BELGIUM: EU agrees to take Iranian opposition group "The People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI)" off terror listRecord ID: 313655
- Title: BELGIUM: EU agrees to take Iranian opposition group "The People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI)" off terror list
- Date: 27th January 2009
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JANUARY 26, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL, TWO WORKERS PREPARING STAGE FOR IRANIAN OPPOSITION GROUP GATHERING ON TUESDAY (JANUARY 27) EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JAVIER SOLANA GETTING OUT OF CAR MICROPHONES (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JAVIER SOLANA SAYING: ''Well, as you know, what we are doing today is abiding by the resolution of the European court. There is nothing we can do about that resolution which is firm at the European court. If there is something new that may be presented in front of the court we will see but it is not the position of the Council, it is the position of the Court.'' BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER DAVID MILIBAND ARRIVING PHOTOGRAPHERS PHOTOGRAPHING MINISTERS AS THEY ARRIVE FOR MEETING FILE ON DESK PAN FROM PHOTOGRAPHERS TO SOLANA TALKING TO MINISTERS HAND PICKING UP FILE CZECH VICE PRIME MINISTER IN CHARGE OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS ALEXANDR VONDRA AT DESK CZECH MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS KAREL SCHWARTZENBERG SIGNING PAPER OUTSIDE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, WORKERS PREPARING STAGE FOR TOMORROW MEETING AND DEMONSTRATION BY IRANIAN OPPOSITION GROUP WORKERS ON PLATFORM, OVERLOOKING ROAD FILLED WITH CARS
- Reuters ID: LVAAC7H73CBFS8QQJBDJWYU51NVP
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Duration: 00:01:14
- Topics: International Relations,European Union
- Story Text: European states remove an exiled Iranian opposition group from an EU list of banned terrorist groups, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The European Union agreed on Monday (January 26) to remove the exiled Iranian opposition group that exposed Tehran's covert nuclear programme in 2002 from a list of banned terrorist organisations.
The EU decision on the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) came when foreign ministers from the 27-nation EU approved the removal of the PMOI from a list of terror groups that includes Palestinian Hamas and Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers.
"What we are doing today is abiding by the resolution of the the European court," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters just before the ministers finalised the decision.
''It is not the position of the Council, it is the position of the Court,'' Solana said.
The PMOI began as a leftist-Islamist opposition to the late Shah of Iran and has bases in Iraq.
Western analysts say its support is limited in Iran, which denies trying to make a nuclear bomb, because of its collaboration with Iraq during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. It remains banned in the United States.
Dowlat Nowrouzi, the UK representative of the National Council of Iran (NCRI), the PMOI's political wing, said the decision was a major turning point for her organisation.
''I think it was the biggest you could say turning point for all of us because we think now, not only the Iranian people inside the country, people in Ashraf, especially the members of the People's Mujahideen in Ashraf city in Iraq, as well as thousands of members of parliament and jurists in Europe and the United States have supported this movement, supported democratic change in Iran, would definitely have this big victory and celebrate it. And I think all of them are very very much happy,'' she said.
Nowrouzi added that her organisation still wanted political change in Iran.
''We think it is time now for the US government to recognize the Iranian resistance as well as the major demand of Iranian people for democratic change in Iran. We want a democratic secular pluralistic government against this theocratic repressive regime. The solution is actually decisiveness against the Mullah's regime, removal of the terror label from the PMOI, from the EU, from the United States department terror list," she said.
An NCRI spokesman said the PMOI had "tens of millions of dollars of assets, including $9 million in France" which have been frozen in Europe and to which it should now have access. But the organisation remains banned in the United States.
Iran's state radio called the step an "irresponsible move"
but there was no immediate official reaction from Tehran, which the 27-nation EU has unsuccessfully sought to persuade to curb nuclear activities suspected as part of a bomb programme.
PMOI allies have repeatedly accused the EU -- which has led efforts to persuade Iran to curb a nuclear programme suspected as a cover for the atom bomb -- of seeking to "appease" Tehran by keeping the group blacklisted.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband insisted that the delisting of the PMOI should have no effect on international diplomacy aimed at persuading Iran to curb uranium enrichment.
Major powers in the U.N. Security Council have offered Iran a set of trade, political and technological sweeteners in a bid to persuade it to suspend uranium enrichment, while ratcheting up economic sanctions against its banks and other sectors.
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