Iran exiles in U.S. seek support following deadly rocket attack on refugee camp
A man who was allegedly killed in mortar attacks at Camp Liberty, an exile camp housing Iranian dissidents near the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on February 9. Assailants fired dozens of mortars and rockets at the camp in a dawn attack that killed five people, the first deaths from violence since they resettled near Baghdad last year. (AFP Photo/HO/Mujahedeen-e-Khalq)
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An Iranian opposition group whose refugee camp in Iraq was attacked with rockets earlier in February has briefed U.S. politicians on the fallout from the deadly raid, AP reported.
The France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran welcomed the four-person delegation to the talks, which focused on the February 9 attack on Camp Liberty, which houses many members of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, the armed wing of the group.
The attack killed seven people and wounded dozens more, according to the MEK. Camp Liberty is a former U.S. Army base. About 3,100 MEK supporters were moved to Camp Liberty after their former residence, Camp Ashraf, came under repeated attack from Iraqi security forces.
Some listening to the testimony of the MEK delegation threatened Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with serious consequences if there were more attacks on the refugees.
“Put everybody on notice — and I think I speak for our whole delegation... If there is another attack on these helpless refugees by the government, obviously cleared by the government of Iraq, we will move in the United States Congress and put forward a resolution not only just condemning the act but declaring Prime Minister Maliki and his government state sponsors of terrorism,” U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, told reporters.
Iraq has come increasingly under the influence of Iran since the U.S. invasion of March 2003. In the past the U.S.-backed MEK has carried out campaigns of terror in Iran, including bombings and assassinations, targeting the clerical regime.
Although no evidence was produced, Rohrabacher accused Iran of having a hand in the attack.
“We have to assume that the Iranian government and the Iraqi government are working together in order to murder unarmed opponents of the Iranian mullah regime. I don’t believe that it is irrational for anyone to think that this act of terrorism that results in the death of these innocent people isn’t a calculated effort — and the mullahs couldn’t do it on their own,” Rohrabacher said. “So we know that Prime Minister Maliki must be working with the mullah dictatorship to accomplish this end.”
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