MEK: Who’s lobbying for Iranian ‘terrorist’ group?

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Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell speaks to a crowd of hundreds protesting in front of the White House in Washington on Oct. 22. The group demanded that an Iranian opposition group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), be removed from a U.S. terror list. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Hour 1

The Iranian opposition group known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization (pdf) for attacks on the Iranian government and for its work with the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. But the MEK and its supporters have been trying to get that “terrorist” designation changed and they have a number of prominent supporters in the United States. The ranks of powerful Americans to lobby and advocate on their behalf includes former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, former C.I.A. directors James Woolsey and Porter Goss, and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. The Treasury Department is now investigating payments the MEK may have made to some of the ex-officials for giving speeches on the group’s behalf. Today, we’ll take a close look at this exile group, which some analysts have called a cult. Who and what is the MEK, and do they deserve the terrorist designation? Our guests are BARBARA SLAVIN, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor.com, a new website devoted to news from and about the Middle East; and retired Brigadier Gen. DAVID PHILLIPS, former Chief of the Army Military Police and commander of police operations in Iraq, which included the protection of Camp Ashraf, where the MEK is based.

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[audio: 032112_100630.mp3]

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