November 21, 2002
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.