UPDATE: Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi today praised the brutal attack by Iraq’s security forces on Camp Ashraf. The raid “needs to be praised,” he said.
“Under the Iraqi constitution, no terrorist group can use the Iraqi soil as a base to operate against neighboring countries," Salehi added [AP, 9 April].
Iran’s opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) reported today that 31 of its members were killed, and over 300 injured, during an assault by Iraqi security forces on their camp north of Baghdad. The videos released from the raid are reminiscent of the brutalities of Saddam Hossein’s security forces, showing armed soldiers shooting unarmed Iranians trying to flee from the scene. Iraqi officials, again not unlike the days of Saddam, claim that their forces shot the residents in the camp after they provoked them, a narrative rejected by witnesses telling their stories on YouTube videos.
Camp Ashraf is a sprawling settlement near the Iranian border housing some 3,000 Mujahed militants. The Iranian government has been running a long campaign against the MKO, accusing them of being a pro-US terrorist organization. The MKO is infamous for its support of Saddam during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.
But the MKO consider itself the leading opposition force against the clerical rule in Iran and accuse the Iranian government of brutality against their members and sympathizers, including the execution of hundreds of their supporters throughout the years.
The Iraqi government of Nouri Al-Makiki now appears to do the work of the Iranian government and is determined to expel the group from Iraq or otherwise annihilate them.