January 13, 2020

Trump Admin Walks Back Anti-MEK Memo
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. And the Department’s move to change its guidance has drawn cheers from them. 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. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent out the memo on January 7, and it cautioned that meetings with these groups could undermine U.S. efforts to reach a deal with Tehran. Joey Hood, a senior career State Department official, approved the memo, according to the document The Daily Beast reviewed. 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. “Posts should welcome opportunities to meet with and learn from members of the Iranian diaspora community,” said the cable, which explicitly noted it “supersedes” the January 7 missive. “After 40 years of repression and violence at the hands of the Ayatollahs, the Iranian people’s pride in their history has not diminished nor has their resolve to celebrate it in the face of the Islamic republic’s abuses.” Rudy Giuliani Calls Former Iranian Terrorists ‘My People’The cable went on to say that U.S. diplomats should consider hosting members of the diaspora for “Persian cultural events,” while noting that “not all Iranian opposition groups’ interests and objectives align with U.S. policy priorities.” “While it is up to the Iranian people to determine the future course of their nation, the United States will continue to stand with them and echo their calls for justice and accountability,” the cable said.While the new memo did not mention MEK or the other groups, it said diplomats should simply “use good judgement when receiving invitations or meeting with opposition groups” and should raise questions and concerns with senior State officials––an apparent revocation of the order that they only take such meetings with Foggy Bottom’s explicit approval. State Department spokespersons did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the cable.Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani—who the MEK hired to help it get off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist groups and who recently called the group “my MEK people”—welcomed the reversal. “[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,” the president’s personal lawyer messaged The Daily 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.”The MEK is close with several other hawkish Trumpworld figures, including retired Gen. Jack Keane and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Giuliani’s longtime friend and former law partner, is a pro bono adviser to the group’s political wing. The group has a controversial past. For, among other things, its alleged role in assassinating three U.S. Army officers and three more civilian contractors, the MEK found itself on the American government’s official list of foreign terrorist organizations. It’s also been accused of acting as a death squad for the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. A 2009 Rand Corporation paper described the MEK’s “near-religious devotion to [its leaders], public self-deprecation sessions, mandatory divorce, celibacy, enforced separation from family and friends, and gender segregation.” The group and its allies vehemently deny all these charges. The fast-paced walk-back came after the initial State Department memo drew ire from Congressional Iran hawks. One noted that the memo went out to diplomats just days after a U.S. strike killed Soleimani, and as senior political officials at the State Department were presumably bracing for Tehran’s retaliation. “It’s a pretty significant 180 for State,” said Christian Whiton, formerly a senior advisor to the Department under Presidents Trump and George W. Bush. “Even if it’s worded diplomatically, it’s not that common to have something issued and then rescinded almost immediately. And I think it just goes to show that the original statement was something done at a junior level that didn’t have support or buy-in from senior political officials.”It was the second time in recent months that Hood, the career official who greenlit the memo, angered Hill hawks. In Congressional testimony on December 4, he had a tense exchange with Sen. Ted Cruz about funding for the Lebanese government and whether that money went to Hezbollah. A transcript of the hearing indicates that Hood laughed in response to a question from Cruz; the episode left raw nerves. “They’re undermining the president’s policy when nobody’s watching,” said a Hill staffer for member pushing for a tougher policy toward Iran. Others, meanwhile, pointed to the reversal as the latest struggle by the Trump administration to clearly explain its stance on conflict with Iran. A Congressional staffer working on Iran policy and who favored the reversal noted that it comes as the administration has sent mixed messages on the legal basis for the Soleimani strike and the number of U.S. embassies threatened by Iranian-allied Shiite militias. “I think there’s a lot of fog of war-type messages that have come out,” said the staffer, who spoke anonymously to discuss the sensitive matter. “I think there’s still a lot of fog of war.”The State Department reversal, as reflected in the cable, comes as Pompeo and other U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, have struggled to publicly articulate the U.S.’ next steps after killing Soleimani and to reconcile their accounts of the intelligence that precipitated that strike.For years, the Trump administration had maintained a campaign of “maximum pressure,” leveling crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy in an effort to re-open talks with Tehran on a nuclear deal. Since the Soleimani strike, Trump administration officials have struggled to define the administration’s Iran policy. Some have said the maximum pressure campaign always included a military option. Others say the U.S. has long communicated to the Iranians that if Tehran killed Americans, there would be military consequences.Now, it seems, the State Department is shifting its thinking on how to approach Iran on a diplomatic level following the Soleimani strike. In the hours immediately following the assasination, U.S. officials, in an attempt to de-escalate, described the hit as a warning and insisted that America was still interested in working with Iran on conversations about the nuclear deal. The U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook appeared on BBC World, saying that killing Soleimani was designed to “advance the cause of peace.” Sunday’s cable, meanwhile, will cheer Iran hawks––and frustrate Obama administration alums.“There are at least two problems with this reversal,” said Jarrett Blanc, a former Obama administration official who worked on Iran policy. “The first is that the policy is wrong. U.S. diplomats should not be meeting with MEK or its affiliates. They represent a dangerous cult. We should avoid all the mistakes of the Iraq war including being hoodwinked by purported diaspora opposition with no links at home. The second problem is that it reflects the total incompetence and chaos of this administration’s policy making —to send out an instruction and less than a week later countermand it. They just don’t know what they are doing.”For years in the United States, lobbyists and advocates for the MEK have operated an aggressive, sustained, and successful campaign to have the group removed from the State Department’s terror list, a move that was finalized in the Obama era. The organization’s stateside backers also include Democratic figures such as retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, as well as attorneys Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, two informal legal advisers to Trump.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
TikTok Star Anthony Barajas Dead at 19 After Movie Theater Shooting
July 31, 2021
SHnUbzx_8os
Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim Flaunt Fiery Romance | E! News
July 31, 2021
TbDcEbCX9dc
Marc Jacobs Gets Candid With Facelift Results | E! News
July 31, 2021
UBCMPEACdVE
Carole Baskin Says Joe Exotic Should Get Lighter Sentence if he Snitches | TMZ
July 31, 2021
3nGwQlVCVjI
'Top Gun: Maverick' Star Lewis Pullman Admits He Puked While Filming Flight Scenes
July 29, 2021
rar5Yj7arLc
'Mr. Soul!' Documentary Profiles Gay Host Who Trailblazed Black Culture | TMZ
July 29, 2021
Mcqwwpps9Rw
Osama bin Laden’s family’s abandoned Bel Air estate lists for $28M | Page Six Celebrity News
July 30, 2021
mWPhNt37E3U
Kourtney Kardashian let Travis Barker chop off her hair | Page Six Celebrity News
July 30, 2021
0sO_udeHlK4
Ben Affleck squeezes hits the casino on vacation with Jennifer Lopez | Page Six Celebrity News
July 30, 2021
I-qapjiQ2Pw
Terry Crews - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony - Live Stream
July 30, 2021
VbmVHAEBz-w
Comcast's Q2 Beats Wall Street's Expectations
July 29, 2021
401AYi2eNCc
Variety’s ‘The Take’: Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney, ‘House of Gucci’ Releases Trailer, and More
July 30, 2021
dslLRI5HX14
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.