Digital Journal: Former US officials speak at radical anti-Iran group’s conference
The People’s Mujahedin ( MEK ) a radical anti-Iran group that some consider a cult and was considered a terrorist organization until 2012 by the US held its annual Free Iran Conference on line.
Former present US officials featured speakers at the conference
The conference was held by the National Conference of Resistance of Iran a coalition headed by the MEK. The MEK is considered the premiere Iranian opposition group by the US. If hawks against Iran had their way they would have the MEK replace the current Islamic regime. US officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have appeared at events with MEK members.
Former mayor or New York Rudy Guiliani has been a frequent guest at MEK gathering. He spoke against the existing government in Iran claiming that the ruling mullahs are like those who ran the mafia that Guiliani prosecuted. Guiliani said: “They’re not only religious maniacs, they’re just plain common criminals, they are crooks, they are thieves. To me, the mullahs are like the people who ran the mafia, the people I prosecuted who ran the mafia, and extorted their people, the Italian American people and subjected them, except this is on a much bigger scale, and the Ayatollah is like the head of the mafia.””
There were also two sitting members of the US Congress who spoke at the conference: Senator Martha McSally a Repulbican from Arizona, and Representative Lance Gooden also a Republican from Texas. Gooden praised MEK leader Maryam Rajavi and encouraged young people to join the fight. She also claimed that the people of the US were with her.
The MEK pays well for speeches
Among prominent former US officials who have spoken at MEK conferences are former speaker of the House New Gingrich and Senator from Connecticut. A February 2017 article notes: “Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK.”
Although not at this year’s conference, former National Security Advisor John Bolton and a prominent hawk has often spoken for the MEK. Records show he has been paid at least $180,000 for speeches over the years.
In the MEK compound in Albania, in front of numerous screens, Rajavi spoke to the conference:. “Our first commitment is that we, the Iranian people and the Resistance, will overthrow the clerical regime and will reclaim Iran. The final word is that the mullahs have no solutions and their regime is doomed to fall in its entirety.”
Previous role of the MEK
The MEK started as a leftist organization in the 1960 in Iran. They attacked the US supported Shah’s police force throughout the 1970s. The group also played a role in the 1979 overthrow of the Shah but ultimately came to oppose the new government of the Mullahs and carried out attacks against it. The MEK was driven out of Iran in the 1980’s
The MEK was welcomed into Iraq by Saddam Hussein who provided them refuge at a military base Camp Ashraf. The group launched terrorist attacks into Iran and joined Saddam in the eight year war between Iraq and Iran. Many believe that the MEK has at present little support within Iran itself.
After the US 2003 invasion on Iraq the US government commissioned a report about the MEK inside their former headquarters at camp Asharaf. The report suggested that MEK was much like a cult noting “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”