British court to rule on Iranian dissident group banned for terrorism

A British court was due to rule Wednesday on whether an Iranian opposition group should be removed from the government's list of banned terror organizations. The People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI) is considered a terrorist outfit by the United States and the European Union - but high-profile backers in Britain have waged a legal campaign to overturn its status as a proscribed group. Originally formed in opposition to the US-backed dictatorship of the late Iranian ruler Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the PMOI fell out with the clerical government that replaced the monarchy and launched a campaign of assassinations and bombings in an attempt to topple it. It is now based in Iraq, where its followers have been confined by the US military to a camp near Baghdad. The PMOI won an important victory in November when a British court ordered that it be removed from the government's list of terrorist organizations, but the government has taken its case to the country's Court of Appeal. The PMOI argues that a court victory in Britain would lead to the group's legalization in Europe as well, potentially allowing it more freedom to organize and raise money across the continent.