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The American Conservative: Bolton’s Relationship with the MEK Is a Scandal

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Bolton’s Relationship with the MEK Is a Scandal

By DANIEL LARISON

John Limbert calls attention again to John Bolton’s relationship with the deranged cult, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK): I recently spoke about the group and its influence to a highly educated audience in Washington—graduates of three of the world’s best universities. Most of the Americans present were unaware of the MEK and its payments to the bellicose national security adviser [bold mine-DL]. All of the Iranian Americans at the meeting, however, knew the group well and detested it. They knew its murderous history in Iran: They knew that in 1979–1980 it supported Iran’s religious extremists in their campaign to silence voices calling for democracy and women’s rights; they knew it called for more executions in the early days of the revolution; they knew it fought alongside the hated Iraqis during the long and bloody Iran-Iraq war; they knew it even launched an armed invasion of Iranian territory in 1988—an invasion stopped with heavy losses.

Although the Iranian Americans present expressed no love for the brutal rulers of the Islamic Republic, they knew that an MEK-ruled Iran would be far worse.

Bolton’s long relationship with the MEK discredits everything he has to say about Iran. No one that has praised this cult as a potential replacement for the Iranian government should have anything to do with U.S. policymaking at any level, much less at the White House. No one foolish or fanatical enough to side with this cult should be entrusted with any government position.

Bolton’s ties to the MEK should be mentioned in every story that reports on him and the administration’s Iran policy, but unfortunately they are only rarely included in media coverage. It is not surprising that few people in Limbert’s audience knew about any of this, because it is so often omitted from accounts of Bolton’s career and his support for regime change in Iran. Except among people that focus on Iran policy, the rehabilitation of this creepy totalitarian group in Washington has received remarkably little attention. If the National Security Advisor of a different administration had a record of taking payments from a discredited exile group and “former” terrorist organization, you can bet that it would be a major scandal and would shortly lead to that person’s resignation. There is so much corruption and unethical behavior in this administration that Bolton’s MEK ties seem to get lost in the mix.

It is unacceptable for a top government official responsible for shaping U.S. foreign policy to have been the paid shill of this awful organization that previously killed Americans. It is wrong for an official with ties to the MEK to be influencing decisions on Iran policy. There are many reasons why Bolton should be fired, and this is right at the top of the list.

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