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Iran criticizes US support for MKO

A senior Iranian military figure has lashed out at the United States for its support for the presence of the terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) on Iraqi soil.

Head of Iran’s Sacred Defense Foundation General Mohammad Baqerzadeh on Sunday criticized Washington for its support for the presence of MKO terrorists in Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala.

“Continuing to support MKO presence in Iraq after this group has been recognized as a terrorist cell in the world shows US support for the existence of terrorist movements,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.

General Baqerzadeh said US support for the MKO comes despite the fact that terrorism and terrorist acts are condemned around the world, adding, “This is an example of the West’s double standards with regards to human rights and this issue must be broached in the international community.”

“This terrorist cell has committed crimes not only against the people of Iran but also Iraqis … therefore the people of both countries can reserve the right to pursue efforts to bring the MKO to justice.”

The MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border. The group has been actively involved in the assassination of Iranian officials and civilians and also helped the massacre of Iraqi Kurds in 1991.

The European Parliament, which removed the MKO from its blacklist in 2009, issued a declaration in November 2010 and urged the US to take the group off its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

The MKO, which has been on the US terror list since 1997, filed a petition against the blacklisting in 2008.

The administration of former US president George W. Bush rejected the request in its final days in 2009, after examining material submitted by the group and US intelligence agencies, including classified information.

In February 2011, a group of former high-ranking American politicians and officials renewed calls to remove the MKO from the State Department’s official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

They argued that the MKO is critical to any chance of overthrowing the Islamic establishment of Iran.

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