Iran General NewsEU court may lift ban on Iran opposition

EU court may lift ban on Iran opposition

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ImageDaily Telegraph: A court in Luxembourg will rush out a decision tomorrow on whether the EU acted unlawfully in maintaining a ban on the PMOI, Iran's main opposition group, after a similar ban was lifted by Parliament.
 

telegraph.co.uk

A court in Luxembourg will rush out a decision tomorrow on whether the EU acted unlawfully in maintaining a ban on the PMOI, Iran's main opposition group, after a similar ban was lifted by Parliament.
 

By Joshua Rozenberg

ImageA European court is to rule tomorrow on a claim that the EU Council committed a “fundamental error of law” in not removing the main Iranian opposition group from a list of banned terrorist organisations.

The ruling from the European Court of First Instance is expected less than 24 hours after an application by the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran — the PMOI — for the ban to be annulled. Normally, claimants have to wait weeks or months for a ruling from the court, part of the European Court of Justice.

David Vaughan QC told the court in Luxembourg today that this was the 19th time that the Council had named the PMOI as a terrorist organisation.

All previous bans had, in effect, been annulled. “The score is 18-nil to the PMOI,” said Mr Vaughan. But every time the court annulled a Council decision, he continued, the EU simply imposed a new six-month ban.

The PMOI's most recent victory, reported here, was in October. But that related to a ban that had expired this summer. It’s thought the court is anxious to deliver its ruling before the current ban expires.

The EU Council, supported by France, argued at today’s hearing that the PMOI should remain proscribed.

But Mr Vaughan pointed out that a ban by the Home Secretary had been overturned by an English court earlier this year. The Government’s application for permission to appeal had been dismissed by the Lord Chief Justice and Parliament had voted to lift the UK ban in June.

Even so, he said, the EU Council “had replaced the freezing of funds under UK law by an EU measure, notwithstanding the findings of the UK courts and of the UK Parliament that the continued proscription of the PMOI was totally without foundation, as the UK now accepts”.

Mr Vaughan said the PMOI had been blacklisted by the EU for some six years. But everyone accepted that it had not done anything that could be described as a terrorist act since 2001. Even before then, it had acted in self-defence against a regime that “everyone regards as abhorrent”.

First published December 3, 2008.

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