NewsSpecial WireIran reacts sharply to London newspaper ad

Iran reacts sharply to London newspaper ad

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Iran Focus: London, Apr. 22 – The London-based Guardian newspaper drew an angry response from the Iranian embassy in London after it published a half-page advertisement containing statements by prominent British parliamentarians and jurists, who argued the case for the removal of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI), from terrorism lists.
Iran Focus

London, Apr. 22 – The London-based Guardian newspaper drew an angry response from the Iranian embassy in London after it published a half-page advertisement containing statements by prominent British parliamentarians and jurists, who argued the case for the removal of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI), from terrorism lists.

The spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in London wrote in a letter to the Guardian today that the publication of the advertisement “has served to advance the aims of this organization”.

The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, in a long dispatch from London, issued a public threat against the Guardian, saying that “the paper faces the risk of being prosecuted for promoting a terrorist group under the same anti- terrorism laws under which the MKO (the People’s Mojahedin) was proscribed in the UK.”

IRNA also referred to a recent editorial in the Daily Telegraph of London, which called for the removal of the PMOI from terrorism list and recognition of its status as a legitimate resistance movement against the clerical regime in Iran. The Islamic state news agency chastised the Daily Telegraph for saying that “the west should catalyze a new revolution in Iran by using” the PMOI. “Give them the tools, and they will finish the job,” the editorial said.

The Guardian’s Wednesday edition carried a declaration by 500 British parliamentarians and jurists who attended the London Symposium on March 22 and called the listing of the PMOI “unjust and against British and European laws”.

The Iranian embassy raised an official complaint with Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority against an advertisement in support of the PMOI that appeared in the Guardian in 2001, but the complaint was rejected. In its dispatch today, IRNA has given a false account of the result of that complaint.

The Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley, a former judge in the European Court of Justice and a former Law Lord, was quoted in the advert as telling the symposium, “It seems to Professor Jean-Yves de Cara and to me, on what we have seen, that there is a strong case for the removal of the PMOI from the British list of terrorist groups”.

Conservative MP David Amess was quoted as saying, “There is a considerable body of legal opinion by pre-eminent jurists arguing that there is no legal basis to include the PMOI in the terrorism list. Thousands of Parliamentarians across Europe and a majority of members of the US Congress have made the name point”.

The latest twist in Tehran’s ties with London comes at a time when the Islamic regime’s leaders, alarmed by the British government’s gradual shift away from the “engagement” it has been seeking with Tehran in recent years, have been trying to woo London with promises of a massive infusion of funds into the ailing Rover car manufacturer.

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