Monday, February 01, 2010

Iranian opposition group seeking justice

I talked again Friday with Nasser Sharif of Californians for a Democratic Iran about the unfortunate fact that the U.S. has designated the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known and Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) as a terrorist organization. As I explained in a piece I wrote last June, the designation occurred in the 1990s, when the Clinton administration had some hope of breaking the US-Iranian ice with supposed moderates in power in Iran and fulfilled a request by the Iranian regime to make the designation. Both the European Community and the UK have done extensive investigation and determined that the PMOI doesn't deserve the terrorist designation and have lifted it. As Nasser argued, and I think I agree, this not only harms one of the main Iranian opposition groups (and a democratic and secular one to boot), it effectively puts the U.S. on the side of the regime.

Despite support from some congresscritters of both parties and a lawsuit, little or not progress has been made on this issue. I'm afraid that since it was a Clinton-era decision, the job of officially identifying terrorist organizations lies with the State Dept, and Hillary is SecState, that it will take dynamite or the political equivalent to get action on this issue. But it would be smart.


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Anonymous said...

Wasn't Iran a democracy in 1953? Didn't America play some role in changing that? I doubt Washington cares about "democracy" in Iran. What they care about is that Iran dares to defy American hegemony.

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Alan Bock said...

AS long as you understand, Anonymous II, that you're talking about the U.S. government, which is not necessarily the same thing as "America," your comments are well-taken. Many Americans sincerely care about democracy, or about some concept of decent governance that respects citizens (which is not necessarily the same thing). Wise Americans understand that different countries with different cultures and traditions have to develop in their own ways, and efforts to bring them "enlightenment" through bombs never works -- except to impose (sometimes and for a while) hegemony.