AFP: The main Iranian opposition group in exile on Thursday announced it is taking the EU to court, claiming it is disregarding a court decision by freezing its funds as an alleged terrorist organisation.
BRUSSELS, May 10, 2007 (AFP) – The main Iranian opposition group in exile on Thursday announced it is taking the EU to court, claiming it is disregarding a court decision by freezing its funds as an alleged terrorist organisation.
David Vaughan QC, acting for the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) said that papers had been filed with the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg on Wednesday claiming over one million euros (1.35 million dollars) in damages plus costs.
The group claims that the decision by the European Council — the 27 EU member states — to keep it on its terror list is based on events from over five years ago, and that there is no justification for its continued inclusion.
“We challenge the Council that if they have any evidence (of subsequent acts of violence) to disclose that evidence,” said Farzin Hashemi a leading figure in the umbrella group the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The exiled PMOI and its lawyers claim that the decision to retain the group on the terror list, which is renewed six-monthly, has been taken to appease the Iranian authorities during international negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
But Jean-Pierre Spitzer, another lawyer representing the group, told a press conference in Brussels that the EU “shouldn’t add a judicial disaster to a political disaster”.
“It is clear, to everyone who isn’t blind, that the Council has no alternative than to take the PMOI’s name off its list,” he added.
Last December the European Court of First Instance annulled an EU decision in 2002 to freeze the group’s assets, a move that forced the bloc to rethink the way it compiles its terror blacklist.
The PMOI was the armed wing of the France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) but renounced violence in June 2001.
The group claims support from a thousand lawmakers from 23 EU member states.
European parliament member Paolo Casaca, who also attended Thursday’s press conference, stated that “it is clear that the People’s Mojahedin has nothing to do with terrorism”.