TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday stressed his government’s resolve to expel members of the anti-Iran terrorist group, Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), from his country.
Speaking to FNA over the fate of MKO members in Iraq after seizure of the group’s training camp last Tuesday by Iraqi forces, Maliki noted, "We have always had a clear stance on all terrorist groups. They have to leave the Iraqi soil. The government has underlined this stance since the beginning."
Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf – about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad – last Tuesday and detained dozens of the members of the terrorist group.
The Iraqi authority also changed the name of the military center from Camp Ashraf to the Camp of New Iraq.
Maliki further rejected allegations about mistreatment of the MKO members by the Iraqi security forces, saying, "Our behavior towards their (MKO) members has always been within the framework of the international conventions. We have not mistreated them." The Iraqi government has set a month-long deadline for members of the MKO to leave the country’s soil.
"Members of the MKO at Camp of New Iraq (Camp Ashraf) have to comply with the one-month time limit to leave Iraq. The organization members should either return to Iran or seek asylum in a third country," Diyala province’s Police Chief Major General Abdulhussein al-Shimari told reporters on Saturday.
The MKO has been in Iraq’s Diyala province since the 1980s. The Iraqi government and parliament has announced that it would not tolerate the group anymore and is seeking to expel the group from the country in the near future.
The anti-Iran terror group has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by many international entities and countries.
The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).
Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations.
According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
The MKO was put on the US terror list in 1997 by the then President, Bill Clinton, but since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group has been strongly backed by the Washington Neocons, who also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.