Baghdad, 3 Jan. (AKI) – The leader of the Iranian mujahadeen, Massoud Rajavi, who was thought to have been in hiding since the American occupation of Iraq, is under house arrest there, according to the Paris-based website, roozonline. Massoud Rajavi and another 27 leaders of the Iranian movement, who were confined in the Ashraf base, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, have reportedly been shifted to US military custody in the Mercury Camp. The Iranian mujahadeen is a militant guerrilla movement seeking to overthrow the government of Iran and was based first in France and then in Iraq.
The Mujahadeen of the Iranian People is active in Europe under the name of the National Resistance Council, with a declared aim of overthrowing the Islamic republic of Iran. Listed as a terror group by Washington and the European Union, the Muajahadeen were founded in the late 1960s, before the Islamic Revolution in Iran as the armed wing of a religious movement opposing the then monarchy.
Their first action in that period was the murder of several American military advisors in Tehran to train the troops of the Shah. After briefly cooperating with Ayatollah Khomeini, after the 1979 revolution, the mujahadeen went underground to fight the Islamic regime. During the Iran-Iraq war they transferred their base first to the outskirts of Paris and then to Baghdad, under the protection of Saddam Hussein.
Roozonline argues that the arrest of Massoud Rajavi and other senior figures is the result of the first encounter by the American ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmai Khalilzad, who was tasked by the White House with getting Iranian leaders to the negotiation table. "The negotiations are limited to issues regarding Iraq," said the ambassador.
Iran has for some time been calling for the arrest and the extradition of more than 3,000 Iranian Mujahadeen in Iraq.
After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iranian mujahadeen camps were bombed by coalition forces and the weaponry seized. The personnel initially placed under armed guard in a camp outside Baghdad. In August 2004, despite considering it a terrorist group, the United States granted the mujahadeen in Iraq Geneva Convention protection, making deportation to Iran illegal.
The Iranian mujahadeen maintained an information office in Washington DC, until it was designated a terrorist group. This designation has never been fully accepted – in 2003, more than a hundred members of congress signed a letter calling for the lifting of this designation.