Washington has reportedly called on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants to allow members of an anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) into mountainous area along Iran’s northwestern border, the Fars News Agency reports.
Washington’s proposal comes as the deadline for complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq draws near and Baghdad is set to hunt down and expel MKO terrorists which are historically aligned with the former Saddam Hussein regime.
The US is reportedly seeking to relocate the MKO terrorist before leaving Iraq. The MKO is regarded as a terrorist organization by much of the international community including the United States.
An informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV last month that a group of 150 long-time MKO terrorists has been moved from their base in Camp Ashraf near Baghdad to a US base in central Iraq to be trained as spies against Iran.
More recently the group appears to have been looking for new locations further afield, where it can operate and survive independently, or even retire its older members without being tracked down.
MKO is believed to have several thousand members, one-third to one-half of whom are fighters. MKO activities have dropped off in recent years as its membership has dwindled.
The fall of Saddam Hussein‘s regime affected the circumstances of the designated foreign terrorist organization Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK was allied with the Iraqi regime and received most of its support from it. The MEK assisted the Hussein regime in suppressing opposition within Iraq, and performed internal security for the Iraqi regime. The National Liberation Army was the military wing of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
MKO is known by various names, including National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance (NCR), National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Muslim Iranian Student’s Society.
MKO is the largest and most militant group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is led by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. MKO was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups in 1997.
The group has targeted Iranian government officials and government facilities in Iran and abroad; during the 1970s, it attacked Americans in Iran.
When Saddam Hussein was in power, MEK received the majority of its financial support from the Iraqi regime. It also used front organizations, such as the Muslim Iranian Student’s Society, to collect money from expatriate Iranians and others, according to the State Department’s counterterrorism office.
Maryam Rajavi is MEK’s principal leader; her husband, Massoud Rajavi, heads up the group’s military forces. Maryam Rajavi, born in 1953 to an upper-middleclass Iranian family, joined MEK as a student in Tehran in the early 1970s.
After relocating with the group to Paris in 1981, Maryam Rajavi was elected its joint leader and later became deputy commander-in-chief of its armed wing. Massoud Rajavi was last known to be living in Iraq, but authorities aren’t certain of his whereabouts or whether he is alive.