Mujahedin Machine vs. Iranian-Americans

MEK wants to silence independent voices opposing their pro-war agenda


Mujahedin Machine vs. Iranian-Americans
by Trita Parsi

Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has been launching relentless attacks against the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). The immediate reason is the Iranian-American campaign spearheaded by NIAC to keep the MEK on the U.S.'s terrorist list. NIAC and others have launched this campaign because delisting the MEK would unleash a major force for a U.S.-Iran war, undermine the peaceful pro-democracy movement in Iran while empowering anti-democratic hardliners, and put the free voices of the Iranian-American community under threat.

The MEK's attacks are not new. The MEK and neo-conservative elements supporting them have for years been orchestrating attacks against prominent Iranian American individuals and institutions who do not subscribe to their views. The targets have included not just me and NIAC, but also individuals like Ramin Jahanbeglou, Vali Nasr, and Shirin Ebadi. Indeed, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has detailed how the MEK accuses any and all of its detractors of being agents of the Islamic Republic.

NIAC poses a threat to the MEK in many ways - because we give the Iranian-American community a voice in Washington that opposes war, opposes indiscriminate sanctions and supports human rights and indigenous democratization in Iran.

The MEK has a radically different agenda, and like some of its neoconservative counterparts, wants to silence independent voices opposing their pro-war agenda.

The MEK and these neo-conservatives sought hard to hide the true source and reasons for the attacks against prominent Iranian Americans and NIAC. The MEK knows very well how despised they are in the Iranian-American community. More often than not, their attack dogs pretend to be Monarchists or of some other denomination. Few, if any, admit their ties to the MEK. And these neo-conservatives know that the attacks will appear more credible if they have an Iranian face.

But recently, the MEK's desperation has shone through. Now, they no longer pretend to be disconnected from their campaigns against other Iranian Americans. Their attacks are posted on their own websites, and the attackers openly declare their dedication and loyalty to the MEK.

In this new desperation, they have also revealed their larger agenda. In a recent article, the MEK juxtaposed NIAC's current campaign to educate the public about the ramifications of delisting the MEK from terror list against an analysis I wrote in 2007 describing the likely consequences of the Bush administration's plan to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) on that same list.

The purpose of this comparison is to support the baseless claims by the MEK and its network of supporters that NIAC supports the regime in Iran.

The comparison falls flat. The designation would have had no economic impact on the IRGC, which was already exhaustively sanctioned by the United States. Instead, the designation was intended to advance a cause for war before the Bush administration's term ended. Indeed, the entire issue seemed ripped straight out of the Iraq war playbook. This is why several leading U.S. policymakers opposed the measure, including the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (led by now Vice-President Joseph Biden and Republican Senator Richard Lugar).

Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the strongest advocates for an Iran war in the Senate, later introduced the idea in legislative form and added language that explicitly gave a green light to conducting military action against Iran. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment stated the following:

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

The call for the "use of all instruments" including military instruments is what constituted a green light for war. In reality, the amendment had less to do with listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization than supporting military action against Iran before Bush's term came to an end.

The amendment caused a storm in the Senate - and even the Democratic primary debates - because it was rightly seen as an effort to start a war with Iran. Opposition from anti-war groups and Lieberman's colleagues in the eventually saw the above paragraph deleted from the amendment.

To suggest that my analysis, or Senator Biden and others' opposition to this move, was favorable to the IRGC is preposterous. Indeed, NIAC has been a key supporter of precision sanctions targeting the IRGC and leaders of the Islamic Republic. These targeted sanctions hit the elements in the Islamic Republic responsible for crafting policy and for the human rights abuses, while sparing innocent civilians and allowing the nascent opposition movement room to grow and build their power.

And herein lies the difference between NIAC's approach and the tactics of the MEK and these neo-conservatives. Though they pretend to target the IRGC, their policies in reality pave the way for a war that would see hundreds of thousands dead. NIAC and the Iranian-American community as a whole, on the other hand, puts the well being of the peoples of the America and Iran at the center. We have consistently opposed war, and instead pursued policies that would target the IRGC and the leaders of the Islamic Republic without hurting the Iranian people or risking a war that would be disastrous for both countries.

The questions people should ask themselves is why the MEK and these neo-conservatives consistently support policies that on the surface appear to target the clerical regime, but in reality drive the US and Iran towards a military confrontation.

Our ability to give the Iranian-American community an opportunity to be heard in Washington DC is a threat both to the agenda of the MEK and that of these neo-conservatives. Therefore, the attacks against independent voices in the Iranian-American community and NIAC will continue. But as the community comes to understand the agenda of the MEK, it will no longer buy their conspiracy theories.

First published in

Trita Parsi is president of the National Iraian American Council (NIAC).


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Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: Let's deport all those who disfavor delisting MEK!

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Nasrin: And this is the tolerance you and your MEK are proposing? God help us if your side wins. Real democracy: deport anyone who does not support MEK and the Rajavi cult members.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Anyone who

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


is comparing NIAC to MEK is out of their logic. As others said:

  • NIAC does not force its members to wear military garb.
  • It does not force them to move to a Camp.  
  • You may join or leave anytime you want. No one will come after you.
  • You may be a member and criticize them all you want. No repercussions.
  • Members are not required to divorce their spouses.
  • Members are not forced to worship Trita Parsi.
  • NIAC is not an armed group.
  • NIAC did not work for Saddam.
  • NIAC did not kill Kurds; Iranians or Arabs

I know some reactionary types go wild when you say "NIAC". But it is absolute insanity to compare NIAC with MEK. Just don't work.

hamsade ghadimi

wishful thinking

by hamsade ghadimi on

i wish niac would spend as much effort campaigning against iri as it does against iri's opponents. 


NIAC policy is aligned w/ opinion of 70% of Iranian-Americans

by MM on

NIAC policy is aligned with the opinion of 70% of Iranian-Americans who do not want war between Iran and the US, as well as the opinion of the majority of Iranian-Americans who think that the Rajavi cult is not a better (probably worse) than IRI.


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Shame on Trita Parsi

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

By aligning the NIAC policy alongside the IRI aim of defining all the militant Iranian opposition groups as terrorists ... in order to have them jailed, tortured and killed.


Anti-Iran is that it now takes 1200 tomans to buy one dollar

by Cost-of-Progress on

It is rather strange and ironic how the Islamic regime's goons on the internet use the term anti-Iran on anything and anyone who even remotely opposes their anti-nationalist and islamist stance and existence.

Anti Iran is looting the coffers, incompetence, sky high inflation, thievery, imposing sufficating social and islamic "rules" on the people, intolerence and a host of other "talents" exhibited by this hated regime that has occupied Iran for over 3 decades.

Tagord Dirooz used to use that term extensively also. He is now posting under various aliases, but khar hamoon khare.....





Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

Reminder: JJ published the above article where the author criticizes the MEK. Now he's publishing what other people think about it

The IC bus stops at everyone's station; the driver is not your private chauffeur. 


Bravo NIAC.  MKO is nothing

by BaronAvak on

Bravo NIAC.  MKO is nothing more than a former commie, become Zionist proxy.  They've killed Americans, and killed / betrayed Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war, so any American or Iranian or Iranian American is duty bound to hate these filthy brainwashed cultists.   JJ is a traitor who sold out this site so he can go travel the world by himself.  What loser travels alone.  One with no friends from being a traitor.  JJ, you lucked into a great potential source of power and influence with this site and you royally sold it out to this band of information warrior propagandists who've you've allowed to thoroughly infiltrate this site and manipulate the comments and blog sections.  I believe strongly you're a real caring Iranian and a good guy, but you sold out and you let blind, irrational hatred of the IRI allow you to be used as a tool by anti-Iranian propagandists to leverahe anti-IRI energy and use it for anti-Iranian purposes.  


MEK as a group/cult has to be banned and cease to exist!

by Disenchanted on


             Leaders have to stand trial for committing atrocities against Iranian and Iraqi people alike.

             Rank and file members are dangerous to public and to  themselves. They need to be supervised by an international organization and be under psychiatric evaluation. These people have been brainwashed for decades. They need help. Their life and freedom has been taken away from them by the cult. The need to be rehabilitated and be returned to society.

nasrin noor

Let's deport all those who disfavor delisting MEK!

by nasrin noor on

IRR needs MEK.


Soosan Khanoom, Please!

by Faramarz on

Paying $100 to see Now-Yuck women at Camp Ashley in their Victoria Secret's! Please!

I'll take my chances elsewhere, and take an extra pair of socks!


Agree with Bavafa

by iamfine on

It seems the only person that has the ability to see the importance of NIAC for Iranians abroad is Bavafa and I totally agree with him/her logic?

Soosan Khanoom


by Soosan Khanoom on

How can you say MEK and NIAC are the same ?

MEK members reside in " Camp Ashraf "

NIAC members reside in " Camp Ashley "

NIAC female members wear Victoria Secret

MEK female members wear Maryam's secret

MEK male members have Masud's haircut

NIAC male members have Brad Pitt's haircut

MEK memebers are willing to kill indiscriminately and be killed for their organization

NIAC members are not even willing to pay for their membership fees without nagging

now on more serious note ....... Has any member of NIAC trained to become a suicide bomber or sided with foreign countries to bomb the hell out of Iran and kill Iranians? Has any member of NIAC ever been forced to leave their kids and spouses all for the sake of Mosud jan?

Seriously , you are not even making sense ....

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

To pursue the issue of "legality," the delisting does not immunize MEK individual members from civil lawsuits for past crimes.  To see this, the  lawsuit to auction Achaemenid tablets to pay victims of Hamas terrorism wouldn't have gone away even if Hamas was delisted. There is no legal mechanism for it: dismissing this case is not within the powers of the Secretary of State (Here we see the scar from the extra-legal grafting of politcal power to the legal system clearly). the Achaemenid tablet case has paved the way for civil action against the Rajavis. Once they are operationg within US law, they are wide open to civil lawsuits from ex-members who have been tortured, aggreived parents whose children were taken away, relatives of the women who set themselves on fire for Rajavi...

Lady justice couldn't prove Al Capone was a murderer; so she  struck him down with a tax evasion charge. 

Artificial Intelligence


by Artificial Intelligence on

Yes I agree with you that it is a political decision regardless of the "legality". This, however, is nothing new.

MEK is a nasty group with a crazy ideology. To me the IRI is just as nasty. Iranians have a particular disdain for MEK because of what they did under Saddam but the West does not care about that.

I think JJ is right on point below. 


NIAC and MEK both trash

by seannewyork on

Both of these organizations do not represent iranians.  they both have agendas that are against what iranians on the street want: ending the IRI and having democarcy.

MEK record stands for itself and NIAC stood against the people of Iran by trying to make life easier for Khamenei and company.

Down with both of these groups.  Long live a free Iran.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

This UN document clarifies the wide powers that the US Secretary of State is given to delist.

"The Secretary of State may at any time revoke a designation (i.e. de-list) based on a finding that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation."

Avoiding the term "illegal" in my comment--using instead "not legal," "extra-legal," and "above-the-law" refers to the delisting procedure as being political. The extra-legal powers are grafted to the US legal system to create legal protection for the decision maker in cases where normal laws regarding damages and crimes, are an incovenience to the decision maker. The UN also suggests in the above draft that it regards the procedure as mainly political and not judicial: "The UN listing process is mainly political and diplomatic, rather than judicial, while US designation processes afford limited judicial remedies to listed individuals and entities." 

Artificial Intelligence

Dear Ari - What do you mean by Delisting is not "Legal?"

by Artificial Intelligence on

The PLO was designated by the US as a terror organization and delisted

once they renounced terrorism.  Accordingly, the US has delisted terror organizations before. Was that illegal as well?

Esfand Aashena

Indeed Ari jaan, they just don't get it!

by Esfand Aashena on

JJJ thinks it is harki harki like Maryam wearing a glossy purple dress and sitting next to Giuliani saying, me did no wrong!  Law no good!

As we say in Farsi, from a making a wool hat he has only learned the pof nam! 

Everything is sacred


Cousin Farmarz Jaan: I share your sentiments, mostly

by Bavafa on

I don't know if I would characterize the NIAC effort regarding Human Rights in Iran as a side dish, but I agree and would encourage a much stronger initiative by NIAC should be adopted regarding the human rights issue and its violation by the IRI.

But even if we would agree that NIAC's attitude towards HR has been as a side dish, wouldn't make sense in adding our voices to it and encourage NIAC to make it the main dish? Or do we think just by bashing them and making countless/baseless accusation (not by you) will steer them in the direction we want?

One other note to keep in mind, the balancing act here [in my opinion] is not to let the opposing IRI translates in a "green light" for war against Iran. There are certainly a well founded group in Washington that would be trying to cease any opportunity in turning any opposition into an opportunity for war.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 


P.S. What other group has put more effort in bringing the violation of Human Rights in Iran, so I lend them my support?

Ari Siletz

Delisting is not legal.

by Ari Siletz on

The terrorist list exists because there are criminal organizations that US law cannot reach. If US law could reach them, there would be no "list;" only indictments, trials and possibly convictions. The Rajavis are suspected of masterminding plots that killed people. The evidence warrants an indictment under any reasonable system of justice.

Delisting, and thereby giving MEK members the protection of US law for free citizens is an illegal  pardon because it has been granted even before The People has had a chance to bring charges. The question is, should the MEK be pre-pardoned for extra-legal reasons? Bringing up the law has no place in the delisting debate; the delisting measure is simply an above-the-law convenience for the purpose of defeating the IRI.


JJJ: Right and wrong

by Bavafa on

You are correct about MEK and how they have found friendship in the US/Tel Aviv rabid right-wingers. This is mostly because they are in alike company.

But I believe your analysis about NIAC and other anti-IRI groups is incorrect. There are many other entities and [Iranian] groups in US who have consistently opposed IRI with harshest terms. One can hardly believe that RP has not been a harsh critic of IRI and rather consistently.

I believe a pro-war and willingness to be an instrument of betrayal to Iran and Iranians is the key factor that the US Neocons/AIPAC would use in selecting who to partner with.

Likewise, those individuals who support the Neocons/AIPAC are the most likely individuals who support MEK, which translate to opposing NIAC.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 


Mohammad Alireza

Show us how.

by Mohammad Alireza on

Let us assume that the Mujahedin are de-listed. What then?

Allow me to put on my rose tinted glasses for a second….

Are Iranians living outside of Iran able to organize a coalition shadow government that has sitting around the table elected members of the Mujahedin, Pahlavists, moderate and radical Muslims, and all the other permutations of regime supporters and non-supporters?

And given all your passionately different perspectives on reality – past, present, and future --- will you be able to have civil debates that actually reach a consensus on problems and how to best solve them?

Will you be able to hold free and open elections and demonstrate to us living in Iran that an alternative exists and is able to govern the country?

Because if you are then you will have taken a giant step towards gaining a vote of confidence from Iranians living in Iran.

We in Iran are burdened by the lack of an alterntive to how things are now and this constrains us from taking actions that could bring about homegrown regime change.

We fear that by tearing the regime down we will most likely create the right conditions for the rise of even a more extreme regime.

We do not have the tools of communication that you do outside of Iran which are essential for organizing and without organizing we are not able to form an alternative.

But if you are able to set aside your differences and show us that it is possible to sit across a table and discuss issues and find solutions then you can be certain that we will quickly learn from you and will implement the same in Iran.

However, if you are not able to do this with all your freedoms which we lack in Iran then you will not be in a position to decide anything for us living in Iran and it is best that you keep your mouths shut.

Mohammad Alireza, Iran.


JJ is right

by RostamZ on

It doesn't matter if U.S. wants to have MEK on the terror list or not. It is none of the business of NIAC to push the issue one way or another. It is time for Iranains to take action on their own. I personally dislike MEK and their ideology but I am not against them to participation in free elections for future of Iran. In my opinion, they will be severly humilated by the vote they get.


تا نباشد چیزکی، مردم نگویند چیز ها..


JJ in his otherwise reasonable and level headed comments says:

MKO's "accusations against NIAC are unfounded and malicious"

Well, most of us, including myself have no idea or care less what MKO says about Iran, let alone about NIAC, this  tiny yet seemingly very well funded and vociferous self appointed lobby claiming to represent and speak on behalf of "Iranian Americans"! 

We just need to observe and Judge NIAC based on their actions. To me and many more I have spoken to, NIAC really goes into action when a key interest of Islamist regime is being threathend.

Just couple of shining examples are:

1) opposition of NIAC to sanctions on IRCG, the islamist government's "SS Waffen", The terrorist organisation responsible for murder of countless Iranians at home and murder of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan

2) this recent, almsot embarassing, below contempt attempt at opposing the de-listing of MKO. Completely ignoring the fact that this de-listing as a humaniterian gesture is intended to allow MKO  members, mostly into their late middle ages,  to settle else where in the world without the constant threat of being murdered by Islamist terrorist thugs in Iraq.

Frankly the more Trita Parsi screams on this, the more he sinks in. I mean what is he taking the US lawmen as? A bunch of gullible, impressionables not being able to see though what he says? Does he think they are like some commentors? :)

Enough said..... 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."

Soosan Khanoom

Killing Americans !!!! ?

by Soosan Khanoom on

Why some of you keep bringing up them killing Americans ?  Why are you all so willing to prove your case to THE MASTER U.S.A?  like only American blood is red and our own Iranian blood has no color ? 

Shame on us for forgetting all those terrorist activities  that these monsters had brought upon us on the streets of Tehran especially in early 60s !!!!!  They would blow up themselves , a few political targets and bunch of innocents by standards,  Yes it was not always just blowing up the political figures they used to set up bombs in the big squares and parks in Tehran.  I personally know people who got killed just by being in those places enjoying a day out with their family..



Resistance is Futile Captain!

by Faramarz on


Trita Parsi clearly articulates what he is against, but he has failed to say what he is for.

The human rights situation in Iran is not a side dish that one mentions in passing and checks the box. It is the main dish, front and center. Trita Parsi has failed to show that he is genuinely against this Regime and wants to see them go, no reform from within, no colorful chador instead of black ones, no fever better than death comparison, etc.

If the US government and the families of the Americans killed in Iran by MEK are ok with the de-listing, why shouldn’t we be? As Iranian-Americans, we have every right to object to any role by MEK in the future of Iran, and we have said that unanimously. But as for the constant fear mongering of the Barbarians (Neocons) at the gate or the disintegration of Iran, that is all worn out.

Trita Parsi should come out and clearly state what he envisions as the right course of action to get rid of this Regime and show transparency in his organization and its dealings. Then he can claim that he represents Iranian–Americans.

Today he doesn’t.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

Iranian will see a peaceful transition to some thing BUT not under MEK or NIAC.

According to the 50's news articles in Iran Rajavi and few others were convicted of masterminding (if we don't want to use the word terrorism) some explosions activity and killing an american military attache and he was sentenced to die in prison .

the last visit from a soviet primere to tehran  and asking about the (American killers)the exact word pardon was result of !! and reducing it to life in prison.

* quoted from a ret. col in military court of Iran.


Esfand Aashena

JJJ when did Mojahedin ever engage in "terrorism"?

by Esfand Aashena on

You're making claims on behalf of Mojahedin that they themselves have never claimed.  They've never claimed they've engaged in "terrorism" nor did they ever claim they're "no longer engaged in terrorism".

To them "all options" are on the table including terrorism.  So until you can show these claims it is not up to you or Mojaheden to decide when they should be delisted.

Just like you're innocence until proven guilty, once proven guilty you are GUILTY until proven innocent.  Like DNA evidence in a rape or murder case that can overturn a guilty verdict.

Everything is sacred


Thanks Trita

by MM on

While Trita went much deeper into the background, the analysis (sent as a memo) also asked a very simple question from the US administration who was, at the time, sitting across from the IRI reps asking for their help in calming things in Iraq:

"It is unclear how Washington expects success in those talks if it at the same time designates the very same people it seeks help from as global terrorists. Ironically, some of the Iranian diplomats the U.S. is dealing with in Iraq are still part of the IRGC, including Mohammad Jafari, who sat across the table from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Iraq summit in Sharm al-Sheikh earlier this year."