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Iraq to Evacuate MKO Members from Camp Ashraf

Iraq’s Defense Ministry Spokesman General Mohammed al-Askari reiterated that the Iraqi government is determined to evacuate the members of the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from their stronghold in the Northern Diyala province in the near future.
"The Iraqi government has announced on many occasions that the remaining the camp inside the country is not an option, and we will do our best to evacuate the camp in the near future," al-Askari said.

He also said in a press conference on Thursday that four more members of the MKO have fled Camp Ashraf and defected to the Iraqi forces.
Askari reiterated that the MKO defectors have escaped from the camp in Diyala province 60km north of Baghdad.

The defected MKO members said that since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the leaders of the terrorist organization have turned the camp into a prison and the residents of the camp are completely cut off from the outside world.

"The residents are not allowed to use the phones, internet and satellite receivers. We don’t know anything about the world; we feel like we are in a prison," said Zahra Baqeri, a defected MKO member.

They also said that the leaders of the camp have ordered the members to encounter the Iraqi forces if they tried to enter the camp.

Last week, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said his country is in talks with Tehran to decide a future for the MKO terrorist group.

"We have proposed the formation of a joint committee between Iran, Iraq and the (International Committee of the) Red Cross to resolve the issue (of the MKO) at Camp Ashraf," Zebari said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.

The committee "will discuss the requests of the members of this group who live in Camp Ashraf, particularly those who seek to return to Iran without any pressure or difficulty," Zebari said.

Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf – about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad – in 2009 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.
The MKO has been in Iraq’s Diyala province since the 1980s.

The Baghdad government has assured the Iraqi people that it is determined to expel the MKO from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Meantime, media reports said that the US is trying to convince Iraqi officials to relocate the MKO members within Iraq.

Under the US plan, the approximately 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf would be temporarily relocated within Iraq, farther from the border with Iran, a US State Department official announced.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.

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