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Europe court annuls asset freeze of blacklisted Iranian group

[JURIST] The European Court of First Instance [official website] on Thursday struck down [case materials] a decision [PDF text] by the Council of the European Union [official website] freezing the assets of the prominent Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) [group website]. The court annulled the 2007 decision as applied to PMOI, ruling that the council had failed to sufficiently justify designating PMOI as a group "involved in terrorist acts." The judges concluded that PMOI had not engaged in terrorist activity since at least 2002. They wrote:

In short, there is no evidence that the PMOI has at any time since 2003 sought to re-create any form of structure that was capable of carrying out or supporting terrorist acts. There is no evidence of any attempt to "prepare" for terrorism. There is no evidence of any encouragement to others to commit acts of terrorism.
Although the judgment does not affect the council's most recent decision [PDF text] listing PMOI among the individuals and groups linked to terrorism, it increases the likelihood that PMOI will be dropped from future lists. AFP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

Thursday's judgment represents the second time since 2006 that the Court of First Instance has annulled [JURIST report] a European Council decision regarding PMOI. In March, the UK Court of Appeal removed PMOI [JURIST report] from a national terrorism blacklist. Founded in 1965 with the aim of replacing first the Shah and then the clerical regime in Iran [JURIST news archive], PMOI has in the past operated an army inside Iran. The group officially renounced violence in 2001 and is now considered the main organization in the National Council of Resistance of Iran [group website], an "umbrella coalition" parliament-in-exile that claims to be dedicated to a democratic, secular and coalition government in Iran.

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