The Treasury Department has issued a subpoena for former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s speaking-fee records, under a law that bars transactions with terrorist organizations.
Rendell has spoken in Europe — and has joined rallies at the Capitol, White House, and State Department — on behalf of People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK),
a militant Iranian exile group based in Iraq, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer
The State Department has designated MEK as a terrorist group. Rendell has been paid to make speeches in support of MEK, and also has been pictured in ads and online videos that seek to get the terrorist designation lifted. Rendell said he is doing the “right thing” by standing up for the group.
Rendell is now in the middle of an international controversy over his stance, and Iran’s official news agency over the weekend called him “among the most vocal advocates of the terrorist [MEK],” which Iran blames — along with Israel — for deadly attacks on its nuclear scientists.
Rendell, in a Paris speech in February, said the plight of MEK members in Iraq was "a humanitarian cause and it was necessary for all of us, my country, the world community, the United Nations, to stand up and do the right thing."
The former governor is declining to discuss the Treasury inquiry, but has spoken of 46 people, including eight women, who were killed in attacks by Iraq’s government in 2009 and 2011.
Early in MEK’s history, the group was involved in attacks on Americans in Iran. However, when the Iran-Iraq War erupted in the 1980s, exiled MEK forces fought with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein against the government.
Hussein rewarded the group with Camp Ashraf, where about 2,800 members are based. The Iraqi government wants MEK out, and under an agreement negotiated with the United Nations, the group must move until they can be resettled outside Iraq.
The MEK issue has attracted several lawmakers and former cabinet officials, who are also calling to help MEK members at Camp Ashraf and to remove the organization from the terrorist list.
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