Several members of Congress addressed a gathering today of hundreds of Iranian exiles who the government considers terrorists. Reps. Bob Filner, D-Calif., Tom Tancredo, R-Col., Ted Poe, R-Texas, Dennis Moore, R[sic]-Kan., and staffers for Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, and James Talent, R-Mo., spoke to MEK supporters at a convention hall just four blocks from the White House. MEK has been listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department since 1997, but some in Congress and close to the Administration want the group to be removed from the terrorist list. Rep. Tancredo called Maryam Rajavi, the MEK's leader, "quite an extraordinary lady." Even President Bush has called the MEK a "dissident group." In addition to incursions into Iran and targeted killings of Iranian officials and security agents, MEK attacks have often killed civilians there. The MEK has been accused of attacking coalition troops in Iraq, carried out attacks on the Iranian consulate to the UN and 12 other Iranian embassies in 1992, assisted Saddam Hussein in his suppression of Shiite and Kurdish insurgencies in the early 1990s, and killed U.S. military and civilian personnel working in Iran in the 1970s out of anger for American support of the shah. Members of the MEK also supported the 1979 takeover and hostage taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
The only way to a free Iran is "the third option," Rep. Moore said. Rajavi often refers to "the third option" when she talks about MEK-led uprising from within. Rajavi herself spoke to the group by live video feed, urging removal of the MEK from the list of terrorist groups.
I know nothing about this group or the dynamics of the Iranian resistance. I also don't know how much weight to put on the "third option" language, since that's a pretty common phrase. So I don't know what to make of this.
Any attack on Moore over this will expose Sam Brownback to attacks over his relationship with Iranian spy Ahmed Chalabi.