The former speaker of the house traveled to Paris last week to speak to an Iranian exile group led by Maryam Rajavi, who also heads an officially designated terrorist group called MEK.
When Newt Gingrich arrived in Paris last week to speak to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian exile umbrella group that's been based there since shortly after the 1979 revolution, he seemed to know exactly who Maryam Rajavi is. He praised Rajavi and her work several times in his speech, which he delivered as the prominent exile stood at his side. Before the speech, as he neared the end of a long line of attendees who stood in the rain to shake his hand, he turned to face Rajavi, smiled, and at approximately 1:02 minutes into the above video, folded at the waist and bowed solemnly. Rajavi, clothed head-to-toe in green, handed him a bouquet of flowers as the crowd cheered.
Maryam Rajavi, the woman who so warmly received Newt Gingrich's bow, is the president-elect of the NCRI. But she's better known as the "principal leader" of Mujahadeen-e-Khalq or MEK, which is officially designated by the United States as a terrorist group. (The MEK, designated a terrorist group by the European Union until 2009, is also the largest group within the NCRI.) The MEK participated in the 1979 Iranian revolution, but later turned against the theocratic government, which it has opposed in part with terrorist attacks against Iranian officials, embassies, and civilians. For years, it was sponsored by Saddam Hussein. Rajavi's husband, Massoud, is thought to lead the MEK's armed wing.