France To Probe 2000 Tehran Attack
April 28, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press
PARIS -- French judicial officials have opened an investigation of an attack four years ago in the Iranian capital for which an opposition group based in France claimed responsibility, judicial officials said Wednesday.
The investigation, opened on Tuesday, comes after months of reflection in both judicial and diplomatic quarters, according to the officials, who spoke on condition they not be named.
The probe was instigated after a Tehran resident injured in the attack filed a complaint in May 2003, the officials said.
On Feb. 5, 2000, numerous mortar shells fell on two official buildings in Tehran, the Iranian capital, killing one person and injuring several others. The People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran claimed responsibility for the attack.
The organization is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. It has an armed wing in U.S.-occupied Iraq that was disarmed a year ago by U.S. forces.
The French investigation is justified because the Mujahedeen organization, the chief exiled Iranian opposition group, has been based in Auvers-sur-Oise, outside Paris, for some 20 years, the officials said.
Judicial authorities in France are already investigating the Mujahedeen for terrorism financing and for "criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise."
In June 2003, masked police raided the People's Mujahedeen compound. A total of 17 people were placed under investigation, including Maryam Rajavi, who co-leads the Mujahedeen with her husband Massoud.
The Mujahedeen have vigorously denied the French charges, calling the arrests a "dirty deal" between Tehran and Paris meant to improve France's standing with the clerical regime.
The arrests set off dramatic protests - including two self-immolations. Six others were injured after they set themselves on fire. Some other supporters went on a hunger strike.
The People's Mujahedeen has been based in France since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the Iranian monarchy and brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power. The group had initially supported the revolution, but fell out over its advocacy of a secular regime. It has offices in several cities in the West. http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004042819040003&Take=1