New Push for Resistance

Article excerpt

Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES


U.S. supporters of unarmed Iranian dissidents in Iraq are mounting a campaign to persuade the State Department to remove the exiles from its terrorist list and protect them from retaliation by pro-Iranian officials in Baghdad.

Prominent Iranian-American professors, doctors, scientists and scholars from Los Angeles to Miami last week appealed to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. They asked Mrs. Clinton to order her subordinates to comply with a year-old federal court ruling that ordered the State Department to justify keeping the Iranian resistance on the terrorist list.

On Monday, two top officials appointed by former President George W. Bush and one named by former President Bill Clinton accused the White House of turning its back on the Iranian exile group whose network supplies key operational intelligence on the [Iranian] Mullahs' Islamic nuclear bomb project.

Allen Gerson, a former counsel to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations and now an attorney for the exiles defended his clients in an article on the Huffington Post, which carried an earlier article calling the resistance a terrorist group.

Members of Congress also are urging President Obama to appoint retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, a Democrat and former NATO commander, to serve as an envoy to the Iraqi government to negotiate the fate of 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, a compound about 40 miles from Baghdad.

Gen. Clark is among the former U.S. officials who support removing the resistance from the terrorist list.

The State Department has accused the resistance of terrorist acts for killing U.S. officials in the 1970s. The department also says it is preparing a response to the court order. President Clinton added the resistance to the terrorist list in 1997, when he was trying to open talks with the Iranian regime.

U.S. forces disarmed the resistance in 2003 after toppling the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had given the dissidents safe haven to undermine the Iranian regime.

The new campaign is the latest development in a growing effort to take the Iranian resistance off the list. Britain removed the dissidents from its terrorist list in 2008, and the European Union dropped the resistance from its list a year later. …