Iraqi MP Calls US Stumbling Block to Expelling MKO from Iraq

A member of the Iraqi parliament on Monday described the US as the stumbling block to the expulsion of the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from his country, stressing that Washington strives to block any move made by the Baghdad government to this end.

"The presence of Monafeqin (the hypocrites, as they are called in Iran) on Iraq's soil violates the country's constitution and the US is the main impediment to the expulsion of the terrorist group from Iraq's soil," Ali Alaq told FNA.

He also underlined that the US is the key supporter and sponsor of the MKO.

"The Iraqi government has several times adopted measures to expel the Monafeqin grouplet from Iraq's soil, but unfortunately this (their expulsion) has not yet happened in practice due to the US pressures," Alaq added.

He strongly condemned the interference of the US officials in the internal affairs of his country, and described the US embassy's support for the MKO as a move in support of international terrorism.

A former Iranian diplomat who accompanied Iranian Foreign Ministry Caretaker Ali Akbar Salehi during his recent visit to Baghdad announced on Sunday that Iraqi officials are resolved to immediately expel the anti-Iran terrorist MKO from their country.

"The Iraqi officials are seeking to expel the Monafeqin (MKO members as they are called in Iran) grouplet from the country's soil as soon as possible," former Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazzemi Qomi told FNA.

Also, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters after a meeting in Baghdad with Salehi on Wednesday that he and his Iranian counterpart had discussed expulsion of the MKO from Iraq at their meeting.

He expressed the hope that Baghdad would expel the anti-Iran terrorist MKO from Iraq soon in future.

Asked about the fate of the MKO, Zebari said the two sides "hope to find a way to close the MKO's case in Iraq as soon as possible".

"There are some humanitarian commitments to which our government is loyal, but fulfilling these undertakings should not harm Iraq's national sovereignty," he said.

The MKO has been in Iraq's Diyala province since the 1980s.

The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.

Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe.

The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).

Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.

A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations.

According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.

The group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam's army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.

Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf - about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad - last year and detained dozens of the members of the terrorist group.

The Iraqi authority also changed the name of the military center from Camp Ashraf to the Camp of New Iraq.