January 17, 2018

Iran Watch – November 30, 2007

[spoiler title=”Court tells UK to remove Iran opposition from terror list”]
Staff and agencies
Friday November 30, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
Iran’s main opposition movement should be removed from the British government’s list of banned terrorist organisations, a court ruled today.

The decision by the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (Poac) is a major victory for the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, which has been engaged in a long-running legal battle to be taken off the list, which includes groups such as al-Qaida and the Kurdistan Workers party, or PKK.

Poac ruled that the decision not to remove the organisation from the proscribed terrorist blacklist, drawn up under the 2000 Terrorist Act, was “perverse”.

“We recognise that a finding of perversity is uncommon,” Poac ruled. “We believe, however, that this commission is in the (perhaps unusual) position of having before it all of the material that is relevant to this decision.”

The home secretary was asked to lay a draft order before parliament to remove the group, which is considered a terrorist organisation in the US and the European Union, from the list.

Lawyers for the home secretary said they would apply for permission to appeal.

The home office minister Tony McNulty said: “I am disappointed at this judgment. We don’t accept it and we intend to appeal.

“The government adopted a cautious approach in relation to the de-proscription of the People’s Mujahideen organisation of Iran.

“I remain convinced that where terrorism is concerned, the rights of the law-abiding majority and the overriding need to protect the public, both in the UK and abroad, must lead us to take such a cautious approach. I firmly believe that we should be entitled to take this view.”

The minister said the government would review the process by which groups were added to the proscribed list.

“We will look at these processes again in the light of this judgment to ensure that we continue to treat all proscribed organisations fairly, proportionately and in accordance with the law,” he said.

The appeal against the People’s Mujahideen’s inclusion on the blacklist was brought by 35 cross- party senior MPs and peers, including the former home secretary Lord Waddington and the former law lord Lord Slynn of Hadley.

Last year, the group successfully challenged an EU decision to freeze its assets, although it was unable to get its name removed from the EU list of terrorist groups.

The group is officially banned in most western countries, but its standing is complicated by the looming confrontation between the US and Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

The group’s ambition of overthrowing Iran’s theocratic regime has won the praise of US politicians concerned by allegations that the country is attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

The People’s Mujahideen, originally a Marxist-Islamist group, was set up in the mid-1960s to oppose the US- backed dictatorship of the late Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. It participated in the country’s Islamic revolution but fell out with the clerical government and launched a campaign of assassinations and bombings to try to topple it.

The group moved to Iraq in the early 1980s and fought Iran’s Islamic rulers from there until the US invaded in 2003. The US has since disarmed thousands of the group’s members and confined them to a camp near Baghdad.

Despite occasional run-ins with the law, supporters of the group continue to operate openly in Europe, where they regularly organise protests, rallies and news conferences denouncing the government in Tehran. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Maryam Rajavi: POAC judgment is a magnificent victory for justice and the Resistance”] Maryam Rajavi: POAC judgment is a magnificent victory for justice and the Resistance as well as a message of firmness to religious fascism

NCRI – Nearly seven years after the proscription of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) in the United Kingdom, today, after extensive scrutiny, the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (POAC) issued a judgment which unequivocally declared the terrorist label against the PMOI unlawful, null and void.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, described today’s ruling as a magnificent victory for justice, an acknowledgement of the righteousness of the Iranian Resistance and the PMOI, indicative of the awakened conscience of the international community and a message of firmness by the world community to the religious fascism ruling Iran.

Mrs. Rajavi congratulated the PMOI, the combatants of freedom in Ashraf City, Iraq, the Iranian people and all advocates of justice and freedom on this historic victory. She described it as a triumph of human values and achievements, including the recognition of the right to resist for freedom.

The Iranian Resistance’s President-elect said the 35 British Peers and MPs, who challenged the proscription of the PMOI, were the aware conscience of the people of Britain, adding that they had rebelled against a great injustice to the Iranian people and Resistance.

Mrs. Rajavi paid homage to the memory of the late Lord Renton, one of the appellants, lauded and thanked all lawmakers, jurists, lawyers and those who had striven for many years to revoke this proscription. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Shiites in S. Iraq Rebuke Tehran”] By Amit R. Paley and Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, November 22, 2007
BAGHDAD, Nov. 21 — More than 300,000 Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq have signed a petition condemning Iran for fomenting violence in Iraq, according to a group of sheiks leading the campaign.

“The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq,” said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. “Their influence is everywhere.”

The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq’s majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Several sheiks leading the campaign traveled to the capital from the southern province of Diwaniyah and showed The Washington Post and other news organizations an electronic file filled with images of signatures they said endorsed the petition. Their effort is being supported by the People’s Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that is listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization but that nonetheless enjoys U.S. military protection in Iraq.

The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.

“The most painful stab in the back of the Shiites in Iraq by the Iranian regime has been its shameful abuse of Shiite religion to achieve its ominous end,” the sheiks said a statement. “The only solution and hopeful prospect for Iraq, and in particular the southern provinces, is the eviction of the Iranian regime from our homeland.”

The campaign echoes repeated pronouncements by U.S. officials that Iran has been instigating violence in Iraq and allowing weapons to flow across the border, though U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that Iran appeared to be honoring a pledge to clamp down on weapons smuggling.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday that the United States had agreed to an Iraqi proposal for a fourth round of talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on the situation in Iraq. “We are open to using this channel as a way of talking directly about important issues concerning security in Iraq,” he told reporters in Washington.

Meanwhile, scattered violence across Iraq on Wednesday left at least 15 people dead, an Interior Ministry official said.

A suicide car bomber killed at least four people and wounded six when he detonated a vehicle packed with explosives outside the courthouse in the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, said Khalid al-Alwani, a local tribal leader.

The attack was one of the largest in recent months in Anbar, the former Sunni insurgent stronghold that has become relatively peaceful this year since a group of tribal leaders joined with the U.S. military to fight the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The U.S. military announced that an American soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb. The military said the attack, which wounded three other soldiers, was caused by an explosively formed penetrator, a weapon that U.S. officials believe is manufactured in Iran.

The British Defense Ministry also confirmed that the crash of a Royal Air Force Puma helicopter near Baghdad on Tuesday killed two British troops and wounded two others. It said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Special correspondents Zaid Sabah and Dalya Hassan in Baghdad and other Washington Post staff in Iraq contributed to this report.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iraqi Shiites’ Real Voice”]

Since the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the fall of Baghdad in April of that year, there was a false consensus created, suggesting that Iraqi Shiites are represented by clerics who are close to Tehran, i.e. the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). During the parliamentary elections, the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) won most of the seats in the 275 member Council of Representatives of Iraq. As a result, Tehran claimed victory and sought a bigger share of influence in Iraq. The reality, however, was otherwise. There were many indications that the majority of the Shiite population in Iraq were secular, independent-minded, and would not endorse Tehran’s Velayat-e Faqih system that is based on the absolute rule of clerics. Pro-Tehran Shiites, well funded, trained and armed by Iran, managed to overwhelm the voice of the Shiite majority who did not have the opportunity to stand on its feet before being intimidated or eliminated by Tehran-sponsored Shiite death squads.

There is now a major shift in the balance of power in favor of the more moderate voices of Shiites in Iraq as opposed to the more radicals closely aligned with Tehran. More than 300,000 Shiites in southern Iraq, believed to be Tehran’s stronghold, signed a statement calling for an end to what they referred to as “Iranian terrorist interferences,” and demanded the United Nations to investigate the Islamic republic’s involvement in Iraq. Sheikh Jassim Al-Kazim, leader of the Independent National Democratic Tribes’ Assembly, in interviews with major Western media in Baghdad, said that the statement’s signatories include 14 clergies, 600 sheikhs, 1,250 jurists, 2,200 physician, engineers, university professors and 25,000 women.

Iran Hanging
“The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of southern Iraq,” said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke with the Washington Post on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. “Their influence is everywhere.”
“The most painful stab in the back of the Shiites in Iraq by the Iranian regime has been its shameful abuse of Shiite religion to achieve its ominous end,” the sheiks said in the statement. “The only solution and hopeful prospect for Iraq, and in particular the southern provinces, is the eviction of the Iranian regime from our homeland.”
Contrary to suggestions in recent weeks that Iran was slowing the flow of bombs, money, and other forms of support to Shiite extremists in Iraq, a top commander of the U.S. forces in Baghdad said on November 26, that there has been no letup in attacks and weapons-smuggling by Iranian-backed Shiite militants in some parts of Iraq’s capital.
Despite a 75 percent decline in overall attacks in his area, there was an increase last month in the most lethal kind of roadside bombs — the explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) that come from Iran, said Army Col. Don Farris who is commander for coalition forces in northern Baghdad.

The tribal leaders also told the media that their effort is being supported by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The group is the main Iranian opposition, and has headquarters in Iraq’s Diyala province in Ashraf city. Its members enjoy U.S. military protection in Iraq as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Sheikh Al-Kazim, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, said that the statement condemned the Iranian regime’s allegations against the MEK and declared their support for the organization. In an interview with the Iraqi daily, Az-Zaman, Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi Prime Minister and current head of the Iraqi National Accord, emphasized the legitimacy of the continued presence of the MEK in Iraq. Allawi, himself a Shiite, added that a section of the MEK, as a political movement, exists in Iraq with limitations on its activities, while other parts of it operate in Iran and the rest of the world. He stressed that eviction or expulsion of MEK members (Tehran’s main demand from the Iraqi government) has no place in Iraqi values or principles.

In addition, Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi told the Al Hurriyah TV, which is affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, that “the presence of the Iranian Mojahedin [MEK] in Iraq is based on the international conventions recognizing members of the organization as political refugees.” The new realities of Iraq indicate that the United States should empower the coalition of the more moderate and anti-Tehran Iraqis, which includes both the Sunnis and the Shiites. Iraqis believe that the main Iranian opposition has played a very constructive role in Iraq in order to isolate Tehran and its proxies; U.S. should recognize and enhance this role by removing all restriction from the MEK.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”EU-Iranian talks break up; no compromise”]

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – Talks between Iran and the European Union broke up Friday without compromise on Tehran’s refusal to freeze uranium enrichment, and the top EU foreign policy envoy said he was disappointed at Tehran’s refusal to budge.

“I expected more and therefore I am disappointed,” EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after a five- hour session with the Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. The failure of the meeting was likely to increase pressure for new U.N. Security Council sanctions, with the five permanent council members set to discuss such actions Saturday. [/spoiler]