If ever there was a time for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to remove the main Iranian opposition group People's Mojahedin (MEK / PMOI) from the US list of terrorist organisations, today is that day.
I attended a rally by thousands of Iranian-Americans today outside the State Department, where participants, young and old, urged Secretary Clinton to de-list the MEK as she has been ordered to do by the DC Court of Appeal.
Thousands of MEK members have repeatedly come under deadly attack in their main base in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, by Iraqi armed forces at the behest of Iran's fundamentalist regime. Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Maliki uses the terror label as an excuse to murder the residents. In April 36 MEK members were slaughtered by Iraqi forces and hundreds of others were injured. Maliki has now threatened to close the camp and expel the residents by force at the end of the year.
The MEK was blacklisted in Washington in 1997 as a "goodwill gesture" to Iran in the hope that the mullahs could be placated to abandon terrorism and repression. The British government labelled the group as terrorist in 2001 for similar reasons. Yet the mullahs have not only continued to use terror at home and abroad; they are now fast pursuing an illegal nuclear weapons program.
As one of the 35 Parliamentarians who were successful in legally challenging our government to delist the MEK in the UK, I know that our victory tells us all we need to know about the decision Secretary of State Clinton must now make. Every single shred of evidence available to the British government was placed before the British courts. Much of this information was made up of Iranian regime misinformation, but also a great deal was provided by the US authorities. We are all fully aware that intelligence between the UK and US governments is widely shared and in the case of the MEK it was no different. Based on all this information, including every piece of evidence US authorities shared with their UK counterparts, the British courts found the ban on the MEK to have been 'perverse' and 'flawed'. Perverse in legal terms is a damning indictment of the British government's attitude towards the MEK, meaning in this instance that no reasonable and honest Secretary of State based on the information put before him or her could have come to the conclusion that the MEK was a terrorist organisation.
We are fully aware that the listing of the MEK in the US and UK was never honest nor was it reasonable, rather it was an attempt by previous administrations to pander to the wishes of the Iranian regime and hold out a hand of friendship to this vile regime. The regime gratefully took our hand and has for years used to it to slap us with, as it continues to support terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan with 7 out of every 10 Coalition deaths directly linked to the Iranian regime while continuing to defy the international community over its nuclear weapons program.
WikiLeaks revelations have indicated that the British government's delaying tactics in relation to that legal challenge were as a result of fear for the repercussions which the regime may commit against British interests in Iran and specifically the British Embassy. In reality the regime's threats were nothing but hot air.
Now Secretary of State Clinton must do what is just. She must do what the legal system of the United States requires her to do and that is to immediately remove the MEK from the US list of banned organisations. The judgments of the British and European courts have unequivocally proven that no case exists for maintaining a ban on the MEK.
For far too long the MEK has unjustifiably been banned in the US to please the vile regime of Tehran, a vile regime which has continually used the ban to justify the torture and execution of hundreds of thousands and now the US ban is used by the Iraqi authorities to justify the massacre of Camp Ashraf residents.
This is now a matter of life and death. Maintaining this illegitimate ban on the MEK will lead to the massacre of all Camp Ashraf residents. Secretary of State Clinton must immediately remove the MEK from the list, not only because that is her legal duty, but further because it will allow the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents to be guaranteed while sending a clear message to the Iranian people that we support their right to democracy and freedom.