Envoy Stresses Imminent Expulsion of MKO Members from Iraq

Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danayee-Far underlined Baghdad's firm decision on the expulsion of the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from Iraq, reiterating that members of the terrorist organization will be flushed out of the country in coming months.

"Based on (the Iraqi government's) decision, the terrorist Monafeqin (hypocrites as MKO members are called in Iran) grouplet has to leave Iraq's soil by the end of 2011 and if not the Iraqi government will take specific actions in this regard," Danayee-Far told FNA on Monday. 

He also stressed that people, political groups, the parliament and the government of Iraq are all in consensus over the expulsion of the terrorist group from their country. 

Earlier this month, Iraq's Defense Ministry Spokesman General Mohammed al-Askari had reiterated that the Iraqi government is determined to evacuate the members of the MKO from their stronghold in the Northern Diyala province in the near future. 

"The Iraqi government has announced on many occasions that the remaining the camp inside the country is not an option, and we will do our best to evacuate the camp in the near future," al-Askari said. Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said last month that his country is in talks with Tehran to decide a future for the MKO terrorist group. 

"We have proposed the formation of a joint committee between Iran, Iraq and the (International Committee of the) Red Cross to resolve the issue (of the MKO) at Camp Ashraf," Zebari said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi. 

The committee "will discuss the requests of the members of this group who live in Camp Ashraf, particularly those who seek to return to Iran without any pressure or difficulty," Zebari said. Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf - about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad - in 2009 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. The MKO has been in Iraq's Diyala province since the 1980s. The Baghdad government has assured the Iraqi people that it is determined to expel the MKO from Iraq by the end of the year. 

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the Islamic Revolution in Iran 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 has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list. Media reports have recently revealed that the US is trying to convince Iraqi officials to relocate the MKO members within Iraq. 

Under the US plan, the approximately 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf would be temporarily relocated within Iraq, farther from the border with Iran, a US State Department official announced.