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US Trained Iranian MEK ‘Terrorist’ Group – Report


The United States’ Joint Special Operations Command (JSOT) conducted training for the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group listed by the US as a terrorist organization, journalist Seymour Hersh claims.

­The Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, 65 miles from Las Vegas, was the site of extensive military and intelligence training for the MEK, in addition to elite Iraqi combat units, Hersh writes in The New Yorker. The training is believed to have been covertly sanctioned by the Bush administration, and was stopped shortly before President Obama took office.

“We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada,” a former senior American intelligence official said. “We were deploying them over long distances in the desert and mountains, and building their capacity in communications — coordinating commo is a big deal.”

Hersh’s article quotes a retired four star general who advised the Bush and Obama administrations on national security issues. The general noted that Iranians associated with the MEK received “standard training in commo, crypto, small-unit tactics and weaponry.” He also said he cautioned the JSOT that the Iranian government was very good at counterintelligence and that the US could end up in a lot of trouble if the training program was discovered.

Former and present intelligence officials, Hersh states, also note that US has been providing the MEK, directly or indirectly, with arms, intelligence and logistics since 2003.

But it turns out that the US is not the MEK’s only ally. A former senior intelligence official said Israel cooperated with the MEK to conduct a number of sabotage operations inside Iran, including pipeline attacks. Last month two senior Obama administration officials told NBC News that Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, trained and financed MEK units that organized the assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists. MEK spokesmen have denied this claim.
Delist or not delist?

The MEK is a formerly radical Islamic-Marxist movement, labeled a “cult” by Human Rights Watch and listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, alongside Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

In the meantime, more and more public figures, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, have been pushing for the MEK to be delisted as a terror group. But experts note that the US would be better off not delisting the MEK if it is to continue its alleged close ties.

“On the one hand, the MEK was relisted year after year after year in the eight-year duration of the Bush administration, and it’s been relisted since Obama came into office,” Reza Marashi, research director of the National Iranian American Council noted on RT’s Alyona Show. “So it might just be as easy as, if we’re going to continue to cooperate with this group directly or indirectly it doesn’t really make a difference if they’re on the terrorist list because this was so close-hold until recently. This wasn’t readily available information even to people inside the US government.”

Hersh is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine on military and security matters. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award.

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RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a global multilingual television news network based in Russia. RT was the first all-digital Russian TV network.

One thought on “US Trained Iranian MEK ‘Terrorist’ Group – Report

  • April 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Dear editor,
    Your web ran a story regarding the People’s Mojahedin organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), based on a story put out by Seymour Hersh. The claims made in the article are simply outlandish and do not contain even a shred of truth.
    As such, in line with principle of objectivity and fairness and in order to provide the perspective of the Iranian resistance to your readers on this issue, below please find our official rebuttal that was issued on the day that Seymour article appeared in the New Yorker.
    I look forward to reading the response in its entirety in your site. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us,
    Vey best,
    Shahin Gobadi
    Official Response to Seymour Hersh’s claims on Iranian Resistance
    April 6, 2012
    This is a rehash of lies that have been uttered repeatedly in the past. First and foremost by the clerical regime, by conjuring up lies and stories such as that the MEK members, while having American military uniforms and boots in Sadr City, were engaged in massacring Iraqi Shiites. These reports that the MEK members have been brought to the US and specifically to Nevada for training is an absolute fabrication. It is not anything new and the MEK has denied it in the past.
    Reciting these lies at this period is a hastily and panicky response by the clerical regime and its lobbyists to overshadow the effective position of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the Iranian Resistance as a legitimate alternative to the clerical regime that is faced with deepening acute crisis.
    It is not a coincidence that circulation of these stories is taking place at the same time as the bipartisan call of the most senior former U.S. officials and U.S. politicians, including many members of the Congress, for revoking the illegal and immoral listing of the MEK is growing constantly. This was also true of the clerical regime’s attempts to fictitiously implicate the MEK in the assassination of nuclear scientists and the futile attempt to attribute the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in the U.S. to the MEK.
    We reject this article and the purported claims with posing two simple challenges:
    Identify one – any one – member of the MEK that has been trained in Nevada.
    The official who has made such a claim, with the passage of seven years, logically should be able to provide his name.
    It is common knowledge that the only way to spread such fabrications and conjure up stories likes this is to hide behind anonymous and behind-the-scene sources. Any transparency dooms such a fabrication and removes any setting for it.
    It is very telling that in order to corroborate its claims, the story has resorted to sources such as Masoud Khodabandeh, a notorious agent of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence in Europe. That by itself shows how baseless and ludicrous these claims are, and that they are made up with political objectives. The documents proving that this individual is an agent of the Iranian regime have been exposed previously by the courts in the UK and by British Parliamentary groups.
    Shahin Gobadi
    National Council of Resistance of Iran


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