The Sunday Telegraph - The ruthlessness with which our Government enforces EU law against its citizens strikingly contrasts with its eagerness on occasion to flout EU law itself. One of the murkier chapters in our foreign policy in recent years has been the Foreign Office’s readiness to appease the dictatorial regime in Iran, for reasons not unconnected to a series of huge trade deals.

The Sunday Telegraph

Christopher Booker's notebook
By Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

The ruthlessness with which our Government enforces EU law against its citizens strikingly contrasts with its eagerness on occasion to flout EU law itself. One of the murkier chapters in our foreign policy in recent years has been the Foreign Office’s readiness to appease the dictatorial regime in Iran, for reasons not unconnected to a series of huge trade deals.

In March 2001 Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, placed on the list of terrorist organisations, under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the leading Iranian dissident organisation, the People’s Muhajedeen of Iran (PMOI), even though the PMOI claims to be opposed to terrorism in any way and wishes only to carry on its campaign for freedom and democracy in Iran in a peaceful fashion. Mr Straw last year admitted to the BBC that he had done this at the behest of the Teheran regime.

Later that year, after 9/11, the EU drew up its own list of prescribed organisations and individuals linked to terrorism, and in May 2002, at the UK’s behest, the PMOI was added to the list. With its assets thus frozen and its activities drastically circumscribed, the PMOI petitioned the European Court of Justice that the EU Council of Ministers had acted improperly, on a whole range of grounds.

In February 2003 the UK Government became the only EU state to join the case as a third party. Last December, the ECJ found in the PMOI’s favour, ruling that it had never been given a fair hearing and that its name should never have been put on the list of terrorist organisations. Nevertheless, in January, again on the UK Government’s insistence, the Council of Ministers told the PMOI that, regardless of the court’s ruling, its name would remain on the list.

The deadline for any appeal against the judgment has now passed. In its zeal to appease one of the most ruthless and dangerous regimes in the world, the British Government has thus persuaded its "partner"’ simply to put up two very large fingers to EU law. Would that a similar response was open to all those who fall foul of EU law here in Britain.