|Hundreds of Iraqis have rallied in the eastern province of Diyala to demand the immediate expulsion of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from their country.|
Hundreds of Iraqis have rallied in the eastern province of Diyala to demand the immediate expulsion of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from their country.
Condemning MKO acts of terror, Iraqi protesters on Friday gathered outside Camp Ashraf, the base of the exiled group, to urge the government to close the notorious camp as scheduled for December 31.
The protest rally came one day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected a UN appeal for the extension of the year-end deadline to shut down Camp Ashraf, saying that the Iraqi government cannot permit a criminal gang to remain in the country. Baghdad considers Camp Ashraf and its residents as a threat to its national security and insists it is determined to close down the terrorist base by the end of 2011.
Camp Ashraf, about 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) west of the Iranian border, houses some 3,400 MKO members. The terrorist group has carried out numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and government officials after they fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
The terrorist group is also known to have collaborated with Saddam in the bloody repression of the 1991 Shia Muslims in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds in the country's north.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been blocking the expulsion by mounting pressure on the Iraqi government. While the MKO is designated as a terrorist organization under the United States law, and has been described by State Department officials as a repressive cult, The New York Times recently reported that Washington is mulling over removing the MKO from its terrorist watch list and giving refuge to its members.
Last month, European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said she would urge EU member states to accept the residents of Camp Ashraf.