to commit attacks within Iran.

Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney said an MEK delisting should be part of a campaign of “proactive actions” against Tehran.  The MEK, he said, is the only “credible overt political-military counterforce to the Iranian regime.”

“We need a very active tit for tat policy,” said McInerney.  “So every time they kill Americans, they have an accident in Iran.”

John Sano, formerly of the Central Intelligence Agency, echoed those sentiments.

“I agree one hundred percent with what the General just said, it’s got to be tit for tat.  We have known that the Iranians have been in Iraq talking to our enemies.  We know that the MOIS has been in Iraq causing harm to U.S. personnel.  And the only thing that can counter that is force,” Sano said.  “I know that may sound too militaristic, but you have to go with what your enemy understands.”

McInerney accused former Defense Secretary Robert Gates of direct complicity in deaths that occurred in Camp Ashraf, the MEK compound in Iraq, last April.  “As far as I’m concerned, Secretary Gates personally approved Prime Minister Maliki’s direction of that attack,” McInerney said.

The panelists also repeated the refrain that the MEK is Iran’s “main opposition,” but did not acknowledge the well-documented popular antipathy among Iranians towards the group, which fought alongside Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran war.  A recent editorial in Kaleme—a publication closely associated with Iran’s Green Movement—conveyed strong opposition to the MEK, stating that a U.S. delisting of the organization would significantly set back Iran’s indigenous democracy movement.  But Thursday’s panel said a delisted MEK could lead other opposition groups in Iran.

The Iran Policy Committee’s President, Ray Tanter, said his organization uses the color green for its materials because the color should not be reserved for the Green Movement and Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom Tanter said is a “sell out.”

Tanter emphasized what he said was his own extensive research regarding the MEK and Iran’s opposition, and stated that those opposing the MEK’s delisting “are running in circles” because they do not have their facts straight.

However, Tanter’s presentation included several inconsistencies.  When he invoked the death of Neda Agha Soltan and pulled up a photo of the wrong person.

Tanter stated that there was no publicly available evidence that the MEK has carried out terrorist attacks since 2001, but when asked whether this was an acknowledgement that MEK had committed terror attacks before this period, he demurred.

Tanter reasoned that attacks carried out by MEK against government officials and military installations are not terrorist acts.  “I do not grant that the MEK committed terrorist attacks before 2001,” he said, “I do grant that there were military activities targeting military installations.”

But when asked if his logic meant that a 2009 attack at a Fort Hood, Texas, military base that killed fifteen U.S. servicemembers  was terrorism, he avoided the question.

The panel was asked if sanctions could be an effective strategy towards Iran, to which all the panelists responded no—sanctions would not work.  McInerney even said that sanctions alone would make war with Iran inevitable.  But moments later, Tanter recanted.  Sanctions would not work, he said, but they should still be leveled against Iran’s Central Bank—a step some legal experts have called “the nuclear option” that wouldconstitute an act of war.

Posted By Jamal Abdi

    One Response to “MEK, Iran interventions and Mossadegh”

  1. Pirouz says:

    “the campaign for delisting the MEK has little to do with supporting democracy in Iran or humanitarian concerns about Camp Ashraf but is instead central to a push to escalate a military confrontation with Iran”–Jamal

    You are correct. The push is on for another U.S. foreign war, this time against Iran.

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