EDITORIAL November 21, 2002

 

The terror lobby

 

     Tonight, Rep. Edolphus Towns will host a reception in the Capitol with terrorists loyal to Saddam Hussein.
     Of course, that's not how his office bills it. According to the invitation, Mr. Towns will show "solidarity with the recent anti-government pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran." That in itself is a worthy goal. Since its Marxist-Islamic revolution in 1979, the country has been an economic and human-rights disgrace, and its people deserve better. But what troubles us is Mr. Towns' co-sponsor for the event, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an alias for the the Mujahedin-e Kalq.
      Since 1994, the State Department has listed the Mujahedin among the world's most dangerous terror groups right up there with al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Not surprisingly, the group has a history studded with violence. In the 1970s, the Marxist-Muslim group killed at least six American civilians and servicemen, and blew up a number of U.S. entities in Iran. In 1979, it participated in the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. After it fell out of favor with the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Mujahedin fled, eventually settling in Baghdad. Currently, the group is almost wholly funded by Saddam Hussein and has fought with the dictator's troops on several occasions, including attacks on Northern Kurds in which chemical weapons were used.
      Meanwhile, through lavish political donations and buckets of whitewash, the group has tried to repackage itself in Congress as a legitimate democracy movement a claim scoffed at by serious scholars and diplomats. But, despite numerous press accounts and State Department warnings over the years, some in Congress persist in supporting the group.
      Mr. Towns, New York Democrat, may think he is striking a blow against Iranian repression with his event tonight. But, all he's really doing is rubbing shoulders with an equally odious set of oppressors and in the halls of freedom, at that.