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

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Talking points for the former US officials often include demanding that the Obama administration "free" the MEK from the terrorist list and ensure "protection" of Camp Ashraf before the controversial enclave is closed at the end of the year by the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Some argue that the MEK “provided invaluable information” to the US during the Iraq war, as Gen. Hugh Shelton, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did last month. Yet current US officials have publicly disputed that view, and the 2009 RAND report states that "the CIA unsuccessfully attempted to persuade some MEK leaders to leave the group and provide intelligence information about Iran."

The group is often credited with announcing in 2002 the existence of Iran’s undeclared uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, but experts widely believe the intelligence came from Israel and was funneled through the MEK. The State Dept., in its October 2009 court filing, noted that UN inspectors say “much” of the information they receive from the MEK about Iran’s nuclear program “has a political purpose and has been wrong.”

Substantial fees

Former US officials taking part in MEK-linked events told the Monitor or confirmed publicly that they received substantial fees, paid by local Iranian-American groups to speaker bureaus that handle their public appearances.

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