UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 Iran blamed on Thursday
"a terrorist sect" for accosting a senior Iranian diplomat in
New York and condemned the United States for deciding to remove
the group, the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), from a U.S. list of
foreign terrorist organizations.
New York police said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Ramin Mehmanparast was verbally abused, pushed and shoved by
"anti-regime" protesters on the street as he walked a few blocks
from the headquarters of the United Nations on Wednesday.
He became separated from members of his party traveling by
car in a protected motorcade on Wednesday, New York Police
Department spokesman Paul Browne said. Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
Iranian officials said the incident took place during a
protest against Iran's government organized by the Iranian
dissident group MEK. The protest was near the U.N. headquarters
The United States said last week the MEK would be removed
from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Mehmanparast himself on Wednesday had condemned the U.S.
move on the MEK.
"There was an attack by MEK sect members on Mr. Ramin
Mehmanparast," said Alireza Miryusefi, spokesman for Iran's U.N.
mission. "MEK is going to be delisted from U.S. terrorist groups
and you can expect such aggressive behavior of a terrorist sect.
It would be another wrong step by the U.S. administration."
"The responsibility of protecting all diplomats is on behalf
of the government of the USA," he said.
The New York police characterized the incident involving
Mehmanparast differently. There were no arrests.
"He was verbally accosted by anti-regime protesters who
apparently recognized him," Browne said. "While there was some
pushing and shoving, we are not aware of any assault involved,
despite one protester's claim to have punched the diplomat in
"Uniformed NYPD officers responded and escorted Mr.
Mehmanparast away from the crowd and turned him over to NYPD
Intelligence Divisions' detectives, who along with the Secret
Service and State Department provide security for visiting
dignitaries during the U.N. General Assembly," he said.
The MEK, also known as the People's Mujahideen Organization
of Iran, calls for the overthrow of Iran's clerical leaders and
fought alongside Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's forces in the
Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. It also led a guerrilla campaign
against the U.S.-backed shah of Iran during the 1970s, including
attacks on American targets.
The U.S. decision came after years of intense lobbying by
the MEK, which had seen many of its members stranded in Iraq
even as the group fell out of Baghdad's favor after Saddam's
The United States added the MEK to its list of foreign
terrorist organizations in 1997. But the group has since said it
renounced violence and mounted a vigorous legal and public
relations campaign to have the designation dropped, including
endorsements by prominent former U.S. public officials.