MEK Supporters Face Allegations of Unregistered Lobbying for Terrorist Organization
Under federal law, advocates for foreign organization are required to register as lobbyists and provide details about their clients and income, but supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a well-financed designated terrorist organization, have not registered, according to a Washington Post investigation. The MEK supporters have been meeting with senior Obama administration officials to pressure the State Department into removing their organization from the State Department’s terrorist list.
Administration officials told the Post that the inquiry of whether the MEK’s paid supporters are violating the law by advocating for a designated foreign terrorist organization “remains essentially on hold” until a decision is made to keep the group on the terror list (Washington Post 7/5). Meanwhile, columnist Clarence Page was formally reprimanded by the Chicago Tribune for giving a paid speech at a MEK event, though he added his job “is safe for now.” (Talking Points Memo 7/6)
Canadian Bank Freezing Accounts of Canadians with Family in Iran
Canadian bank, TD Bank Group, has begun closing the accounts of customers which “appears to include any use of an account to send or receive money via wire transfer to or from friends and family in Iran,” according to the Ottawa Citizen. “We are simply following regulations set out by the sanctions,” said TD Bank Group spokesperson Mohammed Nakhooda (Ottawa Citizen 7/6).
Post-Meeting Insight into Moscow Negotiations
Iranian diplomats are indicating that Iran is willing to replace the heavy water reactor it is building in Arak with a light water reactor, according to Jim Walsh, a non-proliferation expert at MIT who was present a presentation by the diplomats. Such a concession would reduce proliferation concerns, since heavy water reactors can produce weapons grade plutonium (The Guardian 7/6).
The Guardian also reports that “European diplomats have said that if Iran had asked for a postponement of the oil embargo at the official talks in return for 20% suspension, the six-nation group would have found itself split and would have difficulty turning it down. As it happened, the Iranians made the country’s guaranteed right to enrich their central demand,” (The Guardian 7/6).
Korea Register Will Continue to Register Iranian Ships
The Korea Register of Shipping (KR) has announced it will not stop registering Iranian vessels. A spokesperson for KR said, “KR is concerned that there is a potential for ship safety and the protection of the marine environment to be compromised by political issues,” (Reuters 7/5).
Ahmadinejad Extends Invitation to Egyptian President
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has invited Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, to attend a summit meeting in Tehran of the Non-Aligned Movement in August, according to the Iranian leader’s website. Egypt will turn over the position as current chair to Iran at the summit (AP 7/5).
Iran Extends Blame for Killings to France and Germany
Iranian spy chief, Heidar Moslehi, has extended the blame for the killings of five Iranian nuclear scientists to France and Germany, saying they cooperated by sharing information and sources with the CIA (AP 7/6).
Notable Opinion: “The Sanctions Aren’t Working”
Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi and Muhammad Sahim humanize the implications of sanctions for ordinary Iranians:
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The very language Dubowitz employs misrepresents the facts and ignores the devastating human cost of the policies he so zealously advocates. Military attacks occur not against a program, but against nuclear facilities — and they would be a clear violation of international law, in the absence of a U.N. resolution and so long as the Islamic Republic has not attacked any other country. Iran’s nuclear technology, moreover, is the result of years of research. It cannot be destroyed by killing a few individuals or razing some nuclear installations to the ground. There is also no such thing as an attack only on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, as it sprawls across the entire country, often close to major population centers. Thus, any attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will result in thousands of casualties, if not more.
The Iranian government also shares responsibility for tensions having reached this point. But it is not the sole party deserving of blame. And despite unprecedented “economic warfare,” it will be able to continue its nuclear program — albeit at the cost of great suffering of ordinary Iranian people. A more balanced and measured diplomatic strategy is needed if the West is genuinely interested in ensuring Iran’s nuclear program will remain peaceful and cease to pose a proliferation risk.