London, Feb 6, IRNA - Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown says that the British government is not convinced at that the Mujahideen-e Khalq has given up terrorism, saying its forced disarmament by US forces was "entirely pragmatic."
During the Iraq war, the MKO was "considered by coalition forces to be completely assimilated into the security apparatus of the Saddam Hussein regime," Malloch-Brown said.
"Indeed, we had to disarm the organization to the extent of 2,100 tanks, vehicles and artillery pieces. Since then it has made no renunciation of terrorism and disarmed only in the face of pressure from coalition forces," he said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed in December that the British government would not deproscribe the MKO, saying there was "no evidence" it had changed and that it was "certainly the case it has been involved in terrorist activity."
Speaking during a House of Lords debate, the Foreign Office minister added that there was also "no evidence that the organization has publicly renounced violence and terrorism."
"We have to be consistent in our views of terrorists," he told supporters of protracted attempts to have the MKO removed from Britain's domestic list of proscribed organizations, suggesting they had been falsely influenced.
"When we like the people whom terrorists attack, we call them 'terrorists,' when it is the civilians of Iran who are attacked, we have a bad habit of thinking of them as liberation fighters," Malloch-Brown said.
"Terrorism and its tactics are objectionable irrespective of the target," he said. The MKO was "responsible for a number of serious military attacks over a very long period of time," he said without listing the hundred of Iranians killed in terrorist assassinations.
"There is a big difference between military campaigns that fall within the Geneva conventions and the rest of international law and abusive campaigns that target asymmetrically civilians. I hope we have a consistent policy towards such groups," the minister added.
"Its disarming was entirely pragmatic-in the event of the coalition forces forcing it to disarm after the intervention in Iraq," he emphasized.
Malloch Brown also said that despite its claims on supporting women's rights and being led by a woman, "we are not convinced that in other regards this organization has permanently renounced terrorism."
"Until we are convinced that the organization has really foresworn those tactics, we continue to believe it to be a threat to civilians," he said.
... Payvand News - 02/06/08 ... --