AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE – The relocation to third countries of Iranian dissidents who had been living in a camps in Iraq, some of them for decades, was completed on Friday, residents and the UN said.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), supported by many of Camp Liberty’s former residents, announced in a statement that the last 280 people had left to Albania.
“This final round of departures marks the successful conclusion to the process of relocating members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) outside of Iraq,” it said.
The exiled NCRI is the political wing of the PMOI, which virulently opposes the clerical regime in Iran and thousands of whose members have been confined to camps in Iraq since the 1980s.
The United Nations, whose refugee agency UNHCR was instrumental in the protracted relocation process, confirmed that all dissidents had now left Camp Liberty, also known as Camp Hurriya.
“The international community has now successfully achieved the relocation of all camp Hurriya residents from Iraq to third countries,” spokesperson William Spindler said.
The camp has come under attack on several occasions, the deadliest of which killed more than 20 people in October 2015.
The dissidents used to live in another location in Iraq known as Camp Ashraf and were then moved to Camp Liberty, near the international airport in Baghdad.
In a statement, the PMOI spoke of “three massacres at Camp Ashraf, five missile attacks on Camp Liberty, two cases of abduction of residents, and the imposition of a full-fledged eight-year siege, which left 177 residents dead.”
The PMOI sided with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the war with Iran in the 1980s and was accused of helping suppress a Shiite uprising in 1991, but the 2003 US-led invasion brought to power leaders who have ties to Tehran and despise the group.
The United States, which recently removed the PMOI from its terror list, and other Western powers had promised to support their relocation to a safe place.
The resettlement process gathered pace this year and all of the camp’s residents are now in European countries.