Robert Wright at The Atlantic has a good piece on the campaign to remove the name of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from the U.S. terrorist list. As Wright states, legitimizing this terrorist group whose main goal is to overthrow the current Iranian regime is not a big confidence builder for the upcoming second round of nuclear negotiations with Tehran. This is especially true since MEK has been responsible for recent Israeli-sponsored acts of sabotage including assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
But Wright is strangely upbeat, concluding that the final decision on MEK's fate may rest with Hillary Clinton, who is less subject to the political pressures to embrace MEK than President Obama, who will be involved in placating special interests and bagging contributions in a bid for a second term. It is odd to think Hillary would choose doing the correct thing over a pro-Israel, pro-war option.
When talking about the huge amounts of money that are behind the MEK campaign, Wright skittishly does not mention the pro-Israel lobby, although their fingerprints are all over this. But the post adopts the Iranian point of view to describe the involvement of Israel, so the reader gets the picture.
Here is part of the narrative the [Iranian] hardliners are pushing:
Iran needs nuclear weapons to defend itself. It is beset by enemies. The Sunni states would love to overthrow our government. Just recall that Iraq, when it was a Sunni-run state, attacked us, starting a war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians. And note that Sunni states are currently trying to abet the overthrow of our ally in Syria--just one domino away from the fall of our own government. And don't forget about the American-Zionist axis: prominent Americans and Israelis openly call for regime change in Tehran, and we suspect that this is the secret goal of the Obama administration.
OK, so that's the narrative that we don't want to strengthen--particularly the America-Zionist-axis-is-bent-on-regime-change part. Here, then, is an example of something we probably shouldn't go out of our way to do: Take an Iranian-exile group that is devoted to overthrowing the Iranian government, and that has long been on America's list of terrorist organizations, and give it our seal of approval by taking it off that list.
That would be stupid, right? Yet that's what, according to today's report in the Journal, the State Department is leaning toward.
The group in question is the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, which got onto our list of terrorist organizations decades ago by, among other things, killing Americans.