European court overturns decision to add Iranian resistance movement to terror list

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday overturned an EU decision to put the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran, an exiled Iranian resistance movement, on the bloc’s terror blacklist. The ruling annuls a 2002 decision to freeze European assets of the Paris-based group. The United States lists the People’s Mujahedeen as a terrorist organization. However, the group founded in the 1960s by students at Tehran University says it advocates the overthrow of Iran’s hard-line clerical regime by peaceful means. In its ruling, the European court said the group was not given a fair hearing to defend itself. “Certain fundamental rights and safeguards, including the right to a fair hearing, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection are, as a matter of principle, fully applicable,” the court said. Iranian resistance leader Maryam Rajavi called for the immediate lifting of all restrictions on the group and described the ruling as “proof of the resistance’s legitimacy over the religious fascism in Iran and victory of justice over economic interests.” “Today, one of the highest judicial authorities in Europe confirmed the Iranian resistance’s claim that the terrorist label, from the beginning, was a political issue which was meant to appease the mullahs,” she said in a statement issued in Paris. The group previously operated a military wing but since June 2001 has renounced military activity. Based in Auvers-Sur-Oise, near Paris, it serves as an umbrella movement for exiled Iranian opponents of the Islamic Republic. In 2003, French police arrested dozens of members of the group. Seventeen people, including Rajavi, were placed under investigation on suspicion of associating with or financing terrorist groups. She was held for two weeks before being released. In June, the Paris Appeals Court lifted a series of restrictions on the 17, including a ban on them leaving French territory and another preventing them from associating with one another.