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EU Council removes Iranian organisation from terror list after EU Court judgment

After a battle of several year the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (“PMOI”) has succeeded in getting its name off the EU’s black list of terrorist organisations. As EUobserver reported on Tuesday, the EU Foreign Ministers agreed to remove the name of the organization from the list due to a lack of evidence of PMOI being involved in terrorist activities. As a consequence, the financial assets of PMOI will no longer be frozen. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the stigmatic label of being a terrorist organization will be removed from PMOI.

This decision marks the end of a long political and legal dispute which involved lo less than four legal proceedings before the EU Court of First Instance (CFI). In the three decisions the Court has handed down on this issue so far, PMOI’s claims were at least partly endorsed and the relevant Council’s measures annulled. The decision of the Council to remove PMOI from the black list can therefore be understood as a reaction to these decisions, the latest of which was only handed down on 4 December (we reported on this case earlier see here).

The matter is highly political since PMOI, which supports the regime of the Persian Shah, is considered a terrorist regime by the Iranian government. The Council’s decision is therefore likely to have a negative impact on the current talks on the Iranian nuclear program. It can be seen in this context that France, in whose territory PMOI is based, was strongly opposed to the decision by the Council. As LeMonde reported on 25 January, France also lodged an appeal against the recent decision of the CFI this week. The matter will, hence, receive a final judgment by the European Court of Justice.

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