Following recent protests and calls for regime change in Iran, a bipartisan group of over 160 Republican and Democratic members of Congress this week introduced a resolution that endorses an exiled militant Iranian opposition group with a dark history.
In a press conference last week, Republican Congressman Tom McClintock announced the introduction of House Resolution 100, which outlines support of Iranian citizens protesting for a “democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran.” At the session, the introductory speaker was Maryam Rajavi, the head of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian Marxist-Islamist group previously listed on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list, who praised the bipartisan resolution, given that it supported her ten-point plan.
For those unaware of who Ms. Rajavi is or the MEK, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran was created by leftist and Islamo-Communist students opposed to the American-backed Shah. They sought to overthrow the Shah through terrorism and armed combat. From the beginning, the group created a cult-like personality around Rajavi and enforced strict celibacy rules, requiring older women to separate from their husbands and outlawing young women from marrying or having children.
Throughout the 1960s, the MEK committed terrorist attacks against the Iranian monarchy, killing American military officials and civilian contractors. Not only that, but the group contributed to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which destroyed American-Iranian relations and established a regime that inflicted chaos and terrorism in the Middle East.
According to a 2011 State Department report, the infamous 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage takeover was supported by the MEK. Moreover, the MEK later argued against the early release of American officials, despite the organization denying such efforts. The MEK were also supporters of and received shelter and weapons from Saddam Hussein, who invaded Iran following the Islamic Revolution and helped repress Kurdish uprisings.
Despite the group’s dark history, why does it continue to gain prominence in the Republican and Democratic spheres of American politics? One of the reasons is that representatives have received thousands of dollars in political donations from Iranian American groups linked with powerful ties to the MEK, which have advocated for its removal from the FTO list and succeeded in doing so in late 2012. Another reason for the group’s success is neutralizing officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and voicing opposition against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Unfortunately, Republican and conservative politicians like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security advisor John Bolton, and other officials have either received political donations from pro-MEK linked groups and have spoken at their official events
If the MEK were to replace the current regime in Tehran, the country would go from an Islamo-fascist government to an Islamo-Marxist regime, which would be equal to, if not worse than, the current governing status quo.
While its easy to adopt the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” cliche, the fact is that this group’s past terrorist attacks against Americans in Iran and their support for the Islamic Revolution in 1979 cannot and should not be swept away. The MEK is one of the rare instances where the enemy of America’s enemy is actually our enemy.
While there are good-faith-based discussions over what will replace the Islamic Republic should the regime meet its downfall, one thing that is for sure is that a vast majority of Iranians in Iran and abroad are not in favor of a group that put this regime in power in the first place. Republicans who are serious about supporting Iranian protesters and the overthrow of the mullahcracy in Tehran should ignore and sanction the MEK and instead recognize and embrace legitimate opposition figures.
Iranian Americans from all walks of life have rallied behind their compatriots in Iran, pressuring President Biden and members of Congress to stand with the people of Iran while emphasizing their disdain and hatred for the MEK. The Iranian people are not seeking a change from an Islamic government to an Islamo-Marxist government. Iranians want a free Iran not governed nor shaped by the individuals who caused this “museebat” (disaster).
It’s time for all Republican and conservative politicians to stand with the people of Iran, denounce the MEK once and for all, re-list the terrorist entity back on the FTO, and embrace legitimate change in Iran.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.