U.S. ex-Homeland Security official to advise U.N. on Iran dissidents in Iraq

UNITED NATIONS Sun Jan 5, 2014 2:24pm EST

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to members of the media after inspecting a devastated area of Fatima village at Tacloban city, central Philippines December 21, 2013, after super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines a month ago file photo. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to members of the media after inspecting a devastated area of Fatima village at Tacloban city, central Philippines December 21, 2013, after super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines a month ago file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Related Topics

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute as his special adviser to help with the relocation of a group of Iranian dissidents in Iraq to new countries, the U.N. said on Sunday.

"Ms. Holl Lute will work with a wide range of stakeholders, in particular Member States, with a view to facilitating the relocation of residents of Camp Hurriya outside of Iraq," the U.N. press office said in a statement.

The appointment of Holl Lute, who was a senior U.N. official from 2003 to 2009, comes after a series of attacks on the dissident Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK) group in Iraq.

More than 50 people were killed at Camp Ashraf, the MEK's previous camp in Iraq, in September in an attack the United Nations described as "an atrocious crime" and which drew condemnation from the United States and Britain. Assailants took time to conduct execution-style killings and plant bombs.

Iraqi authorities have repeatedly denied involvement in the September attack, during which seven camp residents vanished. MEK says they were taken hostage by Iraqi forces and flown to Amara province to be extradited to Iran. A U.N. expert group has urged Baghdad to swiftly investigate the disappearances.

The MEK, which has accused Iraqi security forces of being behind the attack, is no longer welcome in Iraq under the Shi'ite Muslim-led government that came to power after U.S.-led forces toppled former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The last residents moved out of Ashraf to a new base, Camp Hurriya, in September. Camp Ashraf had housed around 100 MEK members at the time of the September attack.

There was also a deadly rocket attack on Camp Hurriya on December 26, which the MEK says killed four residents and injured around 70 more. The MEK blames the Iraqi and Iranian governments for the December 26 assault.

The MEK, which the U.S. State Department removed from its list of terrorist organizations last year, wants Iran's clerical leaders overthrown and fought on the side of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980s.

Maryam Rajavi, president of the MEK's political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), called for an independent U.N. investigation of the attacks on the Iranians in Iraq, as well as U.S., European Union and U.N. intervention to protect the Iranian dissidents, the NCRI said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Chris Reese)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
spring12 wrote:
I don’t think anyone in Iran call these people Iranian. they are a terrorist cult who would give parts of Iran away in order to come to power.

Jan 06, 2014 4:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus