US Congress presses Clinton to lift restrictions from PMOI
Dozens of members of the U.S. Congress have sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling on the State Department to remove restrictions against Iran’s main opposition group. The announcement came on Tuesday at a press conference in Washington held by senior members of the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees. 110 members of the House of Representatives signed the resolution and sent it along with a letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to remove the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from the Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. It also emphasized the need to protect PMOI members residing in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, warning the Iraqi government that Congress is closely watching the situation in the camp and demands respect for the rights of the more than 3,400 residents. Tuesday’s conference, where the resolution was unveiled, was attended by more than 150 senior officials and advisors in Congress, analysts, think tank experts, journalists and representatives of the Iranian exiled communities in the US. A number of foreign diplomats in Washington were also in attendance. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the resolution, including 12 committee chairmen and deputies, and a large number of members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The conference was held on the first day lawmakers returned to work after the midterm elections. The Iranian Resistance’s President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, praised the important congressional measure on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance in a video message broadcast to the session by satellite. Mrs. Rajavi thanked the US lawmakers and called on Washington to rectify a policy that has thus far obstructed political change in Iran, referring to the State Department’s decision to maintain the PMOI on its blacklist. In July, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the blacklisting has violated the PMOI’s due process rights. The court also cast doubt on the State Department’s evidence, strongly suggesting that the designation should be revoked.
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