On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade will hear views of Maryam Rajavi, the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a hearing on one of the most serious security concerns facing United States foreign policy today: the rise of ISIS.
One of the clearest sign of an expansive focus in the hearing on the Islamic fundamentalism is the invitation of Maryam Rajavi who is leading the NCRI, a coalition of Iranian opposition groups that includes the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The decision to invite Maryam Rajavi to appear by teleconference from the NCRI headquarters in Paris provides an opportunity for subcommittee members to connect the conflict with ISIS to other Middle Eastern policy issues, including the evaluation of decisions to either partner with or turn a blind eye to the Iranian regime as it intervenes in Iraq and Syria.
Maryam Rajavi characterizes the ruling theocracy in Iran as “the epicenter of global terrorism and fundamentalism,” and NCRI and the MEK have for years warned of the dangers posed to the West by Islamic fundamentalism.
One such official, Mohammad Mohaddessin, published a book titled Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat in 1993. The text was largely rejected as overly alarmist by analysts at a time when 9/11 and other terrorist attacks had not yet brought the issue of Middle Eastern extremism to the forefront of Western policy.
Nearly 10 years later, the NCRI and MEK were more successful at capturing the world’s attention when they revealed key details of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program.
This history coupled with long experience of the NCRI and its leader in countering the mullahs in Iran provides the US Congress with good reason to welcome Maryam Rajavi’s testimony at a foreign policy hearing.
“It’s clear that the MEK has revealed things about the Iranian government and its nuclear program that no one revealed,” said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA. “I would say the MEK is a very valuable source of information, whether it’s Fordow, whether it’s the original nuclear program, etc. And so since they’ve been a good source of information about important matters, those are the kinds of people you listen to at a hearing.”
Maryam Rajavi’s understanding of affairs inside Iran is regarded as relevant to a hearing about ISIS.
In an Op-Ed published in the U.S. News & World Report on 28 October 2014 Maryam Rajavi said: “The Islamic State group is not the only organization that insults the name of our great faith. Since Islamic fundamentalism emerged as an international political force with the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran in 1979, the world has witnessed barbaric acts like stoning, limb amputations, eye-gouging and the massacre of political prisoners in the name of the so-called Islamic Republic. Export of violent fundamentalism has since become the regime’s distinctive feature, earning it the U.S. State Department’s designation as the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism.”
Maryam Rajavi who is considered by the mullahs as their number one enemy said: “Islamic fundamentalism in our time took root in Iran, and it must be uprooted in Iran. Standing with the Iranian people’s struggle against religious dictatorship and with the anti-fundamentalist dissidents inside Iran and abroad, as well as ensuring the safety and security of the residents of Camp Liberty in Iraq, are prerequisites for combating religious fundamentalism throughout the region.”
Furthermore, members of the MEK face threats on all sides of the ongoing crisis, as about 3,000 of them are stranded at the former US military base of Camp Liberty near the Baghdad airport, deprived of access to medical care and basic municipal services and subject to occasional attacks from Iranian-allied Iraqi forces. As a politically active, moderate Muslim community, they stand to suffer greatly whether Iraq comes under the thumb of either the Iranian regime r the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
No doubt for some members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the NCRI and its prominent member MEK are potential assets and source of insight regarding a permanent solution, owing to its long history of countering the Islamic fundamentalism in Iran where it took roots in our time.