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Iraqi Envoy In Iran Says MKO Extradition Not Possible

MKO members at Camp Ashraf in 2006

MKO members at Camp Ashraf in 2006

BAGHDAD -- Iraq has no extradition agreement with Iran and any member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) opposition group will be handed over only through the International Committee of the Red Cross, Iraq's ambassador in Tehran told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq.

The French news agency AFP quoted Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i as saying on January 23 during a visit to Iran that Iraq plans to extradite members of the MKO who have "Iranian blood on their hands."

But Iraq's envoy in Iran, Muhammad Majid al-Shaikh, told Radio Free Iraq that "there is no extradition agreement between Iraq and Iran and those guilty of a crime against the Iraqi people will be tried in Iraqi courts and those who have committed crimes against the Iranian people can only be handed over via the Red Cross."

About 3,000 members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran, are currently detained at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, which the Iraqi government took over from U.S. troops at the beginning of 2009.

The group was founded in the 1960s to resist the shah and helped Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini come to power in the 1979 revolution, but then fell out with the regime and thousands of its members were killed, jailed, or fled the country, and the group fought with Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.