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EU court annuls EU's new Iran terror list move
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A European Union court on Thursday annulled a new move by the bloc to freeze the assets of an exiled Iranian opposition group in the latest in a string of legal setbacks to its blacklist of suspected terrorist groups.
The European Court of First Instance already threw out last month a 2007 move to freeze the assets of People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), the group which exposed Iran's covert nuclear programme in 2002.
However the judgment had no practical consequences as it did not cover a subsequent EU decision in July of this year to put the same group on a revised blacklist.
A new ruling from the court said that decision also breached the PMOI's right of self-defense because it did not inform the group of new information on it obtained by France.
"Consequently the court annuls the funds-freezing decision," the statement said, adding that no such decision should be based on information that a country was not ready to make available to the court.
An EU spokesman said the EU Council -- the body responsible for decisions by the 27 member states about the blacklist -- would study the ruling and decide whether to appeal or not.
The PMOI has accused the European Union -- which has so far led unsuccessful efforts to persuade Iran to curb its nuclear programme -- of seeking to "appease" Tehran by keeping the PMOI blacklisted.
Iran rejects Western suspicions that its nuclear programme is aimed at producing an atom bomb.
Analysts say it is difficult to gauge what support the group has inside Iran, adding that many Iranians oppose the organization for siding with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980s war with Iran.
(Editing by Samia Nakhoul)
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