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Iraq denounces US plan to delist MKO terror group

Iraq has denounced the United States’ plan to remove the anti-Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, including Iraq tells US: Don’t delist MKO as a terrorist groupIraq, and has committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranians and Iraqis. The group also cooperated with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office, the Iraqi government said that Washington’s decision of delisting the MKO as a terrorist group would not change Baghdad’s position toward the group “which was involved in terrorist acts against Iraqis, in addition to its role in defending the former (Saddam Hussein) regime.”

The statement also said that Baghdad is determined to expel members of the terrorist organization from Camp Ashraf, and called on the United Nations to fulfill its commitment to resettle the group members outside Iraq.

On September 21, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the decision.

"I am not in a position to confirm the contents of this, because it’s classified, but we anticipate being able to make a public announcement about it sometime before October 1," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said later in the day.

Two unnamed US officials said that the decision would be officially announced next week.

The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border.

According to US officials, there are about 1,200 to 1,400 MKO members currently residing at Camp Ashraf, while some 2,000 have relocated to the new base outside of Baghdad since February.

Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been putting pressure on Baghdad to resist the calls.

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