President Donald Trump’s State Department has reversed a ban on diplomats meeting with a controversial overseas group linked to the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, according to a new report.
“At whiplash speed, the State Department is walking back an order barring American diplomats from meeting with controversial Iranian dissident groups—including one close with Trump World allies and previously designated as a terror group, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK). The initial memo, greenlit by a career State Department employee, angered Congressional Iran hawks,” The Daily Beast reported. “And the Department’s move to change its guidance has drawn cheers from them.”
The initial memo was sent by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in June.
“The first memo, first reported by Bloomberg and reviewed by The Daily Beast, included sober warnings against meeting with the MEK, pointing to its terrorist past and saying most everyday Iranians have a low view of the group. The memo also warned about interactions with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, highlighting its attacks on Iranian military targets; and directed diplomats to get permission from State Department headquarters before meeting with members of an Azeri separatist group,” The Beast explained.
“But now, the memo is being overridden. The Daily Beast obtained a cable, sent to U.S. diplomats Sunday night, superseding the week-old directive,” The Beast noted.
The new cable reportedly explicitly “supersedes” the Pompeo memo.
MEK hired Giuliani, who successfully got the group’s designation as a terrorist organization removed.
“[The MEK] is very supportive of a free … Iraq. It’s run by a great woman who is committed to ending suppression of women and in a non-nuclear Iran,” Giuliani told The Beast. “They were of great assistance to us during [the] Iraq invasion and are supported by a very non-partisan group of American former and present public officials.”
NEW: State Dept walks back last week’s directive that US diplomats not contact or meet with Iranian opposition groups
— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) January 14, 2020