UK home secretary "urged" to protect journalists from
 Iranian "terrorist group"

 

364 words
16 November 2005
07:38
BBC Monitoring Media
English
(c) 2005 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved. No material may be reproduced except with the express permission of The British Broadcasting Corporation.

Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA website

London, 16 November: Home Secretary Charles Clarke is being urged to provide adequate protection in the UK to journalists threatened by the Iraq-based Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group [MKO - Iranian opposition group] for reporting about their activities.

"Please take this threat seriously before it is too late," Clarke was told in a letter sent Tuesday [15 November] by Mas'ud Khodabandeh [an Iranian national], who heads British-based Iran Interlink, which provides humanitarian support and family contacts for members wishing to leave the MKO.

His appeal came after a representative of Voice of America was intimidated after attending a conference organized by Interlink last week calling for MKO leader Mas'ud Rajavi to be tried along with former Iraqi president Saddam Husayn.

"The MKO's agents in the UK, who have been working overtly for Saddam Husayn's services in Britain for the last two decades, are not unknown to your law enforcement agencies throughout the country," Khodabandeh told the home secretary.

Although the MKO is proscribed in the UK as a terrorist group, it operates under its so-called front group, the National Council of Resistance, frequently organizing propaganda meetings in the UK parliament.

Interlink wrote to Clarke back in September, with a copy to other EU interior ministers, warning that 'MKO assassination teams were activated in Europe."

"Those forces have the same training as Saddam Husayn's Republican Guards and therefore have the same capability as the Iraq leader's Fedayeen," Khodabandeh said.

Chairing last week's conference in London, British member of the European Parliament, Baroness Nicholson, also warned "for the sake of our citizens and for global safety" that greater attention be paid to the MKO.

Khodabandeh said that the terrorist group, which is under US protection in Iraq, had regrouped in Europe and had been reassigned to target critics.

"I would again ask for your intervention to instigate a meaningful investigation into the activities of the known agents," he told the British home secretary.

Source: IRNA website, Tehran, in English 0550 gmt 16 Nov 05