September 20th, 2013
09:43 PM ET

360 Web Exclusive: Giuliani seeks help for Iranian dissidents

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is getting the word out on a deadly attack in Iraq and is calling on the U.S. government to help the survivors.

The victims weren’t Iraqis. They were Iranian dissidents belonging to the Mujahadin-e-Khalq or MEK.

The attack took place on September 1 at Camp Ashraf in eastern Iraq.  According to the U.N. at least 52 people were killed at the refugee camp and seven other MEK members vanished.

MEK blamed the slaughter on the Iraqi army, acting on behalf of Iran. They also believe the missing members were kidnapped and will be extradited back to Iran.

There were about 100 MEK exiles living at Camp Ashraf before the attack.  The camp was created in 1986 when then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein invited Mujahedin-e-Khalq to seek exile in an effort to undermine the Iranian government, which was then at war with Iraq.   Then last year hundreds of members moved to another camp at a former U.S. military base near Baghdad International Airport.

Giuliani says the MEK oppose Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The reason they’re being killed is because they’re the “single best source of information we get about what goes on inside Iran,” he told Anderson.  “The Iranian government wants them eliminated,” Giuliani added. The former republican presidential candidate is calling on the U.S. government to help the MEK escape Iraq.  “We could send aircraft and bring them to the U.S.”

It’s not that simple. There’s quite a history between the MEK and the U.S.

For years the Mujahedin-e-Khalq was on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, along with al Qaeda and Hezbollah. The MEK earned that distinction after an attempted attack against the Iranian mission to the United Nations in 1992 and the killing of six Americans in Iran in the 1970s. But nearly a year ago, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed MEK from the list.   The decision took into account “MEK’s public renunciation of violence” and “the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by MEK for more than a decade,“ the State Department said in a statement last September.  However, in the same statement the department said it “does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran” and added it had “serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed by its own members.“

The MEK denies supporting terrorism. For years, the group has had the support of Giuliani and many other well-known politicians.

Giuliani talks about why he backs the MEK and why he feels the U.S. must take action to help them. Click on the video to watch Anderson’s interview.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Carlos Azad

    Thank you Honorable Mayor. These heroic RESISTANCE forces fight with empty hand & full of freedom ideas against barbaric, backward, criminal, terrorist, illegal, dictator, incapable, atomic regime of mullahs of Iran matstermind of chemial attack in Syirah & hated throughout the world. Why then US (obama/Biden) STILL appease criminal regime of mullahs is 300% beyond me???!!! Stop Appeasing Atomic Mullahs, SUPPORT RESISTANCE AGAINST THEM. Long Live Azadeeeee

    September 23, 2013 at 1:39 am |
  2. Beth Dehghan

    Thank you Anderson and Mayor Guiliani for bringing this humanitarian issue to the media. The Iraqi's government with the back of of Iranian regime have executed 52 unarmed refugees. Please please advocate for the freedom of seven Iranian dissidents that six of them are women. They are subject to torture, rape, and execution.

    September 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  3. Roudi

    With great respect for Anderson Cooper and Mayor Rudy Giuliani....This group will end terrorism around the world by eradicating fundamentalism in region.

    September 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm |

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