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U.S. Grants Iranian Group Protected Status

26 July 2004 -- The United States says it has granted protected status to about 3,800 members of the People's Mujahadeen.

People's Mujahadeen is Iran's main armed opposition group. It is now confined to a military-run camp in Iraq.

The State Department says, however, the move has no effect on the U.S. designation of the group as a terrorist organization.

Spokesman Adam Ereli said today that protected status gives the militants rights under the Geneva Conventions but would not shield them from eventual prosecution on possible terrorism charges.

Ereli said each member is being vetted to determine if they were involved in terrorist incidents.