Iranian exiles want guarantee to return to Iran 2009-07-29 18:31:08   Print

    BAGHDAD, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Iranian rebel Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) that opposes the Islamic regime in Iran said Wednesday they wanted international guarantee not to be prosecuted if they leave their camp in Iraq's Diyala province and return to Iran.

    The demand announced in a statement made by Martam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian organization, following a raid conducted by Iraqi forces late on Tuesday in an attempt to establish a police station inside the Camp Ashraf, which houses the MKO members and their families.

    An Iraqi security source said late Tuesday that Iraqi forces stormed the Camp Ashraf and occupied it after they failed to enter peacefully through negotiations with the camp's leaders.

    The residents of Camp Ashraf accused the Iraqi troops of using excessive force by opening fire and beating people with batons, killing three and wounding dozens others, but the Iraqi government denied that violence was used against the exiles.

    However, satellite channels circulated a video tape provided by the exile group showing that the Iraqi forces used batons and water cannons against the residents gathered at the camp's gates. The group also released photos showing the injured people.

    Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, which has close relations with the religious Shiite regime of Iran, has not yet decided how to oust the MKO organization.

    In March, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani announced that Iraq wanted to expel the Iranian organization accusing it of supporting former Saddam Hussein's regime and committing crimes against Iraqis.

    Following the U.S.-led invasion, the U.S. troops disarmed the MKO fighters and the camp became under the U.S. military police protection, but gradually the Iraqi government took over security responsibility in the camp after Baghdad and Washington signed the security pact late last year.

    MKO is a main militant group that was founded in 1981 with an aim to establish "a democratic and secular government" in Iran. It is based in Iraq's Diyala province in Camp Ashraf camp, which contains more than 3,000 Iranians opponents and their families.

    The Iranian organization had been used by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime to fight the neighboring Shiite state of Iran.

    Iraq and Iran fought a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s, resulting in the loss of one million lives. Their relations, however, have been picking up since the Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled in 2003 and the Shiite came into power.

Editor: Anne Tang
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