Iraq: MKO presence violates constitution

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar ZebariIraq's foreign minister says his country will not allow the Mojahedin-e Khalq

Organization (MKO) to use Iraq's soil as a launchpad to conduct its terrorist activities

In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Monday, Iraqi Hoshyar Zebari said, “The Iraqi Constitution prohibits the presence of MKO or any other militia groups to have presence on Iraqi territory and to launch attacks against our neighbors.”


“Constitutionally, this is not allowed and the MKO members of the Ashraf camp have to respect Iraqi law,” he added.


Concerning Iraqi military's raid on Camp Ashraf on April 8, Zebari said, “This was a military operation intended to take control of part of the territory. Ashraf camp is not a small camp; it is 50 kilometers large.”


“The Iraqi military extended its authority over about 20 kilometers of the camp. No country in the world will tolerate any organization to undermine its sovereignty, to defy its authority, and to act as if this is a liberated territory or a state within a state.” Zebari stated.


“So they have to abide by Iraqi rules and regulations, and we have called on European countries and others to resettle these peoples in their countries, for them to go on and continue their struggle. In Iraq, their presence is unacceptable,” Iraq's top diplomat added.


The MKO was founded in Iran in the 1960s, but its members fled to Iraq in the 1980s after carrying out a series of assassinations and bombings inside the country.


The MKO cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprising in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.


Following the ouster of Saddam in 2003, the Iraqi government set numerous deadlines for the terrorist group to leave the country but MKO has managed to maintain Camp Ashraf due to US backing.