UN 'deeply concerned' over safety of Iran exiles in Iraq
2 March AFP
The UN's refugee agency voiced "deep concern" Friday for the security
of Iranian opposition members at a camp in Iraq, which is facing new
threats of attack after a recent assault killed seven people.
"This population is entitled to international protection according to
international law," the agency said in a statement.
On February 9, mortar rounds and rockets slammed into Camp Liberty, a
former US military base near Baghdad that now houses some 3,000 members
of the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, killing seven people
and injuring dozens more.
The camp had received more threats since then, UNHCR said, stressing
its "deep concern about the safety" of the camp residents.
"The UNHCR strongly calls on all countries to redouble their efforts
to find humanitarian solutions for this population outside Iraq," it
said, also urging Baghdad "to do everything possible in the meantime to
guarantee a safe and secure environment for this population." The
Mujahedeen was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran, and
after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted him it took up arms
against Iran's clerical rulers.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave the group a safe haven, but after
he was overthrown in the US-led invasion in 2003, the group faced
antipathy from pro-Iranian elements in Iraq.
Under a 2011 UN-brokered deal, the Mujahedeen were moved from their
longstanding base at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border to another site
named Camp Liberty.
The goal of the transfer to Camp Liberty was to pave the way for the
Mujahedeen to leave Iraq outright, with a view to resettling them in the
United States and Europe.