Iran says Americans deliberately backed a group accused of killing 17,000 Iranians over decades.
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government has blacklisted US officials for their support of a group that considers Tehran a “terrorist” organization.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday released a list of 61 current and former American officials who have given “conscious support” to the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a group that has openly called for the overthrow of the current Iranian establishment.
Several of the individuals, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, had previously been blacklisted by the Iranian government for other reasons.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senators Ted Cruz and Cory Booker, and former National Security Advisor Lincoln Bloomfield were among those sanctioned.
The people supported the group by attending its events and “offering political and propaganda support,” Iran’s foreign ministry said.
The Iranian establishment believes that the MEK has killed more than 17,000 Iranians over decades, including many women and children.
The MEK was among the groups that supported Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew dynastic rule, but it later became one of the main opponents of the clerical establishment and resorted to violence to thwart it.
The group has claimed responsibility for numerous assassinations and bombings in the early years after the revolution. It also supported Saddam Hussein during his eight-year invasion of Iran in the 1980s and took up arms during the war.
The MEK was also listed as a “terrorist” organization by the US and European Union, but was delisted more than 10 years ago after promising to end violent operations.
Since then, US officials, particularly Republicans who are openly in favor of establishment change in Iran, have regularly attended MEK rallies and expressed support.
The group has also held rallies and is based in several European countries, including France, Sweden and Albania, leading Iranian officials to accuse those districts of harboring “terrorists”.
Iran first began imposing sanctions on US officials in 2021. Among other things, he blacklisted former President Donald Trump and Pompeo for their role in ordering and carrying out the assassination of his top general Qassem Soleimani.
It then expanded that list in January, followed by further sanctions in April over allegations of supporting “terrorism” and violating the human rights of the Iranian people through unilateral sanctions.
The sanctions are believed to be largely symbolic as the individuals are believed to have no assets or interests in Iran and are not traveling to the country.
As efforts to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers stalled, the US has continued to impose sanctions to further strain Iran’s economy.
The US unilaterally abandoned the Trump nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed tough, sweeping sanctions that President Joe Biden continues to enforce.