The U.S. State Department says the Iranian dissident group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran has been removed from its terrorist list.
According to a State Department statement, the organization, also referred to as MEK, will no longer be on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list as of Friday, September 28. As a result, the group’s U.S. assets will no longer be frozen, and dealing with the group will no require special state permission.
The decision was reportedly based on the organizations’ public renouncement of violence, an absence of evidence regarding any terrorist activities by the group in over a decade, and its cooperation in the closure of Camp Ashraf, where the group had been based for the past three decades.
The State Department goes on to add that: “With today's actions, the department does not overlook or forget the MEK's past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992.”
The statement also refers to serious concerns regarding allegations that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran has engaged in harassment of its own members.
The group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi welcomed the U.S. decision, claiming it was long overdue.
In the 1970s, the People’s Mojahedin Organization became active in militant political activity against the Iranian monarchy, later continuing that activity against the Islamic Republic.
During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the group fought against Iran from its base in Iraq and was allowed by Saddam Hussein to settle on Iraqi soil at Camp Ashraf.
With the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. authorities took control of Camp Ashraf and disarmed the base. However, with the exit of U.S. forces, the current Iraqi government wants the group removed from the country.
In recent months, the more than 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf have been transferred to a refugee camp near Baghdad from where they are soon to be taken out of Iraq.
The Islamic Republic, which considers the group one of its archenemies and regards it as a terrorist group, has condemned the U.S. move.
Britain removed the group from its terrorist watchlist in 2008 and the E.U. in 2009.