Hundreds of Iraqis from different parts of the country held a protest to show their support for the Iranian families who have been waiting for more than six months to see their family members and relatives who reside in the camp Ashraf. Protesters also called on the Iraqi government to close the camp and evacuate its members from Iraq.
Camp Ashraf, situated 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, has been the principal home of the anti Iranian group known as Mujahedeen Khalgh organization or MKO since the group allied itself with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, receiving weapons and training from his regime.
A number of Iraqi clerics and tribal leaders were among those who had gathered to have their voice heard.
The protesters carried banners with anti-MKO slogans and condemning the MKO presence in their country. According to reports by Iraqi NGO’s, the remaining MKO members have been living in dire conditions and deprived of their rights.
The tribal leaders say the MKO members are highly trained criminals who have killed thousands of Iraqis. This is in fact the only memories they left in the Iraqis minds.
During the protest, the organizers urged the government to expel the MKO members from Iraq as scheduled for December 31st.
Many here are concerned about the possibility of interference by the UN to keep the MKO in the country. Especially after UN’s special envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler in his recent visit to Baghdad asked the Iraqi government to extend the MKO presence in Iraq.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, and is responsible for numerous terrorist acts against both Iranians and Iraqis. The group is especially notorious in Iran for siding with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.