Sunday

24th Jan 2021

EU ministers drop Iran group from terror list

Iranian opposition group PMOI has won a seven-year battle to get off the EU's terrorism blacklist, in developments that could damage Europe's efforts to talk Tehran out of building a nuclear bomb.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday (26 January) agreed as an "A point" - an agenda point with no political debate - to remove the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) from the EU terrorist register.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Uranium enrichment: PMOI had complained the EU was keeping it in on the list to help smooth nuclear talks with Iran (Photo: Wikipedia)

The move follows a ruling by the EU court in Luxembourg in December which censured France for failing to disclose alleged new evidence that PMOI poses a terrorist threat.

British courts in May last year, which had access to classified evidence, also said the group should be struck off a UK blacklist, generating political momentum for Monday's EU decision.

The foreign ministers' move allows PMOI to freely raise funds in Europe and removes the stigmatic label attached to its members since 2002.

Iran has in past years executed PMOI supporters after calling them "terrorists" with reference to the EU list, a spokesman for PMOI sister group, the Paris-based National Resistance Council of Iran (NRCI), told EUobserver.

"All we want is democratic elections in Iran," the NRCI's Shahin Gobadi said.

He added that "thousands" of pro-PMOI demonstrators are to hold a rally in Brussels on Tuesday, when the ministers' decision becomes law after it is published in the EU's Official Journal.

PMOI was set up in the 1960s in resistance to the US-backed Shah. It launched armed attacks against Iran's Islamic regime in the 1980s and 1990s but renounced violence in 2001 and gave up arms in 2003.

Tehran says PMOI is still a dangerous personality cult centred around Paris-based exile Maryam Rajavi, whose leadership should be brought to justice for past acts of violence.

"The record of the Mojahedin's actions is very heavy and if the EU decides to remove them from the terrorist list, it will be a conscious political decision," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said on Sunday, newswires report.

A few hundred Islamist protesters picketed the French embassy in Tehran the same day, shouting "Death to Sarkozy," accusing the French leader of letting PMOI off the hook. The British embassy in Tehran is to be targeted on Monday.

The EU's decision comes amid long-running efforts by the five veto holding-powers of the UN Security Council (the US, Russia, China, France and the UK) plus Germany to persuade Iran to halt a uranium-enrichment project which could help it build nuclear weapons.

The PMOI delisting is the first time the EU has taken a group off the terrorist register following complaints that the EU's secretive decision-making process undermined people's right to legal redress.

PMOI has also seen the fastest-ever ruling by the EU Court of First Instance in December, after jurists felt the council of ministers was exploiting legal loopholes based on time lags.

EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up

The EU is coaxing US president Joe Biden to open up to Cuba amid its worst economic crisis in decades, but foreign money risks feeding the regime's "feared" rule.

EU condemns US execution of Lisa Montgomery

The US executed 52-year old Lisa Montgomery, a death row inmate, on Wednesday. Montgomery had committed a gruesome murder but she was also mentally ill. The EU is now demanding the US reverse all pending federal-level executions

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us