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Lobbyists for listed Iranian terror group face new scrutiny

Retired US politicians, generals, and officials have been lobbying on behalf of the Iranian group MEK, listed as a terrorist group by the State Department. 

By Staff writer / July 9, 2012

Some of the biggest names in American politics and foreign policy have been accepting money from a State Department designated terrorist organization in recent years and lobbying the US government to bring the group in from the cold.

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A scandal? Hardly. That famous generals, politicians, and other retired officials have supported the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has been public knowledge for some time. But their freedom to act on behalf of a group that has murdered Americans, and sought to create an amalgam of Islam and Marxism to take over Iran after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, has nevertheless been striking. The internet is filled with their speeches, many of which were paid for with hefty fees, praising the group's Maryam Rajavi, the self-styled "president" of Iran.

A list of notables as long as your arm are on the MEK bandwagon: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; ex-Homeland Security boss Tom Ridge; Newt Gingrich; former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean; former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell; former head of the 9/11 commission Lee Hamilton; former Obama National Security Adviser James Jones; ex-CIA Director James Woolsey; and retired generals Wesley Clark and Peter Pace.

That's just a brief sampling (the Monitor's Scott Peterson did an extensive investigation into the MEK's American supporters last year). US citizens aren't supposed to be helping out groups designated as terrorists by the government, but that's not how it works in this case.

Consider by contrast the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation. The group was prosecuted in 2007 for funneling money to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that is also on the State Department's terror list. The charity sought to defend itself by saying that it was only providing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which is governed by Hamas. The prosecution and the jury didn't see it that way, however, and five members of Holy Land were convicted, with two of the officials given 65-year jail terms.


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