'No reason for MKO presence in Iraq'

A senior Iranian lawmaker says there is no rationale behind the presence of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq, as the Iraqi nation has been a major victim of the terrorist activities of the group.


“The MKO is a terrorist organization, whose presence in Iraq is destitute of any logic. At the time of (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam [Hussein], this group had an organized role in the massacre of the Iraqi people and the documents of their crimes are available,” said Kazem Jalali, the spokesman for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in a Friday interview.

He expressed optimism that Baghdad would succeed in its efforts to expel the MKO from the country, noting that the presence of the terrorist group in Iraq has caused deep discontent among both the government and the nation.

The Iranian legislator made reference to the MKO campaigns within Western political circles to introduce itself as an alternative to the Islamic Republic. He argued that the terrorist group poses no threat against Tehran, but that they have to “make atonement for their crimes.”

Jalali further noted that those MKO members who have clean slates are authorized to return to their country.

Iraq considers MKO's base, Camp Ashraf, in Diyala province, and its residents a threat to its national security.

The MKO announced on Tuesday that it will accept a UN offer that provides for relocation of the members of the group to the recently vacated US military base Camp Liberty in northeast of Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where they would wait for resettlement in other countries.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986 where it enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border. It is known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.

The group has also carried out numerous acts of terrorism against Iranian civilians and government officials.

Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has blocked the expulsion by mounting pressure on the Iraqi government.