The latest such urging was released here Thursday by the Iran Policy Committee (IPC), a group headed by a former National Security Council staffer Ray Tanter, several retired senior military officers, and a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The 30-page document, “U.S. Policy Options for Iran” by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Clare Lopez, appears to reflect the views of the administration’s most radical hawks among the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

The IPC [Iran Policy Committee] now wants the State Department to take the MEK [Mujahedin e-Khalq] off the terrorist list, a position backed by several dozen members of Congress who have been actively courted by the group and believe that a confrontation with Iran is inevitable.

“Removing the terrorist designation from the MEK could serve as the most tangible signal to the Iranian regime, as well as to the Iranian people, that a new option is now on the table,” according to the report.

“Removal might also have the effect of supporting President Bush’s assertion [in his State of the Union address] that America stands with the people of Iran in their struggle to liberate themselves.”

But most Iran specialists, both inside and outside the government, who agree that the regime is deeply unpopular, also insist that Washington’s endorsement of the MEK will actually bolster the regime in Tehran.

“Everybody I’ve ever talked to in Iran or who have gone to Iran tell me without exception that these people are despised,” said Gary Sick, who handled Iranian policy for the National Security Council under former President Jimmy Carter.

When they invaded Iran from Iraq in the last year of the Iran-Iraq war, according to Sick, who teaches at Columbia University, they had expected to march straight to Tehran gathering support all along the way.

“But they never got beyond a little border town before running into stiff resistance. It was a very ugly incident. They had a chance to show what they can do, and the bottom line was nothing very much. I’ve seen nothing since then to change my estimate,” he said. ~Jim Lobe

It is not so surprising that neocons and their policy allies, men of dubious loyalty at best, would be so eager to take the side of a Marxist revolutionary group that fought against their own country in a war of aggression: the disloyal seek their own kind. If the administration were to make the fatal error of attacking Iran, allying with MEK would be just about the worst thing it could do to convince patriotic Iranians that we intended anything other than their country’s ruin and subjugation. It is yet another indication of how morally warped those in this administration have become that they would conceivably prefer a bizarre cult of Marxists and assassins to the stable and legitimate, albeit unpleasant, government of Iran. Then again, they probably have more in common with the administraton after Mr. Bush’s strange, neo-anarchist inaugural address that promises to consume the world in flames.