Blacklisting the Iranian Opposition

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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On November 3, the State Department branded the Iranian Baluchi militant group Jundullah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. At the same time, the State Department is in a legal fight to keep an opposition group called the Mujahideen-e-Khalq on the list. This follows an earlier decision by the Treasury Department to designate the Free Life Party of Kurdistan a terrorist group. The Obama Administration apparently feels it is worth blacklisting Iranian opposition groups that have used violence in order to increase the chances of a successful “engagement” with the regime.

One of the first decisions the Obama Administration made upon coming into office was to name the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) as a terrorist group. The Obama Administration argued that PJAK was connected to another Kurdish terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). However, PJAK is a separate entity and though both participated in a Kurdish Congress, there is no public proof of links between the two such as shared leadership or training camps.

Kenneth Timmerman, President of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, visited PJAK in Iraq and found that they are stationed in a different part of the Qandil mountain ranges than the PKK. He writes that although some members used to be with PKK until its military branch dissolved and admiration is expressed for Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned PKK leader, they remain separate groups. PJAK’s objective is not an independent Kurdistan, but a democratic Iran that does not oppress any minorities. The group has also not carried out terrorist attacks, using violence only against elements of the Iranian regime, especially its security forces like the Revolutionary Guards.

On November 3, the State Department added Jundullah, a Baluchi militant group to the list. The group, like PJAK, frequently has armed clashes with the regime’s security forces and is a major concern for the government. As one confidential cable from June 2009 released by WikiLeaks revealed, Iranian sources have told the U.S. that Baluchi violence has grown so much that “the Iranian security forces may be losing effective control over growing areas in the countryside.”

The State Department justifies Jundullah’s designation because the group “uses a variety of terrorist tactics, including suicide bombings, ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations.” The State Department then lists three major attacks carried out by the Jundullah, such as on mosques, without mentioning that they targeted groups of Revolutionary Guards personnel including high-level officials. Though Jundullah’s attacks do cause civilian casualties, they are targeted at regime elements and are not aimed at massacring innocents like a terrorist group would.

Recently, the group also kidnapped an Iranian nuclear scientist who confessed to having worked for three years at a secret uranium enrichment site with the explicit purpose of making a nuclear bomb. On December 15, Jundullah suicide bombed a Shiite mosque killing 41 people. The regime and virtually every single news media report described it as a deliberate massacre of civilians, although Jundullah said it was aimed at the Revolutionary Guards.

The U.S. officially condemned the attack, but Michael Ledeen reports that “the terrorist attack was not aimed against ‘women and children,’ but against the symbols and enforcers of the Shi’ite regime:  Revolutionary Guards, Basij, and Quds Force fighters.  More than sixty were killed, and a large number wounded.”

The Iranian government reacts to Jundullah’s attacks by characterizing them as being linked to Al-Qaeda. This is then followed by an accusation that the U.S. is covertly supporting Jundullah and therefore, the U.S. is also supporting Al-Qaeda. The Long War Journal states that there are two groups under the name of Jundullah, and the regime “deliberately conflates the two groups and accuses the U.S. of backing the al-Qaeda-allied group.”

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  • badaboo

    Do they blow up people ? If so ….then they are terrorists . We are harboring a terrorist who blew up an arliner . But since his act was against Cuba , we will not turn him over to the Cubans ……is he a "good terrorist " ?
    Jundallah > did they not claim responsibility for an act of terrorism > So because Iran accuses the US of supporting them , does that somehow minimize the act ? Are we sure no innocents were killed ? But they are attacking synbols of the Shia Regime ?

  • badaboo

    What is going on in this article is , "splitting hairs " on the defintion , for the sake of partisan politics . Moral relativism at it's best . Shia blow up a Sunni mosqe in Iraq / Sunni blow up a Shia mosque in Iraq …..which are "the good guys " ?

  • sam000

    Anyone that reacts to the Iranian regime’s violence with violence of their own will be branded a terrorist.

    This is the "GOLDEN PAGES" of the American History, the same people which made ARMED RESISTANCE to gain his FREEDOM.

    The BIG QUESTION is , what is the Relationship between American Administrations and American People.

    We know that, you the Americans are for DEMOCRACY
    We know that, you the Americans are against the Islamic Regime of Iran.

    and we know that you the Americans, you have elected democratically your Government and your President.

    so, WHY your ELECTED LEADERS ARE THE SAME as the IRANIAN MULLAHS?

    WHY the result of your free choice are the same as our executionnors?

  • jacob

    I believe it all depends on the end, the purpose of the act…

    If BEGIN, the IRGUN, the STERN Group, etc,. would have remained passive
    as BEN GURION was, Jews would still be arguing with Great Britian when
    was it going to vacate Palestine…and as History has it, when they finally
    moved out, it handed over to the Arabs theTAGGART forts whose retaking
    took so many Jewish victims among the concentration camps graduates..

    As to the most useles and dangerous departments the present administration
    has, (JUSTICE included) STATE's wisdom can be distributed among a million
    cows….

    Ps.- I forgot to congratulate the SENATE with their ratification of the STEALTH
    treaty…
    The anathomical conformation of the throats of those who voted FOR didn't
    allow them to bray….

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    I hope,with all my heart,that Mr Barack Hussein Obama,the man with no brains,
    that there won't be a second term for him one is more than inough.
    If there is to name one terrorist organisation it is the Iraqi administration.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    So let me see? if you fight the terrorists you are a Terrorists? OH God we need help!

    well if you look at this you can say Obama family in black Africa do a hell of alot of hate race crimes/Religion hate crimes so obama must by a hate race monkey for islam. Maybe be are in the movie X files too. One of obama may 1/2 brothers murdered 500 black christians? or maybe evil spirits that obama hates?

  • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

    The Nicaraguan Contras were terrorists too to the Dems and Obama who was a student during the 80's. At the same time, the Dems, and Communist Party front groups, raised funds for the Marxist FMLN rebel movement in El Salvador as they sought to cut off funding to this pro-U.S. government. "NO CONTRA AID BUT FUND FMLN REBELS?" What's the difference, to a PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS PERSON, between a Contra and a Rebel? In this case, the Contras were fighting Communists and the Rebels were Communists! The Democrats never met a Communist they didn't like! So what's the difference between a "freedom fighter and a terrorist?"

    Look at how they are now making KGB PUTIN into a "cool guy!" He was on Larry King, playing piano, singing, horse back riding, karate and judo? Look how KGB PUTIN is aiding Iran? Now START by the Dems/Obama? Obama was brainwashed by the KGB so it's no wonder he is siding with them now. Watch SALT movie with Jolie.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/paulsheldonfoote paulfoote

    For years, Kenneth Timmerman authored articles critical of the Iranian Communist MEK (MKO, PMOI, NCRI, Rajavi Cult, or Pol Pot of Iran) terrorists, including: 'Gray Lady' Runs Ad for Terrorists, http://www.iran.org/news/mek_nytimes_ad.htm

    Robert Baer and Phil Giraldi, based upon their experiences working for the CIA, have written and have spoken about the CIA's support for these terrorist organizations. See, for example: http://antiwar.com/radio/2007/11/01/philip-girald

    If Americans are serious about a war on terrorism, they can start by prosecuting those in the CIA and the neo-conservatives (neo-Trotskyites) who promote terrorists.

    • MixMChess

      If Americans were serious about terrorism we would prosecute domestic terrorist such as yourself who foment hate and bigotry.

      • sam000

        This throl is invited by Ahmadinejad to pass his holidays in Iran, he has married with an Iranian woman (the daughter of an Ayatollah of the city of SHIRAZ).

        This throl had an monthly payeroll by the the ALAVI FOUNDATION (Actually under USA JUSTICE INVESTIGATIONS), he is paid directly by the REGIME.

        He has an study GRANT from the REGIME.

        His name is PAUL SHELDON FOOT.

        One of his hobbies is the STONNING of the WOMEN who were conmdamed to death by STONNING.

        He has other "QUALITIES" that I will bring to this FORUM.

        • MixMChess

          Thanks Sam for exposing what piece of garbage Prof. Foote is.

  • SAM000

    He was employed by "Massoud Khodabandeh" to work with the MOIS (Ministry Of Information and Security, equivalent of the NAZI Geshtapo).

    "Massoud Khodabandeh" and his British wife "Anne Singelton" have an Office in the Prison of EVIN.

    Prison of EVIN is the Iranian DAKHAO, or Aushwitz "EXTERMINATION PRISON"

    He has assisted on the prisoners interrogation;

    The outcome of these interrogations are EXTRACTING THE EYES, CUTING THE FINGERS, BREAKING THE BONS, SMASHING THE GENITAL PARTS, and Raping the KIDS in the presence of their parents, and many many other barbaric operations,

    very few prisonners came out alive from this EVIN PRISON.

    I don't want to destroy your CHRISTMASS,

    BUT, please, on the name of CHRIST, pray for our victims, the Prophet who suffered and bought the pain of the humanity.

  • Elton

    PMOI group are for democracy and freedom in Iran and U.S must delist them , they must not be on the terror list of America, this is not fair….U.S. must act as Europe did …..
    Free this group to bring peace to the world.
    Free this group to bring freedom to Iran….
    Justice must be for PMOI….