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.

 

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Abu Dhabi oil giant cuts thousands of jobs

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive

Deadly bombings rock northeast Syria as US commander visits

Ex- government minister dies in Libya ISIS clashes

Green Zone breach may set stage for more violence in Iraq

‘Last chance’ to save Yemen peace talks

Egypt deploys submarine in search for clues in plane crash

Erdogan loyalist set to be Turkey PM

Attempt to disperse protesters turns deadly in Iraq

EgyptAir crash fuels theories

Tunisia Islamist party moves to shed ‘political Islam’ label

US swiftly rejects Russia proposal for Syria joint airstrikes

Coalition leaflets advise residents to flee Raqa

Turkey parliament adopts contentious immunity bill

Turkish parliament adopts first clause of controversial immunity bill