U.S. drafts new plan for Iranian camp in Iraq

WASHINGTON Thu May 5, 2011 12:04pm EDT

Residents of Camp Ashraf demonstrate in front of media reporters touring in a bus, a day after their clashes with the Iraqi security forces at Camp Ashraf, an Iranian dissident camp, in Diyala province, north of Baghdad April 9, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

Residents of Camp Ashraf demonstrate in front of media reporters touring in a bus, a day after their clashes with the Iraqi security forces at Camp Ashraf, an Iranian dissident camp, in Diyala province, north of Baghdad April 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has drawn up a new plan for an Iranian dissident camp in Iraq, calling for its residents to be temporarily moved to a new location in Iraq pending eventual resettlement in third countries.

A senior State Department official said on Thursday the plan was aimed at preventing more violence at Camp Ashraf, where 34 people were killed last month after Iraqi security forces moved against it.

"We recognize that this is a humanitarian tragedy that is occurring and has great potential to be a humanitarian issue into the future," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"Given the history of provocation, we are deeply concerned about the possibility of future violence."

The official said the Iraqi government was studying the new U.S. plan, which would now be presented to the leaders of Camp Ashraf, the base of the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran which the United States, Iraq and Iran consider a terrorist organization. The European Union removed it from its terrorism blacklist in 2009.

The group, seeking the overthrow of Iran's Islamic government, mounted attacks on Iran from Iraq before Saddam Hussein's 2003 downfall. In the 1970s, it led a guerrilla campaign against the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, including attacks on U.S. targets.

The 3,400 people in Camp Ashraf lack any formal status in Iraq, where the government has vowed to close the camp by the end of 2011.

(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (3)
alisadeq wrote:
This not new plan. This is what Iran has been asking for the past 5-6 years.
State Department are bowing to the mullahs. Shame on you.
State Department you are disgrace to the United State.

May 06, 2011 1:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Golku wrote:
This is not a new plan. This is exactly why the Maliki forces attacked the camp and killed 35 people. This is what Iran had asked Maliki to do . To throw the Residents out if Ashraf and disperse them, so that they can be attacked and killed much easier. Now we hear that from the state department??? I cannot believe it!

Did we just give Iraq to Iran in a silver plate? This decision, if true, will show how much the Mullah’s lobby and NIAC have been able to influence the decisions in the State department. That is really unfortunate!

Maliki spent 8 years in Iran. Him and his officials travel to Iran more than any other country. Iraq has so many other problems. Out tax money and Iraq’s oil money should not be spent to disable and dismantle the strongest opposition to the Iranian Mullahs.

If the State department is really concerned about the “humanitarian disaster” in Ashraf, they should comply with the court order and take the MEK out of the list of terrorist organizations immediately. Maliki is using that unjust listing to massacre the Iranian opposition.

I am very disappointed in the way the US has handled this situation. The US betrayed the Iranian people in 1953 by helping in the coup against Mussadiq. Now by bowing to the desires of the Mullahs, in what seems to be a “Grand Bargain”, the state department is helping in uprooting the MEK, the strongest opposition to the Iranian Mullahs to help them stay in power for many more years. This is really unfortunate.

May 06, 2011 2:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AAAABS wrote:
There is absolutely no need for them to be moved and I can’t believe that this is being suggested. What is wrong with where they are currently at? Surely there is no justifiable reason for them to be moved and further more I understand that to move them would be contrary to international law.

I echo the concerns raised by Golku around the influence that the unfortunate NIAC group is having in the State Department and call on the State Department to be wary of such groups.

I urge the US to do the right thing (and indeed the necessary thing) and insure Iraqi forces leave the camp, the US must then set up a permanent post at the camp with the UN thus ensuring there are no more attacks on the unarmed residents. Finally the PMOI must be delisted at once and I welcome today‚Äôs statement from the State Department in which it was said that, ‘Washington will decide within six months whether to remove the banned Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedeen from a terrorism blacklist.’ It is about time the US did the right thing with regards to the residents of Camp Ashraf.

May 06, 2011 4:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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