The administrators of Diyala province called on Sunday for the Federal Government to remove the MKO of Iran from the country in line with the Iraqi constitution, and confirmed that it will offer to invest in Camp Ashraf, where they are now, in the event of their exit. One economist described the camp as a "Pearl of the Desert", which he estimated would become the most beautiful tourist area in the country, if invested in correctly.
The first deputy governor of Diyala province, Furat al-Tamimi, in an interview for Alsumaria News, said the role of the Mojahedin-e Khalq "was and remains negative in the security landscape through its support for acts of violence and abuse of Iraqis over three consecutive decades”, adding that a clause in the Iraqi constitution, which was voted for by the millions, "indicates that to clearly ensure the state does not allow the presence of any terrorist organization inside Iraqi territory, it is necessary for federal government to expel the Iranian MKO known as terrorists at the regional and global level."
Tamimi said that Camp Ashraf, which is the headquarters of the Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, (55 km north of Baquba), "has the great advantage of being a strategic location, it is important because it is located on the road between Baghdad and the governorates of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, not to mention the fertility of the land in that area".
He continued by saying that the administration of the province "would move with a view to investing in the land occupied by the camp the moment the MEK leave it as it represents an opportunity to support a successful local economy."
For his part, Zayed Humairi, the economic expert in Baquba, described Camp Ashraf as "the pearl of the desert, due to the beauty of nature there", adding that the camp "contains airports, major roads and integrated services such as water, electricity and other basic pillars required for any tourism project."
Humairi added that the strategic location of the camp "will reward major international tourist investment companies which work with it". His region expected it to become "a destination for millions of Iraqis in the event of directing this project after the departure of the MEK".
The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) was founded in 1965 to overthrow the Shah of Iran. After the Islamic revolution in 1979 it opposed the Islamic regime, and many of its members sought refuge in Iraq in the eighties during the war between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988. The organization is considered as the armed wing of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, based in France, but announced it renounced violence in June 2001.
The MEK increased the area of Camp Ashraf to about 50 square kilometres which is now home to more than 3400 Iranian opponents of the government of their country.
The Government of Iraq changed the name of the camp to Camp New Iraq after it assumed responsibility for its security from American troops. The residents were subjected to strict security measures.
The relationship between the Iraqi government and residents of the camp were marred as tensions and clashes continued. The most recent occurring last Friday, 8th April, between the forces of the Iraqi army and the population of the camp in which one MEK member was killed and 12 injured. In addition, 13 members of the Iraqi army were wounded including five officers and one lieutenant-colonel, and provoked both local and global reactions.
Alsumaria News, Diyala