ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The last 280 members of the dissident Iranian group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) departed their Iraq camp on Friday and were relocated to Albania, the group said in a statement.
Also known as People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), the MEK was temporarily based at Camp Liberty near Baghdad’s international airport under the supervision of the Iraqi security forces since 2012.
The transfer process from Camp Liberty was supposed to take “few weeks or few months”, the group said, but because of Iran’s “plots and threats” and its “mercenaries” it lasted over four years and a half.
The MEK camps in Iraq came under attacks immediately after the US invasion and the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. Its leaders long accused Iran of organizing the attacks through local militia groups.
US republican senator John McCain who is seen as an MEK supporter welcomed the development, saying it was a delivery on a commitment made by the United States in 2003 “to protect thousands of members…. [of the] organization”.
McCain added that “Given the history of the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on these residents” the group should receive international protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention.
The temporary Camp Liberty also came under repeated mortar attacks since 2012, which led to the death and injury of dozens of MEK members.
In one incident a Shiite militia thought to be close to Iran claimed responsibility.
The Paris-based MEK leader Maryam Rajavi is the group’s president-elect for a transitional period with a “mandate to oversee the peaceful transfer of power to the Iranian people following the regime's overthrow.” It aims to establish a “secular democratic republic in Iran”.
Source: RUDAW, Sept. 10, 2016