re: "Resisting Iran. A peculiar Iranian exile group protests Ahmadinejad."
"The larger anti-Ahmadinejad rally was organized by a group known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran; the smaller was more of a hodgepodge of individual oppositionists--monarchists, social democrats, even a handful of Communists--drawn together under the charismatic sway of Nazanin Afshin-Jam."
"(I)t was the NCRI protest that drew the biggest crowd, which arrived promptly, clamored and chanted on cue, and dispersed neatly once the day's activity was over. It was the very model of organized, disciplined opposition. And if you ask any of the Iranians on Nazanin's side of the barricade, it's also a cause for alarm. "Islamo-Leninst cult to be avoided like the clap" was the most polite description I heard of the NCRI, the political arm--or "parliament in exile"--of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK). The MEK was founded in 1963 by radical supporters of Mossadegh as an anti-shah party, which later, along with other leftist blocs, allied with the Ayatollah Khomeini in the Islamic Revolution. In 1979, it assisted in the student-led takeover of the American embassy in Tehran, and prior to that it had killed 5 American military and civilian personnel who had been working on defense projects in the Iranian capital.
Like all handmaids to budding tyrannies, the party's moment of triumph was short-lived. Following the clerics' seizure of power, its leadership was summarily executed, and ever since then, the remaining members have coalesced under the Peron-like guidance of the husband and wife team of Mariam and Massoud Rajavi (she's still a public figure, he's in hiding), and directed all its violent activity against the theocratic establishment. In 2000, the MEK tried to blow up President Khatami's palace; in 1998 it assassinated the director of Iran's prison system and the deputy chief of Iran's armed forces general staff."
"Headquartered in Paris until France recognized the Islamic Republic in 1986, the MEK has had a welcome home in Iraq for the last 22 years. It sided with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, and in return he provided it with weapons, materiel, and money. At the close of the first Gulf War, MEK guerillas facilitated the brutal slaughter of the Iraqi Kurds and Shia. They've since been disarmed by coalition forces, and now reside at Camp Ashraf under the status of "protected persons." Indeed, an overriding concern of the NCRI--articulated today by its speakers and placards--is that these exiles not be sent back to Iran, where they will surely be imprisoned and/or executed.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the MEK's ideology is a strange admixture of Marxism, feminism and Islamism. Its official flag, brandished liberally throughout the assembly, is an iconographic cross between the Hezbollah pennant and the hammer and sickle. However, the MEK is still tolerated by certain Western figures and lawmakers who operate under the assumption that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The group's most significant public relations coup to date has been its role exposing Iran's nuclear program, for which the NCRI has gained renewed credibility in U.S. intelligence circles."
"(I)n 1997, the State Department put the MEK/NCRI on the list of foreign terrorist organizations at the behest of the Clinton administration, then looking to placate Khatami by criminalizing his most persistent and dangerous foe. (The EU, Canada and Iraq consider the MEK terrorists, too, although the European Court of Justice overturned the EU designation last year.) Former House majority leader Dick Armey, and serving representatives Tom Tancredo and Bob Filner have argued for its removal from the blacklist; even Condoleezza Rice has referred to the NCRI as a "dissident" group."