Hassan Danaifar

Dissident Iranians living at Camp Ashraf in Iraq are free to return to Iran, says Hassan Danaifar, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq.

Danaifar told ISNA: “If these individuals are willing to return to Iran and if there are no judicial files against them in Iraq or Iran, they can return to Iran or go to another country. They will also be provided with a passport.”

Camp Ashraf is a settlement located in Iraq, 80 km from Iranian border. It has been home to members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran since the 1980s and the Iran-Iraq War. The group has opposed the Islamic Republic since the early days of its establishment.

Control of the camp was transferred to U.S. forces they invaded Iraq, but in 2009, the Americans relinquished control to the Iraqi government.

Iraq has repeatedly emphasized its intention to dismantle the camp and expel its residents from the country.

Both Iran and the U.S. regard the PMOI as a terrorist organization.

Iran’s ambassador says Camp Ashraf currently has 3,000 residents, 100 of whom face judicial charges in Iran or Iraq.

He added: “Last week’s incident, which lasted a few hours, occurred because the Iraqi military was trying to evacuate a part of the camp that belongs to Iraqi farmers, and the military is charged with returning this land to the farmenrs.”

Danaifar said Iraq deems the residents to be illegal aliens who will face legal proceedings if they don’t leave Iraqi territory as soon as possible.

Last Saturday, Iraqi armoured trucks attacked Camp Ashraf. While Iraqi officials claim three people were killed in the incident, PMOI representatives claim the number of dead was over 30 people, with hundreds more wounded.

The EU and the U.S. have called on Iraq to show tolerance and respect the human rights of the camp residents.

Reporters Without Borders has spoken out against Iraq’s refusal to let reporters enter the camp for firsthand coverage of Saturday’s
incident.