Fletcher in the News

Prof. Nasr on the Iranian Exile Group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK)

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Worldview: Why single out Rendell on MEK?

Yes, the Treasury Department is investigating the speaking fees received by the former Pennsylvania governor on behalf of an Iranian exile group that's on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. Rendell told the New York Times he had received about $150,000 for seven or eight speeches that called for taking the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, off the list (even though he clearly knew little about the organization).

But why is Treasury targeting only Rendell? There's an astonishing list of high-level former officials - from both parties - who've embraced the MEK cause, for which they've collected big bucks, along with trips to pro-MEK conferences in Brussels, London, Berlin, and Paris. …

… More critically, the group is also despised inside Iran. "In the eyes of the Iranians, they embedded with the enemy. They were traitors," says Iran expert Vali Nasr. They are regarded likewise across the Iranian political spectrum, including by leaders of the Green Movement. The idea that the group has vast support inside Iran is simply untrue.

When Ridge labeled the MEK the "most effective opposition movement" of the Iranian people, he was talking nonsense, a sad commentary on what he didn't learn as homeland security chief. Moreover, the MEK reportedly operates like a cult, forcing members into celibacy and exacting total obedience to the MEK's leader, the Paris-based Maryam Rajavi.

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