Iran exiles ‘planned to kill informers’

AN Iranian opposition group under scrutiny in France planned to assassinate former members suspected of betraying the movement, according to a report by France’s counterintelligence agency.

The report by the agency known as the DST also said the group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, recently discussed getting its supporters to commit suicide to draw attention to their cause.

A London-based spokesman for the group said it rejects "every single allegation" in the DST report.

Several Mujahedeen Khalq supporters throughout Europe lit themselves on fire after French agents raided the group last week. Two women one in London and one in Paris died of their injuries.

Extracts of the confidential DST report were first published in Le Figaro newspaper.

A French police official who saw the original report yesterday confirmed that the excerpts were taken from the DST document, which Le Figaro said was produced two weeks before the June 17 raids. The police official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The head of the DST, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, said last week that the organisation planned attacks against Iranian diplomatic missions in Europe and elsewhere.

The DST report said the group also planned to "proceed with the physical elimination of former members of the movement collaborating with Iranian intelligence services".

In London, Mujahedeen Khalq spokesman Ali Safavi said the group has "never engaged in any unlawful let alone violent action" in the 22 years it has been in France and elsewhere.

"This report is bogus, a clumsy attempt on the part of the French authorities to justify their unjustified, illegal onslaught on people they have been protecting for the past 22 years," he said.

The Mujahedeen Khalq seeks to topple Iran's clerical regime. It is classified as a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union.

But it had few problems during most of its time in France, where the group established itself shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

The group's main financier was Saddam Hussein, whose contributions are thought to have run into hundreds of millions of US dollars, the report said.

Since Saddam's fall, group militants and members of its military wing, the National Liberation Army of Iran, have fled Iraq "and a number of them settled in Europe and France".

In the June 17 raids, more than 1,300 police swept through a walled compound in Auvers-Sur-Oise, north of Paris, that has served as the group's headquarters.

The DST chief said the group was turning the compound into a centre for terrorist operations.

The group insists it has abided by French laws. The DST report said the movement had 200 to 300 militants and supporters in France, with a "hardcore" of several dozen people.

Among the more than 150 people detained was a top figure in the organization, Maryam Rajavi. She and 10 others remain in jail while the investigation continues.

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