"We shouldn't have been signing a cease-fire with a foreign terrorist organization," Deputy Secretary of State Richard
"We shouldn't have been signing a cease-fire with a foreign terrorist organization," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The military signed an April 16 cease-fire with the Mujahedeen Khalq after warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition invading Iraq and bombed Mujahedeen Khalq sites. The group agreed to disarm and was not attacked again.
"They are contained, as I understand it, by the U.S. military, primarily the Army, and they have been disarmed of their major weapons," Armitage said. "I don't think all of them have turned over their sidearms. They are not allowed, as I understand it, free access in and out of their own camp."
Pentagon officials have defended the cease-fire decision, saying the military's focus at the time was to defeat Iraq, and American troops could not afford to be fighting another heavily armed group at the same time.
Some have suggested the act was to persuade Iran to surrender senior al-Qaida members believed to have taken up residence in the country. Iran may want the Americans to do more to the fighters in Iraq, such as turning them over to Iran, before negotiating about the al-Qaida operatives.
That is unlikely, Armitage said Tuesday, encountering with terrorists is serious.
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