Last updated: 27 November, 2011

Push to drop Khalq terror designation in US

A group of prominent Americans is lobbying President Barack Obama to lift designation of Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq as a terrorist group, The New York Times reported.

Former CIA directors James Woolsey and Porter Goss and former FBI director Louis Freeh are among those seeking the change, the paper reported.

Others include former attorney general Michael Mukasey, ex-homeland security secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser General James Jones and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

The advocates insist their motive is humanitarian: to protect and resettle about 3,400 members of Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen, who are now confined in a camp in Iraq, the report said.

Mujahedeen Khalq, a former ally of ex-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, has been designated as a terrorist organization under US law.

But its supporters say the terrorist label, which dates back to 1997, reflecting decades of violence that included the killing of some Americans in the 1970s, is now outdated, unjustified and dangerous, The Times said.

The Iraqi government has said it plans to close Camp Ashraf, where the member of Mujahedeen Khalq are currently staying, by December 31 and move the people elsewhere in Iraq, the paper noted.