Iraq’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) asked the Baghdad government to expedite expulsion of the members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as MEK, NCRI and PMOI) from their country.
Several NGOs attending a conference in Baghdad urged the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki to expel the remaining MKO members from Iraq immediately.
Adnan Al-Shahmani, member of the Iraqi Parliament’s National and Defense Committee said that the Baghdad conference has been organized by NGOs in a bid to exert pressure on the government to accelerate expulsion of MKO members.
He noted that there are still more than 2,000 MKO members present in Iraq, although hundreds of others have been sent to other countries.
Abbas Al-Bayati, another participant in the conference, reiterated that MKO plays a dangerous role in Iraq and its presence poses a grave danger to the crisis-hit country.
The last group of MKO terrorists at Camp Ashraf, now called Camp New Iraq, was evicted by the Iraqi government on September 11 to join other members of the terrorist group in the former US-held Camp Liberty, now called Camp Hurriya, near Baghdad International Airport where they are awaiting relocation to other countries.
The MKO, 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 the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by the 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 the then 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 the US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.