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WASHINGTON — A US appeals court on Friday ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to decide within four months whether to remove an Iranian dissident group from a terror blacklist.
The People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, also known as the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), had asked the court to issue a ruling urgently, saying Iraqi forces are threatening members of the group living in Iraq.
The US Court of Appeals in Washington said that if Clinton does not decide whether to deny or grant the group’s request within four months, it would issue a so-called writ of mandamus order and remove the group itself.
“We order the secretary to act on PMOI’s petition no later than four months from the issuance of this opinion,” said the court. “Failing that, the petition for a writ of mandamus setting aside the FTO (foreign terrorist organization) designation will be granted.”
Noting that inaction had left the MEK’s umbrella group People’s Mujahedeen of Iran in “administrative limbo,” the court also said it had not been given “sufficient reason” why Clinton had not made a decision over the past 600 days when the US Congress had only given her 180 days to do so.
It's not every day that groups supporting a State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization hold a party in the U.S. Congress, but that's exactly what happened today when the friends of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) threw their Nowruz party in the hearing room of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Members of Congress will join Iranian Americans in wishing the Iranian people a Happy Nowrouz and address the humanitarian rights of Iran's main opposition in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, in Iraq," reads the flyer for the party, which was held Thursday at the Rayburn building in room 2172, where the foreign affairs committee holds all of its public events.
Terrorist group’s supporters throw party in U.S. Congress
The People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK, also PMOI, MKO) (Persian: سازمان مجاهدين خلق ايران sāzmān-e mojāhedin-e khalq-e irān) is an exile-Iranian organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Founded in September 5, 1965 by a group of leftist Iranian university students as an Islamic and Marxist political mass movement MEK was originally devoted to armed struggle against the Shah of Iran, capitalism, and Western imperialism. In the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the MEK and the Tudeh Party at first chose to side with the clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini against the liberals, nationalists and other moderate forces within the revolution. A power struggle ensued, and by mid-1981, MEK was fighting street battles against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. During the Iran-Iraq War, the group was given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory. Government sources claim that over 17,000 Iranians were killed by the MEK.
People's Mujahedin of Iran
The UN has come up with a solution that might work. The MEK people will move from distant, tainted and often rocketed Camp Ashraf into the recently-abandoned Camp Liberty. Once the home of Iraq’s largest PX store during the Occupation, Liberty now has lots of openings for new residents. The nice thing is that Liberty is pretty close to the World’s Largest Embassy (c) and so the US can play a “monitoring” role, basically visiting once in a while to deter the Iraqis from just rolling in and killing everyone one night. The UN is later supposed to arrange something for the 3,200 MEK folks– refugee status, immigration, Publisher’s Clearing House prize, anything to get them out of Iraq before they all are ground into sausage meat by the democracy there.
Short version is that the US and the UN brokered a deal to move the MEK people from their unsafe and politically volatile Camp Ashraf location to the old US Camp Liberty, where the UN would supposedly process them as refugees. As part of the deal, the US would monitor conditions at Camp Liberty to ensure the MEK were treated well.
In fact, back in December, Ambassador Daniel Fried, Special Advisor for Camp Ashraf for the State Department, made this exact promise:
Embassy Baghdad will visit former Camp Liberty on a frequent basis to provide robust observation. The US seeks a safe, secure, humane resolution. Our interest is humanitarian
Camp Liberty has no serviceable water supply let alone drinking water.
The trailers in which new arrivals are to be housed are worn-out and extremely dirty to the point of being un-inhabitable. There are only 80 trailers and most of them lack electrical wiring and thus there is no light and no heating.
The sewage system is not functioning and thus the lack of hygienic facilities is likely to cause serious health problems, with raw sewage in open areas of the residential quarters.
The police headquarters is situated northwest of the camp, next to section where the residents are located. In addition there are four other police stations and checkpoints with one situated on the pathway to the dining facility so that every resident going to the dining facility must pass the police checkpoint. More ominously, the police commander in charge of the camp appears to be the same commander responsible for incursions into Camp Ashraf which on two occasions left a total of more than 40 unarmed civilians dead and hundreds wounded.
Originally posted by Xcathdra
reply to post by xuenchen
The court does not have the authority to do so.
Foreign relations is the perview of the executive, not the courts.
"Foreign Terrorist Organization" is a designation of non-United States-based organizations declared terrorist by the United States Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Once a target is identified, the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism prepares a detailed "administrative record," which is a compilation of information, typically including both classified and open sources information, demonstrating that the statutory criteria for designation have been satisfied. If the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, decides to make the designation, United States Congress is notified of the Secretary's intent to designate the organization and given seven days to review the designation, as the INA requires. Upon the expiration of the seven-day waiting period, notice of the designation is published in the Federal Register, at which point the designation takes effect. An organization designated as an FTO may seek judicial review of the designation in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit not later than 30 days after the designation is published in the Federal Register.
Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 the FTO may file a petition for revocation two years after the designation date (or in the case of redesignated FTOs, its most recent redesignation date) or two years after the determination date on its most recent petition for revocation. In order to provide a basis for revocation, the petitioning FTO must provide evidence that the circumstances forming the basis for the designation are sufficiently different as to warrant revocation. If no such review has been conducted during a five year period with respect to a designation, then the Secretary of State is required to review the designation to determine whether revocation would be appropriate.