‘ACT OF SUP­PRES­SION’

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

A top House Re­pub­li­can de­nounced the Trea­sury Depart­ment on Thurs­day for in­ves­ti­gat­ing for­mer U.S. of­fi­cials cam­paign­ing to re­move an Ira­nian dis­si­dent group from the State Depart­ment ter­ror­ist list.

“This is a trav­esty, a sin, that our gov­ern­ment is go­ing af­ter these peo­ple try­ing to sup­port the peo­ple of Iran,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Cal­i­for­nia.

“This is an act of sup­pres­sion in our coun­try. This is as un-amer­i­can as I have seen.”

Mr. Rohrabacher, chair­man of the House For­eign Af­fairs over­sight and in­ves­ti­ga­tions sub­com­mit­tee, vowed to find out who “is be­hind this ef­fort.”

The Washington Times ear­lier this month re­ported that the Trea­sury Depart­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing speak­ing fees paid to for­mer Penn­syl­va­nia Gov. Ed­ward G. Ren­dell, a long­time Demo­cratic Party leader. Mr. Ren­dell said he re­ceived fees from Ira­nian ex­iles and Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who sup­port their cause. Pay­ments to U.S. cit­i­zens from groups on the ter­ror­ist list are il­le­gal.

Mr. Ren­dell is among a group of prom­i­nent Amer­i­cans de­mand­ing that the State Depart­ment re­move the Peo­ple’s Mu­ja­hedeen of Iran from the ter­ror­ist list. The group in­cludes a for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral and a for­mer sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity. More than 250 mem­bers of Congress also sup­port the Ira­nian dis­si­dents.

Mr. Rohrabacher spoke at a re­cep­tion held in the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Room to mark the Ira­nian New Year.

Re­tired Army Col. Wes­ley Martin said he de­vel­oped close ties with the Ira­nian re­sis­tance when he served as the U.S. coun­tert­er­ror­ism com­man­der in Iraq, where the group has been based since the 1980s.

“They are not our en­emy. They are our ally,” he said.

He ac­cused the State Depart­ment of ig­nor­ing a 2004 law that re­quires ter­ror­ists on the list to be for­eign, to present a threat to the United States and to pos­sess an in­tent to at­tack Amer­ica.

“Since 2004, they have been grossly and il­le­gally on the list,” he said of the dis­si­dents.

Ira­nian-amer­i­cans from as far away as Texas and Cal­i­for­nia trav­eled to Washington for the cel­e­bra­tion of the year 1391 on the Per­sian cal­en­der.

Rep. Ileana Ros-le­hti­nen, chair­woman of the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee and host of the re­cep­tion, noted that the New Year marks the 33rd since the Ira­nian theoc­racy rose to power in 1979.

“Maybe this New Year will mark a new day for hu­man rights and free­dom in Iran,” the Florida Re­pub­li­can said.

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