Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Gives Rally Calling for Iran Regime Change Right Outside Warsaw Middle East Summit Featuring Jared Kushner, Mike Pence

Ahead of a U.S.-led summit on the Middle East that got underway today in Warsaw, Poland, President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was spotted giving a speech at an event for the Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq, also known as MEK.

"It's a great honor for me to be here with you in order to make a very important point to all of the government officials who are meeting across the way in the stadium," Giuliani told the crowd. "In order to have peace and security in the Middle East, there has to be a major change in the theocratic dictatorship in Iran. It must end, and end quickly, in order to have peace and stability."

The group, which the U.S. listed as a terrorist organization until as recently as 2012, openly advocates for regime change in Iran. Giuliani has a longstanding relationship with MEK and frequently speaks at its annual conferences in Paris.

"If the MEK were holding an event on the South Pole, Rudy Giuliani would participate," Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College and former Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department, told Newsweek. "He seems wholly addicted to the group's honorarium checks, and he refuses to let it bother him that the MEK has American blood on its hands. He is the picture of a man without principle."

Experts estimate that MEK pays its high-profile speakers up to $50,000 for their appearances. The group says raises money from private donations, but the source of its funding has never been publicly verified.

Other U.S. officials who have spoken at MEK rallies include National Security Adviser John Bolton and former U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich. Bolton is another vocal proponent of regime change in Iran.

gettyimages-1124588533-594x594
President Donald Trump's lawyer speaks at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland prior to a rally for the MEK, an Iranian opposition group that advocates for regime change. Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The group has an office in Washington, D.C., and has registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) with the name National Council of Resistance of Iran.

"NCRI-US engages in disseminating information about the politico-economic situation in Iran and the Middle East, holds conferences and gatherings, conducts meetings, and engages in media activities. It will respond to inquiries as well as brief the U.S. Government, Congress and the general public," reads one of the group's recent FARA filings.

MEK first formed as a student group in the 1960s, when it espoused an ideology that mixed Marxism with Shiite Islam.

After Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power, he became suspicious of MEK's Marxist ideology and prohibited the group from taking a role in government. In response, MEK began to launch attacks against Khomeini's followers. The MEK bombed the headquarters of Iran's ruling party in 1981, killing more than 70 government officials.

In 1992, the group gained international notoriety by attacking Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, including the Iranian mission to the United Nations.

MEK has been described as a cult and is deeply unpopular in Iran. Today, the group is led from Paris by Maryam Rajavi, the wife of MEK founder Massoud Rajavi, who disappeared mysteriously in the early 2000s. The group is known to pay participants to attend its events to create the appearance that it has more robust support than it actually does.

The U.S.-led summit on the Middle East takes place in Poland throughout Wednesday and Thursday. Iran is expected to be a major topic of discussion during the event.

Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Gives Rally Calling for Iran Regime Change Right Outside Warsaw Middle East Summit Featuring Jared Kushner, Mike Pence | World