to have had close links to Saddam Hussein following allegations that its members remain active in the UK
Anti-terror police raid Iranian group linked to Saddam
Anti-terrorist police have launched an investigation into the activities of a proscribed Iranian dissident organisation thought to have had close links to Saddam Hussein following allegations that its members remain active in the UK.
It emerged yesterday that officers of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist squad raided six addresses linked to the group in an operation just over a week ago.
Police confirmed yesterday they had executed six search warrants - one at a business address in central London and five others at private residences in west and north-west London - without making any arrests.
"Our investigations are very much ongoing but we cannot comment further," Scotland Yard said.
In March, Baroness Nicholson, the Liberal Democrat MEP, urged government action after the FT reported activists of the Iraq-based Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation had been attending rallies, raising funds and distributing propaganda literature. The government placed the MKO on a list of banned organisations in 2001 after it was alleged to have links to terrorism.
The allegations surprised some Whitehall insiders, who believed the group had been largely inactive in the UK. In 1999, steps were taken to close a charity that had been used allegedly as a front for raising funds, and to disrupt a satellite TV station used for propaganda.
Both the police and MI5, the security service, have been monitoring various Middle Eastern individuals since the build-up to the war in Iraq amid concern about terrorist attacks. The recent raids did not involve MI5, Whitehall officials said.
However, the discreet nature of the police investigation is thought to reflect a wish within Whitehall to avoid the reaction caused by police inquiries into the group in France. More than 1,000 police arrested 160 Iranian exiles on June 17 in an operation ordered by Jean-Louis Bruguiere, an anti-terrorism judge.
The arrests led to several sympathisers setting fire to themselves in protest in Paris, London and other European cities.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called for tougher measures against the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group by the European Union...