NewsSpecial WireIran reacts sharply to Capitol Hill briefing session

Iran reacts sharply to Capitol Hill briefing session

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Iran Focus: London, Apr. 11 – Iran’s state-run media and press reacted harshly to a recent meeting held in the United States Congress by an Iran policy group in Washington, at the invitation of the newly-formed Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus of the U.S. House of Representative. Iran’s state-run radio said in a commentary yesterday, “A number of U.S. personalities and groups have for some time attempted to beautify this organisation and remove its name from the list of terrorist organisations, so as to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran… Iran Focus

London, Apr. 11 – Iran’s state-run media and press reacted harshly to a recent meeting held in the United States Congress by an Iran policy group in Washington, at the invitation of the newly-formed Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus of the U.S. House of Representative.

Iran’s state-run radio said in a commentary yesterday, “A number of U.S. personalities and groups have for some time attempted to beautify this organisation and remove its name from the list of terrorist organisations, so as to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. They want to use the [PMOI”> as a tool against our country, so as to serve the Imperialist goals of the U.S.”.

Iran Policy Committee, comprised of former officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies, the Congress, and experts from think tanks and universities, discussed U.S. policy options towards the clerical state, in the meeting on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Iran Policy Committee called on the Bush Administration “to provide a central role for the Iranian opposition to facilitate regime change”.

The Capitol Hill meeting drew more than 80 Members of Congress and their aides, foreign diplomats, and experts from other think tanks, according to the organising committee.

Prof. Raymond Tanter, a Middle East expert and former staff member of President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council, advocated “forceful diplomacy” to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. While outlining IPC’s approach, he argued that it was imperative to deal effectively with the issue of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI) and remove their name from the list of terrorist organisations.

The State Department designated the PMOI as a terrorist organisation in 1997 in what Clinton administration officials said was part of efforts to thaw relations with Tehran.

The radio commentary added, “To remove the [PMOI”> from the list of terrorist organisations, the U.S. State Department first needs to pave the way, and it seems that the task for this dirty action has been given to the so-called Iran Policy Committee research group, under the pretext of fighting Iran’s nuclear threat. They are trying to bring use the [PMOI”> as part of a political conspiracy, so as to create an opportunity to strike at the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Iranian state-run television said yesterday in a similar commentary, “A policy-making committee in the U.S., said to include academics, organised a meeting on American policy towards Iran. In this meeting, the Bush administration was urged to remove the [PMOI”> from the list of terrorist groups”.

A government-run news agency, Fars, wrote in a dispatch yesterday, “U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of House of Representatives, said: The name of the People’s Mojahedin was not placed in the list of terrorist organisations because they took part in terrorist actions, but rather because the Clinton administration was trying to send a goodwill gesture to Iran as part of a policy of appeasement”.

IPC called on the Bush administration to remove the name of the PMOI from the list of terrorist organisations, so as to send a clear message to Tehran that Washington was serious about its support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.

Congressman Bob Filner, (D-CA), Co-chair of the Caucus, chaired the briefing session in Congress and said that it was an attempt by the Caucus to provide a setting whereby members of the Congress could learn about Iran and consider options to deal with threats Tehran posed to the region and the world.

Congressman Tom Tancredo, (R-CO), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress and Co-chair of the Caucus, said, “The MEK [PMOI”> was designated not because it was involved in terrorist activities, but because the Clinton administration sought to curry favour with the Iranian regime”.

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