National Council of Resistance of Iran spokesman Farzin Hashemi at a hotel in Brussels, 10 May 2007
An Iranian resistance group has gone to court to force the European Union to remove the organization from a terror blacklist and pay it $1.4 million in damages.
At a news conference Thursday in Brussels, lawyers representing the People’s Mujahadeen Organization of Iran complained that the EU continued to list the group as a terrorist organization, despite a court ruling annulling that designation.
The European Court of First Instance decided last December to annul the listing. But the EU has argued that the decision was based on procedural matters and refers only to an older list, not the current one. The EU says it has sent the People’s Mujahadeen a letter explaining why it is blacklisted.
The group’s political arm (the National Council of Resistance of Iran) claims the EU has taken the decision in order to appease the Iranian government.
Iran protested last week’s visit by one of the group’s leaders, Maryam Rajavi, to the European Parliament.
The organization began in the 1960s as a leftist-Islamist militant group challenging the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but split with the ruling Shi’ite clerics, including Ayatollah Khomenei, after the Shah was overthrown. The organization established bases in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.
The group claims to have given up its militancy in 2001, but the United States continues to consider it a terrorist organization as well.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
By VOA News – 10 May 2007