Iran, Iraq to shut down Camp Ashraf

2011-06-25 14:12

Tehran – Iran and Iraq have formed a joint committee with the Red Cross to shut down Camp Ashraf in Iraq, which houses thousands of outlawed Iranian opponents, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said today.

“The camp will be shut down by the end of this year,” Talabani said on the sidelines of a counter-terrorism summit in Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

“For this, a tripartite committee has been set up by Iraq, Iran and the International Red Cross to make decisions and follow up on necessary measures to shut down the camp of this terrorist group,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

The People’s Mujahedeen established Camp Ashraf in the 1980s – when now-executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime was at war with Iran – as a base from which to launch military action against the Islamic republic.

Camp Ashraf, is now home to some 3 400 people.

The People’s Mujahedeen, which describes itself as both left-wing and Islamic, opposed the shah of Iran and now seeks to oust the clerical regime that took power in Tehran in the 1979 revolution.

Iranian intelligence minister Heydar Moslehi said the Mujahedeen was on the verge of “collapse”, and added that his agencies were taking “measures” to speed up the process, the Mehr news agency reported.

“On this issue, (the intelligence apparatus) have had discussions with officials in Iraq to resolve the future of the camp Ashraf as soon as possible,” Moslehi said, also speaking on the sidelines of the summit.

But he also extended an olive branch to Mujahedeen members who part ways with the group.

“Islamic leniency awaits those members of this terrorist group who leave it or escape Camp Ashraf and return to the arms of the Islamic republic of Iran’s regime,” Moslehi said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had proposed during a Tuesday visit to Tehran the formation of a tripartite committee to “resolve the issues of Camp Ashraf”.

“We have asked international organisations and European parliaments to encourage the (group’s) members to leave Iraq, and to facilitate (the movement of) those members who seek to go those countries,” Zebari said.

The announcement was met with a “vigorous” condemnation by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the broad grouping that includes the People’s Mujahedeen.

The NCRI said allowing Iran to “interfere in the issue of Ashraf is a red line that should not be crossed,” and urged the International Committee of the Red Cross “not to lose credibility by participating in this plan of repression”.

“The UN and the US government must take responsibility to protect the unarmed and defenceless people at Ashraf, and they will be held responsible for any attack that will target them,” the NCRI warned in a statement.

Camp Ashraf has become a mounting problem for the Iraqi authorities since US forces transferred security for the camp in January 2009, and amid pressure from Tehran to hand over the members of the militant group.

On April 8, Iraqi security forces carried out a deadly raid on the camp, killing 34 members of the group.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.