An Iraqi official disclosed the close relationship and cooperation between the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, NCRI and PMOI) and al-Qaeda terrorist groups.
“The MKO committed numerous crimes against the Iraqi people during Saddam’s era and after the US invasion of the country and the government has many documents showing links between the MKO and several leaders of al-Qaeda terrorist network,” former Iraqi National Security Minister Sherwan Waeli told Habilian Association.
He called on the UN to expedite expulsion of MKO members from Iraq, reiterating that the international body is acting slowly in this regard.
Earlier in 2012, governor of Iraqi district Khalis announced the discovery of a memorial stone in Camp Ashraf inscribed with the names of some high ranking Ba’ath party officials and Al-Qaeda terrorists.
The MKO group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.
The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar and Judiciary Chief Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.
The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.
Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.
The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.
In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq’s Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty which lies Northeast of the Baghdad International Airport.