Iran summons Italian ambassador over hosting of opposition leader

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Iran on Thursday summoned Italy’s ambassador to Tehran in response to the Italian parliament’s decision to host the leader of an Iranian opposition group that Tehran considers a “terrorist” organization, state news agency IRNA reported.

Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK) group, “was invited by the Italian Parliament to participate in a hearing session of the Foreign Affairs Committee,” the MEK said on Wednesday.

“The purpose of the session was to discuss Iran,” it said.

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In its communication with the Italian envoy, the Iranian foreign ministry labeled Rajavi as a “terrorist criminal” and criticized the Italian parliament for hosting her, deeming it a “clear example of promoting and encouraging terrorism.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran asks the Italian government to show its serious will to prevent itself from becoming a haven for terrorists,” the ministry added.

Earlier this month, Iran criticized France for allowing the MEK to hold a meeting outside Paris.

The MEK has been exiled from Iran since the early 1980s.

In 2013, Albania agreed to take in members of the group at the request of Washington and the United Nations, with thousands settling there over the past decade.

Last month, Albanian authorities raided a MEK camp amid allegations that the group was suspected of orchestrating cyberattacks against foreign institutions.

The MEK said Albanian police had seized 200 of their computers during the raid, which was hailed by Iran as “commendable.”

The head of the Iranian government’s information council, Sepehr Khalaji, said on July 3 that Iran had received some of the hard drives confiscated by Albania and that work on data recovery was “underway.”

The MEK originally supported Shia cleric Ruhollah Khomeini during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which resulted in the ousting of the Western-backed Shah. However, they later turned against the newly established theocratic regime and sought to overthrow it.

Following their fallout with the new authorities, the group sought refuge in Iraq and sided with former president Saddam Hussein in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

With AFP

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