TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq’s ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Majid Al-Shaikh said that no country is ready to accept the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).
“We believe that the presence of Mojahadin group in Iraq is illegal, but no country is ready to accept the members of this group,” Al-Shaikh told MNA on Monday.
The MKO is an armed opposition of the Islamic Republic, whose main stronghold is in Iraq. The terrorist group is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States.
The MKO is on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze, and has been designated by the US government as a foreign terrorist organization.
He said the MKO has committed many crimes against the Iraqi people during the Saddam regime and therefore they should leave Iraq.
Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said late August that the Iraqi government has given the MKO a six-month deadline to leave the country.
Al-Shaikh said if a country agrees to accept the group Iraq will immediately expel them.
He added that Iraq will not allow the MKO to do terrorist acts against Iran from Iraqi soil.
The 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.
Leaders of the group have been fighting to shed its terrorist tag after a series of bloody anti-Western attacks in the 1970s, and nearly 30 years of violent struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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 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 also argue for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.
Elsewhere, the Iraqi ambassador referred to the issue of Iranian diplomats held in US detention in Iraq, and said that the diplomats should be released soon
The United States military raided the Iranian diplomatic office in Arbil, northern Iraq, on January 11, 2007 and arrested five Iranian diplomats. Kurdish Autonomous Region officials condemned the act. Three Iranian nationals are still being held at US captivity in Iraq.
The ambassador said the Iranian diplomats should be released “as soon as possible.”
“We have done extensive efforts for their releaseâ€¦ Iraq has condemned the act of US troops in detaining Iranian diplomats and is continuing its contacts with Americans for their release and we believe that they should be freed as soon as possible,” Al-Shaikh noted.
He also added that the Iraqi embassy in Tehran and the Iraqi government are pursuing the issue seriously.