Labour MP’s Trip Funded by Front For ‘Bizarre Iranian Cult’

A Labour MP’s trip to Paris was paid for by an Iranian exile group which has been described as the front organisation for a ‘bizarre cult’. Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins accepted £800 worth of accommodation, meals and transport from the France-based National Council for Resistance (NCRI) in Iran for a two-day trip in July. The NCRI is widely considered to be the political front for the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), who oppose the Khomeinist regime in Iran, and were a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK until 2008. Though the MEK has been praised for its opposition to Iranian theocracy, the methods and precise motives of the group have split Western opinion, with the US government describing it as a ‘cult’. Michael Axworthy, former head of the FCO’s Iran Section, said:

“[The MEK] is a bizarre organisation. As it is today, it resembles a kind of religious cult, brainwashing its adherents, taking their money and property, and separating them from partners and families… It originated in the 1960s as a violent Marxist-Islamic group opposed to the Shah; in the 1970s, it killed US servicemen in Iran, among others. It gave significant armed support to the revolution in 1979, but lost out to Khomeini’s supporters in a bloody power struggle thereafter, was forced into exile, and later was based in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Because it fought on Saddam’s side against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, it has since then been completely discredited with ordinary Iranians in Iran. No one with any claim to sound judgment, let alone high office, should have given [the MEK] their backing.”

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