A group of Iraqi people gathered outside the main training center of the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iraq to call for the expulsion of the terrorist group from the country’s soil.
The demonstrators gather outside the Camp of New Iraq (formerly known as Camp Ashraf) in Iraq’s northern province of Diyala and demanded that the terrorist group be removed from their country.
Iranian relatives of some MKO members also joined the protesters, calling for the release of their family members who are said to be held inside the camp against their will.
On Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari expressed hope that Baghdad would expel the anti-Iran terrorist Organization from Iraq soon in future.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Baghdad with visiting Iranian Foreign Ministry Caretaker Ali Akbar Salehi on Wednesday, Zebari said that he and his Iranian counterpart have discussed expulsion of MKO from Iraq at their meeting.
Asked about the fate of the MKO, Zebari said the two sides "hope to find a way to close the MKO’s case in Iraq as soon as possible".
"There are some humanitarian commitments to which our government is loyal, but fulfilling these undertakings should not harm Iraq’s national sovereignty," he said.
The MKO has been in Iraq’s Diyala province since the 1980s.
The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.
Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe.
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, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.
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.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.
Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf – about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad – last year 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.