In a news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the U.S. for threatening the security of the region, saying Washington must pay for its wrongdoings. Qassemi’s remarks came days after the head of the MKO, Maryam Rajavi, met with John McCain, a senior U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. “You have stood up, fought, and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your future”, said McCain, referring to Rajavi. Qassemi further said the meeting came of no surprise to him, since the United States has supported various terrorist groups in recent decades. Once an important political actor inside Iran, the MKO fought the rule of Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, before the Islamic Revolution. However, after the 1979 revolution, it resorted to acts of terror and assassinations, killing thousands of innocent Iranians. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, MKO members were trained in the United States from 2005 to 2009, under former President George W. Bush. Their training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. Following the election of Donald Trump as president, anti-Iran warmonger became much more vocal in U.S. politics, which in turn has empowered the MKO-like groups and individuals who are now calling for “regime change” in Iran.