Iraqi forces have surrounded MKO’s Camp Ashraf, after Baghdad vowed to shut down the camp and end the group’s presence in the country.
"Iraqi soldiers [have taken] positions around Camp Ashraf since Thursday after the MKO [terrorists] refused to evacuate a building inside their camp," an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity on Monday.
The Iraqi soldiers, who have orders from Iraq’s National security Advisor, Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, are not authorized to allow people or supplies to enter or leave the camp, the source added.
After the finalization of a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington, the Iraqi government took over the country’s national security issues. Under the interim agreement Iraq has now control over the Camp Ashraf — the Mujahedin Khalq Organization’s headquarters and training base in Diyala Province for the past two decades.
The Iraqi government has vowed to expel the members of the terrorist group from the country, maintaining that their presence ‘in Iraq is not an option’.
The anti-Iran MKO, which identifies itself as a Marxist-Islamist guerilla army, has carried out acts of terror against Iranian nationals and officials.
Outlawed in Iran, the group was relocated in France before being expelled at the order of the then-prime minister Jacques Chirac. Te organization, eventually, moved to Iraq, where it allegedly assisted former dictator Saddam Hussein in the massacre of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the 1990s.
Many countries including the US have blacklisted the MKO as a "terrorist" organization. The US State Department says that the MKO assassinated at least six US citizens in Iran, prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
This is while earlier in January, the 27-nation European Union ruled against the MKO’s seven-year inclusion in the blacklist. The ruling is widely believed to be politically motivated and the result of legal developments combined with intense lobbying by the terrorist group.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Rajanews website said on Monday that the Iraqi government is making efforts to transfer the MKO terrorists from Camp Ashraf to Naqrat al-Salman, near the Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia.
It added that a delegation of Iraqi government officials has been dispatched to the border region to inspect the base, which is expected to house MKO members.