Mujahadeen-e-Khalq on agenda of Iran-U.S. talks

A radical Iranian opposition group will be one of the key discussion issues during talks between Iranian and U.S. officials in Iraq on May 28, an Iraqi newspaper reported Saturday.

Al-Sabah newspaper, a publication financed by the Shiite-led Iraqi government said the agenda of the talks would include four key issues – "the supplies of Iranian weapons to Iraqi militant groups, the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq organization, the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region and the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq."

Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) is the largest and most extremist group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was founded in the 1960s by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists opposed to the country’s pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.  The group, which reportedly maintains bases in Iraq, was put on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups in 1997 and on the European Union’s terrorist list in 2002 because its violent attacks often killed civilians. However, certain reports indicate that the group’s strong stand against Iran has won its support by some U.S. lawmakers and U.S. military command in Iraq.

Tehran demands that MEK members be expelled from Iraq or extradited to Iran.

The Baghdad talks, which come at the request of Iraqi leaders, had initially been scheduled for March of this year but were continuously postponed due to a U.S. propaganda campaign against Iran, in which the White House has accused of providing Shiite militia with weaponry and explosives.

Tehran, in turn, denies the accusations and blames Washington for the bloodshed and violence in Iraq that followed the U.S.-led military campaign in the country

Al-Sabah, Iraq, May 20, 2007

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