BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: A government spokesperson on Tuesday dismissed news that Iraqi forces had broken into Camp Ashraf earlier today, saying they entered the camp to enforce security within handover measures.
“The entrance of the Iraqi forces into Camp Ashraf is not a break-in, but rather a well-coordinated operation to stabilize the security situation inside the camp, which is an Iraqi land that cannot be outside Iraqi sovereignty,” Spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh said in an exclusive statement to Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Earlier today, a spokesperson for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) said that Iraqi police forces broke into Camp Ashraf in Diala province, the headquarters of the organization, and used tear bombs against its residents.
The spokesperson called on the Iraqi government to intervene to stop “these acts which violate international laws.”
Meanwhile, the break-in claims were dismissed by the Diala police chief, who said that security forces had headed to the camp to provide protection for the organization in accordance with orders from the prime minister.
On Monday (July 27), Dabbagh said that the Iraqi government will take over security responsibilities at Camp Ashraf in coordination with the U.S. forces within security handover measures.
Dabbagh indicated that the Iraqi government is committed to pursuing a humanitarian aspect in dealing with the camp’s residents.
The PMOI, also known by the abbreviations MKO and MEK, is a militant organization that advocates the overthrow of Iran’s current government. Founded in 1965, the PMOI was originally devoted to armed struggle against the Shah of Iran, capitalism and Western imperialism.
The group officially renounced violence in 2001 and today it is the main organization in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an “umbrella coalition” parliament-in-exile that claims to be dedicated to a democratic, secular and coalition government in Iran.
The PMOI has had thousands of its members for many years in bases in Iraq, but they were disarmed in the wake of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and are said to have adhered to a ceasefire. Its armed wing is called the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA).
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein dedicated Camp Ashraf in Diala province, northeast of Baghdad, to host the PMOI members since the 1980s.