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Iranian group's big-money push to get off US terrorist list

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Influence and money

Lee Hamilton, former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told the Monitor he received a "good fee" to speak in Washington. He "approved" of the MEK's 10-point platform, which enshrines democracy, gender equality, and freedom, but added: "We all know it's a piece of paper.... Now is that in fact their practice? I don't think I am the one to judge that."

Hamilton told the audience he remains "really puzzled" about why the MEK remains on the terrorist list.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell also spoke at an MEK-linked event and was paid $20,000 for a 10-minute speech. Mr. Rendell confirmed that figure to the Monitor, and said: “No amount of money could make me say something I didn’t believe.”

During his mid-July speech in Washington, however, Rendell stated that he had received a call on Monday, inviting him to appear the following Saturday. He told the audience that at first he declined, telling his would-be hosts: "I don't know hardly anything about this subject, so … I don’t think I’m qualified to come."

Rendell thanked them for convincing him to come anyway, for briefing him during the week, for the material they sent, and for further discussions that morning.

"It's been a great learning experience for me, and as a result of what I've learned, on Monday I will send a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton, telling them ... that the United States is morally bound to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Ashraf," said Rendell.

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