As Iraq prepares to expel the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from its territory, the European Union steps in to delay the process.
In last-minute efforts to shield MKO members from expulsion, the EU urged Iraq to drop a parliamentary bid which requires the group to leave their bases at Camp Ashraf — a military training headquarters north of Baghdad.
The EU parliamentarians also demanded that Iraq respect the “protected persons” status of the Iranian dissidents and refrain from any action that would endanger their lives or security.
The European Union removed the anti-Iran MKO group from its terror blacklist in January amid Iraqi vows to implement parliamentary measures and expel members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
Earlier in March, Iraqi national security advisor, Muwafaq al-Rubaie, described MKO members as “foreign terrorists” and ordered them to leave their headquarters in Camp Ashraf, where they had been stationed for more than two decades.
“The residents should understand … that their days in Iraq are numbered and we are literally counting down,” al-Rubaie told reporters.
The Mujahedin Khalq Organization, which identifies itself as a Marxist-Islamist guerilla army, was founded in Iran in the 1960s but was exiled some twenty years later for performing acts of terrorism in the country.
The terrorists are especially notorious for taking sides with former dictator Saddam Hussein during the war Iraq imposed on Iran (1980-1988).
The group masterminded a torrent of terrorist operations inside Iran, one of which was the 1981 bombing of the offices of the Islamic Republic Party, in which more than 72 Iranian officials were killed.
A 2007 German intelligence report from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has identified the MKO as a “repressive, sect-like and Stalinist authoritarian organization which centers around the personality cult of [MKO leaders] Maryam and Masoud Rajavi”.
High-ranking MKO members have camped-out in most of Europe’s parliaments for the past two years and have managed to gain scattered support from various high-ranking circles in the West
Anne Singleton, an expert on the MKO and author of ‘Saddam’s Private Army’ explains that the West aims to keep the group afloat in order to use it in efforts to stage a regime change in Iran.
“With a new Administration in the White House a pre-emptive strike on Iran looks unlikely. Instead the MKO’s backers have put together a coalition of small irritant groups, the known minority and separatist groups, along with the MKO. These groups will be garrisoned around the border with Iran and their task is to launch terrorist attacks into Iran over the next few years to keep the fire hot,” she explains.
“The role of the MKO is to train and manage these groups using the expertise they acquired from Saddam’s Republican Guard,” Singleton added.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report also condemns the MKO for running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations. According to report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.