PARIS (AP) — The head of an Iranian exile group says more than 3,000 of its members holed up in a camp in eastern Iraq are ready to leave if they get US and UN security guarantees.
Paris-based leader Maryam Rajavi said in a statement Tuesday that Camp Ashraf residents are "in principle prepared to relocate to Camp Liberty" — a recently vacated former United States military base — if their safety can be guaranteed.
The armed People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran moved to the camp during the regime of Saddam Hussein, who saw them as a convenient ally against Tehran. They were disarmed by US soldiers during the Iraq invasion in 2003, and have since become an irritant to Iraq's Shiite-led government, which is now trying to bolster ties with its neighbour.
The United Nations has said that at least 34 people were killed in an April raid on the camp by Iraqi security forces, and Iraq authorities have vowed to close the facility by December 31. The People’s Mujahedeen has been branded a foreign terrorist organisation by the US, a designation now under review by the State Department. It has been removed from similar blacklists in Europe.