December 20, 2006
BRUSSELS (AP)–Some European Union lawmakers and an exiled Iranian resistance movement Wednesday urged the E.U. and the U.S. to remove the Paris-based group quickly from their lists of terrorist organizations.
“Something must be done immediately to remove the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran from all terror lists,” said Struan Stevenson, a Conservative member of the European Parliament.
Last week, the European Court of Justice overturned an E.U. decision in 2002 to freeze the assets of the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran, or PMOI.
Despite the ruling, the E.U. has not removed the organization from its list of terrorist organizations or freed its assets. The E.U. said the court ruling didn’t call into question its blacklist, which includes groups and people like Osama bin Laden, Hamas and al-Qaida.
But Spanish E.U. lawmaker Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca hailed the ruling, saying it obliged the authorities to end sanctions against PMOI. He described the decision to ban the group in 2002 as a “politically motivated goodwill gesture toward the Iranian government.”
He said that instead of encouraging moderates in Iran, the gesture had resulted in greater intransigence by Tehran on issues such as its nuclear program.
The mujahedeen were originally set up in the mid-1960s to oppose the U.S.-backed dictatorship of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
At the time, a Marxist splinter group within the PMOI carried out several attacks on Iranian security forces in which six U.S. advisers died. This was cited by the U.S. State Department as justification for placing the mujahedeen on its terror list in the mid-1990s.
After the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the shah, the group was exiled to Iraq, from where they carried out cross-border raids during the 1980-88 war between the two countries. Several thousand of its members were disarmed by U.S. forces after Saddam’s overthrow in 2003 and restricted to an army camp near Baghdad.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran -an umbrella group that includes the PMOI – called on the U.S. State Department to take note of the court decision and remove the group from its own blacklist.