A senior Iraqi Kurdish politician underlined the need for the expulsion of terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, NCRI and PMOI) from Iraq.
“The government in Erbil is in agreement with the central government in Baghdad over the expulsion of the MKO (from Iraq) and it opposes their presence of any kind in Iraq,” Secretary of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Democrat Party (affiliated to Masoud Barezani) Fazel Mirani told Habilian Association.
“Removal of the MKO from US list of terrorist groups is not tantamount to Iraq’s willingness for their continued presence in the country; the Kurdish people have sustained many sufferings from the group under the previous regime,” Mirani said.
He noted that Iraq’s Kurdish lawmakers support the central government’s decision for ending the MKO’ presence in Iraq with the coordination of the UN.
The MKO group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar and Judiciary Chief Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.
The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.
In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq’s Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty which lies Northeast of the Baghdad International Airport.