The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) has rejected a US proposal to leave northern Iraq despite Baghdad’s stepped-up efforts to expel the terrorist entity.
Maryam Rajavi, who heads the terrorist group, rejected a relocation proposal put forward by Washington, saying the plan would pave the way for attacks by Iraqi security forces against the MKO, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The MKO terrorists are currently based in a military settlement known as Camp Ashraf, located nearly 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in Diyala province.
Rajavi said the US was responsible to protect MKO members in Camp Ashraf and called for the formation of a permanent monitoring team backed by the United States and the European Union to ensure the safety of the terrorist group.
She made the remarks in the Italian capital of Rome, where she was to meet Italian parliamentarians.
In April, the MKO members clashed with the Iraqi security forces who were involved in an operation to reclaim land from the camp and return it to local farmers.
The MKO claimed that the Iraqi forces killed 34 of its members in the clashes. But Iraqi officials refuted the allegation, saying the camp residents were killed by the MKO organization itself.
Testimonies made by former MKO members reveal an immense pressure on many residents of Camp Ashraf who want to escape but are afraid and unsure of the future. They say scores of members have recently been killed by the organization and that MKO guards open fire on defectors before they can exit the camp.
The outlawed MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime and set up Camp Ashraf, about 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) west of the Iranian border.
The MKO is notorious for carrying out numerous acts of terror against Iranian civilians and officials, and collaborating with Saddam in the bloody repression of the 1991 Shia Muslims in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds in the country’s north.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, but the US has been blocking the expulsion by pressuring the Iraqi government.
In April, Iranian Justice Minister Morteza Bakhtiari said 12,000 Iranians have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror. He also condemned the US and Europe for their continued support for the terrorist group, referring to the EU’s decision to remove the group from its list of terrorist organizations in 2009.
During his visit to Iran in June, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari reiterated Baghdad’s stance on the terror cell.
“Camp Ashraf is to be shut down, and members of the [MKO] group have been given until the end of the current year (2011) to leave Iraqi soil,” he insisted.