First Published: 2003-08-15

 
US bans Iranian opposition group
 

Powell signs notice banning National Council of Resistance, freezing its assets, closing down its offices in US.

 

Middle East Online

US declares National Council of Resistance a terrorist organization

WASHINGTON - The United States on Friday banned the political wing of the Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedeen, froze its assets and moved to close down its offices here, the State Department said.

The move, announced in a notice signed by Secretary of State Colin Powell that was published in the Federal Register, outlaws the National Council of Resistance, declaring it to be a terrorist organization.

The designation also applies to the group's alias "the National Council of Resistance of Iran" and includes "its US representative office and all other offices worldwide," Powell said in the notice.

The People's Mujahadeen -- also known as the Mujahedeen e Khalq (MEK) -- has been on Washington's terrorism blacklist for some time, but its political wing has fought the designation in US courts.

Amid the uncertainty over its status, the National Council of Resistance maintained offices in Washington and other US cities and has frequently held news conferences to denounce the Iranian government.

Friday's announcement appears to be aimed at closing that legal loophole, paving the way for US authorities to shut down the group's offices, according to a State Department official.

The US move against the People's Mujahadeen follows a similar crackdown on the group in France, where police raided its headquarters in a Paris suburb in June, arresting scores of people.

The group's leader, Maryam Rajavi, was one of more than 160 people initially detained in the raids and her arrest outraged her followers, with a spate of self-immolation protests across Europe that left two women dead.

Rajavi and 16 others who were then placed under investigation were granted conditional release in early July after two weeks in detention, although that does not preclude charges being brought against them.

The group - which is also designated a terrorist organization by the European Union and Iran - has denied all wrongdoing.

With a program that blends left-wing and Islamic ideology, the People's Mujahedeen took part in the 1979 revolution in Iran, but the movement was suppressed in the years that followed and its members fled abroad.

Under the leadership of Rajavi's husband, Massoud, the military wing of the group took refuge in Iraq in 1986, from where it organized attacks inside Iran.

 

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk

Gunman found in comfy Istanbul flat

Iran, Syria sign phone, petrol deals in Tehran

Jordan charges 8 with inciting opposition against regime

Iranian president rules out renegotiating nuclear deal

Turkey prosecutors demand up to 142 years in jail for Kurd leader

180 dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Saudi carries out first death sentence of 2017

Libyan granted right to sue UK ex-minister for rendition

Syria regime, rebels name heads of delegation for Astana talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker captured

Syria troops, IS jihadists battle on in Deir Ezzor

Israel occupation forces rearrest Palestinian journalist

Russian FM says Syria peace talks to ‘consolidate’ ceasefire

Amnesty warns EU's anti-terror laws threaten human rights

Saudi health emergency after mass food poisoning

Darfur rebel groups rebuilding their forces in Libya, South Sudan