New York Times: A prominent Iranian opposition group won an appeal on Thursday against a European Union decision to freeze its funds.
The New York Times
By JAMES KANTER
Published: October 23, 2008
BRUSSELS — A prominent Iranian opposition group won an appeal on Thursday against a European Union decision to freeze its funds. The move could increase pressure on the European Union to relax its ban on the group, the People’s Mujahedeen, which is on a European terrorist list.
The European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg said that the People’s Mujahedeen had renounced violence earlier this decade. The group said it would concentrate instead on peaceful opposition to the government in Tehran.
The decision by the court follows a ruling in May by the Court of Appeal in Britain that the British government was wrong to include the group on its list of banned terrorist groups.
The Court of First Instance, the European Union’s second-highest tribunal, said Thursday that the evidence presented was “manifestly insufficient to provide legal justification for continuing to freeze” the group’s funds.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the group’s political wing, said in a statement that the ruling “puts an end to the unjust label of terrorism.”
The group is regarded as potentially the most important force in the Iranian resistance. Legalization could allow the group to raise money and organize resistance to Iran’s ruling ayatollahs.
According to the European Union court, the Iranian group was founded in 1965 with the goal of replacing the government of the shah of Iran. But after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which brought clerics to power, the ayatollahs and the group turned against each other.