Need to Confront All Terrorists to End Terror

Need to Confront All Terrorists to End TerrorNeed to Confront All Terrorists to End Terror

A former Iranian diplomat criticized the support of some European and regional states for certain terrorist groups as a major obstacle to an effective global anti-terror campaign.

"In the fight against terrorism, European and Saudi leaders should know better than to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' terrorism, or tolerate any form of terrorism for the sake of cheap geopolitical gains," Hossein Mousavian said in an article published by the Huffington Post on Thursday.

Paris recently hosted a rally of the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, where Saudi Prince Turki al-Feisal openly expressed support for the group's long-sought goal to topple the Islamic Republic.

It sparked sharp criticism from Iranian officials and led the Foreign Ministry to summon French Ambassador Francois Senemaud to hear its protest.

  Terror Cousins

Mousavian drew a parallel between the MKO and the self-styled Islamic State, a notorious group behind a truck terrorist attack last week that also happened to hit a French city, Nice.

"Both … are groups with a history of terrorism, and both, in some way or another, are influenced by the kingdom," he said.

"While ISIS [another acronym for IS] wreaks havoc on the world with its global acts of terror, the MKO ravages Iran. In much the same way ISIS is a twisted offspring of the Sunni world that has ravaged, among others, Sunni-populated areas, the MKO is its counterpart for Iranians in the Shia world."

Mousavian called on the world community to treat the MKO like IS or at the very least avoid hosting the group and endorsing it.

Elaborating on MKO's history, the ex-diplomat said, "While the group no longer has the distinction of a terrorist group in the United States and is not related to or as widely destructive as IS, in Iran the MKO is still very much a perpetrator of terror."

"Apart from targeting thousands of Iranians, Iraqis and Kurds, in the 1970s, MKO carried out assassination campaigns against several high-profile Americans as well, among them two top commanders of the US Air Force," he said.

During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, the MKO sided with Saddam Hussein, but fell out of favor with Baghdad after the former Iraqi dictator was toppled by the 2003 US-led invasion.

  Hyper Anti-Iran Posture

Mousavian noted that Prince Turki's comments could have serious consequences for Tehran-Riyadh relations going forward.

"During my trip to Iran a few weeks ago, I spoke with a senior official about the necessity of improving Iran-Saudi relations. He told me that Iran was willing to engage the Saudis but that Riyadh has adopted a confrontational approach," he said.

"This official informed me that Iran had detailed intelligence about Riyadh's financial support to the MKO, which he said had increased 800% in the past two years. He also noted that Saudi Arabia would cover the cost of this year's MKO conference in Paris and that Prince Turki would be present to publicly declare Saudi Arabia's support."

Mousavian also said Prince Turki's speech to the MKO was a sign that Saudi Arabia has decided to destroy any chance of de-escalating tensions between the two nations, warning that Saudi leaders should realize that not only are they imperiling regional and global security, but they are also following in the footsteps of Saddam Hussein.

He added that the oil kingdom's extreme hostility against the Islamic Republic has alienated most of Saudi western and regional allies.

"Saudi Arabia has already separated itself from its traditional regional allies with its hyper anti-Iranian posture, so much so that only Bahrain, which is effectively under Saudi occupation, is standing fully with it. World powers, on the other hand, are pursuing ways of enhancing ties with Iran," Mousavian said.