US allegedly committed acts of violence in Iran using ex-members of MEK during past year

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Map of Iran

On Thursday, the Internet news publication Raw Story corroborated claims that the U.S. is involved in acts of violence committed in Iran. It claims that these are being carried out by retrained ex-members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) rather than by traditional US soldiers.

A previous claim was made by former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter in June 2005 that United States security forces have been sending members of the MEK into Iranian territory. Ritter claimed that the CIA had used the MEK "to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq".

Early this month, Seymour Hersh made a similar statement in New Yorker Magazine about the entry of US troops themselves into Iranian territory, but without supporting the claim that they carried out acts of violence. Hersh claimed that US combat troops are "now operating in Iran" and that according to a "government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon, the [combat troop] units were also working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Baluchis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast [sic]." According to Hersh, the government consultant also said that the US troops "are studying the terrain, and giving away walking-around money to ethnic tribes, and recruiting scouts from local tribes and shepherds."

In Thursday's report, Raw Story supported the previous claims about the US committing acts of violence in Iran, with the difference that it claimed that the acts are being carried out by proxy retrained ex-MEK members rather than by traditional US soldiers, and that the incursions have been occurring for about a year.

Wikipedia Learn more about U.S.-Iran relations on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia Learn more about People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) on Wikipedia.

Raw Story cited an unnamed United Nations source "close to" the UN Security Council who stated that former MEK members have been used as a proxy by the US for "roughly a year" inside of Iranian territory. An intelligence source quoted by Raw Story said that the former MEK members were made to "swear an oath to Democracy and resign from the MEK" before being incorporated into US military units and retrained for their operations in Iran. The MEK is an Iranian opposition group listed by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization but describes itself as "secular" and "patriotic, Muslim and democratic".

Raw Story cited the UN official saying that "We are already at war". Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner made similar remarks on CNN on Friday saying "I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way."

Raw Story said that the MEK has been used in the Iranian provinces of Baluchistan and Khuzestan and quoted a senior British intelligence official saying that British intelligence believes that the MEK is responsible for the violent attacks in the southern Iran, and that people from a "US Special mission unit" are present on Iranian territory, but was unsure as to the links between US military and the MEK.

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is alleged by the FBI to be "an integral part of the MEK", Professor Raymond Tanter of Georgetown University and a former White House aide argued on Al-Jazeera television that the only way to confront Iran's threats is to support the MEK and its removal from the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and from its classification as a terrorist organization by the Council of the European Union.

Raw Story reports that the office of the Undersecretary of Defense Intelligence did not return calls for comment.

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