Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., Assistant Secretary of US State for Political-Military Affairs, addressed a bipartisan conference in the US Senate on Thursday and presented evidence to dispel some of the allegations about Iran’s principal opposition group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK). In his remarks, Ambassador Bloomfield also rejected the concept of the return of the ousted monarchy to Iran and how Shah’s offspring, Reza Pahlavi, helps the regime to detract the uprising from its main course by marketing the deposed Pahlavi dictatorship.
Below is Ambassador Bloomfield’s speech in full text:
Greetings to our friends from the Organization of Iranian American communities. Greetings to the legislators here on Capitol Hill and professional staff. Thank you for your service. And I extend that thanks to those who’ve served before, including my distinguished colleagues at the front table. It’s an honor to stand with you. And to those who may hear the message, to Mrs. Rajavi, to the NCRI, to the MEK, and to the brave people of Iran who are standing up for their rights, I salute you. And I’m happy to be here today. Happy Nowruz.
I have the task today of awarding the distinction of who has been the most truthful about what happened with the regime and with the resistance for the last four decades. The nominees are:
– Governments, including our own, and Western governments.
– The media, starting with the most established media in here, in Britain, in Europe, and elsewhere.
– Others who criticize the regime. Academics, some feminists, people who talk about the ability to move the hijab a little bit further back and why this is not allowed, and perhaps restore the monarchy to Iran
– or the NCRI, the MEK, the OIAC, and all of the supporters in this room, including the legislators who support the legislation that Senator Lieberman just mentioned.
And the award goes… to you, the NCRI, the MEK, the OIAC, and their supporters in Congress and in the United States. Congratulations!
Let me show you why that’s true. Buckle up. I’m going to go right very quickly through the facts that justify what I’ve just said. These people [referring to the MEK], you hear it even today. You’ve heard it for 40 years. They killed Americans in the 1970s.
You’re looking at the truth. The Washington Post, William Brannigan, a great foreign correspondent, 1976. He talked to the people. He quoted the people who killed the Americans. There they are. They admitted it, and they were put to death. They were not part of Masoud Rajavi‘s MEK. They had nothing to do with them. In fact, they broke away from them. They were secular. They were Marxists. Some of them were trained in East Germany and Cuba and they killed some members of the Islamic pro-Rajavi MEK as well. So this is a calumny against the MEK. They did not kill Americans in the 70s.
What about the key role in the hostage crisis? Well, you’ve heard that they helped Khomeini to hold on to the American Embassy. And we’ve written about how they were rivals. How the prime minister [referring to then interim Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan] resigned in protest. He was a pro-Mosaddeq, Bazargan. These were the MEK’s political heroes. They were at odds.
Let me read to you from 1980. June 14, the New York Times. This is in Tehran. You tell me whether Rajavi’s MEK was helping Khomeini with the hostage crisis:
“Pitched battles were fought here yesterday between members of the peoples of Mujahideen, Iran’s largest leftist opposition group, and fundamentalist Muslim supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. ‘Downward the deviationist’, Khomeini supporters shouted yesterday as they tried to force their way into the stadium where the people’s Mojahedin were holding a rally. And what was the position of Mr. Rajavi? Well, the crowd chanted in rhythm at his rally: ‘We will pursue the struggle’. Yes, answered Mr. Rajavi. ‘The struggle will last until victory, whatever the number of our martyrs may be.’
That sounds familiar. ‘What are we being attacked for?’ The speaker went on. ‘We are good Muslims. We are told that we live in the Islamic Republic but we are being besieged by hooligans and terrorists. The Islamic Constitution guarantees all liberties in principle, but we are forbidden access to the newspapers, to the radio, to television, and to parliament.’
‘Do you hear?’ Mr. Rajavi asked. He addressed himself to the Hezbollahi. ‘We are neither Communists nor Pro-Soviet, as you claim. We are fighting for the total freedom and independence of Iran. You are the reactionary Muslims who, under the cover of accusations thrown at us, try and serve the Occidental imperialism.”
I could go on. That’s 1980 the New York Times. That’s the truth. They were not involved with and supportive of the hostage crisis.
Were they Marxists? Well, I’ll bet that most of the people who repeat that accusation that they’re Marxist never studied Marx as I did as an undergraduate at Harvard studying political development. But someone who really looked into Masoud Rajavi’s interest in the Marxist study of inequality was Syracuse University Professor Mehrzad Boroujerdi.
“1996- Rajavi saves his most extensive critical commentary for Marxist materialistic epistemology. The group remained skeptical of Marxism’s philosophical postulates and rejected the latter’s Cardinal doctrine of historical materialism.” It gets a little bit complicated. “It held firm to the beliefs in the existence of God’s revelation, the afterlife, the spirit, salvation, destiny, the people’s commitment to these intangible principles.”
So, Rajavi was not a Marxist. The MEK was not a Marxist group. They never had an office in a Marxist country.
But oops. Time magazine, November 23, 1981: Who did come to Tehran? KGB groups, several of them, invited by Ayatollah Khomeini. Why? To help them keep the lid on after they started a reign of terror in 1981 which Professor Marvin Zonus of the University of Chicago referred to as a campaign of mass slaughter.
The people of the 40 different groups of the OIAC, I am sure, had relatives who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. And that is why so many of them came to America and so many of them have spent their lives committed to this cause.
So that’s who was Marxist? It wasn’t the MEK. Did they fight on Saddam’s side? We’ve already debunked all of that. I will argue that Khomeini triggered the war by trying to lay claim to half of Iraq and have Saddam Hussein deposed. But never mind that. The point is that when Saddam attacked in 1980, the MEK ran to the front and defended their country. Many were taken POW. They were not released until 1989. They were not the allies of Saddam Hussein. They weren’t even there until mid-1986. They didn’t have any weapons till 87. They never fought side by side with the Iraqis and they had nothing to do with [the massacre of] the Kurds and the Shia. The only evidence of that attempts at false flag operations is to blame the MEK for things that the Iranians were doing against the Kurds. They did not fight on Saddam’s side.
What about the money? How many times have we heard: “Where do they get all the money for these huge rallies in Europe? Where does the money come from? Is it the CIA? Is it Mossad? No, it must be the Saudis. Wait a minute. It’s Saddam Hussein who gave them billions.”
Listen, this event will be shown on television in Iran. That network has held two telethons to raise money every year since 2004. That’s about 36 telethons. These successful people in the west have openly and constantly supported them except for the 15 years when the MEK and the NCRI were on the terrorism list. Very clever of the regime to prevent them from being able to send money. But there’s great support from the entire diaspora.
And by the way, the son of the Shah Reza Pahlavi, just a word on that. The New York Times reported that his family took two to four billion dollars out of Iran at the time of the revolution. People, his supporters will say that it was all tied up in courts. But he himself said he had about $62 million, which in 2023 is about a quarter of a billion dollars. How much of that has gone back to Iran? How much of that has tried to support the uprising? I would venture to say zero.
So, let’s look at how the United States government has described these very same matters.
1985- A distinguished colleague, Assistant Secretary of State Dick Murphy, testified before the House Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, Lee Hamilton’s committee. At the end of it, he made some disparaging comments about the MEK. Chairman Hamilton said, “Excuse me, what was that all about?” And Secretary Murphy said, “Well, my staff said that I should say something at the end.”
Interesting. Well, now we know that what happened was in Iran’s arms for hostage affair, condition number four of the list of things that were supposed to be given to Iran was, this is the Tower Commission report: “An official announcement terming the Mojahedin-e-Khalq organization terrorist and Marxist. The issuance of a circular to Congress and to all American firms and institutions and et cetera, et cetera.
In other words, they did it for the Iranians and at their behest.
1997- They [the MEK] were put on the terrorism list. We now know that the FBI was never told in advance. The director himself was told about it after the fact. There was no dossier that led to that designation. It was entirely a gesture to the Khatami government which had just come in.
2004- Ambassador Bolton will enjoy this one because two years prior, the NCRI had revealed the existence of secret enrichment. So, two years later there was frantic diplomacy to try to come to some terms, and here’s an IAEA circular dated 26 November 2004. And of course, it’s all about the nuclear discussions they’ve had. Until you get to the very end and it says:
“Irrespective of progress on the nuclear issue, the E3, the EU, and Iran confirm their determination to combat terrorism, including the activities of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups such as the MEK. They also confirm their continued support for progress in Iraq.”
Really? That’s interesting because not even a year before, in Iraq, every single member of the MEK, which was at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, had been interrogated by an interagency group of seven law enforcement and criminal justice organizations from Washington. Every single person. And so clean were their records that everyone was given a contract by the United States.
This is Major General Jeffrey D. Miller:
“July 21, 2004- the same time as this communique, saying: “I’m writing to congratulate each individual living in Camp Ashraf on their recognition as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. This determination will assist in expediting the efforts of international organizations to place them. You have signed an agreement rejecting violence and terrorism.”
They had given up every single weapon, according to the late great General Ray Odiano, who was the commander of the Fourth ID in Iraq. And the State Department confirmed that they were never belligerent during that conflict. Nevertheless, the US government and the Europeans were calling them terrorists.
I spent some time and went through 19 years of annual reports on terrorism. And the only time they really told the truth was in the 2005 report where they said: “A Marxist element of the MEK group helped murdered several of the Shah’s US security advisors prior to the Islamic Revolution.”
Well, that’s interesting. That disappeared the next year, never to be repeated again. But they admitted that it was a splinter group. It was not the Rajavi MEK.
So, in 2006, we have the annual report. Take a look at that picture. This will give you an idea of how I must have felt when I was reading these terrorism reports, looking at the real information, and then reading a line like this in the 2006 report:
“Following its participation in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, meaning the MEK, the group rapidly fell out of favor with the Iranian people.”
That’s 500,000 people taking to the streets on June 20, 1981, at the behest of Masood Rajavi. There were similar demonstrations in cities all across the country. That’s what led the regime to open fire and start the reign of terror.
So, you keep going, and it just gets worse. They keep adding to these.
2011- They start talking about setting off bombs 39 years earlier to protest the visit of Richard Nixon and then another one for Henry Kissing. This is 39 years. The law allows ISIS-K to get off the terrorism list in about three years. If they clean up their act and say we’ve renounced terrorism. 39 years earlier, we’re building this case in the annual terrorism reports.
Even the current US envoy in Iran, Mr. Malley, has disparaged the MEK. Why?
“The United States does not see the MEK as a viable democratic opposition movement that is representative of the Iranian people. The State Department continues to have serious concerns about the MEK.”
Really? So, you have to ask, even in 2023, you and I still hear these voices repeating the toxic demonization of the NCRI, the MEK, and Mrs. Rajavi.
So just imagine how furious the Congress and the officials in the US government must have been a generation ago when these memories of killing the Americans, taking the hostages, Marxists… were fresh in their minds.
Do you really think that the late great Senator and then-Congressman John McCain would have penned a letter in 1984 to Masood Rajavi saying, “The efforts of the National Council of Resistance to end the brutality in Iran are truly laudable? And I commend you and your compatriots for the courage shown in your endeavor. The hopes of all Americans for a better Iran are with you.”
That’s 1984 from John McCain. Do you really think that Senator Ted Kennedy, from my home state, after whom this beautiful room is named, would have written to Masood Rajavi in 1984, talking about how the “Iranian people are ready for a change? They’re ready for an end to the destructive and costly war with Iraq, a war that is serving to destroy what’s left of their functioning economy. They’re ready for an end to the reign of terror, which has plagued the country with increasing severity over the past several years.”
You don’t hear Senator Kennedy calling the MEK terrorists? He’s writing to Masoud Rajavi, as did President-elect Bill Clinton, who in December of 1992 was in a transition mode where people were around him, making sure that every phone call, every letter didn’t go to the wrong place. He was the incoming president, and he wrote to Masood Rajavi at his Paris address north of Paris. [Mr. Clinton wrote him], saluting his expertise on human rights.
And then there’s Congress. Even today, we have we’ve heard about one of the events that they talk about in 1992 when allegedly all your friends in many countries mobbed the Iranian embassies and were furious. This has been called a coordinated terrorist attack. Even today [this has been called] by someone who was a major counterterrorism official, “a coordinated terrorist attack by the MEK”.
Really? If you looked at the front page of the New York Times, an F-4 that bombed Camp Ashraf was shot down. They claimed to have killed Masoud Rajavi and they were wrong. But that triggered a worldwide protest. And so, instead of demonizing the MEK, the US Congress, many of the members of the US Congress, stood up. In July 1992, 219 members [stood up] in favor of this group.
“We are convinced that support for the National Council of Resistance will contribute to the achievement of peace and stability for all of the countries of the region.”
Same for 230 British lawmakers and thousands of parliamentarians in 20 countries. So, you have been right all along.
And where has our press been? And this is the last piece. They’ve been reporting pretty well on the opposition to Russia, China, Syria, and Burma. But Iran?
Let’s talk about the BBC. We might as well talk about the big guys. So, here’s a recent article where a former MEK [member], Hassan Heyrani, is in Tirana, telling the BBC what a grim existence he had inside Ashraf 3, how he had to confess his sexual sins and all this other stuff. He’s the great source of how bad the MEK is.
Except, the Albanian press, in July of last year, reported that their security service, SPAK [announced], “Twenty Iranians, previously former MEK members, are under investigation by SPAK for espionage in the service of the Iranian regime. Hassan Heyrani is one of the persons who is suspected of being the leader of former MEK members.”
[This is the] New York Times. So the last time they dared to go near the MEK was February 16, 2020. They sent a stringer there and the headline was “Highly secretive Iranian Rebels are holed up in Albania”.
They wrote, “depending on whom you ask, the People’s Jihadists are Iran’s government in waiting or a duplicitous terrorist cult that forbids sexual thoughts.”
That is disgraceful. It’s an outrage. Not just about the cultural side, but the notion that they are claiming to take over the country. The press has disgraced itself by letting this clerical dictatorship ghostwrite its script. It needs to stop.
So, my Nowruz resolution is: No more repeating regime propaganda. Don’t let anyone lecture you that the MEK and the NCRI have no support in Iran. That they have no future in Iran and that they have no place in the future.
Isn’t it interesting everyone is in such a hurry to explain who the Iranian people do not support, and they’re so quick to claim that Mrs. Rajavi and the Resistance are trying to seize power in Tehran? This is the biggest falsehood of all. That’s the biggest one of all.
Let’s listen to the words of Masood Rajavi in 1980:
“Freedom is a divine gift to mankind. Anyone who seeks to abrogate the freedom of discussion and criticism does not comprehend Islam.”
And this: “It is not enough to have gone through the trials of repression, imprisonment, torture, and executions under the Shah and the Mullahs. The Mujahideen must also pass the test of general elections.” This was in 1980.
Thirty-one years later I was sitting with many of my friends in Paris when Mrs. Rajavi said the same thing. She didn’t say we’re going to take over the government. She said we would be honored to sit in loyal opposition in a democratic Iran. And you’ve heard from my distinguished colleagues here who understand this intimately. They are the experts on democracy, and that has been their position all along.
The last time I checked, what they have described from the beginning and throughout these decades is the very definition of democracy and legitimate government, the very cause for which every American public servant in this room has dedicated his or her professional life.
The NCRI is the only voice speaking for the Iranian people and their aspirations. It’s not about the hijab. It’s not about whether they can wear their hair, show four inches of the front of their hair. It’s not about handing power to the son of a deposed corrupt tyrant who declared himself king, by the way, after his father died.
This uprising and the goal of the organized resistance since the MEK was founded by student intellectuals in the 1960s had never wavered to establish popular sovereignty and the consent of the governed under a legitimate constitutional process with checks and balances just like ours.
We saw Reza Pahlavi at the recent Munich Security Conference. His supporters outside the hall held photos of Parviz Sabeti, the number two in his father’s dreaded SAVAK security force, with the caption quote: “The nightmare of future terrorists”.
I can’t tell you whether that was done at Reza Pahlavi’s personal request, but the press should at least know that Francois Mitterand’s counterterrorism advisor Yves Bonet wrote a 450-page book, which you have to read in French that explains how SAVAK was offered a deal. [They were told] you lose everything or you work for us.
And they turned into VAVAK. They had people stationed all over Europe. They wanted those connections, and they have been working for the Ayatollahs for four decades. So, when you see someone from SAVAK standing up and saying “this is what we want and get out of my way”, you have to dig deeper and understand if this is what people are risking their lives for in Iran.
So for Nowruz, when we welcome this new year, we need to mark not just a new beginning, we need to mark an end to four decades of allowing the Tehran dictatorship to make us forget the truth, repeat falsehoods and propaganda, and live in fear of offending the world’s most lawless state actor.
The Iranian people, led by women and girls of Iran, are putting their lives on the line, facing beatings, poison gas, long prison sentences, and hanging. Our job requires much less courage. Demand the truth. Insist that the media stop amplifying the false history. Stop giving these brutal criminals a pass.
A new year has arrived. The people of Iran are in open revolt. The embattled regime in Tehran has no legitimacy and must be held to account for its crimes at home and abroad. We all have a role in standing with the brave and noble Iranian people. And to that end, it is my honor to stand with all of you. Thank you.