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Iraqi Forces Blockading Iranian Opposition Camp


An Iranian opposition group based in Iraq said Iraqi forces are preventing passage of basic supplies to its compound north of Baghdad.

The Mojahedin-e Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen of Iran, said the blockade of Camp Ashraf began Thursday.

In late January, Iraq's National Security Advisor Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said the group must leave Iraq within two months. He added the decision to close the camp, home to about 3,500 people, was irreversible.

The group originated in Iran decades ago in opposition to the Shah. Many members of the group fled to Iraq after a falling out with supporters of Ayatollah Ruhhollah Khomeini, and fought fellow Iranians during Iraq's war with Iran.

The Iraqi government promised the U.S. government, which vouched for the safety of the group when it disarmed, that its members would not be returned to Iran.

A Spokesman for the group expressed fears that members could face prison or death if they are sent to Iran, although some who have returned, were eventually allowed to settle in other countries.

The Mojahedin-e Khalq has also been accused of carrying out campaigns against Iraqis who opposed Saddam Hussein, earning the hatred of some in the current Iraqi government.

Iraq, Iran and the U.S, despite its support of the disarmed members, consider the group a terrorist organization.

Supporters rallied Sunday near the White House asking Washington to take it off the terror list.

The European Union in January took the group off its terror list, a move that followed several court rulings that said the EU had failed to prove it was a terrorist organization.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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