Irish Times: An exiled Iranian opposition group called for its name to be taken off the US terrorist list yesterday following a landmark legal victory in Europe.
The Irish Times
JAMIE SMYTH in Brussels
AN EXILED Iranian opposition group called for its name to be taken off the US terrorist list yesterday following a landmark legal victory in Europe.
“The European Union has conceded to the rule of law,” said Maryam Rajavi, president of the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), which fought a seven-year battle through the European courts to force EU states to remove the group from its terror list.
“The time has come to place the illegitimate [Iranian] regime on the terrorist list,” said Ms Rajavi at a celebratory rally with thousands of PMOI supporters in Brussels.
The EU placed the PMOI on its terror list in 2002 and has stubbornly resisted attempts by the group to be removed from it.
The group won three cases at the European Court of First Instance – one of the EU’s highest courts – but each time EU foreign ministers simply drew up a new terrorist list and included the group in an effort to circumvent the ruling.
This week EU foreign ministers complied with the decision and removed the PMOI from the list, even though this could complicate delicate talks over Iran’s nuclear programme.
It means some €7 million in frozen assets belonging to the PMOI will be unblocked.
It also sets a legal precedent whereby any group placed on the terror list must be told why it is placed on the list and be given an opportunity to appeal the decision in the courts.
Iran strongly criticised the EU decision, which it said would “encourage terrorism”.
But Ms Rajavi said the EU decision may help the talks with Tehran and called for President Barack Obama to do the same.
“The PMOI should be removed from the United States terror list; this is the best policy even for negotiations with the mullah regime,” she said.
The PMOI was founded in 1965 with the aim of overthrowing the first Shah, and later the radical Islamic regime in Iran.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish MEP, said the removal of the group from the EU list put an end to an ignominious chapter in EU history.