Iranian-American Indicted for Attending Terrorist Training Camp
by Jim Kouri, CPP
A United States citizen was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), by attending an MEK training camp in Iraq.
Zeinab Taleb-Jedi was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York. Taleb-Jedi, 51, lived in Herndon, Virginia before going to the MEK camp in Iraq in 1999. Taleb-Jedi immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1978, and she became a naturalized United States citizen in 1996.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Taleb-Jedi was discovered by coalition forces in an MEK training camp called Ashraf Base, which is 65 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. The MEK, also known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was first designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 1997.
MEK was founded in the 1960s by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists opposed to the country’s pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group participated in the 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
But MEK’s ideology, a blend of Marxism and Islamism, put it at odds with the postrevolutionary government, and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime.
In addition to its Paris-based members, MEK has a network of sympathizers in Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Taleb-Jedi will be arraigned on the one-count indictment in United States District Court in Brooklyn in approximately two weeks. The charge of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
Taleb-Jedi is being prosecuted in New York because her plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon her return from Iraq on March 31. The case is being prosecuted by Los Angeles-based attorneys who have been involved in MEK-related investigations since the 1990s.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation based in the Los Angeles Field Office.
MEK is officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States government and the group has lost three appeals (1999, 2001 and 2003) to the US government to be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and its terrorist status was reaffirmed each time.
MEK has continued to protest worldwide against its listing, with the overt support of some US political figures in the Democrat Party.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.