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The Iranian Embassy in London Friday accused a leading British daily of further promoting the terrorist endeavors of the outlawed of Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) by publishing an advertisement calling for its de-proscription under the UK's terror laws.
The Iranian Embassy in London Friday accused a leading British daily of further promoting the terrorist endeavors of the outlawed of Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) by publishing an advertisement calling for its de-proscription under the UK's terror laws. "The publication of an advertisement may, on the face of it, look a benign media practice but regrettably your contribution in this regard has served to advance the aims of this organization," embassy spokesman Hamid Babaei said in a letter to the Guardian newspaper. "It is astonishing that a prestigious publication such as your own should publish an advertisement for a terrorist group," he added. The Guardian, which published the half-page advert in its Wednesday edition, has been previously criticized for allowing its pages to be used by the dubious front groups promoting MKO terrorists. In 2001, an official complaint was made to Britain's Advertising Standards Authority against the paper for publishing an advert that did not clearly identify the source, when using the unknown acronym of the 'National Association of Iranian Academics in Britain.' The agency accepted that the front group was an incorporated association of the proscribed group but rejected that it breached its code of conduct for advertisers. Registering the embassy's protest about the Guardian's latest 'advertisement,' Babaei said the "People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI) is the same entity as Mojahedin-e-Khalghe Iran (MEK), which has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union as well as by the British government in its Terrorism Act 2000." "Surely use of different, new acronyms such as PMOI, as used in the advertisement, can never purge the organisation's long record of criminal activities, or put a shine on a body recognized internationally as a terrorist organisation, or in any way justify their terrorist cause," he said. By publishing the advert, the paper faces the risk of being prosecuted for promoting a terrorist group under the same anti- terrorism laws under which the MKO was proscribed in the UK. The MKO was outlawed in 2001 under the Terrorism Act 2000, under which police have the powers to seize assets and arrest those who threaten violence for political, religious or ideological causes. The legislation also spells out that openly promoting or expressing support for the outlawed terrorist groups can lead to prosecution. In January, the right-wing Daily Telegraph caused controversy when it publicly called for support of the MKO to overthrow Iran's elected government in its main editorial. Using a language similar to the terrorist group, it suggested that the west should "catalyze" a new revolution in Iran by using the terrorist groups. "Give them the tools, and they will finish the job," it said.

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