WASHINGTON - Nearly two dozen former US officials have urged President-elect Donald Trump to enter into discussions with an exiled Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department.
In a letter dated Jan. 9, the former officials call for the US government "to establish a dialog with Iran's exiled resistance, the National Council of Resistance of Iran."
The NCRI's largest component is the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which was designated as a terrorist group by the State Department from 1997 to 2012. The MEK led a guerrilla campaign against the US-backed Shah of Iran during the 1970s, including attacks on American targets. It has since renounced violence.
When it delisted the MEK, the State Department noted what it called "past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of US citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on US soil in 1992."
By itself, dialog with the MEK would not be a radical departure from current US policy. But any indication that the United States backs the MEK's goal of regime change in Tehran would confirm suspicions among hard-liners in Iran that the United States seeks the Iranian government's overthrow, and increase hostility between Tehran and Washington, Iran analysts said.