Jan 27 2009
IRAN GROUP TAKEN OFF TERROR LIST
The European Union (EU) has removed an Iranian opposition group from its list of terrorist groups and lifted restrictions on the group’s funds.
The decision by the 27-nation bloc’s foreign ministers means that as of Tuesday, the assets of the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, or PMOI, will be unfrozen.
It is the first time an organisation has been “de-listed” by the EU.
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the group, said $9m had been frozen in France alone, with “tens of millions of dollars” worth of assets also locked away in other EU countries.
The group had been blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the EU since 2002, but waged a long legal battle in the EU’s court of justice to reverse that decision.
Several EU court decisions went in the group’s favour. One ruling held that the EU had failed to properly explain why it froze the assets of the Paris-based group.
Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said: “What we are doing today is abiding by the decision of the court. There is nothing we can do about the decision.
The PMOI has long tried to shed its ‘terrorist’ tag, despite a series of bloody anti-Western attacks in the 1970s and nearly 30 years of violent struggle against Iran’s Islamic establishment.
The court-mandated move is likely to complicate difficult ties with Iran just as the EU is trying to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear programme.
The EU and the US fear Iran is building atomic weapons, an accusation that Iran denies.
The PMOI has been on the US’ state department’s terrorist list since the mid-1990s.
In 1986, the group established the Ashraf camp in Iraq for about 3,500 members, which its forces used to launch cross-border attacks into Iran.
After US-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president, in 2003, US troops removed the Iranian group’s weapons and confined its fighters to the camp.
It figures, the Islamization of Europe is nearly complete.
UPDATE: US keeps Iranian opposition group on terrorist blacklist
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