In a rare move, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a cable sent to all American missions overseas has ordered them to limit contact with Iranian opposition groups unless specifically approved, in order not to worsen tensions with the Iranian regime.
"Many exiled Iranian opposition groups try to engage U.S. officials regularly to gain at least the appearance of tacit support and enhance their visibility and clout," CNN cited Pompeo as saying according to a copy of the diplomatic cable.
Pompeo also noted that many of these groups "have previously or are currently using violent means in support of their political aims."
Bloomberg which first acquired the cable reported that the directive delivered in the cable refers to Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO/MEK), its offshoot -- the National Council of Resistance of Iran -- and five other groups.
In a tweet on January 7 Bloomberg reporter Nicholas Wadhams said MEK has paid thousands of dollars to people including Rudy Guiliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, and John Bolton for speeches.
In his directive, Pompeo has asserted that meetings with the anti-Islamic Republic groups could jeopardize Washington's diplomacy endeavors to normalize relations with Tehran.
The cable was relayed after the U.S. targeted killing of Iran's Qods Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani outside Baghdad international airport last Friday which was ordered personally by President Donald Trump.
Wadhams in another tweet added the names of the Southern Azerbaijan National Liberation Movement and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan to the list of groups to be avoided.
In the cable, Pompeo has also noted that some of these groups have a history of using violence to achieve political objectives and that some of them seek to overthrow the Iranian regime.
“Direct U.S. government engagement with these groups could prove counterproductive to our policy goal of seeking a comprehensive deal with the Iranian regime that addresses its destabilizing behavior," Wadhams has quoted from the cable in another tweet in a string of tweets on the subject.
President Trump has on several occasions, including his first comments since Soleimani was killed in Baghdad in a U.S. airstrike, indicated that his administration is not seeking regime change in Iran.
Furthermore, the cable specifically directs U.S. diplomatic posts not to meet in person with the Arab Struggle Movement or Komala because "Iran's regime appears to assess that the United States and/or Israel support this group of militant Kurds and Arabs."