Iran General NewsGovernment ordered to end 'perverse' terror listing of Iran...

Government ordered to end ‘perverse’ terror listing of Iran opposition

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The Guardian: The government has been ordered to remove the main Iranian opposition organisation from a list of banned terrorist groups by a panel that called the decision to list the group “perverse”. The Guardian

Clare Dyer, legal editor

The government has been ordered to remove the main Iranian opposition organisation from a list of banned terrorist groups by a panel that called the decision to list the group “perverse”.

The Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC) ruled yesterday that the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, acted illegally in refusing to take the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) off the proscribed terrorist blacklist drawn up under the 2000 Terrorist Act.

Courts rarely call government decisions perverse, and the panel, chaired by former high court judge Sir Harry Ognall and cleared to see secret material, said: “We recognise that a finding of perversity is uncommon.” It added: “We believe, however, that this commission is in the (perhaps unusual) position of having before it all of the material that is relevant to this decision.”

The Home Office minister Tony McNulty said he was disappointed by the decision. “We don’t accept it and we intend to appeal.

“The government adopted a cautious approach in relation to the de-proscription of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran. I remain convinced that where terrorism is concerned the rights of the law-abiding majority and the overriding need to protect the public…must lead us to take such a cautious approach.”

The case was taken to POAC by 35 cross-party senior MPs and peers including a former home secretary, Lord Waddington, former solicitor general, Lord Archer, and a retired law lord, Lord Slynn.

In a 144-page judgment, the commission ruled that in deciding to maintain the ban the Home Office had misunderstood the law, ignored important facts and reached a “perverse” decision.

The panel concluded that action by the PMOI against Iranian military and security targets had effectively ended in 2001, that the organisation maintained no military structure, that it had disarmed in 2003, and that it had not attempted to re-arm.

The organisation, which campaigns for the replacement of the Iranian regime by a secular democracy, drew the world’s attention to Iran’s nuclear programme in 2002.

Lord Corbett, chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, said after the ruling: “I now invite the former home secretary and foreign secretary, Jack Straw, to apologise for the hurt and harm he has done to the Iranian resistance by his supine agreement to the demands of the mullahs.

“Today’s decision signals that the Iranian resistance – demonised, vilified, unjustly labelled terrorist – wants no more than to help the people of Iran to rid themselves of the misrule of the mullahs.”

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which includes PMOI, described the ruling as “a magnificent victory for justice”. She added: “We have always said the fundamental solution to the Iranian crisis is neither foreign military intervention nor appeasement. The solution is democratic change by the Iranian people and resistance.”

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