By Vahid Jafarian, Editorial Board Member
U.S. Senator John McCain still has maintained his long tradition of embracing terror groups that are trying to overthrow the legitimate governments through acts of violence.
In the most recent case of such measures, McCain has praised the head of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), Maryam Rajavi, in a meeting in the Albanian capital, Tirana.
McCain, who is on an official visit to Balkan states, met Rajavi and some other members of the notorious MKO group in Tirana on Friday.
He congratulated the terrorist group’s “successful transfer” from Iraq and praised its members for what he described as “sacrifice.”
“There is no doubt that people in this room have suffered not only themselves, but in the loss of their loved ones,” he said.
“You have stood up, fought, and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your future,” he added.
The comments come as the MKO is the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings and for siding with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.
However, the terror group once had a presence in the United States and maintains offices in Europe.
The MKO was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union in 1997 and 2002 respectively, but as more efforts got directed to vilify Iran, the MKO got delisted by the EU on January 26, 2009 and by the U.S. on September 28, 2012.
After Washington formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations, the group became able to have its assets under the U.S. jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities. A number of U.S. officials received hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for speaking on MKO’s behalf ever since.
However, American officials are not the only ones receiving money from the MKO in exchange for political support. On July 9, 2016, former Saudi intelligence chief and former Saudi ambassador to Britain and the United States Prince Turki al-Faisal Al Saud spoke for 30 minutes before a crowd in Paris, France, for the annual conference of the MKO.
Don’t be surprised, McCain has a long record of backing terror groups
McCain has a long record of backing unsavory and vicious people that happen to support regime change or that share his hostility to certain other governments.
He was a cheerleader for the KLA during the Kosovo intervention, he was a fan of the rebellion in Libya from the start despite the presence of jihadists in their ranks, and he has been one of the most outspoken advocates of sending weapons to rebels in Syria on the pretense that they were “moderates.”
In addition to misjudging the “moderate” rebels, McCain has been a leading advocate for a policy that has sent weapons into Syria when they have been seized by Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS.
Those are just the most obvious examples of McCain’s terrible judgment. McCain doesn’t discriminate when it comes to choosing allies of convenience in pursuing unwise and reckless goals, so it was probably just a matter of time before he started associating with the MEK.
Iran Interlink and Tehran Times contributed to this report