WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The Trump administration’s top official overseeing Iran policy met with a representative of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) weeks after a U.S. strike martyred Iran’s top military leader.
Brian Hook, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, met on January 31 with Robert G. Joseph, a former senior State official who now represents the MKO, according to a foreign agent filing that Joseph submitted to the Justice Department this week.
The MKO, which is detested by Iranians over its history of assassinations and bombings in Iran and betrayal of the country during the Iraqi war, was on the U.S. government’s official list of foreign terrorist organizations until 2012
Joseph’s meeting with Hook came just a few weeks after a U.S. airstrike martyred Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander.
Gen. Soleimani was "directly responsible for killing some of my MKO people,” Rudy Giuliani, a long-time ally of the terrorist group, told The Daily Beast in January. "We don’t like him very much.”
The meeting with Hook was one of three of U.S. government contacts reported in Joseph’s semi-annual filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but the only one that took place after the assassination.
Joseph’s FARA filing does not include any details on what was discussed at each of those meetings. In general, he told the Justice Department, he worked to provide advice to MKO terrorists on a range of issues, including: how best to counter "false narratives” about the MKO; how to improve the reach and effectiveness of the MKO work against Iran, regional role and its nuclear program; and "how to advance the cause of building a free and democratic Iran”.
Joseph also provided advice to strengthen the protection and security of MKO terrorists from the former U.S. military camp in Baghdad, who are now residing outside Tirana, Albania, according to his Justice Department filing.
The MKO is headquartered in Paris and staffed by the brutal group’s members.
The MKO has long worked to ingratiate itself with key U.S. policymakers, chiefly foreign policy hawks who seek to oust the Islamic Republic. It has forged ties with a number of officials who have served in or advised the Trump administration, including Giuliani and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Pompeo himself spoke at an event that included MKO terrorists last year.
Joseph is a longtime MKO ally, and signed up to lobby directly for the terrorist group in January 2019. He told the U.S. Department of Justice at the time that he planned to "interact with Albanian officials, U.S. Embassy, State Department staff, White House, and any other U.S. personnel as required, as well as UN officials.” He’s being paid $15,000 per month for his services.
Prior to his private sector work, Joseph oversaw nuclear nonproliferation and arms control policies as a senior official in George W. Bush’s State Department. He took a hard line on Iran in that position, according to contemporaneous reports.
More recently, at an MKO event in March 2019, Joseph expressed his hope that Tehran’s government would soon fall.