The National Council of Resistance of Iran has organised a rally in France, gathering tens of thousands of supporters of the Iranian opposition.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran is calling for the lifting of international bans on the People’s Mujahideen, their movement’s armed wing.
The wing is listed as a terror organisation by the US and the EU, even though in the past week, Britain lifted its own ban.
Banning the People’s Mujahideen played into the hands of Iran’s government, said the Iranian opposition leader.
70 000 people from across Europe attended the rally, organisers said, though there was no independent confirmation of the number. The rally took place at an exhibition centre, in the northern Paris suburbs.
Delegations from several European parliaments were among those present.
Foreign terrorist organisation
They heard an address from Miriam Rajavi (photo), the Iranian opposition leader, calling on the European Union to remove the designation of “terrorist group”, applied to the People’s Mujahideen.
The People’s Mujahideen, which took up arms against the Islamic republic in the 1980s and had sanctuary in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, falls under the definition of foreign terrorist organisation, said the EU and the US.
Nonetheless, the group’s supporters argue that the ban in Brussels and Washington is intended to curry favour in Tehran, and that the People’s Mujahideen has long abandoned attacks that can be called terrorist.
The group has achieved a major breakthrough this week, as it was dropped from a list of terrorist organisations in Britain. Now, supporters say the European ban has no legal justification for being maintained.
France will have to decide whether to respond to the appeal, as the country takes over as president of the European Union on 1 July.