Yesterday brought a weird story: Four people, including an Iranian diplomat, were arrested in Paris for allegedly planning to bomb a gathering by a group or Iranian expats that wants to overthrow the country’s government, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK. That’s not the weird part. It’s this: Speaking at the event was none other than Rudy Giuliani, outside counsel to the President of the United States.
What was he doing there?
Longtime TPM readers will have some idea.
Giuliani has supported the group for years — and he’s far from the first American politico to forge ties with the MeK, which advocates for regime change in Iran. TPM has been reporting on the group, and the U.S. politicians that love it, for years. Here’s some notes from our past coverage.
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- The State Department listed MeK as a terrorist group in 1997, pointing to the group’s assassination of U.S. military personnel and civilians in the 1970s and the cult of personality centered around its leader, Maryam Rajavi. MeK disputes allegations that it is a cult, and says it has renounced violence.
- The group was taken off the terrorist list in 2012 following a well-funded lobbying effort involving many U.S. politicians, from Newt Gingrich to John Bolton to Howard Dean, and big-name Republican lawyers Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing. (DiGenova was also, briefly, said to be joining Trump’s legal team.)
- Giuliani has been a supporter of MeK since at least 2010. “For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace,” he told a Paris MeK gathering in 2011.
- He has continued to be heavily involved with the group, despite his work for the President. Giuliani went to Albania in March to speak at a MeK gathering, and spoke to a front group for MeK in May.