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European Court Unfreezes Iranian Opposition Group's Assets

Iran's official news agency says the Tehran government has denounced a European court's decision to overturn an EU freeze on assets of an exiled Iranian opposition group. Lisa Bryant has more from Paris about the move targeting the France-based People's Mujahedin.

Formally known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the People's Mujahedin has been based outside Paris for years. It has been labeled a legitimate Iranian opposition group and the political wing of a terrorist group.

On Tuesday, Europe's second-highest court overturned a European Union decision to freeze the group's accounts. The court argued the European Union had failed to sufficiently justify its move - or give the People's Mujahedin time to respond. The group hailed the decision as a victory.

IRNA, Iran's official news agency, says Tehran criticized the court's decision, calling it legally unjustified and unacceptable.

Both Europe and the United States label the People's Mujahedin a terrorist group. But its members argue it is merely a resistance movement, which periodically reports on Iran's alleged nuclear-weapons program.

A terrorist expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Bob Ayers, doubts the court's decision will have much impact on the People's Mujahedin. Ayers describes the group's effect on the Iranian government as a flea on an elephant - a mild irritant, but not much more.

"I anticipate they will continue to talk and continue to be an irritant, but they are not going to do anything," said Bob Ayers.

Ayers says the People's Mujahedin has little support in Iran.

The move is likely to further erode relations between Iran and Europe, which are already at odds over Tehran's nuclear program. Europe, the United States, Russia and China apparently agreed last week to recommend sanctioning Iran at the U.N. Security Council, although it is unclear what kinds of sanctions they will back.