Iran on Monday angrily condemned the European Union's removal of the rebel People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI) from its terror blacklist, accusing the bloc of "encouraging terrorism".
Iran "strongly condemns European Union's unacceptable move and it is deeply sorry that the EU has separated its way from the international community in fighting terrorism to fulfill temporary and illegitimate political goals," said a foreign ministry statement broadcast by state media.
The foreign ministry charged that the EU has "opened doors of friendship and cooperation with terrorists" and that Iran "does not regard the EU accountable any longer in the fight against terrorism".
"The European Union's act in removing one of the most notorious terrorist groups from its blacklist is interpreted as encouraging terrorism and it will give terrorists in Europe an opportunity to use their liberated capacity against European citizens in line with their terrorist goals."
The European Union on Monday removed PMOI, from its blacklist, bringing an end to a long legal battle, but more action against it is not ruled out.
Founded in 1965 with the aim of overthrowing first the U.S.-backed monarch the shah and then the Islamic regime in Iran, the PMOI has in the past operated an armed group inside Iran.
It was the armed wing of the France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) but it renounced violence in June 2001.
It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the first years after the revolution and backed the then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980-1988 war with Iran. But major attacks had ceased by the early 1990s.
The group has since 2002 tried to have itself removed from the EU list of terror organizations which are subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. It is also designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.
The PMOI group retains former fighters in a cantonment in Iraq where they are faced with expulsion to third countries now that the United States has restored security responsibility to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad which maintains amicable relations with Tehran.