"As I'm speaking to you, you must either think I'm a con man sitting in front of you, plain and simple, or I'm genuine," Ali Safavi, a former spokesman for the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, told TPM in an interview last week. "There is nothing in between."
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As TPM has reported, a growing number of former U.S. government, military and intelligence officials have recently been attending events in support of the MEK, an Iranian opposition group classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. These officials have called the MEK critical to any chance of regime change in Iran, and have urged President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take the group off the terror list. Furthermore, supporters have called for the protection of the roughly 3,400 MEK members who currently reside at Camp Ashraf, the organization's main base, in Iraq. Ashraf has fallen into a kind of diplomatic no-man's land between Iraq, Iran and the U.S., and the MEK says its members there have been subject to attacks and other privations.
Safavi, a former MEK spokesman and current member of the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), which the State Department considers the MEK's "political arm," spoke to TPM about the controversy surrounding the group. Several times, he put the debate in the starkest possible terms.