Source AP ©

Iranian opposition group seeks EUR1 million damages from EU

The refusal of the EU to remove Iranian government opponents from their blacklist of terrorist groups urged them to announce that they are seeking over EUR1 million (US$1.35 million) in damages from Europe.

Lawyers for the People's Mujahadeen of Iran complain that the EU has failed to enforce a ruling last year by the bloc's high court that annulled a 2002 decision to place the organization on its terrorist blacklist and order its assets to be frozen.

At a news conference, lawyer Jean-Pierre Spitzer said the EU's refusal to take the Mujahadeen off the list was a "disaster" for EU law. "You'd have to be blind to come to any other conclusion but that the PMOI should be taken off the list," he said.

EU legal experts have argued that the court's ruling focused on procedural problems and did not imply that the group had to be removed from the list. They claim the EU has complied with the judgment by allowing the PMOI to present arguments explaining why it should not be blacklisted.

The group's lawyers say they are seeking a fast track decision from the European court in Luxembourg to confirm the decision annulling the PMOI's inclusion on the list and force the EU to pay damages. They hope the ruling could come within six months.

The PMOI is also included on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, but its supporters say it abandoned military activity in 2001 and is hindered by the international restrictions from peacefully opposing the Islamic regime in Iran.

"In refusing to apply this binding legal decision, the European Council is illegally preventing de facto the PMOI from carrying out it's sole objective, which is opposition politics that denounce the actions of the Ayatollah's regime, which is the only terrorist organization that exists in Iran," Spitzer said.

The group's supporters accused France and Britain of leading efforts to keep the PMOI on the terror list in an effort to appease the government in Tehran.

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