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You need some eyes on the Iranian ground, Daniel

Reader comment on item: Empower Iranians vs. Tehran

Submitted by Kevin (United States), Jul 27, 2011 at 11:51

Daniel, though I often disagree with you, I respect the amount of research you put into your articles and opinion pieces. .... 95% of Iranians and Iranian diaspora members, such as myself, will tell you that they're vehemently against the MEK. Hands down. Here's why:

1) MEK's clear terrorist background - Though they've arguably slowed down their violent activities in recent years, their history is clear, and their weapons caches and numbers of armed militants at their Camp Ashraf base in Iraq are an even clearer signal.

2) MEK's willingness to kill ordinary civilians (connected with above) - Many Iranians, even (and dare I say, especially) progressive ones are still angry that the MEK sided and actively fought with Saddam and Iraq's aggression in the Iran-Iraq war.

3) MEK's incredibly harsh internal policies - The MEK's oftentimes cult-like worship of the Rajavis, coupled with their inhumane practices towards current MEK militants and violence against would-be ex-members worries even the most ardent of those wishing to toppple the current Iranian theocracy. Just take a look at their satellite channel, and you feel like you are watching a 1960s-era Soviet propaganda network.

4) MEK's continued fanatic Shi'ite Islamic ideology - "Why replace one Islamic government with another?" is a common refrain of Iranians. Although not as "fundamentalist" as the mullahcracy in Tehran, the MEK's initial support of the reactionary movements of 1979-80 shows how much religious ideology is a central part of their dogma. Iranians want a secular opposition movement, not a group like the MEK, to be representing their interests and to be protesting against the current regime.

5) MEK's foreign financial support - Although no longer lavishly funded by Saddam, the MEK is still supported by various European powers. Iranians want a homegrown opposition, both because it is only domestic agitation that can sustainably change Iran's governmental trajectory, and also since perceived or real foreign connections give the Iranian government an easy excuse to ruthlessly crack down on any liberal dissent in the country.

It would be a huge mistake if the MEK was taken off the US terror list. The West's objectives of encouraging democratic opposition in Iran will instead be undermined is this action is taken.


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