News / Middle East

US Urges Iranian Dissidents in Iraq to Move to Transit Center

Iraqi Army soldiers stand guard near burned trailers at Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad, Iraq, April 8, 2011 (file photo).
Iraqi Army soldiers stand guard near burned trailers at Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad, Iraq, April 8, 2011 (file photo).

The Obama administration is urging a group of Iranian dissidents living in northeastern Iraq to make a decision about moving to a new transit center near Baghdad as part of a U.N.-backed process of resettling them in third countries.

U.S. State Department official Daniel Fried says U.S. and Iraqi officials discussed the proposed transit center move with a representative of the Iranian dissidents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq on Monday. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Fried said the officials told the Camp Ashraf representative that the Camp Hurriya center near Baghdad airport is ready to receive the dissidents and has been declared habitable by U.N. experts.

Camp Hurriya is a former U.S. military base that was known as Camp Liberty. Fried says the decision about the move is up to the Iranian dissidents, a group of 3,400 people affiliated with the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI) or MEK.

Iraq's Shi'ite-led government considers their presence in the country as an affront to Iraqi sovereignty. It signed an agreement with the United Nations in December to move the dissidents from Camp Ashraf to a temporary location where the U.N. refugee agency will process their refugee claims to help them resettle in third countries of their choosing.

Fried is the Obama administration's special advisor on Camp Ashraf. Last week, he and U.N. envoy Martin Cobler were in Europe to try to persuade EU nations to accept the Iranian dissidents. Fried said Washington supports the resettlement of the dissidents for humanitarian reasons.

The United States and Iran both officially consider the PMOI to be a terrorist group.

PMOI members first moved to Camp Ashraf in the 1980s at the invitation of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The group is dedicated to the overthrow of Iran's Islamic government and sided with Saddam in his 1980 - 1988 war against Tehran. The PMOI also carried out bombings and assassinations against the Iranian government in that period, but says it renounced violence in 2001.

Camp Ashraf came under American military protection after Saddam's ouster in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. U.S. forces handed over security responsibilities for the site to the Iraqi government in January 2009.

Iraqi troops raided the camp in April 2011 in an operation that the United Nations said killed 34 people. Iraq's government said the troops confronted stone-throwing protesters resisting an operation to reclaim land from the camp and return it to farmers. The PMOI said the raid was an unprovoked Iraqi military assault with armored vehicles against unarmed civilians.

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

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs