UNIV OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE FORT HUACHUCA AZ
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The history, background, and activities of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq MEK, also referred to as the Peoples Mujahideen of Iran PMOI, offers a fascinating window into the contemporary importance played by the Islamic Republic of Iran in key decisions of U.S. foreign policy relating to the Middle East. The MEK is the largest militant group opposed to the current Islamic regime in Iran. The MEK was founded in 1963 by a group of college students from Tehran University, and it had as its goal the overthrow of Irans pro-Western monarchy, the Pahlavi dynasty, and a return to the socialist system that former Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq was working towards in the 1950s. In the first several years of the groups founding, the MEK primarily focused on developing and spreading a coherent ideology that combined elements of a secular view of Islam with a Marxist philosophy. However, beginning in the early 1970s, and in keeping with their goal of weakening the Pahlavi regime and its prime benefactor, the United States, the MEK began carrying out a series of terrorist acts focused mainly on bombing various infrastructure targets within Iran. During this period, the United States had a fairly robust advisory presence in the country, and the MEK carried out several targeted assassinations of U.S. military and civilian personnel working on defense contracts with the Iranian government. Todays debate as to whether the MEK is a terrorist entity focuses mainly on this period of its activities. The memory of its attacks on U.S. citizens keeps the MEK on the State Departments list of terrorist entities. This paper also contains sections entitled Enemies of the Revolution and U.S. Interest in the MEK, which focuses principally on the potential use of MEK members as sources of human intelligence on Iran.
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