General James Jones, U.S.M.C. (ret.), Former National Security Advisor to President Obama and Supreme Allied Commander Europe:
“I propose three [New Year] gifts. The first one is successfully delisting the MEK, the second one which has been mentioned but is equally important is ensuring the security of the people of Camp Ashraf and the third is to support the popular movement for freedom as expressed by Iranians both inside and outside ofIran.” Washington, DC, March 17, 2011
Governor Howard Dean, Former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor of Vermont:
“… We must change our position on the MEK and stop calling them a terrorist organization. They are not a terrorist organization, they have their own bill of rights, which is an extraordinary thing under the leadership of Madame Rajavi, and we appreciate what she has done greatly.” Paris, February 26, 2011
“The MEK is not a terrorist group and we need to de-list them immediately. Immediately.” Washington, DC, March 17, 2011.
Rudi Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York:
“It is about time that we change the listing of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran on the terror list. I have studied terrorism for over 35 years. I have investigated terrorism and I have seen first hand, in my city the devastation that terrorism can bring about. This is not a terrorist organization. This is an organization dedicated to achieving freedom and dignity for its people.” New York, September 24, 2010
Tom Ridge, Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor of Pennsylvania, and U.S. Representative:
“It’s a very important and a very visible statement that these Republicans and these Democrats, having worked for Republican and Democrat administrations, feel unanimously that the designation of MEK should be lifted and should be lifted now… The Resistance and the MEK are not looking for money, they are not looking for arms. They just want the freedom to speak. They want to be delisted and take action into their own hands. We need to do that for them because time is running out.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
Andrew Card, Former White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of Transportation:
“The MEK was our ally in the war on terror… But the State Department was left behind, left behind with a document that is irrelevant today. And the courts have said, check its relevance. My prayerful hope is that the State Department is checking what is relevant today, and they will see today for what it is rather than a yesterday that they didn’t understand or know… I hope that the United States will say the MEK is that ally that we need on the war on terror…” Washington, DC, April 26, 2011
General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (ret.), Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe:
“The State Department is reconsidering the foreign terrorist organization listing. Why wouldn’t they take an organization like this off the list? I think they will. I think they must.” Paris, April 27, 2011.
“I’ve seen no evidence that this is a terrorist organization. I’ve asked for this, none has been presented. I can see no reason why they should remain on the foreign terrorist organization list. None…” Brussels, May 25, 2011
Louis Freeh, Former Director of the F.B.I., U.S. District Judge:
“With respect to the designation of the MEK… I was not consulted in 1997, that the Department of State had listed the MEK . . . . In 1997, the government of Iranduped the U.S.government by inducing it to list the MEK as a foreign terrorist organization, without consulting the FBI… We now have in this new administration the opportunity to do the right thing, but it should be now . . . . The delisting has to immediately take place.” London, February 14, 2011
Lee Hamilton, Former Vice-Chair of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon theUnited States, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:
“[F]rom where I stand now I’m really puzzled. I do not understand why the United Stateshas kept the MEK on the terrorist list for all of these years. I have had access to classified information. I know some things may have happened in the past. This is a factual question with regard to the conduct of the MEK and why the United Stateshas not resolved it and spoken out on it. I am not aware of any facts that require the MEK to be on the terrorist list.” Washington, DC, February 19, 2011
Michael Mukasey, Former Attorney General of the United States and Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York:
“It is important not only that the [MEK] designation be removed but also that it be removed quickly before Iran and those acting in its behalf can wear down the residents of Ashraf and force them to leave or impose an even worse fate on them.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011.
“Many people in this room, including me, have had occasion in the past to make the case many times over that there was simply no basis in law or in fact for continuing MEK on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and that there are many reasons, including MEK’s close cooperation with the United States in exposing Iran’s nuclear program for removing MEK from that list.” Washington, DC, March 17, 2011
Gen. Hugh Shelton,U.S. Army (ret.), Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“[B]y placing the MEK on the FTO list we have weakened the support of the best organized internal resistance group to the most terrorist-oriented anti-western world antidemocratic regime in the region. That’s a disgrace. Iran’s current regime is clearly a government that needs to change. The MEK is the organization that they fear and that should tell us something right off the bat. When you look at what the MEK stands for, when they are antinuclear, separation of church and state, individual rights, MEK is obviously the way that Iran needs to go.” Washington, DC, February 19, 2011
Ambassador John Bolton, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations:
“We have seen in recent years that opinion within the U.S. government has tended towards delisting the MEK, but at the end of the Bush administration Secretary Rice decided not to do that for essentially the same reason that the Clinton administration put the group on the list to begin with: to open channels of communication with Iran.” New York, September 24, 2010
Porter Goss, Former Director of the CIA:
“We can’t kick down the situation on the MEK any more. We’ve got a deadline coming up…The FTO designation is an impediment to the final solution of relocation and I think, therefore, the sooner we get a judgment on that, that is what I think where common sense will lead us….There’s not any justification based on what I’ve seen… I think the first thing to do is get the FTO question resolved and the second thing to do is say these folks [Camp Ashraf residents] deserve a future.” Washington, DC, June 2, 2011
Ambassador Bill Richardson, Former Governor of New Mexico, Secretary of Energy, Ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Representative:
“[W]ith the MEK . . . I think it makes sense to take them off the terrorism list. North Korea was taken off the list, I don’t know if you know this, some time ago. This is something I’m not going to say—this is bureaucracies. Bureaucracies move slow. To move them you’ve got to do sometimes gigantic leaps. I’m not making any excuses but I do think this is something we need to reassess right away.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
Ambassador Dell Dailey, Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State:
“It is essential that Secretary Clinton . . . revoke the designation and delist the MEK. It is within her ability to do that right now… Delist the MEK from the foreign terror organization list and let the Iranian citizens decide their own form of government.” Washington, DC, March 17, 2011
James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence:
“One thing we should no longer do, and on this I join the others on this panel, is keep the MEK listed as a terrorist organization. In 22 years of practicing law I read a lot of legal decisions and I recently read the Circuit Court’s decision in the case involving the MEK… This eloquently and well written decision of last July by the D.C. Circuit effectively says, quite bluntly, although it doesn’t use this particular analogy, that what the Department of State has done is what the red queen does in Alice in Wonderland when she is asked if first we’re going to have the trial and the verdict and then the execution she says no, execution first, then trial.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
General Richard Myers, U.S.A.F. (ret.), Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“Delisting the MEK is surely the right thing to do and it’s way past time to do that.” Washington, DC, April 14, 2011
Patrick Kennedy, Former United States Representative, Chairman of the DCCC:
“I personally believe the reason MEK is still listed as a terrorist organization is that our policy in the past has been one of appeasement [of Iran]. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. MEK is the biggest threat to the Iranian mullahs.” Washington, DC, May 19, 2011
General Peter Pace,U.S.M.C. (ret.), Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“Some folks said to me this week if the United States government took the MEK off the terrorist list it would be a signal to the Iranian regime that we had changed from a desire to see changes in regime behavior to a desire to see changes in regime. My response to that is: sounds good to me.” Washington, DC, February 19, 2011
General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps (2006-2010):
As I dispatched some of my commanders to sit down and talk with these folks [MEK members at Camp Ashraf], as I visited myself, these people are not terrorists. They’re no more terrorists than the people here on the panel… We asked those people to disarm. They’re the only people in Iraq who are disarmed. And yet, these people complied willingly and have done what we asked them to do.”
“Now, it seems to me the oppressive events [at Camp Ashraf] are such today that we have got to reconsider our national posture towards the people at Camp Ashraf and the MEK in general… And I’ve got to tell you what happened recently should be a national outrage and, unfortunately, I don’t see it.” Washington, DC, July 26, 2011
Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union:
I hope as [State Department] do so they will expedite their decision and that they will reflect on the fact that the UK and the EU to which I was an Ambassador, have both lifted their restrictions with respect to the MEK but the State Department I hope will make their decision based on the merits and to do so quickly and promptly, again recognizing the precedents that others have created.” Washington, DC, June 2, 2011
Robert Torricelli, Former U.S. Senator from New Jersey:
“[T]he listing of the MEK as a terrorist organization by the United States government is wrong. It is wrong as a matter of law, it is contrary to the facts, it is interfering with the rights of American citizens to be heard and it is contrary to American foreign policy… I call upon Secretary Clinton who I consider a dear friend and one of the finest leaders in the history of our country to do what she knows is right: End the policy and end it now.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, Former Director of Policy and Planning, U.S. Dept. of State and Member of the National Security Council:
“Whether or not you believe that we have one year, two years, three years or more before Iranwill be in a position to acquire nuclear weapons, there is still no reason to be shy about doing more to support the Iranian opposition. A good first step would be delisting the MEK.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
Frances Townsend, Former Homeland Security Advisor to President Bush:
“[T]he tyrannical regime in Iran believed that failure to delist the PMOI was weakness not strength… The greatest single step right now today that I believe the United States government can take to really put pressure on the Iranian regime and really insist and enable change is to delist the MEK. We should do that because the listing is not warranted by the evidence that is public or anything that is classified…” Paris, December 22, 2010
Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011):
“I will send a letter to President Obama and to Secretary Clinton telling them, one, that the United States is morally bound to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Ashraf and, two, if, Director Freeh and General Shelton and General Conway and Governor Dean and the rest of these great panelists say that MEK is a force for good and the best hope we have for a third option in Iran, then, good Lord, take them off the terrorist list. Take them off the terrorist list.” Washington, DC, July 26, 2011
John Sano, former Deputy Director of CIA for National Clandestine Service:
“[Iran’s] Disinformation campaigns basically are feeble attempt to convince the United States and its organizations, the State Department, even Congress, as well as the international observers, that the residents of Ashraf should be displaced and further that the MEK should remain on the foreign terrorist organization list.
“The MEK promotes a peaceful, non-violent, and democratic Iran; is committed to the universal declaration of human rights as well as international conventions and covenants; and promotes a domestic and foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence. The time is long past for the MEK to be delisted from the foreign terrorist organizations list.” Washington, DC, July 28, 2011
General Anthony Zinni, U.S.M.C. (ret.), Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Central Command:
“I know you all realize you are seeing not only the bi-partisanship that was mentioned. You are seeing leadership from our Congress, administrations past and present, from our military and from our intelligence agencies and law enforcement. You have an entire spectrum here that feels the same way. I think what you are going to hear up here is a continuous set of comments much like you’ve heard already: the need to remove the MEK from this list of terrorists, the need to support the opposition groups and understand who they are.” Washington, DC, January 20, 2011
Dr. Philip Zelikow, Former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Counselor of the States Department:
“So what then would I recommend to the Secretary were I in my old job today? I would say, here is a four-part proposal of what you could do: Part one. Delist the MEK as an FTO. Washington, DC, April 26 2010
Terrorism and Policy Experts Call for De-listing of MEK
Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of Freedom House and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, November 8, 2008
I have been impressed with the strength and widespread popularity of the MEK inside and outside Iran… They have demonstrated in many ways their organizational skill and legitimacy… And as the MEK in recent years has professed its commitment to nonviolent struggle, it has seemed to me that we must take another look at the MEK… As Tehran cites the FTO designation of the MEK as the major justification for the forced return of those in Camp Ashraf, delisting would assist in their ongoing protection.
Terry Arnold, Former Dep. Dir., Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, U.S. State Department, July 31, 2008
Under the law, the group no longer qualifies as an FTO, because the circumstances that led to its previous listing have sufficiently changed as to merit removal.
Hon. William A. Nitze, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
The initial listing was a diplomatic card to gain concessions from Iran,” and that overall, the terrorist designation [of the MEK] is “inconsistent with American principles and foreign policy, in holding down legitimate groups that are trying to bring about political change in a country like Iran for narrow and short-term political objectives which may not be attainable in any case.
Oliver “Buck” Revell, Former Associate Deputy Director of FBI, July 31, 2008
There is no evidence that the group is engaging in terrorism, and having been under the watchful eye of the U.S. military for over five years, there is no evidence that the group retains the capability or intent to commit terrorist acts.
Hon. Jed Babbin, Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Aug 5, 2008
The Mujahideen e-Khalk — an Iranian opposition group — was declared a terrorist organization by the Clinton administration at the request of the Iranian regime. MEK — feared by the mullahs in Tehran — should be removed from our terrorist list and enabled to operate in Iran.
Jack Caravelli, Former member of the Nat’l Security Council, July 31, 2008
Continued listing of the MEK as an FTO will send a message to all groups on the FTO list that the list itself is highly politicized.
Raymond Tanter, member of Council on Foreign Relations, October 5, 2008
In addition to being consistent with legal criteria for delisting, revocation [of MEK designation] would undercut Iranian pressure on Iraqi officials who justify extraditing Iran’s largest opposition group at Ashraf because they are “terrorists.” Delisting would also send a strong signal to Tehran that the United States has a new option on the table: democratic change by the Iranian people.
Bruce McColm, Former executive director of Freedom House, January 12, 2010
If President Obama were to decide to issue an executive order to remove the unwarranted terrorist label from the PMOI, he would certainly grab Tehran’s attention while demonstrating to the Iranian people that America would no longer block Iranian opposition groups from working to bring democracy to Iran. But, time is running out and Washington’s options are severely limited.
Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director of Int’l. Center for Terrorism, July 31, 2008
PMOI repudiated violence, ceased all military operations, and voluntarily surrendered its weapons. These actions were substantiated by U.S. intelligence and military bodies…It is amply clear that there is no factual basis for retaining the current FTO status of the PMOI.
Dr. Walid Phares, Director of Future Terrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Dec. 16, 2007
Tehran’s regime, designated as Terrorist by Washington, considers the MEK as terrorist. This puzzling situation is due to the fact that pro-Iranian pressure groups consider the Mujahidin Khalq as a real threat to the regime and thus put significant pressures internationally to keep the designation of the MEK as is.
Neil Livingstone, author of The War Against Terrorism, July 31, 2008
It is time to remove the MEK and NCRI from the State Department’s list of terrorist sponsored groups and we should embrace them.
Prof. Donna Hughes, University of Rhode Island, January 17, 2005
Removing these pro-woman, pro-democracy resistance groups [the PMOI and NCRI] from the terrorist lists and supporting their efforts to overthrow the Iranian regime provides an alternative approach to appeasement and attempts to normalize relations with terrorists or military action.
Ms. Clare Lopez, Vice President of the Intelligence Summit, July 24, 2007
For a group such as the MEK, pitted against one of the most ruthless regimes on earth, it [FTO designation] means an inability for its members to travel, raise funds, speak out, or organize the opposition movement — all actions that would be in the best interests of both democratic reform for the oppressed people of Iran and the broader objectives of the U.S. to encourage development of civil society and democratic rule of law in the Middle East… neither the MEK nor NCRI ever belonged on the FTO list and should be removed immediately.