‎‘MKO members must be returned to Iran’‎

Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani has called for the extradition of the ‎members of ‎the anti-Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) to the Islamic Republic to ‎stand trial. ‎

“The leaders and members of the MKO must be extradited to Iran to receive punishment for their ‎‎crimes,” IRNA quoted Amoli Larijani as saying on Wednesday. ‎ ‎

‎“The group has shed the blood of over ‎‏17,000‏‎ Iranian citizens, including senior government ‎figures ‎and ordinary people, and the Westerners should know that the Iranian nation will never ‎forget the ‎crimes of the MKO and its supporters,” he noted. ‎

The Iranian judiciary chief also referred to the numerous crimes of the MKO in Iraq, adding that ‎the ‎recent decision by the United States to remove the group from the US State Department's list ‎of ‎terrorist organizations proves “that the West has transformed combating terrorism to a tool to ‎‎pressure independent countries.”‎

‎ On September ‎‏21‏‎, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified ‎‎communication about the decision. Later in the day, State Department spokeswoman Victoria ‎Nuland ‎said that a public announcement about the removal of the MKO from the list of terrorist ‎organization ‎would be made by October ‎‏1‏‎. ‎ ‎

‎“I warn the US administration that the Iranian nation and government will never forget the ‎MKO’s ‎crimes against Iranians,” the Iranian judiciary chief asserted. ‎ ‎

The MKO fled to Iraq in the ‎‏1980‏s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator ‎Saddam ‎Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian ‎border. ‎ ‎

The group also cooperated with Saddam in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the ‎‏1991‏‎ ‎uprisings in southern Iraq. ‎ ‎

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has ‎‎committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranians and Iraqis. ‎ ‎

Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been ‎putting ‎pressure on Baghdad to resist the calls.‎