WASHINGTON — Washington will decide within six months whether to remove the banned Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedeen from a terrorism blacklist, a US State Department official told lawmakers Thursday.
“We are working as expeditiously as possible to complete a review” on the issue, Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counter-terrorism at the US State Department, told a congressional hearing.
Asked how long it would take, the diplomat responded that the review should be completed in “less than six months.”
The People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, also known as the Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization, figures not only on the US watch list, but also appears on a list of 50 banned militant groups compiled by the European Union.
The group, founded in 1965 to fight Iran’s royalist regime, hopes to overthrow the country’s current Islamic republic and has long contested the terror designation. It insists it is a legitimate opposition movement.
The State Department is examining the role played by the group during deadly clashes with Iraqi forces last April at Camp Ashraf some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad. Some 34 residents at the camp were killed in those skirmishes.