A Setback in the Fight Against Terror

James Phillips /

A European Union court yesterday annulled a new move by the E.U. to freeze the assets of an exiled Iranian opposition group in the latest in a string of legal setbacks to its blacklist of suspected terrorist groups. This is a setback for European efforts to fight terrorism. The group that was involved, the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), has a long history of supporting terrorism and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

The PMOI is a non-democratic Marxist terrorist group that was part of the broad revolutionary coalition that overthrew the Shah of Iran but then was purged in 1981, after which it aligned itself with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. While this cult-like group is one of the best-organized exile organizations, it has little support inside Iran because of its alliance with archenemy Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War.

Moreover, the PMO resorted to terrorism against the Shah’s regime and was responsible for the assassinations of at least four American military officers in Iran during the 1970s. It organized demonstrations in support of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and against the release of the American hostages in 1981. Although the group did perform a useful service when it provided information that helped to expose Iran’s covert nuclear program in 2002, it remains a radical group with a proclivity for violence.