First Published: 2003-12-10

 
Iran hails Iraq decision to expel armed opposition
 

Iran's intelligence minister denies any link between handover of al-Qaeda fugitives and extradition of People's Mujahedden.

 

Middle East Online

People's Mujahedeen's future in Iraq comes to an end

TEHRAN - Iran on Wednesday hailed a decision by Iraq's US-backed interim leaders to expel the Iranian armed opposition People's Mujahedeen, but denied suggestions of a secret deal involving the extradition of detained al-Qaeda members from the Islamic republic.

"The decision taken by the (Iraqi) Governing Council is very positive. We have been saying to the fighters not to be stubborn and to surrender, in which case we will show leniency," Intelligence Minister Ali Yunessi told reporters.

When asked if Iran could now hand over top members of al-Qaeda it says are in its custody, Yunessi said "there is no link".

"When it comes to terrorists, we do not do deals," added government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh.

"The judiciary will decide on what to do with them if they have not committed crimes against Iranians and if there are no Iranian complaints against them," he added, repeating statements that some detained al-Qaeda members here could be tried in Iranian courts.

Several Western diplomats have said Iran has been resisting handing over top-ranking al-Qaeda fugitives, complaining that the United States had failed to deal with the People's Mujahedeen after the invasion of Iraq.

"We have very good relations with the Governing Council, and we have had discussions (on the People's Mujahedeen) and this decision is the result," added Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi.

Iraq's interim Governing Council decided unanimously Tuesday to expel several thousand members of the People's Mujahedeen, branding the Iranian opposition force a "terrorist organisation".

The statement did not say where the people would be sent when they are expelled, but that its offices would be closed and its arms and financial resources confiscated.

The money would "be given to the compensation fund for victims of the former fascist regime" of Saddam Hussein.

The People's Mujahedeen, or Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO) set up base in Iraq in 1986 and carried out regular cross-border raids in Iran, with which Iraq fought a bloody war between 1980 and 1988.

Several thousand Mujahedeen militiamen were disarmed by US forces following the fall of Baghdad in April and barred from undertaking military operations.

Around 4,000-5,000 people were grouped in Camp Ashraf, the main Mujahedeen base in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, where they were screened for terror activities.

The US army announced in September that it had detained 3,856 members of the Mujahedeen.

The group kept out of the US-led war, although its bases were bombed by US warplanes. After lengthy negotiations, it struck a deal with the US-led coalition and withdrew to Camp Ashraf.

 

Serious challenges for Arab leaders in Amman

US-backed fighters battle IS near north Syria town

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

Egypt’s dwindling Jews struggle to maintain heritage

Germany’s Turks cast early ballots for Erdogan referendum

German court convicts Pakistani of spying for Iran

Qatar to invest £5bn in UK within five years

'Kill Erdogan' banner probed in Switzerland, Turkey

Arab League chief urges resolution to Syria conflict

Israel arrests 22 ultra-Orthodox sex offenders

Syrian forces pause offensive on IS-held dam for repairs

Dubai's Emaar Malls offers $800m to buy Souq.com

Iraq launches fresh Mosul Old City advance

Hamas partially reopens Beit Hanoun crossing

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe