PMOI expecting State ruling, lawyers say

Jan. 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- International lawyers for the dissident People's Mujahedin of Iran said a U.S. State Department ruling on the group's terrorist listing was expected.

Lawyers with international legal firm Greenberg Traurig LLP said they anticipated the formal administrative appeal process through the State Department would not result in a delisting. Greenberg filed a challenge to the designation of the PMOI as a foreign terrorist organization in July 2008.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded with a note in the Federal Registry Monday saying the FTO designation was appropriate.

"I conclude that the circumstances that were the basis for the 2003 re-designation of the aforementioned organization as a foreign terrorist organization have not changed," Rice wrote.

Greenberg officials, along with representatives of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the PMOI, noted a petition to the State Department was required before proceeding with judicial appeals.

European courts in 2008 issued several rulings stating the blacklisting of the PMOI was invalid. The PMOI, based in its Camp Ashraf enclave in Iraq's Diyala province, calls for regime change in Iran. Several nations blacklisted the organization for its violent opposition to the clerical leadership in Iran, though the group claims it abandoned its militancy in 2003.

The Iraqi government said the group is no longer welcome in the country, however.

Greenberg said it expects to file challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, with briefs submitted as early as June.

The petition for revocation is the first such appeal by a listed FTO in U.S. history, Greenberg said.

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