Interview: Dr. Hamid al-Bayati, UK representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)
Mahan Abedin is an analyst of Iranian politics, educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
… Recently the Americans signed a ceasefire agreement with the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization. What do you make of this ceasefire and how long do you envisage the MKO staying in Iraq?
The Iraqi opposition, in the London December 2002 meeting, issued a statement rejecting bases in Iraq for terrorist organisations. Specifically I would mention the PKK, which is a terrorist group [fighting] against Turkey, and the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is a terrorist organization [fighting] against Iran. We want to live in peace with neighboring countries. If we harbor any terrorist group, then that country will interfere in the internal politics of Iraq.
How long do you envisage the MKO staying in the Diyala province? After all, their Ashraf HQ (situated to the west of Diyala) is almost as big as the Gaza Strip.
The American ceasefire was a contradiction of their own policy. Their policy is that the MKO is a terrorist group - how, then, can they sign a ceasefire with a terrorist group? I think eventually the MKO will leave Iraq. I can't say when, but eventually they will leave Iraq.
Have the al-Badr, alongside the IRGC, been attacking the MKO in Diyala?
If there were revolutionary guards in Diyala, why would they need us? There were reports by the MKO that 24,000 revolutionary guards had crossed the border to attack them. If this were true then the MKO would not be here today to talk with the media, because they only have a couple of thousand people. If Iran wanted to attack them, they could have done so easily, because there has been no government in Iraq. They could have finished them. I don't believe Iran has sent even one single Revolutionary Guard because this would have given good excuses to accuse them. Regarding Badr forces, we know that MKO has been arresting people, such as Seyed Modaressi, who is a religious scholar from Karbala, he was crossing the border from Iran to return to Karbala when they (MKO) arrested him. He disappeared and they found him after 2 days. So the MKO is interfering in the security of the Iraqi people, they have a track record of attacking the Iraqis - the Kurds in the north, the Shia in the south - and they are not going to be tolerated by the Iraqis.
About the arrest of Seyed Modaressi, there are reports that Diyala province is in chaos, partly because the MKO has a strong presence in Diyala, can you tell me who is in charge of Diyala? Who is in charge of towns like Ba'aghoobeh, Moghdadiyeh and Mandali?
It is difficult to know who is in control.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called for tougher measures against the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist group by the European Union...