Monday, June 30, 2008

Iraqi lawmaker speaks out against PMOI

United Press International
June 30, 2008

BAGHDAD, June 30 (UPI) -- An Iraqi lawmaker said Monday the government would remove members of an Iranian opposition group from Iraq if they failed to leave within six months.

The Iraqi parliament moved recently to expel members of the Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedin of Iraq, from their stronghold in the eastern city of Ashraf.

"After the deadline passes, the Iraqi government will not tolerate any pressure or interference aimed at keeping (PMOI) members in the country," said Jalaleddin al-Saghir with the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.

The group seeks the overthrow of the Iranian government and advocates against Tehran's influence in Iraq. Though many nations consider the movement a terrorist entity, England moved to de-list the group in recent weeks.

Saghir added Iraqi authorities would hand members of the dissident group over to Red Cross officials so they can leave Iraq for another country, the Iranian Press TV said.

Meanwhile, Tehran summoned Jordanian Ambassador Ahmad Jalal al-Meflah to Iran to express displeasure over a move by Jordanian lawmakers Sunday to attend a Paris rally in support of the group.

The rally was intended to raise support to remove the group from the European Union's list of terrorist organizations. The European Court of Justice removed the group from its terrorist list in 2006, but EU lawmakers denied the ruling a year later.

The opposition to PMOI comes on the heels of a report in the New Yorker magazine by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who claims U.S. lawmakers funneled some $400 million to the group to support its opposition to the Iranian leadership.