special

"The Secretary-General believes that the time has come to start the relocation process without further delay," Ban's press office said in a statement. "He urges the Iraqi authorities and the residents of Camp Ashraf to continue to cooperate and complete the process in a peaceful manner."

Reuters
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Iraq on Wednesday to speed up the transfer of Iranian dissidents at a camp near Baghdad to a temporary facility which the dissident group has compared to a prison.

Camp Ashraf, 40 miles from Baghdad, has been home for 25 years to the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran, or PMOI, an Iranian opposition group the United States and Iran officially consider a terrorist organization.

The current Iraqi government has never concealed its desire get rid of the camp. Under pressure from the United Nations and European Union, Baghdad extended its deadline to close Ashraf late last year from December 31, 2011 to April 30, 2012.

But Ban is now urging Baghdad not to wait until April.

"The Secretary-General believes that the time has come to start the relocation process without further delay," Ban's press office said in a statement. "He urges the Iraqi authorities and the residents of Camp Ashraf to continue to cooperate and complete the process in a peaceful manner."

The statement said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has "confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at the temporary transit location are in accordance with ... international humanitarian standards."

It was not immediately clear how the Iranians at Camp Ashraf reacted to Ban's call to accelerate their move out of the camp.

Earlier this month a spokesman for the (so called) National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the PMOI's political wing, dismissed suggestions from U.N. special envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler that conditions at the new facility - Camp Liberty - were acceptable.

The spokesman, Shahin Gobadi, said in an email the new facility would have "prison conditions," with residents denied the freedom to come and go and without access to lawyers and medical services.

Camp residents will also be banned from taking vehicles and other property with them, apart from "individual belongings," and will only be able to contact U.N. officials by telephone, Gobadi said.

NEW CONDITIONS

In an article in Wednesday's New York Times, however, Kobler said the new camp would have medical facilities and would be monitored around the clock by U.N. observers. Residents would be interviewed by the U.N. refugee agency to determine their eligibility to resettle as refugees outside Iraq, he added.

Camp Ashraf continued to operate after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. But its future became unclear after Washington turned it over to Iraq in 2009. Baghdad has repeatedly said it does not want the guerrilla group on Iraqi soil.

Kobler said Camp Ashraf's leaders, after agreeing in principle to move out an initial group of 400 residents, had hesitated in recent days to do so, placing new conditions on the transfer to which the Iraqi government rejected.

"The government's patience is wearing thin, and further delay could lead to provocation and violence," he said. "Change is understandably unsettling for the residents, but maintaining the status quo is neither a safe nor viable option."

New Articles

NATO’s Terrorist Bases in Europe

NATO and the United States, which, together, claim to be fighting some sort of amorphous “global war on terrorism,” have enabled a terrorist group to establish bases in two NATO...

John Bolton – defender of Zion, promoter of MEK terrorism – fees revealed

John Bolton’s appointment as Assistant to the President, National Security Advisor attracted controversy because of his past links to the terrorist MEK group. Now his Public Financial Disclosure Report reveals...

US Forces Albania to Take IS Fighters After Hosting MEK

“Albania will become a coordination center for fighters returning from ISIS to the Balkans,” announced Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a joint press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi...

Trump’s Betraying His Base With The MEK

Trump’s base would be shocked to discover that influential members of his administration are vocal supporters of a cultish Islamo-communist terrorist group.

Back to the future? Bolton, Trump and Iranian regime change

Bolton is reportedly pushing a plan for regime change in Tehran similar to the one rejected years ago during the Bush era

Most viewed

124 Iranian members of MEK escaped and asked for asylum from Albanian police

124 Iranian residents who came to our country as members of the MEK organization have rejected the organization and its ideology, but risk suffering the same fate as in Iraq...

Why Bolton’s MEK Connection Matters

Jason Rezaian comments on Bolton’s enthusiasm for the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) and what it means for U.S. Iran policy:

US attempts at regime change in Iran are doomed to failure

There are no viable alternatives that Trump could bring to power in Iran to replace the current regime.

MEPs discuss Mojahedine-E Khalq (MEK) Threat in Albania

Experts and political representatives from Albania were in the European Parliament on Tuesday 10th April, asking Europe for help in preventing the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from toxifying their country’s internal...

Basque militant group ETA: 'We really are sorry'

The Basque militant group ETA on Friday offered an unprecedented apology for the pain caused during its more than four decades of armed campaign for independence from Spain and France...