NewsSpecial WireBritish lawmakers vow to challenge blacklisting of Iran group

British lawmakers vow to challenge blacklisting of Iran group


Iran Focus: London, Feb. 07 – Numerous British lawmakers are launching a legal challenge to clear the name of Iran’s main opposition group of terrorism charges, it was announced at the British Parliament on Wednesday. Iran Focus

London, Feb. 07 – Numerous British lawmakers are launching a legal challenge to clear the name of Iran’s main opposition group of terrorism charges, it was announced at the British Parliament on Wednesday.

Some 35 members of both parliament’s chambers have taken part in the cross-party initiative, insisting that the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) is not guilty of acts of terrorism, Lord Corbett of Castle Vale said at a press conference in the House of Lords.

The announcement comes weeks after Europe’s Court of First Instance (CFI) annulled a decision by the European Union to freeze the group’s funds on the grounds that it was involved in terrorism.

“The PMOI was only placed on the blacklist because the mullahs demanded this”, Corbett, who heads the Labour peers group, said. “It is to the United Kingdom’s shame that it sided with those who use terror at home and export it abroad rather than those who are victims of terror”.

“It is even more shameful that this government persuaded the EU to defy the ruling of the European Court to unfreeze the PMOI’s assets”, he added in reference to a recent announcement by EU financial ministers that they would continue to impose financial restrictions on the group in an apparent cold-shouldering of the CFI’s December 2006 verdict. “This makes a mockery of the European Court”, he said.

Addressing British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, Corbett stated, “You have again made a wrong and dangerous choice. You should choose freedom not fundamentalism”.

Former Scottish Advocate-General Lord Fraser of Carmyllie of the opposition Conservative Party urged the British government to support the “Iranian Resistance”.

His comments were echoed by Baroness Harris of Richmond of the Liberal Democrat Party, who said that the decision to proscribe the PMOI was a “political decision”.

Andrew Mackinlay, MP, from Tony Blair’s ruling Labour Party said at the conference that the lawmakers were pursuing the legal action because they believed that it was “grossly unfair” to continue banning the group following the European Court ruling.

“We believe that it is in the United Kingdom’s interest to demonstrate to Tehran that we welcome and encourage the activities of the PMOI in exile. The sooner a very strong message can be sent to Tehran rather than appeasement, the sooner we can temper the activities of the regime”, he said.

Britain’s former Solicitor-General Lord Archer of Sandwell accused Iran’s theocratic government of being at the “centre of a web of terrorism”.

His comments were backed by Conservative MP David Gauke who said that Tehran was actively instigating instability in Iraq and Lebanon.

“We have a policy that appears to be nothing more than appeasement [of Iran”>”, Gauke said.

The PMOI was listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union in mid-2002, in what the EU’s then-Spanish leadership called “a goodwill gesture to Tehran”.

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