Zebari: Mojahedin Khalq expulsion from Iraq will be strictly monitored by a special committee
BAGHDAD – Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has stated that Baghdad intends to host talks between Iran and United States over the security situation in Iraq and called for maintaining “Iraq-Iraq-U.S. triangle”.
In an exclusive interview with the Mehr News Agency, Zebari said the Iraqi government, given the current situation in the country, views hosting such talks as a priority.
He pointed out that Iran is “one of Iraq’s most important neighbors” that is seeking “special relations with Baghdad with goodwill” and that Baghdad’s relations with Tehran are of “great significance”.
He added the U.S. influence in Iraq is also “undeniable”.
Iran’s foreign minister has ruled out holding new security talks with the United States over Iraq, saying improved security situation has made such talks unnecessary.
However, Zebari said there are issues that Iran and the United States should “settle between themselves”, and in the run-up to “new Iraq” Baghdad favors cooperation between the three parties by maintaining “Iran-Iraq-U.S. triangle.”
The foreign minister also dismissed reports that Iraq is showing leniency in expelling Mojahedin Khalgh Organization (MKO), saying the Iraqi government has taken its decision on the group and the expulsion will be strictly monitored by a “special committee”.
The MKO has claimed responsibility for carrying out numerous terror attacks against Iranian nationals and officials, and has also been accused of assisting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the slaughter of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the 1990s.
The MKO established a camp for about 3,500 members in Iraq, which its forces used to launch cross-border attacks into Iran. It fought alongside Saddam Hussein’s forces during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Many senior Iraqi officials have assured Iran that the MKO members will soon have to leave Iraq.
Zebari also stated that Baghdad understands Tehran’s concerns about the Iranian diplomats detained by U.S forces and expressed hope that Iraq’s negotiations with the U.S. will lead to the release of the diplomats.
The U.S. military detained five Iranian diplomats in the city of Arbil, 310 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, in January 2007. In November that year, U.S. officials said they would release two of the five diplomats.