Tom Ridge, Hugh Shelton and Patrick Kennedy make fools of themselves:
The regime in Tehran views MEK as an existential threat because MEK strives to replace the unelected, clerical regime with a liberal democracy that champions a non-nuclear Iranian future, equal rights for women and minorities, and a free press. But the major opposition to the Mullahs is being prevented from realizing these dreams of freedom for the Iranian people because both Iran and the US designate them as a terrorist organization.
MEK is a movement that epitomizes the very spirit of the Arab Spring.
This is disgraceful. It is also exactly what I have assumed is behind the push to remove the MEK from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list: to embrace the MEK as part of a policy of regime change. It’s also incredibly foolish. Iranians loathe the MEK. Aligning the U.S. with the MEK for the express purpose of overthrowing the Iranian government would not only further alienate the Iranian people from the U.S. and give an extra boost to the regime by making Iranian propaganda claims into official policy, but it would also fail to achieve its goal because no effort by the MEK to change the Iranian government could ever succeed. The Iranian regime hates the MEK for the same reason any established government hates a group dedicated to overthrowing it, but it doesn’t actually fear that the group could successfully overthrow the government.
Nothing in the quote I have cited is true, except that Iran and the U.S. consider the MEK a terrorist group, which by many accounts they still are. Whatever else one wants to say about the “Arab Spring,” its spirit has nothing to do with a totalitarian Marxist cult. It is a colossal lie to claim that the MEK favors creating a “liberal democracy that champions a non-nuclear Iranian future, equal rights for women and minorities, and a free press.” Later on, the authors refer to the MEK as a “declared democratic ally,” which is also entirely false. The MEK is neither democratic nor is it an ally of the United States in any sense of the word.
If the MEK were somehow magically able to seize power (and they would have to seize power by force, since most Iranians despise them), they would replace one authoritarian regime with another. It is possible that theirs would be more repressive and violent than the current regime. No one interested in Iranian democracy or the success of the Iranian opposition would lend any support to this group.