While the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO) in Europe has latched itself onto the neoconservative Iran agenda, and involved itself in diversionary propaganda over its inclusion in the terrorist lists in Europe, the real victims of this military cult have slipped further from world attention as reports emerged today that twenty-four members have recently been killed by the MKO in Iraq.
Since May 2003, up to 3,800 Iranian terrorist MKO combatants have been ostensibly disarmed and confined to Camp Ashraf by US Military Police, aided by a Bulgarian unit. In this time a Temporary International Presence Facility (TIPF) was also established alongside Camp Ashraf to house those who wanted to leave the MKO. Around 800 have since been processed through the TIPF, of whom around 500 have successfully accepted voluntary repatriation to Iran with the help of the ICRC and Iraqi Human Rights agencies. Over 200 Iranian individuals remained in the TIPF who do not wish to return to Iran. These individuals have UNHCR refugee status. Inside Camp Ashraf the MKO leadership continues to maintain control through its harsh cult methodology which denies all MKO members their basic human rights.
Both the residents of Camp Ashraf and the TIPF are guarded by US Military Police to protect them from revenge attacks by Kurdish and other Iraqis whose knowledge of the MKO is as part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive apparatus. Initially granted protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention, this no longer applies and all of these Iranian individuals are now the responsibility of the sovereign government of Iraq.
During 2007 events have evolved which will affect the Iranians in both Camp Ashraf and TIPF.
Conditions inside Camp Ashraf continued to deteriorate during 2007. The Head of Military Intelligence of Bulgaria was quoted by Fars News as saying that during 2007 the Bulgarian unit has had to deal with fourteen serious clashes in Camp Ashraf, describing them as "due to the unrest of the detainees over the years" while stressing that there was no threat to the Bulgarian soldiers.
Reports continued of low level harassment by US MPs of the individuals in TIPF who were demanding that they be given refuge in third countries. It is understood that loyal MKO members have infiltrated the TIPF in order to report on the activities of the former members and to control the atmosphere in the camp. (This in the main is aimed at discouraging anyone from returning to Iran.)
In addition the MKO is holding around 200 disaffected members inside Camp Ashraf whom it has persuaded not to go to the TIPF. Instead the MKO has promised to remove them to third countries itself. This is clearly not going to happen.
In December 2007 the US Army released about 150 people out of the 200 who were in TIPF. The ex-MKO members were taken to a nearby highway and abandoned. Five have arrived in Turkey where they reported that some of those who were released have been captured by various groups in Kurdistan, and the fate of the others is yet unknown. Today Jahan news agency in Iraq reported that twenty-four MKO members have been killed by the group in northern Iraq. Clearly the lives of these people are in serious jeopardy.
It is known that in spite of being ‘confined’ to Camp Ashraf, the MKO have been able to gain a foothold of control along the route between TIPF and Turkey and are paying local people to apprehend any Iranians (who will almost certainly be from TIPF).
On December 6, 2007 Mostafa and Mahbobeh Mohammady arrived in Iraq from Canada to make another attempt to secure their daughter Somayeh’s freedom from the MKO cult. Mostafa Mohammady had meetings with the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and the Deputy Head of the Judiciary. An attempted abduction by the MKO led him to file a complain against the group with the Iraqi judiciary. By January 12, Canadian Government officials warned that the Mohammadys lives cannot be guaranteed in Iraq because of the threat posed by loose MKO personnel.
On January 10 Mostafa Mohammadi was interviewed on Alaraghieh TV. In that programme an Iraqi official was quoted saying that the original owner of the land on which Camp Ashraf has been constructed has been granted permission by an Iraqi court to re-possess his land
“Which had originally been illegally confiscated by Saddam Hussein and gifted to the MKO. The owner has been told that his land will be returned to him in six months. This means that both the TIPF and the whole of Camp Ashraf must be evacuated of personnel “ whether American, Bulgarian or Iranian â€“ within the next six months.
US Military Police have also told visitors to TIPF that a deadline of 6 months has been given to disperse the remaining individuals in both camps. Five years after its disarmament the MKO is regarded as dismantled. The six month deadline will not be used to dismantle the organisation but to find a place of refuge for the individuals contained there. It had been rumored that the TIPF would be moved to Mosel in Kurdistan, but this did not happen. Instead the US Army has simply removed as many as possible from TIPF.
The deadline for evacuation of the camps and the increasingly insurgent behaviour of the MKO renders the situation highly volatile and humanitarian intervention is urgently needed to prevent further bloodshed.
Anne Singleton, Iran-Interlink
PO Box 148
Leeds LS16 5YJ
Iran Interlink Brief, January 2008