Yet another struggle for Iranian Resistance

1236.jpgDenmark, June 18, 2007 -  The Iranian Resistance of Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) is not just fighting with the Mullahs regime but is also struggling against the EU countries who are not removing its name from the terrorist list despite a ruling by the EU Court.It seems this is EU’s approach that wants to keep the MEK in the terrorist list with some peculiar and bizarre move.

Mojahedin-e-Khalq who is known with different acronyms such as MEK, MKO and PMOI won a ruling in the EU Court last December which annulled the decision of EU including them in the terrorist list. According to the ruling, EU was not able to present any evidence that the organization which has fought the mullahs regime for decades has been involved in terrorist activities. The court has also ruled that EU should pay for damages inflicted on MEK for including them in the list.

Even though 6 months passed from the ruling of the EU Court, EU has not removed Mojahedin-e-Khalq from the terrorist list. Once again last month MEK has challenged the European governments in court. Opposition in the Danish Parliament along with other oppositions in EU countries have criticized the government for not abiding by the ruling of the EU Court as well as not presenting any evidence on the reason for inclusion of MEK in the list. The Foreign Minister Per Stig Muller has yielded to Parliament’s European Committee and sent them a top secret letter which specifies the reasons for inclusion of MEK in the terrorist list.

This document which Berlingske has obtained lists five violent activities between 1980 and 2001 and MEK renounced violence in 2001. In none of these 5 operations of the Iranian organization any terrorist activities such as those of Al-Qaeda’s have been utilized. The first reason the EU presented for including the Mojahedin in the list is concerning that MEK in 1980 that carried out operations across the border from their bases in Iraq. Other reasons are as follows:

In 1992 MEK had terrorist operations against 13 Iranian embassies and establishments.
In 1993 right before the Presidential election in Iran, the organization claimed the responsibility for attacks on Iranian oil facilities such as Iran’s largest refinery.
In 1999 MEK assassinated deputy commander of Iran’s armed forces.
In 2000 and 2001 MEK announced that its members were involved in attacks on Iranian armed forces, police and governmental offices near Iran Iraq border.

These are activities that EU lists in a document and emphasizes on and calls them terrorist activities. But their reasons are questioned not only by MEK but increasingly by a great number of EU Parliamentarians. They say MEK has only carried a just armed resistance against the brutal mullahs’ regime. The conservative politician Alejo Vidal Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament, considers the EU’s refusal to accept the court ruling in removing MEK from the terrorist list, an embarrassment. He says legal protection is one of our major values which we are now undermining to satisfy a religious totalitarian regime.

In addition to Danish politicians, other European politicians are also criticizing the inclusion of MEK in the terrorist list. Tony Blair’s government that was instrumental in including MEK in the terrorist list is now under pressure. The majority of MPs in the House of Commons and 200 Peers in the House of Lords denounce this terrorist labeling. They are led by Lord Russell-Johnston who up to recently used to hold the EU Presidency as well as Lord Slynn who himself was an EU judge.
MEK and their experienced attorneys are not satisfied by the five incidents in 1980 to 2001 that are presented by EU as evidence and have demanded that EU presents others.

As evidence, the EU countries have sent MEK a 16-page document put together from different public websites on Internet. These include links from a few years ago to analysis by known or somewhat known organizations that work on terrorism. One day EU sent one article from Time magazine. This is an article from 1997 which is five years before EU placed this organization in the list. This article is not about MEK being a terrorist organization. It says MEK carries on an armed struggle against the Iranian regime which MEK accepts it was true until 2001.

MEK and their attorneys tried once again to get from the EU the evidence on terrorist activities of the organization. EU sent them this ½ page document with no dates which at best is a biography of MEK. There is no mention of who produced or wrote it but it contains the same points raised in other EU documents. The new evidence describes a recent operation that only Iranian regime has brought up so far: “In 2000, the Iranian regime broke off a plot by MEK to assassinate the former Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Velayati”. In a separate letter EU states that they cannot present more evidence about MEK’s terrorism because it will undermine the international cooperation on terrorism.

In this undated copy of a document, EU states that MEK never took part in activities against western interests. This is very interesting since it is against America’s claim.
The United States included MEK in their terrorist list at the end of 1990’s stating they were responsible for killing six Americans in the 1970’s during the Shah’s reign. It is therefore clear that America’s accusations are baseless as well. Professor Raymond Tanter, who is an expert in international terrorism in Georgetown University, along with some other researchers have investigated the assassination of the 6 Americans by MEK. Raymond Tanter who is the President of Iran Policy Committee (IPC) which is an independent organization consisting of former members of American Security Council has concluded that it was not MEK but a small group separated from them who carried these assassinations. The result of the research by this American professor was one of the evidences that caused MEK to win the EU court case.

On the one hand the U.S. has placed the organization in the terrorist list and on the other hand they are protecting the 3800 people residing in Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad who have been screened extensively without Americans finding evidence against even one of them.

This is the place (Ashraf) where MEK announced its neutrality in 2003 Iraq war and handed their weapons to Americans. From that point, 3800 MEK members resided in Ashraf and in 2004 the American officials gave them Protected Person’s status under Geneva Convention. Raymond Tanter and IPC say this shows MEK is no threat to American citizens or interests.

MEK has been instrumental in revealing terrorist activities against Coalition forces. This issue was confirmed by Julie Norman an American officer in charge of Ashraf in 2005 and 2006. In a letter on August 24th, 2006 she wrote: “MEK always warned us about the Iranian regime’s threats and played a positive and active role in revealing these kinds of threats. Their information was a big help and in some cases resulted in saving the lives of our soldiers”.

Both the U.S. and EU confirm that in 2002 MEK revealed the secret nuclear program of Iranian regime. Now the question is why the United States and European Union insist in keeping Mojahedin in the list?

According to MEK, Iran’s nuclear program is not the only problem the U.S. and E.U. have with the Iranian regime. MEK accuses EU that they gave in to the request from the Iranian regime to place MEK in the terrorist list in return for continuation of negotiations on their nuclear program.

The Foreign Minister rejected this claim and said he and his colleagues do not make a decision about this issue. A number of people in the Clearing House make the decision about the inclusion of individuals and organizations in the list. But the European governments have a tough time not to look suspicious and responsible in this issue.

Mr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the conservative Spanish politician who is the Vice President of European Parliament believes this inclusion has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. He says: “the Council has no evidence and their decision is based on economic and political interests.” His colleague, Søren Søndergaard confirms this assertion and says: this act challenges the fight against terrorism and the terrorist label is used as a vehicle for political advancement.

But the European countries insist on their decision. It is expected that the 27 EU Ministers in their 6-month review of the terrorist list, keep this organization in the list.

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