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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Jihadists flock to fight on ‘unprecedented scale’

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli