Some members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MKO) have regrouped in Iraq with the help of U.S. military forces, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on January 10.
The information was initially given four days earlier from Mohammed Al-Baldawi, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, who said: “More than a dozen members of the MKO currently live and receive training at U.S. military bases in northern Iraq. U.S. forces in Iraqi Kurdistan have started arming and training the MKO members as soon as they arrived at the military bases.”
Mr. Al-Baldawi said “reorganizing the monafeghin [hypocrites, a reference to MKO members] was part of a sinister plot,” and called on the government to stop the U.S. from using Iraqi soil to launch operations against its neighbors.
Under pressure from the French government, the MKO moved its headquarters from Paris to Baghdad in 1987. President Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) allowed the MKO leader Massoud Rajavi and his organization to establish a base in Camp Ashraf in northeastern Iraq, 80 kilometers from the Iranian border.
Close to 3,000 members of the MKO lived in Camp Ashraf (1987-2012) and later at a U.S. military base known as Camp Liberty (2012-16) before relocating to Albania in 2016 with the help of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
There has been no official response to the news either from the Islamic Republic or the MKO. However, Ahmad Salek, a Majlis (Iranian Parliament) deputy representing Isfahan, recently said: “A string of military setbacks which led to a recent decision to pull the U.S. troops out of Syria has prompted Donald Trump to find other ways of maintaining U.S. influence in the region, including the reestablishment of the monafeghin in Iraqi Kurdistan.”
Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi