European MPs worried about fate of Iran dissidents in Iraq
European parliamentarians on Thursday urged the United States and the United Nations to help protect residents of a camp housing Iranian dissidents in Iraq, which witnessed a deadly assault by government forces.
A statement signed by more than 100 members of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe also called on the European Union to demand "the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Camp Ashraf."
"The United Nations must permanently monitor the situation in the camp to prevent violations of the rights of residents," the statement added.
Iraq has ordered the exiled Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedeen of Iran to leave the country by the end of this year after the weekend assault at Camp Ashraf base on April 8.
The statement quoted a spokesman for the People's Mujahedeen, Shahria Kia, as saying "34 people were killed, including eight women, and more than 300 wounded" in the raid.
An Iraqi security official said at least three people were killed last Friday when Iraqi forces clashed with the Iranian opposition group.
The United States said Tuesday it was ready to help Iraq find a negotiated plan for Camp Ashraf in which the dissidents there could "conceivably" end up in a third country.
Washington has also urged the authorities in Baghdad to allow UN officials to visit Camp Ashraf to determine what happened during the assault and how many people were killed.
The People's Mujahedeen, a left-wing and Islamic movement, was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah of Iran and has subsequently fought to oust the clerical regime that took power in Tehran after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
The group set up Camp Ashraf in the 1980s -- when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime was at war with the Islamic republic -- as a base to operate against Tehran. It was disarmed following the US-led invasion of 2003.
© 2011 AFP