Officials within the Iranian regime on Sunday said President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton as national security adviser was a “matter of shame” due to his involvement with an Iranian opposition group that Iran considers to be a terrorist organization.
According to the Associated Press, Iran’s-official Fars News agency reported that Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said that for an “apparent superpower it is a matter of shame that its national security adviser receives wages from a terrorist group,” referring to Bolton’s attendance at a gathering of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).
The MEK is part of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group. The MEK had initially helped with the overthrow of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but it broke with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and thousands of the group’s members went into hiding in 1981, two years after the Iranian Revolution.
The MEK was listed as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) under former President Bill Clinton on July 8, 1997, and delisted on September 28, 2012, under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The group claims the terrorist designation was done for political expediency.
According to Fox News, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, a spokesman for Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the Iran’s ISNA News agency that both Bolton’s appointment and that of former CIA chief Mike Pompeo to secretary of state “proves that the final U.S. purpose is overthrowing the Islamic Republic.” He noted his belief that the United States will use the MEK to achieve that aim.
The 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution will be on February 11, 2019. Bolton has expressed his hope to see the regime fall by this date.
Ali Safavi, an official with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), also issued a statement in response to Iran and on Bolton’s appointment, telling Breitbart News over email:
We have always welcomed a firm policy on the theocracy ruling Iran, which would deny it the opportunity to continue its warmongering and spread of terrorism in the region. Above all, a correct policy should hold the Iranian regime accountable for the human rights violations in Iran. We are convinced that the clerical regime is the primary enemy of regional and indeed world peace, and is the source of instability, crisis and warmongering in the region. The decades-long policy of appeasement has emboldened the regime, encouraging its destructive policies. The result has been Tehran’s fomenting of bloody wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Ending the region’s wars and crises, and establishing peace, security and tranquility, require a robust policy vis-à-vis the mullahs’ regime. We wish Ambassador Bolton success in this regard.
According to Radio Free Europe, Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for Bolton, said that Bolton “doesn’t respond to propaganda from a government long included on the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism,” referring to the Islamic Republic of Iran.