Reza Marashi


Reza Marashi, Research Director for the National Iranian American Council, discusses the Wall Street Journal’s announcement that the MEK will soon shed its “terrorist group” status in the US; the State Department’s de-listing evaluation process, which requires that the MEK publicly renounce violence and disarm; how the Bush Administration used Saddam Hussein’s hosting of terrorist groups, especially the MEK, to justify the Iraq War in 2003; the foreign and domestic opponents to friendly US-Iran relations; and how business interests can open borders even when political forces conspire to close them.

MP3 here. (23:16)

Reza Marashi joined NIAC in 2010 as the organization’s first Research Director. He came to NIAC after four years in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to his tenure at the State Department, he was an analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) covering China-Middle East issues, and a Tehran-based private strategic consultant on Iranian political and economic risk. Marashi is frequently consulted by Western governments on Iran-related matters. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Tehran Bureau, the Huffington Post, Salon, Asharq Alawsat, the Daily Caller, and the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. He has been a guest contributor to the BBC, NPR, Financial Times, Reuters, Al Jazeera, ABC News, CBC News, Macleans, Fox News, The Daily Star and The National.


4 thoughts on “Reza Marashi”

  1. An Empire has values? — Is Marashi for real?

    Reza Marashi
    “What is in the best interest of our economy is not always in harmony with our values, for in the last few years our values have been harmed by business interests being of a higher priority.

    But surely, since 1945 imperialism most brutal has been our business, and a stench in the nostrils of any man with integrity is our values. Actually, since 220,000 civilians in Japan were wasted to establish nukes as terrorism unequaled, all the horror we have done since then has been anti-climatic.

  2. RAND Report
    A Brief Review of RAND’s Flawed Report on MEK

    In July 2009, just days before a deadly attack by the Iraqi Army on Camp Ashraf, killing 11 unarmed and defenseless residents and injuring hundreds more, the RAND National Defense Research Institute published a federally-funded monograph, entitled The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum, for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations), regarding the situation of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The report offers flawed and disastrous recommendations regarding the final disposition of Camp Ashraf residents.

    The nartional security reasearch firm, ExecutiveAction LLC, in February 2010, released a detailed analysis of the RAND Report, calling the document “deeply flawed” and “polemical.”

    Read the complete ExceutiveAction analysis Courting Disaster: A Response to the Report “The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum” by RAND National Defense Research Institute.’

    According to Neil C. Livingstone, Chairman and CEO of ExecutiveAction, LLC, the report appears to have been written to “justify the destruction of the MeK as a group, without regard to their lives or the consequences of the U.S. committing grave breaches of international law.”

    The Mujahedin-e Khalq (People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran) or MEK, is a major Iranian opposition group, whose members primarily reside in Camp Ashraf. Membership in the organization is a capital crime under Iran’s penal code. There are approximately 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf, of which 1,000 are women. In a subject of such extreme importance and sensitivity, the monograph cannot be used as a credible reference on the MEK and meaningful tool for U.S. policymakers, given the following:

    • The report’s conclusion that the United States should, in violation of international law, encourage the Government of Iraq to involuntarily deport the entire population of Ashraf to Iran, not only endangers the lives of these innocent individuals, but advises the United States to effectively engage in the very breach of international law norms that it has vowed to uphold as a matter of its fundamental policy and as a protector of human rights.

    • In presenting facts, analysis, and conclusions, the authors omit material and relevant information, fail to consider alternative viewpoints, and exclude relevant and credible information that is on the record, including those from two former U.S. military commanders of Camp Ashraf which contradicts the main recommendations of the report.

    • There are significant problems with the assertions and citations in the monograph. Some citations are of dubious value as they rely on supporters of the Iranian government. In addition, a good number of key propositions are advanced without citations at all.

    • The monograph fails to abide by RAND’s proclaimed “high standards for research quality and objectivity.” The report’s authors lack the necessary expertise and present a polemical and one-sided report. The monograph’s subject matter requires a deep historical background and a thorough and unbiased understanding of the issues involved.

    In sum, the monograph is based on a deeply flawed factual foundation and its findings and recommendations are therefore highly suspect. Unsurprisingly, the Government of Iran has seized on the report to justify its longstanding campaign to seek the involuntary deportation of the Ashraf community to Iran.

  3. Grounds for Immediate Delisting of the MEK

    There is an absence of any evidence – classified or otherwise – to satisfy the statutory requirements and to justify maintaining the MEK on the FTO list, a fact attested to by the rulings of
    Eight European courts reviewed thousands of pages of classified and unclassified materials and ruled that the MEK was not concerned in terrorism.

    Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) stated on the record during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that “I have seen the classified evidence and it is unconvincing. The State Department has not made its case that the MEK should stay on the FTO list.”

    Ambassador Dell Dailey, former State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator and responsible for the MEK case, had urged the then-Secretary of State to de-list the MEK based on absence of any evidence to satisfy the legal criteria.

    The July 2010 U.S. Federal Court of Appeals’ ruling described the decision by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to maintain the MEK in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), as lacking sufficient evidence, violating the due process and unlawful.
    Remarkably, in an oblique reference to the State Department’s unconvincing case to justify designation, the Court said in its opinion that “[w]e recognize that a strict and immediate application of the principles of law which we have set forth herein could be taken to require a revocation of the designation [] before us.”

    The Secretary of State has so far failed to present the Congress with credible evidence showing that the MEK engages in terrorism or terrorist activity, or has the capability and intent to do so.

    Two Congressional resolutions, H. RES 60 and H. RES 1431, co-sponsored by some 130 members of Congress from both parties, have urged the MEK delisting.

    A bi-partisan roster of former senior U.S. government officials has called for the MEK delisting. A multitude of US subject matter experts on terrorism have also urged the delisting.

    The demand for the MEK delisting, as a prelude to adopting the policy of support for democratic change in Iran, is the Iranians’ national call.
    Many members of the MEK have been arrested, tortured, and executed in Iran under the pretext of, citing the designation by the State Department, cracking down on “terrorists.”

    The Iraqi government has justified its inhumane treatment of 3,400 MEK members residing in Camp Ashraf by invoking the group’s placement on the FTO list, claiming that the residents have no rights because they are terrorists.

    The designation has acted as the main obstacle for relocation of the residents of Ashraf to third countries, including EU member states, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

    The MEK’s designation has sharply curtailed Iranian-Americans’ pro-democracy activities since support for, or association with, an FTO carries a risk of criminal prosecution.

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