100 MKO members are expelled from Iraq: Iraqi minister

Iraqi Minister of Human Rights Muhammad Shia al-Sudani has said that so far 100 members of the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) have been expelled from Iraq, an Iraqi newspaper reported on Friday.

In an interview with the Al-Sabah newspaper, Sudani commented on the process of expelling the MKO members and criticized the countries and international organizations that did not give asylum to the members of the group.

He called on foreign countries to grant asylum to the members of the group.

However, he said, the continuation of the presence of the MKO members in Iraq is in violation of the Iraqi Constitution.

Sudani said that the MKO members have also the option to be returned to their countries, however, they cannot stay in Iraq anymore.

So far, 1600 MKO members have been moved from Camp New Iraq, which was formerly known as Camp Ashraf.

On February 18, the initial group of 400 MKO members was moved to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base near the Baghdad International Airport.

The relocation of the group is part of an agreement reached between the United Nations and the Iraqi government in last December.

The MKO started its activities as a terrorist group based in Iraq in the early 1980s. In addition to the assassination of hundreds of Iranian officials and citizens, the group cooperated with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in its repression of the Iraqi people.

The MKO had fought as a mechanized division in alliance with Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. But it was disarmed and left stranded after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled the brutal dictator.

The U.S. government characterized the MKO as a cult and designated it a terrorist group in 1997, holding it responsible for the assassinations of three U.S. Army officers and three civilian contractors before the Islamic Revolution (in 1979).

The MKO has mounted a major campaign in the U.S. and Europe and enlisted many top national security figures from mostly Republican administrations as well as a number of prominent Democratic politicians to get its terrorist designation lifted.