Washington Times: An unlikely duo of a Scottish conservative and a Portuguese socialist from the European Parliament today open a campaign in Washington to build support for the removal of the main Iranian resistance group from a terrorist blacklist. The Washington Times
By James Morrison
An unlikely duo of a Scottish conservative and a Portuguese socialist from the European Parliament today open a campaign in Washington to build support for the removal of the main Iranian resistance group from a terrorist blacklist.
The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) wants “to see freedom and democracy restored to Iran,” said Struan Stevenson, the conservative co-chairman of the European Parliament’s Friends of a Free Iran caucus.
Mr. Stevenson and the other co-chairman, socialist Paulo Casaca, have meetings with members of Congress to discuss efforts to lift the terrorist label on the PMOI, imposed in 1997 when the Clinton administration was trying to open relations with Iran. They will be in friendly territory on Capitol Hill, where 150 members of Congress signed a letter in 2005 calling for the removal of the group from the terrorist list.
The State Department has accused the PMOI of assassinating U.S. military personnel and civilians in Iran and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. The PMOI blamed rogue elements within the organization for the assassinations and noted that the leadership and most of the membership at the time were arrested and executed by the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was deposed in the Iranian Revolution.
The European Union cited the PMOI as a terrorist group in 2002 and has defied an order by the bloc’s highest court to remove the organization from the blacklist. The Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice declared the terrorist designation of the PMOI “unlawful” in 2006.
Mr. Stevenson noted that the PMOI helped the West twice by exposing details of Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
“They were the first to disclose the top-secret nuclear enrichment program to the West, and only two weeks ago, they revealed detailed information about the expansion of this project, even naming the exact locations and the scientists involved,” he said.
“They provide this information to the West at enormous risk to themselves, and yet we thank them by placing them on our terrorist blacklists.”
Mr. Stevenson called on the United States and the European Union to abandon the “current policy of appeasement … [and”> support the main Iranian opposition in overthrowing the brutal, misogynist mullah regime” in Iran.
Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Casaca will hold a press conference tomorrow at 8 a.m. at the National Press Club.