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Iranian Dissidents In Iraq Agree To Move To New Camp

Iraqi SWAT forces stand guard outside Camp Ashraf, home to exiled Iranian opposition members, in the western Diyala province.
The leader of an exiled Iranian opposition group says she has agreed to start relocating residents of a long-disputed dissident camp in Iraq after receiving assurances from the United States about their safety.

Camp Ashraf is the base of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (aka People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran), an Iranian opposition group.

The Iraqi government wants to close the settlement and transfer its residents to another site called Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base.

Camp Ashraf residents have so far refused to budge, saying they fear for their safety.

On February 16, the group's leader, Maryam Rajavi, said in a statement that after receiving assurances from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she had agreed to the transfer of the first 400 of about 3,000 inhabitants "in the coming days."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland meanwhile urged that the relocation begin "on schedule" on February 17.

Compiled from agency reports