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Their homes got bombed. Here's how these Iranian musicians got even


Their homes got bombed. Here's how these Iranian musicians got even

 Band practice is a little different in Camp Liberty. 

The former U.S. military base in Iraq houses some 2,000 members of an exiled Iranian opposition group called the MEK, or Mojahedin-e-Khalq. 

In October, an Iran-backed Shia militia took credit for a rocket attack that killed over 20 Camp Liberty residents. Three days later, a group of musicians calling themselves Music Ashraf responded with a music video they wrote, performed and produced.

Their homes got bombed. Here's how these Iranian musicians got even

"The moment I realized how horrific the missile barrage was and how many of my friends had been killed, I conceived the idea of writing and performing this song," Rouzbeh Emadzadeh, Music Ashraf's lead singer, said.

Maryam Rajavi Message to U S Senate 15Dec2015

5 Things You Didn't Know About The MEK

1. Its leader is a woman

Maryam Rajavi is one half of the husband-and-wife duo at the center of the MEK. 

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Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, waves to the audience as she addresses thousands of exiled Iranians in Villepinte, north of Paris, Friday June 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Rermy de la Mauviniere)

She runs the organization's parliament-in-exile in Paris; her husband's whereabouts are unknown. She's has made gender equality one of the MEK's main platforms. Today, women make up half the group's leadership council.

2. It was once labeled a terrorist group

In 1997, the US designated the MEK a terrorist organization -- a decision widely interpreted as a goodwill gesture to Tehran's then-newly elected president. The State Department pointed to allegations the MEK was involved in the killing of several Americans in the '70s and an attempted attack on Iran's mission to the United Nations in 1992. The group maintains it played no role in the attacks, which it says were carried out by Iranians unaffiliated with the MEK. 

The MEK publicly renounced violence and disarmed in 2003. Following an intense lobbying effort by the group, the Obama administration took the MEK off the terrorist list in 2012.

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Members of the Iranian-American community hold posters of Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), along with the Iranian flag and resistance flags, march past the Capitol during a protest in Washington Saturday, April 19, 2003. The demonstrators were calling for urgent action by international bodies to stop Tehran's attacks on the bases of the People's Mojahedin Organization, which is the main resistance group to the current Iranian government, based along the Iran-Iraq border. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

3. They have friends in Washington

A long list of current and former US officials give paid speeches at the group's annual rally in Paris. 

Past speakers include former Sen. John McCain, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired General Wesley Clark, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, ex-State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

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Members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq organization chant slogans and hold banners during a tour organized by the Iraqi government for foreign diplomats in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Iraq's government has given foreign diplomats a rare look inside a refugee camp housing Iranian exiles, as Baghdad seeks international help resettling them in another country. Baghdad's Shiite-led government considers the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq a terrorist organization that is living in the country illegally. The government organized Tuesday's visit to Camp Liberty outside the capital, where 2,300 members of the group live, to speed their departure. The MEK is an opposition group to Tehran's clerical regime and cannot return to Iran. They were given sanctuary in Iraq by Saddam Hussein decades ago. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

4. Some call it a cult

Ex-MEK members have described the group forcing its followers to divorce their spouses and pledge lifelong celibacy. Others say devotion to the Rajavis borders on hero worship. The MEK dismisses the cult allegations.

Several hundred supporters of the opposition national Council of Resistance of Iran demonstrate on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2005, in front of the IAEA building in Vienna, Austria, demanding the referral of Iran's nuclear file to the U.N. Security Council. The demonstrators carry flags and pictures of Maryam Radjavi and Massoud Radjavi, both leaders of the main Iranian opposition. (AP Photo/Rudi Blaha)

5. They want a nuclear-free Iran

The group says it provided the U.S. with sensitive information regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions. In 2002, it revealed the existence of Iranian nuclear facilities at Arak and Natanz.

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