An article in yesterday's Metro section listed the address of the Iran Relief Fund, whose charitable registration was revoked by Maryland officials because it was believed to be linked to a terrorist organization. The Washington address is the one listed with the Maryland secretary of state, and is where the group takes phone calls and receives its mail. But the group does not maintain an office at the building; it only uses an answering service there, according to operators at the answering service and the building owner.
A group that federal officials say is linked to an Iranian terrorist organization has been going door to door soliciting charitable contributions in the Washington area and in 12 states elsewhere, Maryland officials said yesterday.
U.S. State Department officials said that the group, the Washington-based Iran Relief Fund, is affiliated with the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, which has engaged in "bombings, assassinations of Iranians, attacks on Israeli offices in Tehran and bank robberies" since its inception in the 1960s.
The officials said the Mujaheddin Organization was in the forefront of the resistance to the shah of Iran and assassinated at least seven Americans before the shah's fall in 1979. The group supported the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he came to power and served as the regime's initial security force, officials said.
Registration papers filed by the Iran Relief Fund in Maryland and Virginia indicated that the group collected $97,230 from American contributors during the year that ended Sept. 30, 1984, state officials said. No figures were available for 1985.
Maryland Secretary of State Lorraine M. Sheehan said that her office revoked the group's registration "after learning from the U.S. State Department that the primary purpose of the fund was not charitable or benevolent."
Virginia officials said yesterday that they will review their file on the fund, which is registered in Virginia through Feb. 15, and decide what action to take. District officials said that the fund's registration to solicit charitable contributions in the city expired Aug. 31. No application for renewal of the registration has been filed, they said.
Officials of the relief fund, which has offices at 2021 K St. NW, did not respond yesterday to a reporter's inquiries.
State Department officials said the Mujaheddin Organization operates under other names, including the National Council of Resistance, Moslem Iranian Students Society, Iranian Resistance and variations on those names. The group is now out of favor in Iran, and its leader, Massoud Rajavi, is in exile in Paris.
"But they haven't changed their doctrine -- they are still anti-Western, antidemocratic, anti-American, militantly Islamic, and they continue to employ terrorism and violence as their policies," a State Department official said.
The registration papers filed by the Iran Relief Fund with Maryland said that the group assists "Iranian refugees who are victims of persecution in Iran by providing for basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, health care and legal aid."
The organization said it was registered to solicit in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District.