U.S. to Remove Iran Group From Terror List, Officials Say
The State Department is preparing to remove the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq from the U.S. government’s terrorist list, siding with advocates who say the controversial organization should be rewarded for renouncing violence and providing intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, senior Obama administration officials said Friday.
The decision to begin the process of formally lifting the terrorist label is expected to be conveyed to Congress in documents as early as Friday, according to two senior officials briefed on the matter. The move comes two weeks before a court-ordered deadline and just six days after the dissident group vacated its former enclave in eastern Iraq, averting a feared confrontation with Iraqis who want the exiles out of the country.
Leaders of the group, commonly known by its abbreviation MEK, have been pressing U.S. officials for nearly a decade to rescind the terrorist designation, which they say has hampered their efforts to find homes outside of Iraq. About 3,000 members of the group have existed in a perpetual limbo in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, unwanted by their host country and fearing imprisonment or worse if forced to return to Iran.
The removal of the MEK from the State Department’s official Foreign Terrorist Organizations list could make it easier for its members to apply for refugee status and seek homes abroad.