“The report is baseless and unfounded; the Islamic Republic officials’ way of thinking about terrorist groups is clear,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
“We are the biggest victim of terrorist acts and raising such claims is part of Iranophobia and Islamophobia projects,” he added.
Mehman-Parast underlined that those countries which raise such claims are staunch advocates of terrorist groups, including the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI), and said, “This issue is clear to the world public opinion and the western countries should stop categorizing terrorists to good and bad and should recognize the rights of independent regional states.”
The MKO, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argued for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.
In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq’s Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty transient facility near Baghdad.
The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September, one week after the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.