Appeals court orders US to reconsider terror label for Iran opposition group

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 16 ordered the State Department to reconsider the status of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The PMOI has been designated a foreign terrorist group by the US since 1997, but it argues that it stopped military action in 2001, and since 2003 has been without weapons. The group has also touted its actions in providing information about Iran’s nuclear program. The State Department has argued that the PMOI still engages in military action and that the information it provided about Iran’s nuclear program was not reliable.

If the PMOI is removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist groups, it will be able to raise funds and would not be subject to having its assets frozen by the US. The State Department did not immediately indicate whether it would appeal the ruling.

In 2008, the European Court of First Instance annulled a decision by the EU to place the PMOI on a list of terrorist groups. That decision followed an order by the UK Parliament to remove the PMOI from a British list of terrorist groups. PMOI is Iran’s main political opposition organization and part of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The PMOI has been at odds with the Iranian government since it chose to support Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s.

From Jurist, July 17. Used with permission.

Note: The People’s Mujahedin Organization also goes by the names Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) and Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). They are all the same group.

See our last posts on Iran.

  1. PMOI
    The People’s Mujahedin Organization (PMOI) has used only one name since its inception 45 years ago.
    However, others used names such as Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) and Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) to refer to the same group.