Iraq orders Iranian exiles to leave ahead of PM Maliki’s Tehran visit

Days before Iraqi Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Tehran, his government has told the opposition People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) it is no longer welcome in Iraq.
His national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told the 3,500 exiles that their Ashraf Camp, their sanctuary 70 km north of Baghdad for two decades, will be closed and its occupants face deportation to their own country (certain execution) or other countries.
debkafile reports that no government has offered the group asylum although Jordan has supported the PMOI’s successful claim to remove its terrorist listing by the European Union, based on its having laid down arms and renounced violent action in 2001.
From 2003, Ashraf Camp came under US protection after the US military destroyed more than 2,000 tanks, armored personnel carries and other weapons.
But the handover of security to the Iraqi government has left the organization in the lurch. Last month the Iranian dissidents sent an open letter to US President George W. Bush about their situation.
On Dec. 4, the European Court ruled that there was not enough evidence for blacklisting the PMOI a terrorist group and ordered the listing removed. The Italian Parliament endorsed the European court decisionand the German Parliament signed a petition in support of the group.
More than 2,000 European lawmakers warned the Council of Ministers headed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy that keeping the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran on the list was illegal. His predecessors allowed the PMOI and Maryam Rajavi, leader of its political wing, the National Council of Resistance to Iran to establish its headquarters in Paris as the legitimate opposition to an oppressive theocratic terror-sponsoring tyranny.
Britain, too, was said to have acted “perversely” by freezing the organization’s funds.
France and Britain were accused of “appeasing” Tehran.
Last March, Maliki, who makes his fourth visit to Iran this week, promised president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad steps to ensure that Iraqi territory was not used by “terrorists” from al Qaeda or Iranian rebel groups.
He only acted on his commitment this week, although the United Nations, which has found trouble finding other countries to accept the Iranian exiles as refugees, has urged Iraq to respect their rights.

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