• 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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7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
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Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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