The U.S. government may omit the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) from its list of terrorist groups, the U.S. State Department has announced.
Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday May 14 that Hilary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, had not made a final decision about the Iranian dissident group’s status.
The report indicates however that the State department was looking favourably at removing the group from the terrosit list “if it continued cooperating by vacating a former paramilitary base inside Iraq, called Camp Ashraf, which the group had used to stage cross-border strikes into Iran.”
The People’s Mojahedin Organization, an Iranian dissident group, has fought against the Islamic Republic from the early days of the regime’s establishment after the 1979 Revolution in Iran. During the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, it collaborated with Saddam Hossein’s Iraqi regime and, therefore, was allowed to settle in the area north of Baghdad referred to as Camp Ashraf.
When the United States invaded Iraq, the camp fell under U.S. jurisdiction, and once the U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, the Iraqi government called for the immediate evacuation of Camp Ashraf.
Iran considers the PMOI to be a terrorist group, and analysts suggest that its removal from the U.S. terrorist list would put further strain on renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear disputes with Iran.
The PMOI has been accused of assassinating U.S. citizens in Iran before the 1979 Revolution and was put on the U.S. terrorist list 15 years ago. Its U.S. assets have been frozen ever since.
In the past two years, the dissident group has started a campaign to remove its name from the U.S. terrorist list.
The United States and the UN are trying to move the Camp Ashraf residents to other settlements outside of Iran and Iraq, but about 1,200 of the 3,000 camp residents still remain.
Nuland stressed that the PMOI’s peaceful cooperation in evacuating Camp Ashraf would be key to the U.S. State Department’s final decision.
Iran regards the PMOI as one of its archenemies. Many Iranian officials have been targets of PMOI-organized assassination attempts, including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.