Skip to comments.French raid on Mujahideen Khalq welcomed by Tehran
Posted on 06/18/2003 12:37:03 AM PDT by gaucho
French raid on Mujahideen Khalq welcomed by Tehran Police seize dozens and $1.3 million
Compiled by Daily Star staff
Tehran thanked Paris for clamping down on Mujahideen Khalq activists in France Tuesday as the Iranian clergy?s fight against dissidents at home spilled over to exile communities in Europe.
Up to 165 members of Iran?s largest opposition group were arrested in the surprise raids in 13 sites north and west of Paris.
Among those arrested was a top symbol of the group, Maryam Rajavi, the wife of Iraq-based mujahideen leader Massoud Rajavi, as well as Rajavi?s brother, Saleh.
US currency amounting to $1.3 million, mainly $100-bills, was seized, along with computer information and satellite telecommunications equipment, police said.
The French government said the raids were aimed at stopping the group, which has been accused by Western governments of involvement in ?terrorism,? from expanding its operations in France.
?This is about fighting against eventual acts of terrorism perpetrated on French territory,? Justice Minister Dominique Perben said on France-Info radio.
The group ?recently wanted to make France its support base, notably after the intervention in Iraq,? Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told lawmakers. ?We cannot accept that.?
The dramatic raids carried out by heavily armed and masked agents come a month after the Mujahideen Khalq?s armed wing was disarmed by US forces in Iraq. The group, blacklisted by the United States and the European Union, has fought to topple Iran?s clerical regime.
It was unclear whether the raids, which France said were planned a month ago, were connected to the recent unrest inside Iran. But the crackdown could hinder the group?s ability to benefit from any weakening of the Tehran government.
Reaction from sympathizers of the group, known for its militancy, was swift. One protester set himself afire outside the French Embassy in London, and his condition was unknown.
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