Iran has condemned the U.S. government decision to take an Iranian militant opposition group off its terrorism list.
The U.S. State Department said Friday it is delisting the Iranian group Mujahedin-e Khalq and its aliases effective immediately, citing absence of any terrorist activity by the group in the past decade and its public renunciation of violence.
Tehran on Saturday said the exiled group is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranian civilians, while operating from its camps in Iraq.
In a statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of applying double standards in dealing with terrorism.
The Mujahedin-e Khalq, also known as MEK, was formed in the 1960s to oppose the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, but took up arms against the country's new clerical rulers after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Its members had provided security services to Saddam Hussein from their camps in Iraq.
Removing the group from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations means that any assets the MEK has in the United States are unblocked and Americans can do business with the organization without obtaining a license.
The group and its supporters have been lobbying for years to be taken off the terror list and even to be recognized as legitimate opposition to the Iranian government.
The State Department Friday stressed that despite delisting, serious concerns about the organization remain, particularly regarding allegations of abuse committed against its own members.