Iraqi government bound to expel MKO

The Iraqi government is legally bound to expel Mojahedin Khalq Organization members from the country, the political advisor to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Chairman Seyyed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, said.

There are two reasons why MKO group cannot stay in Iraq: from the legal point of view these persons are terrorists and the Iraqi government does not have the right to let them stay in Iraq, and the political reason is that the MKO members have perpetrated criminal acts against the Iraqi nation, Mohsen Hakim told the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

The MKO began a campaign of assassinations and bombings in Iran shortly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The group moved to Iraq in the early 1980s and it fought Iran from there until the United States invaded in 2003 and until recently the MKO members were guarded by U.S. troops in their base of Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad.

Hakim also said that the Iraqi government has changed Camp Ashraf’s name to Camp of New Iraq.

On July 29 Iraqi security forces stormed Camp of New Iraq that housed MKO and took control of it.

Not only is it the legal right of the Iraqi government but it is the government’s duty to exercise sovereignty over its territory, he explained.

Mohsen Hakim said Iraqi forces were in charge of the camp according to a security deal between the U.S. and Iraq but when the Iraqi forces entered the camp to set up checkpoints they were violently attacked by the group.

“The Iraqi government and nation condemn such actions and will never tolerate the presence of these terrorists in their territory,” he added.

Except for 98 MKO members who have been blacklisted by Iran, the Islamic Republic has declared an amnesty for other members and said they can return to Iran just like 500 members of the group did in the recent years, he added.

Commenting on reports that the senior MKO members have said they will not leave the Iraqi soil, he said the MKO members are neither Iraqi citizens nor defectors, and the Iraqi government will never grant them asylum because they are terrorists, Hakim stated.

The executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used the heavily armed group during his decade-long war with Iran in the 80s, and it also played a role in Saddam”s bloody suppression of Shia and Kurdish uprisings after the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

The MKO was founded in Iran in the 1960s, but its top leadership and members fled the country in the 1980s after carrying out a series of assassinations and bombings inside the country.
The group is especially notorious in Iran because they allied with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

The United States, Canada, Iraq, and Iran have all designated the MKO as a terrorist organization.

The European Union had also designated the MKO as a terrorist organization but inexplicably removed it from the EU terror list in January 2009.

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