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Iraq issues arrest warrants for 120 MKO members

Arrest warrants have been issued for 120 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced in a televised interview late on Tuesday. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

During his remarks, Maliki described the MKO as a “terrorist” group and said the it has committed terrorist acts in Iraq and Iran for many years.

He also reiterated the Iraqi government’s decision to expel the members of the group and to bring an end to the issue.

The constitution does not allow the terrorist group to use the Iraqi soil as a safe haven for its moves against Iran, the prime minister stated.

Maliki went on to say that Iraq wants to maintain relations with its neighboring countries and to put an end to the crises that Saddam Hussein created in relations with the countries including Iran and Turkey.

Iraq had pushed for the expulsion of the group by mid-January, but foreign intervention hindered the process, he said, adding that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked Iraq to be patient in this regard and extend the deadline for the expulsion.

The MKO started its activities as a terrorist group based in Iraq in the early 1980s. In addition to the assassination of hundreds of Iranian officials and citizens, the group cooperated with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in its repression of the Iraqi people.

The MKO had fought as a mechanized division in alliance with Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. But it was disarmed and left stranded after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that toppled the dictator.

The U.S. government characterized the MKO as a cult and designated it a terrorist group in 1997. The MKO has mounted a major campaign in the U.S. and Europe and enlisted many top national security figures from mostly Republican administrations as well as a number of prominent Democratic politicians to get its terrorist designation lifted.

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