Iran General NewsCall to EU over Iranian opposition

Call to EU over Iranian opposition


ImagePress Association: Europe's governments are being urged to follow the UK's lead and remove Iran's opposition movement from a list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

The Press Association

ImageEurope's governments are being urged to follow the UK's lead and remove Iran's opposition movement from a list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

The move follows the end of a seven-year legal battle by the People's Mujahadeen of Iran (PMOI) during which British and EU courts have ruled there is no justification for the organisation appearing on the blacklist.

In 2001 the then home secretary Jack Straw added the PMOI to the UK's terror list, drawn up under the Terrorism Act, and asked the EU to add it to its own list.

But in 2006 the European Court of Justice said the decision to include the PMOI on the EU list was "unlawful".

Then last year the UK's Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission described the Government's refusal to take the PMOI off the UK list as "perverse" and "flawed".

A final Government legal challenge was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on May 7, prompting Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to agree to remove the PMOI from the UK list.

PMOI lawyer David Vaughan QC told a victory meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels that EU governments now had no choice but to take the PMOI off the EU list as well.

He said it had been a "great honour" to fight the case, adding: "It is easy to win a case if you have good case."

The next job was to persuade the member states that the legitimacy of keeping the PMOI on the EU list depended entirely on the validity of Mr Straw's decision to put the organisation on the UK list: "Once the UK measures were declared unlawful on May 7, the European measures had no legitimate basis in law."

Labour peer Lord Clarke, one of 35 MPs and lords named in a legal challenge to the Government, said keeping the PMOI on the EU list was now "wrong and indefensible". The organisation was the "democratic face of Iran", he told the Brussels meeting.

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